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.
Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, Will attended Western Michigan University, graduating in Spring 2020 with a B.F.A. in Dance and a B.A. in English: Creative Writing. While at WMU, Will had the opportunity to perform works by many guest artists, including Yin Yue, Aszure Barton, Jackie Nowicki, Joseph A. Hernandez, Christian Denice, BAIRA, Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, and Paul Taylor. Will was also a member of WMU’s touring company, Western Dance Project, for its 2017-2018 season and has performed in concerts alongside Taylor 2 and Peridance Contemporary Dance Company through WMU. Will has also furthered his dance training through intensives with Inaside Dance Chicago, New Dialect, The American Dance Festival, and The Big Muddy Dance Company. In addition to being a performer, Will is a freelance choreographer, playwright, and lighting designer/theater technician. Will is excited to be joining The Big Muddy this year as an apprentice.
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.
Bennett Cullen is a native to the Chicago area. Recently graduated from the University of Iowa with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance, he has spent the past four years investigating ways of moving and making through a contemporary modern lens. He has had the privilege to perform works choreographed by Stephanie Miracle, Sarah Olson, Marc Macaranas, Eloy Barragan, Jennifer Kayle, Armando Duarte, Meredith Stapleton, Christopher- Rasheem McMillan, and Angelia Mahaney. As a part of his pre-professional training, Bennett spent time in Israel with the Batsheva Dance Company learning repertory, and deepening his exploration of Gaga and continues to develop his practice. Additional training includes Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensive, Gibney and Bates Dance Festival Connect winter intensive, Threads Dance Project summer intensive, DanceWorks Chicago summer intensive, and The Cambrians summer intensive.
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.
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!
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.
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!