Teaching Artists

Meet our Teaching Artists:


Amanda Layton Whiteman
Amanda Layton Whiteman has been choreographing and teaching dance in Northern Virginia for over fourteen years in schools and community organizations such as Creative Cauldron and Reston’s Young Actor’s Theatre programs. In 2001 she co-founded a modern dance company, AnomosMotion, which enjoyed 5 years of performance in the DC area. In 2008, after years of working with young dancers in the community, Amanda founded GroundWorks Dance Ensemble as a way to bring together her work with students and professional dance artists. As artistic director, choreographer and playwright, Amanda’s work with GWDE strives to develop meaningful, artistic experiences for students and professional artists through collaboration and community building . Amanda holds a BFA in Dance and a BA in Integrated Studies with a specialization in Dance Therapy from George Mason University.  Amanda has been a Wolf Trap master teaching artist since 2005, providing professional development workshops and classroom residencies all over the country, integrating the performing arts with literacy, math and science.  Her work with Wolf Trap has led her to work on a math focused research grant from The US Department of Education, evaluating STEM teaching through the performing arts. In November 2013,  Amanda presented the keynote address with her Wolf Trap colleges at the National Association for the Eduction of Young Children conference in Washington, DC.  

Karen Studd
Ms. Studd holds an Master’s degree in Dance from University of Oregon (1983). She is also a CMA (Certified Movement Analyst), RSMT and RSME (Registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Registered Somatic movement Educator). Karen has taught in the Dance Departments of the University of Oregon, the University of Wisconsin, George Washington University and George Mason University, where she is a tenured dance faculty member. She is a teacher of dance technique, experiential anatomy, dance composition and dance appreciation. She is also a choreographer and has set works on both professional and student companies. Karen’s teaching is grounded in the theories of Laban/Bartenieff movement studies and is focused on personal development through the art of movement. For twenty years she has taught in the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies Certification Programs across the United States and in Canada. Internationally, she has taught dance in workshops in Krakow, Poland, the International Summer Dance Festival, in Poznan, Poland and has presented papers and given workshops in Brazil and Bratislava. Although she came to the Laban/Bartenieff work through the art of dance, Karen sees herself as movement educator, and dance as a highly specialized area of application within the larger body of knowledge that is movement itself. Her interest is in the understanding of the importance of human movement across all disciplines. She has been recently active in the observation of movement of political pundits and has been interviewed by the Washington Post newspaper and on television’s Hard Ball commentary with Chris Mathews.

Sydnie Liggett

Ms Sydnie performs “For a Reason”

Sydnie Liggett, a Reston native, graduated from Ohio State University highly-regarded dance program with a BFA in Dance. In college Sydnie was selected to work with renowned choreographers Doug Varone, Larry Keigwin, Amy Raymond, and Bebe Miller, as well as with many faculty and student works. She also received a grant from the OSU College of the Arts to bring in dancer Shani Collins of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence and Eternal Works as a guest artist and as the choreographer of her senior solo. Sydnie is also an emerging choreographer, herself, as her piece “Livewire” was selected and presented at the 2008 American College Dance Festival Gala Concert at Goucher College in Baltimore, MD. Sydnie has also trained extensively in hip hop dance, studying with hip hop masters Luam, Kelly Peters, Manwe, and B-girl Teena Custer. She also was president of the OSU hip hop team, DanceLinx, and led the team to two first place wins at local dance competitions in 2008. Sydnie is very excited to work with Groundworks and share her love of dance with young students ready to immerse themselves in the arts.

Nicole DeMiglio


Ms. DeMiglio received her BFA in Dance from George Mason University, where she received the Central Fidelity Dance Scholarship, Kevin Campbell Summer Scholarship, and shared the Academic Achievement Award in Dance with Amanda Layton Whiteman. She has a comprehensive ballet background, studying at the Joffrey Ballet, Eglevesky Ballet, Princeton Ballet, and Royal Academy of Dance. She has also studied extensively at the American Dance Festival and White Mountain Summer Dance Festival.  Nicole has danced with Laura Glenn/Works based out of NYC and Anomos Motion based out of the D.C. area. She has choreographed and produced various musical theater productions. Her love of the arts has extended to administrative work in Arts Education at Wolf Trap, The Washington Chamber Symphony, and the Kennedy Center. Her love of working with the youth also led her to direct St. Mark’s High School and College Ministry program in Vienna, VA.

Kiri Richards
Kiri Richards, a native of Nashville, TN, recently graduated Suma cum Laude from Point Park University with a B.A. in modern dance, a B.S. in accounting, and a minor in history. While at Point Park, she performed pieces choreographed by Doug Varone, Doug Bentz, Judith Leifer, Kiesha Lalama-White, and Paul Draper. After graduating, she had the opportunity to perform with ASEID Dance Company in New York City under artistic director Alison Seidenstricker. She also has a passion for teaching and is a certified dance instructor by the Southern Association of Dance Masters.