Core Dancers


Amelea Faith Everett

Amelea is a Knoxville-native who began dancing more than 20 years ago at a local studio. She has danced on and off with Circle Modern Dance for the last ~20 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 a Community Relations Analyst; volunteering with several nonprofit organizations; or spending time with her partner and dogs.

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.

Kelly Arsenault

Kelly was born and raised in Knoxville, and her life of dance began at Dancer’s Studio when she was 7 years old. At age 11, Kelly joined the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Dorothy Floyd. She was a member for 6 years, during which time she performed nationally and internationally including Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia. Kelly was a member of UT Dance Company from 1997-2001, where she had the opportunity to perform Melinda Brown Rapp’s piece at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. At that time she was also a proud member and choreographer for Circle Modern Dance. In 2003, Kelly moved to New York City where she continued her modern dance career performing with Rachel Thorne Germond, Von Ussar Danceworks, and MAD About Dance. It was also in New York that she discovered her love of swing dancing, particularly Balboa, and she began a career of teaching, competing, and performing. Along with her dance partner Mickey Fortanasce, they hold world titles in Balboa, and they’ve taught around the world including Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Argentina, Korea, and Australia. After traveling for years, Kelly is thrilled to be back in Knoxville and working with CMD again!

Kelly Rhyne

Kelly Rhyne is a Knoxville native. She began her dance training at Studio Arts for Dancers under the care of Lisa Hall McKee at a young age. During her time at Studio Arts she studied tap, modern, ballet, and jazz and was an inaugural member of GO! Contemporary Dance Works at its creation in 2003. First performing with Circle Modern Dance in 2002, she is thrilled to be back and putting forth her own choreography while continuing to grow and evolve as a dancer.

Louisa Rader
lisa square

Lisa Duffin

Lisa Duffin began dancing at age 2 with Tanner Dance studio and was a member of their Children’s Dance Theater company for 8 years. During her time at Tanner Dance she had opportunities to perform in her hometown of Salt Lake City, as well as nationally and internationally. She then majored in modern dance for a year at the University of Utah before going on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She began dancing with Circle in their 2021 Primitive Light performance. She has enjoyed the opportunity to return to performing and the amazing community of dancers she has found through Circle. 

Louisa Rader

Louisa is from Northampton, Massachusetts, where she began dancing at the age of 5 and has maintained a passion for it ever since. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Astronomy from Mount Holyoke College in 2018 and then moved to Knoxville and received her Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Tennessee in 2020. She first danced in Circle’s Primitive Light performance in 2019 and has enjoyed participating in Circle’s classes and various performances. Most recently, she was able to co-direct One Continuous Motion, Circle’s 32nd Anniversary Performance at the Bijou Theatre. She approaches dance as a way to combine physical movement with self-expression into a universal language. When not in rehearsal, Louisa is constantly taking dance classes or spending time with friends.

Louisa Rader

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.

Megan Wolfkill

Megan is from Memphis, TN, and began dancing at a young age at Performing Arts of Germantown. She trained at Performing Arts through high school, and then relocated to New Orleans, LA to pursue her undergraduate studies at Tulane University. She completed a BFA in both Dance and Studio Art in 2018, and worked in the food, fitness, and art communities of New Orleans until 2021 when she moved to Knoxville. 

Megan is currently pursuing her MFA in Painting + Drawing from the University of Tennessee. In her work, she investigates the embodied and personal intersections of choreography, movement, humanness, painting, and space through geometric language.

Louisa Rader

Amelea Faith Everett

Amelea is a Knoxville-native who began dancing more than 20 years ago at a local studio. She has danced on and off with Circle Modern Dance for the last ~20 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 a Community Relations Analyst; volunteering with several nonprofit organizations; or spending time with her partner and dogs.

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.

Kelly Arsenault

Kelly was born and raised in Knoxville, and her life of dance began at Dancer’s Studio when she was 7 years old. At age 11, Kelly joined the Tennessee Children’s Dance Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Dorothy Floyd. She was a member for 6 years, during which time she performed nationally and internationally including Taiwan, Singapore, and Indonesia. Kelly was a member of UT Dance Company from 1997-2001, where she had the opportunity to perform Melinda Brown Rapp’s piece at The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. At that time she was also a proud member and choreographer for Circle Modern Dance. In 2003, Kelly moved to New York City where she continued her modern dance career performing with Rachel Thorne Germond, Von Ussar Danceworks, and MAD About Dance. It was also in New York that she discovered her love of swing dancing, particularly Balboa, and she began a career of teaching, competing, and performing. Along with her dance partner Mickey Fortanasce, they hold world titles in Balboa, and they’ve taught around the world including Canada, England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden, Ukraine, Argentina, Korea, and Australia. After traveling for years, Kelly is thrilled to be back in Knoxville and working with CMD again!

Kelly Rhyne

Kelly Rhyne is a Knoxville native. She began her dance training at Studio Arts for Dancers under the care of Lisa Hall McKee at a young age. During her time at Studio Arts she studied tap, modern, ballet, and jazz and was an inaugural member of GO! Contemporary Dance Works at its creation in 2003. First performing with Circle Modern Dance in 2002, she is thrilled to be back and putting forth her own choreography while continuing to grow and evolve as a dancer.

Lisa Duffin square

Lisa Duffin

Lisa Duffin began dancing at age 2 with Tanner Dance studio and was a member of their Children’s Dance Theater company for 8 years. During her time at Tanner Dance she had opportunities to perform in her hometown of Salt Lake City, as well as nationally and internationally. She then majored in modern dance for a year at the University of Utah before going on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She began dancing with Circle in their 2021 Primitive Light performance. She has enjoyed the opportunity to return to performing and the amazing community of dancers she has found through Circle. 

Louisa Rader

Louisa Rader

Louisa is from Northampton, Massachusetts, where she began dancing at the age of 5 and has maintained a passion for it ever since. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Astronomy from Mount Holyoke College in 2018 and then moved to Knoxville and received her Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Tennessee in 2020. She first danced in Circle’s Primitive Light performance in 2019 and has enjoyed participating in Circle’s classes and various performances. Most recently, she was able to co-direct One Continuous Motion, Circle’s 32nd Anniversary Performance at the Bijou Theatre. She approaches dance as a way to combine physical movement with self-expression into a universal language. When not in rehearsal, Louisa is constantly taking dance classes or spending time with friends.

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.

Louisa Rader

Megan Wolfkill

Megan is from Memphis, TN, and began dancing at a young age at Performing Arts of Germantown. She trained at Performing Arts through high school, and then relocated to New Orleans, LA to pursue her undergraduate studies at Tulane University. She completed a BFA in both Dance and Studio Art in 2018, and worked in the food, fitness, and art communities of New Orleans until 2021 when she moved to Knoxville. 

Megan is currently pursuing her MFA in Painting + Drawing from the University of Tennessee. In her work, she investigates the embodied and personal intersections of choreography, movement, humanness, painting, and space through geometric language.