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Tuesday, June 14, 2022 - 7:00pm

Conversations with U: Dance Alumni Panel

Welcome to Conversations with U, Usdan's panel discussion series in which we speak with alumni in various fields. Through Conversations with U, we hope to connect our impassioned community and draw inspiration from the ways in which former Usdan students are contributing creatively to the world.

For our fourth Conversations with U panel, we will speak with Usdan alumni who are working in the field of dance and movement. How did they get started? How did their time at Usdan influence their art? What are they working on now? Join us on Zoom and find out - all are welcome!

Rebecca Lermsider

Rebecca grew up on Long Island, NY attending weekly ballet class at the Eglevsky School, then soon quickly grew an affinity for modern dance as a student of Long Island High School for the Arts and from attending the Alvin Ailey School summer intensive at age 16. She went on to attain her BFA in 2014 from Marymount Manhattan College becoming immensely curious about the connection between coping mechanisms, psychology, making space for emotions and the bio-psycho-social-spiritual healing properties of dance.

This led to a greater calling to attend Pratt Institute's Creative Arts Therapy graduate program, with focus in Dance Movement Therapy, achieving her Master in Science in 2018. Her thesis titled, Aesthetic Poetic Flow is an artistic self-inquiry to explore and describe her 9-month chronometric personal experience self-curating dance and poetry aesthetics with the goal of developing a holistic, healthy life. She has worked long-term with a range of populations from young children on the autism spectrum, to adults in recovery, to the elderly on the dementia spectrum.

Rebecca now works full time as the licensed creative arts therapist and dance-movement therapist on Bellevue Hospital's inpatient medical-psychiatry unit in New York City. She also has a growing private dance-movement therapy practice Every Body Dances accepting new clients both in-person and over telehealth. She uses her middle name Demi often because it reminds her of her ballet roots using her demi-plié. Rebecca is a proud Usdanite alum!


Jessica Azenberg

Jessica was born and raised in New York City and she made her professional debut on ABC’s One Life to Live as “Baby Jessica.” Jessica was a serious ballet student growing up and trained at Manhattan Youth Ballet, Ballet Academy East, Miami City Ballet and the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. She started tap at 8 years old while attending USDAN! She attended high school at the Professional Children’s School and received a B.F.A. in Dance from The Boston Conservatory. Since graduating college, Jessica has worked at many theaters around the country. Some of her favorite theatre credits include, Spamalot (Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre), Hello! My Baby (Goodspeed Musicals), A Christmas Carol: The Musical (Pioneer Theatre Company), Hello, Dolly! (Cape Playhouse) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Ogunquit Playhouse). In addition to performing, Jessica is a passionate dance teacher and has taught at many schools in New York City including Brooklyn Ballet, Bridge for Dance, Dance With Miss Rachel, Shuffles Broadway Tap and Musical Theater School and now on Zoom!


Michelle Simone Miller (Moderator)

Michelle Simone Miller is a Usdan alumna and actress in TV, Film, Commercials, and Off-Broadway theater. Her credits include Homeland, Blue Bloods, Winter's Tale, and a lead role in the MTV scripted show, One Bad Choice. She also hosts the podcast Mentors on the Mic, featuring interviews with accomplished mentors in the entertainment industry including Showrunner Marta Kauffman (Friends), Actor Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), and more.