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.
Matthew was born and raised in Homewood, AL. He graduated from The University of Alabama, where he studied dance and marketing. While studying at The University of Alabama, Matthew performed with student organizations such as Dance Alabama!, Dance Honor Society of Alabama, and RipTide Dance Crew. Since returning to Birmingham, Matthew has performed the role of The Nutcracker Prince in the 2021 Magic City Performing Arts Production of The Nutcracker. In 2022 Matthew performed with many companies and productions such as Magic City Performing Arts Production of Ballet in the Park, Gradient Dance Company’s Chrysalis, and Red Mountain Theatre’s Production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella.
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.
Cheryl Kaye Marshall’s passion of storytelling extends to the performing arts by creating works of art with scientific principles and discovering new ways of communicating complex ideas through the medium of dance. She has trained in tap, ballet, contemporary, jazz, clogging, pointe, ballroom, and more. Her love of tap has been cultivated by her mentors and legends, Michelle Dorrance, Derick Grant, and Joseph Wiggan. In 2017, Cheryl Kaye had the privilege of performing with members of STOMP at The Chicago Human Rhythm Project. In 2021, she was one of twenty dancers from around the world accepted into the Jacob’s Pillow Virtual Tap Program, where she received the Jacob’s Pillow Professional Advancement Award in Dance. Later that year, she directed Alabama’s First Tap Nutcracker. This past May, Cheryl Kaye was named the 2022 NDEO Artistic Merit, Leadership, and Academic Achievement Award National Winner. Cheryl Kaye is the founder and artistic director for Alabama Rhythm Tap. She is an active member of the Alabama Dance Council, Southern Open Rhythm Collective, and the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Cheryl Kaye is honored to be a part of Formations and dance alongside gifted artists sharing the passion for contemporary dance.
unless otherwise credited, all photos are by Melissa Dooley….who, if you haven’t gathered by now, is just fabulous.