Lisa Morovitz-Geger is the founder and director of the Columbia Summer Ballet Intensive.
Lisa has been with the Columbia Performing Arts Centre since its inception in 1998 and loves every moment she can spend with students. Lisa oversees the recreational ballet program and syllabus for the studio, has taught modern and Swing, and has choreographed over 60 ballets a few competition pieces throughout the years.
Lisa graduated from Stephens College in 1992 with a BFA in Dance. She then attended Harvard Summer Dance Workshop and studied dance in London with the London Contemporary Dance Theatre and in Holland with the Rotterdam Dance Theatre. Lisa performed with Webster Dance Theatre and MADCO in St. Louis and then moved to New York City where she became an apprentice for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and represented the Cunningham Studio in the Princess Grace Foundation Awards. Lisa studied the Argentine Tango with Paul Pellicoro and Eleny Fotinos, both of whom taught Al Pacino the tango for his role in “Scent of a Woman”. Lisa performed the Argentine Tango in many tango salons and restaurants and has competed in the International Latin Ballroom Dance division. She has also performed for many smaller, modern dance companies.
In 1996 Lisa moved back to Missouri and founded Repertory Arts Movement, a 501 C3 organization formed to promote the performing arts. From 2004-2006 Lisa was proud to be the Associate Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of Cedar Lake II. In 2007, in order to spend more time with her family and homeschool her children, Lisa donated her 501 C3 organization to Karen Mareck Grundy who renamed it to Missouri Contemporary Ballet. Since 2017, Lisa has been an adjunct dance instructor at Stephens College teaching ballet, modern, choreography, pedagogy as well as a guest choreographer for their faculty spring dance concerts. What a blessing to help young dancers to pursue their dreams of dance whether it be on stage, in the studio or classroom!
Lisa is a board member of the Missouri Dance Organization whose mission is to connect the Missouri dance community and to support all the incredible dance artists of Missouri. Along with becoming certified in the Progressive Ballet Technique she is beginning a new adventure and is becoming certified to teach yoga as a Wilson’s Total Fitness instructor. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks:) Lisa loves to spend as much time as she can with her three teenage daughters and outnumbered husband!
Originally from England, Fran Patrick trained at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts graduating from the University of Greenwich with an honors Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance History and Musical Theatre Performance. Fran Patrick is also a qualified teacher with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance in Ballet, Tap & Jazz.
Upon completion of her training, Fran took a position with Spirit of The Dance and rose to principal dancer in 2001. Tours have included travel across Europe, Asia, America and South Africa. Retiring from the stage in 2010, Fran Patrick founded IPAC (International Performing Arts Camp) and worked with performing arts schools in providing summer training in multiple theatre disciplines.
In 2013, after joining as Associate Director of Springfield Ballet, Springfield MO Fran took the helm in creating 2 full length original ballets as well as completing further training at Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and multiple Nutcracker performances. As part of the Springfield team Fran headed the Outreach Program bringing the art of dance to local area title I schools, as well as directing showcases and summer programs in ballet, jazz, tap and Irish.
Settling into Columbia life with her husband and son, Fran is the Director of Marketing Group, and sits on the board for the Tiger Quarterback Club as well as being an active member of Women’s Network. Fran, is thrilled to bring Irish technical studies to CSBI!
Emerson (Emmy) Mertens has nearly twenty years of training and experience in a variety of dance and acting disciplines, including ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, drama, and comedic improv. She received seven different scholarships to study with many schools and intensives including BalletMet, Indiana University, Kansas City Ballet School, and Lexington Ballet (KY). Her training also includes Manhattan Dance Project, Kansas School of Classical Ballet, Coterie Theatre, and KACICO Dance as a Summer Apprentice. She has had the privilege to work with many respected instructors, including world renowned Michael Vernon, Bill Hotaling, Josh Burgasse, Shirley Marley, Ken Braso, and Jennifer Owen.
As a student Emerson had the honor of performing lead and featured roles with Moscow Ballet, Minnesota Ballet Company, and Mid-Missouri Dance Theater. Her professional performing career began at age 16 with Storling Dance Theater as one of their youngest company Trainees. Emerson has been a company member with East Coast Ballet, VidaDance, and her own company, Anazao Dance, which she directed while living in Kansas City.
Emerson has loved choreographing for multiple productions through the years and has had her choreography featured in Storling Dance Theater’s DANCE, Reflections in a Puddle Arts Series, and the Indiana University SI showcase.
Prior to joining the staff at Columbia Performing Arts Centre, Emerson was a ballet instructor for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet professional company. She has also taught multiple dance styles at MCB School, East Coast Ballet School in Florida, Studio B Ballroom, and Vida Dance Studio. Emerson is thrilled to be working with the Columbia Summer Ballet Intensive this year.
Catina Topash is Wilson’s Group Fitness Director and oversees all programs and instructors. She is a 500 RYT, 200 E-RYT and YACEP, a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider. In addition, Catina holds multiple certifications including, American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) Primary Group Fitness, Flight, KettleWorX, Aircat Aerial Yoga Certification, Les Mills BodyPump, BodyAttack, BodyFlow, BodyVive, BodyJam, BodyCombat, BodyStep, RPM, GRIT, and CXWorX, AFAA Wave I and II, AFAA Circuit, AFAA Kickboxing, AFAA Yoga, AFAA Pilates, Extreme Bootcamp Challenge, Riding the Edge Cycling, BOSU, KrankCycle, TRX, and Aqua Fitness.
Catina has always had a love for group fitness and when she was unhealthy and unfit, it was group fitness that gave her the commitment, sense of belonging, and accountability she needed to reach her goals. The instructors inspired her and she wanted to be that person who helped others find passion in health and fitness in a way that she was able to. Group fitness kick started her active lifestyle and since she has completed a triathlon and many races, and become an IFPA Figure Competitor, KettleWorX Master Trainer, and YogaFit Master Trainer. “I love the training process. I love learning new things and always growing and improving.”
In 2014 Catina opened the Hot Studios at Wilson’s and designed the new formats, Hot Barre and Fusion exclusively for Wilson’s. She continues to choreograph new material for these programs on a regular basis. She says it is through the connections she makes with members that she is able to make life-changing experiences for them as well as find growth in herself. Catina lives each day with gratitude, in such a way that brings santosha, Sanskrit for contentment, to her life.
Malcolm Smith is a Physics Teacher at Rock Bridge High School who currently teaches both Freshman Physics and AP Physics. He has also taught Math and Vocational classes in Circuits, Motors and Transformers and has had the pleasure of teaching several dancers throughout the year. Both he and his wife are avid fans of the dance arts. This is the third year he has taught Phun with Physics at CSBI and it “gets better and more fun every year”. He looks forward to next year’s classes and trying out some new ideas in an effort to show how dance, in any form, is basic Newtonian Mechanics working around a center of mass.
PAST GUEST FACULTY
Mr. Fox is presently a full time faculty member and coordinator for Youth America Grand Prix for Chamberlain School of Ballet in Plano, TX. He began his training in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski. He studied on a Ford Foundation Scholarship at The School of American Ballet (SAB) and American Ballet Theatre School (ABT) and was asked to join New York City Ballet where he worked under the direction of George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, and Peter Martins. He danced as a Principal Dancer with the San Francisco Ballet under the direction of Helgi Tomasson. Mr. Fox is grateful to have had teachers like Stanley Williams, Andre Kramarevsky, Alexandra Danilova who have influenced both his dancing and teaching. Throughout his career, Mr. Fox has performed principal roles in George Balanchine’s Divertimento #15, Symphony in C, Four Temperaments, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Serenade and Jerome Robbins Fancy Free, Four Seasons (original cast), and Interplay as well as works by Jiri Kylian, Val Caniporoli, Michael Smuin’s Romeo & Juliet and Paul Taylor’s Sunset. Tim has taught at: The Washington Ballet, The Washington School of Ballet, BerrendDance Center, Maryland Youth Ballet, The Boston Ballet II, Boston Ballet School, Ballet Academy East (NYC), (MMAC) Manhattan Movement and Arts (NYC), Goucher College, Towson University and SMU – Southern Methodist University.
Tiffanie Bortz graduated from the University of Utah in May of 2010 with a BFA in Modern Dance. After graduating she spent a year in Florida dancing with the Momentum, Sojourn and Zephyr dance companies. Tiffanie also taught dance all over the Miami-Dade County area.
While out in Utah, Tiffanie had the opportunity to perform “Panorama” by Martha Graham with the Martha Graham Company during their spring 2010 tour. Before coming to Missouri, Tiffanie spent a year dancing for the VADCO dance company where she had the privilege to perform in Taipei, Taiwan.
Tiffanie worked at CPAC for 4 years prior to moving to Minnesota and raising her son and newborn daughter. After the intensive, Tiffanie will be moving soon to Seattle where she will be teaching 4th grade.