Tai Ji Teachers:
Loretta Thomas, (Artistic Director)
Loretta has been teaching and performing for over 25 years. She performed with Michael Sokoloff Dance Ensemble and Austin Civic ballet in Texas. In New York since 1977, she performed the Duncan work with Lori Belilove & Dancers and Dances by Isadora and with Catherine Gallant/Dances in addition to presenting her own work throughout the Northeast and Texas.
Ms. Thomas studied modern dance under scholarship with Merce Cunningham, with master Duncan teachers Julia Levien and Hortense Kulooris, ballet with Maggie Black, childhood education with Ellen Robbins among others in 92 St.Y Dance Education Lab and Chinese movement forms with Grandmaster Yu Cheng Hsiang.
Ms. Thomas has taught at Michael Sokoloff Dance Studio and parochial schools in New York and New Jersey and in a workshop at the Houston High School for the performing arts, Vassar College and at the Isadora Duncan International Symposium.
She is currently on faculty at Mark Morris Dance Center and her Moving Visions Studio. The Moving Visions Dancers have performed recently at Actors Fund Mark O’Donnell Theater and Baruch Performing Arts Center as well as St Mark’s Church with Dances by Isadora, the Paul Taylor Youth Ensemble Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, the Taste of Dance, and the Kids Café Showcase.
Catherine Gallant, (dancer, teacher, choreographer)
Catherine began working with children 30 years ago. Since 1998 she has been the dance teacher at PS 89 where she explores dance with students in Pre-K through 5th grade. Catherine served on the writing committee for New York City’s Blueprint for the Arts in DANCE and has presented dance education workshops for NDEO, NYCDOE, Manhattanville College, the Dance Education Laboratory and New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
Ms. Gallant is a graduate of the Boston Conservatory and holds an MFA in Dance from Temple University. In addition to being a full-time dance teacher in NYC Public School and directing her own companies, Catherine has three children ages 21, 11 and 9. She has received funding for her choreography from the Harkness Foundation for Dance, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Trust, City Parks Foundation and NYFA.
Francesca is of Swiss Italian origin and trained in several modern dance techniques and styles. She has been a dancer with Catherine Gallant/Dance and Dances by Isadora since 2000, a member of Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble since 2003 and assists with coaching the Sokolow repertory, as well as performing with Rae Ballard’s Thoughts in Motion. Francesca has taught technique and repertory works in the U.S. and abroad. She has run her own children program in Hoboken, NJ from 2006 to 2016.
Bob Murphy, L.AC. (Tai Chi)
Bob has studied Chinese martial and healing arts for the past thirty-five years. For the past twenty-seven years, he studied weekly with renowned Grandmaster Yu Cheng Hsiang until the master’s death in November 2010. Bob studied both Tai Chi Chuan and Shaolin systems. He has taught Tai Chi at the New York Open Center from 1993-2003. For the past twelve years, he has been teaching at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island and Moving Visions Dance Studio.
Kristen studied Yang Style Tai Chi, Tai Chi Sword, Shaolin and Shaolin stick forms with Grandmaster Yu Cheng Hsiang for the past 17 years. She holds Master’s degrees in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (Pacific College of Oriental Medicine) and Education (City University of New York).