Earthdance Staff and Long-Term Volunteers

Susan Lehman
Kitchen Manager & Head Chef

Susan was born in Lancaster, PA (Dutch Country) and lived there until age 13. She then moved to Chicago and has since found her way back East, and to Earthdance.

Susan is excited by creativity, flavors, colors, movement, music, her son!, experiences that help her feel connected to the earth, taste!, smell, texture, and rhythms. Susan's creativity comes from being earth-centered and believes that dancing and cooking feed one another. Susan is driven to create an uplifting and nourishing culinary experience that will stimulate the senses and feel good! Susan's meals are flavorful, organic, fresh and made with love.

Susan has been cooking since before the age of three. She learned a lot from her mother who was a farm cook, and has cooked for many many people from a young age. Susan wasn't allowed to dance until about age 10, (even though she did secretly), so growing up cooking was a big way of creative expression. She later went on to study dance & theater along with the culinary arts at Marlboro College in Vermont, and at NYU in New York. 

Susan is sensitive and informed about people's special diets and wants people to feel comfortable asking for what they need!

Victor Mistretta
Building & Grounds Assistant
Kelsey Hobbs
Programming & Development Manager
Sarah Young
Executive Director

Sarah Young has been the Executive Artistic Director of Earthdance since 2013. In this role, she leads organizational vision and programmatic direction, oversees development and marketing efforts, provides overall staff management, and engages in long-term and strategic planning for Earthdance with the Board of Directors, staff, and community.

She is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner. Previous to moving to Western Mass, she lived in New York City, teaching and performing with Hilary Easton, Steven Koplowitz, Ann Robideaux and Alexx Shilling, Jill Sigman, David Dorfman, the Treehouse Shakers, and Dana Salisbury's Dark Dining Projects. She has presented work at small venues throughout NYC, and has enjoyed numerous dance festivals and countless CI Jams. From 2008-10, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco, collaborating to develop women's weaving associations in the High Atlas Mountains.

Sarah is a Wisconsin native and studied dance and international arts at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a Ford Foundation Fellowship to study indigenous dance in Zimbabwe. Through these studies, Sarah founded Flying Art, and facilitated international exchanges of art among youth from 2001-2011.

Ali Skalli
Chef & Community Liaison
Gayle Spinazze
Marketing & Rentals Coordinator
Niri Halperin
Office Manager

Niri grew up in Brooklyn, New York and is a lover of exploration, creativity, public spaces, games, movement, music, and improv. She believes other ways of doing things are possible and is interested in learning more about how community, spaces, and human interaction can foster these things! Niri is fascinated by the human experience and interested in subverting and unlearning ideas and "truths" that may keep us separate, hurting, and limited. She studied anthropology and has worked at The Relationship Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching communication and relating skills that foster compassion and empathy, in a society filled with blame shame and judgment. Now at Earthdance, Niri is discovering new ways of relating with others and herself, through movement and body exploration.

Kate Blair

Kate Blair was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is inspired by her family and friends' music, arts, and gardening. She studied dance at St. Olaf College and at Luther College, where she was deeply inspired by Jane Hawley's Movement Fundamentals Curriculum, emphasizing Contact Improvisation as a foundational course in Luther's dance department. Since, she learned powerful lessons from a theater project with immigrants affected by the Postville Raid. She has also lived in Mexico City, where she shared dance, music, and theater experiences with women and children at Espacio Mujeres (Women's Space for a Dignified Life Free of Violence.) Later, she loved the sun and energy of Tucson, Arizona, where she danced in New ARTiculations dance theater and worked as an Americorps member at Borton Primary Magnet School, a school with focus on arts and outdoor learning for children. There, she also delved deeper into community life and the borderlands thru the Restoration Project at Casa Mariposa. 
She is curious about community building and 'welcoming the stranger.' She is grateful for having been welcomed into communities where she has been the stranger and hopes to give that same gift back. She has worked on organic farms, at greenhouses, and in gardens since her first job at Rock Springs Organic vegetable farm in Iowa at age 16. She gets her green thumb from her gardening grandmother and other similarly inclined friends and relatives! She is enjoying gardening and learning lots from people and permaculture while deepening love and study of dance at Earthdance! When she's not in the garden, you may find her swimming at Plainfield pond or in the many streams and waterways in the Northeast and beyond. 
Emily Cavin

Emily Cavin became a non-resident visitor/member of Earthdance in the Intentional Community days in 1989, and was a resident member from 1990 to 1992.  She contributed to the community by working on bookkeeping, among other tasks, including playing a small role in helping to build what is now 9 Mountain Retreat Center.  In the interim, she has stayed connected through her passion for joining in whenever Penny Schultz holds a Community Sing, and as a nearby neighbor, and even occasionally by participating in a workshop.  She studied performing arts in a conservatory program long ago in her college days, (very long ago!) and is currently a Hilltown Resident, Singer, Dancer as she is able, Gardener, and an Earth-Centered Spiritualist and Ritualist. She also designs, creates, and sometimes even sells, unique Sterling Silver Jewelry.  She has supported herself in all these endeavors by holding “day jobs” as a bookkeeper, and as of April 2017, brings those skills back to Earthdance…..because, Hey! – someone’s gotta do it!!  And it is a good place to be! 

Carl Sigmond
Operations Manger

Bio coming soon!