Margaret Armstrong graduated from the University of Alabama in 2001 having completed a B.A. in Dance. While studying at UA, she was a member of both the Alabama Repertory Theatre and Dance Alabama! Margaret continued her education at the University of South Alabama where she earned her MEd in Exercise Science. After working as a personal trainer for 5 years, she returned to school earning both a bachelors and masters in nursing from UAB. Margaret and her husband Tommy are parents of 1 year old Miles. She has been a member of Sanspointe since 2005 and is a founding board member.
Lynn Bowman Andrews hails from Bettendorf, Iowa and started her dance training at Ballet Quad Cities School of Dance. She graduated from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa,with a BA in Theater/Dance; during her junior year of college, she studied in London at Laban Centre for Contemporary Dance, receiving a Professional Diploma in Dance Studies. Lynn moved to Washington, DC, in September of 2004; while there, she danced with Carla & Company and BosmaDance, the latter of which was featured in Dance Magazine’s “Top 25 to Watch in 2007.” She taught dance at Catholic University of America, Dance Place and for a variety of outreach dance programs for DC public schools. She attended the University of Iowa as an Iowa Arts Fellow, and completed her MFA in Dance Choreography in 2009. Currently residing in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Lynn continues to choreograph and develop new works while teaching dance at Shelton State and as a Blount Teaching Fellow at the University of Alabama. Lynn joined Sanspointe in 2009.
Taryn Ann Brown is a freelance performer, choreographer, dance teacher, and audio-visual artist based in Southside, AL. She is currently working professionally with Sanspointe Dance Company and Children’s Dance Foundation’s Tour Company. Her recent projects include a one-woman show, Stag Unassisted, (produced by the Greensboro Fringe Festival) which explores the essence of “going solo”, an online V-log chronicling her travels across Western Europe, and innovative ecodance research during a shark diving trip in Mexico. She has worked with several notable choreographers including Mark Dendy, Ken James, Joe Goode, Bebe Miller, Gabriel Masson, Mary Cochran, Karla Wolfangle, and Jaime Martinez. Her past company credits include Blank Slate Dance Company, Hurley & Dancers, Co’Motion Dance Theater, Third Law Dance Theater, Elinor Coleman Dance Ensemble, and Urban Impact Hip Hop Troupe . Her choreography has been performed in Costa Rica, New York, North Carolina, California, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and Alabama. Taryn runs the dance program at Shelton State Community College and has taught at Iowa State University, Montana Dance Arts Association, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Northern Iowa, Appalachian State University, Vanderbilt University, University of Nevada
at Reno, University of Colorado at Boulder, Universidad de Heredia, ACDFA regional conferences, High Point Ballet, and Greensboro Ballet. Other career highlights include participation in the Promising Artists of the 21st Century cultural exchange through the Costa Rican-North American Cultural Center, screening of a short film in Pixilerations at FirstWorks, photography at the Tec Art Eco Festival in Italy, and dancing on top of the Village Voice Float in the NYC Halloween Parade. Taryn has an MFA in Choreography and Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BFA in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Shellie Chambers, a native of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, graduated from The University of Alabama (UA), with a B.A. in dance and an M.A. in advertising and public relations. She was a company member of Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre and received the Lou Wall Award from the dance department faculty in 2003. Shellie was an inaugural recipient of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham’s Grants to Individual Artists Award in 2007. Shellie is the artistic director of the Upper School, marketing director and teacher at Children’s Dance Foundation (CDF) in Birmingham. She also performs with CDF’s School Touring Programs “Math in Motion” and “The Magic Circle.” Shellie has been with Sanspointe Dance Company since 2005, is a founding board member and served as the company’s artistic director 2007-2011.
Anna Foshee graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in dance from the University of Alabama with a minor in Social Work.While at UA ,she was a member of Alabama Repertory Dance Theater, the pre-professional company at Alabama and Dance Alabama! a student led organization at UA. She served as a counselor for the American Ballet Theatre summer intensives for two years and was the public relations officer for Dance Alabama!. Anna is a choreographer and dance instructor at the Centre for Performing Arts in Prattville, Al. Anna joined Sanspointe in 2009.
Michelle Knutson graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Dance from the University of Alabama, where she received the Lou Wall Award from the UA dance faculty in 2000. While studying at UA, Michelle performed with Alabama Repertory Dance Theater and Dance Alabama! Michelle’s professional training includes work with Celeste Miller, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Rennie Harris PureMovement, the American College Dance Festival, Philadanco and North Carolina Dance Theater. Michelle worked at Children’s Dance Foundation from 2001 – 2007 teaching modern, ballet, jazz, creative movement and dance for children with special needs. She served as the Upper School Program Coordinator, directed the Student Ensemble program, and performed with the school-touring program; “Math in Motion.” Michelle was an inaugural recipient of the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham’s Grants to Individual Artists Award in 2007. In 2008 she trained at the Dance Professional’s workshop at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC and performed in collaboration with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange Crafting Dances Institute at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, DC. Five-time winner of the Panoply Arts Festival’s Best Modern Choreography Award, she founded Sanspointe Dance Company in 2003 and currently serves as a founding board member, choreographer and dancer.
Susie Long graduated Magna Cum Laude from Belhaven University with a B.A. in English and a dance minor. She has performed with the Belhaven University Dance Ensemble and Front Porch Dance in Jackson, MS. In the summer of 2010, she served as the assistant dance school administrator for the USA International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. Susie currently teaches dance at Children’s Dance Foundation and the Briarwood Ballet. She also performs with CDF’s school touring program Math in Motion and The Magic Circle. She and her husband Aaron recently welcomed their son into their family and are enjoying parenthood. Susie joined Sanspointe in 2011.
Alisa McCool, hails from the buzzing metropolis of El Reno, Oklahoma. Alisa is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Oklahoma and has a Master of Education from Texas Christian University. In 2010, she received her M.F.A in choreography and performance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Alisa began her training at the only dance studio in her small hometown and attended the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute each summer during high school. Throughout her studies, Alisa has worked with a variety of teachers and choreographers including Mel Wong, Fernando Bujones, Gus Solomons Jr., Deborah Jowitt, Doug Varone, Jill Johnson, and Phyllis Lamhut. Alisa has been a featured dancer with the Second Avenue Dance Company (New York), Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth (Texas) and Dance Revolution (nationwide) and has traveled the country performing and teaching in a variety of venues. For five years, Alisa served as the founding director of the Dance Department at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts in Fort Worth, Texas. Alisa is also a certified yoga instructor and teaches dance and yoga throughout the Birmingham area.
Stella Nystrom studied RAD (royal acadeny of dance) and Vaganova syllabus in Mobile, AL. She attended Alabama School of Fine Arts and danced with Alabama Contemporary Ballet in Mobile, AL throughout her teens and early 20′s. She studied african dance at the Malonga Cosqualorde School in Oakland, CA and was an artist in resident at New World Ballet in Arcata, CA. She has performed in Mobile, AL and New Orleans with The Down-Downs, with Birmingham-based Arova Contemporary Ballet and currently performs improv with Corpus Euphonium and is a fire performer with Pyrosalto. This is her first season with Sanspointe.
Rhea Speights is the Artistic Director of Sanspointe Dance Company. Speights has presented her choreography in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, and New York; and has received funding for her work from the National Society of Arts and Letters, the Puffin Foundation, and the Alabama State Council on the Arts. Speights has been an adjunct faculty in dance at the University of Alabama, Samford University, and Birmingham-Southern College. She has also shared her athletic and thoughtful approach to movement with the students at Arizona State University, Luther College, the Children’s Dance Foundation, and the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in Tuscaloosa, AL. Speights has a BA from the University of Alabama in Telecommunication and Film. She will begin the MFA program in dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the fall of 2012.
Mandy Thomas began designing over twenty years ago at Gardner-Webb University where she received her B.A. in English and Theatre. Her design credits include The Glass Menagerie, Spoon River Anthology, Nightwatch, Into the Woods, Agnes of God, The Diary of Anne Frank, Still Life with Iris, Ramona Quimby, and numerous dance productions in the Birmingham area, as well as award-winning designs for Mame and The Heiress at the Vero Beach Theatre Guild. Mandy is currently in her sixth year as Assistant Technical Director/Scene Shop Supervisor with Birmingham-Southern College Theatre.
Sara Turney is in her first season with the Sanspointe dance company. She grew up in North Alabama around the Madison area. While there, she trained in a variety of dance styles with North Alabama Dance center for 11 years. Sara attended college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and also a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. During her four years of college, she performed with the Dance program’s pre-professional company, Alabama Repertory Dance Theater, and the student-produced organization, Dance Alabama! Sara has choreographed for Dance Alabama!, and was presented the Edith Barnes Choreography Award her senior year. She is currently a dance instructor for the Children’s Dance Foundation where she teaches a variety of styles ranging from jazz and tap to modern.
Catherine Vancak was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta Canada. She began her B.A. in Dance at the University of Calgary in conjunction with Alberta Ballet, where she trained in Cecchetti Ballet Technique. After transferring to the University of Alabama, Catherine graduated Summa Cum Laude with her B.A in Dance. At the University of Alabama she performed numerous times with the Alabama Repertory Dance Theatre as well as produced her first show “Space/Place”, where she fell in love with choreographing modern dance. Catherine also choreographed for the student company, Dance Alabama! She danced with the Montgomery Ballet, Tuscaloosa Community Dancers, Complexions Contemporary Ballet in New York City and most recently Arova Contemporary Ballet based in Birmingham as a soloist. Currently she is a pre-medical student and anatomy lab instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Catherine is a junior board member with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She is proud to be an Animas Hero with Animas Corporation (makers of the Animas insulin pump). This is her first season with Sanspointe.
Justin Wallace (Music Director) graduated from UAB with a Bachelor’s in Music Technology and a specialization in percussion, where he was a member of the Percussion Ensemble, Steel Band, and Computer Music Ensemble. He is the co-founder/director of Iron Giant Percussion and performs with fellow musicians from UAB. Justin began working with Sanspointe Modern Dance Company in 2009 as a company artist before becoming the company’s music director in 2011.
If you are interested in auditioning for Sanspointe, please send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Qualified applicants will be invited to company class for an audition.