Stephanie Clemens Co-Founder/ Artistic Director

Stephanie Clemens
Co-Founder/Artistic Director

Stephanie Clemens
began her dance studies when a neighbor, the great Adolph Bolm suggested to her mother that she begin to take classes with Lila Zali at the Highland Playhouse in Los Angeles. As a child she made her stage debut with The Ruth St. Denis Concert dancers and then continued her dance studies with Maria Kedrina, Michael Panieff, Robert Rosselat, Gene Marinaccio, and at the San Francisco Ballet School.  She attended Juilliard in the late fifties; there her teachers were Anthony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino, Lucas Hoving, José Limón and members of the Graham Company. She has performed on the West Coast with The American Concert Ballet and The Cosmopolitan Opera Company and in the Midwest as a guest with Chicago Contemporary Dance Theatre. She is the owner and director of The Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park and is one of the artistic directors/performers/choreographers of MOMENTA, a Performing Arts Company that has been actively involved in the reconstruction of works by Doris Humphrey. She appeared as a soloist with MOMENTA in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., during 1989-90, performed a one-woman concert of St. Denis solos in summer, 1993, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in 1994 at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. Since 1988 she has worked on reconstructions of works by St. Denis, Doris Humphrey and Eleanor King with Karoun Tootikian, Ernestine Stodelle, Letitia Ide and Eleanor King. She is a founding member and was executive director of the Doris Humphrey Society and is a founding member and director of the Tidmarsh Arts Foundation. She served on the board of the Oak Park Area Arts Council for more than ten years. In 2000, she received an award of recognition from the American Library Association for her efforts in producing six videos documenting the work of Doris Humphrey. In 2001, she was awarded a Ruth Page Award for Lifetime Service, received the Oak Park Area Arts Council’s Joseph Randall Shapiro award, and in 2007, an Arts Entrepreneurship award for Lifetime Service from Columbia College.  Stephanie has served on the Dance Panel for the Illinois Arts Council and on the Awards Committee for the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance. In 2010 Stephanie acted as producer for MOMENTA for a one hour documentary on the life and work of Loïe Fuller.

Sarah Najera
Executive Director

Sarah Najera joined MOMENTA in 1999 and has worked as a dancer, choreographer, costume designer and Matinee Director. The Knave of Hearts is Sarah’s ninth ballet created for Junior MOMENTA. Other original productions include Kaleidoscope, Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Mother Goose, The Empress & Her New Clothes, Once Upon A Time, Twelve Little Girls, Melodious Marco, and Anne Bonny. Sarah also co-founded MOMENTA Repertory Ensemble (MRE) and has served as Artistic Director for many MRE projects, including Innovation/Collaboration, Collective Psyche, Moving in Parallel and Principles of Dance. Outside of MOMENTA, Sarah has a strong background in Latin and Spanish dance and has performed with Mosaico Dance Troupe, Sones de Mexico, El Ballet Folklórico Revolución, Soul y Duende, and the resident dance company of the Universidad de Morelos in Cuernavaca, Mexico. As a costume designer, Sarah has created costumes for MOMENTA, MRE, Aerial Dance Chicago, American Opera Group, 13Carat Productions, Roosevelt University, Pleasant Home Foundation, and the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest.

JP Tenuta
Associate Artistic Director
Ballet Master

JP Tenuta
grew up dancing at the Academy of Movement and Music and with MOMENTA. He completed his BFA in Dance at Northern Illinois University in 2003, where he studied with Randall Newsom and Judith Chitwood. He performed for 2 years with the Nashville Ballet and 2 years with Luna Negra. He has also performed in the Chicago area with Lyric Opera, The Civic Ballet, Von Heidecke’s Chicago Festival Ballet and with the Salt Creek Ballet. He continues to perform and choreograph for MOMENTA and toured Austria with them in 2003 and 2010. He has taught in a number of Chicago area schools and is a regular faculty member at the Academy of Movement and Music; he has also taught on the Dance Masters circuit and has served as assistant director for MOMENTA as it toured for Tanzsommer International in Austria. He recently performed the role of Edgar Snow with the Wuhan Ballet in China.

Anita Fillmore Kenney  Grants Coordinator

Anita Fillmore Kenney
Grants Coordinator

Anita Fillmore Kenney
began her formal dance training at the age of 5, with Stephanie Clemens, at the Academy of Movement & Music in Oak Park, IL. Anita was MOMENTA’s Associate Executive Director for 10 years. She has been performing with and choreographing for MOMENTA since 1997, and helped to form the MOMENTA Repertory Ensemble, as well as being instrumental in the creation of MOMENTA’s EveryBody Can Dance! workshops for people with and without disabilities. Her work in physically integrated dance has given her the opportunity to perform at the first Chicago ReelAbilities Disabilities Film Festival, twice at Chicago’s Disability Pride Parade, and twice in the Spring to Dance Festival in St. Louis. Anita and her frequent collaborator and friend, Kris Lenzo, were also invited to perform at the Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 2007; and for Access Living’s 2011 & 2013 Galas at Navy Pier. Anita has taught dance at The Academy of Movement and Music, The Beverly Arts Center, for Hubbard Street Two’s D.A.R.E. Dance Program, and at Loyola University. As a choreographer, her work has been shown in Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Madison, and as part of the Young Tanzsommer Festival in Innsbruck, Austria. Anita holds an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), and a BA in Political Science from Barat College of DePaul University, with a Core Certificate in Arts Management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. She has had the pleasure of performing with a diverse group of emerging and venerable artists in Chicago and New York, including Alice Sheppard, Atalee Judy, Kyle Abraham, ProjectLIMB, Raphaelle Ziemba, and Jim Morrow/Instruments of Movement. Through MOMENTA Anita has also had the enormous privilege of performing in legendary works by Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. Anita is a 2017 recipient of a 3Arts Make A Wave grant.

Teresa Deziel  Executive Assistant

Teresa Deziel
Executive Assistant

Teresa Deziel is an alum of both the Academy of Movement and Music as well as MOMENTA. As a student she had the opportunity to perform in many of MOMENTA’s repertory pieces, including many historical works. She also traveled to Austria in 2007 with MOMENTA to perform as part of Young Tanzommer. Teresa has duel Bachelor of Science degrees in Dance and Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Bachelor of Art Degree in Advertising Art Direction from Columbia College Chicago. While at UW-Madison she participated in several College Dance conferences, traveled to Brazil to study at the Universidade Federal da Bahia, and studied at Dance Education Laboratory at the Harkness Center for Dance in New York City. Just after graduation she traveled to the World Dance Alliance-America’s conference in Vancouver to perform with Li Chiao-Ping Dance and Jin Wen Yu. Teresa can typically be found at the Academy teaching, working in the office, and making costumes and props for performances.

Mike Dutka  Technical Director

Mike Dutka
Technical Director

Mike Dutka
, lighting designer, has been “moonlighting” with MOMENTA for the past 20 years. During that time, he has turned on the lights for performances in Oak Park, throughout the Chicago area, in St. Louis, in Austria and in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition to lighting, he has built many of MOMENTA’s sets, particularly for historical pieces by Ruth St. Denis and Doris Humphrey. For more than a decade, Mike had his own custom woodworking business, Dutka Design Studios, an award-winning design/build architectural millwork shop featured on HGTV Restore America.  He now consults for Restoric, LLC, an architectural restoration specialist on the North Shore. Mike is also MOMENTA’s audio-visual director and has been recording and directing performance videos. Mike is the director of MOMENTA’s 1-hour documentary on the life and work of Loïe Fuller – a DVD now in national distribution.