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!!



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