She took a class at the Mariana Lagarreta Pole Dance Studio, then continued for three months to study the art, falling in love with the body-awareness and empowerment that pole dancing provided.Continuing to improve her skills back home in Austin, she discovered Blue Lapis Light which introduced her to a new aerial apparatus called silks. After a year of studying at Blue Lapis, she auditioned and became a dancer/choreographer for the company. Her first performance was in the June 2009 show, “Impermanence”. In 2010, with the encouragement and support of her friends and family, she started her own business teaching the fitness benefits and art of Pole Dancing. Amber’s ultimate goal is to be an example and leader in promoting pole/aerial dancing as a respected, professional sport and dance form. She feels incredibly blessed to be able to live out her passion!
In several senses, this familiarity with movement and change are part of what shapes his desire to dance. Always drawn toward activities that might challenge simultaneously his degree of mental and physical discipline Jason Brown came to Blue Lapis Light with training in T’ai Ch’i, Hatha Yoga, and acrobatic partner balancing. He was excited to find elements from all these disciplines present in the practice and performance of aerial work, and is delighted to continue exploring and sharing the possibilities created by our choice to leave the ground to dance!
Susan Harkey began studying aerial dance with Blue Lapis Light in 2011 and joined the company for the production of Heaven Earth One in 2012. Her performance background is primarily stage acting and musical theater. She alway loved dance and acrobatics but did not begin a formal study until adulthood. She has since developed an all-consuming passion for learning new movement forms. Her movement studies include aerial silks, harness, corde lisse, lyra, pole, ballet, modern, hip hop, gyrotonic, and acrobatics.
Susan performed with Blue Lapis Light in the productions of Heaven Earth One, Love’s Prayer, East ~ West, In Light, Edge of Grace, and Radiance. She's also had the pleasure of performing in and around Austin with Rapt Aerial Dance and choreographer Jennifer Sherburn. While not in the air, Susan spends her time teaching aerial silks at the Blue Lapis Light studio and working as a part-time web developer.
Anika Jones was first inspired by dance at the age of four while watching a friend perform and has been dancing ever since. Anika began her formal training at the formable age of five at Alcorn Academy of Dance and The Studio+, where she studied classical ballet, tap, and jazz under Bobbi Alcorn, Fawn Alcorn, Leaslee Neff, Jennifer Wolfe, and Andrea Wyles for 13 years. At New Mexico State University she continued her training receiving a minor in dance and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management. While at NMSU Anika was a member of the Contemporary Dance Theatre, under the direction of Dr. Debra Knapp and an active member in Dance Society. It was through CDT that she was given the opportunity to work with exquisite choreographers such as Bill Evans, Kendall Beasley, Elizabeth Shea, Ann Gavit, Kirstin Availar, Nicole Dean, among other talented artists. She attended and performed in adjudicated performances at multiple National American College Dance Festivals, always broadening her appreciation and love for dance.
In 2008, Anika found aerial dance through Project In Motion, an aerial dance company in Las Cruces, NM. It was under the direction of Hilary McDaniel Douglas that she began to learn the art of aerial dance and was immediately entranced with the idea of taking this form dance to new heights. With PIM she had the opportunity to perform in New York, Minnesota, Texas, and New Mexico. After working with PIM from 2008-2012 as a dancer/choreographer she made the move to Austin to pursue working with Blue Lapis Light. After being introduced to BLL by Johnathan Charles, faculty at Sam Houston, Anika was drawn to work with this company based on the Blue Lapis Light mission “to create prayers for the planet” through the use of art and dance. Anika’s first performance with Blue Lapis Light was Heaven-Earth-One (September 2012). She feels blessed to have joined the BLL family and continues to love the works created and shared under the direction of Sally Jacques. Over the past 5 years Anika has had the opportunity to create and perform in over 20 shows through the art of aerial silks, corde lisse, rope and harness, nets, and pole. Anika also plays an active role in teaching aerial dance classes at the Blue Lapis Light studio were creativity and uniqueness thrive! Her passion to teach is fueled by the incredible talent expressed through the students who share their strengths, willingness, trust, and desire to move all as members of this beautiful BLL family. With Austin now home Anika finds herself enjoying life through teaching at Pure Barre Austin, performing and teaching with BLL, dancing and collaborating with others, and soaking up the beauties of life!
Kari Burke Lehman
Kari started her dance training with pre-professional ballet company Gem City Ballet in Dayton, Ohio, dancing classics like the Nutcracker, Swan Lake, and some Balanchine works. She went on to earn her BA in dance performance/choreography and psychology at Hope College in Holland, MI. There, Kari was a member of the resident professional modern dance company, dANCEpROjECt, and also choreographed and performed as a Hope Summer Repertory Theatre cast member. Kari moved to Austin in 2010, and has worked as a freelance performer and choreographer, including with Rick Ross at the MTV Woodie Awards, Kanye West at SXSW, and Weird Al at the Moody Theater. Kari first saw Blue Lapis Light perform "One" on the Long Center and was inspired to start taking classes. She joined the company in 2011 to perform on the Seaholm Water Intake Building in "Devotion." Kari is grateful to perform as a company member and soloist, and sometimes serve as rehearsal director. Kari also teaches Silks I in the studio.
Jun (Sunny) Shen
He attended Beijing Dance LDTX as a dancer and choreographer after his graduation. In the past several years, he has performed and choreographed many dance works at many worldwide dance festivals. He collaborated with different artists from various kinds of field as well. In addition, he had rich teaching experiences in dance training. He was invited to join the graduate dance program of UT Austin in 2013, and eventually earned his Master degree of Fine arts in the May of 2016. Now, he is working at Sansori High school as a movement and Tai Chi instructor. Meanwhile, he is the artistic director of Shen Jun Theatre Effect based on Austin area.
From dancing with Sally at Barton Springs in Day Without Art, to hanging off of the Intel building as well as dancing at Long the Center on terra firma, Theresa has enjoyed the challenges each space brings to the work. Along with Blue Lapis Light, Theresa has been a member of Sharir+ Bustamante Danceworks and Forklift Danceworks. She has also had the opportunity to work with other artists such as David Dorfman, Barak Marshall, and Inbal Pinto. She has received two Austin Critics’ Table Awards for Outstanding Performer. Currently, Theresa is a physical therapist in Austin, TX.
She studied the movement form of Eurythmy throughout her education and with the Austin Youth Eurythmy Troupe, Maya performed and toured during high school, and subsequently helped to found the Austin Summer Eurythmy Academy, an intensive Eurythmy performance training directed by Markus and Andrea Weder. With the Summer Academy she performed in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2004), Dornach, Switzerland (2005), Carbondale, Colorado (2006) and Cape Town, South Africa (2007). She holds a B.A. in Visual Arts from Rice University, and danced with Rice Dance Theater, studied choreography and the classical Indian dance Bharatanatyam during her time at Rice. Her training in aerial arts began in February 2008 with Fragmentos Productions in Sao Paulo, Brazil. She is delighted and honored to have been able to continue her study and performance of aerial dance with Blue Lapis Light since 2009, collaborating in Impermanence; Kula Marga; De La Luna; Star Light, Star Night; One and Limitless.
Maya Theresa Kaough
He has been a serious student of ballet since 2005. Sam is also a composer and songwriter and was the lead vocalist/bass player for a band who performed professionally until 2001. Now Sam is a performer of dance and contortion and has performed on stages that have varied greatly in both size and prestige. Sam has performed as a dancer with Austin Metropolitan Ballet and Austin Classical Ballet, and as an actor in the Royal Ballet of London’s 2007 production of Sleeping Beauty in San Antonio. Sam first performed with Blue Lapis Light in its 2008 production of Constellation, and then again in Impermanence in 2009 and in the 2010 production of “One” at the Long Center for the Performing arts. Sam recently finished his study of dance at Texas Women’s University and has revived his musical career, single handedly producing two full length albums (thus far) under the name “Celestial Serpent”. Sam also recently toured with the Jim Rose Circus, performing solo contortion at Sturgis 2010, where he debuted some of his own music for his performances. Sam is now training more intensely in contortion.