Tara began her advanced dance training at Sarah Lawrence College under the direction of Sarah Rudner. While in New York she also trained at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway under a variety of inspirational teachers including, Sheila Barker, Michelle Barber and Tracie Stanfield. She moved on to Prescott College to explore her own artistic voice and earned her BA in Integrative Arts with an Emphasis in Dance Choreography. After graduating she moved to Chicago to be part of AMEBA Aerial Dance Company where she performed works by Nefertiti Thomas and Autumn Eckman (Choreographer for Hubbard Street Dance). During her years in Chicago Tara also trained with Nick Pupillo, and Ricky Ruiz (of River North), Nan Giordano, Diona PidGeon, Becca Lemme, and Eddie Ocampo to name a few. Tara enjoys performing but has found her true passion is in creating and helping others reach their potential through directing. She directed several evening length theater pieces as well as dance films before forming NunaMaana. Tara is also a visual artist, writer and costume maker. She studied painting and writing at Prescott College. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago for fashion design. Tara uses all of these skills to heighten her performance art productions.
Community Outreach Director & Dancer
Jenny moved to Austin in June of 2013 and immediately began working on independent dance performance projects and teaching. She performed with Verge Dance Company for one season before Nuna Maana formed. Prior to dancing in Austin, Jenny performed with Melanie Aceto Contemporary Dance and as reception entertainment for Azure Barton in upstate NY. Jenny attended SUNY Buffalo where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BA in Dance. While in school, Jenny had the opportunity to perform and choreograph in numerous concert dance shows in styles ranging from jazz to contemporary to modern. She was given the opportunity to collaborate her choreography with Digital Poetry media as well as choreograph for the Department’s second company. Jenny has studied with artists from Jazz Dance World Congress, River North Jazz Dance Chicago, Paul Taylor Company, Doug Varone and Dancers, LehrerDance, Max Stone, Urban Bush Women, San Francisco Ballet and Giordano Dance Chicago. She is very excited to be a part of a totally new vision of dance performance that NunaMaana has created.
Company Manager & Dancer
Lauren is a Dance Instructor for Ballet Austin and an original member of NunaMaana. Lauren studied Sociology, Psychology and Dance at Skidmore College in Upstate New York. While at school, Lauren had the opportunity to perform in many shows and to teach dance in the local community. She has studied an array of styles from Jazz to Hip Hop to Tap and everything in between. Lauren has taught classes in both New York and Austin and is experienced with clients of all ages. She is originally from Austin, and is thrilled to be a part of the growing dance scene in the city.
Graphic Design and Costumes & Dancer
Dwain began professional dance training at nine at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts with Russian ballet master Misha Bart. At twelve he was accepted to train at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC, continuing his studies in Russian Vaganova ballet. During this time, he performed pieces from ballets such as The Nutcracker, Giselle, Die Puppenfee, The Little Humpbacked Horse, La Fille Mal Garde, and contemporary pieces by Amber Thornton. During his junior year of high school, Dwain trained at Houston Ballet, with teachers Claudio Munoz and Stanton Welch. He performed in Ben Stevenson’s The Nutcracker at the Wortham Theatre, as well as several studio performances. Dwain has also worked with other companies and schools such as the Joffrey Ballet School, the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Harid Conservatory, Houston Dance Theatre, Galveston Ballet, League City Ballet, the Universal Ballet Association, and Beaumont Ballet Theatre. Dwain spent four years as Principal and Artist in Residence with Bay Area Houston Ballet & Theatre while teaching at their affiliated school (RAFA). Under ballet master Luis Fuente and Director Lynette Mason-Gregg, he performed the titular role in Luis Fuente’s Dracula, Escamillo in Carmen, the Sugar Plum Pas de Duex, and in many mixed repertoire performances. Dwain began exploring choreography in 2010 with his first piece, Dearly Departed, being selected to perform at the RDA/SW Dance Festival. From there he was selected to attend the 2010 Craft of Choreography conference at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and was further awarded the RDA Choreography Connection Grant along with the opportunity to choreograph on the Canton Ballet in Ohio. Since then, Dwain has set choreography on several regional companies around the Southwest including Pulse, which was selected to perform at the 2012 RDA National Festival in Montreal, Canada.
Lucy Wilson was born and raised in Santa Clarita, CA before moving to New York to pursue a career in dance. She graduated with honors with a B.F.A. in Dance from the conservatory at Purchase College, SUNY. While at Purchase, she worked with a number of talents, including: Bill T. Jones, Monica Bill Barnes, Pam Tanowitz, Rosalind Newman, Catherine Cabeen, and Kevin Wynn. In spring 2010, Lucy and several of her classmates founded The Hoover Dam Collective, which continues to produce monthly shows featuring collaborative, multi-media work in and around New York City. In addition to choreographing and curating for the HDC, Lucy has presented her own work at the Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival. Lucy’s performance credits include Annie Rigney, Theodora Boguszewski, Kathryn Rhodes, Lauren Camp, Brooke Broussard, Jordana Toback and the Dreamland Follies, Pam Tanowitz, and Nelly Van Bommel // NøA Dance. She has recently moved to Austin, TX and is thrilled to be a part of NunaMaana.
Melanie starting studying ballet in her home town of Columbus, Texas at Live Oak Dance Center. She began pursuing a professional career in ballet by attending summer intensives with Ballet Austin, Texas Ballet Theater, the Joffrey Ballet School and American Ballet Theatre. She continued her ballet training with Ballet Austin Academy's Upper School and Trainee Program. While studying in Austin, Melanie also had the opportunity to begin a teaching career, training under Joan Wolfe to teach Creative Ballet. She also trained with Toni Bravo and Lynne Short which allowed her the opportunity to teach Pre-Ballet and Lower School classes. Melanie is excited for the opportunity to performing with NunaMaana.
Erica has been cultivating her passion for dance since she was a three-year-old taking jazz, tap and ballet classes. Though she eventually worked her way up to perform with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center and the Houston Ballet Academy in her hometown, she is most proud of her work with the Lamar Dance Theatre and the IB dance program at Lamar High School where she first discovered modern dance. After graduating from St. Edward's with a degree in Graphic Design, Erica began dancing with Chaddick Dance Theater as her first feature in a professional dance company. She debuted with Nuna Maana in the most recent production of The Peasant's Masquerade. She still has stomach aches from the laugh attacks during these rehearsals and can't wait for more fun with Nuna Maana.
Costume Design & Construction
Carol Alperin has been working with fabric for over four decades. She has created award winning quilts as well as dozens of costumes for theater, dance, circus and other types of performance. She is interested in dying and manipulating fabric and has used these efforts in art quilts and as part of set design. Beyond that, she has been an avid knitter and Waldorf doll maker. She has always enjoyed the process of working with fabric and fiber (and has far too large a collection of it!).
Costume Design & Construction
Joey studied at Stephen F. Austin and The University of North Texas to obtain his BFA in Spanish and minor in French. As electives he took classes in drawing and theater costuming. In 2013 he was the costume designer for Sundown Collaborative Theater's production of Carter Stubbs Takes Flight in Denton, Texas. He moved to Austin in 2014 and is currently an Alterations Specialist for special occasion dresses and wedding gowns. His first costuming opportunity with NunaManna was Crazed Town of the Haunted West in 2015. In addition to his passion for sewing, he began taking ballet classes as a hobby in 2011 and Irish dance in 2015. He performed in The Dance Institute of Dallas' production of The Nutcracker in 2013, and won first place for adult beginner reel and single jig in the 2015 Texas Capital Championship Feis under the instruction of the Irish Dance Center of Austin.