Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award | Biographies

People involved in Writing about the Performing Arts at Ohio State

Morgan Amonett is a second-year student studying classics (Ancient Greek and Latin) and mathematics. She is a research assistant with the Herodotos Project, an Ohio State-led digital humanities endeavor seeking to establish an ethnolographic database of groups, individuals, and geographic locations mentioned in the Ancient Greek and Latin corpora litterarum. She is also a volunteer survivor advocate with the Sexual Assault Resource Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO) and a manuscript editor for the Journal of Undergraduate Research at Ohio State (JUROS). Among other things, she is interested in powerful ancient women, backpacking, and specialty coffee. Amonett is originally from Toledo, Ohio.

Jacqueleen Bordjadze is a fourth-year undergraduate at Ohio State, majoring in dance and English. As a dancer, she has performed works by Ann Sofie Clemmensen, Susan Van Pelt Petry, Gina Hoch-Stall, Lexi Stilianos, and Calder White, among others. Her choreography has been produced in the Department of Dance’s 2018 and 2019 Winter Concerts, as well as in the Dance Denmark study abroad performances in Odense and Aalborg, Denmark. As a writer, she works as a writing tutor and reads poetry submissions for the Journal, a literary magazine published through Ohio State. Bordjadze is from Columbus, Ohio, and her thesis research focuses on the human relation to nature and natural disasters, as seen in both writing and performance art.

Rani Bawa is a third-year undergraduate honors student majoring in neuroscience and minoring in dance and clinical psychology. She is the president of Project HEAL Ohio State, a nonprofit organization fundraising to provide eating disorder treatment grants and raising eating disorder awareness. She is also a research assistant in two neuropsychology labs and a member of the Chimes Junior Class Honorary. Her career aspirations are to study clinical psychology in graduate school and to find a way to incorporate dance-based movement therapy into treatment of mental and neurological disorders.

Demetra Chiafos is originally from Iowa. Ohio State gave her the opportunity to pursue both of her passions through a dual degree in dance and the Japanese language. She grew up training at a competition dance studio and was coached by Margaret Eginton in high school. Chiafos has studied Japanese since the age of 12. After graduation, she hopes to work as a Japanese translator and as a dance researcher, writer, performer, choreographer, and/or filmmaker.

Professor in dance at Ohio State, Karen Eliot danced in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in the 1980s. With Daniel Roberts, she staged Cunningham MinEvents at the Wexner Center’s Leap Before You Look exhibit (2016), and the Parallel Connections concert (2017).  She is the recipient of Ohio State’s Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching (2016) and the Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award (2018) to oversee a student-led publication of criticism and responses to the Wexner Center’s 2019–20 performing arts season. Her most recent book is Albion’s Dance: The British Ballet during the Second World War (2016) and is a coeditor of Dance Chronicle

Laura Gaines is a second-year student at Ohio State. She is studying statistics with minors in dance and political science, and is a student staff assistant at the Honors & Scholars Center. Gaines has danced for 16 years and is helping to found Momentum, a new on-campus contemporary ballet club. Outside of the dance world, she loves rock climbing, watching movies, and singing karaoke with her friends. 

Sam Giusto is currently a second-year student at Ohio State, studying zoology with a minor in Korean. In addition to her studies and work with the Wexner Center, she participates in the Women’s Glee Club at Ohio State, where she enjoys singing alongside her fellow women. She hopes her work with the Wexner Center for the Arts will spread a resonant message for readers.

Kaiya Gordon (tw: @ayobaio) is a poet and writer from the San Francisco Peninsula. Currently, they are working on a multimodal thesis project considering archival representations of trans people and movements; teaching an introductory poetry workshop at Ohio State; and learning how to develop networks of care and safety divested from state violence. Gordon's poems have been published by poets.org, Cosmonauts Avenue, Split Lip Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and others. Their favorite karaoke song is "Basket Case" by Green Day.

Lavinia Huang was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. As a first generation Chinese American immigrant, she attended Whitney Young Magnet High School, where she first discovered a passion for dance. She joined her school’s preprofessional performance dance company, Guys and Dolls, at the beginning of her sophomore year. Lavinia is currently a second-year honors student at Ohio State studying psychology with a minor in dance. She is part of Stylez Dance group where she enjoys performing hip-hop in events throughout campus.

Emily Kilroy is a fourth-year student pursuing a BFA in dance as well as a BA in arts management at Ohio State. On top of her majors, she’s pursuing a minor in women’s, gender and sexuality studies. Kilroy was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, by her mother who is a painter and father who is a chef. Her life has been surrounded by art in all its various mediums along with vivacity and enthusiasm fueled by a belief in the world-changing possibilities that art provides.

Originally from Texas, Michelle Sipes is a choreographer, educator, and writer pursuing her MFA in dance from Ohio State. She received her BFA in dance from Belhaven University in 2011 where she was awarded merit for “Great Artistic Achievement.” Eager to diversify her experience, Sipes traveled globally working in television and radio production with ESPN, the Tennis Channel, and CBS Radio. She then relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, to perform, teach, and choreograph as a company member with Inlet Dance Theatre for five seasons. In addition to her current academic pursuits, Sipes also works as a grant writer at the Wexner Center for the Arts and will be an artist-in-residence for the Pages: Arts, Literacy, and Writing Program for High School Students this year. Her research interests surround body politics, multidisciplinary processes, and weight-sharing partnering techniques.