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Kelli Sanford

Artistic Director

Kelli Sanford is the Executive/Artistic Director and Founder of RED Company real.edge.dance and was recently awarded the “2016 Akron Arts Alive Award for Outstanding Artist in Dance.” The 2016 year marks the sixth season of the Company. Ms. Sanford has choreographed 14 world premieres, has been awarded over a dozen grants from foundations, such as The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Burton D. Morgan Foundation, and the Robert O. & Annamae Orr Foundation, to support the Company over the past five seasons. Recently, in 2015, Ms. Sanford accomplished a milestone goal for the Company by establishing its own independent arts center, The RED Dance Center, in Hudson, Ohio. Building RED Company over the past five years from the ground up, Ms. Sanford has presented five annual public dance concerts, over 40 outreach performances to nursing homes for the elder community, outreach programs at middle schools, and special performances at the Great Lakes Science Center, The Night Light Cinema, and the Akron Public Library. Ms. Sanford holds a Master of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance from Case Western Reserve University and a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from The University of Akron. She is currently a Part-Time Senior Lecturer in Dance at The University of Akron since 2008, an Adjunct Faculty Instructor at Kent State University Stark Campus, and was a Part-Time Lecturer in Dance at Case Western Reserve University from 2007-2011 where she taught Modern Dance Technique in both graduate and undergraduate levels. During her graduate studies at Case Western Reserve University, Ms. Sanford received numerous awards in excellence in teaching, performing, theatrical elements, and was the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Pancoast Fellowship Award that enabled her to travel to Australia to study Aboriginal culture and dance. During her time as an Assistant Lecturer she was nominated in the undergraduate student body for “Excellence in Mentoring” and “Most Engaging Lecturer Award.” Professional performing credits include Ms. Sanford being a featured soloist with Tikvah Company of Artists where she performed in Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. Ms. Sanford also has performed with Opera Cleveland and Louder Than Words Dance Company. Notably, as a leader and mentor in modern dance arts education, Ms. Sanford was selected as the Lead Artist in Dance for the city of Akron’s Lock 3 Summer Arts Experience program in 2009, 2010, and 2011, for which she developed the first ever dance program for the SAE. In this program, she trained and mentored Akron high school students from different economic and cultural backgrounds. Her choreography from this program was featured in the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival. Ms. Sanford was also the Dance Instructor of Ohio Ballet’s Turned Out Tikes Summer Children’s Program from 2002-2007. A seasoned and sought after teacher of modern dance, Ms. Sanford now teaches at the recently established RED School of Modern Dance as part of RED Company’s mission in modern dance education, as well as having taught at many Northeast Ohio dance schools most notably with Canton Ballet and ALBA: Ana Lobe Ballet Academy. In December 2012, Ms. Sanford presented a collaborative project sponsored by The University of Akron, “From There to Here” in which she performed at the prestigious International University Global Theater Experience conference in Vienna, Austria. In July 2014, Ms. Sanford performed and presented her dance work “SKINS” at the San Diego International Fringe Festival in San Diego, CA. In addition, Ms. Sanford is a Certified Pilates Mat & Machine Instructor receiving training from Body Technic Systems Inc., and is the owner of PHYSIQUE KINETICS LLC where she offers personalized Pilates training. Most recently Ms. Sanford competed in the National Physique Committee (NPC) Natural Ohio Bodybuilding Championship on March 28, 2015 in Lakewood, Ohio where she won the title of OVERALL MASTERS WOMENS FIGURE CHAMPION.

Chelsea Shump

Chelsea Shump (Dancer), a native of Akron, Ohio, trained under the late Richard Moore and graduated from NorthEast Ohio Dance Academy under Brenda and Christopher Stygar. She has studied across the country at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway, Joffrey Ballet, Paul Taylor, Lou Conte, and The Edge among others. She serves as Assistant Director for Spotlight Theatre Company and provides her award-winning choreography and instruction across the state in all dance styles. This is Ms. Shump’s seventh season with RED.

Mary Vaccani

Mary Vaccani (Dancer), a native of North Canton, Ohio, is the CEO and instructor of MAX Dance Pro LLC in Canton, Ohio. Ms. Vaccani holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance from Kent State University. She is an Adjunct Faculty member at University of Mount Union and Youngstown State University Ms. Vaccani has danced in AT&T and ADIDAS commercials, performances for NASCAR/Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR/Speed Street, MMA events, the Orange Bowl Half Time Show, EleKtriK Dance Crew, and WCNC's National Dance Day with Millennium Dance Charlotte. This is Ms. Vaccani’s third season with RED.

Darcie Lemons

Darcie Lemons (Dancer) is a native of Marysville, Ohio where she began her dance training at the age of nine. Ms. Lemons attended the University of Akron, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor's degree in Dance Education. At UA, she had the opportunity to perform with the University of Akron Dance Company and work with notable visiting companies such as BalletX, and STREB. Since graduating, she has been a member of the Dayton Contemporary Second Dance Company. This is Ms. Lemons second season with RED.

Karina Browne

Karina Browne (Dancer) a native of Sandusky, Ohio, is currently an instructor at Dance Grosse Ile in Michigan, and assistant director of All That Jazz Dance Academy in Ohio. Ms. Browne is an active judge, emcee and backstage manager for Energy National Dance Competitions. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in musical theater from Heidelberg University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in contemporary dance from Case Western Reserve University. Ms. Browne is signed with Pro-Model and Talent Management for dancing, singing, acting and modeling. This is Ms. Browne’s second season with RED.

Kylee Behringer

Kylee Behringer (Apprentice Dancer), a native to Hartville, Ohio, began training at Canton Ballet and is currently a student at The University of Akron. Ms. Behringer was a member of Canton Ballet's pre-professional company for five years and participated in Regional Dance America NE for four years. She has trained under Cassandra Crowely, Angelo Lemmo, Jennifer Hayward, Laura Alonso, and Erich Yetter. This is Ms. Behringer’s second season with RED.

Alex Cooke

Alex Cooke (Resident Composer) is a classical composer and singer-songwriter from Cleveland, OH.  Mr. Cooke specializes in musical composition, arrangement and accompaniment for modern dance.  Mr. Cooke is a guitarist and electronic musician by trade, but also specializes in audio manipulation and arrangement.  He currently has four full-length albums and two singles available on both iTunes and Amazon.  His pieces have been featured in MFA Thesis and Faculty Dance Concerts at the University Level and have also been featured in Professional Dance Company Venues and Art Intensives.  Recently, his music has been featured at the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival, the CooperMorgan Dance Theater and the Case Western Reserve University Fall Faculty Dance Concert.  Recent reviews have noted his "ability to wear many hats and wear them well," and "captivating emotional power."  Mr. Cooke's music is most notable for its minimalistic approach and for its heavy use of intricate rhythms and polytonal and polymetric ideas.  He is currently in the process of recording his seventh album, a mixture of singer-songwriter material and instrumental guitar.  Mr. Cook is currently a student earning his Masters in Music at the prestigious Cleveland Institute of Music.

Jonathan Monacelli

Jonathan Monacelli (Resident Music Composer) is currently a native of Mentor, Ohio is currently a free-lance musician and teacher. He graduated from The University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education with a Percussion Focus. Mr. Monacelli has commissioned 4 original scores for Real.Edge.Dance Company. He has performed complex percussion scores from composers such as Cage, Lang, Cole, Zivkovic, Xenakis, and Reich. Mr. Monacelli teaches lessons in percussion and high school drumlines in North East Ohio including, Mentor, Perry, Aurora, Riverside and Orange High Schools. Over his years of study at The University of Akron Mr. Monacelli performed with The University of Akron Steel Drum Band, Marching Band, Concert and Symphonic Band, African Ensemble and Brazilian Ensemble. Mr. Monacelli is currently a part-time dance accompanist for Canton Ballet and the UA Dance program.

Daryl Belcher

Daryl Belcher (Musician) is a native of Las Vegas, NV and recently graduated from The University of Akron earning his Bachelor of Arts in Percussion Performance in May 2013. Mr. Belcher is an accomplished percussionist with an extensive performance background in drums and percussion. Mr. Belcher has worked with the Las Vegas rock group Shatterance, The Las Vegas Brass Band, The College of Southern Nevada, Jade Entertainment Group, The Seastrand Foundation for the Arts, The Nevada Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society, and performed in CSN's Jazz Vocal, Concert Band, Steel Drum Band, and Orchestra Ensembles. During his studies at UA he has performed with the UA Symphony Orchestra, The Steel Band, Concert Band, Percussion Ensembles, and the Children's Concert Society. Mr. Belcher’s solo and chamber ensemble experience includes music by John Cage, David Lang, Iannis Xenakis, Casey Cangelosi, Peter Klatzow, Nebojsa, Zivkovic, Keiko Abe, and Stuart Saunders-Smith. Mr. Belcher also interest in improvisational and acting classes with Second City, using Stanislavski and Meisner techniques. Mr. Belcher is also an experience dance accompanists. Mr. Belcher strives to continue his education in the percussion field and form a synthesis of his artistic endeavors into one unique medium.

Julie Summy

Julie Summy (Stage Manager & Light Designer), native of northeast Ohio, fell in love with dance as a theatre student working backstage for the Ohio Ballet. The Ohio Ballet’s late artistic directors, Tom Skelton and Heinz Poll, helped instill a sense of professionalism and high quality production values in the young technician. Ms. Summy had the privilege of working and touring as a Technician, Master Electrician, and Assistant Stage Manager with the Ohio Ballet for nearly 26 seasons. Ms. Summy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from The University of Akron She has worked as a master electrician and lighting technician, both freelance and as a member of IATSE Local 48. Some of the companies she has worked for include Groundworks Dance Theatre, NEOS Dance Theatre, Canton Ballet, Ballet Theatre of Ohio, Ballet Excel, Dancing Wheels, The Cleveland Ballet, New Steps, Footpath, The University of Akron Dance Department as part- time staff, and numerous touring companies visiting Akron theatres. The Ohio Ballet’s legacy, The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival has employed her as Master Electrician since its inception in 2007. Her skills as a Lighting Designer/ Stage Manager have been utilized by such dance and theatrical companies as, Real Edge Dance, North East Ohio Dance, Wayne Center Ballet, Tom Evert Dance Company, Summit Choral Society, The Akron Symphony, Martel School of Dance, Akron Children’s Ballet, Cleveland Repertory Dance, The University of Akron Repertory Dance & "Spring Into Dance", Magical Theatre Company, Akron Children’s Theatre, and Wooster High School Drama Department.
Photos by Russ Weiher, Alex Cooke, Brian Thornberry
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