Selected Biographies of Former WSU Dancers
Dear Wayne State University Dance Alum,
If you’re not listed below, you should be. Your colleagues will enjoy hearing your latest news. Please e-mail your own current bio for inclusion to Kelly Gottesman. And please take a moment to complete CFPCA's quick, one page Alumni Opinions Survey.
Toi Banks, '98
(written by Michelle Briscoe)
Toi Banks is a graduate of the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance. Banks graduated with a BS in dance education, class of 1998. She teaches dance in Farmington Hills at Harrison High School. She developed and founded the dance program at Harrison High School. For her success, Banks was awarded the school's Teacher of the Year award for 2004.
Sandra M. Black
(written by Brie Bobalek)
Sandra M. Black teaches tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical and creative movement. She has been teaching dance for over 22 years. She has taught in areas around Detroit and teaches in Midland Michigan where she is the owner and director of Dean/Black School of Performing Arts. Black attended Western University and Wayne State University where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree and a k-12 dance education certification. Sandra enjoys teaching all students from young ages through adults, from begining dancers through advanced.
Shannon Dugan, '04
(written by Della Hamby)
Wayne State University alum, Shannon Dugan, graduated with the class of 2004 receiving her BS degree in dance. Her primary goal is to own a performing arts high school. For now Dugan is spending most of her time working as a member relations representative at DFCU Financial in Dearborn and uses her talents to educate aspiring dancers in the city of Romulus, MI. She is teaching jazz, hip hop and African dance three days a week at Romulus High School as an extra curricular activity. Dugan performed in Kelly Gottesman's piece titled "Table Talk," part of WSU's annual Faculty and Friends Concert, September, 2004.
Kathryn Gladney Ellis
(written By Lakeeta Parker)
Kathryn Ellis was a WSU dance student from 1951 to 1953. She received her masters degree in physical education with dance as a concentration in 1953. Ellis enjoys dance and was involved in Dance Workshop under the direction of Ruth Murray, a pioneer in dance education. Ellis helped rebuild the dance program in the Detroit Public Schools that Murray implemented. Ellis worked in the Detroit Public Schools for many years, teaching at Finney High School in Detroit for 13 years as well as at Northern, Eastern and Redford High Schools. Ellis is retired and in her spare time assists her daughter, Gina, in dance classes at Renaissance High School in Detroit. Her advice to future dance educators is to minor in physical education or health education and to become certified as a life guard. Ellis is a recipient of the esteemed Arts Achievement Award in Dance from WSU. The Kathryn Gladney Ellis Endowed Scholarship in Dance was established in September, 2004.
(written by Rachel Solomon)
Brianna Furnish was not only a student at Wayne State University, but also a part-time faculty member in the Maggie Allesse Department of Dance for seven years. Originally from Dallas, Furnish has shared with students her training with the Dallas Ballet, the National Academy of Arts, the School of American Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University and with Madame Nathalia Krassovska of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She has performed with many renowned ballet companies including the Dallas Ballet, Tennessee Ballet, Irving Ballet and Krassovska Ballet Jeunesse. Furnish thanks Wayne State for connecting her to the city of Detroit, teaching her about the value of dance and it¹s significance to the human body. She has used these as the ingredients in building her own company, Ballet Renaissance. Founded in 1997, the company has brought ballet training back to the heart of Detroit. Furnish is busy with managing her company and its rapid increase in students. She says that Wayne State has always been her home away from home.
Rita Honka, '89
Rita Honka received her BS at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan where she studied Dance Education. She received her MS in Dance Science at the University of Oregon where she specialized in Human Motor Control. As a performer she toured extensively in schools throughout the state of Michigan, and taught dance to children and adults. Currently she is a faculty member at the UO teaching Modern and African Dance, Dance in Folk Cultures and Somatics. In 1993 she founded the African repertory company Dance Africa, and has recently founded Rita Honka Dance, an Oregon-based contemporary dance company. She is also a co-director of The University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company. Rita has toured extensively performing and teaching for children throughout Oregon and her work has been produced extensively at Linfield College and UO, as well as Willamette University, Lane Community College and for the Co-art Dance Company. Freom 1993-2001 she was dance faculty at Linfield College and Director of the Linfield Dance Ensemble. In addition to her research on Africa and the African Diaspora, Rita’s interests include education and motor control. Rita has served on the University of Oregon Diversity Advisory Council and has been a member of the African Studies Committee since 1998.
(written by Erin Bonser)
Diana Mileski is a Wayne State University alumna. Now, as a part-time faculty member in the department, she teaches ballet and introduction to dance. She also has acquired her Pilates certification and teaches classes for the department. She has worked with Detroit Public School teachers and students as a specialist in the Arts Centered Education program. Her resume includes performances with the Severo Ballet, the Dayton Ballet and the Cincinnati Opera Ballet. She also has choreographed for the Wayne State University Dance Company.
Michelle Moscone, '02
(written by Erin Hennig)
While attending WSU, Moscone performed at Concorso International Dance Grand Prix Italia and took advantage of being able to participate in American College Dance Festival each year which also allowed her the opportunity to perform at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. twice. She earned the Copperfoot Award and Talent Scholarships while attending WSU. Initially Michelle was to study in the pre-med program but she went a different route to follow her passion for dance. Since graduating magna cum laude with her BS in dance in 2002. Moscone taught at Grosse Pointe Dance Center and Pilates at Detroit Medical Center. On more than one occasion, Moscone has been invited to be a guest artist and choreographer for Detroit Dance Collective. She also was a principle dancer in Detroit¹s Fash Bash at the Fox Theater in 2002, was accepted to study at the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive in 2003, was presented with the choreography award at LA Dance Force competition 2003 and was the assistant jazz teacher for American Ballet Theater¹s Summer Intensive in Detroit in 2003 and 2004. She worked with several respected artists such as Jan Erkert, Keith Thomas and Trisha Brown, A.C. Ciulla, Cornelius Carter and fellow WSU alum, Barbara Selinger. Moscone has made a number of appearances on television and in films. She was chosen for a part in the film 8 Mile with Marshall Mathers (Eminem) and was seen on the FX Channel show Rescue Me with Dennis Leary. Michelle is bilingual in Italian and English and is also a senior yellow belt in tai kwon do. Michelle is now resides in New York City.
Kay Rediers, '81
(written by Jennifer Oller)
Kay Rediers graduated from WSU in 1981 with a bachelors degree in dance education. While at Wayne State University, she danced with the WSU Dance Workshop from 1977 to 1981 and became one of the first to graduate in the newly formed dance major program. After graduation, she became an apprentice, and soon full member, of the Detroit Dance Collective (DDC) in the Fall of 1981. She has been the assistant director and education outreach coordinator for DDC since 1995. Rediers taught at Pontiac Arts Center, 1980-1981, and at Oak Park Community Education, 1981-1982. She served as dance consultant and performing artist for the Michigan Dance Association 1981-1989. In 1984, she became the coordinator for the WSU Saturday Dance Lab. She has been teaching ballet and modern dance at the Royal Oak campus of Oakland Community College since 1987. Kay worked with theatre artists, musicians and visual artists on a special dance project teaching curriculum through the arts in 2003. In addition to being a parent, Rediers also volunteers at the First Presbyterian Church of Royal Oak teaching liturgical dance classes.
(written by Katie Bonbrisco)
Barbara Selinger holds a bachelor of arts degree from Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA, and a masters in education in dance from Wayne State University. After graduating, she studied with many distinguished professional dancers and companies such as the Jose Limon Dance Company and the Bill Evans Dance Company. Currently she is Artistic Director of the prestigious Detroit Dance Collective and is a part-time professor in the Maggie Allesee Department of Dance. In 1987 she was awarded Dance Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Dance Association. In 1989 she received the celebrated Arts Achievement Award in Dance from WSU and was selected as the Farmington Artist in Residence in 1997. As well as touring with DDC, she tours her own solo concert and directs choreographic residencies in colleges and universities.
Tamara Stone, '84
(Written by Kim Curtis Sept. 2004)
Tamara Stone graduated from WSU in 1984 with a degree in dance. She then joined the faculty of the University Liggett School. Stone is driven by her wonderful creativity which is a big part of her career today. Stone is a commercial interior designer. She designs for model homes around the metro Detroit area and is TV spokeswoman for The House of Blinds and Drapery. Dance has been taken over by her busy career and wonderful family. To keep active Stone enjoys playing with her son, Michael Paris, participating in yoga and Pilates classes, rollerblading and playing tennis. She misses dance, but her amazing family makes up for the loss.
(written by Hannah Risner)
After receiving her masters degree and teaching certificate from Wayne State University, Deborah White-Hunt taught dance in the Detroit Public Schools before opening the Detroit Windsor Dance Academy in 1984. White-Hunt's Detroit Windsor Dance Academy celebrated its twentieth anniversary in 2004. In addition to developing dance technique and artistry, White-Hunt focuses on teaching the whole person in the dance studio. Throughout her life, White-Hunt has woven liturgical dance into her work abroad and at home at the Detroit Windsor Dance Academy. When asked to describe some of her accomplishments, White-Hunt first spoke of facilitating growth in young people throughout the dance community. Selected as one of ten outstanding teachers in the United States, White-Hunt received the Teacher Artist Award from the Kennedy Center in 1987. As a recipient of this award, White-Hunt choreographed in Australia as a guest artist in residency. She also traveled to Bermuda, Jamaica and Cape Town, South Africa, for other guest artist residencies. In 1990, the Milken Foundation awarded White-Hunt with the National Education Award and a $25,000 gift.
Ann Zurilnik, '41
(Written by Samantha Drouillard)
Ann Zurilnik graduated form Wayne State University in 1941, when she began a career in elementary and secondary education. She became part of a group which developed many of the dance programs present in Detroit schools today. Approximately 25 years later, she returned to Wayne as a member of the faculty and later became the chair of the dance department. She developed a dance major program, which was unique and diverse, to further study the creative teaching of dance. She has been a part of many organizations and has shared her talents at state, national and local workshops. Some of the positions she has held include: chairperson of the National Dance Association Commission on Children¹s Dance, movement specialist for the Artists in Schools Program of the National Endowment for the Arts and many more. She was recognized by state and local professional organizations and received the Arts Achievement Award in Dance at Wayne State in 1984. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Dance at the National Dance Educational Organization conference in Lansing in 2004.