All About the Board

April 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

Dance Project wouldn’t be what it is without the wonderful guidance of our Board of Directors. As part of our “A Day in the Life” series, we wanted to take a moment and introduce them to you. Here’s our board!


Meagan Jolliffe Sergent, Board Chair
Dance has played a major role of Meagan Jolliffe Sergent’s life since she was 7 years old. As she grew older she began to appreciate dance more profoundly. Growing up in Waterloo, Ontario Canada, she quickly became a permanent fixture in a couple of local dance studios both taking class and assisting instructors with younger dancers. She was introduced to modern dance when her family moved to North Carolina and she majored in dance at UNC Greensboro. Meagan was accepted into UNC Greensboro’s nationally coveted Counselor Education Master’s program which provided an opportunity to share and apply the value of dance and the lessons in human nature dance provides. She was able to continue dancing at the university and auditioned to be cast in Graduate student thesis work, namely Amy Love Beasley.
In Meagan’s words:

I am still involved in the dance world today, though in a slightly different capacity. I love movement and working in the studio every now and again, but mostly I am involved in dance through advocacy and appreciation. I currently serve as President on Dance Project’s Board of Directors. This is a brand new role for me but the professionals with the Board make it fun, interesting, and most importantly—meaningful. I am grateful for this opportunity.

G. Alex Smith, Vice PresidentG. Alex Smith holds an MFA from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival, a BFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and also studied within the pre-professional programs at both the Virginia School of the Arts, and BalletMet Columbus.

In 2006, he founded G. Alex Moves to support his artistic endeavors, and to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary projects in the performing arts. He has presented his choreographic works in numerous venues, including the Cunningham Studio in New York, and at the American Dance Festival. As an independent choreographer he continues to make dances and perform. He has held professor positions in dance departments internationally. Alex is the Executive Artistic Director of G. Alex Moves. This is his first year on the board of Dance Project.

In Alex’s words:

One thing I love about Dance Project is the Festival tour.  The tour’s stop in Boone, where I live, is an important element to the ecology of the dance community in our region.  It gives our small community a sense of connection to the city centers across the state.  As an artist I have participated in the tour on many occasions over the years.  The opportunity to interact with other artists at each stop is an invaluable experience.


Ira Trollinger, Treasurer

Ira with wife and two daughters (including School Director Lauren Joyner)


Ira Trollinger is a retired public educator having served the students and families of both North Carolina and Virginia for the past forty years. He served in many capacities throughout my career including teacher, principal, college instructor and superintendent. The arts have always been a part of his life. His younger daughter was so smitten by the dance bug that she chose to major in dance performance in college.She was fortunate to attend UNC-Greensboro and have excellent instructors such as Jan Van Dyke and others. During his time as superintendent Ira implemented a program with his county’s fourth graders and the Richmond Ballet.
In Ira’s words:

When I was given an opportunity to serve on the board of the Dance Project I gladly accepted. I have grown in my knowledge of modern dance by interacting with my fellow members on the board. I enjoy learning about their experiences in dance performance and am amazed at their expertise. I am happy to give of my time because I truly believe in the mission of the Dance Project and know that the program can benefit all who take the challenge and participate in such an experience.


Melissa Pihos


Melissa Pihos holds an MFA in Choreography from UNC-Greensboro. She began dancing at a very young age and has been performing professionally for over 20 years. She has performed all over the United States and her film work has screened in several film festivals across the country. She currently dances for Christine Bowen Stevens and Van Dyke Dance Group and danced for John Gamble Dance Theatre, Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham, Larry Keigwen and Twyla Tharp.She is an award-winning filmmaker and is currently touring her work, PIHOS A Moving Biography as Alzheimer’s disease awareness events. PIHOS A Moving Biography is a documentary dance/film performance that explores the life of her father, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Pete Pihos and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The work has toured to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Lubbock, TX, Philadelphia, New York City and Santa Fe. She is adjunct faculty of dance Salem College. She has also taught at UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro and High Point University.
In Melissa’s words:

When I first started to perform in the Triad area, I was always inspired by Jan’s choreography. It had always been a goal of mine to dance for her. I was then able to have her as a professor in graduate school at UNC-G. My goal was reached, I was able to dance for her and now help her with her goals for the Dance Project. She has helped to mold me into the teacher, artist, dancer, performer and filmmaker that I am. I am so thankful for her presence in my life. My first experience with the Dance Project was performing in the NC Dance Festival back in 1999. I have been involved ever since.


Kelly Swindell, Secretary



Kelly Swindell has been a dancer for most of her life. Trained at the NC School of the Arts (now UNCSA) and UNC-Greensboro, Kelly was a founding member of the Van Dyke Dance Group and Gamble/Van Dyke Dance. Kelly Swindell has danced for Jan Van Dyke for nearly 28 years, first as a student and later as a professional. She is grateful to have had such a long tenure with Jan and the Van Dyke Dance Group and its various iterations over the years. She has a M.F.A. in Performing Arts Management from UNCSA and a B.A. in History from UNCG. When not performing, Kelly is the Assistant Brand Manager at Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN and a mom to two creative beasts, Jasper Z. the illustrator and Sam the tuba man.

In Kelly’s words:

Fun fact: I once was invited to the stage to dance along with The Smiths during the last 30 minutes of their second show ever in the United States in Boston in 1985. Yes, I love live music. And have a passion for Shakespeare, the theatre, slaying ivy and learning to be a better cook.


Our other esteemed board members include Laverne Bass and E. E. Balcos. We appreciate all the hard work they do for the Dance Project!

Want to know more about the board and how you can help out the Dance Project? Head to our website to learn more!!


Announcing 25th Season of North Carolina Dance Festival

April 8, 2015 § Leave a comment


The NC Dance Festival (NCDF) is pleased to celebrate its 25th season in the Fall!  To mark this milestone we plan expanded performances and community outreach across the state during the 2015 season. 

Each year, NC-based professional choreographers are chosen in a blind adjudication process to participate in the annual NCDF statewide tour.  The artists selected for 2015 are:


These artists will perform at the three sites that started it all: Raleigh, Boone, and the founding site, Greensboro. Local artists from each of these cities will perform in concert with the touring choreographers, and then the visiting choreographers will teach and perform throughout the communities associated with each Festival weekend. Get to know these artists through our series of outreach activities, including pre- and post-show talks, free community artist talks, and more


Mark Your Calendar: 

  • Raleigh: September 19
  • Boone: October 23-24  
  • Greensboro: November 13-14


To celebrate this landmark season, there will be a special performance in Greensboro featuring “veteran” choreographers of the NCDF: founders Jan Van Dyke and John Gamble, Gerri Houlihan, Robin Harris, Martha Connerton, and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre –all artists who performed with the Festival in the early years.  Additional special activities in Greensboro will be announced as the season approaches

Day in the Life: Dance Project Interns Alaina And Dylan

April 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Alaina: I love interning with Dance Project! I really feel like the work I get to do every day makes a difference for the organization. My days are full of brainstorming, data analysis, marketing work… Anything really! It’s been a great supplement to what I’m learning in school–as an artist, it’s equally as important to be great at my craft as it is to be able to do the administrative work. Working here has helped me get better at both! -Alaina Monts, Intern 

10:45- The first thing I do when I come into the office is check all of our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). I’ll update all of the pages, and look for ways that we can interact with other online accounts. 

12:30- There are quite a few activities that I’ve been working on for a while and can continuously come back to if there isn’t too much other work that needs to be done. This week I’m looking up pictures to accompany the #moderndancemonday posts that go up weekly on the Van Dyke Dance Group’s page. 

1:45- Once a week I go straight from working with the festival to working with the school. I’ll usually grab a quick lunch while I check the voicemail and take down any necessary messages. 

2:00- Lots of the work I do for the school is data entry and analysis. We always keep track of the monthly attendance averages for each class; that’s primarily what I’m working on today. It’s time-consuming but necessary work. 

4:00- I usually draft our monthly newsletter. I do most of the formatting and write most of the content, but I’ll always get it double checked before it’s sent off to all of the parents and students. As soon as I’m done with this, I’ll head to class–one of the great perks of interning here is that I can take any of the classes I want at no charge!

Dylan: I started this internship to fulfill a class requirement and it’s been such a learning experience! Basically, I do a lot of things that people don’t really have time to worry about! It’s a lot of fun!–Dylan Reddish, Intern

11:00- I check in with Lauren and Milanda first. I’ll file attendance things, or adjust tuition with square. 

11:30- I do a lot of the organization for the Performance Company…Today I’m drafting an email to invite everyone to come see Ballet 422 at Geeksboro. I’ve been pulling all the costumes for the shows; next week we’re compiling costumes for the spring showcase.

1:00- After two hours I go upstairs to check in with Anne. We’ve been doing a lot of the troubleshooting and preliminary organizing for the Festival. I wrote a grant letter last week and created interview questions for the 25 promo videos we’re doing. I made a chart on when grants are due and what we need to compile for them.

Day in the Life: Assistant School Director Milanda McGinnis

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

As Assistant School Director, my main priority is to support the School Director in anything that she needs. That includes keeping up with the books, helping to develop curriculum, and being a parent liaison. I love being able to come to Dance Project each day for work because it lets me get the best of both worlds–the work I do is equally administrative and artistic. I hope you enjoy seeing what an average day in my life looks like!

–Milanda McGinnis, Assistant School Director

10:00–When I come in, I check the studio notebooks and take any payments that have been received in class. One of the most major parts of my job is to keep up with all the money that comes in and out of the school. This means writing the checks for Jan to sign, reminding parents when monthly tuition is due, and keeping up with the bills (not exciting, but definitely necessary!). I try and get everyday payment things out of the way as soon as I come in so I can focus larger amounts of time to big projects.

12:00–I have a meeting with Lauren to go over some new information about some upcoming marketing. It’s definitely important for us to make sure that the projects we do reach a wide audience and having a solid marketing plan will help us to be successful.

1:45–I’ve got a little downtime, so I’m looking for new and innovative teaching methods that help supplement our curriculum. I want the dancers that I teach to leave the studio knowing everything that they can about as many styles as possible to prepare them for college and beyond.

2:30–More teacher prep! The Teen Performance Company just had their first performance of the semester at Pillow Pops and it went great! Now it’s time to learn some new choreography. I like to spend some time in my day going over the choreography that I plan to teach tonight so that when it’s time for instruction, I’m fully prepared and can give 100%.

4:45–One of my favorite parts of the day is when I get to teach. I love working with my students! They’re dedicated and hardworking and getting to see their improvement each week is a joy to me. Today I’m teaching Modern III for ages 13-18 and Teen Performance Company. In Modern we’re working on getting ready for the Spring Showcase where the dancers will be performing a dance inspired by mermaids in the sea. It’s got an aquatic, flow-y feel to it. I’m excited for the finished product!

Day in the Life: Artistic and Executive Director Jan Van Dyke

March 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Jan Van Dyke  is the founder of the Dance Project, directs her own dance company, the Van Dyke Dance Group, and served for several years as the Head of the Dance Department at UNC-Greensboro. Van Dyke has been making dances for over 40 years and has shown choreography widely throughout the United States and in Europe, including Italy, the UK, France and Portugal. She has been active in the Greensboro and North Carolina dance communities for over 20 years, and her experience and accomplishments are well-respected. She has been awarded numerous honors: she is the recipient of a NC Choreography Fellowship, and a 1993 Fulbright Scholar. In 2001, she was honored with the North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award for contributions to the development of dance in the state. An acclaimed teacher, DANCE TEACHER MAGAZINE recently gave her the 2008 Dance Teacher Award for Higher Education. In 2010, UNCG honored her with the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award for leadership and service. The United Arts Council of Greensboro presented her with the Betty Cone Medal of Arts Award in 2011.


A Message from Artistic and Executive Director, Jan Van Dyke:

I carry the title of executive director and artistic director, and I am also company director for the Van Dyke Dance Group. I consider my job to be staying on top of all that is going on, helping the staff members, who are often in closer touch with details than I am, to make decisions. I am the founder/director for the whole organization, so my face and name are out in front. I want to be sure that everything we do is consistent with our mission, that our programs support each other, and that everyone who works with us understands our organizational goals.

I go to company rehearsals several days each week. Meet with staff about this and that. Sign a lot of checks. Talk with Lauren and Milanda about finances and scheduling. Talk with Anne about plans for the Festival, designs for posters and programs. I write press releases and reports for the Board of Directors. I spend time alone to think things through– things like what the ending of the new dance should be, what the big picture of the Dance Project should look like, what the best way to approach future growth might be. And I count myself very lucky to work with such a talented and creative group of women.


Day in the Life: School Director Lauren Joyner

February 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

As the School Director, I have so many things to think about in one day. If I want the school to run smoothly, then my best friend is strategic organization. With only so many in-office hours available to me during the week, having clear goals makes the work that much easier and more enjoyable. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this snapshot of what an average start of my week looks like!
-Lauren Joyner, School Director

9 am- The day begins with checking voicemail. We get tons of calls every day from current and prospective parents, as well as community members who want to collaborate for outreach opportunities. After that, I send out an email to the staff about any reminders or changes for the week. It’s important to stay in touch with the teachers to make sure they are able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities; without them, our school couldn’t run! 

9:25- It feels like the semester just started, but I’m already putting lots of work into planning this summer and fall! I’m coordinating our masterclass series, working with an intern to make a promo video, and finalizing our summer schedule. 

11:30- I meet with the Assistant School Director at least once a week to catch up and make sure we stay on the same page. Since we don’t always work the same hours, this meeting helps us be sure we know exactly what needs to be accomplished this week.

12:45- One of the huge outreach events of the Spring semester is The Lindley Park Pillow Pops. It’s an exciting evening of music and dance featuring the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and our adult, teen, and junior performance companies. The performance is coming up soon, so we’re spending lots of time digging through the costume closet to make sure our dancers have everything they need. 

2:00- I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss a possible collaboration between DPSCA and the Music Center so I’m focusing some of my energy on doing online research and prep so I can be totally prepared. 

3:15- I spend a lot of time coordinating what our Work Study students can do to help around the office. Today, I’ve got them putting up flyers around the building and organizing the costume closet. 

4:00- My favorite part of the day: teaching! I’ve got Musical Theatre today with my 7-12 year olds. It’s amazing to watch their growth week by week.

Day In The Life: Program Director Anne Morris

February 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

At a small non-profit like Dance Project, the title of “Program Director” really means: Director of Development, Director of Public Relations and Publicity, Outreach Coordinator, Artist Services manager, Grant writer, Receptionist, Social media advisor, Blogger, and Intern Supervisor.  All of that in only 20 hours a week! My main focus is managing the annual NC Dance Festival, but I’m involved in the running of the whole organization as well. One of the things I love about the job is the variety that I get from day to day–each day I’m working on a different collection of tasks and projects, which is sometimes hectic but never boring! Here’s a snapshot of a day in my life at the Dance Project.  –Anne Morris, Program Director

9 am- I come into the office and start my day by making to-do lists for the interns. There’s a lot that goes on every day, and keeping a running to-do list online keeps everything running smoothly.


9:30- I spend time updating spreadsheets with new attendance data, drafting Thank You cards for our donors, and planning new social media marketing strategies to make sure we’re making the best use out of our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blog.

11:30- Some days I’m lucky enough to get a mid day break for a rehearsal with the Van Dyke Dance Group. It’s great to be able to get up and move for an hour or so in the middle of a work day.

Van Dyke Dance Group in rehearsal

Van Dyke Dance Group in rehearsal

1:00- I meet with the staff and we discuss important upcoming events at the Dance Project. Currently we’re looking for innovative ways to kick off the 25th season of the North Carolina Dance Festival. We’re figuring out what grants to apply for so that we can do even more outreach next year.

3:30- I love how much video content I get to look at and edit. I’m currently spending some time working on a video that will introduce Dance Project’s new YouTube page!


4:00- Last stop for the day is teaching. Today I’m teaching Creative Movement. It’s always an exciting way to end a day–preschoolers have tons of energy!

6:30- I finally head home to get some well deserved rest before I come back tomorrow and do it all over again!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 338 other followers

%d bloggers like this: