“You cannot ask for better acting training. The professors give you detailed, individual attention and foster a safe, yet challenging environment where you can explore yourself as a performance artist in ways you never had imagined before.”

-Grant Jacoby 11’ Trinity/La MaMa alumna

Faculty + Staff

Michael Burke (Program Director)

Michael Burke is an award-winning NYC-based performance artist. He has been a member of Trinity College’s Theater & Dance Department since 2001.

A recipient of All Out Arts & New Village Productions’ “Best Performance Artist of 2003” Award, Burke juxtaposes spoken text, dance, visual imagery, video, music and sound score. His solo performance works have been presented nationally and throughout NYC at venues including Dixon Place, HOT! The NYC Celebration of Queer Culture, HERE Arts Center, New Dance Alliance’s Performance Mix Series/The Joyce Soho, Highways Performance Space (Los Angeles, CA), Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, The Single File Series (Chicago, IL), The Lit Lite Series, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, The National Gay & Lesbian Theatre Festival (Columbus, OH), Chashama, The Howl Festival,  The SEEN+HEARD Festival (Atlanta, GA), The Fresh Fruit Festival, The Meeting House Theater (Philadelphia, PA), SVCS Theater (Hailey, Idaho), Ragged Blade Productions (St. Louis, MO), Brooklyn Arts Exchange among others. In 1999, Burke performed in the New York premiere of “NEA 4” performance artist Holly Hughes, in her show “Preaching to the Perverted.” Other performance credits include the legendary Penny Arcade Spiegelworld production and“Off Stage: The East Village Fragments” by the OBIE Award-winning Peculiar Works Project, among others.

Burke is a member of New Dance Alliance’s Artist Advisory Panel, a resident artist at Dixon Place, and recipient of a 2003 Harkness Choreographer’s Grant at SUNY Purchase. He is the curator of the Moving Men series at Dixon Place. Burke has been a guest artist at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and taught performance workshops while touring his shows across the U.S.

Resident Instructors

Grace Kiley (Acting) studied acting with the renowned Broadway actress and teacher, Uta Hagen. She has taught acting for film and stage for 25 years, both privately and through other venues such as the New School for General Studies, Burlington College, and Johnson State College. She has also worked for the Farrelly Brothers through Fox Pictures as a private acting coach. Grace is the founder of Vermont Actor’s Workshop where she taught acting, directed and developed original scripts. She co-created the touring production, Theatre on Families, an educational program addressing social and family issues. Grace is a Life Coach specializing in the arts. She has a Masters in Counseling Psychology, and was Chair of Psychology at a liberal arts college where her teaching focused on dreams, unconscious communication, and Jungian theory. She has designed and hosted conferences on “Creativity in the Clinical Setting” and “Creativity, Process and Form.” Throughout her life she has produced and performed in countless professional theatrical productions and independent films. She is currently a member of SAG, Equity, and the HB Ensemble at HB Studio in New York City where she will be seen in “Summerfolk” directed by Austin Pendleton this September.

Alexandra Beller is the Artistic Director of Alexandra Beller/Dances, established in 2002. As a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 1995-2001, she performed in over 50 countries and throughout the U.S. Alexandra’s choreography has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, 92nd St. Y, Aaron Davis Hall, Danspace Project at St. Mark's, Abron’s Art Center, Joyce SoHo, P.S. 122, HERE, Symphony Space, Jacob’s Pillow, and has been commissioned by numerous companies. Alexandra Beller/Dances has toured to the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Bytom Festival in Poland and throughout the US .She was a visiting artist at APA, CCDC, and DanceArt in Hong Kong, D-Dance Festival in Korea, Den Nordsk Balletthoskole in Oslo, Henny Jurriens Stichting in Amsterdam, and Cyprus Summer Festival in Nicosia. Film work includes “Romance and Cigarettes” by John Turturro. Recent projects include the premiere of her evening length work, “other stories” at ICA in Boston and residencies at The University of Iowa, University of Nebraska (Lincoln), LIU, and Oakland University. Her new evening length work, “milkdreams,” (world premiere at La MaMa, NYC in June 2015) has been the subject of two international documentaries. Alexandra works for theatre, film, and video, as both Movement Coach and Choreographer. She has choreographed for Hudson Valley Shakespeare Company (“Two Gentlemen of Verona”), Bedlam Theatre (for the critically acclaimed “Sense and Sensibility”) and worked with Taylor Mac, Soomi Kim, Theatre Askew and others. Alexandra received her CMA in Laban Movement Analysis/Bartenieff Fundamentals in 2015. She also holds an MFA from University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (2006).

Alexandra is also the mother of two fabulous boys, knits children’s hats upon request, and loves life in Brooklyn, NY.

Pablo Vela (Acting)
has been a member of Meredith Monk/The House since 1975, appearing in theater productions such as Quarry and Specimen Days and on film in Book of Days and Ellis Island. He was also Associate Director of Monk's opera ATLAS, American Archeology #1, and The Politics of Quiet. He received his theater training at Yale University and, in addition, studied with Viola Spolin (improvisation) and Jacques Lecoq (masks and mime). His work as performer/director/teacher has been presented throughout the United States and Canada as well as in Europe and Central America. Vela has created a series of memorable cabaret performances in New York City. The 11th Hour Lounge and Particular People (1 & 2) were performed in Manhattan, the latter at La MaMa ETC. WB Club WB (a tribute to film noir) and das MX cabaret (inspired by the paintings of Max Beckmann) were presented at the fabled BACA Downtown in Brooklyn. Cocktail Cabaret, his latest creation, was seen at The Club/La MaMa early 2010. In the past, Vela has taught at institutions such as the Dell'Arte School in California and Denmark's National Theater School. At the present time he teaches at The City College of New York.

Peter Scioscili (Voice) is a New York-based performer, choreographer and teacher whose work encompasses dance, music (voice and violin) and theater. In 2008, he founded Peter Sciscioli Performance Projects to support the creation of his interdisciplinary work, and is currently collaborating on a duet with Serbian actress/vocalist Ana Sofrenovic. He is also a founding member of The M6: Meredith Monk Music Third Generation, helping to preserve Ms. Monk’s extraordinary legacy. Peter has performed with Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble since 2003 and can be heard on Songs of Ascension, on ECM Records. Peter has additionally performed in work by Ping Chong, DD Dorvillier, Daria Fain, Philip Glass, Susan Marshall, Fiona Templeton, Mary Zimmerman and as a member of Jane Comfort and Company (2004-2010) throughout U.S. and in Europe. His interdisciplinary works and collaborations have been presented in New York and Chicago; in Alaska, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont; and in Brazil, Croatia and Honduras. Peter has received recent support from BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dance Theater Workshop and the Zagreb Student Cultural Center.  He has also taught at Duke University and University of Utah among others, and most recently performed and taught at Earthdance during the Western Massachusetts Moving Arts Festival.

Snezhana Chernova (acting) graduated from the Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy (Russia) with a BFA. She performed at the Baltic Repertory Theater in St. Petersburg for seven years. In New York she studied with the legendary Uta Hagen. She took the Jacques Lecoq workshop with Norman Taylor in NYC and a Theater Pedagogy course with Anatolij Vasiliev in Venice, Italy. She is a founding member of the Russian Arts Theater and Studio based in NYC.

Ms. Chernova taught speech, speaking voice and acting at Saint Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy and at The Danish Theater School GITIS Scandinavia. She is currently teaching Acting Technique/The Actor Prepares and Advance Technique /Method of Etudes at HB studio.

She performed in US, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Germany and South Korea. Her favorite roles are: Zoya in F. Dostoevsky’s UNCLE’S DREAM (International tour with Russian-Canadian Theater), Abby in O’Neill’s DESIRE UNDER THE ELMS (WorkShop Theater), Natasha in A. Chekhov’s THREE SISTERS (dir. A. Wright), Margarita in M. Bulgakov’s MASTER AND MARGARITA and Arkadina in A. Chekhov’s THE SEAGULL (both dir. A. Burago). She performed at The Metropolitan Opera in: THE NOSE (dir. W. Kentridge) and BORIS GODUNOV (dir. S. Wadsworth). Films and TV include: THE RING, ALASKA KIDS, THE RUSSIAN ENGINE, THE CHILD WITHING, PROOF OF BIRTH, THE CASUALTY, NO LOVE IN THE CITY, THE LOISE’S LOG, LOST IN TIME and others.

Marisa Tornello (Program Assistant)

Marisa Tornello is a classical singer, composer, director, actor and administrator who attended the Trinity/La MaMa Performing Arts Program in NYC as an undergraduate and as a Teaching Assistant. She is thrilled to step into her role on the staff of the Program as it was a transformational experience for her. Her goal is to assist students in experiencing this as well. She graduated Trinity College summa cum laude as a Music Major with honors. As a student, Marisa explored the many components of visual, theatrical, and musical art genres and how to juxtapose them to create material that resonates. Though her concentration was initially musical theater, Marisa also composed, wrote, directed, and choreographed works. One of her most recent projects was entitled “Keeping Perfect Time,” an experimental musical that focuses on the importance of music therapy used for Alzheimer’s Disease as well as the crucial role of the caregiver. As an actor, Marisa made by her debut on the New York stage in "Searching for Home,” directed by Professor Michael Burke at La MaMa. Marisa was last seen at the Barrow Group Theater, leading the role of Nadine in the new musical "Lives & Loves.”
Marisa had the unique opportunity to work closely with renowned composer Meredith Monk over the past 3 years, and is greatly inspired by the techniques and concepts Monk implements in her technique. Marisa creates pieces that fully integrate movement and voice into one fluid art, something Monk does masterfully.
Classically trained in opera and musical theater, Marisa hopes to eventually use her knowledge of music towards a career of music therapy. However, she is eager to be a resource to students at Trinity/La MaMa and help them reveal their true potential.