Geoffrey Alexander was born in St. Louis, MO. He spent the majority of his childhood singing, acting, and studying gymnastics, but it wasn’t until college that he found his passion for dance. He earned his BA in Theatre and Dance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he began his formal training in modern and ballet. His professional career began with the aTrek Dance Collective working with internationally renowned artist such as Germaul Barnes, Jon Lehrer, Mathew Janczewski, and Alicia Graf. His desire to further his development led him to teaching aTreks contemporary classes and intensives. In 2011 he auditioned for, and became a founding member of, what became The Big Muddy Dance Company, directed by former Hubbard Street dancer Brian Enos. Throughout his career with the company he has studied from and performed works by notable choreographers such as Lou Conte, Harrison McEldowney, Lauri Stallings, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Kate Skarpetowska, Robert Moses, Robyn Mineko Williams, Daniel Marshalsay, Gabrielle Lamb, Shannon Alvis, and Brian Enos. In recent years he was able to revisit his love of musical theatre through various Variety Children’s Theatre productions including: Peter Pan, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Disney’s Mary Poppins, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and the Wizard of OZ. When he’s not dancing himself Geoffrey regularly teaches contemporary and jazz workshops, and choreographs at various studios, universities, and companies throughout the St. Louis area.
Arianna Benis is from Columbus, Ohio. Training primarily at Columbus City Ballet School under Shir Lee Wu. She went on to Butler University to receive a BFA in Dance Performance, performing in full-scale productions of The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake and Giselle. Arianna had the opportunity to tour Eastern Europe, performing and studying in Poland, Austria, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. She has participated in summer intensives at ABT, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Visceral Dance Chicago, DanceWorks, and New Dialect. After Graduation, she moved to Chicago where she was a freelance dancer and scholarship student at Lou Conte Dance Studio. She joined the Big Muddy Dance Company’s Convergence Trainee program for the 2018-19 season and is excited to apprentice this season!
CJ Burroughs received her BFA from University of Michigan and attended high school at North Carolina School of the Arts. She further trained at summer intensives held by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Bodytraffic, LINES Ballet, and San Francisco Conservatory. CJ performed with Ron De Jesus Dance, Marc Macaranas' DISASTERdance, and Thodos Dance Chicago before joining The Big Muddy Dance company as a Trainee. This is now CJ’s third season with the company.
Her choreography has been featured in American College Dance Festival's Gala, WAXworks, University of South Florida’s Screendance festival, as well as Big Muddy DanceCompany productions.
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.
Brandon Fink received his B.F.A. in Dance Performance 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 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. Brandon was a company member with the Modern American Dance Company (2011 - 2016), The Muny – Fiddler On The Roof (2016), Variety Theatre – Wizard Of Oz (2017) & The Little Mermaid (2018). He is also an active member of the Actors’ Equity Association and The American Guild of Musical Artists. Brandon’s choreography has been presented at the Big Muddy Dance Company & The Convergence Trainee Program, 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, the American Dance Troupe, and MADCO. He works with various high school marching band winter guard programs throughout the St. Louis metro area as well as the Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps. Brandon is in his fourth season with the Big Muddy Dance Company.
Mallory Hensel was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri where she spent her high school career performing and training with Missouri Ballet Theatre. She went on to receive her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and graduated with honors in 2017. Mallory was first introduced to The Big Muddy Dance company through the Summer Intensive program, joined the company as an apprentice after graduation, and became a full time company member in 2018. During her career, Mallory has performed works by Gregory Dawson, Shannon Alvis, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, Taylor Mitchel, Robyn Mineko Williams, and Katarzyna Skarpetowska, as well as made appearances with Saint Louis Opera Theatre and The Bach Society of Saint Louis. Mallory is thrilled to once again be part of the Big Muddy family and the Saint Louis community.
A native of Fargo, ND, Thomas Jacobson began performing at Trollwood Performing Arts School where he also took classes under professors from around the country in dance, acting, improvisation, physical theatre, and musical theatre. In 2009, Thomas joined Minnesota Dance Theatre’s trainee program along with a company position with the Breaking Boundaries Dance Company—both based in Minneapolis, MN. Thomas graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with a Bachelors Degree in Dance and was awarded the Outstanding Graduating Senior Scholarship Award. He worked with Northwest Dance Project during their LAUNCH 10 program, training with Northwest Dance Project, Whim W’him Dance Company, and Lucas Crandall plus performing original works from Banning Bouldin and Yoshito Sakuraba. Thomas danced with Thodos Dance Chicago for two seasons where he performed works by Ann Reinking, Melissa Thodos, Bob Fosse, Robin Mineko-Williams, Brian Enos, Kevin Iega Jeff, and Bella Lewitzky. Thomas is currently in his third season with The Big Muddy Dance Company in St. Louis, MO.
Courtney Jefferies is a Maryland native with over 20 years of experience in ballet, modern, and contemporary dance. She began her training under Lynn Welters of The New School of Dance and Arts and furthered her dance studies under Robin Griffin of Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and Academy, later training under Michelle Sarson of The Madeira School. She has had the privilege of attending multiple summer intensives including The Ailey School’s program in New York City. Additionally, she holds a B.A. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Bowdoin College. Her love of language and culture have taken her around the world, including to Paris, France where she lived for two years studying French language alongside ballet and contemporary dance. Courtney is also passionate about teaching dance and instilling a love for movement in each of her students. She is thrilled to be joining The Big Muddy Dance Company for their 2019-2020 season as a company dancer!
Miranda Payne has been a Dancer with The Big Muddy since the company was founded in 2011. Miranda holds a BFA in Dance from Webster University, and she has trained throughout the United States. Miranda has also performed with Stages St. Louis, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Variety Theatre and The Shoji Tabuchi Theatre in Branson, MO. Miranda has been a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists since 2009. Miranda's choreography has been performed at American College DanceFestival, and she has choreographed for Six Flags St. Louis. Miranda is a proud new mom to her daughter Lucy.
Originally from the greater Chicago area, Jessie Philbrick began formal dance training with Salt Creek Ballet under Zhanna Dobrovskaya and Sergey Kozadayev. After high school, Jessie attended the dance program at Butler University. While at Butler, Jessie performed corps, soloist and principle roles in main stage productions of the classics, such as The Nutcracker, Giselle, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, as well as numerous world premiers of contemporary works. During the summers, Jessie participated in summer intensives at Alonzo King Lines Ballet, NorthWest Dance Project, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. After graduating with a BA in Dance Pedagogy in May of 2017, she joined the Big Muddy Dance Company’s Convergence Trainee Program. Jessie is thrilled to be returning to the company this season!
Robert Poe ( Aiken, SC) began dancing with Carl Crosby at Crosby's School of Dance. He graduated high school from the S.C. Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities with honors. For the past 15 years, Robert has performed professionally with the Columbia City Ballet, Cedar Lake II, the Nashville Ballet, and the Nashville Opera, the Missouri Ballet Theatre, and for 2 years in a row, Opera Theater of St. Louis where he recently performed in the critically acclaimed, world premier of "Fire Shut Up In My Bones". He sits on the Senior Outreach Committee for Big Muddy's Senior Embrace program as well. Robert's passion for dance education has led him to teach in studios all over South Carolina, North Carolina, Nashville, Illinois and Missouri while his choreography has been seen on the Nashville Ballet as well as their training company (NB II), Missouri Ballet Theatre, The Big Muddy Dance Company, and Texture Contemporary Ballet. Most recently, Robert has become Co-Director of Ballet 314, a professional ballet company based here in St. Louis with the desire to showcase local talent within this community.
After spending most of her life in the Chicagoland area, Megan went on to graduate from Western Michigan University in 2017 with a BFA in dance and a minor in general business. She has had the opportunity to perform works by Kyle Abraham, Joshua Manculich, Lew Christensen, Frank Chaves, Terk Waters, Dexandro “D” Montalvo, Christian Denice, Autumn Eckman and Brian Enos. Megan has further continued her dance training through the American Dance Festival, the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Summer Intensive, and the DanceWorks Chicago Dance360 Summer Programming. She spent the 2017-2018 season with The Big Muddy Dance Company as a trainee and is thrilled to be back as an apprentice this season.
Originally from Saint Louis, Missouri, Molly attended Webster University where she graduated summa cum laude, earning a BFA in Dance; emphasis in Ballet, and a BA in Business Management. While attending Webster University, Molly performed works by Jose Limon, Monica Newsam, Nejla Yatkin, Alicia Graf-Mack, and Michael Uthoff. She spent her summers working with Kansas City Ballet and Saint Louis Ballet, as well as working for Newsam Aerial Dance in company development. Upon graduating from Webster University in May 2017, Molly joined the Big Muddy Dance Company’s Convergence Trainee Program, where she also worked as the company’s Development Intern. Molly is thrilled to be joining the company as a Company Dancer for the 2019-20 season, as well as continuing in her new role as Office Manager.
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. Along with 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 has worked side by side with Dr. Jason Selk for over 10 years, and she has extensive experience in mental training for performance, accountability, and execution in business, athletics, academics, and the performing arts. Ellen helps numerous athletes, students, and business leaders reach their peak performance through developing the mental toughness necessary for high-level success. Ellen’s most important role is “Mom” to her sons William and Thomas.
Kelly earned a BFA in dance from the University of Arizona, graduating with honors. She contributes her early training to Doris Dieu, Rena Storm, and the St. Louis Ballet School. Kelly furthered her studies with many summer programs. 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. In addition to dancing, Kelly is a certified Romana's Pilates teacher. She thanks her family, friends, and husband Tyler for their continuous love and support.
Originally from Green Bay, Wisconsin, Carly graduated from the University of Iowa with honors, earning a BFA in Dance, BA in Health and Human Physiology, and Certificate in Arts Entrepreneurship. While pursuing her BFA, Carly performed works by Autumn Eckman, Marc Macaranas, Armando Duarte, Eloy Barragàn, Jesse Factor, and Martha Graham. Carly has trained at intensive programs including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, DanceWorks Chicago, the Martha Graham School, American Dance Festival, and the Kirov Academy of Ballet. Carly holds certifications from the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum as a ballet teacher, the Yoga Alliance as a 200-hour Registered Yoga Teacher, and the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing as a Certified Health Education Specialist. Carly joined The Big Muddy Dance Company’s Convergence Trainee Program for the 2017-2018 season before spending the following season as a company apprentice. Beyond her dancing, Carly works as the company's Communications Coordinator, while continually pursuing freelance photography opportunities. Carly is thrilled for her first season as a company member!
Corinne Weber is from Crescent Springs, Kentucky. She received the majority of her dance training at Expressions Dance Theatre. She then went on to earn her BFA in Dance from Wright State University. While attending school, she danced in Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II, and after graduating she danced in Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Pre-Professional program. Throughout her training she has had the opportunity to perform works by Crystal Michelle-Perkins, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, and Jae Man Joo. She joined the Big Muddy’s Convergence Trainee program for the 2018-19 season, and is thrilled to be an Apprentice for the 2019-20 season.