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2023 Faculty

Ian Berg is a Boston-based tap dancer originally from Chicago, Illinois with training and performance experience in tap dance, ballet, modern dance, jazz, and contact improvisation. In high school, Ian trained at the Joffrey Academy in Chicago while also dancing with renowned Chicago based tap company MADD Rhythms. Ian is also an alumnus of The School at Jacob’s Pillow and the Boston Conservatory with a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance. Ian is a current student of master tap dancer Dianne Walker, teacher of the Leon Collins Repertoire. Ian is currently an affiliate professor at Emerson College as well as a guest lecturer at Tufts University teaching tap dance practice and history. He has received recognition as a choreographer from The Yard where he was named a 2019 Bessie Schonberg Fellow, The Boston Foundation where he was named a 2019 Next Steps Awardee and The Massachusetts Cultural Council who named him a 2020 Choreography Fellow. He also works as choreographer and dancer with tap dance company Subject:Matter.

Sydney Burtis Born and raised in Central Florida, Sydney is a multidisciplinary artist based in New York City. She has had the honor of training under Michelle Dorrance, Derick Grant, Sarah Reich, Danny Wallace, and more. In 2017, Sydney was recognized as one of "Tap's Next Generation" in Dance Spirit Magazine, and was later featured on the October 2018 cover. 

Some of her performance credits include The National Broadway Tour of Billy Elliot, Battery Dance Fest, Little Island, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rhythm in Motion, as a featured contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, and the understudy for Dorrance Dance's "Nutcracker Suite." 

Sydney dances for artists Demi Remick, Max Pollak, Derick Grant, Nick Dinicolangelo, and Hayden J. Frederick. With a passion for creating, she recently developed her company, "Elements of Sound," which has since performed in Arts on Site's "Tap Festival," Steps Beyond Foundation's "Performance Lab," and OC Tap Festival's "Live at the Fest" in California. Sydney is a 2017 YoungArts Silver award winner, a 2018 Presidential Scholar in the Arts semi-finalist, an alumnus of the Jacob's Pillow Tap Program, and co-founder of the Orlando Tap Festival.

Sydney loves mentoring young dancers and has been invited to teach and choreograph at various dance studios, tap companies, and tap festivals throughout the country. Some include Florida Dance Masters, Riff Dallas, SoFlo Tap Fest, and Sarah Reich's Tap Music Project. She is currently a lead assistant and "Sparks" faculty member for Adrenaline and Revive Dance conventions, and teaches at Broadway Dance Center. Sydney graduated Summa Cum Laude from Pace University's Pforzheimer Honors College with a BA in Communication Studies, and is honored to be teaching at Steps on Broadway.

Ryan P. Casey is a performer, educator, choreographer, and dance writer formerly named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” In addition to his solo work, he has danced for Michelle Dorrance, Aaron Tolson, Billy Siegenfeld, Lorraine Chapman, and Adrienne Hawkins. As an educator, he has worked for colleges, festivals, studios, and arts programs throughout the country, including Summer Performing Arts with Juilliard. He has presented choreography throughout the Northeast with his company, Off Beat, including the Inside/Out series at Jacob’s Pillow. A frequent contributor to Dance Magazine, Ryan is an alumnus of The School at Jacob’s Pillow and the National YoungArts Foundation. He currently teaches

at The Dance Inn, where he initially trained under Thelma Goldberg and Kelly Kaleta; Northeast School of Ballet; and Endicott College. He holds a B.A. from NYU’s Gallatin School and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Luke Hickey is a NYC based tap dancer, choreographer, and actor hailing from Chapel Hill, NC. Named by Dance Magazine among their "25 To Watch" in 2020, Hickey began studying with his lifelong mentor, JUBA Award recipient Gene Medler, at the age of eight. Under the tutelage of Mr. Medler, Hickey completed 10 consecutive seasons studying and touring with the internationally acclaimed North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE). 

Hickey is an alumna of the School at Jacob's Pillow and Pace University NYC (BA Film & Screen Studies, BA Communications Studies, cum laude). Luke is honored to be a company member of MacArthur Genius Recipient, Michelle Dorrance's company, Dorrance Dance. In the Fall of 2018, Hickey made his choreographic and directorial debut with his work "A Little Old, A Little New" at the world famous Birdland Jazz Club in NYC. The show has since traveled across the country, including to Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and Battery Dance Festival.

Hickey's choreography is also seen in Patrick Wang's feature film "A Bread Factory," which was listed on The New Yorker's "The Best Movies of 2018." Stage credits include Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room, The Kennedy Center, the Guggenheim Museum, Oslo Jazz Festival, the Joyce Theater, MGM National Harbor, and New York City Center.

Khalid Hill is a professional actor and tap dancer from Boston MA who currently resides in Harlem NY. He has been tap dancing for 33 years and holds a Masters Degree in Performing Arts Administration from NYU. He is also a trained actor with 3 years of training in the Meisner technique from the Ted Bardy Acting Studio in NYC. As a professional, Khalid has performed as a featured artist at colleges and theaters in 40 cities nationwide and abroad in the US, Canada and Germany. As a dance instructor and educator, he has taught master classes and lectured at Gordon College, the UNC Charlotte, Bridgewater State University and Lehman College. He has also taught beginner, intermediate and advanced tap classes for Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and the Beantown Tap Festival. His credits include: the first national tour of Bring in Da’ Noise, Bring in Da’ Funk under the direction of George C Wolfe; Bounce (in Disney World) with Mogee & Friends; Rhythm is Our Business with Derick Grant; Invitations To A Dancer with Savion Glover; Cholesterol Low Down (national tour) with Debbie Allen and Dick Clark. Khalid has performed as a featured soloist for Hillary Clinton, Bill Irwin and Maya Angelou. Khalid has also provided choreography and artistic direction for numerous productions, including The Urban Nutcracker in Boston (15 seasons), The Purple Flower in Charlotte NC, The Medicine Showdown in Atlanta and St Louis. This Fall Khalid will be featured as part of the tap ensemble in The musical Spirited, starring Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrel. Khalid is known for his intricate “rapid-fire” footwork that has impressed audiences across the US.

Jason Janas is originally from New Jersey. He began his tap dance instruction under Ms. Deborah Mitchell and was the first charter member of the New Jersey Tap Ensemble. He then found a love for the dance and continued to learn and study the art form. He also trained and was a member of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble under the direction of Gene Medler.

Jason's first professional company after high school was Tapestry Dance Company in Austin TX, under the direction of Acia Gray. He was a principal dancer there for 5 years. His hard work ethic began to take notice and Derick Grant invited Jason to be in his show Imagine Tap! which ran for 6 weeks in Chicago, and changed his life. His other show credits include Souls of our Feet with Tapestry Dance Company, Wonderland with Sara Savelli and Ayodele Casel, and most recently co-choreographed and was featured in Tap Stars with Rasta Thomas. He currently teaches for Wild Dance Convention and West Coast Dance Explosion, and has taught at tap festivals in New Jersey, Chicago, New York, L.A., Charlotte, Austin, San Antonio, Vancouver, Zürich, Curitiba (Brazil), Moscow, and Barcelona!

Jason loves to tap dance. He loves to learn from other dancers and about those tappers who came before him. Tap dance does a body good.

 

Growing up in Easthampton, MA, Kelly Kaleta began her training at the Hackworth’s School of Performing Arts and started teaching while she was attending Boston University. Focusing in tap, she has taught up and down the east coast and Canada for almost 20 years, choreographing, judging, and performing in many different venues. She is a founding member of “Off Beat,” a company created and directed by her former student Ryan P. Casey, as well as starting her own company “CounterpoinT,” a small group based out of Norwalk, CT.  You can also see her and her choreography in the award-winning movie “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” directed by Damien Chazelle (La La Land). In 2006, she was a cast member of “Imagine Tap,” created and choreographed by Derick Grant and Aaron Tolson. She has been a faculty member and judge for Tap 2 You, Dance Masters of America, American Dance Awards, Tapademics and Kids for Kids. She has taught at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, and Peridance in NYC. Other past performances include the Cape Dance Fest, Inside Out at Jacob’s Pillow, NYC Tap Festival, Break the Floor, Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Tap Nutcracker - performing with Drika Overton, Josh Hilberman, and Brenda Buffalino, Tapestry - produced by Dance Inn Productions, and others.  Her own annual event, Tap it Up, is a one day workshop held every October in Stratford, CT. Believing that you never

stop being a student, she continues to take classes and workshops to improve both her dancing and her teaching.

Demi Remick is a NYC-based dancer, choreographer and company director creating works across musical genres and dance styles. She is a YoungArts Gold winner, Dance Magazine’s Top-25-To-Watch 2014, a Presidential Scholar in the Arts nominee and a Capezio Athlete. Demi tours worldwide as the tap dance soloist with Postmodern Jukebox and was recently a featured soloist at Company XIV, an Off-Broadway production in Brooklyn. Demi has danced for Caleb Teicher & Co, Dorrance Dance, Jason Samuels Smith, Susanne Bartsch, Bill T. Jones, Lisa LaTouche and alongside American Ballet Theatre dancers at venues such as The Sydney Opera House, NY City Center, Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, and Hollywood’s Greek Theatre. Demi teaches advanced tap at CommonGround, is a certified personal trainer at The Limit Fit and earned her BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Demi's work is presented worldwide as a soloist and with her tap company, Demi Remick & Dancers. Recognized by Jennifer Garner, Chrissy Teigan and more, she maintains her virtual presence to connect with young dancers

and artists worldwide.

A New Hampshire native, Aaron Tolson started dancing at the age of ten. At 14 the tap prodigy was invited to perform in the Great Tap Reunion

at the Apollo Theatre alongside tap legends Derick Grant, Savion Glover, and Gregory Hines, as well as the rest of the cast of the movie TAP!

That same year Aaron joined his high school track team. Throughout his four year high school career Aaron set every school record in every event he competed in, including the 55 and 300-meter indoor dashes and the 100 and 200-meter outdoor events. His times qualified Aaron to compete

in the 1992 U.S. Olympic Trials and earned him induction into the Memorial High School and Manchester, NH Halls of Fame. He also earned a full scholarship to St. John’s University, where he once again set records in track, a number of which still stand to this day. In 1996 he was invited to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials. When not on the track or in class studying communications, Aaron was in Manhattan honing his tap skills. During his senior year he successfully auditioned for the New York Shakespeare Festival tap program, also known as Funk U! Soon Aaron became

a company member of Manhattan Tap. Jumping feet-first into choreography, he landed a job with Absolut in a national tour titled Absolut Tap! Soon after, Aaron accepted a role in the national and international tours of Riverdance. He was a featured soloist and captain of the tap dancers

for six years as he performed on Broadway and at Radio City Music Hall, on various TV shows, at NBA games, and on stages the world over. In 2006 Aaron began working with longtime friend Derick Grant on Imagine Tap!, a Chicago-based show whose formation would become the subject of a feature-length documentary, titled Tap or Die. As a faculty member at The Boston Conservatory and Plymouth State University, Aaron choreographed, produced and directed Something to Tap About, Tapped, Tapped In and Inspired, all featuring performers from his own New England Tap Ensemble. Aaron formed New England Tap Ensemble, a non-profit organization, in May of 2007 to promote the art of tap in the community while fostering a sense of individuality in a professional artist. From Montana to Moscow, Aaron has performed and taught at numerous festivals including LA Tap Festival, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Beantown Tap Fest, Tap United, Tampa Bay Tap Festival, Tap Kids Brazil International Tap Festival and FeetxFeet. Other favorite performances include Brookline Chorus’ Duke Ellington Sacred Concert, The Late Show with Liam O’Conner in Ireland, and playing Drosselmeyer in Clara’s Dream in A Jazz Nutcracker. Aaron was on faculty with Broadway Dance Center and Peridance Capezio Center in New York City and is the director of The Intensive. In addition, he is the national spokesperson for SoDanca, and the Director of Speaking In Taps, a pre-professional youth company that is entering its 7th season. In 2017, Aaron resumed teaching at The Boston Conservatory, and remains a dedicated faculty member today. He also hosts his own TV show, The Aaron Tolson Entertainment and Variety Show, showcasing talent in the New England Area. All of this while continuing to travel and share his love for the art of tap dance.

Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, a pioneer in tap dancing’s resurgence, has a 45 year career spanning Broadway, Television, Film and International Jazz Festivals/Concerts and Tap Festivals. Savion Glover and his contemporaries affectionately call her, “Aunt Dianne”, acknowledging her unique role as mentor, teacher and confidante. Dianne has been dubbed the "Ella Fitzgerald" of Tap Dance (Chicago) and “America’s First Lady of Tap” (Boston). Film credits include the movie Tap (Gregory Hines), PBS Great Performances: Tap Dance in America (Featuring Gregory Hines), JUBA!, and Songs Unwritten to name a few. One of her most memorable “gigs” was performing with Gregory, and Jimmy Slyde at the Montreal Jazz Festival. She is also considered the griot, the holder of the classical black rhythm canon, bestowed on her when she worked as a principal dancer in the Paris production of Black and Blue. Walker was also assistant choreographer in the Broadway production. Black and Blue is still considered the quintessential black-rhythm tap musical of the century. Walker is the 2012 recipient of the Dance Magazine Award got lifetime achievement in dance. A protege of Leon Collins, Walker is know for her elegant, fluid style; both delicate and rhythmically complex. She is well know in the Berkshires from the 1997-1998 Jazz Tap Community Residency Project, teaching Pillow workshops to Pittsfield Public School students and teachers, and several performances at Jacob’s Pillow in 1996, 2001 and 2005. Dianne directed the Inaugural Tap Dance Program at Jacobs Pillow (2010 & 2012) and is presently Artistic Advisor to the Program. Holding a Master’s degree in Education, she has taught at numerous universities including Harvard, MIT, Wesleyan, Bates, UCLA, and Williams College. As a participant on many dance/education task forces, she sits on numerous boards throughout the dance community. In 1998, Dianne received the “Living Treasure in American Dance” Award from Oklahoma City University, The Flo- Bert Award (NYC), Dance Magazine Award (NYC), The Gregory Hines Humanitarian Award (Debbie Allen/Los Angeles Tap Festival). In 2008, as USA Rose Fellow, she received the distinguished title of “United States Artist”. Most recently, she received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to her at the Big Apple Tap Festival New York, adding to a long line of awards and lifetime tributes recognizing her contribution to the art form and excellence in teaching. She was recently inducted into the International Tap Dance hall of Fame in 2019. In addition to teaching and performing worldwide, she is the Director of TapDancin Inc. and continues to collaborate with schools in Boston, Minnesota, Michigan and Tokyo Japan. She is currently writing a book while compiling her life’s work in digital form. To be continued...

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