Zita Bidleman-Owens holds a B.A. in Dance from Stockton College. During those years, she taught creative movement at a private preschool and elementary school. She went on to receive a Masters of Arts degree in Choreography and Dance Education from the University of North Carolina. While in North Carolina, she taught dance classes at local middle schools. When she moved to Arizona, she continued to hone her teaching skills by finding opportunities to facilitate creative dance classes for children. In 2017 she began studying Mettler-based creative dance and is currently enrolled in Mettler Studios’ Apprentice Program. In 2021, she began assisting Dancesequences at Pio Decimo’s afterschool Creative Dance classes for children ages 6 – 11. She also facilitates at Dancesequences’ outdoor community outreach program, the Touching Spaces Company Gatherings. In addition, she pursues acting with Stories That Soar and at Valley of the Moon.
“I’m here, I have arrived!! This improvisational nature of dance allows me to share and teach in a free form to which I feel a strong connection and understanding. Sensing the group moving as one unit feeds my soul and allows me the freedom to be fully present rather than worrying about memorizing counts and choreography.”
Click HERE for Michelle’s Bio.
Joanna Carichner loved to dance, move, and perform since she was a child. As an adult, she has taken that love in a variety of directions: the stage, the classroom, the yoga studio, under the sky and stars. Joanna is a multi-passionate healer/performer. She studied Acting, Movement and Voice at The University of Arizona and City College-San Francisco; Massage and Holistic Health Counseling at the World School in San Francisco; the Breema Center in Oakland; The Providence Institute in Tucson; and American Sign Language at Pima College, Tucson. She is trained in performance improvisation with ImprovWorks San Francisco and Unscrewed Theatre Tucson. She has been studying yoga since 1992 in a variety of traditions and has been teaching Kripalu Yoga and Hatha Yoga since 2006. Joanna has always loved movement as a way of expressing and releasing emotion and has trained with Toni Bergins of JourneyDance since 2007. Since then she has immersed herself in the healing world of conscious dance practices. She is excited to take dance back to the stage, where her love of performing began. She currently has a healing arts practice in Tucson, teaches yoga at Tucson Yoga, leads retreats and JourneyDances, and lives a simple life with her husband and 2 kitties.
Jessica Cox Chamberlain. Born without arms, Jessica could have succumbed to the low expectations that ushered her into this world. Through all the challenges she faced, she graduated from college, learned to swim, drive a car, surf, scuba dive, fly an airplane, become a Taekwondo State Champion, and live independently using her feet in ways others who take their hands for granted can only imagine. She holds the title of the first person without arms to get a black belt in ATA Martial Arts and the Guinness World Record for the first pilot to fly with her feet. Yet, her greatest triumph in life stands far above any physical feat. It is her unrepentant regard for herself as a whole person, her high degree of self- acceptance that gives her the freedom and power to insist that society accepts her, too, just as she is. In 2013, Jessica became a Goodwill Ambassador for Humanity & Inclusion, a Nobel Peace Prize winning NGO and has advocated for disability rights in Ethiopia, the Philippines, Nepal, and the US Senate. As a person who has never viewed herself as a victim of her condition, Jessica is a motivational speaker who shares her stories of struggle and success living in a “two-handed” world. She provides critical insight on how best to approach a challenge, redefining the concept of innovative thinking. Jessica believes that in combining creativity, desire, persistence, and fearlessness, nothing is impossible. She teamed up with Emmy-Award-winning filmmaker Nicholas Spark and completed production of a documentary chronicling Jessica’s life, Right Footed (www.rightfootedmovie.com). She now works as a mentor to children with diverse abilities and their families in the USA and abroad, helping them overcome their situations just as her own mentor once helped her. www.jessicacox.com
Antonio Childress was born in 1995 in Westchester County, New York. He is now a Tucson-based artist working in multiple disciplines, including Laser Art Technique (“LAT”) painting, poetry and dance. LAT Painting uses the point-to-point system and was developed as a technique for artists with limited mobility. Many of Antonio’s paintings incorporate original poetry as part of the overall theme of the created work. Antonio’s paintings have been exhibited in several local art shows, galleries and public spaces in Tucson. Antonio’s dance training began with his participation in the Arts for All Adult Dance Ensemble. In January 2020, he joined the Dancesequences Repertory Company. In all of his art expressions, whether it be painting, poetry or dance, Antonio seeks to share his unique perspective on life as an artist with diverse abilities. “I have to sit in a chair every day of my life because I have a disability, it is not sad or happy, it is part of life. Life has a mind of its own that can build something positive or destroy something in seconds. My chair is not apart from who I am as a person. I am a person who can teach people what it is like to live with a disability. My disability does not affect my abilities to have a voice and be independent as much as I can. My voice is strong. My voice is full of life. My voice is my voice. I love to dance; it helps me to get out my emotions. I think that dancing with people with mix abilities is wonderful because there are more opportunities to meet all different types of people. I strongly believe this world needs to come together without judgement.”
Click HERE for Sabrina’s Bio.
Jon Green is a Tucson-based artist working within multiple disciplines, including painting and dance. Jon’s abstract acrylic paintings have been shown in various galleries in Tucson, AZ. In 2013, he joined the Arts for All Adult Dance Ensemble, now called the Arts for All Dance Company. Jon’s original choreography, “Pieces,” “Sound of Silence” and “InnerSpace,” have been presented at Arts for All, Inc., Pima Community College, Zuzi Dance Company and the University of Arizona. A powerful, emotive dancer skilled in improvisation techniques, Jon’s dance comes from a very personal place and tells stories of isolation and the search for connections. He is thrilled to join Dancesequences and looks forward to creating new work to share with the community.
Carol Kirland got a start in dance when she was 6 and continued through high school. Her mom enrolled her in ballet classes with the ballet school in town that was more along the lines of serious and fun…no aspirations to become pro dancers. She loved the movement, the costumes and the recitals and, most of all, the weekly class and the way her body felt connected to something deeper inside. To this day, she finds herself usually in a “ballet” stance. Looking back she can trace those influences as she sought out other disciplines that evoked that same connectedness. Fast forward “many” years and she re-discovered “dance” with a personal growth teacher for 20+ years. Dance is Carol’s preferred form of creative expression and the connectedness – to others, to the world and to herself – and it has not failed her yet.
Jill Newby has always loved to dance. It started with her father teaching her how to jitterbug. Then came tap and a little ballet, but mostly free-form choreography. Jill’s career path took her to librarianship with her last stop at the University of Arizona Libraries. She focused on connecting UA faculty and students to authoritative information sources available at the Library, as well as teaching information literacy skills both in person and online. After retiring from the University of Arizona, Jill’s world opened up to new learning opportunities in movement, writing and humanities courses. Through Zuzi! Dance Company, she met Nanette Robinson, Karenne Koo and Sabrina Geoffrion who inspired and encouraged her to keep dancing. Dancesequences naturally attracted Jill because of its inclusiveness and all abilities affirming philosophy. Jill plans to be dancing with the group, enjoying their energy and spirit, well into the future.
Veronica Ramirez was raised in Tucson and has been dancing since 5 years old. Through her experience on the dance team of her middle school and as part of the dance program in high school, Veronica honed her skills in Jazz and Modern dance, often performing at various venues in and around Tucson. In college, she began teaching ballet, tap and jazz at multiple after school programs, dance studios and community organizations. For two years, she was also a member of a professional dance troupe based in Phoenix, AZ and danced in many public events, fashion shows and opening acts for several music performers. Upon the completion of her Master Degree in Cross Categorical Special Education, she continued to work within the school system, alternating between counselling and teaching dance. In 2011, she took over a failing toy store and much of her energies were devoted to restoring the business. In 2015, she began teaching at Arts for All Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides art education to children and adults with mixed abilities and co-directed the adult performing ensemble. She has completed a 1-week Mettler-based Teacher Training workshop and works closely with adults of all abilities, sharing her love and passion for dance.
Amanda K. Rohrbach is a nature and portrait photographer, whose work spans all aspects of the natural world – landscapes, skyscapes of the day and night, animals, insects, and flowers. Her prints have been exhibited at galleries and art shows throughout Tucson, including Tohono Chul Gallery and Bistro and the University of Arizona. She holds a B.S. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Arizona, and has worked as a Planetarium educator, a telescope operator and research assistant, and an aerospace engineer, serving as a Mission Operations Engineer at Goddard Space Flight Center, for the launch and early orbit of the NASA Fermi Space Telescope. Though she was an avid dancer, singer, and actress throughout childhood and early young adulthood, multiple sclerosis and other health conditions began to gradually rob her of her energy, sight, and physical and mental abilities. A few years ago, she was struggling to simply walk and stand, and she did not think that she would ever be able to dance again. A modification in diet in 2015 changed her direction completely; she is now on a journey of recovery, working hard to heal herself and regain her strength and mobility. She has developed a new appreciation for her body, her health, and the true healing potential of creative movement. In addition to dance, Amanda enjoys hiking, biking, and exploring amazing natural places near her native Tucson and around the country with her three biggest inspirations – her husband and two young sons. She is thrilled to get the opportunity to work and dance with the amazing people of Dancesequences, and she looks forward to helping others tell their story, and “learn to dance in the body they have.” (https://www.facebook.com/AmandaRohrbachPhotography/; http://www.amandarohrbachphotography.com/)
Erin Kaser Romero is a Colorado native who began teaching dance in high school after forming an all abilities class with a local studio and her friend, Denise Allison, who had been creating wheelchair dances together. Erin went on to receive her B.F.A. in Modern Dance at the University of Utah. She is a founding member of Movement Forum Improvisational Dance Company, performing in Salt Lake City from 2003-2015, and eventually taking the role of company director. As an independent choreographer, Erin also created dances and dance films which have received support from the Utah Arts Council, and the Salt Lake City Arts Council. She has had the privilege of performing and presenting her choreography in several states from coast to coast, while at the same time, gaining experience teaching Pilates, and developing a parallel career in life sciences research. She is excited about dancing with this unique group that captures the creativity which originally drew her to keep on dancing.
Keita Tsutsumi is a Portland-born, Carolina-raised, Tucson-based Japanese-American artist. After receiving his B.A. in visual arts (with a ceramic focus) from Guilford College, he moved to Tucson to fill an AmeriCorps position at Arts for All, Inc. Through this opportunity Keita was introduced to creative dance after being invited to attend a creative dance class given by Mettler Studios, Inc. at the Tucson Creative Dance Center. Though he has never been in a dance class before, movement has always been an important mode of expression for Keita, be it on a potter’s wheel, a strut down the street or a stretch to the sun. Keita feels inspiration from a distant admiration of what he imagines classical dances would feel like mixed with the sense of organic functions of nature. In the early stages of learning and practicing dance, the Mettler-based dance approach brings Keita closer to the mind-body relationship and their relation to the environments he inhabits. Through his experiences he is looking forward to working, learning, and connecting with others through movement.
Guest Artists and Collaborators
- Nanette Robinson
- Magon Thayer
We honor the life and grieve the passing of our friend and colleague. His spirit lives in our hearts.
Julian Dombrowski, 1982-2020.
“Despite my disability l now decided to take up dancing again after many years of not dancing. Many people probably wonder how someone in a wheelchair can dance but trust me it can be done. Being disabled does not mean you cannot do something like dancing for example. It just means you do it in a different way by adapting to your circumstances.”