Interlacing the parameters of activism and art, Tiffany Rhynard is a movement artist exploring the intersection between movement and image, specifically in dialogue with the study of human behavior. Rhynard established Big APE in 2008 as a platform for her adventures in movement and video.

Rhynard made the transition to dance from visual art during her undergraduate tenure at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she received her BA in Dance. She holds an MFA in Choreography from the Ohio State University. She has taught at Peace College, North Carolina Governor’s School, Ohio State University, State University of New York at Potsdam and was Artist in Residence at Middlebury College for the past six years. She currently travels for residency and free-lance work but lives in Gainesville, Florida.

As a performer, Rhynard has worked with various choreographers including Chavasse Dance and Performance Group, Brosseau Danceworks, X Factor, Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians, Gerri Houlihan, and John Gamble Dance Theater. Her choreography has been presented extensively in venues nationwide and internationally at Hotel Pupik in Scheifling, Austria. Her video works have been screened at film/video festivals including the Dance for the Camera Film and Video Festival in Salt Lake City and Dancing for the Camera at the American Dance Festival. Recent video projects include the documentary Little House in the Big House, a film illuminating the strength and resiliency of incarcerated women in a vocational construction program at the state women’s prison in Vermont.


Toby MacNutt is a dis/abled dancer, artist, and educator. Though trained in multiple dance traditions as a child, due to disability reasons Toby lost access to dance as a teenager - but since then has discovered physically integrated dance and will never leave it again. In addition to this piece, Toby has performed with Big APE in the Everyone Can Dance projects, and toured with Heidi Latsky's GIMP.

Misha Bailey began dancing as a young child, although it was not until she found modern dance in high school that she felt a strong resonance with it. At the University of California at Berkeley she studied modern dance through both Graham and contemporary styles. She has had the privilege of studying with numerous professional artists from San Francisco, including Joe Goode and Kathleen Hermesdorf, in addition to working with visiting artists such as Ellis Wood from New York. While she did not immediately pursue dancing upon graduation, she continued exploring other movement disciplines through yoga, aikido, and Pilates. In the spring of 2009 she returned to modern dance through teaching and small performances while living in a rural community in CA. She moved to Vermont in the fall of 2009 and feels excited and grateful to have found a home among a supportive, inspired and expanding dance community.  

Sheriefs Gamble began his dance training with Footpath Dance Company as a student studying jazz dance. He went on to study Haitian contemporary dance, modern, and street style hip hop in Boston and New York. Gamble has worked with several choreographers and dance projects: Heddy Malaam, Richard Gonzalez, Patrick La Cruz, Clay Plain Dance, Pathos Dance Theater and Haitian Dance Group as a company member.  He is also a recent recipient of the Elza Pearl Primus Foundation grant for Hip Hop choreography for a short dance segment  "The Battle Royal," a moving discourse on social equality and its dehumanizing effects.

Paula Higa is a freelance performer, teacher and choreographer originally from Brazil.  Trained in the Royal Academy of Dance methodology, she has taught and prepared students for R.A.D. exams. Professionally, she performed as a modern dancer with “Theatrum Cia de Dança” in São Paulo, Brazil under direction of Roberto Peres. She also performed with Diverse Space Dance Theater under direction of Toni Bravo in Austin, Texas. Paula holds a degree in chemical engineering; however the chemistry that she likes the most happens on stage!

Winnie Looby was born into a very large, artistic family in Baltimore, Maryland. Her mother is a comic book artist, her father an expert African drummer. Growing up with many more multi-talented people in the visual arts, music, drama, and dance, it was a given that she would also pursue a life in the arts. She obtained her BA in Advertising Design, and studied Illustration at the graduate level at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Throughout her college years, she studied dance in many forms—including ballet, jazz, and West African. Upon moving to Vermont 12 years ago, she began to study acting and modern dance at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. As an actor, she has performed with the Vermont Stage Company. As a visual artist, she has exhibited her work at the Flynndog and Rose Street galleries. As a dancer, she has performed with choreographers Selene Colburn, Lida Winfield, and Rachel Siegel.  

Hanna Satterlee first began dancing in her home state of Vermont, and has studied various dance and movement forms throughout the country for the past ten years. Satterlee received a double BA from Goucher College, in Dance and Psychology with a Dance Therapy Concentration. A lover of travel, through Goucher she was able to study dance in both Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Ghana, West Africa. She also holds a Vinyassa Yoga Certification from Laughing Lotus, which has encouraged her philosophy that movement is a powerful vessel for change and healing. In addition to teaching dance and yoga, Satterlee has performed professionally and produced her own choreography in Baltimore, New York City and San Francisco (her home away from home). She returns to Vermont to act as Artistic Director of the Contemporary Dance Studio in Montpelier.

Ellen Smith Ahern grew up dancing in Illinois and earned her BA in Dance at Middlebury College '05. Since then she has worked with many wonderful artists, including Amy Chavasse, El Circo Contemporaneo, Jane Comfort & Company and Kate Elias. She has had the opportunity to teach, collaborate and perform throughout Mexico, Qatar, Cuba, and the United States, and she is now happily exploring and participating in Vermont's dance community. As a recent recipient of grants from the Flynn Center and the Vermont Arts Council, she continues to develop and perform her own choreography. She also works as a Certified Massage Therapist.

Marly Spieser-Schneider graduated from the University of Michigan in 2009 with a BFA in dance. While earning her degree she performed in works by guest artists Rennie Harris, Laura Dean, and Lindsey and Jason Dietz-Merchant as well as dance department faculty including Robin Wilson, Amy Chavasse, Peter Sparling, Jessica Fogel, and Melissa Beck-Matjias in addition to performances in Colombia and Montreal. She has co-produced several multi-media performances and spent the summer of 2009 teaching and performing throughout Michigan with Jumping Off The Bandwagon. In fall of 2009 she embarked on a cross-country road- trip for her Collabor8 project: to create eight dance works in collaboration with various artists in eight different cities including Ricki Mason in Seattle, Washington, Jennifer Harge in San Antonio, Texas, and Lara Martin in Baltimore, Maryland.  

Lida Winfield is an accomplished dancer and spoken word artist. She began performing at age fifteen as a member of Hannah Dennison!s multi-generational, improvisational dance theater company, Working Ground, in Burlington, Vermont. She continued to perform in the United States for several years, later studying improvisation abroad at The School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She is one of the core-teaching artists at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts and in the Words Come Alive! Program where she trains educators to use dance and theater in a traditional academic curriculum. For the last six years, Lida has focused on original solo work, merging storytelling, dance and visual art to create captivating and poignant performances. She is currently a full time student at Goddard College in the Master of Fine Arts Interdisciplinary Arts program.

Jennifer Ponder has been the Lighting Designer and Technical Director for the dance program at Middlebury College since 1997. She has designed lighting for theatre and dance in VT, NY, TX, VA, MA including Shadowland Theatre, SUNY New Paltz, Bennington College, the Yard, the Kennedy Center, the Dallas Theatre Center, Glimmerglass Opera, the American Dance Festival, Cuba, and various tiny theatres in NYC. She holds an MFA from Southern Methodist University.

Philippe Bronchtein is a composer, DJ, dancer, and choreographer. Focusing on the relationship between music and dance, Bronchtein has collaborated with many choreographers and musicians including Adriane Medina and Simon Thomas-Train. A prolific composer, he has produced multiple albums under the pseudonyms Bearplane and Hip Hatchet.

Tiffany Rhynard

Artistic Director/Choreographer

photo: Alan Kimara Dixon