Meet The Dancers


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CJ Burroughs

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Karina Cardella

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Mallory Hensel

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Thomas Jacobson

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Samuel Kunzman

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Zoe Lindner

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Geoffrey Alexander

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Geoff was born and raised in St. Louis. His journey to dance began with gymnastics, which he practiced from the age of seven to sixteen. During his sophomore year in college he began his dance training and in 2011, he earned a BFA in theatre and dance from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. After graduating, he worked as a dancer, choreographer, and instructor for aTrek Dance Collective and the Dance Co-op. Geoff was hired to perform with The Big Muddy in fall of 2011. He has choreographed on the Ashleyliane Dance Company, the SIUE dance department, and the Southeast Missouri State University dance department. Geoff currently works with the company's pre-professional training program by teaching, choreographing, and mentoring aspiring dancers.

Emily Baker

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Emily Baker was born and raised in San Dimas, California. Her ballet training began at Inland Pacific Ballet Academy where she performed with Inland Pacific Ballet. She also received training from various schools such as School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet School, Boston Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. She had the opportunity to spend two years as an academy apprentice with Inland Pacific Ballet where she performed many corps and soloist roles. From there Emily has danced with many companies such as Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Tucson, Canyon Concert Ballet, Impact Dance Company, Colorado Ballet, and Missouri Contemporary Ballet. Emily is really excited to be dancing with The Big Muddy Dance Company this season.

Kelly Bitzer

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Kelly earned a BFA in dance from the University of Arizona and contributes her early training to Doris Dieu, Rena Storm, and the St. Louis Ballet School.  Kelly furthered her studies most summers with programs such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Kaatsbaan, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet, Ballet Met, Ballet Chicago, and The Cecchetti Council of America summer schools. She began her professional career in South Carolina with the Charleston Ballet Theatre for one season before moving to St. Louis to join The Big Muddy Dance Company in April of 2012. Kelly loves giving back to the St. Louis community through The  Big Muddy's outreach program, Senior Embrace, and thanks her family and friends for their love and support.

Dustin Crumbaugh

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Dustin Crumbaugh (Houston, TX) began his formal dance training at Houston Metropolitan Dance Company's pre-professional second companny, Houston Met Too. Since graduating high school, he spent two years as a dance major at Point Park University where he performed works by renowned choreographers such as Margo Sappington, Robert Battle, and Harrison McEldowney. He completed his traineeship with Ballet Austin, where he performed works by Stephen Mills, Gina Patterson, Septime Weber, and Dwight Rhoden, and trained at LINES Ballet, where he studied under master teachers such as Alonzo King, Maurya Kerr, and Amy Raymond. Dustin joined Houston Metropolitan Dance Company as a professional company member in 2005, and in 2007 joined Luna Negra Dance Theater under the direction of Eduardo Vilaro, performing works by Edgar Zendejas, Alejandro Cervera, and Gustavo Ramirez Sansano. He then danced on scholarship at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and participated in Springboard Danse Montreal, working with Jose Navas/Cie Flak and Julian Barnett. In 2009, he performed with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater until joining The Big Muddy Dance Company in 2011, with whom he has performed works by Lauri Stallings, Lou Conte, Paula David, and Harrison McEldowney. As a member of The Big Muddy since 2011, Dustin co-directs the Convergence Trainee Program alongside Brian Enos.

Thom Dancy

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Thom studied ballet at the University of Oklahoma under Mary Margaret Holt, and accepted summer scholarships to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and The Joffrey Ballet School. As a concert dancer he has worked for Milwaukee Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet, and The Big Muddy Dance Company. Thom is also a member of Actors' Equity and has performed at The MUNY in Hello, Dolly! and My Fair Lady (2015), as well as in State Fair with the Ohio Outdoor Historical Drama Society. He has originated principal roles in works by Kate Skarpetowska, Victor Alexander, Brian Enos, and Harrison McEldowney. Thom also works as one of The Big Muddy's in-house choreographers.

Brandon Fink

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Brandon Fink began his training at the Oklahoma City Ballet Conservatory. Graduating with honors, he received his B.F.A. in Dance Performance on scholarship from the University of Central Oklahoma. His pre-professional experience includes R.A.C.E. Dance Company and UCO Kaleidoscope Dance Company. Upon graduation, Brandon attended the American Dance Festival School in Raleigh/Durham, NC where he was selected for the 2011 Past/Forward Gala to perform Twyla Tharp’s “Sweet Fields.” In 2012, he was selected for the River North Dance Chicago Summer Apprenticeship Program under the direction of Frank Chavez. He was a company member with the Modern American Dance Company from 2011 – 2016 as well as a member of the Ensemble in Fiddler on the Roof at the Muny in 2016. His choreography has been presented at the University of Missouri St. Louis, the University of Central Oklahoma, Florida Atlantic University, the American College Dance Festival, the Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival, the St. Louis Arts Alliance, and MADCO. This is his first season with The Big Muddy Dance Company.

Miranda Payne

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Miranda Payne holds a BFA in Dance from Webster University. Miranda has trained and performed throughout the United States. Professional performance credits include The Music Man with Stages St. Louis, The Ghosts of Versailles with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, The Wonder of Christmas at The Shoji Tabuchi Theatre in Branson, MO, Peter Pan and Disney’s The Little Mermaid with Variety Children’s Theatre. Miranda has been a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists since 2009. Miranda’s choreography has been performed at American College Dance Festival, and she has choreographed for Six Flags St. Louis. Miranda has been a Company Dancer with The Big Muddy since the company was founded in 2011.

Robert Poe

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Robert Poe (Aiken, SC) began dancing at Crosby's School of Dance and later furthered his studies at the SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. He has studied with Robert Barnett, Stanislav Issaev, Sandra Neels and Banning Roberts, to name a few. Professionally he has danced with classical companies (Columbia City Ballet, Nashville Ballet, and Missouri Ballet Theatre) as well as contemporary companies (Nashville In Motion, Cedar Lake II, The Big Muddy Dance Company) and has guested with the Nashville Opera. Robert's choreography has been seen on Nashville Ballet, Nashville Ballet II Missouri Ballet Theatre and multiple dance studios from SC to Illinois. Robert has danced with The Big Muddy for 3 seasons now, serves as a member of the Senior Outreach team and the Board Nominating Committee.

Erin Warner Prange

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Erin was born and raised in Webster Groves, MO where she trained at the Dance Center of Kirkwood. She earned her BFA in dance and Spanish from Colorado State university and her Masters of Fine Arts in Arts Management from Webster University. In 2006, Erin taught dance for the Boston public school district through the Topf Center for Dance Education, and danced with Fusionworks II in Providence, RI. After moving back to St. Louis, she worked for aTrek Dance Collective's Education Program, and worked as head coach of the dance team and colorguard at Webster Groves High School. Erin was a company member of the Slaughter Project, under artistic direction of Cecil Slaughter before being hired by The Big Muddy Dance Company in 2011. She also serves as the executive director of The Big Muddy and spends her time raising funds and awareness for the company when she is not dancing.

Ellen Hinkel Reed

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Ellen was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky, where she received her dance training from Diana Evans School of Dance and Kentucky Ballet Theatre. After moving to St. Louis, she performed with the Slaughter Project and aTrek Dance Collective while attending Saint Louis University. Ellen joined The Big Muddy in its premiere season in 2011 and received her doctorate in psychology the same year. When she's not dancing, Dr.  Ellen Reed is a Mental Training Consultant with Enhanced Performance, Inc., under the close direction of Dr. Jason Selk (best-selling author and one of the nation's premiere performance coaches). Ellen also has extensive teaching experience, both in the University setting and in dance. Her background in both academia and the performing arts allows Dr. Reed to apply mental training techniques to the success of business individuals, athletes, artists, and academics. 

Christina Sahaida

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Christina Sahaida grew up in Pittsburgh, PA and began her dance training at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School. Following high school graduation, she attended Butler University in Indianapolis, IN, graduating in 2012 with honors, a BFA in Dance Performance and a Secondary Major in Spanish. She moved on to dance with Ballet Quad Cities then joined Texture Contemporary Ballet as a resident dancer in 2013. She thanks Texture directors Alan Obuzor and Kelsey Bartman for challenging her with the company’s diverse and demanding repertoire, while also nurturing her individual voice as an artist and pushing her into the realm of contemporary dance. During her time outside of the dance studio, Christina works at Trader Joe’s, enjoys doodling, writing, and thrift shopping. She is very excited to work with the Big Muddy Dance Company and bring exciting dance into the St. Louis community!

Meredith Wallace

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Meredith Wallace, originally from Quincy, IL, began her dance training at Heinze Dance Academy. In 2010, Meredith moved to St. Louis to pursue a BA in Dance and a BA in Marketing from Webster University. During her time there, Meredith performed works by Antony Tudor, Maurya Kerr, Michael Uthoff, and Alicia Graf. She participated in summer programs with Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Magnificat!, and The Big Muddy Dance Company. Meredith spends her time outside the company teaching and choreographing for local studios. She is very excited to return for her second season with The Big Muddy.