Nikki Albert, from Green Township, New Jersey, graduated cum laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance, as well as an additional major in Communication. At MGSA she received the Hanya Holm Scholarship, which recognizes outstanding work by a BFA in dance. She was a member of University DanceWorks touring company as well as the assistant director to Keith Thompson. During her dance education, Nikki worked with choreographers Jennifer Muller, Inbal Pinto, Talia Beck, John Evans and Jeff Friedman. After graduating, Nikki started working with Donna Scro and has been with Freespace Dance ever since. She has also performed professionally with Nimbus Danceworks, NS Danza, Connolly and Co., Graham Lustig, Bat Abbit, and Avianna Perez.
Hannah Castoro, from Wayne, New Jersey, started dancing for Freespace Dance Company in August 2015. She graduated Cum Laude from Montclair State University in May 2015 with a BFA in Dance and received the "Outstanding Performer Award" from the dance department upon graduation. During her time at Montclair State, she had the opportunity to perform works by choreographers such as Earl Mosley, Christian Von Howard, Francesca Harper, Larry Keigwin, Doug Varone, Jose Limon, and May O'Donnel while studying under Lori Katterhenry, Elizabeth McPherson, Diann Sichel, Nancy Lushington, Lynne Grossman, and Lonne Moretton. For the past 5 years she has been teaching her love of dance at a local dance studio to students from ages 2-18. She also volunteers as a teacher for the dance ministry at her church, and most recently began teaching dance in public schools with Freespace through the Dance To Learn Program for Dance New Jersey. While teaching and dancing with the company, she continues to take classes at Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center, and Peridance Capezio Dance Center in New York City. She is beyond grateful for the many influential people that have crossed her path and for the opportunities she is blessed to be a part of.
Omni Kitts-Ferrara is the proud owner of Yoga Montclair and Yoga Morristown, studios dedicated to sharing the empowering teachings of Tantric Philosophy and Alignment based Hatha Yoga. She is an ERYT-500 (with Yoga Alliance) trained by Vishali Varga at Yoga Mandali Montclair in 2004. Omni has trained in the Anusara® Yoga method for the past nine years and is grateful for its elegant set of alignment principles. She continues her studies in Tantric philosophy (specifically, Shrividya Shakta Tantrism) as taught by Prof. Douglas Brooks. She honors her past teachers and feels inspired each day by Vishali Varga, Desiree Rumbaugh, Noah Mazé and Hillary Cohen, amongst others. Omni graduated cum laude with a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University. She holds a 15 year professional dance career as the major foundation for her love of the body and enthusiasm as a Yoga teacher. Mrs. Kitts Ferrara is blessed with an incredible growing family and looks forward to all that is yet to come. Omni has a true commitment and fascination with the art of moving and her practice of Yoga only continues to deepen and enrich her life.
Andrew Kruep, originally from Belleville, IL, is a recent proud New Jersey resident! He holds a BFA in Musical Theatre, and has performed on the national tours of Elf (Ensemble 2013,2015) at The Kennedy Center and Madison Square Garden and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (LeFou). Other regional credits include shows at Fulton Theatre, Northern Stage, Stages St. Louis, Little Theatre on the Square, Skyline Theatre, and The Muny. He is very grateful for the opportunity to dance with Freespace again this season!
Bryan Matland is a graduate of Montclair State University where he earned a BFA degree in Acting while completing minors in both Dance and Musical Theatre. Other training includes 18 years of Tae Kwon Do, and 3 years of gymnastics. Post college credits include Dance, June 2002 – January 2004, September 2006 – present; Moe- Tion Dance Theater, 2008 – present; Norwegian Cruise Lines (dancer) February – October 2004; My One and Only (ensemble), national tour, February – April 2005; Six Flag’s Great Adventure, The Spirit of the Tiger (dancer), May – October 2005; The Giver (Asher), National Theater for Arts and Education, January – May 2006. Bryan would like to thank all his family and friends for their continued love and support!
Shawn Rawls grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. At sixteen he attended Cleveland School of the Arts and began dancing with the Y.A.R.D (Youth At Risk Dancing) an award winning program helping youths develop an artistic voice and U.D.C (Urban Dance Collective). Shawn is now a professional dancer, teacher and choreographer in New York City. Shawn has performed with over a dozen shows and dance companies throughout the United States and abroad including Pilobolus, the Aluminum Show, Ad Deum, Monster Energy Drink and the Roots, Culture Shock, the Roxey Ballet, Chicago Dance Crash, Tygo Ballets, K-Theory, Son Kiss’d Hip Hop Contemporary and the Chicago Lyric Opera.
As a freelance choreographer for more than seven years, he recently won the first round of NYCXYZ choreography competition and placed runner up in the final round. Shawn Rawls's choreography has been featured on Dancing Wheels and the Roxey Ballet. Shawn Rawls's works has also been seen in NYC10 festival, and he recently presented an evening length piece at the Houston Fringe Festival. Shawn is the founder and artistic director of Emotions Physical Theatre, a dance company that performs in New York and around the United States.
photo (c) Daniel Hedden, Quinn Batson, Julietta Cervantes