Our Board

HANNAH DENNISON, Director and Founder, Participating Artist

Hannah Dennison has been creating, teaching and presenting contemporary dance in and with communities in Vermont since the 1980s and is the founding director of Cradle to Grave Arts, Inc.

My body knows – if I pay attention, open my senses, and step away from the habitual.  All aspects and phases of the work offer just what I need to live fully and connect with others.


LIDA WINFIELD, President, Participating Artist

Lida Winfield is an innovative and accomplished dancer, choreographer, spoken word artist and educator who has created original work merging storytelling, dance and visual art.  As an artist, educator and keynote presenter, she has performed and taught nationally and internationally in traditional and non-traditional environments from Bates Dance Festival to MindMingle in Malviya Nagar, New Delhi. Lida’s artistic practice is inextricably linked to her role as an educator and her pedagogy is rooted in inclusion, access, and the recognition that our brains and bodies work differently and this difference is a valuable asset. Lida cultivates opportunities and experiences that are deeply transformative. What transpires within the teaching and performing environment is integrated and transferred out into the world, allowing it to live beyond the confines of the classroom or stage.

Lida studied at The School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and in 2011 earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College in VT, with a focus on the transformative power of the expressive arts. In 2016, she was honored with the Rebecca Blunk Fund Award through New England Foundation for the Arts. Her work has received support from Vermont Arts Council, New England Foundation for the Arts and the National Performance Network and has been commissioned by The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Middlebury Performing Arts Series, The Yard, and Jacob’s Pillow. Lida is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Dance Program at Middlebury College.

For more information www.lidawinfield.com

SELENE COLBURN, Vice President, Participating Artist

Selene Colburn is a writer, choreographer, librarian and politician. She serves as an Associate Library Professor at the University of Vermont, with a secondary appointment in the Department of Theater and Dance. Her original performances have appeared at venues such as the International Festival Arts and Ideas, the Bay Area Dance Series, Movement Research at Judson Church, the Cultivate Festival, the Scope Art Fair, the Firehouse Gallery, the Phantom Theater, and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. Her choreographic work has focused on the intersections of research and performance. She is writing a novel and serves as a representative of Burlington’s Chittenden 6-4 District in the Vermont House.


Emily brings to the board more than 25 years experience managing for profit and non-profit organizations, and a love for and appreciation of the creative process. She grew-up seeing Shakespeare performed live on stage in Stratford-on-Avon, enjoyed alternative musical and street performance while living in France and traveling around Europe, and even got on stage herself with regional theater productions in Sacramento, California. In 2004 she moved to Vermont and is delighted to be a part of the vibrant creative and artistic community here. Serving on the board of Cradle to Grave Arts she is able to support the creation of original works. Emily has served in environmental leadership roles in Vermont for more than 15 years, and is now a nonprofit consultant with Momentum Communications. She lives in an energy efficient home near Worcester Vermont and explores the mountains and ponds of our region with her husband, Bill and dog, Aiya Moon.

ELLEN SMITH AHERN, Secretary, Participating Artist

Ellen Smith Ahern grew up dancing in Illinois and came east to study dance at Middlebury College ’05.  Since then she’s collaborated with many artists, including Jane Comfort & Company, Lida Winfield, Kate Elias, Rebecca Pappas, Hannah Dennison, Pauline Jennings, Polly Motley, El Circo Contemporaneo, Amy Chavasse, David Appel and Tiffany Rhynard’s Big APE.  Ellen has had the opportunity to perform and teach throughout Mexico, Cuba, Qatar, Europe and the US.  With support from NEFA, Dance Films Association, Ucross Foundation, The Field, VT Arts Council, Flynn Center, VT Arts Endowment Fund, Coginchaug Valley Education Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, she has shared her work through film, installation and live performance in a diverse array of venues such as Dance on Camera Festival/Film at Lincoln Center, Bates Dance Festival, AVA Gallery & Art Center, the Middlefield Community Center, Dixon Place, the Flynn Theater, the Ionion Center of Kefalonia and the Rococo Theatre in Prague.  Ellen lives with her family in New Hampshire, where she continues to work as an independent artist and practice social work, organizing with communities for migrant justice and racial equity.