About Us

mariel headshot 2022
Founder/Creator

Mariel Greenlee (she/her)

I have been dancing since I was potty trained.

I’ll try anything. Dance is my first love, preferred language, and the primary way by which I digest life. 

I grew up in Upstate New York, taking any class I could. For most of my life we cleaned the dance studios on the weekend to pay for classes at both my local competition studio, as well as the ballet academy. I went on to earn my BA in Dance from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. 

After spending a brief moment riding the current in NYC, I was lucky enough to land in Indy. It was a dream for 15 years to dance professionally with Dance Kaleidoscope(2005-2019). I now serve on their board. I currently work locally and regionally as a teacher and freelance choreographer. You can find my work onstage locally at Dance Kaliedoscope, Indiana Repertory Theater,  The Phoenix Theater, Indy Ballet, Summit Theater, Phoenix Rising Dance Company, Indy Shakespeare Company, Summer Stock Stage, Relevations Dance Company, American Lives Theater, Butler University, and Park Tudor High School. I am also blessed to be called “Mom.” 

I wish I had known earlier in my career, ALL of the wonderful dancing that exists here in Indy! I love  meeting new people, forging new relationships, and discovering as many fellow dancers, teachers, classes, audience members, organizations, resources, and opportunities for dancing as possible! 

While I have retired from performing, it is my great wish to lift dance up in my community and to connect us all. I’ve created this platform hoping that by increasing communication, creating events that increase exposure, offer new ways to engage, network and collaborate, that by collecting and sharing information and resources that are relevant to dance and dancers, that the local dance scene might intersect more, be more supported, and continue to expand.

In my heart, I believe that inside every person on Earth lives a dancing spirit, and when we truly give ourselves permission, there will always be a place and a reason to wiggle.

Managing Director

Sarah Farnsley (she/her)

I am a choreographer, dancer, teacher, and passionate dancers’ rights advocate.

My performance career began in the US, where I danced with the Louisville Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Chicago Repertory Ballet, Aerial Dance Chicago, Esoteric Dance Project, and Elements Contemporary Ballet. I spent 3 seasons as a guest artist with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal before relocating to London, England, where I performed Swan Lake with English National Ballet at Royal Albert Hall, as well as a season with New English Ballet Theatre. In 2019 I was invited by Édouard Lock to be his rehearsal assistant as he restaged his work Iolanta/The Nutcracker at the Paris Opera Ballet.

I hold a BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University and an MA in Dance Politics & Sociology from the University of Roehampton. During the pandemic, I was selected to be part of the Mayor of London’s Creative Freelancers: Shaping London’s Recovery (CF:SLR) cohort where I led and authored reports for two research groups focused on improving working conditions for creative freelancers.

My choreography has been performed by Louisville Ballet, Ballet Memphis, and Ballet Theatre of Indiana, with whom I created and co-directed my first dance film, ‘Absolution’. It premiered at Dances With Films Festival in LA and has won awards for Best New Director and Best Experimental Short.

I’m excited to be back in the Midwest and working with the Indy Dance Council as we continue to highlight our local dance community and grow Indianapolis into a true cultural hub for the arts.

Board of Directors

Cherri Jaffee (President)

As Artistic Director of Dance Kaleidoscope from 1977-1985 and co-Artistic Director through 1991, Cherri was the recipient of the Indy Arts Council’s TRACI Award in its inaugural year. She received her BA and MA in dance from Butler University and served as lead choreographer for Summer Stock Stage for 9 seasons. At the Indy Jewish Community Center, Cherri was the founder and director of the Pilates program as well as a dance teacher.

“I am excited to help guide Indy Dance Council to fulfill its mission statement of celebrating dance through connection, conversation and collaboration.”

 
Roberta Wong (Treasurer)

Indy-based teaching artist, researcher, former professional performing artist. Indiana Arts Commission Lifelong Arts fellow, Indy Arts Council Creative Renewal fellow. B.S. in Biological Science from Butler University.

“As a lifelong dance artist, I believe the powers of grace, kindness, patience, self-discipline and respect can lead to exceptional growth and lifelong discovery. I seek to empower others to reach their fullest potential, at any age, at any stage. I choose dance as a medium because dance serves in any language or region.”

 
Stephanie Tolliver (Secretary)

Stefanie brings to the board the viewpoints of both a professional child educator and a dance mom, with a background in dance and cheer. Having walked alongside her daughter through every step of what became a long-term, serious, and passionate dance journey, she is excited to support this organization, share her wisdom and experience, and guide its work and future growth.

Community Advisors

The dance world is vast, and these are a few folks who help make up the heart of our local dance culture and inform the content you see here. Their experience, advice, and expertise are valued beyond measure. If you would like to join these ranks, please email hello@indydancecouncil.org to discuss!

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