Artistic Director, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat, Emerge Dancing

Joanie has been a part of Boston’s vibrant dance community for over 30 years. She has performed with Lis Fain, Nikki Hu, Benita Bike and Dorothy Hershkowitz. The debut of her own choreography, “DEAR OLIVIA”, played to three sold out houses in 2012 and was selected by the Boston Globe as a “Best Pick of the Week”. A recent recipient of the prestigious Hadassah Brandeis Institute for Women’s Research Fellowship, she is currently preparing her next work, “STREAMING SHABBAT”. Joanie teaches Adult Modern Dance in Needham at A FINE DANCE STUDIO and previously taught at The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston and The Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, MA.


Dancer, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat, Emerge Dancing

Melinda studied dance at Oberlin College where she was a member of the Oberlin Dance Company. She has been studying dance with Joanie Block since 2010 and has been a company member of “SELMADANSE” since 2011. She is currently in rehearsal for and looking forward to performing in “STREAMING SHABBAT” this coming fall 2013.


Dancer, Streaming Shabbat

Gabriela received her dance training from Origination INC, Boston Arts Academy and the University of Minnesota. She has worked with Fernadina Chan, Dr. Glory Van Scott, Martha Mason and David Parker. In 2008, Gabriela performed in the televised Martin Luther King Jr. tribute concert, Remembering Yesterday, Inspiring Tomorrow at Jordan Hall in Boston, MA and performed a segment of Jose Limon’s There Is a Time at the National High School Dance Festival in Philadelphia, PA. In 2009, she played the “Lady in Orange” and served as assistant choreographer in For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf at the Rarig Center in Minneapolis, MN. Most recently, Gabriela performed in A Celebration of Life with the Jasmine Dancers.


Dancer, Streaming Shabbat

Whitney was raised in Washington State and received her MA Dance Performance from the University of California, Irvine. After graduating, Whitney continued dancing as a freelance artist in Chicago working on projects with companies such as Khecari Dance Theater and Thodos Dance Chicago while continuing her studies as a scholarship student of Lou Conte Dance Studio/Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She transplanted to the UK to pursue her MA Dance Performance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire as a member of Transitions Dance Company and continued dancing and teaching in London after completing her degree. She has recently returned to the US, migrated to the Boston area, and is enjoying exploring the vibrant arts community of the Northeast. When not dancing, you can find Whitney studying or teaching anatomy and movement; she is a certified Pilates Instructor and has been involved in movement re-education for the last eight years.


Dancer, Streaming Shabbat, Emerge Dancing

Julie Leavitt is a Dance/Movement Therapist and practices body-centered psychotherapy and spiritual direction in Newton, MA. She teaches Sacred Movement classes nationally and serves on the core faculty of the Lev Shomea Spiritual Direction program, teaching movement and body-centered awareness to spiritual directors-in-training. She has taught Movement and Healing classes at Lesley University for the past 22 years. She is so grateful to be dancing with Carol Schneider-Sereda of SeradaDanceWorks and to be studying and performing with SELMADANSE Joanie Block and Dancers. Above all, she is mom to Ami and Tali and step-mom to Ellie and Henry.


Dancer, Dear Olivia

Lily has been passionately involved in the performing arts since a very young age. She spent her high school years taking dance classes and studying musical theater. She graduated with an additional diploma in the creative arts with a concentration in acting. Lily was proud to play the role of Olivia in Joanie Block’s 2012 performance of Dear Olivia. Other favorite roles include Alice in Alice in Wonderland and Janet Van De Graaff in The Drowsy Chaperone. Lily currently attends Barnard College in New York City where she plans to continue pursuing her love of theater.


Dancer, Dear Olivia

Jessica has performed with companies around the world including Flatfoot Dance Company in South Africa, DCA in New York City and Danceworks in Boston. She debuted with SELMADANSE in “Dear Olivia” in 2012. Jessica choreographs and teaches locally for National Choreography Month and OnStage Dance Company.


Dancer, Dear Olivia

Lucy Vine is a performer, teacher, and choreographer originally from Michigan. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Columbia College, SC with both a BA in Dance and Business. Lucy has performed throughout the Boston area as well as NYC with many local companies including SELMADANSE Joanie Block and Dancers in the debut performance of “Dear Olivia”. She is currently performing with BoSoma Dance Company and Rainbow Tribe and is an instructor at Mass Ballet.


Dancer, Dear Olivia

Yenkuei Chuang began her study of Modern Dance at M.I.T. with Beth Soll. She has worked with companies in the Boston and San Francisco areas. When she is not dancing, Yenkuei facilitates a mindful parenting group and works as a clinical psychologist in her private practice in Newton Highlands. She was formerly a Fulbright Fellow with graduate degrees from Harvard and Stanford.


Composer, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat

Billy Novick has been a prominent fixture on the New England jazz scene for the last 30 years. Best known for his clarinet and sax playing with the New Black Eagle Jazz Band and his duo with innovative guitarist, Guy Van Duser, he has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe and Asia, been a frequent guest on “A Prairie Home Companion Show” and was featured in a 20-minute interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Mr. Novick is also very active as a studio musician and, as a composer, has written extensively for film and dance. His period score for The Great Gatsby ballet has been performed by The washington Ballet and the Sacramento Ballet. His collaborated with Joanie Block in 2012 composing the score for “DEAR OLIVIA”.


Composer, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat

Willie co-led three-time Boston Music award winners Flor de Caña, freelances with a variety of groups, and leads his own jazz ensembles. He has performed throughout North America and internationally. Willie’s original compositions have appeared in numerous song books, magazines and college texts. He has contributed music to several films, and an arrangement to the television show ER. He has performed with or opened shows for Pete Seeger, Ruben Blades, Kurt Elling, Richie Havens and Tito Puente, among others. Since 2005, Willie has served as music director for a weekly jazz worship service at Old South Church in Boston and brings jazz to churches throughout Massachusetts. He has the great pleasure of backing up a James Brown impersonator.


Singer,, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat

Lorel Zar-Kessler has served as the Cantor of Congregation Beth El in Sudbury since 1990. During that time she has delighted in dancing with and learning from Joanie Block and her joy of beautiful movement.


Video Artist,, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat

Lynn Bikofsky has worked in the field of video and television production for over twenty five years. She began her career in public television at WGBH in Boston and has spent the last 20 years at IMG working on documentary and educational programming. During that time she has created many international productions for the Nobel institutions, and currently serves as Executive Producer for the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. Lynn spent many years studying, collaborating and performing with the late choreographer Dorothy Hershkowitz. Together they created two full-length dance video projects. In 2012, Lynn had the pleasure of creating the video component for Joanie Block’s Dear Olivia.


Set Designer,, Dear Olivia, Streaming Shabbat

Artist Linda Klein is represented by Bromfield Art Gallery in Boston. Art New England and The Boston Globe have called her work “poetic” and “apocalyptic”. She has work in private collections in the US, Canada, England, and Israel. Linda was Professor of Fine Arts and the Dean of the Fine Arts Department at Endicott College. Earlier, she directed the International Affiliate Program in Expressive Arts Therapy at Lesley University Graduate School, where she taught Expressive Arts Therapy. She received an M.F.A in painting and art history from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University, an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley College and studied studio art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.