Sunday, November 17, 2019

HOMEbody artist bios

In alphabetical order:

Laura Baehr, DPT & PhD candidate (Dance artist):  Laura Baehr is a movement artist, therapist and researcher who melds her interdisciplinary training in order to facilitate and inspire strength, confidence and quality of life through movement. Baehr earned her Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University in 2019. She obtained her undergraduate dual degree in Dance and Neuroscience from Muhlenberg College. Currently, she is a graduate doctoral fellow at Drexel University studying the implications of chronic pain in individuals living with neurological conditions. Her performance background includes concert dance, mask work, and dance theatre. Her more recent collaborations are with Jessica Warchal-King and Caroline O'Brien. In addition to performance, she has taught in the Dance Department at Eastern University, the 2016 American College Dance Association annual conference, and is a Dance for Parkinson's Disease and Pilates instructor.

Jake Buczewski (Filmmaker): Jake Buczewski, a Reading native, is a visual artist, writer and filmmaker. He has a BA from Ithaca College in Communications with a concentration in screenwriting. At Ithaca, he wrote for ICTV. His films have been presented by KYL/D's InHale Performance Series in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange and Jill Haley.

Erin Coffey (Dance artist): Erin Coffey is from the Lehigh Valley, PA. She is a sophomore Fine & Performing Arts major with a Dance Concentration in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Widener University. Coffey has been training for 17 years with numerous dance schools and professional dance training programs including the Joffrey Ballet School, American Ballet Theater and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has performed with the New York City Ballet, DeSales University Dance Program, Artistic Edge Dance Company and at various intensives as well as with other artistic directors. Coffey was a company member with Repertory Dance Theater and studied under Trinette Singleton, Jennifer Haltzman-Tracy and Lynn Wiender. Her choreography has been presented by Widener Dance Company where she is a class teacher, choreographer, and Event Coordinator. Coffey is honored to be continuing her dancing and artistic expressions with JCWK Dance Lab and incorporating this work into research at Widener University.

Paul Fejko (Composer): Provocative, Challenging and Iconoclastic, Paul Fejko has always been quite fond of extremes. He can often be found treading on the boundaries of accepted limits and traditions. Art is exploration and provocation; improvisation is a wonderful vehicle for both. He is often chastised for mixing improvisation into repertoire ('taking too many liberties'), but it seems a one way comment; never has there been a charge leveled against the reverse - adding repertoire to improvisation. Fej finds the pipe organ to be his favorite solo instrument. It can muster more power and subtlety than an entire orchestra while having a responsiveness impossible from a large group of people. He is constantly challenging (often to the point of annoyance!) people to shed their preconceived notions of the organ as merely an instrument of religion, and to realize that in the first half of this century almost every movie house and many concert halls had organs. A good pipe organ is a virtuoso instrument of vast capabilities. Fej divides his time among many endeavors, most notably with theater and dance as a composer and conductor, but also as a concert organist and pianist.   To this one must add his work as a sound and lighting designer, photographer (the covers of three of his  ARKAY releases - Incantation, Tyme's Escape and OUTBURST!), audio systems designer, auto mechanic and sometime sculptor (witness the cover of ‘On Making the Flowers Dance’ - designed by Fejko with flowers by Gretchen Ernest. As of this time, he has recorded 13 CDs of large European and American organs, covering a wide range of existing repertoire and his own improvisations. He has been the long-time musician at historic Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church in Philadelphia, PA and is a musician with the Dance and Theatre departments at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. In 2003 he founded and is now the Artistic Director of 'The Chester Performing Arts Project', a foundation dedicated to bringing world class performing arts to the formerly depressed industrial city of Chester, PA. His André Café Acoustique in Chester is becoming well known in the region. Fej is a product of The Curtis Institute of Music (class of '75) where he studied with Alexander McCurdy, Rudolf Serkin and Max Rudolf. His first taste of opera came at Curtis from Dino Yannapoulos - a long-time stage director at the Met in NY. In 1987, Dino commissioned an opera from Fejko - Matteo Falcone - for the Academy of  Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where Dino was Artistic Director at the time. A review of Matteo can be found on the Press/Reviews page at this site. After Curtis, he connected with renowned dance scholar and pedegogist Nadia Chilkovsky and became music director at her Philadelphia Dance Academy - a source of many well-known dancers from the 50's through the mid 70's. During this time, he spent summers at the famed Marlboro Music Festival. In 1980 he headed east to become a musician with Maurice Béjart's Ballet of the Twentieth Century in Brussels, Belgium. From there he headed south to become Music Director of The Ballet of Lyon in France. During much of the 80's his time was passed between these two positions, but not without many forays into Italy and Germany for work with other smaller theater and dance groups. There were also many various and sundry organ and piano concerts! Because of this he is now able to converse in five languages. Fej has won first prizes for improvisation in Lyon (1981) and San Anselmo, CA (1990). At their Atlanta convention in 1992, the American Guild of Organists awarded him a second prize.

Sarena Kabakoff (Dance artist): Sarena Kabakoff is a native of Reading, PA and started her dance training at Berks Ballet Theater. Throughout high school, she performed multiple times a year in BBT performances and dance festivals across the state. She went on to attend college at Temple University where she had the pleasure of performing with Megan Mizanty, Laura Katz, and Janis Brenner and Company. She also interned with Dance Therapist Teresa Benzwie to teach special needs children academics through movement. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2013, receiving the Benzwie Dance in Education grant for her extensive work with children. After college she went on to dance with Philadelphia based companies: Jenkintown Dance Company, PIMA group, and FRED Dance Company. She also taught dance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance, Jenkintown Dance Arts, Beth Jacobsen School of Dance, and Imhotep Charter School. Her passion for dance also carried her to do outreach programs, using dance/yoga as a vehicle for healing at Safe Harbor (a program for grieving children), and in the greater Cancer Support Community. In fall of 2017 she attended an Expressive Dance Therapy program entitled, “Tamalpa” in Northern California. Since then she has been touring her yoga/dance therapy workshop called “Unpacking the Body,” in and around the Philadelphia area, as well as dancing for the band, “The Retinas,” in their most recent music video. In addition, she started her own yoga studio entitled, “Sarenity Yoga,” and has been dancing with Netco Dance Company for the 2018-2019 season. Sarena is passionate about movement’s capability to heal, to show us the stories we’ve been hiding from, and to move us forward into our own inner light.

Kyleigh Kover (Dance artist): Kyleigh Kover is from Moorestown, NJ. She is a sophomore at Widener University studying Fine Arts in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Kyleigh started her dance education at the age of two as a ballerina, tap dancer, and eventually jazz dancer at The Dance Workshop in Maple Shade, NJ. She also studied at Danec Xperience in Mt. Laurel, NJ, where she added genres of hip hop, acrobatics, musical theater, modern, and point. Kyleigh joined the Dance Xperience Company and performed in numerous dance competitions, community service events, and at Disney World. She has received several dance awards for her performances and original choreography. Additionally, Kyleigh attended Rutgers Mason Gross Summer Senior Dance Conservatory. Studying with Jessica Warchal-King has given Kyleigh a new outlook on dance and she has enjoyed educating others on how dance is a high impact practice. Currently, Kyleigh is an assistant teacher at Dance Xperience, musical theater teacher/ choreography chair of the Widener Dance Company, and Co-Captain of the Widener Dance Team.

Colin Lang (Lighting/ Technical Director): Colin Lang is a Philadelphia-based designer. Lang has designed a number of shows throughout Berks County and the Lehigh Valley as well as a variety of shows in many professional, community, and educational facilities. He is a proud member of IATSE, the stage technicians union. Lang also does a variety of other designing, programming, and tinkering. Thanks to his family and girlfriend for all their support. 

Nathan Thomas, PhD (all things Theatre at Alvernia): Dr. Thomas has been the director of the Alvernia Theatre program since 2003. A professional actor and director, Thomas has directed about 80 projects large and small over the last 16 years. Those projects ranged from the Classics to American and world premiers. Thomas studied with Arkady Katz, People's Artist of the Soviet Union, at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow, Russia. He has written a monthly column for "," an on-line arts journal for 20 years, serves as Literary Advisor to the award-winning Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC). Thomas has played Tevye, Shylock, Prospero, and Lear. 

And me, Jessica C. Warchal-King. 

Pic by Thomas Kay

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