Executive Director, Resident Artist, Co-Founder
215.569.4060 ext 206
Photo by David Harwi
Jeanne Ruddy is a former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Company where she performed throughout the world and was featured in the PBS Great Performances series in Graham's Cave of the Heart. She also performed leading roles in such Graham works as Andromache's Lament, Diversion of Angels, Deaths and Entrances, Seraphic Dialogue, Clytemnestra, Cortege of Eagles, Embattled Garden, Herodiade, and Appalachian Spring. She has also danced on Broadway in The King and I, starring Yul Brynner and was an original member of Agnes de Mille’s Heritage Dance Theatre. In addition, she directed, choreographed and danced in her own company, Jeanne Ruddy and Dancers, in New York City. She received her early dance training in Miami, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from North Carolina School of the Arts and her Masters of Arts degree from New York University. She directed the Graham-based modern department at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center from 1986 to 1995 and was a faculty member of The Juilliard School from 1988 to 1998.
In addition to her work in New York, Ms. Ruddy was invited to numerous international symposiums: The Congress of the Dance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; The International Sommerakadamie des Tanzes, Cologne, Germany; and The American Dance Festival in Moscow, Russia, where she was the first to teach the Martha Graham Technique to an advanced group of Russian artists after Russia opened. She has been a guest artist where she has taught and choreographed in many of the United States’ leading colleges and universities of dance such as Sarah Lawrence College, Connecticut College and Florida State University. Local teaching appointments have included Temple University, The Rock School of the Pennsylvania Ballet, and as company teacher at Philadanco. Ms. Ruddy served as Co-chair of the Executive Council of The Rock School from 1994 to 2001 and served for six years on the board of Dance Affiliates.
She founded Jeanne Ruddy Dance in 1999 and received The Independence Foundation Fellowship Award in 2000. Other awards and grants include the National Endowment for the Arts Challenge Americas well as the NEA’s Artistic Excellence award, three Pew Foundation Dance Advance awards, three William Penn Foundation grants, six Fels Foundation awards, and nine years of support from the Independence Foundation as well as the Suzanne F. Roberts Cultural Fund, the Dolfinger McMahon, PECO—an Exelon Company, Land Services Inc, among others. Ruddy recently received her first endowed fund—the Martha LaVallee-Williams Community Outreach Fund for her Company’s work in the broader community.
Since founding the Performance Garage in 2000, Ms. Ruddy, with the help of her Board, contributors, company dancers and staff, developed the space—an incubator for classes, rehearsals, workshops and performances.
Judy was introduced to and fell in love with modern dance and improvisation in the 70s after watching performances by Group Motion, Terry Fox and others. They inspired her to get her BFA in Dance from Temple University, from which she graduated magna cum laude. While there, she also studied dance theater production and worked backstage at many shows at Conwell Dance Theater.
Shortly after graduation, Judy was hired at the Painted Bride Art Center as their first Technical Director in their new space. Within a year, she added Dance Programmer to her duties, and for almost 10 years she presented a diverse, provocative mix of out-of-town and local groups, emerging choreographers and established companies. For a number of years, she hosted weekly improvisational sessions at the Bride, where there was a lot of dancing and discussing and exploring the infinite possibilities of movement.
After the Bride, Judy’s next long stint was at the Opera Company of Philadelphia. As Director of Educational Operations of the award-winning Sounds of Learning education program, she brought the magic of opera to over 1500 5th-12th grade students at the final dress rehearsal of every opera at the historic Academy of Music. Over the years, Judy has participated in a number of peer review panels: Community Education Center’s New Edge Residency program, the NJ State Council on the Arts fellowship program and, since 2011, the Ellen Forman Memorial Award Advisory Committee.
Currently, as Rental Manager at the Performance Garage, Judy is committed to providing a welcoming space for everyone who rehearses, takes a class or sees a performance here, and an optimal place for dancers and all artists to cultivate their art and extend it to others.
Christopher Barrett Politan
215.569.4060 ext 205
Christopher Barrett Politan is an experienced strategist and management consultant, having worked with organizations throughout the non-profit sector across the United States for nearly two decades. His work is focused on organizational sustainability and innovation through the development of leadership, collaborative organizational partnerships, and brand building. Through his work in change management, he has helped organizations develop stronger and more robust boards, engage and re-engage constituencies, and think strategically about the aims of their missions.
His practice has been traditionally focused in the following areas:
Cultural organizations - Visual and Preforming Arts
Health Issue organizations
In this capacity, he has worked with a wide array of clients including: Ali Forney Center, Anti-Violence Project, Artists Space, Ballet Chicago, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Friends of the Hudson River Park, Kinhaven Music School, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (Outright International) Maysles Institute, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the Pediatric Cancer Foundation.
Christopher is also the founder and principal of Give, Get, Grow Philanthropic Advisory. His work aims to connect individuals to emerging thought leaders and ideas throughout the non-profit sector. He bridges the gap traditional philanthropy and venture philanthropy, helping individuals make focused and substantive impacts.
Christopher is also an avid swimmer and swim coach, having led masters teams in Washington, DC, New York City and Chicago. Additionally he serves on the boards of Chicago Dancemakers Forum, a grant maker for dance in Chicago, as well as the Delaware Legacy Fund which provides grants to emerging needs within Philadelphia’s LGBTQ community.
Program and Communications Manager
215.569.4060 ext 204
Paige Phillips works as an interdisciplinary artist, teacher and arts administrator. She holds an Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The Ohio State University with an interdisciplinary specialization in Folklore, a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts, and diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy. Phillips is currently an Artist in Residence at Mascher Space Cooperative, where she also works as the Development and Communications Coordinator. Before coming to the Performance Garage, she worked as the Office Manager at Group Motion Dance Company, and held teaching positions at institutions such as The Ohio State University, International School Bangkok, and at non-profits such as VSA (Columbus, OH) and Arts Corps (Seattle, WA).
Her artwork engages most frequently with dance, installation, and video, and her content is concerned with recontextualizing rituals from pop-culture and religion to better understand identity politics. Some venues where she has exhibited include: National Museum of Singapore, Bangkok Art and Culture Center, Park Gallery (Kathmandu, Nepal), Microscope Gallery (New York City), Mascher Space Cooperative (Philadelphia), Columbus College of Art and Design (Columbus), On the Boards (Seattle), and Pyramid Atlantic (Washington D.C.). Phillips' work has been supported through grants from The Embassy of the United States in Nepal and Singapore, Ohio Arts Council, Greater Columbus Arts Council and The Ohio State University. She has performed for choreographers and visual artists throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia such as Cyrus Khmabatta, Josiah McElheny, Owen David, and Cai Guo-Qiang.
Photo by Stephen Takacs
Julia Bryck grew up in Bryn Mawr, PA and spent most of her free time dancing. She recently graduated from Bard College with a B.A. in Dance with a focus in Choreography. Julia is also an alum of Headlong Performance Institute, an intensive performance art program in South Philadelphia.
Her professional highlights include working at American Dance Festival as the School Operations Coordinator and at FringeArts in both the Box Office and Programming Departments. At the Performance Garage, Julia works as the Rental Associate on evenings and weekends. She will be our first ever Box Office Manager, spearheading our new box office program in the fall.
Bleaken has spent most of his life on both sides of the stage as a musician, actor, live sound engineer, light tech and multi media creator. Ryan received honors in a certification of music recording from Camden County College and has since continued to learn and grow in every major technical aspect of theatre, dance and music venues. Ryan composes his own meditative music among other genres and is available for other local bands and artists as well.
His attention to detail and safety has given him the opportunity to work with some of the areas top acts. Recent credits include Technical Director/Sound Designer for Brian Sanders 2nd Sanctuary, Touring Engineer for Kid Felix at Thule Air Base Greenland, Production Coordinator for Sensi Family Gathering and The Union Firehouse.
As current Technical Director, Bleaken is dedicated to bringing flawless exciting performances for everybody involved in and out of the Performance Garage.