Jil Matrisciano, Director

Jil Matrisciano established RISE Vineyard Performing Arts in 2007 with the idea of providing Island children with a classical and diverse dance education in a studio setting that they could call home. She has a Masters of Fine Arts in Choreography and Performance from the State University of New York (SUNY) Brockport. Additionally, her under graduate degrees include a BS in Physical Education and an AA in Dance. Jil has been performing and teaching on Martha’s Vineyard for over 12 years with The Yard, Children’s Island Theatre, the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School Minnesingers, and through private instruction.

Jil was a faculty member with the Dean College dance department from 2003 to 2006. At Dean she also worked privately with students through the college’s Academic Tutoring Services. In 2006, Jil left Dean to pursue her classical Pilates certification which she obtained through The Vineyard Pilates Center and The Pilates Center of Boulder, CO. Jil continues to teach at The Vineyard Pilates Center, instructing and mentoring individuals toward physical well-being.

As director of, She-figured Dance (SfD), established in 2001, Jil has presented the company in such venues The Dance Complex in Boston and The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard where her company presented their first evening’s length performance of ‘Bits of Leverage ‘. Most recently, She-figured Dance worked in collaboration with the Somarela Fund to present a benefit performance of ‘Defining Gravity: Dances for Botswana’. Other SfD performances include Choreographer’s Group: Boston 2004, TEN’S THE LIMIT: Boston 2003, SUNY Brockport 2003, The 2002 Cape & Islands Dance Festival, and Built On Stilts 2000–2008. A former member of Ellis Wood Dance of NYC, Jil’s performing credits include: Tribecca Performing Arts Center, Judson Church, St. Marks Church, The Yard, UC Berkeley, and SUNY Brockport. She was a scholarship recipient and Teaching Assistant for the Dance Department at SUNY Brockport. Her choreography has been recognized by The American Dance Festival, naming her the 1999 recipient of the Bessie Schenberg Scholarship for Choreographic Potential – acknowledging her solo work, ‘Her Last Breath’. Jil has performed the work choreographers Shapiro & Smith, Randy James, Ellis Wood, Susannah Newman and Santo Gilgio. Other honors include The American College Dance Festival Gala, SUNY College at Brockport ACDFA selected performer, and Dean College Dance Company. She is a member of Dance Masters of America and has been instructing dance for 20 years teaching at festivals, private studios, and colleges in the Northeast and New York.

Daryl Owens, attended the high school and college dance program at The North Carolina School of the Arts. After college, she joined the professional world of dance and table waiting in New York City where her choreography was presented by Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace Project, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Williamsburg Art Nexus and The Yard. Daryl has performed with esteemed friends and colleagues including Rebecca Lazier/Terrain Dance, Curt Haworth, Edisa Weeks and John Kelly. While in New York Daryl became involved in movement therapies, yoga and developmental movement study. She was invited to attend several summer residencies at The Yard to perform and choreograph, and during one in 2004 she was unable to leave Martha’s Vineyard. She expanded her study of movement therapies to include the Kripalu School of Massage where she trained in Swedish, Therapeutic and Deep Tissue massage. After beginning her Pilates training in high school, her interest was rekindled on Martha’s Vineyard and she currently teaches at the Vineyard Pilates Center.

Maggie Sarmiento, adjunct, BFA in Dance, is a mid-westerner hailing from St. Louis, Missouri. Now living on beautiful MV, Maggie has 20 years of dance training in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop, and acrobatics with 10 of those years spent sharing her knowledge through teaching. Her studies include work with choreographers in St. Louis, Kansas City, Chicago, L.A., NYC and at the American Dance Festival in NC. Maggie’s professional career includes performances with “Move” St. Louis, RASA Dance Chicago, The Sesame Street Live Tour, and She-figured Dance of Martha’s Vineyard, as well as community performances with The Yard’s Bessie Schonberg Residency and Built On Stilts.  She currently lives in Florida  and continues to teach at RISE as a guest artist.

Melissa Kanavel,  Melissa began dancing at age 3 with Beatrice Engels in her home town of Yardley, Pennsylvania.  She continued dancing at Rider University with American Repertory Ballet’s Princeton Ballet School.  Melissa has performed professionally with Roxey Ballet Contemporary, Dance Theater of Oregon, Traduza Dance, Eugene Ballet Company and BodyVox 2 as well as teaching at Princeton Ballet School. The Mill Ballet School, Oregon Ballet Academy, BodyVox Dance Center and the Multnomah Athletic Club.  She is also certified as an Integral Yoga instructor.  Melissa has been visiting the Vineyard throughout her life and decided to make it home four years ago.  She is very excited to be a part of the RISE family.

Elizabeth (Libby) Stackhouse,  a native of Falmouth, began her ballet training with Ballet New England of Cape Cod, MA.  She continued her studies at Boston Ballet, Lousville Ballet, and earned a B.F.A in Dance from The Boston Conservatory.  Libby has danced with City Ballet of San Diego, The San Diego Zoo, Spingle City Ballet, Providence Ballet Theater, Dance Italia, and with many choreographers and companies throughout New England, California, and NYC.  She is certified in Pilates, personal training, CPR, and is an Associate Member of the School of Natural Health and Sciences, she also competes in Ballroom and Latin dance.  She was the dance teacher at The Prout School in Wakefield, RI for eight years and also teaches at The Island Moving Company in Newport, RI.

Jesse Keller Jason, graduated from Ohio University with a BFA in Performance and Choreography.  She started performing professionally with Stefanie Batten Bland (SBB) in Paris, France and remains a part of the troupe. With SBB, she has performed internationally at Festival Onze Bouge, Ris Orangis, Les Petites Scenes Ouvertes, and Cornell University’s Cultural Residency, along with nationally at The Baryshnikov Arts Center, Symphony Space, The Brooklyn Museum, Saratoga ArtsFest, Dogtown Dance Theater, Jacob Pillow’s Inside/Out, and Ringling International Arts Festival.  She is a year-round island resident on Martha’s Vineyard where she serves as Director of Island Programs and Education and Co-Producer at The Yard, as well as Co-Artistic Director of DanceTheYard (DTY), The Yard’s resident dance collective. At The Yard she has played an instrumental role in developing and implementing MAKING IT, a creative dance-making curriculum and creativity initiative now active in all Martha’s Vineyard Public and Charter schools, as well as at the YMCA, senior centers, and community organizations.  In 2014 she was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by Women Empowered for her work in dance education. This is her third year being on faculty at RISE and is excited to be a part of the team!


Jessica Francis,  Jessica has been dancing/choreographing forover fifteen years now.  She started her training on the island with Kelly Peters then took off to New York City where she made a name for herself as Jessica Rabbit; working with many up and coming artists, touring with Ru Paul drag race, and traveling near and far teaching and spreading the love of dance all over the world.  She is happy to be back home giving back to her community!