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, John and Lorraine Oler 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 and Inger K. Witter Director of Graham 2

Virginie Mecene is a former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company touring the world and performing many roles in the repertoire from 1994 to 2006. Director of the Martha Graham School, 2007-2015, Program Director since 2015, and Graham 2 Director since 2007, she has been maintaining and developing the School curriculum, sustaining the integrity of the Martha Graham technique, and nurturing the process that continues its development. Her direction has focused on training next generations of dancers for companies around the world as well as next generations of Graham teachers through her pedagogic instructions. Additionally, she created the Graham Teacher Workshop for teachers of all backgrounds. She has re-staged, reconstructed, and directed numerous works of Martha Graham in Universities and dance companies as well as taught the Graham TechniqueTM at multiple national and international conferences. Ms. Mécène’s choreographic work, including the reimagined Graham’s lost solo, Ekstasis, for the Martha Graham Dance Company, a commission from Buglisi Dance, and a full evening length work, has been presented in venues such as Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, in Tivoli, New York, New York City Center, in New York City, The Palais Garnier, in Paris, France, and L’Auditori in Barcelona. A native of France, she holds a L.P. Licence Professionnelle in Artistic and Cultural Management from the University of Bourgogne. Ms. Mecene has also served as a Lecturer at Barnard College, NY, in 2004 and served as the president of EFSD (Emergency Fund For Student Dancers).

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.

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.

Amélie Bénard, Teens@Graham Program Director

A native of France, Amélie Bénard began her dance training at Centre international de danse jazz Rick Odums in Paris. In 2006, she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Martha Graham School and joined Graham II in 2007 under the direction of Virginie Mécène. In addition, she was a member of Caliince Dance and Edgar Cortes Dance Theater and performed works from choreographers such as Pearl Lang, Robert Battle, Virginie Mécène, Peggy Lyman, and Carrie Ellmore-Tallitsch. After graduating from the Professional Training Program, she enrolled in the Teacher Training Program and obtained her certificate of recognition as a Teacher of the Martha Graham Technique™ in June 2009. She has been serving on the faculty of the Martha Graham School since then, teaching the technique, repertory and creative workshop. Amélie has also been restaging Martha Graham’s Panorama since 2010 as part of the All-City Panorama project. She is also currently serving on the faculties of Ballet Hispánico as well as the Joffrey Ballet School. For the past 12 years, Amélie has enjoyed sharing her passion for the Martha Graham Technique™ with students from all ages and levels. She is honored and thrilled to continue her journey leading the Teens@Graham Program.

Maxwell Louis Waterman, Teens@Graham Program Director

Maxwell Louis Waterman is a New York City-based educator, administrator, and performing artist. He is the Director of the Dance Department at Science Skills Center High School for Science, Technology and the Creative Arts. He is also an Adjunct Professor (of the Lester Horton Technique) at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY Purchase. Waterman’s introduction to the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance began in 2014 when he enrolled in the Martha Graham School’s Summer Intensive. A champion for social-emotional learning in dance education, Waterman authored The Elevated Conscious Curriculum (For Dancers)© in 2020, and teaches the culturally responsive pedagogy within the Young Artists Program of the Martha Graham School. His course, “Zone of Consciousness” affords students the opportunity to grant themselves the permission to develop and use their artistic voices to become critical, conscious thought leaders within dance education. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Waterman trained at the Ailey School and the Joffrey Ballet School. He earned a B.S. in Dance from Long Island University-Brooklyn Campus and an M.A. in Dance Education from the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at CUNY-Hunter College.

Yejin Lee, School and Marketing Assistant

Yejin Lee began training in contemporary dance at the age of 18 in South Korea. From 2009-2015 she studied contemporary dance at Pusan National University. She moved to New York in 2015 to study at the Martha Graham School in the Independent Program, Two-Year Certificate Program, and Teacher Training Program. She was in Graham 2 in 2016-2017 as an understudy. She has been a dancer in Susie McHugh Dance Company since 2019. She started as School Assistant and Marketing Assistant in 2020 at The Martha Graham School.

ACADEMIC YEAR FACULTY

Tami Alesson
Miriam Barbosa
Amélie Bénard
Ellen Graff
Susan Kikuchi
Lone Larsen
Peggy Lyman-Hayes
Virginie Mécène
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 Sentler
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
Daniel Hyde
John Rich
John Stone
Dorian Wallace
Ryan Wolf

PHOTOS: Tadej Brdnik, Giacomo Bavutti and Cara McManus by Brigid Pierce.