Biographies









Craig A. Bushman (Lighting Designer)
Craig has been designing lights for dance since 1992. He is the technical director of the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder, Colorado. He has served as the production manager of the Colorado Dance Festival, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, and on the production staff of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. He designs lights for The Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Boulder Ballet, and Frequent Flyers Productions, among many others. He has toured nationally and internationally as lighting director/stage manager with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance and Doug Varone and Dancers. Craig has been collaborating with the artistic co-directors of 3rd Law Dance/Theater since 2001.

hs-aikenJennifer Aiken (dancer), raised in Arvada, Colorado, began her dance training at the Arvada Center with Christina Noel, Eve Paris, and Lisi Elsey. She attended Colorado College, where she trained with Debra Mercer and received a BA in History/Political Science. While at CC, she performed with the California Ballet, Opera Theater of the Rockies, and at the American College Dance Festival, performing in Hanya Holm’s “Capers” and Doris Humphrey’s “Soaring”. Jennifer began her professional career with Boulder Ballet, becoming a principal in 2003. There she performed contemporary works by Robert North, Katie Elliott, Peter Davison, and James Wallace as well as numerous classical ballet roles. In 2009, Jennifer was praised by Dance Europe Magazine for her performance at the Ballet Builders Showcase of New Choreography in NYC. She has been a company member with BRIAH Danse, David Taylor Dance Theater, and Dawson Wallace Dance Project and currently performs with Zikr Dance Ensemble and Objectivity Dance Theater. Jennifer is also an accomplished costumer, having designed and built numerous costumes for Boulder Ballet, 3rd Law Dance/Theater, Frequent Flyers, Littleton Dance Academy, and Dawson/Wallace Dance Project.


hs-depaloJennifer DePalo-Peterson (Dancer)
holds a BFA magna cum laude from The Boston Conservatory, was a principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company since 1997, was a soloist with Buglisi/Foreman Dance Theatre and Ballet Hispanico, and performed as a guest artist with Boston Ballet Night of Stars in 2011. She is the owner/founder of 212body, a Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yoga, Dance and bodywork studio on the upper west side of nyc at 71st and Broadway and it is dedicated to mindful healing movement. She is happy to now teach at Clyde Rae Jolie-Ashes, Gyrotonic Boulder. Jennifer and her family recently moved to Colorado and since landing she has become a member of Deena and Gabe Selko’s MOTH Poetic Circus, was recently asked to join Jayne Persch’s BRIAH Danse as Associate Artistic Director and Ballet Mistress as well as a dancer, and  is excited to teach company classes for David Reuille’s Apex Dance Company. She was honored to receive the Princess Grace award and Coca-Cola awards for artistic excellence as well as Ballet 2000’s Best Dancer in Cannes along with her Graham partner Maurizio Nardi in 2008. Jennifer has set two of Graham’s masterworks for the University of South Carolina, taught master classes throughout the world while touring and teaches residencies at Centro de Andalucia de  Danza in Seville Spain and Ballet Nacionale in Queretaro, Mexico and was Ramon Oller’s Metros ballet mistress on tour.

hs-grosseDarwin Grosse (Digital Media Artist/Composer) works at the intersection of Creativity and Code. By applying an engineer’s tools to live performance, he builds complex visual textures and sonic landscapes out of whole cloth. In addition to his active live media performance work, Darwin is part of the Cycling ‘74 software development team, is a member of the University of Denver adjunct faculty, is an active music producer  – and probably drinks more coffee than you.

 

Katie Elliott (Artistic Co-Director/Choreographer)
With her partner Jim LaVita, Katie has been creating original evenings of dance/theater, site specific work and installations for more than twenty years. Her works have appeared on the stage in Colorado, at the International Dance Festival in Hong Kong, in Taipei, Taiwan, at American College Dance Festivals throughout the US, and at the American Dance Festival in Durham, NC.  Elliott’s wish to work across different genres and intersect with other communities has led to a variety of collaborations including an improvisatory music/dance concert in five movements with Grammy-nominated musician Art Lande, a shared evening with The Hannah Kahn Dance Company, an original piece made for the wearable “soundsuit” sculptures of visual artist Nick Cave, music collaborations with Zachary Carrettin, Marcia Schirmer and The Boulder Bach Festival, and a site specific performance installation in collaboration with digital media artist Darwin Grosse for the Henry Moore exhibition at Denver Botanic Gardens. Through residencies as a guest artist, Elliott has set work on numerous university companies nationally and internationally. Most recently she taught a summer intensive at HUST University in Wuhan China as a guest teacher through a program initiated by Beijing Dance LDTX. Some of her commissions include St. Paul Ballet, Ormao Dance Company, Nancy Cranbourne’s One Big Yes Productions, Boulder Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, Colorado Repertory Dance, and Interweave Dance Company. In recognition of her body of work, she received a Neodata Endowment Fellowship for artistic excellence. Elliott’s early training as a dancer started at Ballet Arts with Barbara Demaree and Larry Boyette and then continued at a variety of private studios in Chicago, New York and London. Elliott graduated with honors from the University of Utah BFA dance program and received an MFA from the American Dance Festival/Hollins University Program. Elliott has had the honor of dancing with the Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Colorado Repertory Dance and many other independent artists in Chicago, New York and Colorado before founding 3rd Law Dance/Theater. Elliott, with her co-director Jim LaVita just received the “Legends of Dance in Colorado” honoring individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to dance.


Danielle Hendricks (Dancer)
began dancing to supplement her gymnastic training and stayed for the costumes. She attended CU Boulder as a physics major, later switching to a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Kinesiology in 1999. Danielle has been fortunate enough to study with Toby Hankin, David Capps, Robin Haig, Leticia Williams, Boulder Ballet, Helander Dance Theatre, David Dorfman Dance, Gabriel Masson, Hannah Kahn Dance, Evolving Doors Dance Project, Ascential Dance, and Frequent Flyers Productions. Danielle’s first exposure to a 3rd Law production was like nothing she had ever seen. Before becoming a company member in 2005, Danielle attended every performance, captivated by the intelligent theatricality and deep subject matter.  Danielle is a Certified Pilates Instructor and teaches for Cara Reeser at Pilates Aligned in Denver. She has been performing and teaching aerial dance with Frequent Flyers for the past thirteen years, and last spring had her aerial choreography featured at the Denver Center for Performing Arts with Off-Center at the Jones. In the rest of her free time, she can be seen adorning beautiful costumes, dancing burlesque at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret.

Jim LaVita (Artistic Co-Director)
Jim creates, presents and promotes original, evening-length performances drawing on theatrical, classical, modern, historical and traditional dance. Before founding 3rd Law Dance/Theater with Katie Elliott, Jim was an independent scholar, performer, and choreographer, who worked primarily in traditional, ethnic and vernacular dance as a dance ethnologist, teacher and artistic consultant. He has studied, taught, lectured and written about traditional dance, its social settings, and its improvisatory techniques. He formed and directed NARODNO Ethnic Music and Dance Ensemble. Jim taught traditional and vernacular dancing nationally for more than two decades. He has given instruction and lecture demonstrations in traditional Scandinavian couple dancing at a large number of camps, weekends and evenings from California to Wisconsin to Washington, D.C. Jim spent six summers in Norway and Sweden studying traditional couple dancing, and was the recipient of a Norwegian Marshall Fund Grant to study in Trondheim, Norway. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Master’s in folklore from the University of California, Berkeley. In another life, Jim was a disk jockey at public radio station KGNU in Boulder, Colorado and a Professor of Mathematics.

Jamie Melaragno (Dancer)
a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, earned a BFA in dance from Florida State University in 2011 where she studied under Anjali Austin, Lynda Davis, Suzanne Farrell, Tim Glenn, Gerri Houlihan, Sheila Humphreys, Rick McCullough, Anthony Morgan, Dan Wagoner, Tom Welsh and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. During her undergraduate education, Jamie was a member of the Tallahassee Ballet for two years. Upon graduation, Jamie moved to Colorado where she found an engaging and diverse artistic community. She joined 3rd Law Dance/Theater in 2012.

Gwen Phillips (Dancer)
Born in Malaysia, Gwen began dancing in Singapore at the age of three. She continued her training at the Academy of Ballet Arts in Marietta, GA, and went on to major in journalism and minor in dance at the University of Georgia, where she performed with CORE Concert Dance Company under the direction of Bala Sarasvati. With CORE, she danced works by Carlos Orta, Alwin Nikolais, Emily and Matt Kent of Pilobolus, studied aerial silks under Elsie Smith of Cirque du Soleil, and performed throughout the Southeast and NYC. After graduating, she performed with Zoetic Dance Ensemble in Atlanta, GA (2004-2005) and Ormao Dance Company in Colorado Springs (2006-2009). After taking a master class with Katie Elliott, Gwen fell in love with the joy Katie brought to class and joined 3rd Law in 2009. Her favorite aspects of dancing include walking that fine line between falling and staying upright and making an audience laugh. Gwen works as a physical therapist assistant and a freelance photographer, filling her “free” time marrying off her roommates and volunteering with her church.

Michelle Pugh (Dancer)
Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Michelle grew up excelling in athletics. After spending her youth in gymnastics, volleyball, and dance as an extra-curricular activity, she was introduced to professional dance in college. While receiving a BA in dance at the University of Kansas, Michelle was given the opportunity to work with Urban Bush Women and became inspired to work as a professional dancer. She then received additional training at the Ailey School, the Taylor School, and the Limon Institute. Since graduating and joining 3rd Law in 2009, Michelle has performed with numerous companies in the Kansas City and the Denver metro area. Michelle, wife and mom of two, balances her life with running, yoga, meditation, and shaking her booty at the gym.

 

hs-rohdeChristine Marie Rohde (Dancer)
is the Director of the Dance at The Art Underground, a nonprofit arts organization in Louisville.  In 2012, she received her Masters in Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with a secondary emphasis in Alexander Technique.  Christine received her BA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and has performed professionally in numerous dance companies in Washington DC, Chicago, NY, and Colorado including such companies as Thodos Dance Chicago, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Rincones & Company Dance Theatre, and Interweave Dance Theatre.  As a choreographer she has performed and toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist, with other recognized dance companies, and served as guest artist at several universities.  Last year she was Assistant Professor of Dance at the State University of New York at Potsdam for Dance Majors, Minors, and non-majors. She is thrilled to be work with such a lovely group of artists!

Mason Lawrence Taylor (Dancer)
hails from Colorado and began his dance training at the age of sixteen. He continued his study of dance in California at Chapman University, where Mason earned his B.F.A. while working with a number of regionally and nationally renowned choreographers. He danced with Southern California based BackhausDance and Sean Greene Dance Company for four years. Mason returned to Colorado and joined 3rd Law in 2009. He has also danced with Ascential Dance, Frequent Flyers Productions, Hannah Kahn Dance Company and New Breed Dance Company.