The Arizona Dance Coalition has directors serving in Northern, Central and Southern Arizona
Lisa R. Chow, President
Co-founder of the Arizona Dance Coalition | Vice President April 2006, President March 2007
Lisa is Desert Dance Theatre’s (DDT) artistic director, company manager, choreographer, performer and educator. DDT has been on the roster of the Arizona Commission on the Arts since 1981 and has toured throughout Arizona, Mexico, California, Nevada, Texas, New York and the northwestern states. She has choreographed children’s programs in collaboration with String Sounds (String Quartet) for almost 15 years. Chow is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Crossroads Performance Group along with Step Raptis, performing interdisciplinary music and dance projects since 1989. She is also the managing director and performer with Step’s Junk Funk, interdisciplinary percussion and movement group that utilizes everyday objects as instruments. She was 1st Vice President of the Arizona Dance Arts Alliance (2002-05), coordinated and produced the AZ Contemporary Dance Festival and Arizona Dance Festivals for many years, and was a major force in the formation of the Arizona Dance Coalition.
Krystyna Parafinczuk, Treasurer | Director April 2006, Treasurer since May 2007
Editor, Arizona Dance e-Star
President of DancInc. (Tucson)
Krystyna serves not only as treasurer, but is the editor/founder of the e-publication Arizona Dance e-Star (see e-Star Publication page for archived issues), list creator: AZ Dance Businesses, Women-Owned/Managed Dance Business in AZ, and AZ Dance Professionals; maintains the website and membership database/directory, and advocates for dance arts in Arizona. She is manager of the current ADC Project (statistics for 2019): ECONOMIC IMPACT OF DANCE ARTS IN AZ.
Krystyna is a dance specialist hailing from Chicago where she received training in ballet/pointe, character, tap, jazz, ethnic/folk, and acrobatics from Chicago’s best dance studios and instructors. Starting at age five with Evelyn Lare, she continued for 22 years with her “neighborhood” teacher and then embraced the downtown studios: (Richard) Ellis-(Christina) Duboulay S/B, Ruth Page S/B (Larry Long, Dolores Lipinski, Warren Conover, Orrin Kayan, and Tracey Vonder Haar [tap & jazz]). She also studied with Gus Giordano (jazz) in Evanston once she received her driver’s license! Lou Conte arrived on the downtown Chicago scene and Krystyna found herself training with those who were to become the original Hubbard Street dancers. Teachers were Lou (tap / the one summer he taught), Tracey Vonder Haar (tap & jazz), and Birute Birodicaite & Greg Begley (ballet). A steep learning curve in ballet technique eventually occurred with mentors Barbara Dubosq (Deerfield) and Inesse Alexandrov (Vaganova/Skokie). For more than 25 years she attended the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters conventions and training sessions where she received her Master Dance Educator designation and training in all styles of dance from global dance celebrities and master educators, i.e., Tom Ralabate, Terell Paulk, Elizabeth Carroll, Joseph Giacombe, Edward Villella, Roni Mahler, Judy Bassing, Joe Tremaine, Cathy Roe, and so many more.
Surviving in the roles of a public relations assistant, financial planner/insurance broker, dance company organizer and co-founder, performer, choreographer, instructor and dance studio owner (DancInc/Northfield IL), Krystyna chose sun over snow and moved to Tucson in 2002. She became more enlightened with some University of Arizona graduate courses (Certificate in College Teaching Fall 2003), and has embarked on a dance adventure that has taken her beyond a dance studio or neighborhood.
Created Courses: Dancing for a Heartbeat (dance fitness program), Storybook Dance & Drama (young children’s creative dramatics program)
Created Productions (Tucson): Year of the Blues Boogie-Woogie Tap Concert (2003), National Tap Dance Day Celebrations (2009-2011), Dance Festival of Southern Arizona (2013), History of Jazz Music School Concerts (Amphitheater School District/4 years, Tucson Unified School District/2 year, and Sunnyside Unified School District/1 year)
Author: Taps to Boogie: A Percussive Relationship, ON TAP, a publication of the International Tap Assn, 1 July 2006. Tap Dancing – A Step Towards Better Health 2009.
Speaking Presentations: National Dance Educators Organization 2003/University of Albuquerque, International Dance Council World Congress on Research and Dance 2005/Cyprus
SUBMISSIONS: Send your news to gro.noitilaoCecnaDzAnull@anytsyrK for possible inclusion. She is also treasurer of the Tucson Jazz Music Foundation which provides scholarships to middle and high school age students in Southern Arizona for jazz music education.
Dancing continues to be Krystyna’s #1 choice for pleasure, for staying in shape, and for staying young!
Dr. Susan Bendix is a professional modern dancer, choreographer, improvisational movement artist and dance scholar who has performed nationally and internationally. Currently Susan’s focus is concentrated work in Arts in Healthcare, Dance for Parkinson’s and Dance for Dementia. Working with a broad range of populations: from inner city youth, incarcerated youth, to university students, public health and the corporate sector, Susan is interested in the human, cultural, social and political experiences that live in the body and are expressed in motion. She conducts professional development training in creativity for staff and faculty at Maricopa Community College District where she also teaches dance humanities and improvisation. She has also developed and presently teaches Moving into Mindfulness — a movement-based curriculum for teaching mindfulness to children and adolescents.
Susan has published articles and presented numerous papers nationally and internationally on social and pedagogical topics related to dance, aesthetics and community. She was the recipient of a 2015 Arizona Commission on the Arts Project Grant to design a movement-based program for people experiencing grief and loss. In 2011 she was honored with the Outstanding Narrative Dissertation Award conferred by the American Educational Research Association for her groundbreaking work in dance education. Susan is on the editorial board of Arts, Education and Policy Review Journal and was on the artists roster with the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture and Director of Dance at Herrera School for the Fine Arts to name a partial list. Additionally she has an MFA and BA in dance and choreography and is currently becoming certified in Somatic Experiencing (Peter Levine). Susan is an ardent practitioner of yoga and Zen meditation. For more information about her work visit: www.think-motion.org
Gina is the executive director of Canyon Movement Company and Canyon Dance Academy. Gina has traveled to Ireland, Italy, and the Southwest where she and the company performed for and taught hundreds of people. She has performed in dance companies in Utah, Missouri, Nebraska, and Arizona. She has been an Artist-in Residence for Arizona where she conducted numerous residencies. Gina was on faculty at Coconino Community College for twenty-three years and
has been a guest teacher at the American College Dance Festival. She has choreographed for NAU Theater including “Rivals” and “The Grapes of Wrath.” She
received her dance degree from Brigham Young University. Gina serves on the board of the Arizona Dance Coalition. She served on the Arizona Department of
Education (DOE) Committee to re-write the Arts Standards in 2005-06, and the Arizona DOE National Content Review Committee for Arts Assessments. Gina keeps busy with family including her twelve beautiful grand-kids.
Mary Heller, Director (Prescott) | Director June 2017
Mary is a veteran dance educator and scholar who has taught in studios, schools and Higher Ed for more than 33 years. She was full-time lecturer in dance at the University of Idaho from 2006-2011. Originally from Chicago, Mary earned an M.F.A. in Dance Technology (Sharing Ground), Pedagogy, Performance and Choreography from Florida State University. She teaches level I – professional level Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Tap, Improvisation, Contact Improvisation, Choreography, Dance Theory, Dance History, Dance Pedagogy, Dance Production, and Creative Movement Methodology, including training veteran k-12 Teachers, and Physical Education, Early Childhood Education, and Dance Education Pre-Service Teachers in this methodology. In somatics her specialty is her own Heller Barre Practice®, (a Floor Barre informed by Kinesiology, and other somatic modalities).
Mary is an adjunct Professor of Dance in the Performing Arts Department at Yavapai College, since Aug. 2018. As a Wellness Advisor for 33 years she meets one-on-one as well as offering a retreat, GetInToGetOut.com. She was a principle dancer in four Chicago companies, and selected by audition to perform in works by Jawole Willow Jo Zollar, Randy Duncan, Sherry Zunker, Jim Clouser, Bill T. Jones, and others. See her C.V. at Mary Heller Dance Arts HERE.
Lori comes to us with an extensive background of event planning and a love of dance. She has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Phoenix in E-Business/Project Management.
Besides dancing every chance she gets, Lori works as a Marketing Manager, sits on two marketing committees, co-owns a pet treat business and is a jewelry designer.
Debbie Pelosky, Director (Avondale) (since January 2021)
Owner, Nutrition Tango, Bilingual (English/Spanish) MIND and BODY Programs for those individuals. Zumba instructor, Argentine-American passionate amateur dancer, Tango Therapy for neurological health.
Debbie has lived in Arizona since 2000, where she has been a bilingual community advocate for minorities, clinical and community nutritionist, adjunct faculty, wellness consultant, author, speaker, educator, creator of wellness programs and media consultant. She has combined mind and body techniques, such as mindfulness, stress management, nutrition and healthy recipes, movement, improvised dance, Latin dance, breath and meditation to her diverse wellness programs. She is the owner of two bilingual small businesses, Words & Health, a B2B business helping organizations reach the Hispanic community through translations, content writing, speaking, programs and videos; together with Nutrition Tango, a B2C business helping individuals and groups use a mind and body approach to their health.
She has over 25 years of experience in the field of healthcare, nutrition and wellness, using a mind, body and self-care approach, helping individuals, students and families of all ages feel well through simple, healthy lifestyle changes. She has partnered with a diverse number of non-for-profits in Arizona, helping create bilingual mind and body programs for their communities.
Debbie is the recipient of several local AZ awards, as a minority business owner, community advocate and finalist for the Phoenix Business Journal Health Care Heroes award.
She holds three university degrees, BS in Nutrition (Buenos Aires University), MS in Nutrition (Rosalind University) and MBA (DeVry University) together with a variety of certifications related to Movement, Mindfulness, Chair Dance/Fitness, Breath and Cooking.