Staff & Faculty2018-08-31T15:23:16+00:00

Our faculty at the Martha Graham School are experienced dance professionals.
Most of our Graham teachers performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company and several danced with Martha Graham herself.

Jennifer Patten, Head of School

Jennifer Patten holds a B.A. in English and Music from Boston College, an M.M. in Musicology from Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, and an M.A. in Arts Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to moving to New York in 2014, she served in the pilot Rhode Island Teach for America Corps and was hired as the founding humanities teacher at the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts in Providence. Ms. Patten led arts integration initiatives with fellow academic instructors and artists-in- residence, crafting the trajectory of the school’s curriculum. After several years in the classroom, she served as Curriculum Director and formalized the school’s approach to arts-integrated education, oversaw all curriculum development, and provided administrative leadership. She is a recipient of the Laetitia M. Blain Award for Excellence in Music Performance and the Boston College Arts Council Award. Ms. Patten was also acknowledged as the 2012 Rhode Island District Teacher of the Year and a Regional Representative for the Sue Lehmann Award for Excellence in Teaching. Passionately dedicated to the arts and education, she actively seeks to intertwine these disciplines in both her life and professional philosophy.

Virginie Mécène, Program Director

Virginie Mécène was a Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1994 to 2006, touring the world performing many roles of the repertoire. Ms. Mécène served as the Director of the Martha Graham School from 2007 to 2015 maintaining and developing the School curriculum while sustaining the integrity of the Graham Technique and nurturing the process that continues its development. She has also served as the Director of Graham 2 since 2007, teaching technique, repertory, partnering, and pedagogy. Ms. Mecene has been a member of Buglisi Dance Theater (formerly Buglisi/Foreman Dance) since its inception in 1994 and originated many roles of the repertoire. She also danced with Pearl Lang Dance Theater, Battery Dance Company and in the work of Susan Stroman, and Lucinda Child, among others. A native of France, Mecene received multi-disciplinary dance training in Paris and graduated with a C.A.E. in Jazz from the Fédération Française de la Danse. After teaching in Paris she moved to New York City in 1988 for in-depth studies of the Martha Graham technique. She also took part in the reconstruction of two of Ms. Graham’s original works: Panorama, and Prelude to Action from Sketches from Chronicle. As a regisseur, Ms. Mecene has restaged Miss Graham’s works nationally and internationally in Universities and companies. In 2011 she restaged Ms. Buglisi’s Table of Silence with visual artist Rossella Vasta on the Plaza of San Rufino Cathedral in celebration of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in Assissi, Italy. Ms. Mecene has taught classes, master classes, workshops, and held conferences nationally and internationally and also serves as an adjudicator for dance competitions nationally and internationally. Her choreographic work has been presented in New York City, Saratoga Springs, New Town, Flint, Baton Rouge, Cap May, and also internationally, in Singapore, France, Italy, and in Japan.  Ms. Mecene’s writings have been published in Ballet Review and the French magazine Danser.   She presently serves as President of EFSD (Emergency Fund For Student Dancers) in New York City.

Lone K. Larsen, Program Director

Lone Larsen left her native Denmark in 1986 to study at the Martha Graham School, where she was awarded a full scholarship sponsored by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation. She joined the Martha Graham Ensemble in 1986 and subsequently the Martha Graham Dance Company, where she performed until 1993. She also danced for seven years as soloist with Pearl Lang Dance Theatre and performed for many other leading modern and ballet choreographers here and abroad. While working in Denmark, she co-founded and was co-Artistic Director of BALLET PLUS, and from 2002-2005 she served as Rehearsal Director for Danish Dance Theatre. Lone has taught numerous master classes and workshops nationally and internationally. Currently serving on the faculties of Marymount Manhattan College and the Martha Graham School, she teaches technique, repertory, composition, and performance workshop. Lone also restages Martha Graham’s works for universities, as well as reconstructs and stages works by Pearl Lang. Her own choreographic works for concert dance and theatre have been presented both in New York and abroad. Lone holds a B.F.A. in Dance from Boston Conservatory and M.F.A. in Choreography from Jacksonville University.

Tadej Brdnik, Director of Teens@Graham

Tadej Brdnik began his professional dance career in Slovenia. In 1993, Tadej was awarded a full scholarship at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance sponsored by actor Gregory Peck and was a recipient of a three-year educational grant, given by the Ministry of Culture from Republic of Slovenia. Since moving to New York in 1993, he has performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Graham 2, Coyote Dancers, Battery Dance Company, and others as well as in works of many leading modern and contemporary choreographers. He was a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. Mr. Brdnik’s choreography has been performed in many US cities, Brazil, Europe and Asia. In 2010 he premiered “I am a Woman” (collaboration with composer Allen Krantz) during Martha Graham Dance Company’s 2010 New York Season at Joyce Theater. His latest commission Inter/Ago was created for the Battery Dance Company’s 40th New York Season. In 2016, Tadej also choreographed for Steppenwolf Opera:A Musical retelling, written by a Dutch composer/writer Jochem le Cointre. Mr. Brdnik has taught extensively nationally and internationally. He is also a regisseur for the Martha Graham Dance Company and has re-staged numerous Martha Graham works in United States, Europe, Brazil and China. Mr. Brdnik established and directed Teens@Graham from 2003- 2006, a year round after school dance program at the Martha Graham School. He developed educational programs, hired and managed teachers, secured corporate and private funding, and lead classes and workshops. From 2008-15 he was appointed to the Manager of Special Projects for the Martha Graham Dance Company. Tadej is a founder of smARTfund, which awards scholarships to foreign students who desire to further their dance education in USA. He is a recipient of the 1993 Benetton Dance Award, the 2003 Eugene Loring Award and is 2015-16 BAM/DeVos Institute Performer in Transition Arts Management Fellow.

Tami Alesson, Dean of Student and Government Affairs

Tami Alesson received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music. She was a professional ballet dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet for nearly 20 years, where she also served as the Director of Education Outreach. She was also the Companies Union Representative where she negotiated many contracts for the American Guild of Musical Artists. During her time in Cincinnati she was one of the founding members of the Cincinnati Ballet School as well as a student rehearsal coach for all Company production. From 2000-2007, Ms. Alesson headed the Outreach Department at the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia. Many of Ms. Alesson’s former students now work in major companies throughout the world including: New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and English National Ballet in London. In 2007, Ms. Alesson was appointed Director of Education at the Martha Graham School where she provided instruction to teens and oversaw all aspects of the educational outreach programs, serving as the primary contact for teens, families, and New York public school staff.

ACADEMIC YEAR FACULTY

Miriam Barbosa
Amélie Bénard
Ellen Graff
Susan Kikuchi
Lone Larsen
Peggy Lyman-Hayes
Miki Orihara
Oliver Tobin
Elizabeth Troxler
Denise Vale
Claudia Vorwaller
Marni Wood

INTENSIVE AND GUEST FACULTY

Nya Bowman
Jackie Bulnes
Jacqulyn Buglisi
PeiJu Chien-Pott
Jennifer Conley
Erica Dankmeyer
Penny Diamantopoulu
Janet Eilber
Carrie Ellmore-Tallistch
Jesse Factor
Gary Galbraith
Diane Gray
Joyce Herring
David Hochoy
Kim Jones
Sandra Kaufmann
Charlotte Landreau
Peter London
Kathlyn Maclellan
Masha Maddux
Susan McGuire
Maurizio Nardi
Lauren Newman
Amy Piantaggini
Lucy Postel
Pascal Rioult
Steven Rooks
Susan Santler
Ben Schultz
Danielle Stinger
Stephanie Tooman
Kenneth Topping
Yung Yung Tsuai-Lerner
Stephanie Van Dooren
Blakeley White-McGuire
Myra Woodruff
Peter Sparling
Ari Mayzic
Xin Ying

MUSICIANS

Andreas Brade
Stahv Danker
Dor Heled
Daniel Hyde
Kelly Moran
John Rich
David Sannella
John Stone
Quentin Tolimieri
Dorian Wallace
Ryan Wolf