About the Directors
Director of the Spanish and Personal Development Programs
I am a North American who has spent almost half of my lifetime outside of the United States. Throughout my life, my greatest challenge has been how to bring together my different passions: singing, the psychology of parenting and culture. The Creative Living Room ™ is offering me this opportunity.
Growing up, my first love was singing. I would sing everywhere and anywhere permitted. When graduating from High School in 1987, I decided to go to school abroad to the University of Saint Andrews and see the world from a different angle. In Scotland, I shared this passion for singing with many vocal groups, arranging and composing music. During my final year in Scotland, I discovered my second great interest, psychology, and particularly the human experience during the early years of childhood.
A year later, in 1992, once again, curious about how others live outside of the United States, I moved to Costa Rica. There I shared both my music and my love for children with families on the Atlantic Coast. I started a preschool for children whose families had been impacted by an earthquake. After some time, I married; co founded a linguistic center, had two of my three children, and eventually went back to school to complete both a Bachelors in Psychology in Spanish and Masters in Group Clinical Psychology, also in Spanish. As a mother, I found the intricate relationship between parents and children particularly interesting and became passionate about parenting, leading me to read voraciously and eventually become certified as a Parenting Effectiveness Trainer.
After 12 years in Costa Rica, I returned to the United States and began working in Philadelphia. I worked as an outpatient therapist for children, led support groups, therapy groups and parenting workshops for adults. I also led playgroups, therapy and literacy groups for children. While working with these children, I found myself including songs any time I could.
After my third child was born in 2005, wanting to raise him bilingual as I did with the other two, I began writing songs in Spanish for children. Now 100 songs later, I have developed a program for teaching Spanish to children through music, called Cantemos Juntos (Let’s Sing Together).
My philosophy for teaching is to offer a positive and nurturing experience for children where they learn through movement and song that it is fun to learn a language and discover a new culture. With the opportunity to braid all of my passions under one roof, I am thrilled to be working beside three other fabulous artists who inspire me on a weekly basis to constantly improve myself as a professional , as an artist and as a person in general. For more information visit www.cantemosjuntos.com.
Director of the Dance Program
I am a modern dancer/teacher/choreographer and also a mom. I took by first ballet class at the age of 5. It was too rigid for me so I dabbled in gymnastics before returning to dance – this time jazz –when I was 10. I was fortunate to find a phenomenal teacher and technician who had been Ann Reinking’s assistant teacher and I was hooked. Year after year I added another discipline to my study, ballet, and then tap. As a junior in high school, I was 1 of 11 dancers in New Jersey chosen to attend the Governor’s School of the Arts where I was introduced to modern dance.
Though a Biology major, I danced throughout my four years at Franklin & Marshall College with the student company and studied ballet at nearby Millersville University. I had the fortune to work with inspirational professionals who recreated historic works by modern dance pioneers, Isadora Duncan and Doris Humphrey as well as contemporary choreographers. As a junior in college, I attended the Bates Dance Festival in Maine and performed a solo by renowned African American choreographer Dianne McIntyre who, to my parent’s dismay, encouraged me to pursue dance professionally.
After college I earned a Masters in Dance Science from the University of Oregon, where I also taught modern, ballet, jazz and tap to undergraduates. I moved back east to Baltimore and danced for D.C based Deborah Riley Dance Projects and Maryland-based Doug Hamby Dance and Kinetics Dance Theatre. I completed a two-year weekend certification in Laban Movement Analysis which gave me a breadth of ways to observe experience, analyze and articulate dance and all forms of movement.
In Philadelphia I worked as a solo artist, teacher and Managing Director of Group Motion/Kumquat Dance Center. I returned to teach on the faculty of my Alma mater, Franklin & Marshall College and completed one year of doctoral studies in dance at Temple University with a prestigious University Fellowship before becoming a mother to three daughters. I opted not to return to academe, because what I really missed was not researching (reading or writing about) dance, but the physicality and creativity of doing it, teaching and sharing it with others. Upon moving to Swarthmore, I returned to teaching creative movement and introductory ballet/modern classes for children ages 2 ½ – 6 at the Swarthmore Community Center and modern dance in the after school program at The School in Rose Valley.
As a teacher what is most important for me is creating a joyful and positive learning process and experience. I love to be spontaneous and take direction from the needs of my students. I want my students to grow outwardly in their creativity and technique as well as inwardly as confident and happy people. I am thrilled to bring modern dance to The Creative Living Room ™.
2008-2012 Director of Programming, Music & Art Programs / Birthdays, Events & Gallery Exhibits
Currently Coordinator of Swarthmore’s and TCLR’s ‘First Friday’ Programs & TCLR Creative Family Performances
Growing up in SF I could be found singing up in a tree, dancing around the house, putting on a play for the neighborhood kids in our garage or water coloring at the beach. These passions, music, dance art and theater have been life partners molding and shaping me like a sculptor.
My first love was dance and at three I began lessons with Mrs. Hunter, my first teacher. I went on to seriously study ballet at SF Ballet and modern dance through high school. At twelve, I enrolled in ACT’s Young Conservatory to study theater, began formal voice lessons and fell in love with opera, when a friend gave me a record of Maria Callas. I moved to New York City at eighteen and received my BA drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts launching my professional career as an actress and singer with two European tours and performances at the renowned opera house La Scala in Milan.
Around this time, Iiving in London in 1987, I met and began working with the extraordinary artist/healer, Cheryl Stoll Thygeson, who poised the question to me “What does it mean to be an artist?” From that day I began a transformative journey to understand and explore the relationship between art, healing and life. Cheryl is my cherished mentor and teacher with whom I have studied sacred dance with insight into the profound connections between creative development, expression and the alignment of the body, mind and heart.
Over the years I performed professionally in various music-theater productions, opera and recitals on off and off-off B’way, regionally and in Europe. Throughout I continued private classical training as a student of the Jim Carson Voice Studio and pursed courses at the Mannis School of Music Extension Division in Manhattan.
I have been teaching in early childhood since 1991 beginning with recreational arts centers, arts in education programs working with developmentally delayed children, and in private & public schools giving me an opportunity to use my experience and training in new and meaningful ways. I founded World of Song Productions (WOS) in 1992 to unite my love of the performing arts with my love of children and to provide music concerts, classes and products for children and families. A year later I designed the Music, Art and Me Program (MAM) teaching full time in my own neighborhood of Brooklyn until I was invited to be the Head teacher of a Two’s program at Grace Church School in 1998. I recorded my first CD of children’s music, Happiness Is All Around You, which received the Children Music Web award, and began writing songs and stories. In 2004 it became necessary, after 22 years, for my husband and me to leave NY for PA to be closer to family. It was a delight to be the children’s programmer at the Swarthmore Public Library for 3 ½ years while introducing my classes and concerts to our area. I have also enjoyed studying yoga over many years and am excited to be exploring a new dimension in teaching by having completed my children’s yoga teacher trainging through ChildLight Yoga, LLC.
I approach teaching from the point of view that children/people are innately creative. I strive to provide a classroom where one’s natural instincts and joyful expressiveness can be nurtured to grow and flourish engaging the whole child/person as a physical, emotional, social, intellectual and spiritual being – inspiring and reaching beyond the art form ultimately to celebrate life.
In the 1990′s I had a vision of creating an arts center. This dream was realized with the opening of The Creative Living Room ™ in 2008, which I shared with three other wonderful artists here in Swarthmore. TCLR was like my baby, but it is all grown up now, and I have decided to just teach classes and develop other creative projects with WOS, performing, writing songs and stories for children. Thank you to all who continue to welcome me into their children’s lives. It is a blessing and a gift that makes my heart sing like it did when I was three. And most especially…. Thank You to my family for all their love and support all these years.
For more information visit www.worldofsong.com.
2008 – 2012 Director of the Theatre Program/Director of Marketing
As the director of the theatre program at The Creative Living Room ™ I welcome everyone to explore the diverse and multidimensional experience that the theatre program offers. From the small child to the mature adult, from the experienced to the inexperienced the theatre program has much to offer everyone.
I come to The Creative Living Room ™ with over 25 years experience in the theatre. I have acted in, directed and produced hundreds of plays in both community and professional theatre. From the age of 13 to 18 I studied my craft at Hedgerow Theatre along side wonderful theatre artists. After earning BA in acting and directing from DeSales University, I moved to NYC, started a theatre company and worked three jobs at the same time to pay the rent. I moved back to Philly where I started my own theatre company and worked with other professional theatres acting, directing and producing theatre. I have conducted playwriting workshops with the Philadelphia Young Playwrights Workshop, and taught voice over technique at Mike Lemon Casting. I have also worked professionally in television and radio commercials.
Since coming to Swarthmore with my husband and three children I have conducted two playwriting workshops at the Swarthmore Public Library, produced and directed The Good Doctor by Neil Simon and have been teaching Creative Dramatics to 3 ½ – 5 year olds.
My philosophy on teaching is all about the process and impact. Theatre can teach us a lot about ourselves and our world. With children there is potential to teach a variety of life arts from communication, empathy and cooperation to history, math and project planning. I also want to stress the positive impact that theatre can have on our community. It is my desire to share with everyone the multi- dimensional opportunities that theatre has to offer to everyone.
The Creative Living Room ™ home is where the art is!