The Sacred Dance Guild is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors with administrative support provided by organization management firm Next Wave Group.
Board of Directors 2014-2015
Wendy Morrell – President
Wendy (Ontario, Canada) has been president of the SDG since 2013. She has held many positions within the SDG, including as a founding member of the Canadian National Chapter (1997), Public Relations Director (2001-2004), and Co-Director of Programs (2007-2013). She has been intimately involved with several SDG Festivals, including as Co-Chair of the 2000, 2010 and 2012 festivals, and as Chair of the 50th Anniversary Festival in 2008. A project manager by profession, Wendy was an independent management consultant for 15 years before joining the Canadian federal public service. She has been dancing since birth as a form of creative expression and spiritual understanding, and has studied most dance forms. She is the artistic director of two youth and adult dance choirs, and regularly leads sacred dance offerings and workshops in her community.
Tricia mary Lee – Co-Vice President
Tricia (Australia) grew up in Yorkshire, England but now lives in West Australia. Trained as a special needs teacher, she has always loved dance and creative arts. Her journey into the sacred healing arts began as a Reflexologist and has been enriched through her exposure to Indigenous cultural practices, the study of Tai Chi, training in Body Centered Movement Therapy and an ongoing quest for the best in life. It was working in the far north of West Australia on a DVD of Indigenous song and dance that she first became aware of sacred dance. In 2008 she was blessed to receive a scholarship to the SDG’s festival in Connecticut and knew she had found her calling. From this wonderful exposure to many dancing inspirations she has since developed choreographies and practices of her own and shared performances and personal workshops in sacred dance. Her passion is for women to recover their own sacred path through dance and the healing arts. She is currently creating a program for women and carers touched by cancer. Her dream of sharing the sacred culture of Bali with other dancing women came true in 2015 and she is looking forward to a second Bali sacred dance retreat in 2016. She is excited to see the growth of the SDG across the globe and offers her love and time for this end.
C. Noelle Partusch – Co-Vice President
Noelle (Pennsylvania) is Associate Professor of Dance at Mercyhurst University (2003-present). She formally joined the SDG’s board as co-Vice President in 2014, but has been active with the board since 2013 as the Coordinator of Development of Sacred Dance in Higher Education. She has been a member of the SDG since 1996, and was the Alaska Regional Director. She has danced in worship settings for 20 years and is the faculty advisor for the Liturgical Dance Ensemble at Mercyhurst University. With this student ensemble, she has traveled to New York City, Atlanta, Jerusalem and Sydney, Australia. She recently developed created a new course called “Liturgical Dance: Concepts & Perceptions” to be offered at Mercyhurst beginning in fall 2015. Noelle holds a BFA, an MFA and a Labanotation Teacher’s Certification. She was the Associate Artistic Director for Alaska Dance Theatre (1994-2003) and has danced professionally with Atlanta Ballet II, Buffalo Ballet Theatre, Buffalo Inner- City Ballet, Alaska Dance Theatre and the Anchorage Opera.
Barbara Fahringer – Secretary-Treasurer
Barbara (New York) has been a member of the Guild since 2005. She has been the treasurer of the New York-South West Connecticut Chapter since 2008. Barbara has a BA from Penn State University in Journalism and an MA in Dance Education from New York University. She is also a licensed massage therapist and has completed studies in many healing modalities including Polarity Therapy and Huna bodywork. Barbara is also an experienced bookkeeper.
Teresa Preer – Programs Co-Director
Teresa (Virginia) is an eclectic individual who integrates the sacredness of movement and creative expression throughout her personal and professional life. On the East and West Coasts, she studied dance genres and multicultural programs in community, private, and university settings. In 1999, she discovered sacred/liturgical dance and her love for the sacred expression of movement began. In 2002, she founded a dance ministry, which she directed for 10 years. She is inspired by all choreographers of sacred and liturgical dance. She is a licensed counselor, registered yoga teacher, fitness instructor, and the founder/artistic director of Holy Ground Dance Ensemble.
Dawn Harris – Programs Co-Director
A dancer since the age of 4, Dawn (Ontario, Canada) has been involved in the Sacred Dance Guild for over 23 years. Living in and around Ottawa, Canada for the past 30 years, she has participated in countless SDG workshops, six festivals (having been on the committee for two of those) and was coordinator of a liturgical dance choir for 10 years. Dawn’s passion is social justice, with an emphasis on women’s equality, and to that end, the elimination of violence against women. Dawn served as Executive Director of a second stage shelter for women fleeing violence in the early 2000’s, and then returned to school to graduate (at a mature age) with an Honours BA in Psychology and Women’s Studies. She has been working at Status of Women Canada for the past seven years. Now, having received much through her involvement in the SDG, along with her ever expanding sacred and movement interests, Dawn is inspired to give back, fully embracing the movement of the Guild – toward increased universality, justice, globalization, connectivity, and diversity.
Alan Baxter – Public Relations Co-Director
Alan (New York) is very active at Trinity Wall Street Church, where starting in 2015 he became an avid dancing member of the Movement Choir, under the leadership of Marilyn Green. He is also active at the Church of the Village in New York, which along with Martha Chapman, has also hosted SDG events. Having been a mainstay of the New York City Poetry Circuit for the last ten years, Alan Baxter has read as a featured poet in Evie Ivy’s “Dance of the Word” at the Bowery Poetry Club and at ABC No Rio, The Green Pavilion, and The Brownstone Poets. He has had his poems published in Nomad’s Choir, The Stained Sheets, and in a new poetry anthology The Venetian Hour. Together with its host Marvin Camillo, he also co-sponsors Kairos Poetry Café, an open arts venue that meets the third Sunday of every month in Greenwich Village, New York. Alan also monitors the Poets Corner at Trinity Wall Street Church. Three years ago, Alan published his first book of poems Shall We Have Magic? His second volume of verse A Second of Eternity will be published in 2017. Mr. Baxter is not only a poet, he is also a film-maker who has co-produced many independent films and the founder of AB Film Productions, which a number of years ago mounted the feature film Barriers, which Mr. Baxter personally directed. His films can be seen on YouTube under the Alan Baxter Channel, and on Netflixs. His play Juan and Emmett has been produced in a very small theater in New York City. Alan was interviewed in Richard Ramson’s documentary “Bohemia: The Life of a New York City Poet.” He has taught literature at The College of New Rochelle, Ramapo College, and Technical Career Institutes.
John West – Public Relations Co-Director
John (California) studied dance at the Lester Horton School of Dance as a child, and as a teen studied tap under Willie Covan. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in dance and theatre from Macalester College, he returned to Los Angeles and began a career of teaching and administrating at his alma mater, Mount Carmel High School. Continuing his professional education, John earned a M.Ed. from Loyola-Marymount University and a M.A. degree in Folklore and Mythology from UCLA with an emphasis in biblical literature and dance. Later, he began a long and varied career in the independent schools of Los Angeles, starting at Harvard/Harvard-Westlake School in Studio City. Throughout his teaching career he has taught not only in academic areas but also directed plays, taught dance and choreographed musicals. He has been a dancer and choreographer in the field of sacred and liturgical dance since 1967, when he assisted in the creation of an experimental liturgy in a parish church in St. Paul, Minnesota. At the administrative level, John has served as Assistant Head of Harvard-Westlake’s Upper School, Headmaster of Mirman School for the Gifted, and President of Nardin Academy in Buffalo, New York. At the state level he served as the Vice President and Chair of the Elementary Board of Standards on the Board of Directors for the California Association of Independent Schools. Nationally, he was a member of the NAIS Call To Action for the National Association of Independent Schools V. P. of Equity and Justice Initiatives from 2000-2015. His work as Artistic Director of the Valyermo Dancers continues to be complemented by his roles as Sacred and Liturgical Dance Workshop Leader and Clinician and as Independent Educational Consultant on Equity and Social Justice. In 2013 he received the honor of “Man of Valor” from the NAACP. He lends his expertise to schools and organizational boards in Southern California.
Margaret Elaine Plaza – Resources Co-Director
Margaret (New York) is a professional dancer, educator and leader who’s had the honor of dancing with Omega Dance Company since 2000 as a sacred dance artist serving under the direction and leadership of Carla De Sola, Kara Miller, Mignon Gillen and Sandra Rivera. Margaret has performed, choreographed, reconstructed and directed sacred dance repertory for Omega in concert, liturgy and ceremonial services, most notably the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Washington National Cathedral, St. Ignatius Loyola, the Church of the Village and the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture. Margaret joined Omega’s leadership team in 2013, and as Co-Director, works collaboratively with leadership to advance the company’s mission and vision as a liturgical and sacred art. Margaret, raised in the Catholic church, is a devout believer in God, the power of prayer, social justice and serving the underserved. With these principles deeply rooted in her heart, she has dedicated her 20-year teaching career to educating children in the public schools as a New York State certified PreK-12 dance educator and serves as educational leader, facilitator, mentor and guest lecturer in PreK-12 education, higher education and the performing arts. She is an award-winning artist, educator and published scholar currently pursuing her second Master’s in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy and certification in faith lay leadership. Margaret trained professionally with the Ailey School; the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance; Dance June Lewis and Company; Danza Contemporanéa de Cuba in Havana, Cuba; and Off Jazz Dance Company in Nice, France and is technically versed in Graham, Horton, Dunham, Haitian, Afro-Cuban modern and jazz dance. She’s served as principal dancer of Agoci Dance Company and En La Brega Dance Company and has performed for Allison Oakes and Michael Leon Thomas and Noibis Licea of Ailey. The Riverside Church in the City of New York is Margaret’s beloved faith home where she loves attending bible study and small group classes facilitated by the Ministry of Education and putting her faith into action as a member of Riverside’s Social Justice Ministry. When not dancing, choreographing, teaching, or attending church, Margaret can be found somewhere in the world fighting for social justice and advocating for children, public education and the arts.
Marilyn Green – Resources Co-Director
Marilyn (New York) is Director of the Trinity Movement Choir, as well as a choreographer and interdisciplinary artist. Her work in dance, music, and visual arts/film animation have earned her extensive recognition, from a Millay Colony Award to a Ford Foundation Fellowship and grants in the arts and humanities for projects in several disciplines. Her technical work in dance centers on Rudolf Laban, both in terms of movement analysis and his philosophy of creating set choreography with room for personal expression. Her content draws on Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and her own spiritual experience.
Administrative support is provided by Next Wave Group (Maryland), a full-service organization management firm.