Staff

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Program Director

Mila Parrish

Mila Parrish is the Director of Dance Education. Parrish joined the faculty of the UNCG College of Visual and Performing Arts in August 2012 and in that short time she has established instructional initiatives including, Dancers Connect a free community dance program, iDance NC a curriculum of dance instruction using videoconferencing and interactive technologies, reconstruction initiatives and community service programs.

Parrish is nationally and internationally recognized for her work in pedagogy and interdisciplinary instruction giving numerous professional development workshops, and over 70 national and international conference sessions, panels and presentations thought the US and in Canada, China, Finland, Brazil, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands including the Keynote Address on Dance and Technology at the Taipei Dance Education Research Consortium in Taipei, Taiwan. Her pedagogy and community scholarship has been celebrated in Dance Magazine and Dancer Teacher Now publications.

She has served on the Executive Board of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) as the Director of Technology, Dance and the Child International (daCi) as the Newsletter Editor, the Dance Notation Bureau (DNB) and the Journal for Learning in the Arts (JLTA). Her scholarship and publications have established new trends in dance technology, integrated curriculum and teacher training in the digital arena. Parrish has published in a wide range of journals, including Journal of Dance Education, Journal of Learning in the Arts, and the International Journal of Dance Education and is the recipient of grant support exceeding $1.1M for her own work and has served as PI and as a collaborator on NSF, USDOE, AZDOE, ASU VP of Research grant support exceeding $2.1M. Of her many honors include the 2011 Advocacy Award for leadership in dance education from the SCDA. The award is granted to individuals who have made sustained contributions dance in the areas of advocacy, innovation in pedagogy, quality of community initiatives and personal leadership and integrity.

Program Coordinator

Brianna Forbes

Brianna Forbes Dancers Connect Program Coordinator is originally from Durham, North Carolina, grew up street dancing, performing at community events, alongside playing sports. Ms. Forbes graduated in 2014 from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Media Studies and minor in Dance. During her senior year she become a proud member of the Alpha Chapter of Delta Chi Xi Honorary Dance Fraternity Inc. where she currently serves as the National Vice President. In her time with DCX, Brianna performed with her brothers at events and briefly studied under various artists. After graduating college, she then went on to work as a Hip Hop, Jazz, and Contemporary Dance instructor for KidShine Performing Arts Company located in Charlotte, NC. Currently, she is a principal dancer of Dance Now Cry Later founded by Tarayjah Hoey and recently finished her term as a Hip Hop Dance instructor for Leap of Faith Dance Academy in Charlotte, NC. Brianna has taught movement classes with middle and high school students in Durham, North Carolina, and now has returned to Greensboro to complete a Masters of the Arts degree in Dance at UNCG. Brianna enjoys movement and teaching people how to use dance as an avenue to experience life, and hopes to continue to pursue a career as a growing choreographer, educator, journalist, and future owner of her own dance health facility.

Kaitlyn Jessee

Kaitlyn Jessee is a Freshman at UNCG, she is studying geography and dance. Kaitlyn just recently moved to North Carolina from her hometown, Longmont Colorado. Kaitlyn has been dancing for 14 years and has performed numerous times, including twice at Disneyland. She enjoys working with children and hopes to make a career out of it someday. Kaitlyn also plays several instruments, but her favorite to play is the oboe.

Teacher

Melinda Waegerle

Melinda Waegerle is an Assistant Professor of Dance Education and the Coordinator for Undergraduate Dance Education at UNCG. Her work focuses on dance and interdisciplinary work across the curriculum. She is a Senior Fellow for the A+ Schools Program (a nationally recognized school reform effort). She has taught in a variety of public school settings across the nation and is currently teaching dance at Jesse Wharton Elementary as part of her research. Her work has appeared in several publications including Dance Teacher Magazine. Her joy is in helping others discover the power of dance to express the internal to the outside world. Other interests include science, the great outdoors and reading mysteries.

Teacher

Francine Monet Brantley

Francine Monet Brantley is a junior at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro majoring in Dance with K-12 dance teacher licensure. Born in Manhattan, New York and raised in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Francine was not able to start taking formal dance classes at a young age, however, her courageous dance journey and passion for all performing arts, began at the age of 5. Ms. Brantley has been a part of many plays, musicals, numerous church productions, band concerts, as well as speaking events. Out of all of her many gifts she is mostly regarded for her ability to create and perform dance. Her most notable performance was at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts, for the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Jabberwock 2015 where she performed an inspirational solo and served as the assistant choreographer for the cotillion program. Francine desires to continue to use her God-given gifts to inspire and strengthen others.

Teacher

Isabelle Collazo

Isabelle Collazo is a dance artist and educator from Chicago, IL. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance with K-12 licensure at UNCG and is very excited to be teaching this year with Dancers Connect! Isabelle recently completed a six-month cultural exchange program where she taught American dance forms at a private arts school in Yangzhou, China. She has taught dance and Yoga in Chicago schools and community centers with various organizations including The Chicago Ballet Center, River North Dance Chicago, Forward Momentum, and Mindful Practices. Her teaching has focused on working with diverse populations and integrating dance, yoga, social emotional wellness, and technology. She has studied dance and choreography in Taiwan, France, and Germany. Isabelle holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher.

Terri Winchell

Jade Donnell is a senior dance student at UNCG working on a BFA in dance with K-12 dance teacher licensure. She started dancing in church at the age of 4. Her passion for teaching grew while working on a Christmas dance recital with Mt. Tabor UMC. Realizing her calling for dance teaching and performing, Jade began her professional dance training in contemporary, jazz, and ballet at the age of 18. Jade has been active in Dancers Connect for the last 2 years as a volunteer, and she is very excited to share her love of dance as a teaching assistant, creating curricula and guiding, collaborating, and encouraging students in the program.

Terri Winchell

Juliana Gagliano is from Jamestown, NC. She is a BA with K-12 teaching licensure student at UNCG. She began taking contemporary dance classes when she was 13 years old with a private group called In His Steps. From her experience with In His Steps, as well as other great teachers, she found that her love of performing and making others happy with the art form gave her the drive to pursue dance as a career. Juliana has a passion for children and hopes in the future, as a dance educator, she can teach the next generation of dancers the same love for dance.

Terri Winchell

Patrick Rupp has been dancing since he was 6 years old he has spent over 10 years learning classical with International Ballet Academy in Greenville South Carolina. After leaving this studio He joined the Artistic Edge Dance Company where he learned many different types of dance, including Hip-Hop and Tap. He draws his inspiration heavily from Broadway and the musical theater style. Patrick is excited to be working with Dancers Connect this semester and is looking forward to classes!