Gareth Chapman- Dancer
Gareth Chapman joined Body and Soul Dance Theatre in 2014, having taken classes with the company for a time beforehand. With deep roots in Musical Theatre, he has starred in and been an ensemble dancer for many shows such as Chicago, Miss Saigon, and Aida. Gareth is honored to be a part of Body and Soul and is excited to dance and grow with this spectacular company.
Stephanie C Espinosa- Dancer
For the last decade Stephanie has been submerged in her true passion; teaching the performing arts. She has been teaching in the public, private and charter schools in Broward and Palm Beach Counties. As a teacher she keeps honing her craft by participating in side project such as: performing in community theater as Columbia in the Rocky Horror stage show with the Andrew’s Living Arts Theater and dancing as a principle in The Body & Soul Dance Company. She is ecstatic to be a part of such a creative team!
Caitlin Frost- Dancer
Caitlin Frost is 19 years old. She has been performing since the age of 2 in vocal concerts with her family and has a large theatre background. She has taken tap with RDA since the age of 2 and has been taking classes with Body and Soul since 2015. Caitlin is very thankful and honored to be able to grow and be a part of the Body and Soul dance family.
Jenn Guzman- Choreographer/Dancer
Jenn Guzman, a New Jersey native, has studied dance since she was a young child. She has trained in Modern and Jazz in New York City at Phil Black studio and Steps on Broadway. She also danced Street including hip hop and freestyling with her cousins on the streets of their Jersey neighborhoods. She attended high school in South Florida where she discovered winterguard and met one of her mentors Ralph Viray. His use of expression and freedom of dance steered Jenn into the love of Contemporary. After high school, she stopped dancing to raise her son. She later rekindled her passion of dance by studying, teaching and performing with the Elegant School of Modern Dance.
Brandon Hall- Choreographer/Dancer
Brandon has lived up and down the East Coast, everywhere from New York City to the suburbs of South Florida. A quiet kid who observed everything, he did not find his voice until he reached high school. In high school, he received his first instruction in movement in a class that used everything from yoga and weight training to ballet and improv. Dance became a way of expressing what words could not.
Brandon has been dancing ever since. His passion is for all stylized movement that tells a story and has led him to seek instruction in a variety of styles and genres from ballet and modern to salsa and swing. He also practices yoga as a way of centering and protecting his body both physically and mentally. Brandon currently studies with the Elegant School of Modern Dance, where he focuses on ballet, jazz, and modern.
Matthew Scott Held- Understudy
Matthew is an elite Personal Trainer and Yoga instructor and has his Bachelors in Exercise Science and Health Promotion.
Along with Matt’s professional activities, he is passionate about culture and art with a 2nd Black Belt in Tang Soo Do, experience in Capoeira, Judo, Tae Kwon Do, and certified in Kali. Matt plays multiple instruments including trumpet, berimbao, singing bowls, and percussion. Most recently, he has taken up a professional dance position with Body & Soul Dance Theatre.
Tai Johnson- Choreographer/Dancer
Tai Johnson began dancing as a child, training with Barbara Sloan, one of the founders of Body and Soul. During that time she was not only able to perform with the company, but she has also formed a lifelong friendship with the current Artistic Director of the company, Sheila Scanlan. She has had the honor of performing with the company many times over the years. She is not only thrilled at how the company has thrived over the decades, but excited to see what it will become in the years to come.
Crystal Ortner- Choreographer/Dancer
Crystal is a native South Floridian and has been dancing since the age of five. She is trained in Ballet, Jazz, Modern and Contemporary dance and greatly values the power of movement as an alternate form of expression. She has trained at the University Center for Performing Arts, Academy of Dance, and Florida International University.
Additionally, Crystal has taught dance to abused and at-risk children in the community through a non-profit shelter. Her experience led her to pursue a profession in Clinical Psychology working with at risk children, adolescents and young adults. She often utilizes art, music and play as a form of expression within treatment.
Dance has provided Crystal with her own form of emotional catharsis and mental freedom. She hopes to continue to push the limits in her growth, technique and creative expression as a dancer.
Tommy Paduano- Dancer
Tommy Paduano, originally from New York, is very proud to be a new member of the Body and Soul team! Tommy has been singing and dancing since the mild age of 3, and has never looked back. The arts has always been his creative escape and outlet throughout the course of his life. At age 8 he was in his first musical, and the musical theater lifestyle completely engulfed him into a frenzy of broadway! One show after the next, and it hasn’t stopped. Constant training and his passion has taken him to where he is today.
Tommy received most of his dance training through choreography in musicals, along with taking tap classes at Michael’s Dance Academy, and Jazz, Ballet, and Hip Hop training at New World School of the Arts, where he attended for his college time. Tommy also teaches at Broadway Kids Studio, an after-school program for children interested in the arts, where he is an instructor for voice, instruments, hip hop dancing, and acting classes.
A few years ago, Tommy joined the Fort Lauderdale Gay Men’s Chorus, where he not only participated in singing, but was also the group’s choreographer for a full 3 seasons. When he met Sheila Scanlan, a guest choreographer to help with one of the concerts, Tommy started taking classes with Body and Soul to improve his technique and drift further into the world of dance. He is very grateful to now be a part of this wonderful company and have a new family of crazy dancers to share a stage with. He hopes to continue and grow to be the best he can be.
Melissa Rask- Choreographer/Dancer
Melissa Rask was born and raised in Florida, began dancing as a young teenager and continued throughout high school attending performing arts programs. Melissa was accepted to the New World School of the Arts under scholarship where she was trained in a wide variety of dance styles. She trained under the instruction of Peter London, Fredrick Bratcher, Elane Wright, and Tina Santos. She continued her training at Broward Community College where her student works were chosen and showcased in the faculty dance concerts. She has taught in various studios in South Florida, teaching ages 3 to adult. Melissa has also worked with small local companies and non-profit organizations such as Millennium, New Way Dance Alliance, Soul Expressions, as a guest artist with Jubilee and is now currently a Principal Dancer and Choreographer for Body & Soul Dance Theatre. Her passion lies in choreography and teaching traditional methods with a new twist.
Sahara Smith- Dancer
Ms. Smith as a guest artist with us to celebrate our 35th season. She started her dance career at a young age and trained at Pro Am dance Studio. As a young adult she worked with Jubilee Dance and TranZenDance Dance Productions. She currently is the lead singer for The Resolvers and performs throughout the United States. On the weekends you can also catch her at The Wreck Bar in the Mermaid show as her alter ego Kupala.
Sarah Vargas- Choreographer/Dancer
Sarah Vargas, originally from New Hampshire, has been dancing for 20+ years. Starting at just 4 in a Florida preschool with tap and jazz, she continued with Saturday’s Child, a ballet program for young girls. She spent middle school and high school learning more about ballet and modern dance in the performing arts programs at magnet schools, and taking outside classes with Ballet Atlantic, while earning scholarships for various summer intensives. Sarah earned her college degree in Business while taking ballet and modern classes, until settling down to raise a family. During the day, she manages inventory and production in a manufacturing facility that specializes in products for diabetics. By night, Sarah volunteers her time to rehearse and teach Modern Fusion classes on Wednesdays with Body & Soul Dance Theatre. Previously with Body & Soul for the 2002-2004 seasons, now, mother of two boys, 17 & 10, Sarah is back for the third season in a row to share her passion with her family’s love and support.
Jimmy Rodgers- Choreographer
Jimmy started dancing in 1994 while attending Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale and after went to Broward Community College to continue his theater and dance training and graduated with an Associates Degree in Theater in 2002.
Since then he has worked with many dance companies in South Florida, including Body & Soul Dance Theatre where he was a Board Member and dancer for ? great years. He has since hung up his dancing shoes and started a career in Holistic Health receiving his training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. Jimmy has since became a Certified Health Coach and has also launched his practice, SuperJWellness. He focuses in the areas of Food, Nutrition, and Lifestyle to guide and support his clients to achieve any personal health or wellness goals; which may consist of weight loss, weight gain, high stress, lack of sleep, poor concentration or taking too many medications, to name a few; and also writes Health articles for OutClique Magazine. Jimmy is so excited to be working and collaborating again with Body & Soul for their upcoming showcase.