Carol Chappell is a choreographer, dancer, percussionist, and instructor of traditional West African dance forms as well as Chinese health exercise practices, including Tai Qi and Qi Gong. She had been teaching West African dance to adults in Woodstock for 40 years. She is president and managing director of Nego Gato Afro Brazilian Music and Dance, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to empower and enrich the world community through performance and education in African-Brazilian arts of music, dance, and Capoeira. She has toured with the company as a dancer, percussionist, and historian of African Brazilian Culture in educational institutions and cultural venues throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan. Carol also co-founded and directed Lisangua Ya Bato Drum and Dance, a not-for-profit organization whose activities include residential workshops, master classes, and performances of traditional music and dance of Africa and the African Diaspora for 20 years. Since 1976 she has studied with master teachers from Kongo, Mali, Senegal, Guinea and Brazil.
Erin Jennings is a professional dancer and dance educator. She loves teaching children and adults and has taught dance, yoga and fitness in private studios and programs as well as in the public school system. Erin has performed professionally in many dance, theater and film productions in NYC and throughout the US and Europe, performing such roles as Kristine in the tour of A Chorus Line, Graziella in West Side Story at Teatro ala Scala and Louise in Westchester Broadway’s Carousel. Hailing from Maryland, Erin first tasted modern dance with Pam Marcin/GT Dance and then at Bucknell University with Shellie Cash and Danna Frangione and at Dance Place in DC. Erin relocated to NYC, where she continued dance studies at many studios and as an ensemble member on scholarship at Steps. Erin performed with companies such as Pilobolus, and those led by Olsi Gjeci (Sublime/Trisha Brown DC), Germaul Barnes (ViewsicEx/Bill T Jones), Valerie Green & Caron Eule(CEule Dance). She is honored to also have performed choreography of Alvin Ailey, Abel Costa, Doris Humphrey, Gaspard Louis, & Alwin Nikolais among others. She earned her master’s degree from NYU, where she assistant-taught Musical Theater and Pilates. Erin’s choreography has been presented & positively mentioned in NYC at the World Financial Center, John Jay College, DTW (Live Arts) and various showcases. Erin can now be found dancing in the Hudson Valley, where she lives with her husband, two children, bunnies and Schnoodle pup. With Marie Carstens, Erin co-directs Putnam County Dance Project, which has presented dance performances in the Hudson Valley at Arts on the Lake, Studio Around the Corner and Dancing Dialogue in Cold Spring. Erin holds a B.A. psychology degree from Bucknell University and is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and NDEO.
Jessie Levey founded and directs Barefoot Dance Center where she teaches both yoga and dance classes to all ages. She develops curriculum which focuses on dance education through the lenses of somatic understanding, creativity and personal identity. Jessie has the privilege of working with young dancers which allows her to emphasize healthy patterning from the beginning of their dance experiences. By encouraging her students to deepen their understanding of and trust in their unique bodies, dance and yoga practitioners gain greater body-mind connectivity and a sense of agency. Through her work at Barefoot, Jessie developed a syllabus which aims to empower girls through the platform of dance, which you may read about here. In addition to teaching classes at Barefoot, she also directs Choreolab Performance Workshop and Barefoot Dance Company, and brings dance into surrounding schools and senior centers as a dance artist-in-residence.
Jessie is a contemporary post-modern dancer and has been teaching for more than thirty years. Her training is grounded in Cunningham, Limón and Alexander techniques, as well as yoga and improvisation. In addition to making her own work, she has performed with choreographers, Nadra Assaf, Jill Ann Schwartz, Dani Nikas, Risa Jaroslow, and Mel Wong among others throughout the New York Metropolitan area, Wisconsin, Lebanon, and the Hudson Valley.
Jessie is honored to to have received the National Dance Education Organization’s 2023 Award for Outstanding Leadership (in the private sector) and New York State Dance Education Association’s 2021 Award for Outstanding Dance Educator. She was also the recipient of the 2015-17 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship for excellence in teaching, and holds an MFA in Dance from The Peck School of the Arts at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is married, has two grown children and is certified as both a childbirth educator and yoga instructor. She is also a Registered Somatic Dance Educator and member of National Dance Education Organization where she attends annual conferences to both present and participate. In addition, Jessie leads workshops to classroom teachers and dance educators nationally and internationally through New York State Association of Independent Schools, Early Childhood Institute Hudson River Valley, and the International Dance Day Festival Lebanon, among others.
Harriett Meyer is a dancer, dancemaker, and educator based in Kingston, NY. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Bard College in 2012, and her Master of Arts in Teaching from the same in 2016. In her eighth year as an educator, Harriett continues to center student voice and well-being in a practice that includes teaching movement, teaching writing, and advocating for educational equity. Harriett is thrilled to work at Barefoot, where dancing artists are able to grow as movers, creators, and collaborators.
Barefoot Intern, Spring 2024
Barefoot alumna, Ella Stier graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in May, 2023 after completing her Honor’s Project in Dance. During her tenure at HWS, Ella was awarded both The Cadence Joy Whittier Prize in Dance and The Janet Seeley Performing Arts Scholarship (for Performance and/or Choreography), and was invited to present her choreography at the prestigious American College Dance Association Conference. Ella studied dance at Barefoot for eleven years, and was a Barefoot Dance Company member for almost half of that time. She was also an assistant dance teacher in both Creative Dance and Contemporary Modern I classes, and returned to assist in our summer programs. In addition to acting as our intern, Ella will be Barefoot Dance Company’s guest choreographer.
Past faculty members, teaching artists, and guest choreographers
Souleymane (“Solo”) Badolo, Pam and Mimo Camara, Hannah Fox, Maia Claire Garrison, Charlotte Gibbons, Zvi Gotheiner, Betty Skeen Gorinson, Hillary Jackson, Nina Jerka, Yoav Kaddar, Zoë Lefkowitz, Isabel Levey-Swain, Julie Ludwick, Tara Lorenzen, Maureen Mansfield, Kathy McDonald, Mei-Yin Ng, Rupa Parikh, Leslie Partridge Sachs, Sarah Billings Wheeler, John Zullo.