Roman Baca
Artistic Director

Roman Baca is a Marine Iraq War Veteran and the Artistic Director of Exit12 Dance Company.  
 
In 2007, Mr. Baca co-founded Exit12 Dance Company.  Mr. Baca has choreographed several major works which communicate the experiences of people in conflict, and inspire visions of a better world. As a Teaching Artist, Mr. Baca has traveled to work in Erbil, Iraq and in NYC public schools teaching young adults how to express their experience through choreography and non-verbal expression.  Mr. Baca has conducted Veteran/Civilian movement workshops that provide tools to aid veterans in the workplace, and to bridge the civilian-veteran divide.
 
Mr. Baca was inducted into the New York State Veterans Hall of Fame in 2015 and graduated Cum Laude from St. Mary’s College of CA with a BA in Performing Arts. Mr. Baca is a 2015 Veterans4Diplomacy Fellow, a NYC Service Platoon Member with The Mission Continues, a Leadership Fellow with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a 2014 Art and Healing Network Awardee, a recipient of a 2012 Fellowship from The Mission Continues, a 2009 producing and presenting grant from AjkunBT, a 2010 Access DanceUSA Scholarship from DanceNYC through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Brian Tippen Memorial Scholarship and the Connecticut Wartime Veterans Medal.

Specialties: Non-profit, dance, choreography, veterans affairs, community arts, arts programs

Lisa Fitzgerald
associate Director - Dancer

Lisa Fitzgerald, a New England native, graduated from the post-graduate professional program at The Nutmeg Conservatory for the Arts. Ms. Fitzgerald co-founded Exit12 Dance Company where she serves as the associate director assisting with choreography, rehearsals, and administration.  Lisa has danced professionally for Ballet des Amériques, Connecticut Ballet, Mooney/Cooley Dance, and Ballet Ambassadors,.

Ms. Fitzgerald has taught and performed full-length ballets with Ballet Ambassadors, enriching the lives of youngsters in and around NYC; and was a part of Caitlin Trainor’s Artificial IntelliDance at Tedx, a global conference showcasing “ideas worth sharing”.  She is currently pursuing her BA through LEAP Program from St. Mary’s College of CA and has studied Art History and French in Paris, France and African Dance and Drumming in Kopeyia, Ghana.  Lisa currently teaches at BTC in CT and Mark Morris in NYC.

Adrienne de la Fuente
Company Manager - Dancer

Adrienne Cousineau graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University in 2010, where she earned a BA in French Studies and Philosophy and a minor in Spanish. A native of California, she trained with Richard Gibson and Zory Karah at the Academy of Ballet and with Fran Spector Atkins at SpectorDance. From 2005-2007, she was a member of SpectorDance Company and danced in Fran Spector Atkins’ Figures in the Dust based on John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. After moving to New York City, Adrienne trained at The Ailey School. Upon graduating, she joined Exit 12 for its first Nutcracker and has since danced several of Roman Baca’s works.

In addition to dancing with Exit12, Adrienne is the Business Initiative Coordinator of the JUNTOS dance collective that seeks to use dance as a medium to bring different cultures and peoples together. With JUNTOS she has taught and performed several times throughout Guatemala and in retirement homes in New York City.

Adrienne is also a French and Spanish tutor, a freelance translator, part-time employee at Alvin Ailey, and business manager for Kazuko Hirabayashi's Dance New York International summer workshops in Paris, Madrid, and New York.

Lara Tant
Co-Founder - Dancer

Lara Tant was born in Philadelphia, PA where she began dancing at the YMCA.  She trained at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, DC under the direction of Ludmila Markovina and Alla Sizova.  Additionally she supplemented her training through summer programs at American Ballet Theatre, where she had the opportunity to be coached by Leslie Brown and Rebecca Wright.  Finally she completed her professional training in the Trainee Program at the Joffrey Ballet School.  Larabegan her professional career at the Ballet Theatre of Maryland in 2003, where she also embarked upon her career as a ballet teacher.  In 2005 she joined Connecticut Ballet in Stamford, CT.

In 2007 Lara co-founded Exit 12 Dance Company with Roman Baca and Lisa Fitzgerald.  In addition to dancing with Exit 12 Lara performs with many companies and choreographers in New York City including Rebecca Kelly Ballet, David Fernandez, Alison Cook-Beatty Dance Company, Mooney-Cooley Dance,  and Lou Troisi.  Lara has performed many classical and contemporary works; her favorites include Aurora in the Sleeping Beauty, Gamzatti in La Bayadere and the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker. 

Lara has taught ballet and creative movement at Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Ballet Des Enfants, Armonk Dance, ATB in Glendale, NY, Dance New York, Brooklyn Ballet and Steps on Broadway.  She is currently a full time faculty member at the Joffrey Ballet School in Manhattan where she teaches in the Children’s, Youth Ballet and Adult Programs.  In April 2015 she traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to teach and choreograph for underprivileged children in the townships of South Africa.   Lara will complete her Performing Arts Degree through the College of Saint Mary’s LEAP program in May 2016.  In August 2015 Lara went through the Bolshoi Teacher Training and received her certificate from the Bolshoi Ballet Academy for levels one through three.  She is thrilled to return for a third season to Ballet Theatre Company for the Nutcracker.

Taylor Gordon
Communicatons - Dancer

Taylor Gordon is a proud member of Exit12 Dance Company.

She has danced with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, off-Broadway and National Tour of Angelina Ballerina The Musical, TUI Cruises, Ballet for Young Audiences, Felice Lesser Dance Theater, Jeremy McQueen, Cirque Le Masque, Rebecca Kelly Ballet, DTW's Studio Series/Oren Barnoy, Albano Ballet, New American Youth Ballet, Untitled|Collective, Push Factor Dance Company, and in numerous concert & promotional performances around NYC. She trained at Boston Ballet, The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and Ballet Academy East NYC, with summers at ABT, Miami City Ballet, and Twyla Tharp.

Taylor is a certified Pilates instructor teaching regularly around NYC and works as Associate Director of the semiannual Performing in NY Showcases with Kat Wildish. Also a freelance writer, she received a BA in Communication Arts (Marymount Manhattan College) and Masters Degree in Publishing (Pace University) by age 20. She has written for Dance Teacher, Pointe, Dancer Magazine, movmnt, Montage Magazine, M Life Magazine, Quick & Simple, ExploreDance.com, and has interned at publications including The New Yorker.

As a dancer, she has been featured prominently in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair Online, and Dance Spirit Magazine. More at www.taylorgordononline.com

Paige Grimard
Dancer

Ohio native, Paige Grimard is proud to be in her second season with Exit12. Before making it to New York, Paige received most of her training at BalletMet in Columbus under the tutelage of Catherine Yoshimura. 

From there, she spent two years at the University of Cincinnati before she moved to Richmond to be a trainee with Richmond Ballet for two years. Since her move to New York City two years ago, 

Paige has and continues to accomplish many lifelong dreams of hers. She has performed at Lincoln Center, been in the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, competed in the 2012 Yoga Asana Championship, and most recently she was cast in the off-broadway show 'Awesome 80's Prom'. 

A big thank you to Roman for all his dedication and love. 

Meaghan Doherty
Strategic Communications and International Relations - Dancer

Boston native and eternal Red Sox fan, Meaghan Doherty is proud to be completing her first full season with Exit12. She began her training in classical ballet at the age of 4 with Jacqueline Cronsberg at Ballet Workshop of New England, in Waltham, Massachusetts. At the age of fourteen, she was invited to join Massachusetts Youth Ballet where she performed over fifteen works by Balanchine, Petipa, Bournonville, Fokine, and Perrot. She received additional training at Miami City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, and has served as a guest artist at Metrowest Ballet.

 Meaghan attended Fordham University in New York City and graduated summa cum laude with bachelors degrees in International Studies and French Studies. She served as salutatorian of her class, and remains deeply passionate about global affairs and international diplomacy. She speaks French fluently and often dreams of Paris.

 Meaghan has appeared in several publications, including The Wall Street Journal and The Boston Globe, and has modeled for Pointe Magazine. Though she denies her dancing days will ever be over, she aspires to work in governmental affairs in the future.

 Meaghan thanks Roman for bringing his vision to life, and looks forward to her future with Exit12.

Maggie Napoli
Dancer

Napoli was born and raised in York, Pennsylvania. She began her dance training at Greater York Youth Ballet and later joined Pennsylvania Regional Ballet. She attended summer intensives such as The Rock School, The Boston Ballet and The Craft of Choreography Conference in Seattle, WA. After graduating High School in 2008, Napoli attended the State University of New York at Purchase College, where she received a BFA in dance performance in 2012. 

Following her graduation from SUNY Purchase Napoli performed with a selective group of students in Beijing, China. She now currently resides in Bronx, NY where she is pursuing her dream of dance with Exit 12 Dance Company. She performs seasonally in West Hartford, CT as well as Manhattan.

Debra Bona
Dancer

Originally from New Jersey, Debra trained at Princeton Dance and Theater Studio under the direction of Susan Jaffe and Risa Kaplowitz. She continued her dance training at SUNY Purchase’s Conservatory of Dance and graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance in 2012. While at Purchase, she performed works by prominent choreographers including Stephen Petronio, Susan Jaffe, and George Balanchine. Debra is currently dancing for multiple companies in New York City including mishiDance, Mook Dance Company, XAOC Contemporary Ballet, and Exit 12 Dance Company. 

Winnie Berger
Choreographer - Dancer

Tucson, Arizona native, Winnie Berger, began her dance training at Ballet Arts under the direction of Mary Beth Cabana. In 2008, Winnie was a trainee for Ballet Tucson, and went on to completing a dual degree in Dance and Theology in the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, cum laude in 2014. She is currently a member of the Specials Orders Department of Freed of London. Winnie has had the privilege of working with Kirven Boyd, Sonia Dawkins, Marie Lorene-Fichaux, Karen Arceneaux, Francesca Harper, Mark Schneider, and Carolyn Doorman. 

She is currently dancing with Exit12 Dance Company and has created her own dance company: Mook Dance Company. Mook has been in existence for one year and has performed at Dixon Place, Green Space, the Actors Fund Arts Center, in the DUMBO Dance Festival, 5X5 Dance Festival, and more. She thanks Roman and all of her coworkers in Exit12 for maintaining and creating such a wonderful artistic environment. 

Aaron Thao
Dancer

Ho-Shia Aaron Thao was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received his bachelors in Human Biology from Brown University, and began his dance training in Minnesota while pursuing a degree in medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. 

Aaron continued his dance training throughout New York City, and has danced professionally with Ballet For Young Audiences, Continental Ballet Company, Spark Movement Collective, and Exit 12 Dance Company. He was featured in the July 2014 issue of Minnesota Medicine.

Andrew Harper
Choreographer - Dancer

Andrew Harper is a freelance dancer and choreographer based in NYC. Most recently, he has danced with Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, Oui Danse, the Glimmerglass Festival, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Exit 12 Dance Company and was a recipient of the 2013-2014 Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education. 

He has been commissioned to create work for the Columbia Ballet Collaborative and his work has also been seen at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, the Glimmerglass Festival, Reynolda House Museum of American Art, and The Cirkus Theatre Project (a UNCSA/Cirque du Soleil partnership). Harper holds a BFA in ballet performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. In 2016, Harper will return to UNCSA to create an evening length version of his work, Song and Dance, which workshopped at Lincoln Center in 2014. 

Ellen Mihalick
Dancer

Ellen Mihalick grew up in New Jersey where she is honored to have received the Governor's Award for Artistic Excellence and Leadership in Dance.  She is now living and pursuing dance in NYC where she is a scholarship student in the professional division at the Ailey School.  Previous training includes the New Jersey Dance Theater Ensemble, New Jersey Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s Summer Intensive, the Pre-Movement Invention Project, and Ballet BC/Vancouver Arts Umbrella SDI.  Ellen has performed as a Rockette in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and in the Nashville Christmas Across America production of the show.  

Ellen teaches both locally in the NYC/NJ area and abroad in Latin America as an Ambassador for JUNTOS Collective.  She has also danced with the Buglisi Dance Theater at the 911 Table of Silence Project, MIXT Dance, Michelle LoBrace Danceworks, and on Good Morning America.  Ellen has been a soloist for NJDTE.  Her repertory includes works by Nancy Turano, Sidra Bell, Dwight Rhoden, Belinda McGuire, Andrea Miller, Bradley Shelver, and Cherice Barton.  She has performed these works at venues such as the Joyce Theater, the Marriot Marquis NYC, and Sadler’s Wells Theater in London.  Ellen is studying Athletic Training at Hofstra University and holds her Barre Teacher Certification through Exhale.  Ellen is very excited and honored to be joining Exit 12!  She wants to deeply thank all of her teachers, family, and friends for always supporting her. 

Kathleen Bollana
Dancer

Kathleen Bollana was born in Utica, NY. She began dancing when she was 3 years old at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, studying ballet, modern, jazz and tap. She then continued on to SUNY Purchase, as a student in the Conservatory of Dance. She graduated magna cum laude May of 2015 with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arts Management. Kathleen attended many summer intensives as a student and resident assistant, such as, Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts, North West Dance Project, NYSSSA Ballet and Modern, North Carolina Dance Theater, and Saratoga Summer Dance Intensive. 

While at Purchase, Kathleen was sent to Taipei, Taiwan to perform Stephen Petronio’s Lareigne at the Taipei Dance festival, along with studying a semester abroad in Rotterdam, Netherlands at Codarts Rotterdam. She has performed many ballet and modern works, along with many choreographed by Merce Cunningham and Robert Battle. Kathleen has worked with many choreographers, Kirk Peterson, Oliver Wecxsteen, Alexandre Proia, Rosalind Newman, Ori Flomin, along with many more over the years. She is currently professionally performing with Exit 12 and XAOC Contemporary Ballet.

 

Exit12 would like to thank the following contributors: