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Sidebar: The Cast of Mad Hot Ballroom

Sidebar: The Cast of Mad Hot Ballroom

2 Mins
March 30, 2011

June 2005 --


Class teacher Allison Sheniak is a loving, caring teacher who has a way of making you "feel her pain."

Alex Tchassov, a Russian-native, is the teaching artist from Dancing Classrooms, a project of American Ballroom Theater (ABrT), the organization that provides the instructors. With his gentle manner and his awkwardly translated analogies, he makes learning the dance steps a breeze.

Emma Biegacki stands out as the girl who is wise beyond her years. Reining in as a typical New York kid, she always has something meaningful to say.

If she has her way, Tara Devon Gallagher will be headed to Broadway or Hollywood sometime soon. An aspiring young actress, she is featured in another movie, Swimmers, which will premiere at the other festival in Utah in January.

If we see Cyrus Hernstadt as Senator someday, it would not be surprising. This smart, perspicacious kid is fun to watch.

Zeb Liburd is a sweet boy who really wears his heart on his sleeve in all that he does.

The other P.S. 150 dance team members are Richard R. Brown IV, Jao-Ke Chin Lee, Willie C. Gantt, Dominic Guglielmo, Quana Jones, Celia B. Ortiz, Zelaina Rodriguez, and Nile Roc Terry.


Michael Vaccaro is lovable, cute and confident.

Jia Wen Zhu and Priscilla Kwong are just two of the Asian girls in the class who give us some wonderful insight into their world.

Dancing Classroom/ABrT teaching artist Victoria Malvagno is charming and fun, and her analogies are playful.

The other P.S. 112 kids on the dance team are Ariel Escoto, Sharese DeBiasi, Benjamin Feng, Mohammad Hussein, Nathalie Perez, Bleron Samarxhiu, David Wong, Jean Xiaoyi, and Sherry Zeng.


Yomaira Reynoso, the teacher who guides her class through the dance lessons with more than a touch of "hard love," is vivacious, daring, and ambitious.

Rodney Lopez, the Dancing Classrooms/ABrT teaching artist, adds a touch of class to the dance setting with his mild, yet hip, mannerisms. He's someone these kids can relate to.

Wilson Castillo is the little boy with the big, beautiful eyes who takes everyone's breath away with his dance style.

Jatnna Toribio is confident, ambitious, and precocious.

Elsamelys Ulerio's dancing shows there's a lot more that goes on beneath that quiet exterior.

Kelvin Acevedo, referred to by the crew as the "gentle giant," almost never says a word, but his presence is noticed.

The other dance team members are Joshua Duran, Jeffrey Espinal, Kevin Heredia, Kelvin Muñoz, and Angie Toribio.

Reproduced with permission from “Mad Hot Ballroom Production Notes,” American Ballroom Theater.


David Kelley

David Kelley is the founder of The Atlas Society. A professional philosopher, teacher, and best-selling author, he has been a leading proponent of Objectivism for more than 25 years.

David Kelley Ph.D
About the author:
David Kelley Ph.D

David Kelley founded The Atlas Society (TAS) in 1990 and served as Executive Director through 2016. In addition, as Chief Intellectual Officer, he was responsible for overseeing the content produced by the organization: articles, videos, talks at conferences, etc.. Retired from TAS in 2018, he remains active in TAS projects and continues to serve on the Board of Trustees.

Kelley is a professional philosopher, teacher, and writer. After earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 1975, he joined the philosophy department of Vassar College, where he taught a wide variety of courses at all levels. He has also taught philosophy at Brandeis University and lectured frequently on other campuses.

Kelley's philosophical writings include original works in ethics, epistemology, and politics, many of them developing Objectivist ideas in new depth and new directions. He is the author of The Evidence of the Senses, a treatise in epistemology; Truth and Toleration in Objectivism, on issues in the Objectivist movement; Unrugged Individualism: The Selfish Basis of Benevolence; and The Art of Reasoning, a widely used textbook for introductory logic, now in its 5th edition.

Kelley has lectured and published on a wide range of political and cultural topics. His articles on social issues and public policy have appeared in Harpers, The Sciences, Reason, Harvard Business Review, The Freeman, On Principle, and elsewhere. During the 1980s, he wrote frequently for Barrons Financial and Business Magazine on such issues as egalitarianism, immigration, minimum wage laws, and Social Security.

His book A Life of One’s Own: Individual Rights and the Welfare State is a critique of the moral premises of the welfare state and defense of private alternatives that preserve individual autonomy, responsibility, and dignity. His appearance on John Stossel’s ABC/TV special "Greed" in 1998 stirred a national debate on the ethics of capitalism.

An internationally-recognized expert on Objectivism, he has lectured widely on Ayn Rand, her ideas, and her works. He was a consultant to the film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, and editor of Atlas Shrugged: The Novel, the Films, the Philosophy.


Major Work (selected):

Concepts and Natures: A Commentary on The Realist Turn (by Douglas B. Rasmussen and Douglas J. Den Uyl),” Reason Papers 42, no. 1, (Summer 2021); This review of a recent book includes a deep dive into the ontology and epistemology of concepts.

The Foundations of Knowledge. Six lectures on the Objectivist epistemology.

The Primacy of Existence” and “The Epistemology of Perception,” The Jefferson School, San Diego, July 1985

Universals and Induction,” two lectures at GKRH conferences, Dallas and Ann Arbor, March 1989

Skepticism,” York University, Toronto, 1987

The Nature of Free Will,” two lectures at The Portland Institute, October 1986

The Party of Modernity,” Cato Policy Report, May/June 2003;and Navigator, Nov 2003; A widely cited article on the cultural divisions among pre-modern, modern (Enlightenment) and postmodern views.

"I Don't Have To" (IOS Journal, Volume 6, Number 1, April 1996) and “I Can and I Will” (The New Individualist, Fall/Winter 2011); Companion pieces on making real the control we have over our lives as individuals.

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