Melanie Kasdon — Artistic Director (Tribe & Embrace), President
A native of Boston, MA, Melanie began her dance training at the Norwood School of Ballet (now Norwood Dance Academy) in Norwood, MA. Her training was primarily in ballet technique and performance. Melanie was privileged to receive a ballet scholarship by Dance Educators of America to study in the ballet dance program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in college, Melanie was introduced to hip-hop and soon after became a hip-hop instructor at Boston University’s FLEXD (Fitness, Lifestyle, Exercise & Dance) Program. While at Boston University, she was introduced to instructor Mary Mazzulli who encouraged her to audition for Rainbow Tribe. Since joining Rainbow Tribe in 2001, Melanie has taught various styles of dance in Tribe, The Class at the Brookline Academy of Dance. A few years later, she was appointed to leadership as an Assistant Dance Captain. During this time, Melanie became more artistically involved with the company members and choreography development. Melanie was eventually appointed to Dance Captain, then Assistant Artistic Director. In the spring of 2011, while Mary Mazzulli was on a leave of absence, Melanie was appointed to Acting Artistic Director and had the task of directing on her first production - Tribe Vibe 8 - along with the rest of the leadership. Upon Mazzulli’s return, Melanie was named Director of Operations for Rainbow Tribe, Inc., as well as Director of Embrace. Melanie is a graduate of Boston University with a BA in Economics and is currently working in the financial services industry.
Henry Kasdon — Director, Bside
A native of San Antonio, TX, Henry began his dance career in 1998 at Tufts University. While there, he became president of TURBO, Tuft’s breakin’ crew, as well as a dancer/choreographer for the hip-hop/jazz dance troupe Spirit of Color (SoC). Henry possesses a natural ability for dance and is a devout B-boy and busy hip-hop DJ (a.k.a Kid Spin). Henry joined Rainbow Tribe in 2002, and has since been appointed to Outreach Coordinator for Rainbow Tribe, Inc., as well as Bside director. He currently oversees all of Rainbow Tribe’s D.A.R.E.® Dance programs and instructors, and instructs D.A.R.E.® Dance at the Mather Elementary School in Dorchester, the first public elementary school in North America. Henry also instructs hip-hop and breakin’ at numerous high schools, colleges, and dance studios in the Boston area, including Harvard University and also coaches sports and does real estate development.
Rachel Buffer — Director, Linx
Rachel Buffer hails from North Brunswick, NJ and began her dance training at the School of the Arts Dance Education Center. With a degree in Fashion Merchandising and Marketing, Rachel spends half her time at the finest hat shop in New England hatting some of Boston’s finest. She has been dancing with Boston-based Tribe the Dance Company since 2008, serving as rehearsal director and embarking on a new company under Tribe’s umbrella, Linx. In addition to dancing with Tribe, Rachel is also a member of the Unyted Stylz Crew under the direction of Ricardo Foster, Jr. As a choreographer, Rachel has created full-length pieces for Tribe as well as choreography for various youth troupes throughout New England and in the tri-state area. Rachel is a passionate teacher and has instructed master classes all over Massachusetts including a promotional master class for Tribe, the Dance Company’s “Tribe Vibe 8 show. Miss Buffer has also worked with fellow New England musicians and artists serving as a choreographer and backup dancer for shows and music videos.