bios

“Lydia Johnson became overnight one of my favorite contemporary choreographers...her dancers took the floor and within seconds I knew I had found something I loved...for me one of the most moving dance experiences in the last decade.” —Philip Gardner, Oberon’s Grove, 2009

Lydia Johnson (Choreographer, Artistic Director)

Originally from Massachusetts, Ms. Johnson began her dance training in Boston and moved to New York City to study on scholarship at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. She continued her studies in New York with Finis Jhung and Sara Rudner among others. She presented her early work in New York at numerous dance spaces and founded One Night Stand, a series of co-operative showcases, which allowed choreographers to present new work inexpensively. She has received a Monticello Foundation award sponsored by The National Association of Regional Ballet as well as a recent Harkness Dance Center Space Grant from the 92nd Street Y. LJD was founded in 1999 when Ms. Johnson returned to her choreography after taking several years to be home with her three children while working part time.


Dancers

Kerry Shea began training at Pennsylvania Ballet. Graduating with high honors, she received her BFA on scholarship from the University of Utah. Company credits include Aspen Santa Fe Ballet,Ballet West and Sacramento Ballet. With these companies, she has enjoyed dancing Swan Lake, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Agnes de Mille's Rodeo and George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, Valse Fantasie, Western Symphony, Theme and Variations, Who Cares? and The Four Temperaments. She participated in Alonzo King's Professional Workshop and The Northwest Professional Dance Project, where Ms. Shea had the honor of working with Lucas Crandall of the Nederlands Dans Theatre and performing a solo Crandall created on her. In 2011, she was filmed dancing the solo “L’esmeralda” and pas de deux “L’torrolene” for the Ballet Archives and a documentary titled “Sensuality and Nationalism in Romantic Ballet”. Currently, Ms. Shea can be seen dancing in New York City with Lydia Johnson Dance, Brooklyn Ballet, CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet and Eglevsky Ballet. This is her 10th season dancing for Lydia Johnson Dance, where she has originated major roles and serves as Associate Artistic Director. A special thank you to Lydia Johnson, ballet coaches Caridad Martinez and Diana Cartier and her husband, John Farrier.


Laura Di Orio, originally from Pennsylvania, began her training at the Mill Ballet School with Mark and Melissa Roxey. She continued her studies in New York City at the Joffrey Ballet School. Ms. Di Orio has performed with Roxey Ballet and Albano Ballet, among others. She received her BA in Journalism from Fordham University and has since been a contributing writer for several dance publications, including Pointe, Dance Spirit and Dance Informa. She serves as a ballet class substitute for Kat Wildish at The Alvin Ailey Extension. She also currently dances with the Staten Island Ballet, CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet and David Fernandez’s Some Dance Company. Most recently, she was Executive Director of Some Dance Company – Encore!, a performance to benefit Career Transition for Dancers. Ms. Di Orio became a member of Lydia Johnson Dance in 2006 and has since learned and originated many roles and has also taught company repertory at workshops in NYC. She would like to thank her family, friends, LJD family and her fiancé, Christopher, for their love, support and fun.


Sarah Pon, originally from Oakland, California, received her early training from Lynette DeFazio at Ballet Arts. Ms. Pon graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BFA in Dance. While at UCSB, she danced in works by Christopher Pilafian, Tonia Shimin, Valerie Huston, José Limon, and performed with Nugent Dance. Ms. Pon is a recipient of the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship and the Alice Condodina Performance Award. Upon graduation, she was invited to join Santa Barbara Dance Theater, under the direction of Jerry Pearson. She danced and toured internationally with SBDT for three seasons and was a part of the company’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in 2011. In New York, Ms. Pon has also danced with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. With LJD, she has taught repertory workshops in NYC and also serves as Company Manager. Ms. Pon joined Lydia Johnson Dance in 2011.


Blake Hennessy-York graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Business Economics. Originally from Lake Tahoe, Nevada, he received his early training from Ann Peters. Within the Theatre/Dance Department at UCSB, he was awarded the Matthew Plaskett Memorial Scholarship (2003, 2005), the Patricia Sparrow Scholarship (2005), as well as the Drama and Dance Associates Award (2006) for overall excellence in academic and artistic pursuits. Mr. Hennessy-York danced with Santa Barbara Dance Theatre under the direction of Jerry Pearson from 2007 to 2011, which included tours to China and South Korea. He has also performed with Nugent Dance, Montecito School of Ballet and Woodminster Summer Musicals, as well as performances in works by José Limón, Nancy Colahan, Tonia Shimin, Christopher Pilafian, Valerie Huston, Sumi Clements and Marcos Duran. In New York, Mr. Hennessy-York works at Viacom Inc. while pursuing his dance career. This is his fourth season with Lydia Johnson Dance.


Katie Martin-Lohiya, originally from Chicago, Illinois, began her early training at the Ruth Page Center for for the Arts and the Lou Conte Dance Studio. She continued her dance education on scholarship at Point Park University, where she also studied abroad in Paris, France. Mrs. Martin-Lohiya then moved to NYC and completed her BFA, graduating Magna Cum Laude, from Marymount Manhattan College, under the direction of Katie Langan. While at Marymount, she had the opportunity to perform works by Benoit-Swan Pouffer, May O’Donnel, John Butler, Igal Perry and Erick Hawkins. She has attended the Hubbard Street Summer Intensive, American Dance Festival and the Professional Training Program at the Merce Cunningham School, where she was awarded a scholarship. Mrs. Martin-Lohiya has danced with the Long Island Dance Project, The Synthesis Aesthetics Project, Fly by Night Dance Theater and others. Additionally, she teaches contemporary for the LJD school and is a certified personal trainer. This is Mrs. Martin-Lohiya's third season with LJD.


Min-Seon Kim, originally from South Korea, received her training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and at Marymount Manhattan College. She graduated cum laude from Marymount with a BFA in Dance and was an honorable mention for the Gold Key, a recognition award for excellence in dance. While at Marymount, she performed works by Alwin Nikolais, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, John Butler, Katie Langan, Maxine Steinman, Nancy Lushington, Pedro Ruiz, Shen Wei and Sophie Maslow. In addition, Ms. Kim has also worked with choreographers Adam Barruch, Sidra Bell, Milton Myers, Sean Gannon, Abigail Levine and Lauren Hale Biniaris. Currently, she is a member of I Love Dance Crew, a dance crew that specializes in hip-hop and various street styles to the tune of Korean pop music, performing outside the realm of ballet and contemporary work. This is Ms. Kim’s third season with Lydia Johnson Dance.


A PennsyFloridian gypsy, Eric Williams sought out dance at a young age before beginning his formal training at the HARID Conservatory. After his conferral, he continued his education at the University of South Florida. After earning his BFA in modern dance performance, he migrated north to this fine city to pursue a career as a movement explorer, educator and performer. Since then, he has had the pleasure of working with such artists as Kyle Abraham/Ambraham.In.Motion, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Darcy Naganuma, Jung-Li Chen, CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet and Lydia Johnson Dance.


Born and raised in Staten Island, New York, Lisa Borres graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. She later received her BFA in Dance from The Hartt School, University of Hartford, where she performed works by Martha Graham, Pascal Rioult, Shannon Gillen and Steven Pier, as well as works brought to the American College Dance Festival. She has apprenticed and performed with Elisa Monte Dance. She has also worked with LEVYDance and Mazzini Dance Collective. This is Ms. Borres’ second season with Lydia Johnson Dance.


Anthony Bocconi was born in Brooklyn, New York, and began his dance training with hip-hop classes at the age of 13. The following year, he attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and the Performing Arts, where he found his niche in modern dance while studying Graham and Horton techniques. After graduation, Mr. Bocconi continued his dance training in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program under the direction of Melanie Person. He has performed works by Milton Myers, Elisa Monte, Alvin Ailey, Hofesh Schecter, Didy Veldman, Ronald K. Brown and Nathan Trice. Mr. Bocconi has spent summers at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Nederlands Dans Theatre and Springboard Dance Montreal, learning the repertoire of Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Hélène Blackburn and Jiri Pokorny. He is also a member of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in NYC and, most recently, performed as a dancer in the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Prince Igor during the 2013-14 season. This is Mr. Bocconi’s second season with Lydia Johnson Dance.


Chazz Fenner-McBride is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. He began his training at The Peabody Conservatory, The Washington Ballet and The Baltimore School for the Arts. He received his BA in dance from Hofstra University in May 2010. While at Hofstra, he had the opportunity to perform works by Trisha Brown, Giada Ferrone, Nathan Trice and Maxine Steinman. Since then, he has showcased his work at Dixon Place and Jersey City's, "Your Move". Mr. Fenner-McBride has performed for Iyun Harrison, Tamara Saari Dance, Robin Becker Dance and Amy Marshall Dance Company. This is his first season with Lydia Johnson Dance.


Originally from Connecticut, Dan Pahl is a recent graduate from Columbia University, majoring in Biology and Dance. Dan trained at New Haven Ballet under the direction of Noble Barker, as well as FineLine Theatre Arts under the direction of Elizabeth Parkinson. Dan has attended summer programs at American Ballet Theatre in New York, Harid Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Orlando Ballet and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. Mr. Pahl has performed in works by Sidra Bell and Ori Flomin through the Barnard Project at New York Live Arts, in addition to works by Andrea Miller, Francesca Harper, Jill Johnson and Twyla Tharp through Barnard Dances at Miller. In addition, he has performed in original works by Emery LeCrone, Josh Prince, Alison Cook Beatty and Caitlin Trainor, among others, with the Columbia Ballet Collaborative. In 2013, he performed with Josh Prince’s The Broadway Dance Lab at the Fire Island Dance Festival. This is Mr. Pahl’s first season with Lydia Johnson Dance.


Guest Artist

Carlos López was born and raised in Madrid and currently lives in New York and performs as Guest Artist and teacher for the ABT Studio Company. He trained at the Victor Ullate School with Karemia Moreno, Atilio Labis and Menia Martínez, before moving to New York, where he perfected his training with Willie Burmann, David Howard and Rinat Imaev. In 1991, he joined the Victor Ullate Ballet, where he was promoted to Principal Dancer in 1996 and where he performed leading roles. Mr. López joined American Ballet Theatre in 2001 and danced as a soloist from 2003-2011. He has worked with Natalia Makarova, Gelsey Kirkland, Anthony Dowell, Alexander Grant, Georgina Parkinson, Anne Marie Holmes, John Neumeier, Donald Mahler, Anna Markar, Maria Calegari, Jean-Pierre Frohlich, Nancy Somes, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Stanton Welch, Christopher Wheeldon, Aszure Barton, Alexei Ratmansky, James Kudelka, Lar Lubovitch, Jorma Elo, William Forsyth, Kirk Peterson, Patrick Corbin and Robert Hill.

In 1996, he won the Silver Medal at the Seventh International Dance Competition in Paris and in 2004 was awarded the Les Étoiles de Ballet 2000 Prize in Cannes. As a guest artist, López has performed with the National Ballet of Georgia, National Ballet of Cuba, Ash Contemporary Dance, Ballet Etudes of Miami, Capitol Ballet, O.B.S Ballet of Japan, Inoue Ballet Foundation of Japan, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Evansville Ballet, Wausau Dance Theater, Montgomery Ballet, Ballet Etudes of Connecticut, Avi Scher and Dancers and Ballet Concierto of Puerto Rico. Mr. López is also an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher from Primary through Level 8 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. This is the second season he has appeared as a guest artist with Lydia Johnson Dance.

Dancers Currently On Leave

Jessica Sand Blonde received her early ballet training in her native Iowa and holds a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance fromTexas Christian University and a MA in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. In New York, she has performed with Eglevsky Ballet, tompricedance and Von Howard Project, among others.

Ms. Sand Blonde has been a member of Lydia Johnson Dance since 2004, where she has enjoyed originating major roles as well as serving as costume designer and rehearsal director for the company. Much love to Casey and Simon, and gratitude to Lydia and all of the LJD family for their abundant laughter, support and inspiration! Ms. Sand Blonde is currently on maternity leave.


Lisa Iannacito McBride became a member of Lydia Johnson Dance in 2006. In addition to learning and originating roles with the company, she has served as Rehearsal Director and hastaught at Lydia Johnson’s School and at the companies repertory workshops. She earned her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College andhas trained extensively in the Limon technique with Risa Steinberg. Ms. Iannacito McBride has danced with the Albany Berkshire Ballet, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, Beth Soll, Dusan Tynek Dance Theater, Catherine Miller and Kathryn Alter. In 2007, she was selected to participate in the Patricia N. Nanon Residency at The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, where she taught company class. Currently, she is a member and the Associate Artistic Director of Riedel Dance Theater. She was the Managing Director of Dances Patrelle from 2010 to 2011. She has been on faculty at the Logrea Dance Academy, the New York State Summer School for the Arts, Ballet Academy East, The Yard, the Mark Morris Dance Center and the School of the Albany Berkshire Ballet. In 2012, she became an Adjunct Faculty Member at Pace University. Ms. Iannacito McBride is a Pilates instructor certified by The Kane School of Core Integration and a yoga instructor certified by mang’Oh Yoga, for which she also serves as Studio Manager. Ms. Iannacito McBride is currently on maternity leave.

Still photographs throughout the site by Philip Gardner (© Philip Gardner 2013), Julie Lemberger (© Julie Lemberger, 2004–2009) and Kokyat (© Kokyat, 2009), as noted.

All photos on this page by Julie Lemberger.

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