[headline type=”type2″ color=”#222222″ size=”h1″]THE TEAM[/headline]

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Judith A (Judy) Richardson was born in Pittsburgh, Pa and raised in Wichita, Kansas, where she attended Mary Magdalen Grade School, St. Mary’s and Southeast High Schools and Butler County Community College. After establishing her ex-husband’s law office, she returned to school and graduated from Wichita State University in 1978 with minors in Journalism, Creative Writing, RTF, Philosophy and Women’s Studies. While completing her degree, she worked as staff writer for the university paper, The Wichita Sunflower­­­­ and worked as a radio news reporter for KFDI Radio.

Shortly after graduation, she moved with her two young sons to Austin, Texas. Her varied careers include establishing a clothing design business and working as assistant to Chesley Millikin at Manor Downs where Furlong Productions and Classic Management were responsible for a 4th of July Grateful Dead Concert and the sky-rocketing success of Stevie Ray Vaughn and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. At the first Austin Woman Magazine she was fashion editor and the top account executive. She’s done freelance writing for several publications including Third Coast Magazine and West Austin News. She’s worked with The Salvation Army in Development and opened the Child Care and Infant Care Center while employed there. She’s served on the boards of Austin Family House and Casa Marianella, which is working toward opening up Posada Esperanza, a shelter for undocumented women and children. While still at the magazine, she began designing jewelry and established Lillian Bloom Designs. For over 25 years, she sold her wares at art shows around Texas and the mid and southwest. Regionally she was a presence at Kerrville Folk Festival, Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL). Now all of her work is donated and sold through Leap of Joy, which has had a presence at ACL for the last two years and as Lillian Bloom Designs prior to that.

She is married to Steve Richardson. She has two sons, Nicholas & Pete Moulos, a stepdaughter, Ami Cortez Castillo,and two grandchildren, Joaquin and Maya.

Danielle Renae Houtkooper graduated from the University of Texas in 2013 with a degree in English and a minor in Art History. Before working at Leap of Joy as a Musical Theater teacher, she worked with The Theater Action Project at Brown Elementary with students aged 6-9. She began acting at age 7 in Colorado doing both school plays and local theater, eventually working with improvisation and speech throughout both middle and high school. As a high school student, she worked on several plays, both acting and learning technical work. In college, she worked briefly with comedy writers for online satirical short skits. Currently she works as a host for the Alamo Drafthouse affiliate The Action Pack by taking part in leading special programming at the theaters. Danielle started with Leap of Joy in 2011 as a volunteer, working with previous Leap of Joy employee Annelize Machedo. After a year of service, she took on her own class, Musical Theater at Hart elementary.

Jenny Alperin began her dance training at New Hampshire School of Ballet. She went on to earn her BA in Dance from SUNY Buffalo where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. 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, Arcos Dance and Giordano Dance Chicago.

Jenny found her way back to Austin post-college and immediately began teaching at Ballet Austin and performing around town. After performing with Verge Dance Company, Jenny broke out on her own and began her own entertainment company with her sister and friend.NunaMaana is changing the way dance and theater is viewed by creating a totally interactive evening of fun.

Dance encompasses Jenny’s life and nothing brings more joy than sharing this passion with her students. She absolutely adores working for Leap of Joy and is proud of everything the company stands for. Her goal is to teach her students the most about dance possible and give them an outlet to feel self-confident, body-aware, accomplished and loved.

Sarah Carpenter attended Lanier High School here in Austin, Texas from 2005-2008. She was enrolled in the Drill “Dance” Team for two years.Currently she is a General Studies in Liberal Arts major at Austin Community College. She is looking to transfer to Texas State and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree.  Sarah was the project coordinator and assistant choreographer for a guerrilla marketing flash mob stunt for The Daily Dot at SXSW 2013. She has a variety of event experience from SXSW events (HBO, “Who’s Next”, Emmis Communications) to Production Assistant (mtvU Woodie Awards) and non-profit fundraising (CASA, Leap of Joy).  She also has a background in media art, graphic design and promotions. In the summer of 2010 she was a promo and graphic design intern at Emmis Radio Station for 101x/KROX radio station. There she created advertisements that were published in the Austin Chronicle. She has been working with Judy Richardson and Leap of Joy since 2009, and she still loves every moment of it. She enjoys not only teaching but getting to know each and every child that comes into the program. She is pursuing a career in dance and looking forward to working with this amazing program for many years. In her spare time she enjoys her dogs, reading, dancing, art and jumping in moonwalks with her niece Alexis.
Jossina A. Mark is a fresh and newly inventive choreographer, dancer instructor and an innovative educator that uses theater and danced based skills to teach actively engaging activities that are incorporated with class room curriculum . Along with these amazing attributes Jossina is a  young entrepreneurial artist on the rise. As a performer her experience extends as far as competitive dance to solo work performances that focus on performance for social justice/social change . As a young choreographer  she has choreographed for a high school musical production, soloist, small ensembles, dance/ drill teams , and special events. Most importantly her most recent endeavor , she was the artist director and choreographer for her original Dance Theater Piece entitled  The DJ is My Griot . Which has recently premiered in the 2015 Cohen New Works Festival in April. As an educator she shares her wisdom and passion to children in her surrounding community. Along with working in school based partnerships focusing on creative arts inventive activities to enhance their learning capability and in some cases develop  future artist among the children she encounters. Whether she is performing or teaching a 4th grade classroom she is unapologetic of her awareness of her cultural identity. All of her work  pays homage to  her blood memory experiences and ancestral  history. This knowledge helps her incorporate all of her talents in hopes to paying her debt to society , and using these skills to advocate for social change. May of 2016 Jossina A. Mark will be a proud graduate of The University Of Texas At Austin. Receiving a simultaneous degree in BS. Early Childhood Education and BA. Theater and Dance . She plans to establish her ground in early childhood education for a few years than take the next step in her education and attend graduate school. She plans to open up her own dance studio, and help mold dancers into gaining national title accreditation.
Selena Coburn grew up dancing in Montana. She has studied with many excellent schools including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Merce Cunningham School. Selena continued her training at SUNY Purchase College and graduated with a B.F.A. in Dance in 2011. Selena is currently studying Dance Movement Therapy through Lesley University in Cambridge, MA as a graduate student of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Selena strives to bring smiles to her students as a relief from her vigorous dance and movement.
Kylie Phillips, a Houston, Texas native, received her BFA in Dance from Texas Christian University with a minor in psychology. While studying at TCU, Kylie had the opportunity to perform in works by many contemporary choreographers. Kylie joins the Leap of Joy Team, after moving back from a few years living and working in New York City. She is a firm believer that art making is a messy process and it requires diligent administrative support, patience, and persistence. She comes to LOJ with a passion for keeping creative thinkers, of all backgrounds, dancing and moving for generations to come.
Lucy Lenguyen started dancing at the age of seven for small showcases at Chua Huong Dao, a Vietnamese Buddhist Temple. As a preteen, she performed with Kids Help Kids Organization to raise money for orphans and other unfortunate children and their families in Vietnam. After a brief hiatus, she danced and became Captain of Amon Carter-Riverside High School’s Drill Team and Marching Band Dance Company. After graduation, Lucy moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas to pursue a degree in Medical Laboratory Science. She later joined UT’s student organization Texas Latin Dance; she became a dancer for their Bachata and Performance Companies, which allowed her to perform at Austin City Art, Forty Acres Fest, and Salsa Congresses all over Texas.

Today, Lucy is pursuing her second Bachelors of Science in Microbiology at UT. Her love for dancing led her to Leap of Joy as a jazz and Latin dance teacher. During her spare time, she likes to go social dancing, explore local restaurants, and work on her craft projects.

Eddejay Santos has been a hip hop teacher for Leap of Joy for the past four years. Formerly from California, he has resided and taught dance in Austin for the past few years. He is the founder and head choreographer of The OG’s – The Other Guys.
Atenas Vallado is originally from El Paso TX, is a bilingual teacher who has been with Leap of Joy for five years teaching dance and creative movement to many young girls along the way, helping thems to build high self-esteem, believe in themselves, and try new things that will develop confidence in their decisions along the way. Her choreography includes ballet, jazz and contemporary styles. She is a certified Zumba instructor for adults and children. In 2012 she earned an associates degree in Dance at Austin Community College and is currently working on her Bachelor’s degrees in Human Services with concentration in Psychology. ” I believe that dance is more than a hobby; it is a life style. Dancing gives a moment of freedom that you will not find anywhere else. Dance is the medicine of the soul. When I dance I feel unstoppable and I want to share with my students the power of freedom through dance”
Lorena Castelan tried out for her High School’s dance team in the Fall of 2004 and she has been dancing ever since. They performed everything from Jazz, Hip-Hop & Lyrical routines. After High School, she continued taking classes at Dance Austin for Hip-Hop and at Esquina Tango for Bachata lessons. Later on she ended up joining a professional bachata dance team called SeduXion. She love performing and she absolutely love teaching others her knowledge of dance. Lorena is extremely honored to be working with Leap of Joy. Being able to teach young girls and share with them her passion for dance is so rewarding. She hope to be a positive mentor to them and help build their confidence like dancing helped her.

Lauren Parra is an Austin-based Dance Instructor and Performer. She studied Sociology, Psychology and Dance, and graduated with honors from Skidmore College in Upstate New York. She currently teaches after-school dance, at 3 different schools, for Leap of Joy. Lauren, also, instructs at The Dance Works, Balance Dance Studios, and Ballet Austin. Lastly, Lauren is a performer and the Company Manager for NunaMaana, an immersive dance theater company. She is passionate about teaching and performing and hopes to continue for a long time.

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