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About Evolve Dynamicz

In October of 2015, Evolve Dynamicz was established by Lisa Giancola and Nicole Zizzi with the hope of creating a repertoire to share their mutual passions for life and movement. Evolve has presented three full evening length shows, SPACES, circumnavigation and our first ever sold out 2019 production LUCIDITY, as well as various other works around the Boston and New England area. Some of our notable performances have been NACHMO Boston & NYC, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, as well as a film commission and performance and The Fruitlands Museum . Evolve Dynamicz has become an oasis for our unique group of strong-willed dancers— as we each face our own individual life challenges, we support each other and find common ground through the arts of dance, choreography, and movement.

Mission Statement

As artists, we seek to confront the challenges of a millennial life with a sense of openness and vulnerability. Our work embraces these challenges with curiosity, intimacy, playfulness, and a deep- seated passion for movement. Our interests in improvisational composition, site specific choreography, and collaboration with our dancers are brought forth in our choreographic processes.  With this, we aspire to continually experiment with new vocabularies, ideas, collaborators, and mediums of expression— we are committed to sharing our passion of dance with audiences in all spaces, of all types.

Co-Founders & Artistic Directors

Lisa Giancola

Lisa hails from small town, Boylston, MA and began dancing at the age of 3 at Karen Jean White School of Dance. She continued her love and passion for dance at Dean College, where she graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance in 2014. She has had the pleasure to work and perform with New England companies, Ballet Art’s Worcester, Boylston’s Calliope, Stylized Movement, Kinetic Synergy Dance Company, the Ipswich Moving Company, United Tek’Nekz and OnStage Dance Company. Lisa is the Director of Early Childhood Programs at Joanne Langione Dance Center and is also Co-Artistic Director of Boston Based dance company, Evolve Dynamicz. Founded in 2015, Evolve has had the privilege to present works all over New England, including NACHMO NYC and Boston, Southern Vermont Dance Festival, Boston Dance Theater’s trainee showcase of BTDx, and the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival. Evolve has produced three full length shows, SPACES: an Evolve Dynamicz Production (2017), circumnavigation (2018), and LUCIDITY (2019). Lisa hopes to carry her love of dancing, teaching and choreographing onto her JLDC students and company dancers each and every day!

 Nicole Zizzi

Nicole was born and raised in Buffalo, New York where she started dancing at the age of 2 at Eugenia’s Dance Studio. She trained in ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, lyrical, and Polish Heritage dancing. At the age of 18, Nicole started school at the University of Rochester where she studied Physics and Dance. At Rochester, she trained in contemporary with mentor Missy Pfohl Smith—artistic director of BIODANCE and director of Program of Dance and Movement at the University of Rochester. After graduating college, Nicole moved to the Boston area where she quickly found herself emerged in the rich and vibrant Boston dance community.  In October 2015 Nicole and her dance partner, Lisa Giancola, founded their own company; Evolve Dynamicz. Since it’s founding, the company has performed at events across the Boston metropolitan area as well as in New York City. Nicole has taught at various workshops and classes in the area for both adults and primary school aged children. Her classes focus on strength training for dancers as well as various improvisation techniques as a tool for building confidence and agency in movement. Her most recent project explores how dance can be used as an educational tool when learning abstract mathematical concepts at the collegiate level. Nicole is currently pursuing a Master's of Architecture at Northeastern University where she is additionally involved in the research of notational systems used in choreography; specifically looking at the works of Merce Cunningham and William Forsythe. She also manages, dances, and choreographs for Evolve and has dreams of one day becoming an architect— merging her passions for the arts and sciences.


Website Designer

Scilla Bennett

Scilla began dancing in Long Beach, CA after a running injury forced her to try a new activity. She fell in love during her very first class, and never ran again. She has trained in a variety of styles including ballet, contemporary, jazz, belly dance, and modern. After moving to Boston, she continued to take classes and has performed with Boston Bollywood, Jenny Oliver, Molly Wheat, and OnStage Dance Company. A lover of all the arts, Scilla also enjoys painting, drawing, crafting, and writing. Her classic Virgo nature means that she’s always working hard to improve, and she especially enjoys the process of creation.

Current Dancers

Alaina Sawyer

​Alaina Sawyer grew up dancing with Studio B Dance Co in Liverpool, New York, competing in contemporary, jazz, and Broadway styles. She attended the University of Rochester, where she minored in dance, focusing in modern dance choreography and Dance/Movement therapy. She also studied World Music, with a concentration in West African music and dance. She performed and choreographed throughout her time in Rochester in department showcases and student groups Louvre Performance Ensemble, a competitive contemporary company, and Ballet Performance Group, in which she also performed ballet, hip hop, lyrical and jazz pieces. She is also a member of OnStage Dance Company and Alive Dance Collective and has performed throughout New England at such events as NACHMO and Southern Vermont Dance Festival.


Mary McGee

Mary started dancing when she was just three years old at Mass Motion Dance in Sturbridge, MA. She went on to study environmental economics at Colgate University and was very involved in the student run dance programs there. As a member and choreographer for the Dance Team, Kuumba and Groove dance troupes she performed in the biannual performance, Dancefest, every year. She was captain of Groove dance troupe her senior year during which she choreographed and organized over 200 performers in the opening number for Dancefest. Since moving to Boston in 2014 she has taken a variety of dance classes and performed with DanceWorks Boston for two seasons. She had the privilege of performing with Evolve Dynamicz for the NACHMO project, Latent Vitality, in January 2018 and became an official member in July 2018.

Hayley Forrest

Hayley grew up in Rochester, NY where she began dancing at the age of 3 at Dance Dimensions by Susan. While there, she trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, and modern. She then attended the University of Rochester where she graduated in with B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2016 and an M.S. in Technical Entrepreneurship and Management in 2017. While a student, she was a member and choreographer of Louvre Performance Ensemble, a student-run contemporary group. Hayley moved to the Boston area in November 2017 after accepting a position as an R&D Engineer at a medical device company. She began dancing with Evolve Dynamicz in January 2018 and first performed with Evolve at NACHMO 2018 in the piece “Latent Vitality.” Hayley became an official member of Evolve Dynamicz in February 2018.

Haylee Denham

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Haylee Denham is a dual-degree graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst
Commonwealth Honors College receiving a B.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Psychology with a
Neuroscience concentration. Haylee also earned two letters of specialization in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services (DDHS) as well as Civic Engagement and Public Service (CEPS). Throughout college, Haylee was an active member of service-learning projects where she fostered relationships and engaged in activities with adults with disabilities in the Amherst area emphasizing dance as a tool for interpersonal connection. She was also the co-president of UMass student dance groups including UMass Dance Company and Alive with Dance where she choreographed, held open classes, and took on administrative roles. The culmination of these experiences has led her to pursue a Master of Public Policy at Brandeis University where she hopes to contribute to necessary change in the realm of disability policy. Haylee believes that dance is a vessel for social change, and she embodies the motto that dance is for everyone.

Deanna Filsinger

Deanna, being from a South American family, began dancing at home with her parents and at family parties when she was young, becoming casually familiar with latin dances like merengue and bachata. Wanting a change from running cross country at age 15, she started dancing in a studio setting at Jazziack’s Dance School in Boylston, MA. There, she took hip hop and tap. While in college at UMass Dartmouth, her movement interests shifted and she got involved in the yoga community in South Eastern Massachusetts. She received her Yoga Teacher Certification in June 2015 and has been teaching since then. After close to 7 years out of a dance studio, Deanna reached out to her lifelong friend Lisa Costello to inquire about how to get back into dance as an adult. Lisa invited Deanna to participate in Evolve Dynamicz NACHMO project, Latent Vitality, and Deanna became an official member of Evolve Dynamicz in February 2018. She is elated to be involved in dance again thanks to Evolve Dynamicz.

Sarah Canny

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Sarah grew up in Binghamton, New York. She began dancing at the age of three at Southern Tier Academy of Dance, where she trained in tap, ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. As a member of the United State Dance Team for five years prior to college, she performed in Madison Square Garden, Times Square, Walt Disney World, and Universal Studios. Sarah then attended the University of Rochester, where she studied International Relations and Spanish. At the UR, Sarah joined Louvre Performance Ensemble, a student-run contemporary dance group, as a member and choreographer for four years. She served as Louvre's Production Manager for one year and President for two years. She also studied abroad in Granada, Spain, where she studied Flamenco dance technique and history. In 2015, Sarah began dancing with BIODANCE, a dance company based in Rochester, NY, which explores social, political, and environmental issues through its artistic works. She moved to Boston in July 2016 to begin a Masters in Public Policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. She graduated in 2018, and is now working as a policy advisor to Congressman Joe Kennedy III. Sarah began dancing with Evolve Dynamicz in the summer of 2016, and became an official member in October 2016.

Ava Louise Untermyer

Ava Louise Untermyer dances to encourage a sense of connection amongst others. Ava danced professionally with New York City based dance companies, including Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (Bessie-winner), the Lori Belilove & Isadora Duncan Dance Company, Estado Flotante and NOT for reTAIL. Ava then worked in Dance Education and Early Childhood Education in Doylestown, PA. Ava currently teaches dance full time at the Curley K-8 Boston Public School and performs with local contemporary artists. Ava holds a Master’s in Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education (Ed.M.). Ava holds Bachelor’s in Dance (honors) and English (honors) from Pitzer College of the Claremont Colleges, where she was awarded the Virginia Princehouse Allen Prize for Outstanding Performance in Dance. Ava joined Evolve Dynamicz in January 2019.

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Kaylee Mahan is a recent graduate from Roger Williams University. Graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance, minor in Arts Management, and core concentration in International British Studies. Kaylee studied under Michael Bolger, Michael DeQuattro, France Hunter, Cathay Nicoli, Gary Shore, and Kathy Gordon Smith. During her time at university, she was able to spend a semester abroad in London studying Dance. In London, she learned repertoire from Renaud Wiser. Kaylee partook in residencies and performed works by Sean Curran, Tiffany Mills, Christina Robson, and Jenny Rocha throughout her studies at the university. Outside of her academic career, she has been with Evolve for the past 4 years, performing and choreographing. Kaylee’s passion for dance has a main focus on choreography and she is excited for this continuous journey with dance.

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Jessie Hogestyn

A native of Rochester, NY, Jessie began dancing at A Touch of Dance Performing Arts Studio at age four where she studied ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, and hip hop. She went on to dance with Louvre Performance Ensemble while she earned her B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester. Jessie continued her education at the U of R, obtaining a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2020. During her graduate training she revisited her love of hip hop, choreographing and competing for five years with Indulgence Dance Crew, a student-run group under the U of R Black Student’s Union. Jessie moved to the Boston area for a postdoctoral fellowship in biopharma research and joined Evolve Dynamicz in February 2020.


Sophia Sabaten

Sophia Sabaten is from East Haven, CT. She began her dance career with ballroom dance at the age of 11 at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Hamden, CT. She continued her dance education at the Educational Center for the Arts in New Haven, CT, where she was introduced to modern dance. There, she became a member of ECA’s Repertory Dance Company under the direction of Nazorine Ulysse. She then attended Roger Williams University, earning a B.S. in Architecture and minors in Dance and Business. Being passionate in ballroom dance, she continued competing at the collegiate level, becoming a top finalist under RWU Ballroom. Currently, she is working towards her Master’s of Architecture degree at Northeastern and hopes to continue her love of movement and design together post graduation.

Head shots by Jeremiah Washington / Joseph Thibodeau Photography

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