Irena Linn was 19 and a student of dance legend Mary Wigman when she met Dorothy Floyd, founder of Dancers Studio, in Berlin, Germany. That alliance was the beginning of a lifelong friendship that would bring Ms. Linn to America and to Dancers Studio — and ultimately to the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. “In 1966 I left the Boston Conservatory where I was teaching modern dance because Dorothy Floyd offered me the chance to assist her at Dancers Studio. From the beginning I knew there was a special idealism in her. I wanted to be a part of her dream of teaching children using the art form of modern dance.” Ms. Linn, an accomplished choreographer, has set dozens of dances on the Ensemble, including Ballet for Modern Dancers, Freedom, Village Waltz, Mountain Songs, Gliding, The Morley Clowns, and Nightdreams.
Amy Reneé Wilson
Amy Reneé Wilson is a TCDE alumna who toured five countries with the Ensemble and is now the Associate Artistic Director. She attended Florida State University where she majored in dance. In addition to teaching modern dance classes at Dancers Studio, Ms. Wilson has taught in Knoxville’s Arts Magnet schools and at the University of Tennessee. She now heads the TCDE community outreach program at home as well as on tour. Her popular choreographic works include Focus, Forward Motion, Jig, Underground, Caught, Shadows of the Mind, Off the Hook, and Heartburn.
Harper Addison, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. Additionally, she holds a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Southern Studies from Davidson College (Davidson, NC), and a Certificate in Dance from The Ailey School.
Harper has worked and appeared with many famous choreographers. Her work has been presented at The Ailey School, Davidson College, Princeton University, Florida State University, The Garage in San Francisco, SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts, Dance Mission, Z Space, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
Diane Jones-Lawhern danced since childhood in Virginia and continued her studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and a Minor in Dance Performance. She has traveled extensively in the U.S. and internationally. She continually furthers her studies in Dance Intensives with such teachers as Eleanor D’Antuono, Stanislav Issaev, Jillana, and Madame Darvash. Diane teaches Classical Ballet and Pointe, as well as Tap and Jazz.
Laura Ogden is an alumnae of the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble. She continued her studies at the University of Tennessee Knoxville and graduated with a degree in Psychology. Laura teaches Modern and Jazz classes. Additionally she is a Rehearsal Assistant and helps with repertoire reconstruction.
Sifu Marian Sing
Sifu Marian Sing teaches Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Conditioning at Dancers Studio. She works extensively as an actress and a stuntwoman in films. Marian resides both in Atlanta, GA and Knoxville, TN.
Jodie Black Brown
Jodie Black Brown is a former Ensemble member and teaches Modern classes. She specializes in Liturgical dance, and has choreographed numerous dances for TCDE and also Dancers Studio’s yearly Evening of Dance.
Gururas Khalsa began dancing at age four at Dancers Studio. She graduated as valedictorian of her class at the University of Tennessee where she majored in Architecture and minored in Dance Performance. She also spent 5 summers at the American Dance Festival studying and choreographing. She teaches the Advanced Modern Dance class on Tuesday night, specializing in Martha Graham technique.
Madelyn Collins originally started her training at Dancer's Studio, mostly focusing on modern dance. After earning her Silver Dancer, she began self-taught and local training in Hip-Hop. Seven years later she has performed for The Voice 2017 winner Chris Blue and served as President of the University of Tennessee's Street Dance Club who were winners of the UTK 2018 International Dance Competition. She teaches Hip-Hop on Saturday mornings, covering a range of concepts from choreography, freestyle, popping, waving, and other core hip hop concepts.
Eric Lindemer was born in Oak Ridge, TN, and began his dance training with Dance Arts Studio and ORCBA. His first role was as the Nutcracker Doll in The Nutcracker. He attended summer programs at the Boston Ballet and the School of American Ballet in New York City, and was invited to attend the School of American Ballet as a full time student on scholarship at the age of fifteen. After four years at SAB, Mikhail Baryshnikov offered him a contract with American Ballet Theatre. In addition to ABT, Mr. Lindemer performed with Boston Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Northern Ballet Theater, and the Suzanne Farrell Ballet at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Principal roles he has danced include Cavalier and Snow King in The Nutcracker, James in Les Sylphides, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, and George Balanchine's neo-classical masterpieces Apollo. He also danced in works by modern choreographers Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, and Bill T. Jones. Mark Morris chose him to perform the lead dance role in the contemporary opera Nixon In China with the Frankfurt Opera. A teacher for over twenty-five years, Mr. Lindemer has taught ballet and yoga at many dance schools and universities including: The Boston Ballet Center for Dance Education, The Boston Conservatory, Harvard University, Studio Arts for Dancers, and Northern Ballet Theater Center for Dance Education.