Board of Directors

Melinda Atwood

Melinda Atwood

Founder

Before creating DanceBreak, Melinda was a professional dancer, a choreographer, a theater producer, and a director. She graduated of Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts with a degree in philosophy.

She has served on the Board of Directors for the Self Family Arts Center, Juggernaut Theater Company, The Elizabeth Foundation, The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation,and the New York Music Theater Festival.

Melinda started her career in musical theatre as a dancer and then moved onto choreography.She was awarded The Best of Boston Award for Choreography for her High Hot Moons shown on Boston’s PBS station, WGBH.

She later directed and produced an original musical adaptation of Loves Labors Lost at the Hasty Pudding Club in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

She moved to Africa in 1986 where, for six years she ran an indigenous carpet-making business that employed over 40 people. She also funded several wildlife projects, including the preservation of endangered rhinos and the protection of migrating elephants, an initiative that was recognized for merit by the region’s British High Commission.

She also funded the construction of several primary schools in extremely rural communities while also creating scholarship funds to ensure that top students would have the chance to attend secondary school. Since 1992, nearly 1000 students have earned this opportunity, many going on to receive their university degrees.

After returning from Africa, Melinda worked at The Manhattan Theater Club’s (MTC)

Musical Theater Program. While there, she realized there were no programs for the development of musical theater choreographers. She set out to correct this problem and, in 2002, DanceBreak was born.

Melinda has also produced four all dance musicals for NYMF: Common Grounds, Platforms, Wild About Harry and Andy Warhol Was Right, all choreographed by DanceBreak Alumni.

She is also the author of three books.

Founder and President of the Board of
The DanceBreak Foundation

2001-2011

Producer for New York Music Theater Festival

2006 – 2009

Co-Founded the ‘Born at NYMF” program and subsequently produced four original all dance musicals.

‘Born at NYMF’ was an opportunity to create a fully danced through theatre piece specifically for the Festival, that was written, composed, scored, recorded, choreographed and presented all within a four month time frame. All the work was original and was choreographed, collaboratively, by multiple choreographers.

These four works were, Common Grounds, 2006 (Award for Excellence in Direction, and Choreography) Platforms, 2007, (Award for Excellence in Choreography), Wild About Harry, 2008, and Andy Warhol Was Right, 2009.

Author

Jambo, Mama. Memories of Africa; A Bunny in Britain; An Elephant’s Tale.

Jambo, Mama, currently in its third printing, is a memoir of Melinda’s six years in Kenya. A Bunny in Britain and An Elephant’s Tale are both children’s books.

Rob Ashford

Rob Ashford

One of the busiest director-choreographers on Broadway and in London, Ashford is a Tony winner for Thoroughly Modern Millie and a Tony nominee for the Daniel Radcliffe revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Curtains, among his eight nominations. In London, Ashford and Frozen director Michael Grandage have enjoyed more than a decade of illustrious collaboration: Ashford helmed Parade (receiving Olivier nominations as director and choreographer), A Streetcar Named Desire and Anna Christie (Olivier Award, Best Revival) at The Donmar Warehouse under Grandage’s artistic leadership, and he received Olivier nominations for choreographing Grandage’s West End productions of Evita and Guys and Dolls. Ashford also has a history with Disney, having choreographed Kenneth Branagh’s smash film Cinderella.

Joshua Bergasse

Joshua Bergasse

On Broadway, Josh most recently choreographed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Also on Broadway Josh choreographed the revival of On The Town which opened to rave reviews. He received an Astaire Award and was nominated for TONY, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Awards. He also choreographed the revival of Gigi. As a director/choreographer, Joshua co-directed and choreographed the Bombshell on Broadway concert at the Minskoff theatre, as well as directed and choreographed Hazel, a new musical at the Drury Lane Theatre last spring. Josh received additional Drama Desk, Astaire, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for his choreography of the off-Broadway musical Cagney. Most recently Josh choreographed Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster at The New Group. He is currently choreographing the Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Josh has also choreographed a variety of musicals, including the regional production of the Lopez’s (Frozen) new musical, Up Here at the La Jolla Playhouse, Bull Durham at the Alliance Theatre (Suzi Bass nomination), Nerds at the Philadelphia Theatre Company (Barrymore nomination), Secondhand Lions at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, the national and international tours of Fame the Musical; West Side Story at the Stratford Festival, On The Town, Guys and Dolls, Carousel, The World Goes Round, and Pirates of Penzance at the Barrington Stage, Little Me and It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Superman! at City Center Encores!, the off-Broadway productions of Bomb-Itty of Errors; Captain Louie. Bergasse’s other credits as a choreographer include Guys and Dolls and The Sound of Music at Carnegie Hall, American Songbooks: Fascinating Rhythm at the Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic.

For film/television, Joshua won the Emmy Award for his choreography on NBC’s musical drama SMASH. He also choreographed multiple segments on So You Think You Can Dance and PBS’s Sinatra: A Voice for a Century.

Pamela Cooper

Pamela Cooper

Pamela Cooper graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts from UCLA, Magna Cum Laude and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ithaca College. She began her career as a lighting and special effects designer at the internationally famous Music Center in Los Angeles. Pamela designed shows at the Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson, Kennedy Center, in Las Vegas, on Broadway, and soon after traveled with top entertainers all over the world producing and promoting their concerts. Design and road management were a natural move into personal management.

Pamela’s first management client was the multiple award winning director/ choreographer Michael Peters. Some of her theatrical producing credits include co-producing Galas with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and as a producer with Marc Routh, Richard Frankel, Steve Baruch, Tom Viertel and Mars Theatricals on the play My Old Lady, producer on Broadway’s Leap of Faith and Off-Broadway’s Be by Mayumana. Pamela  co-produced On The Town on Broadway and is currently producing Come From Away on Broadway. Currently she is developing musicals for Broadway and managing the best talent in the world including writers, directors, choreographers and actors.

Paul Labrecque

Paul Labrecque

Paul Labrecque Salon & Spa was founded in 1988 with a simple passion for beauty and fashion.
“My passion is making my clients look and feel their best. It is what I love to do…making people feel confident, beautiful, sexy and full of life”

Selected as one of Vanity Fair Magazines “Top 3 Stylists” in the USA, Paul prides himself for his focus on excellent customer service, personal attention and the best in beauty services.

Paul’s business philosophy has always been about giving back and paying it forward. Paul takes great pride in mentoring and supporting new talent through education and training. “Mentoring new talent energizes me. I love working with young stylists to help them develop and grow into their careers. We learn from each other. I find it so rewarding to educate, train and share my experience.”

Throughout the year Paul also gives back his time in supporting many worthwhile charities such as Locks for Love and Sanctuary House for Families. He works closely with special needs clients battling cancer or alopecia and others that are home bound and unable to come to the salon with personal home visits. Now in its 12th year, his annual holiday event brings together the PL beauty team for a night of makeovers for battered women looking to re-start their lives in the work force and has helped build the self confidence and esteem of dozens of women.

Robert La Fosse

Robert La Fosse

Robert La Fosse danced for American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet as a Principal Dancer. Throughout his career, he performed in works by Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Bob Fosse and Twyla Tharp.

He also starred in the Broadway productions of Bob Fosse’s Dancin’ and Jerome Robbins Broadway, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actor. 

As a choreographer, he has created over 75 works for ballet, opera, musical theater, film and television.

For the musical theater, he has choreographed Carousel (Papermill Playhouse), Lady in the Dark (Prince Music Theater)-Barrymore Award nomination, Splendora (American Place Theater), Anyone Can Whistle (Carnegie Hall), A Child’s Garden (The Melting Pot), Positive Me!, (La MaMa E.T.C.), Pippin (Muhlenberg Collage), Dangerous Beauty (Northwestern University), The Wind Remains (Eos Orchestra-Lincoln Center)

As a director he has directed Pippin, All The Dirt On You, A Tawny Valentine, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and Broadway’s Best in Drag.

Lorin Latarro

Lorin Latarro

Choreographed Broadway’s Waitress; Les Liasions Dangereuses Donmar transfer; Waiting For Godot (Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen); Curious Incident of The Dog..(Assoc); The Public’s Twelfth Night and Odyssey-The Delacorte; Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 21 Chump Street and Peter and The Wolf at BAM; God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater and Fanny-Encores; Queen of The Night (Drama Desk Award); As You Like It-Dir Michael Mayer,Toho Tokyo; Christmas Carol-McCarter, Taste of Things…-York as Director; Beaches-Drury Lane; Kiss Me Kate-Barrington; American Idiot (Assoc). As a Performer: 12 Broadway shows, Tharp, Momix. Martha Graham. Lorin is a Bucks County Playhouse Artistic Associate, Juilliard graduate and adjunct professor, Upcoming:Monsoon Wedding-Berkeley Rep; Assassins-Encores; La Traviata -Met Opera.

Jerry Mitchell

Jerry Mitchell

After graduating Webster University, Jerry Mitchell started his career as a Broadway dancer appearing in The Will Rogers Follies, Brigadoon, and On Your Toes. Mitchell began his choreography career in 1990 with the Broadway premier of Jekyll & Hyde.

Nine years later Mitchell had risen through the ranks to become sole choreographer for the 1999 revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown and later The Full Monty. Mitchell both directed and Choreographed the hot Broadway musical, Legally Blonde (2007) and served as a mentor on the American hit reality TV show, Step It Up and Dance.

For his work with Kinky Boots Mitchell won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Choreography and was also nominated for an Olivier Award and a Tony for Best Direction of a Musical. Upcoming project, directing and choreographing Bye Bye Birdie with Jennifer Lopez for TV Live.

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