SHANA SIMMONS, Artistic director/dancer
Year started with SSD: 2009
Favorite thing about her: Her uninhibited vocabulary during rehearsals.
Shana Simmons graduated from Point Park University with a BA in Dance in 2003. Simmons lived in New York City for four and a half years and performed with choreographers such as Noemie Lafrance "Agora", Alexandra Beller, Tomé Cousin, bigGRITS dance co, Debra Wanner/Amy Larimer, Amanda Drozer, and was a company member of white road dance media.
Simmons holds an MA in Choreography from LABAN in London, England. She performed and choreographed with companies and choreographers such as Flat Feet Dance Company, Stacy Abalogun and Nadine Doran-Holder and has performed her own works in New York City, Belgium, London, Chicago, and Pittsburgh.
Since her return to Pittsburgh, Simmons has performed with companies such as Attack Theater, Staycee Pearl Dance Project, the Pittsburgh Opera, The Murphy/Smith Dance Collective, Jamie Erin Murphy, The Atlanta Opera, Brady Sanders, and was a founding company member of Continuum Dance Theater. She has choreographed for festivals such as the Next Stage Residency and New Moves Festival through the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, The Three Rivers Arts Festival, and Evolve Productions. SHANA SIMMONS DANCE, founded in 2009, has a long standing collaborative relationship with The Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra, producing four separate works to date. Simmons has produced a variety of works in Pittsburgh since 2012: Relative Positions (2012), PASSENGER (2014) and Objective I (2015). SSD has received support from the Heinz Small Arts Initiative, the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater and the National Aviary for such projects. Shana Simmons Dance was recently commissioned by the VALEES Conference in March 2016 to perform works from Objective I and dancer, Brady Sanders. Simmons recently performed her latest solo work in Lehigh Valley in February 2016 and presented SSD at APAP in NYC in Jan 2017. She is a recent nominee for the Carol R Brown Award and currently adjunct dance faculty at Point Park University.
JESSICA MARINO, PROJECT MANAGER/DANCER
Year started with SSD: 2011
Favorite thing about her: Her positive energy and that right leg extension.
Jessica Anne Marino (B.A. Dance, Point Park University) is a Pittsburgh based arts administrator, educator, and performing artist. Originally from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, her training started at Schubert School of Dance Arts and was part of the first graduating class of the Lehigh Valley Performing Arts Charter High School. Jessica maintains deep roots in her hometown and passionately activates for growth of community dance opportunities as Co-Director of Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange (LVDE). Marino has contributed to building LVDE programs such as choreography commissions, open masterclasses and showcases, and the annual SpringUP Dance Festival - now in its fifth season. After 5 years as artist manager with River City Artists Management, in 2017 Marino founded JAMpress Management, a brand which fosters bringing ideas to the spotlight and provides support services for the performing arts industry with a focus on dance.
Miss Marino is a collaborator with STAYCEE PEARL dance project (SPdp), Shana Simmons Dance, and active free-lance dancer. In 2014, Jessica (choreographer/dancer) collaborated with Joanna Dauner (designer), Emre Karagozler (engineer), and Shana Simmons (dancer) on cube[d]. This project was supported by Disney Research Pittsburgh and resulted in a performative, interactive installation in which artists use new technology to explore the relationship between movement and energy. In 2015 Jessica was nominated as an emerging artist for the Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement awards.
Past professional performances includes work with; EVOLVE Productions/Continuum Dance Theater, Jamie Erin Murphy, Jasmine Hearn, Maree ReMalia, Attack Theater, Kathleen Bibalo-Nasti, Michael Walsh, Michele Van Doeren, Riva Strauss, Alyce Finwall, Beth Jucovy, Sarah Carlson, Gina Mento, Monarch Dance Company and appearing as guest artist with SPdp for University of Pittsburgh Stages production of, In the Heights.
Jessica is an adjunct faculty member at University of Pittsburgh and on the creative team of the Center for Theater Arts (CTA).
JAMIE ERIN MURPHY, COSTUMES/DANCER
Year started with SSD: 2012
Favorite thing about her: Her generosity and those pointy feet.
Jamie Erin Murphy is a Pittsburgh based choreographer, dancer and educator who is passionate about exploring the human body through movement. She graduated from Point Park University in 2007 and broke into the Pittsburgh dance scene soon after. Jamie has worked with Attack Theatre, Staycee Pearl Dance Project, Texture Contemporary Ballet, Xpressions Contemporary Dance Company, The Pillow Project, Knot Dance, Zany Umbrella Circus, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh and was co-director of Murphy/Smith Dance Collective. Her choreography has been presented throughout Pittsburgh, as well as Ohio and New York. In 2014 she completed a 6-month mentorship with Doug Varone and Dancers (NYC) and presented work at the historical 92nd Street Y as part of the CHIN Project. Jamie has an extensive teaching career and is currently a proud faculty member of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater School where she teaches Modern, Jazz, Choreography, Dance for Parkinson’s, Adaptive Dance and Creative Movement through elementary school residencies. Jamie has taught master classes at Carnegie Mellon University, Seton Hill University and Point Park University and has guest lectured about her educational programs at University of Pittsburgh, Duquesne University and Carlow University. She has had the honor of being nominated twice for The Carol R. Brown Achievement in the Arts Award and was listed in 2013’s Best of Pittsburgh Dance for her work with MSDC. On top of being an independent artist, she is currently a collaborator of Shana Simmons Dance. Jamie is very proud to be a part of the Pittsburgh dance community and will strive to continue her mission to make art and dance accessible for everyone.
BRADY SANDERS, DANCER
Year started with SSD: 2014
Favorite thing about him: His adaptability in movement and the way his hair falls across his forehead.
Brady Sanders resides in Pittsburgh, PA and has performed with Dansz Loop Chicago, Inaside Chicago Dance, Thodos Dance Chicago, Attack Theatre in the Pittsburgh Opera, the Murphy/Smith Dance Collective, Jamie Erin Murphy and Shana Simmons Dance. He has toured nationally and internationally with Thodos Dance Chicago and The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. As founder and Artistic Director of the Pride of Cincinnati Dance Ensemble, Brady is passionate about offering students professional level performance experiences. His choreography has been performed by many artistically innovative groups including but not limited to, The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, the Pride of Cincinnati Winter Guard and The Pride of Cincinnati Dance Ensemble. Brady’s choreography was most recently seen at the 2016 newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival in Pittsburgh, PA and the 2017 APAP conference in New York, NY. He is currently teaching, performing and choreographing extensively throughout the Pittsburgh area and across the Midwest. Brady is passionate about teaching, entertaining, collaborating and communicating through dance.
members of the board
President, Lisa Bernardo
Secretary, Tanya Moximchalk
Treasurer, Shana Simmons
Secretary, Tanya Moximchalk
Treasurer, Shana Simmons
thank you for your continual support:
Attack Theatre, Bodiography, The Pilates Centre Wildwood, Cajoli, DanceArts Aspinwall, Off the Wall Productions, Square Cafe, Pittsburgh Dance Council, James Wirt & Dan Howell / Keller Williams Reality, Wally & Sue Phillips, The Heinz Small Arts Initiative