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Amie Root

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Amie Root is a movement, stage combat and theater pedagogy teacher, fight director, playwright and actor. She travels across the country teaching and working in theatre. Amie is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors with whom she is an official mentor. Amie has been a guest artist instructor for CSU Summer Arts for a decade and is the resident Fight Director for Unto These Hills, NC. Additionally, she is the chair of the SAFD Pedagogy Committee, as well as coordinates the pedagogy training at the Texas Intensive hosted by the University of Houston and the two-week Central Illinois Stage Combat Teacher Trainer hosted by Western Illinois University.  She has a BA in drama from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point.



Tiza Garland


Tiza Garland is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Florida where she teaches in the MFA, BFA, and BA programs. Her primary teaching responsibilities including teaching the Movement for the Actor courses, Stage Combat, and Period Styles Movement.

Professor Garland has a varied movement training background. She is a classically trained actor and has trained with the Dah Theatre in Belgrade, Serbia in Grotowski-based work, she has studied Meyerhold's Biomechanics with Gennadi Bogdanov, as well as trained with the United Stuntmen's Association in Seattle, Washington. She has attended the Aerial Dance Festival in Boulder, Colorado where she trained in various aerial dance techniques and apparatus.


Professor Garland is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). She is a Certified Teacher with the National Michael Chekhov Association and she is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD), a Certified Teacher with the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat (BASSC), a Master Teacher with Dueling Arts International and former president of the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC).

Ashley White


Ashley H. White (she/her) is an award-winning director, fight & intimacy director, and teaching artist, with international credits and nearly two decades of experience. She is an accomplished Fight Director and is a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors. Her fights have been seen on stages across the country, in more than fifty productions to date. Ashley resides in Dallas, Texas, where she is the Artistic Director of the award-winning IMPRINT Theatreworks. She is a sought-after educator and is the creator of The Cycle of Consent – an approach to building and navigating safe creative spaces.  She is the recipient of 5 DFW Critics Forum Awards for Outstanding Direction as well as special recognitions for her Fight & Intimacy work. Ashley is a proud member of SDC. 


Melissa Freilich

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Melissa Freilich works as a director, teacher and fight choreographer in Baltimore, MD.  She is an Instructor for Dueling Arts International, a Certified Teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors, and an associate member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.  She is a certified Alexander Technique teacher and recognized member of the American Society for the Alexander Technique (AmSAT), having trained with Jane Heirich in Ann Arbor MI.  She holds an MFA in Performance Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University and a BA in Theatre and Classics from Washington University in St. Louis.  She started her professional stage combat training at CISCO in 2010!


Jen Pan

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Jen (she/they) is a fight choreographer, intimacy advocate, stunt performer, martial artist, and occasional creative. In addition to her training with the SAFD, DAI, and IDC, Jen is also the co-founder and a lead instructor at Theatrica Gladiatoria, a year-round academy in SE Michigan for stage and film combat. As a former theatrical technical crew member (stage management, technical direction, and lighting and set design), Jen believes that there is a place for stage combatants who don’t have an acting background.

She is an advocate of lifelong learning, creating learning spaces for underrepresented minorities, intimacy and consent work, pedagogy, and having greater BIPOC and LGBTQ+ representation in the arts.


Lauren Gunn

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Lauren Gunn is based out of Memphis, TN.  Currently, she is a senior resident actor and teaching artist with Tennessee Shakespeare Company where she teaches in classrooms around Memphis, juvenile detentions, as well as the local VA.  Additionally, she is a company member of Playback Memphis, an improvisational theatre company founded in story sharing practices that catalyze community wellbeing. Lauren is an associate instructor candidate with Dueling Arts International in addition to serving on their governing body. Regional performance credits include:  TSC: Cyrano de Bergerac, Henry VI, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.  Theatre Memphis: You Can’t Take It With You. Southern Arena Theatre:  Boeing Boeing, I Hate Hamlet.  New Stage Theatre: Crimes of the Heart, Constellations, Gruesome Playground Injuries.

Rowan LaFleur


Rowan LaFleur (she/they) is an actor, combat choreographer, lighting designer, and theater educator from South Louisiana. Having just completed her degree at WIU, she is looking forward to a career in educational theatre at the collegiate level, where she will be able to promote her ideals of safe practices and inclusion to the next generation of artists. As a trans/nonbinary actor and advocate, they are devoted to increasing LGBT representation and intersectionality in theatre. Rowan seeks to find new approaches to choreography and unexpected weapon choices to tell the more complex stories of today. Rowan has an MFA in Performance from Western Illinois University and a BFA in Performing Arts from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Alex Burke


Alex Burke (She/They) is a BFA Acting graduate from Southeast Missouri State Dobbins Conservatory, where she currently assists teaching stage combat classes. In addition to teaching, Alex has created a Missouri based fight group for female identifying and queer actors to further explore stage combat. Alex is a certified actor combatant and associate instructor candidate with Dueling Arts International. Although new to the Scene, Alex is determined to learn more, create more, and make more friends.

Garrett Anderson

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Garrett Anderson is a guest lecturer for CISCO/TT. He is a Global Messenger and an Athlete Leader for Special Olympics. He has been involved with E.D.G.E. of Orion since it began and is currently a troupe member. Garrett enjoys rotating between acting and being a staff member in productions. He played the lead in the award-winning film No Easy Target as well as many other featured roles in musicals such as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Javert in Les Mis and is currently playing Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Orion Couling


Orion Couling is a Guest Lecturer for CISCO/TT. He is the award-winning founder and executive director of EDGE of Orion, an Illinois NFP. He is a specialist in project-based learning and carries 20 years of adventure-teaching experience. As a sought-after stage combat instructor, his focus on teaching safe and compassionate practices have benefited over 84 productions. Mr. Couling started his work with Dueling Arts international as an instructor for 13 years and has moved forward to create movement-based theatre for inclusion-based models. Serving as the movement Instructor for Redkite for two years his expertise is in working with actors who have Down Syndrome and Autistic actors. His barrier-free goal is strengthened as one of the few stage combat instructors who teach actors with developmental challenges. With over 100 directing credits in professional and youth theatre to his name, he remains one of the foremost experts in dynamic educational theatre. His “edu-tainment” style is known to bring levity and inspiration to classrooms and audiences. Orion is also a filmmaker, playwright, stunt coordinator, and a licensed Maritime Captain. When not leading the “inclusion revolution,” you’ll find him writing and performing on the paranormal podcast “Shadow Carriers” leading ghost tours, playing with the band Rosehill Collective or by the water.

DC Wright


DC Wright is a Society of American Fight Directors Certified Teacher and Dueling Arts International Master Instructor and Senior Fight Director. D.C. Wright has been teaching stage combat and fight directing for over twenty-eight years, and has worked from New York to LA, and Milwaukee to New Orlean and many stops in between. DC is passionate about creating opportunities for the next generation of performers and teachers of this art form, and loves bringing together amazing teachers and learning.  DC is a Professor at Western Illinois University where he is the Head of Movement/Stage Combat.

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