ARTISTS OF THE COMPANY  

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Jennifer Alden, Co-Founder, Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer, Company Instructor, Company Dancer

 Before arriving in Tulsa three years ago, Jennifer danced with several contemporary dance companies including BodyVox and Polaris in Portland, Oregon. While there she also studied with Oregon Ballet Theatre. Jennifer danced and performed with Kinetic Images Dance Company as a principal member and was a soloist in several featured contemporary roles. Prior to this, Jennifer studied under Susan Zadoff at the University of Oregon and Eugene Ballet in Eugene, Oregon and was selected as the first freshman accepted into the professional core classes. She also was a company member of Dance Oregon and performed with the Eugene Opera Ballet. In addition, Jennifer studied at Danskervelt School of Dance in Copenhagen, Denmark learning the Bournonville style of ballet. Before this, Jennifer performed as a soloist with the State Ballet of Oregon under the direction of Eric Hyrst. As a Soloist she has danced, Copellia, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle and Sleeping Beauty, among others. She also danced principal roles in The Nutcracker as Clara and as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Jennifer returned to the State Ballet of Oregon in 2006 as the Ballet Mistress and Director of Company Classes, where she taught ballet and modern technique, she also choreographed a full length work called Virus set to the music of Tool as well as other works which were performed by the company at the “Ballet in Park” series in Ashland, Oregon. After arriving in Tulsa, Jennifer became the Company Manager of Monica Huggins Dance Theatre and choreographed and managed the company under the Artistic Direction of Katie Feiock. While with Monica Huggins Dance Theatre Jennifer wrote, choreographed and directed Project Alice which was performed by the company in 2009. Jennifer is now Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer and Company Manger of Portico Dans Theatre and was bestowed the honor of being the first Chairman of the newly formed, Living Arts Contemporary Dance Committee. Jennifer is now an executive Board Member with Living Arts, serves on the Barre committee of the Tulsa Ballet and is an active member of the Urbanist group of TYPRO’s.

Michael J. Lopez, Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer, Company Instructor, Company Dancer

 Michael Lopez has danced for the last 25 years, having started when he was 6. He began teaching Hip Hop at the age of 13 at local dance studios, where he from there signed with his first agency. Shortly after, he began traveling and doing video shoots for Disney, Nickelodeon & PBS, as well as multiple commercial spots. He has since continued to teach at multiple studios in the Tulsa area as well as Tulsa Public Schools, Union, Jenks & Tulsa University. He is currently associated with 3 studios in the Tulsa area as well as working with Project Creates which enhances the values and education for under privileged/high risk children in Tulsa Public Schools. He is very passionate about educating and informing a younger generation about the value of dance and the arts in their lives in hopes that they will be able to continue to spread a similar message of the arts, love & hope.

Valeria Cordero, Co-Founder

 Valeria was introduced to dance at a very young age by her mother, who taught her native folkloric dances from Mexico. From the age of 8, she studied under scholarship until the culmination of her college education. As a teen, Valeria was active in the Texas chapter of Dance Masters of America, achieving scholarships in Ballet, Tap, and All-Around auditions and also becoming Miss Dance of Texas, First runner-up. Valeria graduated as Valedictorian with a Bachelors degree in Psychology and a minor in dance from St. Gregory's University in 2006. In addition to performing with the resident companies and teaching tap, she was active in the university theatre department appearing in featured dance roles in the musical Kiss Me Kate and as "Mabel" in the Pajama Game. She also choreographed the musical Anything Goes for the Stage Greg's theatre company. Valeria attended the summer dance intensive at the Giordance Dance Center in Chicago, studying tap, jazz, ballet, and modern. Most recently, she was a performer and featured dancer at Discoveryland, the national home of Roger's and Hammerstein's Oklahoma. She has been a ballet, tap, and jazz instructor and judge in several studios around the Tulsa area. Valeria joined Monica Huggins Dance Theatre in 2007 under the Artistic Direction of Katie Feiock. While with Monica Huggins Dance Theatre, Valeria choreographed several pieces for Project Alice which was performed by the company last year. Valeria was the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Portico Dans Theatre. She wrote her first full length, Super Suite which was performed by the Company last year. She recently married and moved to New Mexico, but continues to teach dance. 

 

 

Jamie Beller, Company Dancer

  Jamie started her training when she was two years old with Oklahoma Performing Arts (OPA) under the direction of Ms. Laura Tyson. With OPA, Jamie danced in such roles as Sugar Plum Fairy and Arabian in The Nutcracker, Lion in Into the Woods, Nerd in Rocking School House and Maxine in Where the Wild Art is. While with OPA, Jamie attended summer programs such as Ballet West, OU, Kansas City Ballet, and Tulsa Ballet Theater. In 2007, she performed with Monica Huggins Dance Theatre and began teaching ballet for OPA. In May of 2010 Jamie was chosen to perform with Cirque Dreams Illuminations. In the summer of 2010 she also was excited to dance a feature role of the Caterpillar in Portico’s Project Alice and last year also performed in Super Suite. Jamie performed with TuMM in 2011 Contemporary Dance New Genre. This is Jamie’s second full season with Portico as a Company member. Jamie believes that having a chance to dance and perform with Portico is truly a blast!

Linda Litton Clark, Marketing and Communications Director, Company Dancer

 Linda Litton Clark is a Tulsa native but has lived and performed across the country.  She has danced since age four in the genres of:  ballet, tap, jazz, Broadway, and contemporary styles.  Linda earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Minor in Theatre from Southern Methodist University and co-founded a student-run theatre company in Dallas, serving as the choreographer.  Linda has choreographed and danced several musicals including:  Cabaret, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Who’s Tommy, The Fantasticks, and Pajama Game. Linda went on to earn a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Goucher College in Baltimore, serving as the sole dance performer in the program.  Upon her return to Tulsa, she worked as Business and Grants Administrator for Tulsa Glassblowing Studio and Administrative Director at Living Arts of Tulsa.  While at Living Arts she was introduced to Jennifer Alden and Portico Dans Theatre’s unique array of talent and choreography.  Linda has danced with the company since January 2011, and now serves as the Marketing and Communications Director.  Linda has performed with PDT in Living Arts’ New Genre Festival, and Super Suite thus far.

Cassie Hampton, Company Dancer

 Cassie began her dance training at age 5, taking ballet, tap, and jazz classes for 6 years. She then began training in hip hop, contemporary, and modern dance. She was accepted onto several competitive dance teams, competing in nationwide dance competitions. Cassie earned top awards for her contemporary solos, duets, and team’s hip hop and modern pieces. She has participated in various dance conventions such as Co. Dance, taking classes from numerous choreographers such as Tyce Diorio and Barry Youngblood. Cassie received a scholarship to Co. Dance for 2010 because of her team’s performances the previous year. She became a member of Portico Dans Theatre in January of 2010. Cassie was honored to be cast in the lead role of Miss Understood in last year’s, Super Suite. Cassie currently teaches contemporary and improvisation at Ovations Dance Studio in Sapulpa.

Julie Brakey Hazzard, Company Dancer

 Julie is a Tulsa native and joined Portico Dans Theatre in September 2009.  She began her dance training at age three, taking four years of tap and ballet classes, followed by six years of tap and jazz classes.  She went back to ballet for one year at age fourteen, training at Tulsa's Dance and Arts Conservatory.  Julie also spent four years on Union Public Schools' elementary and junior varsity drill teams.  At sixteen she was accepted onto the award-winning Union Highsteppers varsity drill team.  With her teammates, she participated in ten state, regional, and national dance competitions, in the categories of lyrical, jazz, high-kick, novelty, modern, show/production, and small ensemble, taking home several awards and honors in each division.  In 1999, Julie served as dance captain and performer in Union High School's production of Hello Dolly.  She continued with dance classes into her sophomore year of college at Belmont University in Nashville, where she was honored to perform for the student body at the Gospel Showcase in the fall of 2000.  After an eight year break, Julie came back to dance in 2008 and is currently taking ballet classes at the Tulsa Ballet Center for Dance Education.

Sam Mellor, Aerial Instructor, Aerial Choreographer, Company Dancer

 Samantha grew up training as a competitive gymnast, a field in which she became all-state champion 2 years running at the peak of her career. Samantha began training in the United Kingdom and expanded her training upon moving to the United States. Samantha has trained in many gyms throughout the US specifically Bart Connors Gymnastics Academy in Norman and Kraft Academy in Tulsa, both being very well known gymnastics centers. Samantha ended her gymnastics career in 2006 and began coaching gymnastics as well as training in Taekwondo, in which she is now a certified instructor and teaches and the Jenks Martial Arts Academy. Three summers ago Samantha found the aerial arts and became very driven to refine her skills; she has trained in flying trapeze, static trapeze, aerial silks and has been certified as a trapeze instructor through Circu Soul. Samantha enjoys the aerial arts and hopes that she can help it become a more widespread and well known art in the dance industry. Samatha first started performing with Portico Dans Theatre 2 years ago in their production of Project Alice. She returned this year as a company member and is currently and instructor teaching aerial.

Hillary Pane, Founding Member, Company Dancer

 Hillary, a native Texan, has been dancing most of her life.  During this time she studied dance at professional ballet schools around the US, including with Natalia Krassovska (Dallas, TX), Tulsa Ballet (Tulsa, OK), Giacobbe Academy (New Orleans, LA), Houston Ballet (Houston, TX), Boston Ballet (Boston, MA), on partial merit scholarship at Virginia School of the Arts (Lynchburg, VA), and on full merit scholarship with David Howard of NYC.  She has performed in several seasons with Tulsa Ballet Theatre and Oklahoma Festival Ballet.  Recruited with scholarships for dance and academic achievement, Ms. Pane attended University of Oklahoma.  She completed graduate school at the University of St. Thomas, the Institute for the Medical Humanities, and Texas Tech El Paso. Dr. Pane currently practices Family Medicine and Psychiatry at OU-Tulsa. She enjoys dancing with PDT for the friendships and the challenges of working with different styles of choreography.

Emily Smith, Company Dancer

 Dance has always been a large part of Emily's life.  Her father, Michael Smith, was a modern dance instructor and an avid folk dancer.  Emily began formal ballet training at the age of four at the Tulsa School of Ballet under the instruction of Moscelyne Larkin.  She performed in the Jasesnki Nutcracker for nine years. She was also awarded a small role in Tulsa Ballet's A Midsummer Night's Dream and performed with Local Motion.  She attended New Mexico's August Fork Dance Camp from 1992-1996 and Tulsa Ballet's Point to the Future in 1997 and 1999.  Emily has a BA in International Studies from OU and enjoys travel, history and foreign languages.

Maria Tate, Aerial Instructor, Aerial Choreographer, Company Dancer

 Maria grew up dancing and performing opera and musical theatre in Leavenworth KS and the Kansas City area. While attending college at Wichita State University, Maria spent her summers performing and choreographing musical theatre around the country, and studying dance in New York and San Francisco. After college Maria performed and studied dance in Dublin, Ireland, and then returned to Kansas City. While there she studied and performed with Kacico Contemporary Dance and choreographed and danced for Reach, A Movement Collective Inc. Maria then relocated to Chicago. While there she studied dance with Rasa Dance Chicago, spent three seasons performing as a trainee with Joel Hall Dancers and taught for the Joel Hall Dance Center. Maria was a founding member of Chicago Verge Dance Theatre, appeared as Necille in The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, and taught dance and drama all across the Chicago area. While in Chicago, Maria also discovered her newest passion; aerial dance. She studied with Aerial Dance Chicago (formerly Ameba Acrobatic and Aerial Dance). Maria's Portico debut was the 2011 production of Super Suite. Maria is super excited to continue to study and grow with Portico, hoping to expand her aerial skills and share them with others and learn more about other genres of dance.

Kimberly Wall, Costume Director, Company Dancer

 Kimberly has been dancing since the age of 3. She grew up in Woodward, Oklahoma and studied tap, jazz, and ballet with Brenda Alexander at the Woodward Studio of Dance.  She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1999 with Music and Elective Studies in Business degree. Having not danced while she was pursuing her degree, she couldn’t wait to get back to class. A marketing internship with the Tulsa Ballet led her to Tulsa where she studied tap and jazz with Nancy Clarke at the Nancy Clarke Studio of Dance.  She currently teaches tap, jazz, and ballet at Footprints Dance Studio owned by Debbie Almohandis.  Kimberly saw Portico’s Project Alice performance and immediately wanted to become a part of the group.  She joined Portico in September of 2010; her first full length was this year’s Super Suite which she played the favorite role of the Fiddle back spider.

Jolianna Wright, Company Dancer

 Jolianna kicked off her year-to-date performing career by attending her first ballet class at age three. Jolianna was raised learning Eastern European Folkdance for many years from a group that her mother was involved with in Tulsa. Since then she has expanded her talents and experience to include several other types of dance, musical theatre, choral singing, and even burlesque and pin-up modeling. Jolianna has studied ballet, modern, jazz, tap, flamenco and various types of ballroom dance at Cherry Street Studios under Cynthia Wolfe for a total of 17 years. She also studied technical theatre, physical comedy and acting for 3 years under Ms. Harrington at Edison High School. Her performance experience includes performing in; Tulsa Ballet’s Nutcracker for 8 years, with Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret of Minneapolis, Twolips Burlesk of Tulsa and a handful of performances with her own burlesque troupe 'Eostre' . She recently danced and acted with Actors Company of Tulsa in A Clockwork Orange and with Nightingale Theatre in A Blue Whale of Catoosa. Jolianna was the 2011Winner of the Ms. Center of the Universe Pageant. It was a very early dream of hers to be a performing artist in almost any capacity and that dream has never stopped. It makes her happier than she can describe to be involved with these wonderful people, these talented dancers, directors and choreographers. She is so pleased that Portico is what it's become; a local dance company with recognition, vision and artistic collaboration. It's amazing for her to be a part of that.

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