Ashley Carlisle is a dancer and educator who combines classical dance training with a master’s degree in Language Arts education. She began her studies at the Pioneer Valley Ballet School with Gail Collins, where she performed in the company’s productions of classical ballets and in original works by professional choreographers. Her training included summer intensives at American Ballet Theatre, the Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. While pursuing a Literature major at McGill University, she danced and choreographed for Mosaica Dance Company, performing on campus and in venues throughout Montreal. She entered the field of public education as a New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching ELA for three years in Brooklyn, NY. After returning to Western MA, Ashley taught at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, merging her passions for literature and dance. She is trained in the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) model of dance education and is a member of the National Dance Education Organization. She lives in Amherst with her husband and four children.
Caddy Carlisle is both an educator and a dancer. She received her training at the Pioneer Valley Ballet in Northampton with Gail Collins, Megan Bonneau McCool, and Jeremy Collins. There she performed leading roles in the company’s Nutcracker and principal parts in original choreographies. Her education included summer intensives at the American Ballet Theatre and Joffrey Ballet, and under the direction of Cirque de Soleil’s Michael Montanaro, she studied in the contemporary dance department at Concordia University in Montreal. As an Ada Comstock Scholar at Smith College, she majored in dance, studying with Susan Waltner, Rodger Blum and many others, and continued to teach, choreograph and perform in the community. She has worked with the Dance Department at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School in South Hadley, Academy of Ballet Arts formerly of Hadley, and at the Valley Dance Project in Amherst. Caddy is trained in the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) model of dance education and is a member of the National Dance Education Organization. Caddy lives in Montague with her partner, and their children.
Ashley and Caddy have facilitated dance residencies in public schools throughout Western Massachusetts, both through DEL-PVPA and as visiting artists. They have produced four original works, “The Last Winter,” “Beyond Sidewalk’s End,” “A 21st Century Nutcracker” and “The Enchanted Bookshelf,” and created a full-length adaptation of Daria Peoples-Riley’s picture book, “This is It.” Ashley and Caddy have written and recorded upwards of sixty “movement stories” based on their favorite children’s literature. In addition to their roles as co-Directors, Ashley and Caddy teach Pre-Ballet, Ballet 1 & 2, Intermediate Ballet, Advanced Ballet and The Center’s full lineup of Pre-K programming.
Anaia Cayode (Ballet) is in her sophomore year at Dean College in Franklin, MA. She graduated last spring from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, where she was a member of the Catalyst contemporary dance company. A dancer and choreographer in multiple styles, she was recently awarded second place for her choreography at the Outstanding Student Choreography Showcase at the Regional High School Dance Festival. Anaia has performed lead roles in two of The Center’s productions: This is It and A 21st Century Nutcracker.
Janaya Collins (On Point, Demi-Point) has been immersed in dance since the wee age of two! Trained in a myriad of dance styles across genres and around the world, she finds particular joy in Ballet and Hip Hop. This past spring, she was delighted to assist in bringing “On Point,” The Center’s ballet class for girls of color, to fruition. She hopes to continue to expand in this concept, and to be a member of The Center’s family, for many years to come!
Ashirah DeviDalomba (Afra Dance, Story Arc), a senior at Amherst Regional High School, is a dancer, performer, choreographer and musician. In addition to teaching “Afra Dance” at The Center, she enjoys assisting Tracy Vernon’s dance class at ARMS and is a member of a pre-professional dance company, Hatchery, out of the School For Contemporary Dance and Thought in Northampton. Ashirah is also a member and part-time teaching and directing assistant of One Earth Drum Dance CO, an Amherst-based company for teens.
Sofia Engelman (Modern Technique, Composition) is a dance artist based in Northampton, MA. Sofia has presented choreographic works independently and alongside partner and collaborator Em Papineau at venues such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (DC), Judson Church (NY), Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (MA), FRESH Festival (CA), School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (MA), and Harvard University (MA). Sofia received a BA with highest honors in Dance from Smith College where she received the Excellence in Dance Award. In high school, she trained intensively with choreographer and educator Lauren Simpson and at the Bates Dance Festival’s Young Dancers Workshop. She has held choreographic residencies in Massachusetts, Maine, and Germany and has performed in dances by artists including Angie Hauser, Chris Aiken, David Dorfman, and Michael Figueroa.
Tiffany Joseph (Hip Hop, Midweek Pajama Party, On Point, Demi-Point) is a woman full of education, experience, gifts, and talents. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a Bachelor’s in Communications and a Masters in Social Justice Education. Presently, she facilitates community discussions and workshops around the Pioneer Valley surrounding different social justice issues including sexism, internalized racism, storytelling, financial aid, and elder abuse. She is a dancer, a writer, a poet, a spoken word artist, peer mentor, dance teacher, a Yoga instructor, and Zumba instructor. Tiffany has danced since the age of 3, studying ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, modern and tap, with Day Dance Center and with Joan Sherry Studio. She attended Burncoat Senior High School, a performing arts school in Worcester, MA, where she began her career as a dance team member, traveling dance team ensemble member, choreographer, and co-facilitator of community dance teaching programs. During her college career she worked at the Woman of Color Leadership Network, where she then joined the group Body Politics, an award winning spoken word performance group, creating original productions by and about women of color, exploring a diverse number of topics ranging from body image, mental health, intimate relationships, family, and oppression. Tiffany performed in this group for three years, and then became the artistic director for two years.
Kate Martel (Ballet, Theme & Variation) relocated back to the Pioneer Valley in 2017 after 15 years in New York City. While in NYC, she performed and choreographed as an independent dance artist. Most notably, she has been a collaborating artist with Laura Peterson Choreography for ten years, performing throughout NYC and internationally. She has also danced for choreographers Rebecca Brooks, David Hurwith, Luis Lara Malvacias, Juliette Mapp, Nora Stephens and Sarah White-Ayon. Her own choreography has been presented by Women in Motion, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, Center for Performance Research and Rooftop Dance Series. She was a collaborator on Nicole Wolcott’s solo PaperPieces, and Conor Simpson’s film Jux Lucid, which premiered at the Flatlands Dance Film Festival. Kate has been part-time faculty at Adelphi University, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, and Western Connecticut State University. She has also taught at Newport Academy of Ballet. She earned her BA from Goucher College and MFA from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Kate is an AmSAT board certified Alexander Technique teacher who studied under Ann Rodiger at the Balance Arts Center. Kate has choreographed numerous contemporary and ballet pieces for The Center Dance’s spring productions and A 21st Century Nutcracker.
Yoshi Sanders (Musical Theater, Hip Hop) is a recent graduate from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School, where he was a member of both the Catalyst contemporary dance company and the Funkadelic hip hop dance company. Yoshi has been choreographing since he was in seventh grade in a wide variety of styles. His piece “Fundamental Darkness” was accepted and adjudicated at the 2019 Regional High School Dance Festival’s “Outstanding Student Choreography Showcase.” He is the winner of the first place recipient of last year’s National Dance Education Organization’s Leadership and Academic Achievement Award. This fall, Yoshi will begin his freshman year at Vassar College.
Sophie Schilling (Ballet, Spinning Yarns, PreK) was introduced to dance at a young age through creative movement with Iris Berkman and The Valley Dance Project. It was here that she began dancing with Caddy and Ashley Carlisle, and joined The Center Dance. She studied modern dance, ballet, and improvisation with them for 7 years, performing in all productions of their original works. While studying at The Center, Sophie became a Dance Education Laboratory, or DEL, Essentials certified teacher, and has completed workshops at Jacob’s Pillow under Ann Biddle. She is currently majoring in dance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.