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Core Dancers


Amelea Faith Everett

Amelea is a Knoxville-native who began dancing more than 20 years ago at Dancer’s Studio. She has danced on and off with Circle Modern Dance for the last 15 years and was invited to become a Core Member in 2017. She has loved growing in – and with – this wonderful community of artists since then. She is trained in ballet, jazz, and modern dance (her preferred genre), but will try anything once! Outside of dance, you’ll find her at her “day job” as the Program Manager for local nonprofit, Volunteer East Tennessee; you’ll also likely see her at an American Marketing Association Knoxville event, where she serves on the board of directors; but the most likely place to find her is at home with her two dogs, Sirius & Seymour.

Amelia Breed

Amelia has been choreographing and performing dance professionally for five years. In addition to the Knoxville dance scene, her work has been performed in Asheville, NC; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN and Lewisburg, WV. Amelia has been a core member of Momentum Dance Lab and Circle Modern Dance, directing shows, choreographing, and teaching for both companies. She was the modern dance choreographer for the University of Tennessee Dance Society Showcase in 2013. She acted as administrator bringing two CounterTechnique workshops with Joy Davis to the Knoxville area in 2013 and coordinated the first Global Underscore site for Knoxville in 2014 with Lauren Phillis. Amelia feels grateful to have studied with various artists including Art Bridgeman and Myrna Packer, Chris Burnside, Joy Davis, Cindy Dollar, Vicki Fink, Angie Hauser and Chris Aiken, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Tere O’Connor, Stephen Koplowitz, Leah Pinder, Shelley Senters, Nancy Stark Smith, Ray Elliott Swartz, Amanda Thom-Woodson, and Doug Varone and Dancers. She teaches modern technique, improvisation, contact improvisation, and various forms of yoga to adults in the Knoxville area.

Ashley Wagner

Ashley moved to Knoxville, TN from Illinois in 2007 and has been loving life in the South ever since. She joined Circle from the world of color guard. Since age 11, Ashley has been performing with indoor and outdoor color guard groups in Illinois, Tennessee, and South Carolina. She has taught at various high schools in both Knoxville and her hometown of Peoria, IL. Ashley became a member of the Circle family in 2013 through Primitive Light and became a core member in 2014. She loves dancing, teaching, choreographing, and learning all she can. Ashley currently teaches Economics and Personal Finance at West High School where she also works with their marching band.

Darby O’Connor

Darby is originally from Knoxville, TN, and began her dance training at a young age at Studio Arts for Dancers. During her time at Studio Arts, she attended numerous master classes with Helen Starr, former director of the Louisville Ballet, and David and Anna Marie Holmes. Darby now teaches Modern Dance classes at Studio Arts. She completed her third year on faculty in 2015. Darby is a founding member of GO! Contemporary Dance Works and continues to work with the company as a guest artist. During her time with GO!, Darby performed with Circle Modern Dance in their annual production, Modern Dance Primitive Light. Currently Darby is back in Knoxville after completing undergraduate education in dance from both the University of Alabama and Middle Tennessee State University. While studying with the MTSU dance program, Darby had the opportunity to work with Laurie Merriman and Teena Marie Custer as a student and performer. She has also attended master classes from Stephanie Batten Bland, E.E. Balcos, T. Lang and Alberto del Saz. She was an active member of MTSU Dance Theatre for three semesters and attended the American College Dance Festival in 2010 and 2011. Darby was privileged to represent MTSU in the ACDFA informal concert, performing Laurie Merriman’s work Family Portrait. Also while at MTSU, she studied under Erin Rehberg, artistic director of Core Project Chicago. Darby joined Core Project in January of 2011 and is still an apprentice with this professional dance company. In the summer of 2011, Darby toured with Core Project Chicago at Kansas City, Minneapolis, Boulder and Chicago Fringe Festivals. Darby became a Core member of Circle Modern Dance in March 2013.

Jeny Jones

Jeny Jones began her formal dance training at Paseo Academy of Fine & Performing Arts High school in Kansas City, MO in 1990. She received a BA in Dance from Washington University in St. Louis in 1997. After college, she moved to Boulder, CO where she danced with several modern dance companies, including Kim Olson/Sweet Edge, The Frequent Flyers Productions, Kim Robard’s Dance, and Cara Reeser’s Still Moving Ensemble, in addition to starting two dance companies of her own – The Movement Alliance, a collective of choreographers, and Sephiroth Dance, a Multi Media Interactive Performance Art Troupe. She moved to Knoxville in 2013, and is happy to have found her tribe at Circle Modern Dance!

Klay Brooks

Klay’s biography coming soon!

Laura Burgamy

Laura grew up dancing at Studio Arts for Dancers under Lisa Hall McKee and had the honor of being a part of Go! Contemporary Dance Works at its inauguration. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from the University of Georgia, where she began her aerial dance studies under Bala Sarasvati. After graduating, Laura co-created The Wing Project, an aerial duo that traveled the southeast performing, as well as choreographed and performed with Go!, Dragonfly Aerial Arts, and Circle Modern Dance. Laura graduated from the Frequent Flyers Aerial Dance Professional Performance Training Program in 2014, continuing on to teach and perform with the professional company, most notably performing at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performance Arts.

Lydia Alford

Lydia Alford began taking classes in interpretive dance and ballet at age 8 in Spokane, WA. She was taught and mentored by Judy Mandeville, a protegee of Margaret Fisk Taylor Doane, an early pioneer in the art of liturgical dance. She later trained in ballet with Kathy Peake, Joanne Jaynes, and Dodie Askegard. Lydia presented her first piece of group choreography at age 12 and continues to enjoy choreographing at every opportunity. Lydia received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Belhaven University in 2011 and has been teaching ballet and modern dance classes to students ages 6-18 since graduating. She has taught for Julies Competitive Edge Dance Academy, Ballet Mississippi, Xpress Dance, and Premiere Dance Studio, and particularly enjoyed teaching grant-sponsored after-school ballet classes in the Mississippi public schools. She participated in the Dance Ministry Ensemble while attending Belhaven, and danced with Intersect Dance Collective in Jackson, MS. Since moving to TN in 2014, Lydia has enjoyed taking classes with Circle Modern Dance and teaching adult ballet classes for them in the last several years. Along with dancing, Lydia enjoys reading, hiking, board games, and spending time with her husband Arthur, cat Pippin, and daughter Allison Ceilidh.

Sarah Whitaker

Sarah has been studying and performing dance for twenty years. She has a BA in Dance and a BBA in Business Management from Radford University. Before leaving for college, Sarah danced with Pointe West Dance Company. She has studied and performed with Pro Danza Italia in Castigleonccello, Tuscany, Italy. When she’s not dancing she enjoys reading, painting, and cooking. Sarah is currently working on earning her M.B.A.

Amelea Faith Everett

Amelea is a Knoxville-native who began dancing more than 20 years ago at Dancer’s Studio. She has danced on and off with Circle Modern Dance for the last 15 years and was invited to become a Core Member in 2017. She has loved growing in – and with – this wonderful community of artists since then. She is trained in ballet, jazz, and modern dance (her preferred genre), but will try anything once! Outside of dance, you’ll find her at her “day job” as the Program Manager for local nonprofit, Volunteer East Tennessee; you’ll also likely see her at an American Marketing Association Knoxville event, where she serves on the board of directors; but the most likely place to find her is at home with her two dogs, Sirius & Seymour.

Amelia Breed

Amelia has been choreographing and performing dance professionally for five years. In addition to the Knoxville dance scene, her work has been performed in Asheville, NC; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN and Lewisburg, WV. Amelia has been a core member of Momentum Dance Lab and Circle Modern Dance, directing shows, choreographing, and teaching for both companies. She was the modern dance choreographer for the University of Tennessee Dance Society Showcase in 2013. She acted as administrator bringing two CounterTechnique workshops with Joy Davis to the Knoxville area in 2013 and coordinated the first Global Underscore site for Knoxville in 2014 with Lauren Phillis. Amelia feels grateful to have studied with various artists including Art Bridgeman and Myrna Packer, Chris Burnside, Joy Davis, Cindy Dollar, Vicki Fink, Angie Hauser and Chris Aiken, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Tere O’Connor, Stephen Koplowitz, Leah Pinder, Shelley Senters, Nancy Stark Smith, Ray Elliott Swartz, Amanda Thom-Woodson, and Doug Varone and Dancers. She teaches modern technique, improvisation, contact improvisation, and various forms of yoga to adults in the Knoxville area.

Ashley Wagner

Ashley moved to Knoxville, TN from Illinois in 2007 and has been loving life in the South ever since. She joined Circle from the world of color guard. Since age 11, Ashley has been performing with indoor and outdoor color guard groups in Illinois, Tennessee, and South Carolina. She has taught at various high schools in both Knoxville and her hometown of Peoria, IL. Ashley became a member of the Circle family in 2013 through Primitive Light and became a core member in 2014. She loves dancing, teaching, choreographing, and learning all she can. Ashley currently teaches Economics and Personal Finance at West High School where she also works with their marching band.

Darby O’Connor

Darby is originally from Knoxville, TN, and began her dance training at a young age at Studio Arts for Dancers. During her time at Studio Arts, she attended numerous master classes with Helen Starr, former director of the Louisville Ballet, and David and Anna Marie Holmes. Darby now teaches Modern Dance classes at Studio Arts. She completed her third year on faculty in 2015. Darby is a founding member of GO! Contemporary Dance Works and continues to work with the company as a guest artist. During her time with GO!, Darby performed with Circle Modern Dance in their annual production, Modern Dance Primitive Light. Currently Darby is back in Knoxville after completing undergraduate education in dance from both the University of Alabama and Middle Tennessee State University. While studying with the MTSU dance program, Darby had the opportunity to work with Laurie Merriman and Teena Marie Custer as a student and performer. She has also attended master classes from Stephanie Batten Bland, E.E. Balcos, T. Lang and Alberto del Saz. She was an active member of MTSU Dance Theatre for three semesters and attended the American College Dance Festival in 2010 and 2011. Darby was privileged to represent MTSU in the ACDFA informal concert, performing Laurie Merriman’s work Family Portrait. Also while at MTSU, she studied under Erin Rehberg, artistic director of Core Project Chicago. Darby joined Core Project in January of 2011 and is still an apprentice with this professional dance company. In the summer of 2011, Darby toured with Core Project Chicago at Kansas City, Minneapolis, Boulder and Chicago Fringe Festivals. Darby became a Core member of Circle Modern Dance in March 2013.

Mary F. Alford

Mary has studied dance for 35+ years. She has performed with the Knoxville Opera Company, City Dancers, Momentum Dance Lab, Optasia Productions, Studio Arts for Dancers, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, Appalachian Ballet Company and Circle Modern Dance. She continues to work at her day job as Dr. Mary, serve on the Artistic Committee and as a Core member for Circle, and live with her large white puppy and her small black angel puppies on 5 acres of rampant vegetation in Blount County.

Lydia Alford

Lydia’s biography coming soon.

Sarah Whitaker

Sarah has been studying and performing dance for twenty years. She has a BA in Dance and a BBA in Business Management from Radford University. Before leaving for college, Sarah danced with Pointe West Dance Company. She has studied and performed with Pro Danza Italia in Castigleonccello, Tuscany, Italy. When she’s not dancing she enjoys reading, painting, and cooking. Sarah is currently working on earning her M.B.A.