Kate Corby is a contemporary choreographer, educator and performer. She has been on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) since 2008 and continues to create work with her Chicago-based company, Kate Corby & Dancers. Her choreography has been called “ingenious” by the Chicago Reader, “jarringly beautiful” by the Isthmus and is consistently a Critics’ Pick in Time Out Chicago. Kate was also featured in Dance Magazine’s as one of six choreographers “on the cusp of making waves in the larger dance world.” She completed her MFA in Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana, where she was also an instructor, and received her BA in Dance and Women’s Studies from Beloit College. Kate has served on the faculties of Beloit College, Columbia College Chicago and the Pedagogy Department of the Hungarian Dance Academy. Her work with Performing Ourselves was recently recognized by the UW’s Arts Institute with the Joyce J. & Gerald A. Bartell Award in the Arts. Kate has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Dane County since 2009 and is thrilled to combine her work in dance with her passion for youth development and activism through Performing Ourselves.
Mariah Meyer LeFeber is a board certified dance/movement therapist, licensed professional counselor and dance educator. She graduated summa cum laude with a degree in dance and psychology from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and then went on to Columbia College Chicago, where she earned her master of arts of dance/movement therapy and counseling. Mariah has worked extensively in the field of dance/movement therapy, serving people of all ages in both group and individual settings. She has written several chapters on her work with children, specifically on using dance/movement therapy with autism spectrum disorder. Mariah taught as an Associate Lecturer in the University of Wisconsin - Madison dance department from 2010-2015 and now serves as faculty in the Master of Arts in Counseling program at Multnomah University. While at UW, she combined her passions for dance education and dance/movement therapy in the co-creation of Performing Ourselves. She is honored to continue her work with Performing Ourselves from her new home base of Portland, Oregon.
Caroline Criste is a third year dance major pursuing her BFA in dance with a double major in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the recipient of the Noel Hefty Scholarship (2015-2019) and Perry Mansfield Award (2015), both of which she received through the dance department. She also was awarded the Martha Peterson Research Fund in order to attend Strictly Seattle’s Summer Intensive 2017. She has had the privilege to work with faculty members such as Li Chiao-Ping, Jin-Wen Yu, Kate Corby, Marlene Skog, and Chris Walker in her time so far in the UW Dance Department, and guest artists Rosalind Newman and Jamie McHugh. Her collaborative choreographic work, Roots, was featured in UW Madison’s 2016 Kloepper Student Concert. Caroline is excited to continue to learn, grow, and progress as a dance artist during her time at UW Madison, and she is looking forward to taking her skills and education into the professional dance world.
Elisa Hildner is a junior at UW-Madison, pursuing a degree in dance and a certificate in Pilates as well as fulfilling the prerequisites for Physical Therapy. Hildner trained in classical ballet and contemporary through the School of DanceWest Ballet and was a choreographer and member of their ballet company. This will be her second year teaching for Performing Ourselves and she is so excited to work to empower more young girls and boys through dance again this year!
Niki Hofslien, native of Prior Lake, Minnesota is a fifth year senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Dance, Physical Therapy, and Pilates. Niki has been dancing for 18 years and has studied ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, and contemporary. During her time at UW, she has worked with faculty members Karen McShane-Hellenbrand, Liz Sexe, and Jin Wen Yu, along with numerous student choreographers. This past spring, Niki was was fortunate enough to perform in American College Dance Association’s adjudicated concert and Gala performance. This past summer, Niki performed in both Puebla, MX, and Detroit, MI. This is Niki’s second year with Performing Ourselves and she looks forward to sharing her love of dance with the community of Madison.
Dianne Kotsonis, originally from Brookfield, WI, is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) pursuing a Bachelor of Science in dance with certificates in business and Pilates. In 2014 she was awarded the title Student Teacher of the Year at her dance studio, allowing her to teach and co-teach classes the following year. While at UW she has performed with faculty members Chris Walker, Jin-Wen Yu, Li Chiao-Ping, and Liz Sexe and has performed student works in multiple UW Dance student concerts. This past spring Dianne performed Lyndsay Lewis’ piece “this digging reminds you” in both Santa Barbara, CA for the HH11 Dance Festival as well as Duluth, MN for the American College Dance Association. Dianne is very excited her first year with Performing Ourselves.
Kimi McKissic is a senior dance major at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and she has been teaching with Performing Ourselves for almost three years. She was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where her roots as a dancer began. As a Performing Ourselves teacher, she has worked with girls of various ages and has watched them gain confidence and strength through the art of dance. Kimi started training in ballet when she was four years old and continued to expand her knowledge ever since. She continues to train in ballet as well as modern and African as well as many other styles and is so grateful for the opportunity to share what she knows with the children she teaches in the Performing Ourselves program. After graduating, Kimi plans to continue her studies in dance and earn her MFA. She then plans to return to her hometown to create work that will confront societal issues that specifically focus on people of color. Kimi continues to be inspired by the children she teaches in Performing Ourselves and she is excited to see them develop their own talents and voices through their interactions with the art of dance.
Mary Lynn Patterson, MA is returning to Madison, WI as a recent graduate of Drexel University’s Creative Arts Therapy Department in Philadelphia, PA. While at Drexel University, she received a master of arts degree in dance/movement therapy & counseling. Mary is a University of Wisconsin-Madison alumna where she completed a B.F.A. degree in dance. Throughout her graduate education Mary worked in the field of dance/movement therapy serving populations from children to adult in behavioral health, mental health, school, and community-based settings. While in Philadelphia Mary worked closely with the Drexel Dornsife Center for Community Partnerships as a lead teacher in the community dance and movement program. Mary is also pursuing creative ventures as a freelance dancer and collaborative choreographer. Mary is thrilled to join the Performing Ourselves team!
Stephanie Richards is the Operations Manager for the UW Arts Collaboratory where Performing Ourselves is based. She is excited to support processes and structure for this new entity as well as help expand arts outreach programming. Professionally, Stephanie is also an Outreach Specialist with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute where she Leads the Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute's Community Teams Program. Additionally, she is a member of the Madison Circus Space where she regularly trains and performs as an aerialist, often producing shows. Stephanie completed her Masters of Public Health at UW-Madison and earned her Bachelors of Social Work at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her research and program interests include asset-based community engagement, quality improvement, and evaluation. She is very excited to support Performing Ourselves.
Jessica Robling, born in China, raised in Brooklyn, NYC, is currently a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin Madison (UW). With a background in Modern, Ballet, and Chinese Traditional Dance, Jessica is working towards her BFA in Dance as well as pre-requisites for Physical Therapy and a Certificate in Pilates. She was awarded the Louise O. Kloepper Scholarship (2015) as well as a summer award scholarship from the dance department to attend Jacobs Pillow Contemporary Dance Program (2017). Jessica has worked with and performed works by UW-Madison Dance faculty; Chris Walker, Jin-Wen Yu, and Kate Corby. She has also had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as; Kyle Abraham, Camille Brown, Larry Keigwin, Gallim Dance and more while dancing with Dancewave, her company in Brooklyn, NY. Jessica plans to take time in New York to audition for dance companies and continue networking as well as teach dance and pilates on the side. Once dance is no longer an option, she plans to enroll in community college to continue her education to become a physical therapist for dancers.
Sarah Schwab is a 2015 graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a dual bachelor’s degree in Dance and Nonprofit Management and certificate in Dance/Movement Therapy as well as a Violence Prevention certification from Hancock Center for Dance/Movement Therapy. As a dancer, Sarah has performed in Chicago, Honolulu, Milwaukee, Nashville, New York City, Seattle, Washington DC, and internationally in Malaysia, Mexico, Korea, and Japan. Sarah has been very involved in the dance and outreach community since moving to Madison six years ago, serving as President of the Dance Department Student Organization and Community Outreach Director of Movement Exchange while at the UW. Recently, she has worked with nonprofit organizations such as Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners, the YMCA, the YWCA, the Boys and Girls Club, East Madison Community Center, Kennedy Heights Community Center, the Goodman Center, and Allied Learning Center. Sarah is currently working full time as the Assistant Youth Program Manager and Arts Coordinator at East Madison Community Center as well as serving as Performing Ourselves' Marketing Manager