The Sacred Dance Guild is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors with administrative support provided by organization management firm Next Wave Group. Please note that as at February 2023 we have removed the specific email addresses for each Board member as we were receiving many phishing/spam emails. Our apologies for this action but if you would like to be in touch with any of the Board of Directors please send an email to the office at firstname.lastname@example.org and they will forward on your message.
Board of Directors 2022-2023
Wendy Morrell – President
Wendy (Ottawa Ontario, Canada) will be continuing in this her 10th year in the position! As in the past – she would be thrilled to have a “co” President to work with during this important and what we know will be an interesting year and move into the position in the 2023-24 year. Is this the time for YOU to bring your time and talents as we move into an exciting future?? Wendy was Co-Director of Programs from ’07 –’13, was a founding member of the Canadian National Network in 1997, Co-Chair of Festivals 2000, 2010 & 2012, Chair of the 50th Anniversary Festival 2008, and PR Director from ‘01-’04. A project manager by profession, Wendy was an independent management consultant for 15 years before joining the Government of Canada in 2002 to manage a national information technology project focused on environmental assessments which she retired from in 2014 and now dedicates more time to her passion for dance as a sacred art and to the Sacred Dance Guild! She has been dancing since birth as a form of creative expression and spiritual understanding and has studied most dance forms as a personal passion. She is the artistic director of dance choirs in Ottawa churches, coordinates dance offerings at many local community events and creates and leads workshops on dance as a sacred art both online and in person. Wendy is particularly excited about this coming year as we personally, collectively and globally transition out of the worldwide pandemic and open ourselves to respond to what emerges.
Tricia mary Lee – Co-Vice President
Tricia (Australia / NZ ) grew up in Celtic Yorkshire, England but now divides her time between New Zealand and West Australia. This will be Tricia’s 8th year as Co-Vice President. Tricia has recently moved to New Zealand (from Australia) where she is exploring all that is offered in that amazing part of the world In Australia, her wisdom in the Sacred Arts was enriched through her working exposure to the Indigenous cultural practices and her spiritual journey into the Great Mystery. Her book “The Sacred Mystery Manuscripts” started circling in 2003 and was published in 2010. It was working in the Kimberley region in the far north of WA in 2002, on a DVD of Indigenous song and dance for children, that she first became aware of “Sacred Dance”…. and searching the internet she found the SDG in 2003. In 2008 she was blessed to receive a scholarship to The SDG Festival in Connecticut and knew she had found her “Calling” and then in 2015 she attended the “Festival of Sacred Song and Dance” at Findhorn Community in Scotland with Laura Shannon, enjoying the highlights of its focus on both Circle and Gypsy Dancing. In her Sacred Dance Offerings she weaves many rich strands from her professional training and experience in teaching, healing, therapeutic movement arts as well as from her personal sacred journey work. She has led three Sacred Dance Retreats to Bali and is planning to return with SDG in October 2022 offering “Through Chaos to Creation – Jewels from The Sacred Heart” … a Sacred Dancing response to our world beyond COVID. She was a guest speaker at the online “Sacred Dance Summit” in May 2019 sharing her journey through “Sacred Healing Dance”. Additionally, she has opened the F/B page “Sacred Dance Community” to respond initially to the needs of Sacred dancers in the Southern Hemisphere and to further support the Sacred Dance Guild She is passionate to see the growth of the SDG across the globe and offers her love and time for this end, encouraging all she meets to be “Barefoot, Blessed and Beautiful”. For the 2022/23 -year Tricia will continue to focus on and partner with Co-VP Marylee Hardenbergh in the creation of the “SDG Legacy” program for Sacred Dance Orientation, Training and Accreditation. During the 2020/21 year she created and led an on-line pilot programme through SDG called “Moving through Grief” which was then offered again as an 8 week – weekly program in the spring of 2022. She is currently developing a special “Healing Rainbow” version of this for use with, and in memory of, the grief when young children die. She holds a weekly community group in “Lotus Heart Qigong” for women.
Marylee Hardenbergh – Co-Vice President
Marylee (Minnesota, USA) is a site-specific choreographer, a director of Movement Choirs, a board-certified Dance/Movement Therapist, and a Certified Laban Movement Analyst studying with Irmgard Bartenieff for many years. She is honored to be the Co-Vice President of the Sacred Dance Guild. She directs Global Site Performance, and was the Artistic and Executive Director of Global Water Dances from 2008-2015, and now continues on the international Steering Committee. She has created site-specific dances over the last 35 years for such places as a sewage treatment plant, on skyscrapers, on a bombed-out Parliament Building in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on a clock tower on the Volga in Russia, on a Mediterranean beach in Israel. Since joining SDG, she has taught and created community performances at the Ottawa Locks in Canada, and at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. She has received numerous fellowships and grants for her choreography. Dance Magazine has highlighted her work in two articles (1996 and 2006). Her choreography constitutes a chapter in Site Dance: Choreographers and the Lure of Alternative Spaces. The American Dance Therapy Association often invites her to lead the annual conference Movement Choir and in 2015, she delivered the keynote speech as the conference’s Marian Chace Foundation Awardee. She relishes being on the Sacred Dance Guild Board of Directors!
Rosalind Reid – Secretary-Treasurer
Rosalind, continuing in her 2nd year as Secretary/Treasurer, has been dancing since her very early days. She loved performing for family gatherings when, according to her mother, it was hard for her to stop dancing and give someone else a turn. She started formal dance classes at age 7 learning many forms of dance; ballet, jazz, tap, modern, baton, some of which led to competitions. It wasn’t until she was into her 40s, after having her fourth child, that she found liturgical, sacred and meditative dance, that she felt she finally found her dance calling. She has helped plan a SDG festival, participated in several events and continues to love to learn from the expert worldwide dance teachers that touch the hearts and spirits of so many of us. Now fully retired from the corporate world, she is delighted to volunteer her time for this 2nd year to the Sacred Dance Guild and to be joining the Board of Directors.”
Jennifer Payne – Programs Co-Director
Jennifer (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) is relatively new to dance but enjoys the challenge of using artistic modalities such as dance, song, spoken word and other art forms to communicate important messages particularly around social justice issues. This is Jennifer’s 3rd year on the Board of Directors and this year she is moving from Co Public Relations Director to Co Programs Director. She enjoys dancing and has been involved in the liturgical dance choir at her church in Ottawa for about 13 years. Jennifer has also been a member of the Sacred Dance Guild for a number of years and participated in SDG Festivals and other community sacred dance offerings. She enjoys exploring other forms of movement and dance such as ballroom dance, salsa, Afro Caribbean dance, yoga and walking. Jennifer worked as a public health nutritionist and public health epidemiologist in Ontario for 16 years. During which time she collaborated with local newspapers, radio, cable, the chamber of commerce, schools, foodbanks, and many other community partners to promote health programing. She later worked with the Canadian federal public service for over 20 years as an epidemiologist and Senior Policy Analyst focusing on areas of social justice such as sex, gender, equity, and inclusion before retiring in 2022. Jennifer is interested in using various forms of artistic expression to convey important social justice messages. As well as participating in Sacred Dance related activities, she currently co-facilitates expressive writing workshops and participates in other social justice projects in Ottawa focused on
Debra (Debbie) Donaldson – Programs Co-Director
Debbie (Gananoque, Ontario, Canada)– To Dance is Debbie’s passion. Debbie has danced since the age of 3 years old and her Dream was to be a Dance teacher. Debbie took a turn after high school and became a Registered Nurse though her heart was always with dance. She did follow her Dream when her 3 daughters wanted to start taking dance lessons and she started her dance school Debbie’s Dance Academy. She has never looked back, she has taught all forms of dance at her school which grew into a Performing Arts School “Dreams In Motion Performing and Fine Arts School”. Debbie has taught school curriculums, senior centre programs, summer camps and workshops both in Canada and the U.S. She studied Cecchetti Ballet with Jean Spear and became an examined member of the Canadian Dance Teachers Association. Debbie has directed plays and choreographed for several musicals. Debbie started taking lessons in the Duncan style of Dance with Jeanne Brescianni in NY city . From this style of dance she grew with dance as she felt the spiritual pull to dance Liturgically. She has choreographed and been a Liturgical dancer for Churches in the U.S. and Canada. One of Debbie’s passions through dance is to be able to portray and make come alive issues that many do not want to talk about such as depression, suicide, mental illness, and to this end she produced and directed a show called “Shaping Words” which dealt with many of these issues in dance, music, visual art, poetry and drama. Recently with a select group of dancers they participated in the Global Water Dances and the main issue for the St. Lawrence being Climate change and how it affects all living things. In Gananoque where she lives, they did a Dance Challenge with the Song and Dance Jerusalema. Debbie was the Dance Coordinator and with 12 groups agreeing to do this around the town a video was made to share joy, laughter and smiles after the pandemic had slowed down. Throughout the pandemic Debbie has been able to share dance Liturgically with several Churches with the ability to record and Zoom. She has also taught Line Dance Classes for free just to make sure people kept smiling. Debbie is thrilled to come on the Board for the Sacred Dance Guild.
Jessica Abejar – Public Relations Co-Director
Jessica (New York City USA) is the Founder and Director of The Moving Prayer, introducing sacred dance to people all over the world. She especially enjoys reaching young people through dance, having presented at the Sto. Niño Youth Day in the Philippines, World Youth Day in Brazil and Poland, the National Catholic Youth Conference, the National Conference for Catholic Youth Ministry, and regularly working with organizations such as the Office of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of New York and Dominican Youth Movement USA. She has also presented for various events including the San Lorenzo Ruiz Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Our Lady of Antipolo Feast Day at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the Sacred Dance Guild Festival, and more. Jessica is an alumna of Dance/USA’s Institute for Leadership Training, completing a mentorship program under sacred and liturgical dance pioneer Carla DeSola. She is also a former member of Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee and participated in Gibney Dance Center’s Institute of Community Action Training. Jessica has been a member of the Sacred Dance Guild for many years as a presenter at summer Festivals, on the Technical Team for the 2020 On Line Summer Festival, Technical Support for the Quarterly Conversation Series in 2022 and Administrative Coordinator for the Winter 2021 Mini Festival. Jessica is excited to be taking the next step in coming on Board as the Co-Director of Public Relations for the Sacred Dance Guild.
John West – Public Relations Co-Director
John (California, USA) as a child studied dance at the Lester Horton School of Dance, 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, Mr. West 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 Mr. West has served as Asst. Head of Harvard-Westlake’s Upper School, Headmaster of Mirman School for the Gifted, and President of Nardin Academy in Buffalo, NY. 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 & 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. John says”
“So much of what we practitioners of sacred dance face nests in the misperception that what we do has no roots in one country or tradition or the other; that the sacred/divine have no comity or intersection with one another. The Guild controverts that; it provides ongoing proof that “We are!” It provides our art a level sustainability for all those who have come before and for all who will follow. I am proud to contribute to that end.” This is John’s 6th year as Public Relations Co-Director.
Mary Kamp – Resources Co-Director
Mary (Cincinnati, Ohio) is a teaching Artist in Ballet, Character, Tap and Jazz, a Dancer, Choreographer, Movement Specialist, Liturgical & Sacred Dance Workshop Leader. Her professional career spans nearly six decades performing throughout the United States and in Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, Egypt, and Japan. She brings a maturity and wisdom to her presentations of dance in worship services, sacred celebrations, concerts, and workshops. She has been the director of the Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church’s Daughter of Miriam, a Liturgical Dance Ministry since 1999. They have offered dance at churches and events of many denominations in Ohio and Kentucky. Currently she is a Lead Teacher at de la Arts Dance Center, a non-profit performing arts center and a class instructor in the Dance for PD program, originally founded as a collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group, and now fully administered by the Mark Morris Dance Group. A Sacred Dance Guild member since 1999, she has served as Co-Director of Programs on the Board of Directors of the SDG. In the summer of 2010, she was Co-Director of “Simply Soaring” at Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut, in 2012, she was Co-Director of the “Dance A World of Hope” Sacred Dance Festival, held at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and again in 2015 she served as Co-Director of “Dancing on Waves of Grace”, held at Mercyhurst University in Erie , PA . Mary was also one of the 22 participants in the Sacred Dance Guild journey to England in 2017. Mary believes that we all are designed to see, create, express and experience beauty. The very nature of the arts can and will touch the very soul of each of us. Mary is continuing for a 4th term as Co-Director of Resources.
Marilyn Green – Resources Co-Director
Marilyn (New York City) is Director of the Trinity Movement Choir, as well as a choreographer and interdisciplinary artist. This is Marilyn’s 8th year as Co-Director of Resources. 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, and on Butoh’s focus on the transformation of the dancer and audience in performance. Her content draws on Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and her own spiritual experience.
In addition to the above slate of officers and directors, two members will stay active as adjunct members and “SDG Ambassadors” on the Board for the 2022-23 year.
Barbara Fahringer (New York City, New York) will remain active on the Board as former Secretary/Treasurer working with incoming Rosalind Reid on the Secretary-Treasurer responsibilities and the On-Line Journal project. Barbara’s was SDG Secretary/Treasurer for 6 years. She has been the treasurer of the NY-SW 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 also has years of bookkeeping experience in the business world.
Elaine Sisler (Boston, Mass) will also remain active on the Board as former Co-Director of Programs. Elaine is an experienced dancer, classroom teacher, arts educator and advocate who has developed, coordinated, and implemented a variety of integrated arts programs in Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Elaine spearheaded the Sacred Dance Global Outreach program for the Sacred Dance Guild and organized both CultureFest 2009 and 2012 held in Concord. Mass. Elaine performs with Encore Dance Ensemble and is a member of Skyloom Sacred Dance Group. Elaine was Co-Director of the “Dance A World of Hope” Sacred Dance Festival, held at Hope College in Holland, Michigan and in “Dancing on Waves of Grace”, held at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA in 2015. Elaine also created and organized the Sacred Dance Guild’s journey to England in 2017 with 22 participants including 14 student dancers from Mercyhurst University.
Administrative support is provided by Next Wave Group (Maryland), a full-service organization management firm.