PHOTOS BY BRIAN GUILLIAUX
Jaime Borkan is originally from Chicago, Illinois and spent her youth primarily training at Extensions Dance Company under the tutelage of Lizzie Mackenzie. Borkan has previously performed with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Odyssey Dance Theater under the direction of Derryl Yeager, as well as with C5, Create With No Limits, and Royal Caribbean International as a dancer/aerialist. She also has performed as a company member with Chicago Repertory Ballet and as a company apprentice with Peridance Contemporary Dance Company in New York City. Borkan graduated summa cum laude, earning her BFA in Dance and a minor in Business Administration from The Ailey School/Fordham University. She has had the privilege to work with choreographers Karine Girard, Gustavo Ramirez, Didy Veldman, Sharon Eyal, Thang Dao, Norbert De La Cruz III, Jessica Lang, Hope Boykin, Wade Schaaf, Harrison McEldowney, and Jeremy Plummer. This is Borkan’s first season with Bruce Wood Dance. She is honored and thrilled to work with such incredible artists.
Jillyn Bryant, a Dallas native, began studying dance with Kathy Willsey and Megan Willsey-Buckland at the Academy of Dance Arts (ADA). She is a graduate of Point Park University with a BA in Dance and a minor in Business Management. During the summers she trained at Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Conservatory, and The Juilliard School. She has danced in works by Bruce Wood,® Yin Yue, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Albert Drake III, Kimi Nikaidoh, and Joy Bollinger. Bryant is the company’s outreach coordinator, where she directs the programming and enjoys sharing the power of dance. Bryant is on the faculty at her home studio, ADA. She also has taught for Moving Forward Dallas and College of Southern Idaho’s Summer Dance Intensive. Bryant joined Bruce Wood Dance as an apprentice in September 2016, becoming a company member in January 2017. She thanks God for her dance journey and friends for always supporting her.
Lauren Hibbard is originally from Atlanta, Georgia. She began her training at Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education under the direction of Sharon Story. She joined Texas Ballet Theater’s School in 2014 as part of their professional division. In 2015, Hibbard was a trainee at Texas Ballet Theater, dancing in works by Ben Stevenson and performing in Ohad Naharin’s Minus 16. In 2016, Hibbard joined Avant Chamber Ballet where she has performed in works by George Balanchine, Katie Cooper, and Kimi Nikaidoh. She teaches dance at Texas Ballet Theater School at the Richardson and Fort Worth locations. Hibbard joined Bruce Wood Dance in September 2018. She would like to thank her family for their support, and all of her teachers who have helped her on this journey.
Olivia Rehrman grew up in Dallas, Texas and began her training at the Academy of Dance Arts. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2012 with a BFA in dance. In 2009, Olivia was a featured dancer in the HBO® series, Masterclass, with Emmy-nominated choreographer Bill T. Jones. She was the recipient of the prestigious National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Award for jazz and dance and was selected as Dance Spirit Magazine’s March 2011 featured “Dancer to Watch.” Rehrman choreographed and performed in Paul Cauthen’s music video, Saddle, which was named in the Top 10 Country Music Video by Rolling Stone Magazine. She was a company member of the world-renowned jazz company, River North Dance Chicago, for four seasons. She has performed in works by Bruce Wood,® Yin Yue, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Bridget L. Moore, Kimi Nikaidoh, Joy Bollinger, and Albert Drake III. Rehrman teaches dance at Tuzer Dance Center. Rehrman joined Bruce Wood Dance in September 2016.
Weaver Rhodes was born and raised in Texas. He received his training from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He went on to receive his BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase in 2012. He has performed with various companies, including Dance Heginbotham, The Mark Morris Dance Group, Mettin Movement Collective, Kevin Wynn Collection, The Metropolitan Classical Ballet in Arlington, TX, Northwest Dance Project, and was featured in Isaac Mizrahi’s The Magic Flute. Rhodes has had the pleasure of working with artists such as Kathryn Alter, Robert Battle, Patrick Corbin, Greg Dolbashian, Larry Keigwin, Jessica Lang, Dwight Rhoden, Katarzyns Skarpetowska, and Pam Tanowitz. Rhodes joined Bruce Wood Dance in August.
Matthew Roberts is an Ohioan who graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 2013 with a BFA in Dance and concentration in Choreography. There he performed works by Lar Lubovitch, Robert Battle, Jessica Lang, and Shen Wei. He has danced with Lustig Dance Theatre, Oakland Ballet Company, Awakening Movement, Molissa Fenley, Tami Stronach Dance, and Neos Dance Theatre. He enjoys teaching ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, and hip hop, but his love for storytelling, choreography, and sharing the human experience are what drive him to one day have his own company. He has presented works in New York and Ohio. Roberts is excited about all the opportunities of his first season with Bruce Wood Dance.
Luke Smith is from Dallas, Texas. He graduated from Davidson College in 2016 with a BS in Psychology and from Sam Houston State University in 2019 with a BFA in Dance. While at SHSU, he performed in works by Joshua Manculich, Shen Wei, Elijah Alhadji Gibson, and Joshua L. Peugh. He also was awarded the Dance Excellence Award and the Dance Research Award. Smith has performed with Nicolay Dance Works and as a guest dancer with NobleMotion Dance. He was selected to attend the inaugural Institute of Dance Journalism and Advocacy at the National College Dance Festival in Washington, DC, and his choreography has been shown at SHSU, Barnstorm Dance Fest, and the American College Dance Association. Smith joined Bruce Wood Dance in August as an apprentice, and is honored to be a part of this incredible company.
Marissa Sheffer is originally from Mansfield, Texas, where she trained at Momentum Dance and Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts. Sheffer previously danced with METdance, having the opportunity to perform works by Kyle Abraham, Kate Skarpetowska, and Joshua Manculich. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas Christian University with a BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance. Sheffer was a Nordan Fine Arts Scholar, received upper division honors from the John V. Roach Honors College, and was the president of the Alpha Chapter of Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Honor Society. At TCU, Sheffer worked with varied choreographers, including LINES Faculty LeeWei Chao, Jennifer Nugent, Antony Tudor, répétiteurs John Gardner and Amanda McKerrow, Nina Martin, Li-Chou Cheng, and Jessica Zeller. This is Sheffer’s first season with Bruce Wood Dance.
Gabriel Speiller is a native New Yorker raised in Queens. He received a BFA in dance from Belhaven University where he received the Bezalel Award for outstanding artistic achievement. Speiller has danced with Paul Taylor 2, Ad Deum Dance Company, as well as many project companies. He has performed in works by Bruce Wood,® Yin Yue, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Andy and Dionne Nobel, Bridget L. Moore, Albert Drake III, Joy Bollinger, and Kimi Nikaidoh. In addition, he has performed in dances by Kevin Jenkins, Jessica Gaynor, Randal Flinn, Steve Rooks, among others. Speiller teaches throughout the Dallas–Fort Worth area and has choreographed for Wanderlust Dance Project, Zion Dance Project, Frank Sinatra School of Performing Arts, Awakening Movement, Belhaven University, Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, and American College Dance Festival. Speiller joined Bruce Wood Dance in April 2016.
Megan Storey is a native of Oklahoma. She graduated with Special Academic Distinction from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in dance as Outstanding Senior. She also had the pleasure of attending the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival contemporary dance program. She has performed in works by Bruce Wood,® Yin Yue, and Joy Bollinger. Storey teaches contemporary, jazz, and body conditioning and is a Youth America Grand Prix Coach at Park Cities Studios/The Dallas Conservatory in Dallas. Storey joined Bruce Wood Dance as an apprentice in fall 2017 and became a company member in 2018.
Elliott Trahan is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona, receiving his BFA in Dance in May of 2019. While attending the University of Arizona, he performed works by José Limón, Nacho Duato, Larry Keigwin, and David Berkey. Originally from Lafayette, Louisiana, he has had several performance opportunities outside of his hometown and beyond the university stage. He has performed at dance festivals in New York such as the José Limón International Dance Festival and DUMBO Dance Festival, as well as internationally at the Kiel International Festival for Dance in Germany, and the Bolzano Dansa International Dance Festival in Italy. During his collegiate career, he also performed in dance projects around Tucson, Arizona with Hawkinsdance during a residency with the Tucson Museum of Art. He trained at summer programs with River North Dance Chicago and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. Trahan joined Bruce Wood Dance in August.
Cole Vernon, originally from Sonoma County, California, has had the pleasure of performing internationally as well as throughout the U.S. with companies such as DanceWorks Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago, Ballet Hispanico in New York City, and River North Dance Chicago. Vernon received his BFA in Dance from the University of Arizona in 2013, having worked with the university’s incredible faculty members, as well as inspiring artists from the Balanchine Trust, Larry Keigwin+Company, Ann Reinking, and Gary Chryst, among others. After graduating summa cum laude and participating in Springboard Danse Montreal, he has experienced a diversity of roles within the dance world as an artist, educator, and choreographer. While continuing his performance career, he has enjoyed teaching and assisting the choreography at several universities and companies, including Ballet Memphis, Point Park University, The Big Muddy Dance Company, and the Boston Conservatory of Dance. Vernon joined Bruce Wood Dance in January.
Seth York was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri where he began dancing at the age of 7. He has had the honor to study with seasoned artists such as Steve Rooks, Alicia Graf Mack, Steve Brule, and Richard Bowman. York performed for two years with Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston and has also danced with Open Sky Arts Collective, Störling Dance Theatre, and Lawrence Ballet Theatre. Aside from dancing full time, he enjoys guest teaching ballet, contemporary, modern, and other techniques. York joined Bruce Wood Dance in September 2018.
The mission of Bruce Wood Dance is to present high-caliber, original, contemporary choreography that
harnesses the power of dance as a tool for entertainment, enrichment, and healing. Fortified by Bruce Wood®’s
aesthetic, BWD produces and maintains his repertoire, commissions new work by resident choreographers and
guest dance-makers, and contributes to the quality of life in Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, and across the nation.
Bruce Wood Dance Company is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization. We are grateful for the support of our sponsors.
Bruce Wood is a registered trademark.