Creative Escape is an Outreach Program that empowers you to find creative solutions to complex problems through movement using Dialectical Behavior Therapy concepts:
Community. Creativity. Compassion. Commitment.
Jonathan Kim graduated from California State University, Fullerton in 2017 and performed professionally with SJDanceCo, Lineage Dance Company, Kelly Alvarez and Artists, and Embark Dance Theatre. He was adjunct faculty and guest choreographer at California State University, Los Angeles in Spring 2018. Throughout his career, he performed works by Doris Humphrey, Donald McKayle, Colin Connor, Debra Noble, Bryn Cohn, Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Alice Klock, Alyssa Pires, Rebecca Aneloski, and others. Currently, he is based out of Salt Lake City while guesting for Repertory Dance Theatre's 2018 Fall Concert and dancing with SALT Contemporary Dance.
Born in Manila, Philippines and raised in southern California, Ching Ching Wong began her dance training at Allegria Dance Theater under the direction of Dr. Alia Harlan Kaneaiakala. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts major in Dance Performance and minor in Education and Psychology & Social Behavior from the University of California, Irvine where she studied with legendary dance maker Donald McKayle. In addition to her dance training, she is a certified classical Pilates instructor through The Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado.
She danced for Northwest Dance Project for seven seasons in Portland, Oregon where she has originated roles in creations by Ihsan Rustem, Patrick Delcroix, Lucas Crandall, Felix Landerer, Jiri Pokorny, Didy Veldman, Wen Wei Wang, Sarah Slipper, Alex Soares, Pedro Dias, Carla Mann, and Yin Yue amongst others.
Dance Magazine named Ching Ching as 25 to Watch in 2017. She has also been awarded The Princess Grace Award in Dance. You can even catch her on season 15 of So You Think You Can Dance.
Ching Ching has just returned from a 10 month world tour choreographing, teaching, performing, and eating many new snacks. She is boundlessly grateful to be with SALT this Fall as a guest company member, director for SALT Pro, and choreographer for SALT training companies.
Eldon has been dancing professionally now for 20 years.
Over his career, Eldon has been blessed to have worked with some of the dance worlds most reputable choreographers, such as Alex Ketley, Peter Chu, Jermaine Spivey, Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, Mia Michaels, Justin Giles, David Dorfman, Jason Parsons, Dee Caspary, Travis Wall, Brendan Duggan, Bonnie Story, Gabrielle Lamb, Derryl Yeager, Liz Imperio, and Ronen Koresh.
Born and raised in Utah. Sierra’s formal training took her to Odyssey Dance Theatre 2 under the direction of Derryl Yeager. She then continued her dance training at Center Stage Performing Arts Studio in Orem under the direction of Kim Delgrosso. In 2012, she was accepted into the Joffrey Contemporary Ballet Summer intensive studying under Josie Walsh, Anna Holmes, Denise Biggi, Julie Bour, Mia Michaels, and Mandy Moore. In 2014 Sierra received the Dance and Merit Scholarship at American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Los Angeles where she studied Dance Theatre. Most recently Sierra has trained with Company Rhome in Los Angeles and Divinity Dance Company in Salt Lake City. This fall will be her third season with SALT Contemporary Dance and her second year directing a dance company at The Pointe Academy in Highland Utah.
Natalie Border, a Utah native, began training at The Dance Club studio and danced on her high school dance company. After high school Natalie continued to dance as well as administer as company president of the Snow Dance Ensemble under the direction of Patty Meredith. She graduated from the University of Utah with her BFA in Modern Dance Spring of 2015. While dancing on scholarship and as a part of the honor society, Orchesis, she performed as a guest artist in Rire-Woodbury’s “Spring Concert”, and performed with the Performing Dance Company in works by Andrea Miller of Gallim and Sharee Lane.
Natalie has also worked with other gifted artists such as Loni Landon, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Scott Wells, and LajaMartin among others. Natalie has participated in Northwest Dance Project’s Launch: 10 program, produced her own show, Nomad, and most recently had the privilege to perform in Repertory Dance Theatre’s Emerge show in work by Dan Higgins. Natalie is open to new experiences in dance performance, teaching, collaboration, and choreography.
Haley Johnson is from Chicago, Illinois. She began her dance training at the
Joffrey Academy of Dance under the direction of Ana Reznik and Alexei
Kremnev. She then earned her BFA in dance from the University of Arizona.
Johnson trained at numerous intensive programs including Orlando Ballet, Houston
Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, LINES Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago,
Complexions Contemporary Ballet, New Dialect, and BODYTRAFFIC. She has
performed works by Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, Penny Saunders, Crystal Pite,
Alejandro Cerrudo, William Forsythe, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, and
Alongside performing, Johnson has created multiple choreographic works. She was
a selected finalist for the American Choreographic Festival (2017, 2018), received
The Undergraduate Creative Achievement Award (2017) from the University of
Arizona College of Fine Arts, set work on US International Ballet, and a finalist for
the McCallum Theater Choreography Festival. This is Johnson’s first season with
SALT Contemporary Dance.
Hayley Smihula began dancing in Las Vegas, Nevada before moving to Salt Lake City, Utah and performing competitively. She spent her high school years training at Ballet West Academy and participating in summer intensives with the University of Utah, The Ailey School, and Northwest Dance Project.
Hayley spent two years as a member of Salt II, performing works by Alex Ketley, Lindsey Matheis, Ching Ching Wong, Brendan Duggan, Gabriel Lamb, Katie Scherman and more. She is excited to enter this season as an apprentice with Salt and to continue cultivating her passion for contemporary dance.
When not in rehearsal, Hayley can be found teaching and choreographing for local studios, pursuing her degree in Neuroscience at the University of Utah, and enjoying Utah's beautiful outdoors.
Joni McDonald began her ballet training under the direction of Jacqueline Colledge, and later received her B.F.A. from Utah Valley University. During that time, Joni joined Utah Regional Ballet and danced professionally for six seasons performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum, Swanhilda, and Ucanogos in Colledge’s original ballet Legend of Timpanogos. She then joined Northwest Dance Project and performed original works by Sarah Slipper, Ihsan Rustem, Patrick Delcroix, Wen Wei Wang, Loni Landon, and Lucas Crandall. Following NWDP, she had the experience to work with Michael Nunn and Billy Trevit from the Ballet Boyz on Ovation’s “A Chance to Dance”. From that experience, she won the opportunity to tour with “So You Think You Can Dance”. Joni has participated in many workshops such as Nederlands Dans Theater, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She has studied Jirí Kylián works with Fionna Lumis, William Forsythe Improvisation Technologies with Alessio Sylvestri and Ohad Naharin's "gaga" technique and repertoire with Bobby Smith. Joni is a co-founder and former dancer of SALT Contemporary Dance where she has worked with artists such as Alex Ketley, Brendan Duggan, and Gabrielle Lamb. She is also on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance.
Jenni Berthelot received a BFA in Dance, Magna Cum Laude, from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. During her time at Purchase, she also studied at London Contemporary Dance School, where she performed the work of Merce Cunningham. A Houston native, Jenni graduated from the High School for the Performing & Visual Arts and trained at Rowland School of Ballet in Kingwood, Texas. Jenni has performed works by Peter Chu, Frances Chiaverini, Danielle Desnoyers, Lane Gifford, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Ginnette Laurin, Tom Weinberger, and Twyla Tharp.
Jenni is a founding member of chuthis., a contemporary dance company under the direction of choreographer Peter Chu. She also serves as an assistant on many of his teaching and choreographic endeavors, including Seasons 9 & 10 of So You Think You Can Dance. Most recently, Jenni has staged Peter’s work at Booker T. Washington HSPVA and Charlotte Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program, among others. Jenni has also acted as rehearsal director for many of Peter’s recent creations, including pieces for Charlotte Ballet II, New Dialect (Nashville, TN) and Brigham Young University. Teaching highlights include Brigham Young University & MIP2. Currently, Jenni lives in New York City, working as a freelance artist.
Christian Denice's professional dance experience includes Odyssey Dance Theatre, River North Dance Chicago, Company E, Montgomery Ballet, BODYTRAFFIC, and BJM Danse in Montreal. Christian teaches and choreographs nationally and internationally, and is currently on faculty at the Joffrey Academy Trainee Program and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago HSPro program. He has created new works for Odyssey Dance Theatre, River North Dance Chicago in collaboration with Frank Chaves, LEVELdance Chicago, DanceWorks Chicago, Interlochen Center for the Arts, METdance too, the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Visceral Dance Chicago, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Western Michigan University, METdance Houston, Modern America Dance Company, Modas Dance, and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company. Christian is the 2015-2016 winner of the University of South Florida's Echo Choreographic Competition and the 2016 winner of the Joffrey Academy's Winning Works Choreographic competition. Christian was recently one of the guest choreographers for both DanceWorks Chicago's ChoreoLab and the Barton Movement's AXIS Connect in Los Angeles this past summer. Christian currently dances for Chicago based project company the Cambrians. In April 2016, Christian directed and choreographed a short dance film entitled "the watchers" filmed by Salt Lake City based videographer Bryce Johnson. He is a certified Power Vinyasa yoga instructor and is the studio assistant at CorePower Yoga Old Town in Chicago. For more information, please visit www.christiandenice.com.
Courtney Mazeika received her BFA in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin. Upon graduation, she moved to the Bay Area to train with Summer Lee Rhatigan at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and join Alex Ketley’s company, The Foundry. As a freelance artist, Courtney has had the opportunity to perform in various projects including works by Tom Weinberger, Bobbi Jene Smith, David Harvey, burnsWORK, Crossings SF, Project20, and UNA Projects. She is a proud faculty member of the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. Courtney has taught and created her own work at a number of schools and companies including the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, The University of Texas at Austin, SALT Dance Company, Brigham Young University, and solo commissions for SUNY Purchase, Cornish College of the Arts, LINES/Dominican BFA program, and the Ailey/Fordham BFA program. Her recent work, “eventually,” was part of an ongoing collaboration between Courtney, Marlie Couto, and Max Judelson. “eventually” premiered at Chop Shop Contemporary Dance Festival in February 2018 and was most recently performed at the Rotterdam International Duet Choreography Competition in June 2018, where it received the 2nd place prize. Presently, she is a collaborator with burnsWORK, a member of the Conservatory’s alumni company, Crossings SF, and continues to develop new work alongside Marlie and Max. She currently works closely with Tom Weinberger on new work, commissions, and workshops throughout Europe and North America.
Called ‘vastly gifted’ by Deborah Jowitt, Shannon Gillen has had an extensive career as a dancer and choreographer in NYC and Europe. She was a member of the Johannes Wieland company based at Staatstheater Kassel in Germany; won commissions from Mainfranken Theater Würzburg, the International Solo-Tanz Theater Festival in Stuttgart (3rd prize dance), the TIF theater in Kassel, and was also selected as a choreographer-in-residence at Staatsoper Hannover. Shannon founded VIM VIGOR as the home for her collaborative choreographic and educational endeavors. Her work has been commissioned across the USA, Canada, Central America, South America and Europe. Projects include commissions by Benjamin Millepied’s L.A. Dance Project, fashion label PHELAN for NY Fashion Week, DANCEworks at the Lobero Theatre, Springboard Danse Festival, Hubbard Street 2, b12 Festival at dock 11 in Berlin and Gibney Dance Company in NYC; notable festivals and venues where her work has been seen include NYLA, Prisma Festival, Judson Church, PULSE Art Fair, and NYC's River to River festival. She is currently a choreographer in residence at Princeton University.