FONTAINE DUBUS, CO-FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Co-founded the Company in 1987
Fontaine’s approach to dance and choreography is ever-evolving. The opportunity to grow with her Exit family has been a gift which continues to enlighten and inspire her! The most influential teachers in her life have been, Irene Weiss, Luigi, Francis Roach, Christien Polos, Diane Arvanites, Denise Collins, Pam Smith, Greg Coles, Marc Clopton, and Dr. Stephen Haley. Fontaine also acts, writes, produces and directs in theater. She teaches a wide range of techniques at her studio, The Dance Place, and at Governor’s Academy, and co-directs the youth dance troupe, Joppa Dance Co. No, she does not have time for pedicures. She sends love and gratitude out to her husband, award winning author Andre Dubus III and their three brilliant children. Her new favorite quote is: “Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.”
~ Friedrich Schiller
WENDY HAMEL, CO-ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Wendy received her BA from Bradford College in 1998 and joined the company shortly after. She really can't picture her life without the exhausting, yet fulfilling Saturday morning dance rehearsals with the Exit gang. Wendy is celebrating her 17th year and she's proud of the diverse, authentic and creative group that Exit has evolved into over the years. Like most dancers, she's pretty much spent her whole life in a dance studio, garage or tiny corner of the living room working up a sweat creating something for the dance. When she's not dancing, she is busy creating in other ways. She is the proud owner of a marketing and design company in Newburyport that's still going strong after 8 years. She handles website design and development, program design and media for the company.
SUSAN ATWOOD, CO-FOUNDER
Susan Atwood is a co-founder of Exit Dance Theatre. She began dancing in early childhood before walking, holding onto the bars of her play pen. Over the years, she has studied with numerous inspiring teachers, performed and choreographed in many venues and companies. She has also been teaching all ages throughout the area and directed the dance program at Governor's Academy in Byfield, MA from 1994 until 2003. Currently, Susan is faculty at The Dance Place and has a busy practice in Newburyport where she choreographs personalized sessions in Asian Bodywork, Acutonics, Manual Lymphatic Drainage, and Craniosacral Therapy. She is interested in both the inner and outer possibilities of movement.
Whether watching performances from the auditorium or creating in the studio and performing along side diversely talented people, she believes that the thread of inspiration that started Exit continues. For this, she is incredibly proud and grateful.
Darlene fell in love with dance at the ripe age of five and it stuck. From ballet, tap and jazz through her high school days; to modern and tap while at UNH; to joining Exit Dance in 2005 – dance has been a lifelong passion. Darlene is deeply grateful for her Exit family, and feels very fortunate to surround herself with a group of talented and committed artists to both create with and laugh with. Her other life loves include her husband Sean, daughter Isla and son Will. Darlene lives in Amesbury, work in PR in Boston and can be found kicking around the Newburyport yoga studios in her downtime.
CHERYL FISHER, CO-FOUNDER
In 1980 I went to Bradford College to study music and opted for dance instead of gym 'cause Gym? Really?
Soon after I was one of 5 friends at Bradford College dancing with Irene Weiss and Kathryn Mickel. We made a dance with green stretchy bags and a squeaky chair and all was weird and good. That summer I joined Joppa Jazz Dance Company and fell in love with Newburyport. I went deeper into dance with Irene Weiss, Luigi, Christian Polos, Adrienne Hawkins. Polish Laboratory Theater and Post Jungian Movement Analysis / Psychology in the late 80’s, early 90’s, deep work with Debra McCall et al, a stint as a high school dance teacher and then many years as an Exit dancer/Joppa Dance director. Marriage, an awesome daughter, divorce, life etc. and STILL with the 5 friends, joined now by many other dancers/actors/tribe members, all exceptional creatives and collaborators. Performances near and far, amazing teachers in unexpected places and a family of 5+ that in 1984 I cold never have imagined I'd be writing about in 2017, and still making dances with. Along with my daughter/best friend Isabella, Exit is the most divine goodness in this girl’s life. Hoping to see 2047 shoulder to shoulder with my 5, er...15 LOL!
Sarah discovered Exit by chance on a lamppost flyer and never looked back. Yet she will always be grateful for her most influential teacher, Paula Vinzi, and her extensive training at the San Diego School of Performing Arts and California Ballet. Sarah has performed with the San Francisco Ballet, Pax Fiat Dance Co., Company Dance Traverse, and Karlins & Co. Sarah manages, often patiently, our incredibly challenging rehearsal schedule - juggling the needs of 16 dancers and choreographers! “Exit rehearsals are deeply creative, heart-filled love-fests, save for one or two near show time when the demons emerge. We love those, too”. Sarah’s been helping people feel good in their bodies since 1999 as a Licensed Massage Therapist in Newburyport and is the founder/owner of Eat Live Dance - Health & Nutrition Coaching with a Twist.
Karl Granoth began his dance training at the age of 6 at a small studio in central Connecticut. By the time he finished high school he had earned regional theatre credits in such productions as “Guys and Dolls”, “Bye Bye Birdie”, and “Kiss Me Kate” along with earning the titles “Mr. Dance of CT” (2002 & 2004) and “Mr. Dance of MA” (2003) on the competitive circuit. In 2004 Karl took his career abroad with Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines America, and Princess Cruises where he met his wife Bethany. Now back on land, Karl is extremely honored to be part of the Exit Dance family.
STEPHEN HALEY, CO-FOUNDER
Stephen Haley is beside himself to be dancing again with Exit Dance Theatre. After a long absence it feels good to be in the space with so many great dancers. As one of the original founders, I am proud to be a part of the ongoing tradition of excellence that Exit brings to the stage year after year. If only John Belushi could have made it this far in life, he’d see just how right he was that the secret to longevity is in the dance.
DAMON RANDOLPH JESPERSEN
Damon is blessed with a peculiar middle name, an uncommon first name, and a last name that everyone spells wrong no matter how frequently they are corrected. He began acting up in utero, acting out in early childhood, and performing as a teenager. He currently works for peanuts as an actor, director, potter, sculptor, dancer, farmer, and politician. Damon would like to thank the dysfunctional school system, a culture that doesn't support the arts, and the short sighted government for keeping things interesting.
Courtney Miranda was born and raised on the south shore, where she started dancing at twelve years old through Kathy Medina Studio of Dance. She was trained in various styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary. During her undergraduate and graduate studies at Lesley University, she earned a degree in Expressive Arts Therapy and Clinical Mental Health Counseling, taking classes in numerous creative arts styles such as Jungian dance, improvisational movement, psychodrama, modern, and contemporary. She was an actress in Oxford Street Players, a Shakespearean company in Cambridge, MA. Courtney also taught and performed west coast swing through The Dancing Fools in Cambridge, MA. Courtney is currently a full time therapist and avid dancer living in Salem, MA.
JULIE PIKE EDMOND
Julie Pike Edmond began her academic pursuits in Dance Education and Performance at Columbia College and completed her BFA from Bradford College. Julie has been lucky enough to immerse herself in the greater Boston dance community for over 21 years. She currently teaches at Governors Academy, Ipswich Moving Company School of Dance and The Dance Place. Julie has creatively and continuously been able to do what she loves without too many injuries. When she is not dancing, teaching, choreographing, massaging clients and being mom to Ruby and Dash she has morphed into an octopus. Like the octopus, her arms have extended into the space while her center has spiraled, contracted, and expanded. Julie is always trying to implement newly refined ways of being and Exit Dance Theatre allows for that continuous navigation.
Tricia began dancing with Exit for the premiere of “Pit Girls” in February 2004. Tricia first studied dance at Fowler Studios in Medford, MA as a child. Later, while an English and Theater major at North Adams State College, she taught, performed and choreographed at the Berkshire Dance Theatre in Adams, MA and Bennington, VT. Additionally, Tricia has studied dance with several Boston dancers including Jeanette Neil, Susan Casey-Murray and Andy Taylor.
EDWARD "TEDDY" SPECK
Edward Speck began dancing with Exit in 2006. Edward is the Artistic Director of Theater in the Open. A native of Amesbury, he now lives in Newburyport with his wonderful wife and two daughters. He is privileged to dance with Exit Dance Theatre, serve as Vice President of the Maudslay State Park Association, and live close to his parents, who still tend to him.
Erin has been with Exit for sixteen years. Over seven of those (2003-’06 & 2010-’14), Erin racked up a somewhat ridiculous number of miles commuting to rehearsals from all over New England. Creating and performing with Exit have been some of Erin’s most joyful and fulfilling experiences. She feels blessed to be a part of this innovative, supportive, dedicated group of artists. When she isn’t dancing, Erin spends her days monkeying around with her daughter, Corinne, and laughing with her husband, Scott.
“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Born and raised in Cowtown (also known as Calgary, AB Canada), Jen is the only foreign member of Exit Dance Theatre. She received her BA in Dance from the University of Calgary, but she fondly looks back on her life of dance competitions and performing with headdresses and feathers on a cruise ship. She has now welcomed full heartedly the creative process and art of Exit Dance Theatre. As director of two Joppa Dance companies at The Dance Place, she thrives to instill the love of dance she possesses to her students. Jen is ever so grateful to her husband and her two children who allow her to continue her passion for dance.
Yori Thomas began her dance training as a child in New York, and discovered her love of modern dance after relocating to New England. She earned her BFA from Emerson College, her Masters in Arts Education from Endicott College, and passed several blissfully underemployed years teaching theater and dance. She is now a chiropractic physician with a passion for helping dancers and other athletes perform to their fullest potential. Yori is happiest when in motion, and she is tremendously grateful to Exit for inspiring her to keep moving and growing. When she is not dancing, she can be found skiing recklessly, climbing persistently, and running slowly.
Kayla joined the company in 2014 for the premier of Dreams. She has studied dance for over twenty years. She has recently become a member and certified instructor for Dance Masters of America. Throughout her dancing career, Kayla has competed in various competitions locally and nationally. Kayla is an instructor/choreographer for multiple studios in the area. She has also been the Dance Director at Theater in the Open's Summer Arts Workshop for three years. She always looks forward to her summers at the workshop. She is so honored to be performing with Exit, and loves being a part of the company.