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Board Bios - Page 1, Page 2
The Board - Biographies

John Sefakis, DO40 PresidentJohn Sefakis has been president of Dancers Over 40 since 2006, and grown the organization four-fold by expanding the DO40 mission to include panels, socials, casting opportunities and performances as well as opening up the organization to younger members and non-dancers as well (hence the new secondary Logo, Dancers Over 40..and Friends).  He has been a member since 1998, when, as Associate Producer on MetroArts/Thirteen, he arranged for the group to be featured in a week-long tribute, hosted by theater and dance critic Clive Barnes.

Trained as a theater director, Sefakis wrote his master’s thesis on Bob Fosse and His Visual Design for the Theater, interviewed Gwen Verdon while in college, and later, during the MetroArts years, had the opportunity to work with her and feature a week about “Fosse” on MetroArts/Thirteen when it previewed in Canada and finally arrived in NYC in 1999.

John began dancing at 3 ½ , and ended up studying in his home town with a Luigi-trained dancer, Jane DeFalco, who still takes Luigi classes when she can (at 80!).  She was an accomplished tapper, having assisted June Taylor in the 1960’s.  Sefakis moved to NYC in 1975, and because of his excellent hometown dance training, found dance work almost immediately, teaching tap and jazz at Phil Black’s dance studio, where he taught from 1975 – 1989. He also directed and choreographed many regional and stock productions of “Pippin,” “Chicago,” “Dames at Sea” and many plays for the Playwrights Active Cooperative Theater, as well as writing a play that was staged at the York Theater.

Sefakis worked for many years at HBO, The American Lung Association (as Manager of Corporate Promotions and Licensing) and Thirteen/WNET while maintaining his ties to the dance and theater world.  He is also very active in the fight against HIV. He has been on the Community Advisory Board of the New York Blood Center for ten years, and is a member of the Global CAB for the HVTN and HPTN (HIV Vaccine & Prevention Trials Networks). He began his volunteer work with Project Achieve in 1993 and participated in Achieve’s Project Explore (HIV Vaccine) study in 1998.  A member of the original ACT-UP Housing Committee, he was also a GMHC buddy and team leader and a member of the AIDS Prevention Action League and SEXPANIC!, which was formed to protest the harassment of the gay community by the Giuliani administration..

James DybasJames Dybas hails from Chicago, and studied dance with Edna McRaie, Anna Sokolow and Luigi. He has been featured in eight Broadway Shows, summer stock and regional theater productions and is a six-time recipient of the Los Angeles Drama-Logue Critics award. James has worked with choreographers Jerome Robbins, Joe Layton, Danny Daniels, Anna Sokilow, Herbert Ross, Nora Kaye, Tod Jackson, Karin Baker, Patricia Birth, Bob Avian and Gene Kelly. He is delighted to be a new board member of Dancers over 40.

Teddy KernTeddy Kern is a master teacher, dance stylist and choreographer. She has been on the faculty of the Dance Division of Baruch College, The Butler School, Westside Dance Project, and is currently co-owner and Artistic Director of Dance Manhattan, the premier Social Ballroom, Swing, and Latin dance studio, where she teaches and choreographs. Born in Oklahoma, Teddy started dancing at age 4 and began teaching at age 14. She moved with her family to Kansas City where she learned Swing and Ballroom dancing with her first dance partner. She began teaching Swing in Kansas City at Arthur Murray’s and danced in great jazz and blue's clubs of the city, developing her smooth style as a result of the blend of East and West Coast influences in the Midwest. She began to choreograph musical theatre productions through her college years, finally moving to San Francisco where she owned her first studio.

Moving to New York in the 1970’s to pursue acting, broadcasting and theatrical and opera choreography, and continued teaching and choreographing throughout the country. She co-founded the American Swing Dance Championships, the first national Swing event to bring east and west coast dancers together to teach, compete, and collaborate in one venue. She was a member of the New York Swing Dance Society Board of Directors prior to opening Dance Manhattan. She holds graduate Degrees from the Universities of Kansas and California, and is a frequent author of articles on social dance, exercise, and dance history for professional journals. Her choreography is represented in the Dance Archives of the Library and Museum of Performing Arts in Lincoln Center.

She has been a faculty member of the Juilliard School's American Opera Center, Eastman School of Music Opera Training Division, Butler School of Dance and Institute for Social Dance Studies, Dance Masters of America, and Professional Dancer Teachers Association. She has choreographed for the Santa Fe Opera, Kansas City Lyric Opera, Eastman Opera Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, and Chautauqua Opera, where she remains an artist-in residence every summer. Teddy has taught Master classes for the Young Artists Programs at Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, where she recently choreographed the world premiere of Michael John LaChiusa’s “Lovers and Friends.” She has choreographed for Broadway, Off Broadway, cabaret, the annual Viennese Opera Ball and the Debutante Cotillion at the Waldorf Astoria. In 2004 Teddy was inducted into the Living Legends of Dance.


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