Growing up in Barre, Vermont and competing in high jump and hurdles on the track team (high school) and dive team in the summers, I eventually found my way to formal dance classes at Northern Vermont University (formally Johnson State College). Inspired by my first dance professor, Maris Wolf, I remember thinking "What? You can get a college degree in dance?" So, I transferred to the University of Maryland College Park to earn a B.A. in Dance Performance then moved to NYC to dance professionally and pursue a Masters in Dance Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. I was fortunate to dance with leading post-modern dance companies including: Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio and Pooh Kaye and the dance form of contact improvisation.
During the mid to late 1980's I was a regular participant at the White Mountains Summer Dance Festival training with Laura Glenn (Limon) and Martha Eddy (Body Mind Centering) - formidable teachers in my dance career. WMSDF is where I was introduced to Ketul, a yoga teacher. I didn't understand what yoga was and remember thinking "I came to this festival to DANCE!" Well, Ketul knocked my socks off and I've been practicing and teaching yoga ever since 1988.
Then, after an almost 10 year career in NYC I made my way back to Vermont, got married and had two kids: Stacey b.1991 and Talia b. 1993. In Vermont and eventually Colorado, I went on to establish a 10 year career working with dance and mixed ability populations. I founded two programs: Arts Ability (for kids) and Forces of Ability (for adults). Based in creative movement and contact improvisation, these projects were designed to break boundaries and stereotypes of dance. In 1995, I re-located to Boulder, CO, following my former husband's career as a scientist, and re-established Forces of Ability. Boulder is where I was introduced to aerial dance pioneer, Nancy Smith and after taking her aerial dance workshop, she invited me to join her aerial dance company Frequent Flyers Productions.
What an amazing 5 years in Boulder....dancing through the air with FFP and presenting wheelchair dances on stage with Forces of Ability. In 1999, Nancy created and established the Aerial Dance Festival and brought world renowned aerial dance pioneers to the festival including Terry Sendgraff and Robert Davidson. Then, in 1999, I relocated again to Baltimore to follow my former husband's science career.
During the summers, I would return to Boulder and became a regular participant at the Aerial Dance Festival. In 2003, I was invited to teach and perform at the Festival and this is where I introduced the world to aerial yoga and mixed ability aerial dance....together in the same year!
In 1999, I joined the Dance Department at Towson University as an adjunct professor and established aerial dance classes at Gerstung, a gymnastic center in Baltimore. The following year, 2000, I established Air Dance Bernasconi. ADB became recognized as bringing a new form of dance to the Baltimore/DC area and enjoyed performing throughout the metropolitan area. We've enjoyed being featured in many television, newspapers and magazine stories over the last 22 years and ADB is sometimes called Baltimore's Cirque Du Soleil.