It all started when...
The Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange (LVDE) has been a work in progress since 2007. It began as a passion-inspired idea and turned into the focus of a Lehigh University MBA Business Plan Course. After a year of intense market research and investigation of interest and opportunity, the organization was officially founded in 2009 by Kathleen Bibalo Nasti and Alexandra Reekie Pobiedzinski. Inspired by Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (D.C.) and Ballet of the Dolls (MN), companies who united the dance community and revealed vast wealths of talent and opportunity, LVDEnow sets forth to unite the Lehigh Valley’s dance professionals in the pursuit to build a thriving dance hub. It is the first organization of its kind in the Lehigh Valley and is taking bold inaugural steps to establish a commitment and set a foundation to support longevity and success.
The Lehigh Valley is home to Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, DeSales University, Moravian College, Cedar Crest College, Lafayette College and Northampton Community College as well as the area’s largest cultural establishments: Sands Casino, SteelStacks, Zoellner Arts Center, Arts Quest and among others. Muhlenberg College is ranked as one of the top liberal arts dance and theatre programs in the nation, and the Zoellner Arts Center regularly hosts some of the world’s most esteemed artists. Additionally, LVDE benefits from the Lehigh Valley’s large annual events that attract tourists from across the country, such as Musikfest, the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival, the Southside Film Festival and Lehigh Valley Sportsfest. With a strong thrust from academic institutions, businesses, communities, and area advocates toward building the renaissance of the Lehigh Valley, LVDE seeks to provide an integral component of this success.
Kathleen Bibalo Nasti
Co founder, LVDE
After completing her BA in Classical Studies (Ancient Greek) and Theatre (Dance Emphasis) from Dickinson College Kathleen moved to New York to pursue a career in dance. She danced extensively with Alyce Finwall Dance Theatre and worked with many independent choreographers including Lisa Giobbi Movement Theatre, Scott Lyons, Jerry Mitchell, Skip Costa, Giada Ferrone, Lars Rosager, Edward Augustyn, and Max Stone among others. She was also a dancer with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Swing Dance America, and American Dance Machine.
While living and working in Bethlehem, PA, she and Alex Reekie Pobiedzinski established community organization Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange (LVDE) - an organization which supports emerging choreographers and dancers of the Lehigh Valley. In their inaugural season, LVDE successfully produced 12 shows, which included over 20 choreographers and 50 dancers. She was a speaker on the topic of Community Entrepreneurship for TedX-Lafayette and Idex-Lehigh.
Now based in Boston, she has performed with 1,000 Virtues Dance, Zoe Dance, and Reggie Wilson. She is currently working with Daniel McCusker. She has been a lecturer in the dance departments of Muhlenberg College, Cedar Crest College and Dean College and a guest at Providence College, the University of Scranton, Temple University, and Dickinson College. She has also taught at American College Dance Festivals and PA Governor’s School for the Arts; and served as the Director of the Muhlenberg College Community Dance and Pilates Center. She has presented her choreography at many venues and institutions across the east coast including: Muhlenberg College, Dickinson College, Marlboro College, Providence College, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, American College Dance Festival, Green Street Studios, The Dance Complex, and First Night Boston. In 2010 she received her MBA from Lehigh University, where she was a Graduate Teaching Fellow and Founder and President of the Lehigh University Chapter of the National Association of Women MBAs. After receiving her MBA, she worked as Director for the Office of the Vice President and Associate Provost for Research and Graduate Studies at Lehigh.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in December of 2013 with an MFA in Dance. Her research has been published in the Journal of Dance Medicine and Science and presented at CORD/SDHS. She was most recently the Executive Director of Green Street Studios, in Cambridge, MA. She is on faculty at Providence College and is a 2017-2018 Next Steps for Boston Dance Artist (Funded by the Aliad Fund and the Boston Foundation). Besides her company, her current project is a cooperative touring effort and collaboration with Jessica Marino called Tracks//Where will dance take you?