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!
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!
Zac Holman is elated to be teaching again with Pones this year after a short break. He loves being able to share his passion for dance. Zac holds a BFA in Musical Theatre and uses it as a freelance teaching artist that travels across the area to teach, perform, and choreograph. When not with Pones, you may catch Zac working at Kings Island, Cincinnati Landmark Productions, Greene Intermediate School, Rapid Run Middle School, or enjoying a Red’s game!
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.
Christina Bolden is a performing and teaching artist as well as choreographer. Her modern and folkloric dance teaching credits include Xavier University, Contemporary Dance Theater, and Cincinnati Yoga School. She has choreographed various pieces such as Limitations, Visions of my Nightingale, and Movement for Postludes. She has performed works by Peter Anastos, Glenda Figueiredo, and Flora Leptak- Moreau. She also serves as a dance judge for the Cincinnati Overture Awards. Ms.Bolden was recently accepted into the MFA dance program at St. Mary’s College of California. Her research interests vary from ethno choreographic studies of Hellenic culture to somatic practices in spirituality. She is the recipient of the Lawrence J. Flynn Award.
Nicole A. Hershey is a freelance dancer, actor, and choreographer with a BA in dance and psychology from the University of Iowa. She has trained in a wide range of dance styles, including ballet, modern, jazz, and improvisation, as well as breathwork healer training, and is currently a student massage therapist at SHI Integrative Medical Massage School. Nicole has taught in a variety of settings from studios and schools to workshops and summer camps, and she is especially passionate about helping people find healing through creative movement. Her favorite such collaboration was with Iowa Juvenile Home. Locally, Nicole has worked with companies like Know Theatre of Cincinnati, InBocca Performance, Mutual Dance Theatre, and Pones, and has produced her own work at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.
Abby Evans is honored to be working with Pones as a dance teacher. Growing up with a Deaf and special needs sister, dance was a way to connect and bond without spoken word. She is currently a student at Xavier University studying Psychology and Cincinnati State studying ASL interpreting. Abby finds healing and peace in dance and is excited to bring that energy into the community.
Jensen Riley is a local dancer, actress, and circus performer. She has been training in the performing arts since she was three years old and never plans on stopping. She feels blessed that Pones has provided her with the opportunity to connect and share her passion for dance with the community.
Grace Wagner recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Theatrical Directing. Her love of dance and movement began in Cincinnati where she was born and raised. Studying and competing with tap, musical theatre, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and more from a very young age, Grace has always found movement to be the basis of her artistry and exploration. She hopes to ignite a freedom to live in your own body through her teaching with Pones, as she has found mediation, joy, and expression through movement improvisation and dancing for one’s self later in life.
Kate Stark loves teaching students of all ages through Pones, Cincinnati Ballet, and Dancing with Parkinson’s. She performs locally with groups like The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, The Carnegie, Cincinnati Landmark Productions, InBocca Performance, and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. When not teaching or on stage, Kate enjoys snuggling her pups Tallulah and Mookie, and renovating an Airstream trailer with her fiancé Keith.
Dani Clark is an artist educator, Narrative Medicine practitioner, and researcher. She investigates the healing capabilities of the arts through poetry, radical listening, mindful movement, and narrative-sharing. To her, the arts offer opportunities for all those who deliver and receive care to attune to, and deeply engage with, self and others. Dani celebrates the opportunity to teach with Pones!
Sarah Spurling is honored to serve our community with the Pones Education team. With a teaching style that emphasizes community engagement, Sarah believes movement connects everyone to themselves and ultimately, to the world around us. Through mindful movement practices, Pones allows our community to experience other cultures and views different from our own while simultaneously giving us a physical language to understand and shape our own unique experiences. Sarah is forever grateful for the many opportunities to connect with our community through mindful movement with Pones and looks forward to growing and learning alongside Pones.
Rosemarie Leite dances because movement is life, in all its’ expressions of emotion. Dance is an expression of life, even onto the lack thereof. She is happy to be part of the Pones team because Pones brings dance education, awareness, and engagement to our communities so that we all have access to the the Arts. Pones meets you where you are and makes you better.
Darnell Pierre Benjamin is a freelance creative, educator, and community builder hailing from Southern Louisiana. Darnell attended University of Houston in 2009 and earned his MFA in the university’s Professional Actor Training Program; and in 2006, Darnell graduated from UL Lafayette with his BFA in Performing Arts. His work lives at the intersection of art and activism. Starting as a dancer at 14, Darnell entered the world of ballet and quickly moved into contemporary, jazz, and tap. Choreography credits include tick, tick,…Boom! at W&L University, Dreamgirls at Carnegie, from 3 to 5 with Pones, and most recently King Lear at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Darnell is a certified educator and performer in the Michael Chekhov Technique, which explores the psycho-physical connection of mind and body in movement. Darnell is also a recipient of Cincinnati’s Artswave 2020 and 2022 “Truth & Reconciliation” grants. Like James Baldwin once said, Darnell agrees that “Great art can only be created out of love.”
To Noelle Plageman, joy starts with experiencing flow and a sense of purpose. By releasing ourselves to move freely we can express, heal, and connect. With formal dance training in salsa and bachata, as well as a passion for hip hop, Noelle deeply values the art of physical expression. She is excited to be teaching with Pones and hopes to help people grow their confidence in self expression and experience the therapeutic freedom of dance.
Mirna Mortada is a multi-disciplinary artist, user experience designer and painter. She is most passionate about collective healing through dance and the healing arts. She studied at the Glassell School of Arts in Houston Texas and continues to teach and work with children internationally of different ages to promote self-confidence and inspiring self expression.
Ja’Nay Brown: I dance because it sets me free. At one moment in time, dance was my savior. I felt as if dance was the only thing I was good at and whenever I move I feel my mind and body has gone off to this magical place where nothing can hurt me. Being a Cincinnati native I love giving back to where I started, whether that be teaching within schools or at community events.
Marrow Kretzer: Marrow is passionate about movement, anatomy, and the body. They were trained in contemporary and jazz from a young age and danced competitively across the Dayton, Ohio region. They would go on to pursue their 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training. Currently, Marrow works as a Licensed Massage Therapist, helping clients through manual therapy. They love to dance and are passionate to bring healing and joy-filled movement to the Cincinnati area!