DeMa Dance Company seamlessly fuses ballet, jazz, and modern dance to create tableaus addressing universal themes of humanity. Incorporating narrative and geometric narrative and non-narrative choreography, their versatile repertory focuses upon strength, boldness, and fearlessness of the individual, and the individual's power to affect the world around them. DeMa embraces a wide spectrum of movement, from the sensual to the symmetrical and statuesque. Their physically and culturally diverse dancers work to express the emotion behind the movement.
DESPINA SIMEGIATOS, FOUNDER/DIRECTOR
Despina was born into a family of dancers and musicians in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was a principal dancer with the Greek National Ballet, her father a tenor with the Greek National Opera and her grandmother alongside her aunt, were the founders of the Hellenic Ballet Theatre. Despina began her ballet training at the early age of two at the Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center and continued her studies at Broadway Dance Center, Steps NYC. She graduated from LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts under the direction of Michelle Mathesius. Despina has worked extensively with an array of high profile masters in the field including Joe Lanteri, Deborah Zall, Elisa King, Penny Frank, Jacquelyn Buglisi, David Howard, Madame Gabriela Darvash, and Brunilda Ruiz. She has also performed the works of Shapiro & Smith and Elisa King.Despina’s professional career began in 1992 when she joined Vicky Simegiatos Dance Company (VSDC) performing as a member of the corps de ballet. In 1994 she was promoted as a soloist in the company. Since then, Despina has been on the faculty as the main instructor and resident choreographer of the contemporary, jazz, and modern divisions for one of Brooklyn’s leading performing arts centers, Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center. In 1998 she founded the VSPAC Competition Division. Since then, she has been the main director of the VSPAC Dance Competition Companies. Despina has become an extremely sought out teacher and choreographer in New York. She is credited with a sagacious and cognizant eye for intuitive talented dancers. She has a strong conceptual vision that rises through artistic purity and a passion toward artistic excellence. She has confidence in her observation that integrating accomplished performers of different techniques into a work sparks fire.Many of her students have moved on to professional careers in dance. Her students have gone on to dance for Disney, Broadway, music videos, film, School of American Ballet, New York City Ballet, Miami City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre School, Boston Conservatory, Marymount Manhattan College, Dance Theatre of Harlem, LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts and American Ballet Theatre School. Despina has won numerous awards nationwide for her teaching and choreography including "Teacher of the Year 2009" and “Most Innovative Choreographer” at Kids Artistic Revue Nationals. In 2004 Despina, along with her sister, Matina Simegiatos, began Brooklyn’s most prestigious talent competition, METRO Talent Competition. It gives Despina great honor providing dancers the best opportunity to display their talent in front of the most reputable dancers and adjudicators. In addition to performing and choreographing, Despina has appeared on numerous covers of Body Wrappers Dancewear catalogues as their featured dance model. Her students have also had the experience of appearing in several Body Wrappers Dancewear catalogues. Furthermore, Despina has assisted the resident Body Wrappers choreographer for various catalogue photo shoots.
MATINA SIMEGIATOS, FOUNDER/DIRECTOR
Matina was born in Brooklyn, NY into a very musical family and began studying dance and voice at the tender age of 2. She was accepted to the School of American Ballet at the age of 7, where she studied and performed in numerous New York City Ballet productions over the course of 10 years. Matina also managed to pursue a career in musical theater during this time, and appeared in Broadway and Off-Broadway productions alongside such greats as Ray Charles, Anne Reinking and Barry Harris. At age 15, while attending LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts (the Fame school), Matina signed with Atlantic Records as a solo artist and continued to have a successful career as a singer/songwriter for over 11 years. She also maintained a career in theater. Some of her Broadway credits include Crime and Punishment and The Kenny Rogers Christmas Show. Matina is currently a resident choreographer and instructor at the Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center, where she has directed and choreographed at least 90 works. She has also been working with Body Wrappers, America's leading dance wear company, as their resident choreographer, choreographic film editor, model casting director and dancewear consultant for over 18 years.
YESID LOPEZ, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/RESIDENT CHOREOGRAPHER
YESID LOPEZ is originally from Colombia where he began his dance training in ballet at the age of 18 with Jaime Diaz and Ana Consuelo Gomez Caballero in Anna Pavlova´s Ballet Academy in Bogota dancing as corps of ballet and soloist in The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Romeo and Juliet as well as in contemporary pieces. He received a scholarship from The School at Jacob´s Pillow in the jazz program in 2004 and 2006 where he was training with Luigi, Matt Mattox, Bill Hastings, Chet Walker, Patti Wilcox, Dana Moore, Alex Sanchez, James Kinney and Mark Burrel and a full scholarship from Inland Pacific Ballet Academy in Montclair, CA where he danced Dracula and The Nutcracker. Yesid has performed in Colombia, UK, Cuba, USA as a dancer and choreographer in latin, jazz and contemporary ballet styles and South Korea as a choreographer-featured dancer with Hanwha Resort in Sokcho City.
In 2006, Yesid moved to New York where he received a full scholarship from STEPS on Broadway and was selected to be a member of the Steps Repertory Ensemble 2006-2008 performing different works from choreographers like Heidi Latsky, Steven Sofia, Jason Winters, Bradley Shelver, Wes Veldink, Max Stone and Monica Bill Barnes. As a choreographer Yesid has performed in different venues in the New York City Area like Winter Follies- Spoke The Hub, Steps Lab Series, PMT Seasonal Showcase, RHYTHMS, Mojito/DanceOmopolitan at Joe's Pub, Dance Tracks NYC, Dumbo Dance Festival, Bridge for Dance, Local Produce- Spoke The Hub, COOL New York, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, El Museo, The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College and has received reviews in publications like Attitude The Dancers' Magazine, Ballet-Dance Magazine, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin and Dance Spirit. He has danced with Ballet Hispanico and worked as a Ballroom Instructor and choreographer at Dance Times Square. Yesid is currently dancing with The Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and is the Artistic Director of DeMa Dance Company.
PEGGY CASEY, COSTUME DESIGNER
Prior to attending Fashion Institute of Technology where she earned a BFA in Fashion Design, Peggy Casey was Executive Assistant to the Director of Production at Ben Cooper Halloween Costumes. While a student at FIT, she won “Design-O-Vation,” an international design scholarship competition sponsored by Reebok International; which included an internship at Reebok International, San Diego, CA. She is also a recipient of the Bob Mackey Creativity Award. Peggy joined Vicky Simegiatos Performing Arts Center as Wardrobe Mistress; later becoming VSPAC competition Costume Designer, for which Peggy has won costume awards from various regional and national dance competitions. She has created graphic T-shirt artwork for Vicky Simegiatos of VSPAC and Despina Simegiatos of METRO Talent Competition. She enjoyed creating costumes for the Drama Club at Leif Ericson Day School. While working with St. Anselm Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts she received the Elizabeth Ann Seton Award from the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens for the design of a program to help develop leadership skills of its members while reaching the goal of national recognition. Peggy joined DeMa Dance Company as Costume Designer and Wardrobe Mistress having the distinct pleasure of designing costumes for resident and guest choreographers. In addition, she enjoys working with Body Wrappers, DeMa’s sponsor. Most recently, Peggy had the honor of designing costumes for Manhattan Youth Ballet for the June performances and Gala.