Pas de Deux 2022 Conference Educators
Dance Creative Director
Miss Jessica began her love for dance while being a part of the competitive show choir ‘Swingsations’ Her love grew while attending Lincoln College on a dance scholarship and being a part of their dance company, Dance Force. Jessica graduated from Lincoln College with her A.A. in Liberal Arts and was awarded the Dance award for outstanding achievements in dance. She then went on to graduate from Columbia College Chicago with her B.A. in Dance. While attending Columbia, Jessica worked for Youth Guidance of America teaching dance in their extended day program at an inner city school in Chicago. Miss Jessica has been sharing her love for dance in the Chicagoland area for the past 10 years. In addition to teaching she also travels to various high schools throughout the country to choreograph show choirs and musicals. Musical choreography credits include: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Wiz, The Music Man, Grease, Cinderella Jr., Annie, Seussical, Totally 80’s and Once on This Island. Jessica’s choirs have won numerous awards including Best Choreography in 2011.
Jessica spent her summers performing at Six Flags Great America for 7 seasons where she served as the Dance Captain for 6 years. Miss Jessica continues to share her love for show choir by adjudicating competitions in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. Jessica opened Dynamic Perception Dance Company in October of 2012, and has been sharing her love ever since. She has led the DPDCo Dancers to multiple first overall awards, best choreography, best use of staging and props, and a very special award given by one of the stars from "Dance Moms" for Best Sportsmanship & backstage etiquette. The Company was also awarded the prestigious Top Studio award for receiving the overall highest scores amongst other studios in attendance in 2014 & 2016. DPDC was also awarded the ADCC studio of excellence award in 2015. Miss Jessica is thrilled to begin her 10th year with DPDC, and can't wait to see what the future brings.
Dance Creative Director
Miss Alexa began dancing at age three and never wanted to stop! In the early years, she trained at various studios in central Georgia. She was a company member of the Middle Georgia Youth Ballet and participated in the Nutcracker of Middle Georgia for nine years. Alexa consistently traveled during the summers to train at various programs such as: South Carolina Summer Dance Conservatory, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Orlando Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Nashville Ballet, and Bates Dance Festival. She earned her BFA in Ballet and Modern Dance from Texas Christian University, where she graduated magna cum laude and performed in works by established artists, such as Carrie Hanson, Susan Jaffe, Loretta Livingston, Sarah Gamblin and many others. While studying at TCU, Alexa served as the Co-Director of Community Outreach and Public Relations for the Chi Tau Epsilon Dance Honor Society.
She performed professionally as a company member of Kim Robards Dance and served a guest choreographer for Life/Art Dance Ensemble. She is a certified Purre Barre instructor and certified Personal Trainer, as well. Alexa is thrilled to continue to be a part of the Dynamic Perception Dance Company faculty and the wonderful Chicagoland dance scene!
Kimberly Madsen-Thomas is a dancer, dance teacher, and fitness instructor from Memphis, TN. She loved the experience of modeling for the first Pas De Deux Photography Conference in 2020! She has been teaching for 15 years and has danced for small ballet, modern, and contemporary companies across the Midsouth. She was also featured in Pitch Perfect 2 as a member of Das Sound Machine. She is a judge for Dance USA; she also leads classes on Instagram for Ballet in the City and Apolla Performance. Her favorite pursuits are performing, teaching, and homeschooling her three kids. She is thrilled to lead workshops in safe warm-ups and mentor PDD dancer models.
Minnesota Dance Collaborative Artistic Director/Writer, Acting in Motion Founder, Performance Trainer, Actor.
Shelli has been acting since she was a youth growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She received an acting scholarship to attend Northern Michigan University where she majored in Theater and Philosophy. She furthered her studies at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford and took her first job under an Equity contract working for the Walt Disney World Corp. as a writer and performer for The Anicomical Players.
She moved to England to direct and perform Atmospheric Improvisation at Strawberry Moons, Ltd. When she returned to the States, and spent the next four years as Resident Company Member of Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop- writing, performing and teaching Improvisation. She has made her home in Minneapolis, performing at Hey City Theater, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Old Log Theater, History Theater, Guthrie Theater, Theater Garage and more. Her credits include film, television, stage, trade show/convention and she works as an on-camera and voice talent represented exclusively by Moore Creative Talent. She enjoys engaging with Youth: she has toured schools in New York and New England, taught Voice and Acting for Dancers at Ashley Ballet Arts Academy and Platinum Dance Center, JAMM Dance, Dance Revue, The Movement MN, Collide Theatrical and many more. She spent many years as a private coach for both Actors and Dancers. Recently, Shelli has been working in talent development and has taken on the role of Art Director for music videos such as Karma, recently released by emerging artist, Grayson DeWolfe and has been producing and directing promotional videos for Mall of America and B&B Theaters.
Shelli is celebrating her 10th year as Artistic Director and Writer for the Minnesota Dance Collaborative and was delighted to share the virtual rendition of HoliDaydream- A Very COVID Christmas. In the past, HoliDaydream was always the culmination of each MDC Season- full stage performances at MN Theatres like the Southern and Park Square. Last year, she was excited to pivot and accept the challenge of COVID-19 and bring HoliDaydream from stage to screen. Shelli is very proud of MDC’s commitment to community involvement- performing at local events such as the Hollidazzle Village, Highland Festival, Rice Park Tree Lighting as well as volunteering at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, Feed My Starving Children and Open Arms. Shelli is proud to have curated unique Dance Theater experiences as well as fostering a Leadership Team who strive to be positive role models in the Twin Cities community.
Co-Founding MDC and founding Acting in Motion(AIM) has been the next step in Shelli’s personal and professional journey and a natural extension of her ongoing work as an Artist and Theater Educator. AIM is committed to bringing traditional Method Acting to Dancers: challenging them to not only be Dancers but Storytellers through the lens of dance. Using Intention, Obstacle, Tactics, Sense Memory and many other time honored, proven practices- AIM has been able to take Dancers from proficient technicians to true Artists. She looks forward to bringing this ideology to the Pas de Deux Dancers and Photographers.
Gwynn grew up in northern New Hampshire where she found her love for dance at local dance studios. She attended Oklahoma City University where she graduated with Bachelor of Science in American Dance Teaching. While in college Gwynn was in the dance program’s company, and she also worked on the technical theater side. She was awarded “most promising pedagogy major” upon graduation. From a chorus kick line dancer to an assistant stage manager, Gwynn loves to be a part of any aspect of a performance. She loves teaching children and adults the styles of jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, and hip hop. Gwynn as worked with competitive dancers for many years and has expanded her education, now being certified as a Rhythm Works Dance Instructor and Acrobatic Arts Instructor for preschoolers. She presides as the Associate Director at Dynamic Perception Dance Company, and she is thrilled to be a part of Pas de Deux this year!
Are you interested in future opportunities speaking at Pas de Deux Photo?
Pas de Deux Photo is always looking for dance educators to lead workshops for dancers at our events. Interested applicants will be asked to share their ideas and resume. Ideal applicants have past experience and will share a sample video presentation or slideshow.
Workshop leaders will be working with dancers selected to model at the conference. Pas de Deux Photo promotes healthy behaviors, safety, dance technique and community.
Dancers at the conference
Pas de Deux Photo supports dancers by providing modeling opportunities and training through our conference. At the conference, dancers have opportunities to model indoors and outdoors. Dancers work with conference speakers and photographer attendees throughout the weekend. The weekend is warm and encouraging. Dancers have the chance to connect with other dancers from across the country in a supportive and fun environment.
Pas de Deux Photo believes that dance photographer is a collaborative effort between a photographer and a dancer. Dancers should be prepared with multiple poses and ideas and be ready to work independently with photographers
The 2022 Pas de Deux dancer application closed on August 31, 2021.
Accepted dancers will be contacted in late September with details about participating in the conference.
Dancers are selected and supported by our Creative Dance Directors, Jessica Garrett and Alexa Culclasure. At the conference, dancers are provided morning warm-up classes, Master classes and workshops on posing and using professional photographs for auditions and on social media. This year, Pas de Deux is expanding its vision to include additional learning experiences for dancers.
Dancers attend warmups, dancer-only social events and Master classes independently.
Dance parents wishing to accompany their dancer on photo sessions, lunch and presentations can purchase an Observer Badge. The Observer badge allows parents to view the sessions for which their dancer is modeling.
PC: Ron McKinney
PC: Heather O'Steen