Senior Company Members
Esther was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. Her first contact with dancing was at the age of 8 when she
joined a competition figure skating team. She competed and performed all around Spain in shows such
as Mamma mia on ice and Aladdin on ice. At the age of 16, Esther decided to focus solely on dance. She
worked as a freelance dancer with Fernando Lazaro, and joined Acro Dance Company based in Spain.
After moving to New York, Esther began working as a freelance dancer with choreographers such as
Noelle Contey, Marc Andrew Nunez and JONATHAN MATHIAS LASSITER (Psychosomatic dance
company). Esther became a member of the Vanessa Long Dance Company in 2014. She began as a
dancer and has since been promoted to Rehearsal Director in 2016. She is also currently the Co- Artistic
Director for Long 2, a pre-professional company run by the Vanessa Long Dance Company. Her latest
projects include choreographing the Off-off Broadway show "Woof Woof" with Director Leonard Peters and music by
Bob Goldstone, co-choreographing a stage piece for A World Without rape, and choreographing music videos for Dolly
Mariah and Ty Blue.
Maria Carla Spagna was born and raised in Naples, Italy. In her hometown she recieves dance training in Ballet, Horton, and Contemporary from the Mara Fusco School and also studies languages at the University L'Orentale. In 2010 she moved to New York City to improve her dance and join the professional program at Ailey School. From 2010 to 2012 she worked with Infinity Dance Company. She participated in several projects with choreographers such as Jane Hicks, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Sidra Bell, Delaney Larimore, Sean Scantlebury, and Caterina Rago. She is currently part of ASHA Dance Company. In October 2014 Maria Carla joined Vanessa Long Dance Company and she's very excited to be working with Vanessa and her talented dancers.
Emilie Paap is a proud senior company member of the Vanessa Long Dance Company! She can't believe it's already been a year with this marvelous company and incredible director. She truly, from the bottom of her heart, believes Vanessa is something special and that this company will go far. The company has become something she looks forward to every week to rejuvenate and bring out her dancing chops. Film has become a part of her having done two features with her third on the books next spring. She would like to thank her amazing girls and (yeah Justin!) for making every week memorable, Mr.& Mrs Long, Ken for giving us a home at MRT, AL for discovering me, Vanessa:you already know. Her G for being endescribable & her best friends, her family and Melissa.
Justin Heim is a California-born, North Dakota-raised, New Yorker at heart. Always a singer and actor, his high school directors encouraged him to begin training with two local dance studios and performing with Northern Plains Dance. While earning his BFA in musical thatre at North Dakota State University, he danced and acted in Fargo Moorhead Ballet Company and performed professionally in musicals in the area. After graduation he worked as a choreographer for two high schools and performed with Bad Weather Burlesque as Apollo Diono. Since Moving to New York in January of 2014, he began singing base for Echo Acapella, NYC's freshest coed acapello group. He is ecstatic to be dancing and acting again with the Vanessa Long Dance Company!
Maria Vittoria Villa, a native of Italy, she began her studies with Ballet and modern dance at "Centro Studi Coreografici Teatro Carcano", Milano , where she graduated in 2013. She then was awarded with a scholarship at The Ailey School, where she performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in a work by Matthew Rushing. In 2014 she became a scholarship student at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she graduated in June 2016 after performing with Graham 2, at first as an understudy and during the second year of study as a full member. With Graham 2 she performed ensemble and soloist roles in theaters as New York City Center, The Joyce Theater, Martha Graham Studio Theather and Salvatore Capezio Theather. In August 2016 she has been offered a company member position with Vanessa Long Dance Company.
Zoë Reed Helm is originally from North Carolina. She discovered an interest in all things performing at a young age, cast in her first Shakespeare play, Macbeth, at age 10. She went on to play leading roles in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and The Merchant of Venice, as well as appearing in a staging of A Comedy of Errors in an outdoor amphitheater. She grew up studying ballet, jazz, and tap dance at Dance Davidson in North Carolina. She was a member of their performing companies, travelling to the UNCSA Festival of Dance and the Charlotte Festival of Dance where they won first place for choreography. She soon graduated to teacher at the studio and occasionally returns to teach as a guest. After High School, Zoë moved to New York City to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) where she recently graduated with a Certificate in Dance Theatre. She has appeared in three short films, including "Where's My Phone", which premiered at the El Cid Film Festival this year. She has a passion for theatre and social change and is excited to marry those passions as a new member of the Vanessa Long Dance Company.
Juliane started dancing at the age of three in the town of Beacon, NY, and has studied a wide variety of styles ever since. Although mainly focusing on jazz and tap throughout her young life, she began to train more closely in contemporary and hip hop during her time at Manhattanville College. Although a Creative Writing major, dance has always been her top passion, and led her to becoming the president and captain of her college dance team. She participated and choreographed many pieces in her school's Dance Concerts and Showcases, and was able to be a part of pieces that dealt with themes of loss, gun violence, death, mental illness, and self identification. Juliane has always wanted to be a part of a company that tells compelling stories through movement, and can't wait to begin her journey with the Vanessa Long Dance Company!
Born and raised in Malaysia, Aimy Day began her dance training in Taiping, Perak at the age of six. She later moved to London, England to study ballet on scholarship at the Royal Academy of Dance. When she moved to Connecticut, Ms. Day continued her studies with the Hartt School Community Division and Ballet Theatre Company. Graduating Cum Laude in May of 2015, she received her BA in Dance and a minor in Graphic Design on scholarship at Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan. She has performed works by Mark Morris, Tami Stronach, Cherice Barton, Kevin Wynn, Catherine Cabeen, Maija Garcia, among others. On August 2016, she had the pleasure of joining Vanessa Long Dance Company.
Meagan Kolakowski is a dancer and actress originally from New Jersey. She started intense dance training at LaDanse School of Performing Arts in Linden, NJ and went on to become a member of the Linden High School Dance Company led by Barbara Brady. Once graduating from Linden High School and LaDanse, Meagan moved on to study dance at Long Island University-Post. She has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Karen L. Arceneaux, Michael Leon Thomas, Darnetha Lincoln M’Baye, and Juan Borona, among many others. She also completed a training intensive with Parsons Dance where she trained with the company and performed two pieces of the company's Repertory. While at Long Island University-Post Meagan studied Stanislavski-based acting under David Hugo, the Suzuki Technique under Maria Porter and voice under Barbara Fusco. Since graduating Meagan has had the opportunity to perform at numerous venues including the Ailey CitiGroup Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre and the Davenport Theatre. Meagan graduated in May 2015 with her B.F.A in Dance and is now dancing with Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre under the direction of Sean McLeod, Aries in Flight under the direction of Catherine Baggs, and is excited to begin her journey with the Vanessa Long Dance Company!
Dustin Schlairet was born and raised in Florida and moved here to the city days after he turned 19. He studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse and also did the Training Program at Broadway Dance Center. Dustin is a huge fan of nature and is often spotted frolicking under the rain. He has performed in many shows throughout his life but some favorites include: CATS, All Shook Up, Les Mis, Noises Off, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. He loves performing and is very very grateful to be able to do so. Thank you to everyone he has ever met because you never know how relationships evolve and change or morph and where they will lead and the influences they will have. Life is now, this moment, so he tries to live life as it presents itself to him.