Darnell Benjamin has been involved with Pones since 2009. What once started out as an opportunity to dance turned into the commitment of using dance as a form of activism and connection. Since 2009, Darnell has put on many hats within the organization: dancer, educator, and, in 2016, board member. More than anything, he continued work with Pones because the entire company is composed of diverse artists, with varying dance backgrounds and abilities…but all focused on the goal of using movement to keep telling the stories that need to be told. The work Pones does in the under-served communities through engagement and making the arts accessible keeps Darnell centered and sane.
What Pones means to Dom Vinegar is a second chance at chase his dream. Ever since he was a child he loved the creative and performing arts. Dom wanted to go to SCPA but his parents wanted him to go to a more traditional school. Dom still loved the arts and involved himself any way he could. He felt like he’d never get the chance to perform without classical training. He never let go of his dream, and finally he found Pones! In just two years he has learned so much. Dom says, “It’s great to be able to not only do what you love but to also share it with others!”
Erin Carr loves teaching with Pones because they are focused on moving the community forward, both literally and figuratively. Pones believes that through movement we can find our self-expression and they provide these opportunities for all ages – whether it is for veterans or for students trying to grasp new math techniques, Pones uses dance and movement to connect individuals to themselves and their class/community. “It’s an honor to work with an artistic company that truly walks the talk.”
Ernaisja Curry “Dance is everything! It is a beautiful gift and passion that will always give me life. I believe the best way to express ourselves and connect with others is through the universal language of movement!”
Ian Forsgren finds it a privilege to be part of the Pones education team. Teaching over the years has provided Ian with countless opportunities to expand his own knowledge, share meaningful experiences and help create connections in a myriad of communities. From young children to adults of all shapes, backgrounds, and experience, Pones always enables Ian to explore and create connections in new and exciting ways through movement and dance, his favorite way to grow and learn with everyone!
To Jackie Smith Pones is all about movement. Of course it’s about moving your body, but it’s so much more than that. Through Pones’ programs we help move people’s spirits, moods, social consciousness, and perspectives. As a teaching artist for Pones, Jackie has the opportunity to experience and help our community get up and get moving!
Mandy Goodwin is a dancer, choreographer, actor, and puppeteer. She works with Madcap Puppets and Moonbull Studios, and well as acting in local productions, and creating her own work with Contemporary Dance Theatre. She studied modern dance with Keshet Dance Company in New Mexico, and well as Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. This is Mandy’s first year dancing with Pones, and she loves it because it is lighthearted, fun, and there are lots of opportunities to interact with all sorts of different people of all ages and backgrounds. Mandy loves dancing because it is a way to explore and express feelings that goes beyond words. It is also very healing and helps build self-esteem and a more positive outlook on the world.
Teisha Murray (goes by Murray) has been a teaching artist with Pones Inc 3 years now. She is also an aerialist, teaching at Dimension Fitness. Classically trained in ballet and modern dance, she also loves hip hop and tries to incorporate what she’s learned from her years working with youth in social service settings.
As someone who grew up dancing, Zac Holman thinks dance is a fundamental piece to help shape minds, and grow not only artistically, but mentally as well. One of his favorite things about Pones is how they can help minds of all ages and backgrounds grow and expand through various styles of dance while creating a fun and positive atmosphere.
Donna Rubin discovered her love of dance as a teenager when she started training in ballet, jazz and modern in Pittsburgh. She continued dedicated studies while earning her BFA in theater performance at CCM. Post undergrad she created choreography and direction for numerous productions in greater Cincinnati and later in SF. While living in SF she immersed herself in the wealth of dance training and performance opportunities available there. Donna has been working with children creatively throughout her life. She receives great joy in her work as a teaching artist for Pones and is honored to have helped develop a movement class for Pones’Art’s in Healing program, where she teaches healing movement to veterans. Donna believes Dance to be a powerful tool of Healing, Community, and Liberation.
Amy Tuttle is a passionate practitioner of Arts & Healing. She grew up in the dance community- studying ballet, jazz, and modern dance from childhood. She views dance & creative movement as beneficial tools for communities and individuals to process difficult experiences, build resilience, and cultivate their sense of purpose. Tuttle is thrilled to be teaching with Pones!
Julie Locker‘s career in the performing arts began with ballet classes when she was four years old, so she understands the power of arts education to change hearts and minds. She is proud to teach with Pones because she gets to see so much diversity in her classes, and because she teaches not just technique, but the use of movement to express inner truth.
Kristal Miller “Teaching with Pones provides a unique opportunity to help people discover their inner creativity, freedom, and playful spirit.”
John Woll is an Actor, Singer, Dancer from Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Cincinnati’s School for Creative and Performing Arts and Ball State University for Musical Theater. John Teaches with Mason Dance Center, Mission2move and is proud to also teach and dance with Pones. Dance is a language that helps express feelings in a way that nothing else can and Pones is the perfect company to dance with!
Hattie Clark finds it an honor to teach with Pones. She began dancing later in life and found it to be a form of expression she has needed. Teaching through Pones allows her to share this love of dance with others and to let individuals know it’s never too late to start dancing.
Brianna Bernard is a Cincinnati-based actor, singer, dancer, and model. She loves sharing her passion for movement and dance with the Pones company and the Greater Cincinnati community. Pones’ mission to bring creativity and dance to every environment and community–to be as open an inclusive as possible–this is why Brianna is so proud to dance and teach with Pones.