Board of Directors

TONY WAAG - ATDF Artistic/Executive Director








CYNTHIA J. ROUSH                                        




Emeritus Board





the late BOBBY SHORT 

Debbie Beard (ATDF Board Chair) Deb moved to NYC after nearly 30 years in Florida. For most of her adult life she was involved in the culinary arts.  As a classically trained chef, she found herself being drawn to the value healthy choices could make in the lives of children. Her passion has always been to incorporate health and fitness back into the lives of younger generations. New York offered her the opportunity to be a part of the world of dance. Believing in the importance of giving back, she joined the board of ATDF nearly six years ago. Her dream of building a youth tap dance education program has now become a reality. To create scholarships for those deserving and in need was paramount. Observing as well as joining in has become a part of her daily life.  Her love of the arts and her vision to be a part of the preservation of this uniquely America art form has made her a very loyal fan of ATDF. Seeing tap dance alive and well in this great city is Debs greatest reward!

Brenda Bufalino (Emeritus Board Member/ATDF Artistic Mentor) Recognized throughout the world as a leading exponent and innovator in the tap world, Ms. Bufalino performs, lectures, and teaches master classes and workshops throughout the United States, Germany, Italy, England, France, Israel and Australia. She has appeared as a guest soloist in such prestigious arenas as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall, The Apollo Theater, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Smithsonian Institute and the Kennedy Center. Ms. Bufalino performed in concert with the late Charles "Honi" Coles, touring America, England and France. They also choreographed "The Morton Gould Tap Concerto" and performed the Concerto with the Brooklyn and Norwalk Symphony. Ms. Bufalino has also performed the Concerto solo with The Detroit Symphony and The Hudson Valley Philharmonic. A trailblazer in the renaissance of jazz and tap dance, she has been one of the guiding forces in the creation of numerous Tap Festivals, Summits, and Reunions. In 1986, in order to develop her choreographic concepts of tap fugues and counter rhythms, she created The American Tap Dance Orchestra. In 1989 Ms. Bufalino, Tony Waag and the ATDO created Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center in Soho, producing classes, workshops and performances featuring both National and International tap artists. She has been awarded numerous National Endowment Fellowships and is a NYFA Fellow. Ms. Bufalino has been honored by the Tap Community in New York City and Boston with the prestigious "Flobert Award" for outstanding achievement, and "The Tapestry Award" for her contributions to the field of tap dance. Her biography appears in several editions of "Who's Who in American Women," and she recently wrote her own book entitled "Tapping the Source".

Hoagy B. Carmichael (Emeritus Board Member) Hoagy is a film, television and theatrical producer. He worked as assistant director for Hecht Hill Lancaster on such films as "The Rabbit Trap" (Universal Pictures), "Elmer Gantry" (Columbia Pictures), and "Separate Tables" (Columbia Pictures).  While at WGBH/TV in Boston, he co-produced many productions including "On Being Black" (15 one-hour original dramas for PBS), "The Music Shop," (starring Hoagy Carmichael, Sr.) and "The Advocates" for PBS.  He was the director/producer for "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," at WQED/TV in Pittsburgh and produced for his own film company, Hippo Productions.  Theatrical productions include "The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre" and a new musical called “Lazy River” comprised of songs written by Hoagy Carmichael Sr., with a book by Peter Nichols. 

Mercedes Ellington (Board Member) Juilliard graduate; choreographed ten companies of Play On!, from San Diego's Old Globe Theater to Broadway, and PBS's Great Performances; Choreographed Ambassador Satch, starring André De Shields, Prince Theater, Philadelphia, Helen Hayes Theater, Nyack, New York and The Performing Arts Center, White Plains; choreographer of segments of CTFD Galas 2004 and 2002, at City Center. Directed/staged/produced, Society of Singers-East, Louis Armstrong Award to Bobby Short at The Pierre; directed and staged 2001 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Tribute to the Spirit of Harlem; directed: Four Women and Cotton Club Rhapsody at Club La Mama; choreographed/directed Mood Ellington featuring André De Shields; appeared in several segments of Ken Burns' TV documentary, Jazz ; profiled by Dr. Billy Taylor on CBS Sunday Morning; choreographed sixteen productions at the St. Louis MUNY; artistic director, BalleTap,USA, aka DancEllington, Inc.(1982-1992); directed/choreographed Cotton Club Rhapsody at Club La MaMa; hostess of the Swedish Jazz Festival, Carnegie Hall and Sweden; workshop program: Home To Harlem, for Radio City Music Hall Rockettes; choreographer/performer: Lincoln Center's Reel To Real Series: Story T'Ellington; choreographer: Yankee Doodle Boys; Carnegie Hall debut: 1999; Metropolitan Opera House debut: 2002; New York City Opera debut: 1977; choreographer: George M, for Gay Pride Series; choreographer: Queen Esther Morrow's Walk Tall Gospel Show- European Tour 2002-2003; Harlem Gospel Singers European Tour 2003-2004; director/choreographer for In Mahalia's Light, Passage Theater, Trenton, NJ; director/musical staging, In A Miller/ Basie Mood, at the Lucille Lortel Theater, NYC; choreographer: Talk of The Town, Bank Street Theater, NYC; choreographer: Crowns, St. Louis Rep and Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park; Crowns, for Arizona Theater Company etc.;serves on the Boards of Career Transition For Dancers, Society of Singers- East, The Martha Hill Foundation, The New Jersey Tap Ensemble, Board of Governors Friars Club. April 2003, awarded an honorary citizenship of Paris. She is currently serving on the TONY nominating committee.

David Guilmette (Board Member) is President of the Global Employer Segment for Cigna Corporation. He is responsible for leading the growth strategy and overall marketplace execution of Cigna’s Global Employer Segment which includes the Global Health Benefit and National Accounts businesses. His responsibilities also include overall leadership of the Cigna Marketing and Product organizations. Prior to this role, he had been President, National, Pharmacy and Product. He joined Cigna in February 2010 as President of Cigna’s National Segment. Previously, Guilmette was the Managing Director of the Towers Perrin (Towers Watson) Global Health & Welfare line of business, responsible for leading the growth and profitability of the Health & Welfare business, and identifying trends in the marketplace relating to health care. Guilmette has 30 years of experience with health care and employee benefit programs, focusing on all aspects of program design, financing, implementation, administration, consumerism (including Consumer Directed Health plan designs) and managed health care delivery. Guilmette is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he received his undergraduate degree in Political Science.

Susan Guilmette (Board Member) Bio coming soon!

Constance Valis Hill (Board Member) Constance is a jazz dancer and choreographer dedicated to writing about and historicizing jazz tap dance.  She has studied with Pepsi Bethel, Matt Mattox, Nat Horne, Charles ‘Cookie’ Cook and members of the Copasetics.  After creating and performing The Doilie Sisters at La Mama, and directing Sole Sisters for the Changing Times Tap Company, she earned an M.A. in Dance Research and Reconstruction from City College of the University of New York, and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU.  Her articles and reviews have appeared in Dance Magazine, Village Voice, Studies in Dance History, International Tap Association, and Dance Research Journals.  Her book, Brotherhood in Rhythm: The Jazz Tap Dancing of the Nicholas Brothers, won the 2001 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award.  She is currently an Associate Professor of Dance at Hampshire College in Massachusetts.

Pamela Koslow Hines (Board Member) Pam co-produced JANE EYRE THE MUSICAL at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in NYC.  John Caird, the Tony® Award-winning co-director of LES MISERABLES adapted the screenplay for the Broadway production.  She shepherded the project from a workshop in Wichita, Kansas, to a production in Toronto, Canada to one at The La Jolla Playhouse in California and finally to Broadway.  Her additional Broadway credits include the Tony® Award-winning musical JELLYS LAST JAM written by George C. Wolfe and starring Gregory Hines.  Ms. Koslows last production was CAPTAIN LOUIE based on a book by Era Jack Keats, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz at the York Theatre. She also produced FLOATING RHODA AND THE GLUEMAN written by Eve Ensler at Home for Contemporary Arts in SOHO.  She served as executive producer for HANDSHAKE, a new American play premiered off Broadway at the Miranda Theater in Manhattan and was a producing consultant for THE HENRY PROJECT, a destined-for-Broadway show based on the music of Henry Mancini, conceived and directed by Otis Sallid. Other producing credits include SMART ALECK, MONA ROGERS, and HOW I GOT THAT STORY. She is a frequent panel participant for The Commercial Theater Institute; an organization created to educate new producers for the commercial theater and has been a panelist at The High School of Music and Art for their career education program.  She has lectured to classes at N.Y.U. in both the theater arts and business departments and has been a speaker at the B.M.I. workshop for new lyricists and composers. Ms. Koslow was a member of The Tony Management Committee, which considers the eligibility of Broadway shows for Tony Award nominations.  She has served on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Class Company and The Second Stage Theater; both highly regarded not-for-profit theater companies. Ms. Koslow served as the executive producer for the 2001 FIFI Awards, a gala awards ceremony and dinner for The American Fragrance Foundation presented at Radio City Music Hall. Currently Pam is producing YANK! - a current hit off Broadway show.

Nancy Kremsdorf (Board Member) Nancy is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she studied ballet, tap and international dance in her early years with Lillian Vail of McPhail Studios.  It was there that she first became so passionate about Tap and Jazz.  After moving to San Francisco, she found work in the liaison department at Bank of America, but her true love was entertainment.  She returned to college at San Francisco State University where she majored in Theatre Arts and performed in musicals, song and dance showcases and dabbled in stage management.  It was also there that she  became a news anchor for the campus closed circuit television news show until her graduation.  After graduation she joined the Novato Players, a repertory playhouse where she performed in musicals annually.  She found work as Director of Sales in hotels and later as Account Executive in a radio station.  Today Nancy lives in Greenwich Village with her husband, Joel, where she collaborates on occasional creative projects for her husband's office products manufacturing business.  She also  presently serves as committee chair of the Annual Spring Dinner Party and serves as liaison to the in-house gym of the apartment building where she resides.  Though she is not a professional dancer, she takes tap classes whenever she can and is heavily involved in the tap scene.  She credits a lot of what she knows to her classes with Barbara Duffy and Brenda Bufalino.  She also enjoys tap festivals and workshops where she can take classes from visiting tap masters and pick up a variety of techniques, steps, styles and choreography.  Being part of the tap scene, studying tap history and being an avid audience participant brings additional joy and excitement into her already very full life.

Erica Marks Panush (Board Member) Erica has spent her entire career working in the not-for-profit world, most recently for the arts.  Trained as a ballet dancer since the age of 6, her love of dance began at a young age, and, when she decided not to pursue the stage, she realized that there was much to do “behind the scenes.”  Erica worked for WNET/Thirteen in their educational technology department, and later was a project manager for The Center for Children and Technology.  She was Managing Director for a chamber-sized ballet company, Dances Patrelle, and served on their Board of Directors for 18 years.  Both of her daughters, now teenagers, have pursued dance, the eldest in ballet, and the youngest one as an avid tap dancer, now in the Tap City Youth Ensemble.  Which brought Erica to the world of The American Tap Dance Foundation.  A Board member since 2009, Erica has devoted herself to building the Parent Committee of the Youth Program – trying to share the educational mission of the organization and harness the energy of the families that support it.

Cynthia J.  Roush (Board Member)Cindy’s interests include tap dance, scrapbooking, scuba diving, sailing and travel both locally and abroad. She has been an avid supporter of the American Tap Dance Foundation, the annual New York City Tap Festival and the annual Winter Tap Intensive since 1986. Professional background: 30 plus years in Real Estate Development and Management. Currently runs small RE Investment Company in San Diego County and resides in Carlsbad, California.

Lisa Scotto (Board Member) Lisa is presently the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Insights at Advertising Age. She has been tap dancing since she was two!  Her first tap dance performance was to Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.  Since then she learned to love the art of tap and focused on tap choreography.  While living in Central Florida, she became the resident tap choreographer for the Cocoa Village Playhouse, working on musicals including The Wizard of Oz, Oliver, Damn Yankees among others. From June 2005-July 2009 she was the District Sales Manager for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Her most favorite routine (which garnered a top talent award in a local scholarship pageant) is to The Hokey Pokey (the Little Richard version!) Her love of dance and tap can easily be seen due to the huge smile she wears when her tap shoes are on. 

Randy Skinner (Board Member) is an award winning American director, choreographer and performer. He has been nominated three times for Tony Awards and twice for Drama Desk Awards for choreography. Skinner graduated from Ohio State University and is a guest teacher at various colleges. He moved to New York in 1976 seeking dancing jobs, and Gower Champion asked him to be a dance assistant on 42nd Street in 1980. In 1985, Ginger Rogers cast him as Val opposite Karen Ziemba and asked him to choreograph a production of Babes in Arms that she directed in upstate New York and in Connecticut. His Broadway work as a choreographer includes the musicals White Christmas and State Fair. He choreographed the Broadway revival of 42nd Street in 2001 and also choreographed and staged the London, Australia and two U.S. national companies and the Amsterdam production of the musical. He has choreographed several staged productions for the City Center Encores! series, including No, No Nanette (May 2008). His Off-Broadway and regional theatre choreography work includes productions of White Christmas around the U.S., An American in Paris (2008 in Houston, Texas), Happy Days (2006 in Los Angeles), Lone Star Love (2004 Off-Broadway; 2007 Seattle), Babes in Arms (2002 at the Goodspeed Opera House), Abby's Song (1999 Off-Broadway, also directing) and Lucky in the Rain (1997 at Goodspeed).

Kim Thacker, MD (Board Member) Kim has successfully combined her two greatest passions in life: neuroscience and dancing. While training to be a neurologist and during several years at major research pharmaceutical companies, she spent her days thinking about medicine and dreaming about dancing. Her evenings and weekends were dominated by dance of all varieties: tap, salsa, theater and Broadway musicals, and others. This passion began as a child, not only with the standard array of ballet, jazz, tap and gymnastic lessons, but in middle school, when she joined the very unpopular kick line!!! Kim is now a Vice President at Forest Research Institute, where she responsible for leading almost 80 team members in the Medical Affairs and Health Outcomes group, and maintains oversight and management of medical education and publications, a scientific field team, investigator-initiated trials, health economics and other activities in several product areas. She has also served as a Vice President at Sanofi Aventis in areas related to research and treatment of neurological disorders and insomnia, and as Director of European Drug Safety at Pfizer, as well as a lead medical director of the central-nervous-system team. Prior to that work, she worked in medical advertising and communications in a variety of areas of medicine.  She received her M.D. from the State University of New York Health Science Center Downstate, performed her internship at Danbury Hospital and her adult neurology residency at Long Island Jewish Medical Center and   a fellowship in Epilepsy at the Hospital for Joint Disease, Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York University. Kim lives in New York in the East Village with her gorgeous and wonderful husband, Steve, where the motto is “There is always a reason to dance!”

Tony Waag (Board Member)Tony is currently the Artistic/Executive Director of the American Tap Dance Foundation (formerly known as the American Tap Dance Orchestra) which he founded in 1986, along with Brenda Bufalino and the late Charles "Honi" Coles. From 1989-1995, he co-created and operated, with Ms. Bufalino, Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center which became a model for numerous tap organizations and tap studios worldwide creating, producing, and presenting various educational programs for adults and children year-round, as well as annual winter tap intensives with master classes, courses and workshops taught by leading International artists and master tap dancers. In 2001, he renamed the organization the American Tap Dance Foundation and created Tap City, the annual New York City Tap Festival with premiere performances of all styles of tap by artists from around the world, as well as an extensive training program for adults, teens and children, city wide events, tap jams, student showcases, panel discussions, lectures and film screenings. As a performer and choreographer, he has been featured in hundreds of concert, film and television productions including appearances at the legendary Apollo Theater, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the United Nations, the Atlanta Arts Festival, the Utah Arts Festival, the Colorado Dance Festival, the Lincoln Center "Out-of-Doors" Festival, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon, PBS’s "Great Performances, a national Seagram's commercial, and in a French car commercial for Renault in Paris. International appearances include USIA tours of Turkey, Poland, Cyprus, Latvia and Estonia, and recent American ambassador tours of Armenia and Romania with his production of Tap City on Tour. He has also taught and performed in Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Italy, Russia, Scotland, Singapore, and Spain. Mr. Waag has received numerous grants towards the presentation and preservation of tap dance as a unique American art form. In 2009, he created and staged the touring production of “Thank You Gregory”, a tribute to the Legends of Tap Dance which toured in theaters across the country.