Mary paula hunter, artistic director
2014 Pell Award Winner, Founder and Artistic Director of JUMP!
Hunter has taught all ages of Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, and Choreography. Her background in college-level teaching as well as over twenty years teaching and guiding young dancers gives her a unique and flexible perspective. She is known for her emphasis on molding technique to the needs of the individual and for her belief that technique is the basis for creative expression.
Hunter is the creator of JUMP!'s unique holiday classic "Scenes from the Polar Express." In addition, she has performed her own works throughout New England, NYC, and many other places.
In the past, she has served as Artist in Residence for Movement Research as well as Interlochen Arts.
Ayla Ahlquist, Director of operations
Ayla Ahlquist graduated with a BA from Emerson College in Media Arts Production. She has worked as JUMP!'s Stage Manager since November of 2007, as well as the production manager for several short films shot in Providence.
She accepted the role of DO beginning in July, 2018, and is excited to partner with Mary Paula as JUMP! begins a new chapter.
She is passionate about expanding existing outreach programs, as well as establishing new ones in underserved communities. It is her goal to see that high quality — free or low cost — arts programming can be made accessible to children throughout and beyond Providence.
Gisela creus, Artist in residence
Gisela Creus is a dancer, educator and choreographer with international and interdisciplinary interest. She graduated with a Dance Diploma in Barcelona and moved on to Laban Centre in London where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Dance-Theater. She has worked for a number of different Dance companies and choreographers throughout Europe and has presented more than 10 professional pieces of work as choreographer/performer both individually and collaboratively. She is a founder of NunArt, a creative practices association for artists in Barcelona where she remains a member of the leading board and the Head of Education.
Gisela has been teaching contemporary, ballet, improvisation and creative dance for over 8 years. She has worked with all levels — beginners to professionals. She has developed her own project that introduces Creative Dance in Public Schools, and together with Laura Vilar, created a program called AREA-CREA to promote and develop creative approach in the professional dance training. Since moving to Providence, she has taught at the Deep Dance Series at the Dance Complex in Boston, Moving Target in Green Street Studios and holds a regular class at AS220 in Providence. She has also joined the New Movement Collective in Boston where she assists on outreach for the Festival Lion’s Jaw.
Ellen Oliver, Artist in residence
Ellen Oliver is a dance artist and choreographer from Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Ellen works to combine her interests in movement, film, and painting through her choreography and performance. Ellen actively presents her performance works in venues and festivals in New England and New York, and one of her current projects includes a long-distance collaboration titled “Pants Becoming Kites” with Dayita Nereyeth for performances in India and New England. She is a 2016/17 Young Artist in Residence at Bearnstow, Maine, and she has collaborated at the Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco for Teobi's Dreaming (2014) and OceA Dance Wilderness Residency at The Yard in Martha’s Vineyard (2015). Her dance short films "In The Thick of the Middle" and "Dear Brother" were screened at international film festivals and featured in an interview for the 2018 issue of WomenCinemakers biennale online magazine. Ellen is a member of Lorraine Chapman the Company, and she has recently danced for Fusionworks Dance Company and Ali Kenner Brodsky & Co. She currently shares her love of dance through teaching, collaborating, and dance administration. She is co-founder of ProviDANCE Project and 3 Spice Dance. Ellen studied dance at Hampshire College, UNC School of the Arts, and Universidad de las Artes in Havana. As a young student, she attended summer programs at Royal Winnipeg Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, UNC School of the Arts, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Kaatsbaan Ballet, and Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts.
Holly taylor, Artist in residence
Holly Taylor is a JUMP! alum recently returned to Providence. After developing a strong foundation in ballet, choreography, and site specific performance under Mary Paula Hunter's instruction, Holly went on to study modern, postmodern, and contemporary movement styles in college. She has trained with artists from Trisha Brown Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, Urban Bush Women, and Paul Taylor Dance Company, among others. Holly has returned to JUMP! previously as a camp counselor, a substitute, and a collaborator/performer.
Holly currently works for FirstWorks, an arts nonprofit based out of downtown Providence. She is thrilled to be back with JUMP! and excited to help pursue the company's mission of developing dancers' choreographic minds and providing unequivocal physical training.