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ROLLOVER
TO MEET
THE ARTISTS
INVOLVED
SUSAN DARROW
Founder + Executive Director, 
The Aspire Project

Susan Darrow has been dancing since she was three years old and started teaching when she was sixteen. Her background includes Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Acrobatics experience with several professional groups including the Kansas City Civic Ballet, the Kansas City Starlight Theater, and the Kansas City Chiefs dance team as well as performing in many professional productions. Sue’s teaching expertise is in classical ballet and tap dance technique. After 20 years as a dance instructor and choreographer and 30 years of working for corporate America and raising a family, Sue is now enjoying her grandchildren and directing The Aspire Project.

Read Sue's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

KATIE BURKS
Choreographer, Ways of Seeing

Katie Burks is a proud native of Dallas, Texas, and graduate of Booker T. Washington 

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from 

Point Park University, from where she graduated cum laude. ​Katie has danced professionally for Attack Theatre (PGH), Shen Wei Dance Arts (NYC), and Fault Line Dance (PDX). She is a founding member of Portland, Oregon's Leoné Dance Theatre and served as the company's Rehearsal Director throughout their 2017-2018 season. Currently Katie is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, England.

Read Katie's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

PROFESSIONALS
AMY RUSSELL

Performance Background:

Ballet, Contact Improvisation, Modern, Postmodern

Interest:

Appeals to idea that this project is working to improve the perception of dance and perhaps help more people find accessibility in dance through The Aspire Project. Believes that this project is working towards that future, and is interested in the opportunity to use artistry to support that mission.

Read Amy's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

ANNA REID

Performance Background:

Ballet, Contact Improvisation, Jazz, Modern, Musical Theatre, Tap, Capoeira

Interest:

Values dance that is community-based and is inspired by working with intelligent, compassionate creators. Is intrigued by the choreographer's description of the work as being about accessibility, and looks forward to the challenges this rigorous project proposes.

Read Anna's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

AXELLE DE GROOTE

Performance Background:

Ballet, Latin and Ballroom, Jazz, Tap, Modern, Postmodern, Hip Hop

Interest:
Thrilled to support The Aspire Project's mission of giving every child the chance to dance, no matter the family's income. Very grateful for the opportunity to make her American performance debut - especially for such a wonderful cause.

Read Axelle's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

BRIE CHILDRESS

Performance Background:

Ballet, Contact Improvisation, Jazz, Modern, Postmodern

Interest:

Attracted to the mission and purpose of the Aspire Project and how the non-profit influences and aids the surrounding  community, as well as interested in connecting with and meeting like-minded artists.

Read Brie's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

DEREK MENESEZ

Performance Background:

Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Contemporary

Interest:

Agrees with the beliefs of The Aspire Project with regards to accessibility and community in dance. Supports the chance to showcase dance performance art and work with like-minded individuals.

Read Derek's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

ELLA MATWEYOU

Performance Background:

Ballet, Contact Improvisation, Jazz, Modern, Postmodern

Interest:

Director of Education and Outreach for The Aspire Project. Has taught for The Aspire Project for 5+ years and the organization means so much to her. Passionate about accessible dance education and community engagement and grateful to Sue and to Katie for the opportunity to be involved in Ways of Seeing.

Read Ella's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

HEATHER HINDES

Performance Background:

Dance for film, Contact Improvisation, Jazz, Modern, Postmdern

Interest:

Aspire Project Instructor of over 3 years. Supports The Aspire Project's mission of accessibility in dance education. Passionate about opportunities that foster creation both with friends and also with new dance community members. 

Read Heather's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

JESYCA HERNDSTADT

Performance Background:

Gymnastics, Ballet, Salsa, Indonesian Dance, Partner Acrobatics, Circus,

Tai Chi

Interest:

Adores physically accessible dance and the chance to work with dancers interested in exploring accessibility physically.

Read Jesyca's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

NICOLE MASCORRO

Performance Background:

Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contact Improvisation, Tap, Hip Hop, Aerial

Interest:

Aspire Project Instructor

of over 2 years. 

Someone told her

 there would be cookies.

Read Nicole's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

WILLOW SWANSON

Performance Background:

Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Postmodern, Contact Improvisation

Interest:

Interested in the idea and application of accessibility in dance, and exploring how to change the perceptions around dance and dance communities. Supportive of the efforts of this project and its goals, as well as the artistic minds behind it.

Read Willow's full biography in the 

Ways of Seeing show program.

AMY SUMMERS

Composer, Thread

Amy Summers is currently based in London, England. Amy has composed over 40 pieces for ensembles and voices and has had commissions from ensembles including the Brunel Sinfonia, Tabla and Toy Piano Duo: Xenia Pestova and Shawn Mativetsky, Exultate Singers, Nottingham Cathedral Choir, and the Ludlow English Song Festival. More recently, Amy was published by the Royal School for Church Music and her music broadcast on BBC Radio 3. In June, Amy recorded her first album of choral music including a Missa Brevis and a set of Marian anthems which will be released in early 2020. 

AMY SUMMERS
STUDENTS
AZALIE THOMPSON

Azalie gained fundamental dance training through The Aspire Project and now pursues contemporary classes from

Floor Center for Dance.

CLIO TZETOS

 

An Aspire Project original, Clio was one of the Aspire Project's first pointe students. She now pursues pre-professional Ballet training through Classical Ballet Academy. Clio has competed in Youth America Grand Prix and performed in productions such as The Nutcracker.

ESTI BENEROFE

 

Esti now studies Ballet, Contemporary, and Aerial dance through Polaris Dance Theatre School after training in a variety of styles with The Aspire Project.

HARLOW KLEFFNER

Harlow received foundational dance training at The Aspire Project before pursuing Ballet and Contemporary at Polaris Dance Theatre School. This year, Harlow is excited to return to The Aspire Project to continue her studies in Beginning Pointe.

JANELL KRISTIN

 

Janell currently studies Ballet and Pointe at Classical Ballet Academy after training in a variety of styles through The Aspire Project. 

ROISIN FLANAGAN

The Aspire Project's youngest alumna, Roisin gained vital dance training as well as developed a passion for performance much like that of her Grandmother's, Sue Darrow. She now dances competitively at Pulse Dance as well as performs in Pulse Performing Company.

JAYQUEEN 
GUITERREZ MONROY

Jayqueen's original story made KGW8 News in a 2016 clip entitled 'Aspire Project' Teaches Kids to Dance. Jayqueen trained in various styles with The Aspire Project until passion drove her to pursue pre-professional Ballet training from the Oregon Ballet Theatre School. Through OBT school Jayqueen has had the opportunity to perform in Oregon Ballet Theatre productions such as The Nutcracker.