VashtiDance Artists

Holly Heidt, originally from Bloomington, Indiana, Holly studied dance and literature at Oberlin College. She is artistic director of Muliebris Dance Theatre along with Samantha Bergman and Cristina Gustaitis. Holly’s choreography has headlined at Spectrum, The Tank, and Trans Pecos, with additional performances at The Living Gallery, Roseland Ballroom, The Invisible Dog, Team Gallery, and Spoke the Hub. She has danced for choreographers such as Jeff Davis, Eva Dean, Trina Mannino, Elizabeth Mulkey, and Rachel Cohen. Dancing for Vashti Dance Theatre continues to be a great pleasure.

Sasha Smith,  originally from Syracuse, NY earned her B.F.A. in Dance from Adelphi University. She presently trains at the Paul Taylor School in New York City. As a freelance dance artist, Ms. Smith performes with various NYC based dance collectives including Vashti Dance Theater and Ballaro Dance. Acting credits include immersive theater productions, short films and promotional commercials. In addition to performing arts, Ms. Smith  holds certifications in both Pilates and Yoga.

Sarah Elaz, is originally from Massachusetts. In addition to VashtiDance Theater, she is a performer in the show “SHE: A Choreoplay”. She is also a member of the collaborative improvisational company Heath in Progress. Sarah graduated from UMass Amherst with degrees in Dance and Physics and was awarded the “Chancellor’s Talent Scholarship” for dance. She began her professional dance career in Boston, MA with Danza Orgánica, a company deeply rooted in social justice. Sarah then moved to Israel to train with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. Sarah has performed works at Jacob’s Pillow, New York Live Arts, HERE Arts, Peridance, and more.

Kalena Brown, was born in Bronx, NY and is an Alumni of Penn State University with a dual degree in Dance and Psychology (BA). At Penn State Kalena was a part of the Af-Mojah Dance Company and later a part of the Repertory Company at Center for Modern Dance Education (CMDE) in Hackensack, New Jersey. She has attended Dancemaker, NYU Tisch Dance Program, the Alvin Ailey American and Dance Theatre Professional Division Summer Intensive Program where she studied with Keith Alexander and Quenia Ribeiro. Kalena danced and choreographed for Forza Malizia Dance Company and is now dancing with VashtiDance Theatre and teaching and choreographing throughout the New York/New Jersey Area.

James Riggins, is a Harlem based musician with training in various percussion instruments including djembe, congas, and djundjun family. He has studied with several world renown instructors and has traveled and studied in Africa. He is enjoying sharing his artistry with VashtiDance this season.

Leah Mo, is a Brooklyn-based dance artist who began her training at the Educational Center for the Arts High School in New Haven, Connecticut focusing on dance and choreography. She received her BFA in Dance at the University of Massachusetts as part of the Five College Dance Department. Since graduation, Leah has worked with choreographers Kellie Lynch, Donna Mejia, Shalewa Mackall, Ni’Ja Whitson, Souleymane Badolo and Rosangela Sylvestre. She is currently working with choreographers Joya Powell, Fatima Logan and Brendan Drake. She also works as a study abroad coordinator for ThisWorldMusic, a dance and drum intensive in Ghana. Her own work has been presented at the New Haven Arts & Ideas Festival, Boston College, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Green Space, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, Cedar Crest College and Arts On Site. She is thrilled to be dancing with Vashti this season!

Jasmine Mattar, from Queens, New York, is a recent graduate with a BFA in Dance from the State University of New York at Fredonia.  During that time she performed in the Fredonia Dance Ensemble for the past four years and was cast as a Kit Kat Girl in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series, Cabaret. She is very excited to start her professional career in New York City with VashtiDance Theater.

Yasmin Venable, is from Harlem, New York City and began her dance training in the Rod Rodgers Dance Company Youth Program. Shortly after she attended the Talent Unlimited High School while simultaneously attending The School at Steps, Dance Theatre of Harlem and Manhattan Youth Ballet. After graduating Ms. Venable attended The Ailey School for two years on a level two scholarship. Ms. Venable performed at The Joyce Theater in the premier cast of the All-City Panorama with The Martha Graham Dance Company. As well as performed with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as a Revelations 50 Cast Member.

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