Board of Directors Biographies

Cynthia Word, Artistic Director  Cynthia Word is the Founder and Artistic Director of Word Dance.  Born and raised in Abilene, Texas, Ms. Word has a Bachelor of Science for the University of Texas/Austin, but began her Modern Dance training at the University of Illinois with choreographers Beverly Blossom, Chester Wolenski, Mary Anthony, and Sarah Rudner. She later received her Master in Fine Arts from The George Washington University, where she served on the teaching faculty.    

Based in Washington, DC, Ms. Word and Word Dance Theater create Isadora Duncan-based dance/theater productions, blending compelling story, live music, and the dances of Isadora Duncan to create theatrical productions that are powerfully engaging to audiences.  Her most recent creation, co-produced with the Department of Performing Arts at Georgetown University, is the award-winning Once Wild: Isadora in Russia which had its world premiere May 3 thru 5, 2013 at the Davis Performing Arts Center, Washington DC.    

In addition to her dance/theater productions, Word has performed as a soloist in Austria, England, Scotland and Iran. In 2009 she toured Greece as a featured artist with the Isadora Duncan International Institute. The IDII awarded Cynthia the prestigious Maria-Teresa Duncan Award for Excellence in November 2010 for the mix media theater/dance production Preludes: Duncan, Sand & Chopin which presented for the first time since 1949 Isadora Duncan’s choreography to Chopin’s “The Twenty Four Preludes”.   

 

Margaret Johnson, President Margaret Johnson is an Emmy-nominated picture researcher and illustrations editor for documentaries, books, and exhibitions.  Prior to starting mmj research in 1990 she worked in secondary and higher education.  She has an M.A. in Education and Human Development from George Washington University and a B.S. from the University of Texas, Austin.

In the early 1970s Margaret dabbled in modern dance  but gave up dance for other pursuits.  Through a serendipitous suggestion of a friend in 2006, Margaret took her first Duncan technique class.   Since then she has studied with Cynthia Word, Ingrid Zimmer, Valerie Durham and Jeanne Bresciani.

Hannah Goldberg, Vice President  Hannah Goldberg is a Senior Consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton and has served the military healthcare population (TRICARE) for the past two years by providing programmatic support and written and editorial expertise. Her primary areas of support have focused on population health, medical management, and patient safety. Before working for Booz Allen Hamilton, Hannah taught, choreographed, and performed modern and contemporary dance full time in the Washington, D.C., area to students ages 3-18, and for companies including Word Dance Theater (WDT) and Karen Reedy Dance; both with whom she still actively performs. [Please see Hannah’s dance bio on WDT’s “The Artists” page for additional information.] Hannah holds a B.A. from The College of William and Mary in English and dance. 

Debrah Shaver, Treasurer  Debrah Shaver owns Lifestyle Solutions®, LLC, a life management company dedicated to organizing people, money, places and things. Prior to starting her company 18 years ago, Debrah was a corporate communications manager for Verizon and an events planner for a medical association. Debrah graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in journalism and public relations.  She is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the American Association of Daily Money Managers. She has served as president of Word Dance Theatre, and treasurer of the Bradley House Condominium Association. She has also served on the boards of NAPO and the West Virginia University Alumni Association.

 

Rhonda Anderson-Speight, Committee Chair

 

Gail Bingham, Member  Gail Bingham is a photographer and a recognized pioneer in mediating environmental disputes. She is the owner of Civic Dialog Group and president emeritus of RESOLVE. In 2006, Gail was awarded the Mary Parker Follett Award of the Association for Conflict Resolution, given “to an individual who has shown a passion and willingness to take risks, has used innovative and experimental techniques, and draws upon the talents and ideas of all persons…”. She seeks through photography to experience and express that which does not easily lend itself to words, and resonates with dance and dancers for the same reason. Gail studied anthropology at Stanford, took a break for two years to be part of a San Francisco area theater company, and graduated from Huxley College of Environmental Studies in Washington State with a degree in environmental planning. She did her graduate work at the University of California Berkeley. She is a member of the Bethesda Friends Meeting and is on the advisory board of the School of Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming.

 

Sarah Ingersoll, Member

 

Laura Shuey-Kostelac, Secretary  Laura Shuey-Kostelac is an assistant account executve in the public affairs practice at Finn Partners.  In this role, she assists with day-to-day strategic communications account work, helping to develop editorial content, cultivate partnerships, conduct research, and execute social and earned media strategies for a diverse portfolio of public and private sector clients.  Some of Laura's previous work and volunteer experience include positions with the U.S. Department of Justice, The George Washington University, and The Washington Ballet.  Laura holds a Masters of Arts in media and public affairs as well as a Bachelor of Arts in political communication with a minor in dance from The George Washington University.

 

Rose Solari, Member  Rose Solari is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather, the one-act play, Looking for Guenevere, and the novel, A Secret Woman.  She has lectured and taught writing workshops at many institutions, including the University of Maryland, College Park; St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland; and the Centre for Creative Writing at the University of Oxford's Kellogg Colege in Oxford, England. Her awards include the Randall Jarell Poetry Prize, an EMMA awardd for excellence in journalism, and multiple grants.

 

Ingrid Zimmer, Member  Ingrid Zimmer is the Director of Inner City - Inner Child (ICIC), one of DC's most venerable early childhood arts and literacy programs.  As one of ICIC's founding teaching artists, Ingrid was instrumental in developing its centerpiece program, Dancing with Books.  While she continues to work with teachers and children as a teaching artist, Ingrid also directs all day-to-day aspects of ICIC and works closely with funders and child development centers to implement ICIC programs.  Ingrid has been in the vanguard of learning through the arts in Washington, DC area for over two decades.  During her 10-year tenure as the Director of the Dance Department at St. Alans and the National Cathedral School, Ingrid was also a Teaching ARtist with Wolf Trap's Institute of Early Learning Through the Arts. 

Ingrid also enjoys a successful career in the world of modern dance.  After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Dance/Theatre from Pomona College, trained in the Limon Technique, Ingrid moved to Europe where she toured, performed and studied dance at the Folkwang Hochschule in Essen, Germany under the artisic direction of Pina Bausch.  Now residing in Washington, DC, Ingrid is the Associate Director of and performs with Word Dance Theater.  Ingrid has performed in major national venues including the Kennedy Center, Jacobs Pillow, Spoleto and the 92nd St Y.  Her international touring has taken her to China, Mexico, Greece, France, the Netherlands and Italy.  Currently immersed in the study of Isadora Duncan's philosophy, technique and choreography, Ingrid studies with Jeanne Bresciani at the Isadora Duncan International Institute in New York.