Meet The company
Rachel Andes is a native of metro Detroit. She is currently training in dance at the renowned Wayne State University. She currently studies as a BFA student at the university, as well as a member of the student-run dance company, Dance Workshop. She receives training in ballet, modern, contemporary, african and choreography from a variety accomplished artists, including Meg Paul, Dr. Biba Bell, Dr. RAS Michael Courtney, Brandon Koepsell, Lisa Lamar and Karen Prall. Rachel has represented both Marygrove College and Wayne State University at the American College Dance Association’s annual dance conference during the 2017 and 2018 years. Her professional experience includes performing at the DUMBO Dance Festival in New York City, the Alluvion "Emergence" Choreography Showcase in Chicago, as well as performing at the annual Michigan Dance Festival in Grand Rapids in both 2015 & 2016. In addition to these performances, Rachel has had the opportunity to perform in a plethora of settings around Detroit. This includes Detroit Dance Races, the Motor City Choreography Collective, and in the "Dance!" exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Recently, Rachel is excited about returning from her summer studies in New York City at the Movement Invention Project, where she studied under Francesca Harper, Stefanie Batten-Bland, Navarra Novy-Williams, Jeffrey Docimo and Isadora Duncan. Rachel has previously performed with Pure Existence Dance Company as an apprentice during their 2015-2016 season. Currently, Rachel is in her third year with ConteXture dance Detroit, functioning as a dancer and as a Director of Social Media and Communications.
Sara Burman began dancing at the age of four at American Dance Academy under the direction of Melva Stelzer- Zavisa and joined the competition team at seven years old. Throughout her time at American Dance Academy, Sara received training under Michelle Raymond-Draper, Dante Henderson, and Autumn Koss-Yantz as well as many others. She acquired certification in Grades I-IV in the Cecchetti method before her professional career began. She was also a member of the pre-professional company, X2, under the direction of Jodie Randolph in their 2015-2016 season. She is now a third year student in the dance program at Wayne State University, where she has had the pleasure to work with artists such as Meg Paul, Molly Shanahan, and Dr. Biba Bell, to name a few. Currently, Sara is performing as a first year company member with ConteXture dance Detroit.
A native of metro-Detroit, Natalie Cantalino has been immersed in Detroit's dance scene for over 10 years. She has an extensive background in jazz, modern, and ballet techniques under a variety of many accomplished teachers and artists nationwide. Natalie began her training under the direction of Loni Lane at Noretta Dunworth School of Dance. She has performed live with Midnight Red, The Pointer Sisters, Jessica Sanchez, Charice, Taylor Dayne, and Patti LaBelle in Las Vegas. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Wayne State University, where she will graduate from next year. She is a certified Barre Intensity teacher, and has also taken her Stott Pilates Mat certification. Through her time at Wayne State, Natalie has been a performer in Dance Company One as well as Dance Workshop, under the direction of Dr. Biba Bell, Meg Paul, Dr. RAS Michael Courtney, Molly Shanahan, and Lisa LaMarre. In 2018, she also had the opportunity to perform Meg Paul's "Le Sommeil" at the American College Dance Association's Eastern Conference. She trained with Complexions Contemporary Ballet with Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson at their 2017 Intensive, where she was also a chaperone and helped to coordinate the event. Natalie has been a part of numerous dance events in the city of Detroit, some of which include Detroit Music Weekend, Kristi Faulkner's "Women's Work", performances at the Detroit Film Theater, Detroit Dance Race, Motor City Choreography Collective, and New DanceFest. This will be Natalie's 6th year training under the direction of Tracy Halloran, and her fourth season dancing with ConteXture.
Katelyn Colling started dancing when she was three years old at Dancer’s Workshop in St. Clair Shores, where she discovered her love of dance. In 2009, she joined Exodus Dance Company, a Christian-based ballet company, and in 2012 she joined her studio’s competition team. She attended many dance conventions and has had the pleasure of taking class from many well-known dancers and choreographers such as Tiffany Maher, Derrick Schrader, Tony Bellissimo, Marty Dew, Brooklyn Jai, and many more. She also received the Dancer’s Workshop Studio Scholarship and the Dancer’s Workshop Lea McDaniel Scholarship while dancing at her studio. Katelyn received a Marygrove College Talent Scholarship and is currently at Marygrove College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. With the dance company at Marygrove she has had the honor of working with guest artists, Brian Hare, Levi Marsman, and Roger Jeffrey. As a member of the Marygrove College Dance Company Katelyn has been able to travel with to Oakland Dance Festival and the American College Dance Association. In 2017 she danced in the prestigious Gala Performance for ACDA. In 2016, Katelyn joined ConteXture dance Detroit as an apprentice. She was able to perform at Motor City Choreographers Collective, Flint, MI, the ConteXture Company Summer Concert, Detroit, MI, New Dance Fest, Rochester Hills, MI, DUMBO Dance Festival, Brooklyn, NY and the Detroit Dance Race. Katelyn has been a dance teacher at Dancer’s Workshop for the past four years and is eager to see where in the world her dance career will take her next. Katelyn has been dancing with ConteXture for the past two seasons, and is excited to continue her work with the company.
Kirdaysha Gatlin, native of Detroit, Michigan, grew up at local studio Lashelle's School of Dance. This is where she found her passion for dance. Starting at the age of nine, Kirdaysha studied tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, musical theatre, modern and pointe. Kirdaysha worked with Devaughn Ballinger, the director of the “Believe 3” movement, training in hip hop and contemporary, dancing backup for multiple local artists, competing in the World of Dance competition and performing in the MC3 dance showcase. In 2015, she graduated from Detroit School of the Performing Arts High School, in hopes of finding her artistry and soon becoming a professional dancer. She studied at Marygrove College as a dance major, training in ballet, tap, modern and jazz under multiple outstanding artists. Kirdaysha worked with Levi Marsman, performing his work at both the American College Dance Association Festival, and the Oakland Dance Festival. Now, she continues her training at Madonna University, where she learns how to communicate beyond language, having the pleasure of working with Brian Hare and exploring the power of communicating through emotions that are deeper than words. Kirdaysha is a first year member of Contexture dance Detroit, and is still pursuing a B.F.A in Dance Performance at Madonna University.
Nicholas started dance at the age of seven at Noretta Dunworth School of Dance. Dance has been a very large part of his life; shortly after beginning his studies at Wayne State University, he realized that dance was the career path for him. Since then, Nicholas has graduated from the university with a BFA in dance. A large portion of his growth as a dancer, and a person, is due to the faculty at Wayne State. He has worked with professors Meg Paul, Jeffrey Rebudal, Trey Mcintyre, Liz Schmidt, and students Samuel Horning and Adam McGaw to name a few. He explored his capabilities as a choreographer, strengthening his creative mind. He performed works at ACDA Eastern Conference, ACDA National conference, WSU Spring Dance Concert and December Dance Concert to list a few. Over the past two summers, he has worked with Contexture Dance Detroit. More recently, he returned from a year long contract of performing on a cruise ship that ventured throughout Europe and the Caribbean. He is very pleased with all of the experiences that he has been give along with all of the training he has received the formative years that have shaped him into who he is now.
At the age of 3, Kyrah Gradford began dancing at Freedom Dance Xpressionz (F:DX), and continued dancing there until the age of 10. After the closing of F:DX in 2009, she performed at Southfield High school with the marching band, as a pomerette/dancer from 2011-2015. She shares her gift of dance through teaching kids who share the desire to become performing artists. She is currently a second year member with the company, ConteXture Dance Detroit. She is also furthering her education at Wayne State University, where she is majoring in Dance/Performing Arts. Through this institution, she studies under the direction of Meg Paul. Once finished with college, Kyrah’s hope is to dance for a contemporary dance company, in addition to traveling and further her training and knowledge of all styles of dance.
Joey Mattar began dancing with Adagio Dance Company at the age of nine, where he trained under Kristina Boroja and Brandon Koepsell. At the age of twelve, Joey joined the competitive dance team at Mt. Zion School of Performing Arts dancing under the tutelage of Maria Mohrman, Carmen Craft, Kelley Unrath, and Teresa Muller. In high school, he was selected to be a member of Pure Existence Dance’s youth company, X2, where he trained under the direction of Megan Scheppelman and Jodie Randolph. Joey has had the opportunity to perform multiple times in ArtlabJ’s Detroit Dance Race, as well as at the Michigan Regional Alternative Dance Festival in Kalamazoo. Joey has had the pleasure of interning at the 2017 Brighton Dance Festival, and secured an internship with Pure Existence Dance during the first half of 2018. He has had the opportunity to experiment in choreography during numerous solo studies, and one group work for X2. Joey is excited to grow as an artist in his first season apprenticing with ConteXture, as well as at Wayne State University, where he will be studying dance this fall.
Courtney Payne, Detroit native, has been dancing for fifteen years. She began her training as a competitive dancer at the age of six, participating in community dance organizations until up until the age of eighteen. During her high school career, she enrolled into Arts Academy in the Woods, where she trained under multiple different ballet and modern teachers over the four years. In the 2017-2018 year she was accepted into Marygrove College, and transferred to Madonna University where she studied under Tracy Halloran, Steve Hadala and Susan Panek. During the 2017-2018 school year, she was chosen to perform at ACDA to represent Madonna's dance department. She also had the privilege of taking part in a piece set by guest choreographer, Brian Hare. She will begin her second year at Madonna University in August, where she will continue working toward earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Breanne (Bree) Ranta has trained since the age of 3 in all styles of dance, but specializes in ballet, modern, contemporary, and jazz techniques. Bree grew up at Broadway Bound Dance Academy under the direction of Laura Bostic Work (current National president of Dance Masters of America 2016). Bree continued her dance education in 2007 at Joanne’s Dance Extension under the direction of Joanne Zavisa (National President of Dance Masters of America 2014). Bree began her college dance performance training with Oakland Dance Theater at Oakland University under the direction of Ali Woeorner, and Gregory patterson. She then continued her education at Marygrove College under the direction of Jordeen Ivanov Ericson and Sue Panek. She continued to learn, grow, and dance in works by various accomplished artists. She performed as a soloist in Theresa mullers work “tainted”, as well as featured dancer in “full circle” choreographed by Kiki Lucus. In 2015 she was featured in Tracy Halloran's evening length work "Nascent Transformations" for Art X at the Detroit Institute of Arts. In her undergrad studies she had the opportunity to work beside Tracy Halloran to create an original work entitled "Creations Call" for changing the Vibe at Six Mile and Wyoming. She created her first work entitled “Three Fold” that was purchased by Marygrove College to be a part of their company repertoire. “Three Fold” was also a selected a top five finalist for the Maggie Allesee Choreography award (2016). She was awarded Outstanding Dancer of the Year 2016 before graduation, and in May 2016 she graduated Megna Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Dance Performance. She is currently performing as a founding member of ConteXture Dance Detroit since its first season (2014) under the direction of Tracy Halloran. Since 2014 she has performed in numerous festivals, company shows, and had the opportunity to perform a duet on film for a PBS special "Metro Arts Detroit" (2016). Post-graduation, Bree has been thriving in teaching our younger generations of dancers. She is persistent in evolving innovative teaching techniques to pass on proper classical training and specializes in ballet. She has been given freedom to create new choreography on students that has been recognized on both regional and national levels by credible dance competitions. Bree's favorite part of teaching is guiding students how to find themselves as artists and hopes to inspire others to fall in love with the art of dance. She aspires to keep furthering her experience in the professional dance world with the intentions of one day obtaining an MFA to become a professor of dance.
Megan Stuart’s love for dance started at a young age and her passion grew upon receiving her B.F.A. in dance from Marygrove College where she graduated with high honors. Throughout her career, Megan has had the honor to work with many incredible instructors and choreographers including Kevin Iega-Jeff, Kiki Lucas, Meredith Dincolo, Brian Hare, and Jordeen Ivanov-Ericson. She has performed in numerous festivals and showcases across the nation including the Dumbo Dance Festival in NYC, Brighton Dance Festival, the Art Lab J Dance Race, American College Dance Festival, Oakland Dance Festival, and Motor City Choreography Collective. While her love for dance is rooted in performing, it has expanded to an equal appreciation for teaching where she is inspired to share her passion with the next generation of dance artists. She has taught and choreographed for the Marygrove College Dance Company, Arts Academy in the Woods Dance Company, Pointe Counterpointe Dance Center, Triple Threat Dance and Theater Co, and several other renowned studios in the metro Detroit area. Megan is a founding member of ConteXture Dance Detroit and is excited to enter her fifth season with the company!
Kelley began dancing at the age 4 at the American Dance Academy. She furthered her training all four years of high school while being a member of the Varsity Pom/Dance Team, as well as the dance program, where she performed in numerous school events. During this time, she was offered to attend the World Jazz Congress in Chicago where she was able to take from instructors such as Frank Hatchett, Gus Giordano, Joe Tremaine, and many others. After high school, Kelley continued her dance studies at Marygrove College under the direction of Jordeen Ivanov-Ericson, Penny Godboldo, Babara Selinger, and Susan Panek. She graduated in 2011 with a BFA in Dance Performance, along with a minor in Business. Kelley has had the opportunity to train with the River North Dance Company of Chicago, as well as perform works for artists including Pattie Obey, Ray Mercer, Kim Bears-Bailey and Kevin Iega-Jeff. She has also been casted as a performer in the Dreamworks Production of “Holiday Shrektacular”. From 2014-2017, Kelley performed as a member of Pure Existence Dance Company. Currently, Kelley is a dance instructor for local studios, teaching both recreational and competitive dance.
She has recently completed her fifth season as the Assistant Coach for the Pom/Dance team at West Bloomfield High School. Kelley is also going on her seventh season as a member of the Detroit Tigers Energy Squad, using her enthusiasm and rhythm to pump up the crowd.
Kylie Vinitski, from Livonia, MI, is currently a senior at Western Michigan University as a BFA dance major with a minor in creative writing. At Western thus far, she has performed in multiple student works in the annual Orchesis and Graduating Presentation concert. She has performed in the annual Winter Gala concert in many works including an original work by Monique Haley titled “Let it Move You,” a restaging of “One” from A Chorus Line choreographed by Lindsey Thomas, after the original by Michael Bennett, excerpts from Swan Lake choreographed by Lev Ivanov and restaged by Sharon Garber, and an original work titled “Harbor” choreographed by Jeremy Blair. Kylie has participated in the American College Dance Association festival in 2016 hosted at Western Michigan University. Kylie is an active member of Movement Exchange, a non-profit organization at Western that combines dance and service, locally and internationally. She has travelled to Panama City, Panama two years in a row to share her passion for dance with at-risk youth. Kylie has spent her summers training with numerous companies such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet with Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, Company E in Washington D.C., and New Dialect under the direction of Banning Bouldin. She has also attended the GAGA dance intensive where she worked with dancers in the Batsheva Dance Ensemble, including Bobbi Jene Smith. As an alumnus, Kylie enjoys going back to Debbie Felton’s Academy of Dance and the Churchill High School CAPA program to choreograph and teach a variety of dance classes. Through Contexture, Kylie has performed in many dance festivals including Detroit Dance City festival in Detroit Michigan, as well as the Dumbo Dance Festival in Brooklyn, New York. Recently, Kylie has been accepted to perform a self-choreographed solo at the Detroit Dance Exchange. This is Kylie’s second year as a company member of Contexture Dance Detroit.