ARTS HOUSE DANCE COMPANY MEMBERS

Allison Walter Jennifer Li
Anushka Makhija Jillian Zhang
Liz Reckart Margo Buck
Elizabeth Beugg Maria Kowalchuk
Haley Pisciotta Sara Sachs
Monica Aber Nicole Frazzini
Sydney Essex Nick Silverio

 

SENIORS

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Jennifer  

Jennifer Li
Hometown: Houston, TX
School: Wharton, Finance & OID
Year: 2018

What is your favorite style of dance?
This is a hard question. When I'm feeling sassy, I like jazz the most. When I'm feeling kind of serious, I like contemporary. At other times, my favorite style is a mixture of contemporary and Chinese folk dance (yes, this exists! - most of my solos have been a combination of the two).

What is your favorite aspect of Arts House?
I love how everyone in Arts House is so talented in different ways. Everyone brings something new to the group, which makes Arts House such an amazing dance company.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House is my life at Penn (at least on weekends)! I was able to meet some of my best friends through Arts House and spend time with them while doing what I love (dance)!

What is your dance background?
I started taking dance classes when I was five. I did ballet and Chinese folk dance until high school when I was introduced to contemporary and jazz. I couldn't imagine not dancing in college, so I researched dance groups and Penn. That's how I found Arts House, and I immediately knew I wanted to be part of such an amazing group!

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Modern, Chinese Folk Dance

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Jillian  

Jillian Zhang [Chair]
Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
School: College, Physics
Year: 2018

Which aspect of Arts House are you most excited about?
Collaborating with other groups and putting on shows! Also classes with amazing teachers and dancing with the fiercest group of people on campus.

Why did you join Arts House?
Arts House was the only group on campus that possessed the high-energy and technique-based styles that I was used to. Their performance at FPAN when I was a freshman was phenomenal, and now, as a part of the company, we definitely continue to uphold the high standard of stylized performance and technique I witnessed before.

What have you learned from Arts House?
Arts House has taught me what is truly important in life: food, shopping, a passion for something (in this case, dance), and how eating, shopping, and dancing together with the same people for your college career creates long-term friendships.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
The family! It's always the best when you get to dance with the same people you sleep, study, breathe, and eat with.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet

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Margo  

Margo Buck
Hometown: Greenwhich, CT
School: College, Cognitive Sciences
Year: 2018

How did you know Arts House was for you?
Before I even stepped foot on Penn's campus I had studied Arts House's YouTube page, watched many of their dances, and had my heart set on the company; my experience at auditions just reaffirmed those feelings. The company members went out of their way make an intimidating process enjoyable and welcoming. The choreography was also a huge selling factor! The combinations they taught were all amazing but also vastly different from one another and now I really look forward to experimenting with new styles of dance. Prior to meeting the group I was already blown away by everyone's technique and the diverse choreography and after witnessing the evident friendship amongst all the members I knew Arts House was perfect for me!

Describe your dance style in 5 words:
Smile, jump, jump, smile, extension

What is your favorite Arts House memory?
My first Arts House show experience was incredible. All semester the upperclassmen talked about how amazing the audience is and how exciting it is when all your friends are cheering for you. I assumed they were all exaggerating just to get the newbs excited so when the curtain opened on the first night I was so surprised. The shouts from the audience throughout the entire show made the experience more exciting and fun than I could have imagined (though it made keeping a straight face during contemporary pieces real hard..)

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House has absolutely made my Penn experience! Rehearsals and dance classes have been my much needed stress reliever. Whenever I am overwhelmed with school work, dance is my escape and never fails to make me happy. I also met my absolute best friend! The House has given me an amazing friend group that I have such a fun time with and that I know will always be there for me.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop

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Nick  

Nick Silverio 
Hometown: Shrewsbury, MA
School: Wharton, Management
Year: 2018

What is your favorite style of dance?
This is an impossible question, so I will say contempacrobazz: contemporary (I love exploring new ways of movement), acrobatics (a new but true passion), and jazz (nothing beats a good jazz walk).

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn experience?
I took a gap year after my freshman year to pursue a professional dance career in NYC. It has been extraordinary, but one of the main things pulling me back to Penn has been Arts House. I miss the dancers, the collaboration, and the friendships that I have made here, so I have to thank Arts House for bringing me back to Penn!

What is it like to be the only boy in Arts House for the past couple of years?
I love it! Of course, we LOVE having boys in the company, as it creates opportunities for partnering and great storylines. It has been amazing getting to know this incredible group of women, and I hope more guys get to share that experience! #boysdancetoo

What is your signature move?
Pirouettes on the left (go lefties!).

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop, Modern, Acro

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NicoleF  

Nicole Frazzini [Artistic Director]
Hometown: Lorton, VA
School: College, English
Year: 2018

What trick (if any) are you working on at the moment/which trick would you like to master?
I LOVE watching beautiful extensions, so at the moment, I'm working on longer and more controlled lines, which means ballet, ballet, ballet (and a lot of stretching)!

What is your favorite Arts House piece that you've ever danced/watched and why?
I love the "Lay Me Down" video Arts House created. I feel like it was such a good representation of the company because when everyone improv-ed they were so different, but the video did a really good job of combining everything seamlessly so that it all blended together to create something new!

How did you know Arts House was right for you?
When I visited Penn as a prospective student, I saw Arts House passing out fliers for their upcoming show on Locust Walk. It was honestly something that just happened by chance; we were just about to leave to go home, and we almost decided to just leave straight from the hotel, but we decided to walk through campus one more time before leaving. I talked to them for a little while, and when I visited Penn for a second time, I reached out to them to find out more about dance at Penn. After Allie and Kelly agreed to meet me, and talked to me for almost an hour about Arts House, I knew it would be a perfect fit for me if I got in!

What is your signature move?
I don't know what to call it, but when I improv, I ALWAYS do some sort of slow back bend/arch. I don't know why, but it just always happens. I also love attitude turns, and I do those a lot too.

Dance Experience: Ballet (15 years), Jazz (11 years), Lyrical (10 years), Contemporary (4 years), Hip-Hop (3 years), Acro (2 years), Tap (1 year)

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Sara  

Sara Sachs 
Hometown: Yardley, PA
School: College, Communications & Cinema Studies
Year: 2018

What is your favorite Arts House piece that you've ever danced/watched and why?
I was lucky enough to watch Arts House perform Royal-T live. The dancers were fierce, their technique was spot-on, and the stage lighting made the song really intense. I wanted to jump into the piece so badly!

What have you learned from Arts House?
Choreographing is more difficult than it seems, but incredibly rewarding.

How did you know Arts House was for you?
Over the years, I have observed several of the other dance groups at Penn and realized that Arts House and only Arts House would allow me to do what I love, at the level in which I love to dance, and learn quite a bit more as well!

What is your signature move?
Hinging on my toes. (Easier to explain with visuals than words)

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop

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JUNIORS

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Anushka Makhija [Finance Director]
Hometown: Bridgewater, NJ
School: Engineering, NETS
Year: 2019

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
My favorite thing about Arts House is the people! Joining Arts House definitely made me feel much more at home at Penn and I already feel like I'm part of a family on campus. Everyone is so close, fun, and welcoming! I can't wait to spend my next four years in this amazing community.

What is your favorite Arts House memory?
I'd say the night I got in! It was the night after callbacks, I had thought I'd messed mine up pretty badly and was not feeling great about my chances. I was in downtown Philly for an event afterwards, and suddenly a girl (Ramita) pulled me outside and the entire team had come all the way downtown to welcome me into Art House!! It was great.

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I didn't actually start training in my current favorite style of dance (contemporary) until high school! I originally started off doing rhythmic gymnastics, Bollywood dance, and Indian classical dance until I was 14. Going into high school, I ended up stopping gymnastics and taking up contemporary, ballet, and jazz, and haven't looked back since.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Indian Classical (Kathak), Bollywood

 
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hp

Haley Pisciotta [Marketing Director]
Hometown: Westhampton Beach, NY
School: College, Environmental Studies
Year: 2019

How did you know Arts House was for you?
During auditions when I first met everyone on Arts House and saw how close they were I knew I wanted to become part of their family. Dance to me has always been more than the performance itself but the people you spend time with in and out of the studio.

What is your signature move?
My signature move is probably a switch ring leap..... or pretty much any tumbling.

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I started dance and gymnastics when I was 4 and began competing in both by the time I was 10. As I got into higher levels in gymnastics that were much more time demanding, it got a lot harder to continue both but I somehow found a way to do so. Gymnastics ended up helping me with dance and getting me to where I am today. The crazy talent of everyone in Arts House and the high level of technique I have always been used to definitely led me to this company.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Modern, Acro

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Liz Reckart
Hometown: Tucson, AZ
School: Engineering, Computer Science
Year: 2019

How did you know Arts House was right for you?
I absolutely loved the jazz combo we learned in auditions. It was challenging, sassy, and a ton of fun all wrapped into one. I knew I was in the right place when the class flew by without me realizing!

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House has helped the college transition immensely for me. Everyone has been so wonderful and the dancing is a great way to let loose from school! I am so thankful to be a part of Arts House!

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I started training in ballet when I was 4 years old. Ballet has been my base, but over the past few years I have branched out. Coming to Penn I was very excited to explore and improve on other styles of dance! Arts House had a great variety of styles so I knew it was the place for me!

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap

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mk

Maria Kowalchuk
Hometown: Rochester, NY
School: Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular
Year: 2019

Why did you join Arts House?
When I came to Penn, I honestly wasn't even continuing with dance. By chance, I heard about the Arts House workshop and decided to check it out just for fun. I had such an incredible time and it felt so good to dance again that I realized I had to audition and keep dancing in some way.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Arts House has opened me up to a whole new group of people in the performing arts community here at Penn who I wouldn't have met otherwise. Dancing is also the best mental and physical release from the stress of regular college life

How did you know Arts House was for you?
For me, dance is all about the people. I felt immediately at home with the Arts House girls. As a freshman coming in, they were genuine about welcoming me into the Arts House family, and I was so excited to be a part of that.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap

 

SOPHOMORES

Allison  

Allison Walter
Hometown: Hingham, MA
School: Engineering, Chemical and Biomolecular
Year: 2016

What is your dance background?
I was trained only in ballet for 15 years. I was led to Arts House because I looked up contemporary groups at Penn and watched videos of the different groups to find that Arts House had the best dancers.

How has Arts House affected your Penn experience?
Being in Arts House hasn't affected my Penn experience, it's made my Penn experience. I always say that every way that I have grown since being at Penn isn't because of my classes, my professors, my sorority, or my jobs, but because of Arts House. Arts House has shaped me as a person and a leader in addition to giving me lifelong friendships.

How did you know Arts House was for you?
It's such a quirky and awesome group of people just like my group of ballet friends back home.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
Everyone is so different personality wise and dance training wise, but we get along so well and everyone is so close.

Dance Experience: Ballet/Pointe

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Elizabeth  

Elizabeth Beugg [Scheduling Director]
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
School: College
Year: 2020

Why did you join Arts House?
I joined Arts House so that I could continue training at an advanced level at a school without a dance major. I love how much freedom Arts House gives its dancers and how much input we have in our experience!

What is your dance background?
I started dancing when I was five years old, took a 10 year break, and then danced competitively in high school. When I was deciding where to go for college, I researched all of the dance companies at Penn and found Arts House on Youtube. It was a huge part of my decision and I am so happy to be a part of the company!

What is your signature move?
Any left leg extension.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip hop, Ballet/Pointe, Tap, Acro, Musical Theater

     
   


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Monica  

Monica Aber
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
School: Nursing
Year: 2020

Why did you join Arts House?
I wasn't sure I wanted to begin dancing again in college, but when I went to the workshop and saw how amazingly talented and nice the dancers are, I knew I had to be a part of Arts House.

What is your dance background?
I danced from the age of 6-15, stopping my freshman summer of high school. I went away to ballet camps including: Pacific Northwest Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and Central Pennsylvania Ballet.

How did you know Arts House was for you?
The dancers were so welcoming and made me feel part of a family :)

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
I love rehearsal on the weekends. Even though it's a lot of hours you get to really bond with everyone and get to know them even more.

What have you learned from Arts House?
I've been introduced to so many more dance styles and learned new choreography from students.

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn experience?
It brings my Penn experience a sense of happiness and a place I can de-stress and be myself.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Lyrical, Modern, Ballet/Pointe

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Sydney  

Sydney Essex [Costume Director]
Hometown: Sayville, NY
School: Engineering, Material Science
Year: 2020

What is your dance background? What led you to Arts House?
I began taking dance movement classes when I was little, but eventually started at a ballet only school until 8th grade. Over the years, I've branched out to other styles, keeping ballet as my foundation. I knew I needed to continue dancing at Penn, but only wanted to so if it was somewhere that valued technique and would allow me to continue growing as a dancer, like at Arts House.

What is your favorite thing about Arts House?
I love being able to let loose after a crazy day with people I love to be around. Arts House and the people in the company have become my happy place!

How has being in Arts House affected your Penn Experience?
I'm so thankful to have a community as welcoming and fun as Arts House. Since starting at Penn, I already feel like I have support system that I can depend on for the next 4 years.

Dance Experience: Contemporary, Modern, Ballet/Pointe, Theater, Character

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