Whitney Renfroe, Director
Whitney has been immersed in dance all of her life. From a young age she was never far from the studio, and continued her training at Birmingham-Southern College on a merit awarded scholarship. She obtained a degree in Dance Performance in 2009, along with the honor of receiving the Fine Arts Award for Excellence in Dance. After graduation, she spent a few years in the classical ballet world, dancing as a company member for Atlanta Festival Ballet and Birmingham Ballet. In 2013, she shifted her focus to modern and contemporary dance when she and her husband moved to Boston, MA. While on the east coast, she was delighted to dance for BoSoma Dance Company, under the direction of Katherin Hooper. Whitney also did some freelance performance work with SunDanceX, a contemporary ballet company directed by David Sun.
Upon her return to Birmingham, Whitney was inspired by the growth of her hometown. She founded Formations Dance Company in 2019 with aspirations of elevating the flourishing dance scene here in the Magic City. Around this time she also completed her RYT-200 yoga teacher certification. Renfroe’s approach to technique and choreography incorporates yogic breath and postural approaches to deliver a an experience that ignites the body and the spirit. In 2020 she recruited Nell Goza to co-direct the company with her, as the two women share the goal of making dance relevant in today’s culture. She is thrilled to see the company growing and attracting new audiences with each season.
Nell Heflin Goza, Co-director
Nell Heflin Goza began her dance training in Nashville, Tennessee under the direction of Tina Trinkler Mercer. She attended Summer Intensives at the Nashville Ballet, Virginia School of the Arts, and River North Chicago Dance Company. Upon graduation from High School, she attended Birmingham-Southern College with a scholarship for dance and trained under Mira Popovich and Ruth Henry. She graduated Cum Laude with degrees in Dance Performance and Business Administration. Immediately following graduation, she was asked to join the Atlanta Festival Ballet as a Company Member under the direction of Nicolas Pacana and Gregory Aaron. After a season in Atlanta, she moved to Chicago. Nell completed 8 wonderful seasons with Inaside Chicago Dance under the direction of Richard Smith and Robert McKee and in addition to being a Company Member, she also served as the Development and School Director for the company. Outside of performing, Nell has taught for close to a decade at numerous intensives and workshops in addition to studios throughout the Chicagoland area. She also has served as an adjudicator for regional and national dance competitions, booked various industrial gigs, and even choreographed a music video for a Chicago-based musician. Nell and her family recently relocated back to Georgia; she is currently on faculty at the Atlanta Ballet and is enjoying spreading her love of technique and passion for artistry to her students in Atlanta. Nell is excited and honored to join Whitney at Formations and be able to create art with one of her dearest friends.
Cora is originally from De Soto, KS. She attended the University of Kansas where she received a BA in Dance and Human Biology with a pre-med emphasis. Cora spent four years dancing as a company member with Inaside Chicago Dance in Chicago before moving to Birmingham and joining Formations in 2020. Aside from dancing, Cora is a personal trainer and dance teacher. She is so excited to be a part of the Formations family!
Kelsey Clearman is pleased to be dancing with Formations after studying dance throughout her life and during her undergraduate years at Kennesaw State University. When she’s not in the studio, you can find our dancing scientist in the lab at The University of Alabama, where she is pursuing her PhD in Biomedical Sciences!
Elsa Cooper began her dance training at Louisville Ballet before moving to Washington state and joining Evergreen City Ballet. She taught and performed professionally with them as Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and various roles in original contemporary works. She then taught and performed with Chattanooga Dance Theatre, Children’s Ballet Theatre (Spring Hill, TN), and Birmingham Ballet. Elsa is also a mom to three beautiful children who make it even more fulfilling to be returning to the stage with Formations this season.
Erin McMahon joined Formations in 2019, and is thrilled to be able to dance while she attends The University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is the youngest member of the company, but don’t let that fool you. Erin is a powerhouse, full of athleticism and intensity that you won’t want to miss on stage!
Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Patricia Colón began dancing in 2008 under Sophy Sanfiorenzo and Joey Chevres’s guidance. In 2012, she joined the school of “Balleteatro Nacional de Puerto Rico (BNPR)” to further her dance education.
She later became a member of the professional company of “Balleteatro Nacional de Puerto Rico” in 2015 where she performed in numerous classical and neoclassical ballets.
In 2018, while dancing with Centro Danza, directed by Laura Valentin, Colón danced and choreographed for the Twenty-First International Dance Festival in Habana, Cuba where she obtained an honorable mentioned with her choreography “Sin Ataduras.”
Patricia began her college education in 2015 at the University of Puerto Rico. In 2018, she transferred to Belhaven University in Jackson, MS to further her dance education. During her time at Belhaven University, she performed various solo works and group pieces on the University’s dance concerts. She graduated in 2021 with a Bachelors of Arts in dance and a minor in Business Administration.
Emily Tincher spent the majority of her young dance career in Central Pennsylvania with Movement Laboratory. It was here that she was introduced to a wide range of dance styles, including Ballet, Jazz, Horton, and Graham technique. In 2011, Emily graduated with a BA in Dance Performance from Point Park University. In 2012, Emily began her professional career with AROVA Contemporary Ballet in Birmingham, AL. In 2016, she became a freelance artist throughout Birmingham and the Southeast, performing roles such as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Birmingham Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Tarentella in Birmingham Ballet’s Swan Lake, and one of the female soloists in Thiago Fragoso’s music video. Emily loves bringing her passion for dance to the stage with Formations.
Megan grew up in a small town in Central Florida dancing with Walter Fields Academy of Dance. She earned her AA in Dance Performance and Choreography in 2005, then moved to Tuscaloosa for graduate school in 2008 and to Birmingham in 2010. She has previously danced with AROVA Contemporary Ballet based in Birmingham, AL from 2016-2018. She also teaches ballet at Premier Dance and Twirl Academy in Helena, AL. Megan shares a love for dance and performing with her co-company members that she hopes to bring to the Alabama community.
Nicholas Thacker (They/Them) Originally from Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Nicholas began dancing their junior year of high school and then went on to receive their Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Alabama in Dance and Creative Media in 2021, where they studied under Cornelius Carter and Lawrence Jackson. During their time at UA Nicholas received awards for their abstract dance films and commitment to the dance program, they also had the opportunity to represent UA as a spotlight feature in an Official Youtube documentary called “State of Pride”. During and after graduating, Nicholas moved to Birmingham to begin their first contract with Jellybean Dance Collective and previously was an understudy with Formations Dance Company’s latest performance “ReSurgence”. Nicholas is now starting their first year with Formations Dance Company and is thrilled to see what the future holds.
unless otherwise credited, all photos are by Melissa Dooley….who, if you haven’t gathered by now, is just fabulous.