Sonia Plumb, Artistic Director
In addition to her role as Artistic Director, Sonia is the founder of Columns Dance and Wellness Centre and creates digital content under her personal handle Sonia Must Dance. She has choreographed 50+ dances during her career. “I attribute my artistic style to a morphing of ideas with dance, constantly seeking to observe, learn, question, and collaborate.” Sonia has served as the first Artist-in-Residence at the University of St. Joseph (2012-2015), taught at the CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts High School (2006-2019) and the Hartford Conservatory. She has guested at numerous dance schools including: Miss Porters, Watkinson, Loomis Chaffee and the National High School Dance Festival.
Sonia is a three-time recipient of the Connecticut Office of the Arts Fellowship for Artistic Excellence, received a SURDNA National Teaching Fellowship (2013), and was one of only nine artists nationwide to receive a Community Legacy Project award in 2015. Born and raised in Vermont, she migrated to Hartford to attend Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut where she received a B.A. in Theater and Dance. She is the mother of one son who continually brings depth and meaning to her life and work as an artist.
Andrea Blesso, Executive Director
Andrea Blesso has danced with each of the elements - underwater, 18ft in the air, spinning fire fans, and in the mountains of Portugal. She is currently the Director of Dance at Boston Center for the Arts, Executive Director for Sonia Plumb Dance Company, Co-Chair for the Wayland Cultural Council, Guest Dance Curator for Boston Symphony Orchestra, a performer & Board member for EgoArt, model for artist Judith Larsen, and a Board member for ANIKAYA Dance Theater and Boston Dance Alliance.
With over a decade of experience creating and leading dance programs in direct response to community need, Andrea has produced and partnered with over 100 dance companies across New England. Throughout her dance life, Andrea has performed with Snappy Dance Theater, Bennett Dance Company, Falling Flight Project, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, and Annie Kloppenberg & Dancers, among others.
Mark Willis, Rehearsal Director
Mark Willis, a New York City native, began his formal dance training at Montclair State University, where he received his B.F.A. in Dance. In 2008, Mark had the privilege of performing with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in President Barak Obama’s inauguration parade. In 2014, He has also had the pleasure of working with Douglas Dunn and Dancers, ARCOS Dance, Christina Noel and The Creature, WHITE WAVE Dance, JOIN Ensemble, among others. Mr. Willis has taught and performed all over the United States, South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. His other interests include choreographing, composing, singing, modeling and playing the trumpet. Mark joined the Limon Dance Company in 2015.
Carol Roderick, Ballet
Carol Roderick recently retired as Director of Dance of the Hartt School Community Division at the University of Hartford, CT. She was an assistant professor of ballet and pedagogy at Colorado State University (Fort Collins) previous to coming to Connecticut. Carol received her early training in Boston, and later at Butler and Indiana Universities. Her formal pedagogical training was with the late Jürgen Schneider (Bolshoi Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, American Ballet Theatre) and Gabriela Komleva (Kirov/Mariinski Ballet).
She was a member of the professional division faculties of Boston Ballet School, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet School and The Harid Conservatory. Carol was principal teacher of AIS Ballet in Kobe, Japan for two years, the Program Manager for the Bolshoi Ballet at Vail, and also served as ballet mistress for the Cleo Parker Robinson New Dance Ensemble in Denver, Colorado.
Joan (JoJo) Rodriquez, Social Media
Joan (JoJo) Rodriguez is originally from La Habana, Cuba. He has had the privilege of working with renowned artists Mary Fitzgerald, Liz Lerman, and Danielle Agami. JoJo has danced with Parsons Dance Company and is interested in continuing his passion for teaching, choreographing, and collaborating. His videos have won national awards.
Board of Directors
Claude Mayo, President
University of Bridgeport
Nelson World Wide
Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
Susan Murphy, Advisory Board
University of Saint Joseph
Anita Baker, Evaluation Services
Lu Zhang, Business Analytics