AIT Director Bios

Kate McSwain

Co-Executive Director of American Ice Theatre | Director of AIT Boston

Kate McSwain (she/her) is an international figure skating choreographer, earning her Master Rating in Choreography from the Professional Skaters Association in 2017 and her AIT Certification in 2012. She is also certified in Pilates, has extensive training in multiple styles of dance, and over a decade of experience teaching yoga. Kate was the Assistant Director of the 2016 ISU World Championship Opening Ceremonies in Boston, and co-choreographer for the 2014 US Figure Skating National Championship Opening Ceremonies. She resides in Boston but travels frequently both nationally and internationally to teach AIT movement seminars, choreograph for competitive skaters, and consult with Theatre on Ice programs and synchronized skating teams. Kate has a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Colorado.

Garrett Kling

Co-Executive Director of American Ice Theatre | Director of AIT Minneapolis-St. Paul

Garrett Kling headshot

Garrett Kling (he/him) is an international figure skating choreographer, holding a Master Rating in Choreography with the Professional Skaters Association since 2016 and his AIT Certification since 2012. He has choreographed for international competitors in numerous countries including South Africa, the Netherlands, Iceland, Brazil, and Slovakia. Previous and ongoing performing engagements include Le Patin Libre, Holiday on Ice, American Ice Theatre, Ice Theatre of New York, Willy Bietak Productions, Ice Dance International, Dynamic Shows, and the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships Opening Ceremonies. Garrett holds a degree in English/Communications and has experience in journalism.

Jacqueline Benson

Vice President of American Ice Theatre | Director of AIT Phoenix

Jacqueline Benson (she/her) is a choreographer, coach, dancer, and contemporary skating artist based in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a PSA Master Rated Coach, PSA Senior Rated Choreographer, and has held her AIT Master Choreography Techniques certification since 2020. Jacqueline is also a USFS triple gold medalist (Freeskate, Solo Free Dance, Moves in the Field) and is trained in many styles of dance. Her current professional engagements include skating professionally with Le Patin Libre, serving as the Treasurer of the Figure Skating Diversity & Inclusion Alliance, and coaching the Ice Denettes synchronized skating teams. She also has experience as a Theatre on Ice coach & choreographer, and was a founding member of the Figure Skating Team at Arizona State University – for which she subsequently served as Assistant Coach. Jacqueline graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a B.A. in Sports Business and Minor of Media Analysis, and has experience in marketing, communications, nonprofit advocacy work.

Molly Olson Poniatowski

Director of AIT Chicago

Molly Poniatowski headshot

Molly Olson Poniatowski (she/her) is now a professional skater after many years of competitive skating and passing her USFSA Gold test. She has nearly a decade of experience skating in productions across the U.S., Asia, Guam, the Philippines, Mexico, and in ‘Holiday on Ice,’ where she preformed in more than 14 different countries in Europe and South America. Her first taste of skating in Europe began as a television performer and principle skater in the European version of ‘Skating with Celebrities.’ She enjoys taking her various show and competitive experiences from around the world and sharing the creative possibilities with students of all levels. Molly is an AIT-certified choreographer and lives in the Windy City with her husband and two children.

Jordan Bailey

Director of AIT New York City

Jordan Bailey (she/they) is a choreographer, performing artist, teaching artist, and activist out of Brooklyn, New York. She has held an AIT Choreography Certification since 2018, studies dance at various studios across NYC, and has degrees in International Studies and Theatre- curating an Applied Theatre scope to much of their work. This work includes discussion centered around international and local social causes, mental health, and how different forms of expression can be used to educate, and bring change to the topic at hand. Jordan dedicates much of their time, over the school year, working with Figure Skating in Harlem to coach, choreograph, and assist the end of the year ice show production. Along with independent choreography and performance work, ongoing engagements include dancing with Arsenal Movement Dance Project, and skating with American Ice Theatre.

Elizabeth Misson

Director of AIT Cleveland

Elizabeth Misson (she/her) has been involved in figure skating for more than 30 years. She is an American Ice Theatre Certified Choreographer, Director of American Ice Theatre Cleveland, a member of the Professional Skater’s Association and writes blog articles for Learn to Skate USA and US Figure Skating. She is the creative director for Brooklyn Blades on Ice and the Brooklyn Blades on Ice Performance Ensemble (in Brooklyn, Ohio), as well as the head coach/choreographer of the Cleveland Skating Club Theatre on Ice team and an assistant choreographer for the Cleveland Skating Club Ice Show. Elizabeth is a quadruple USFS gold-medalist (Moves, Free Skate, Dance and Solo Free Dance) and is a Skate Canada gold-medalist (Free Skate). Elizabeth has a BA in Communications from Cleveland State University. She began her professional career working at ABC affiliate WEWS TV-5 in Cleveland and is now a Communications Manager in the Philanthropy Institute at Cleveland Clinic. She and her husband (Tom) live in Avon Lake, Ohio with their boys (Christian and Elijah) and stepson (Andrew) who is in the Air Force.

Gillian Robidas

Director of AIT New Hampshire

Gillian Robidas (she/her) is a coach, choreographer, and contemporary skater living in the seacoast region of New Hampshire. She has held her AIT choreography certification since 2020 and choreographs for the “Broadway Blades” Theatre on Ice program at Colonial Figure Skating club. In addition, Gillian runs local artistic skating classes, choreographs for local competitors and club shows, and was an associate coach for the Unified/Adaptive Theatre on Ice team at the Skating Club of Boston from 2019-2022. She is a USFSA Gold Medalist, and competed with both junior and senior Theatre on Ice teams for five years. Since 2018, she has performed professionally with American Ice Theatre, Fight or Flight Productions, Rostyn Ice Shows, and Ice Creative Entertainment. Gillian is currently pursuing her B.A. in Psychology, and loves to journal, read, try new recipies, and get outside. 


Co-Assistant Director of AIT Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cameron Claire (they/them) is a coach and contemporary figure skating artist based in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. They have performed with the AIT-MSP Professional Company since its formation in 2019, and earned their AIT Master Choreography Techniques certification in 2021. Cameron is the 2022 Young Artists Showcase champion, and the recipient of the “Best Choreography Piece” award for their Challenge 1 work entitled “The Invitation”. They were featured as an ensemble choreographer at the 2022 American Contemporary Skating Festival Showcase, and also performed an original solo piece. They were hosted by The Next Ice Age as the guest artist for their 2022 Fall Residency & Presentation, where they created an ensemble piece and performed new original solo work. Cameron’s choreography has been described as absurdist, emotional, intentional, and whimsical. Cameron is a USFS Double Gold Medalist (Moves in the Field, Solo Free Dance), and competed as a member of Team USA in synchronized skating at the Junior level. Cameron also skated on the Hockey Cheerleading Team at the University of Minnesota, where they earned their Bachelor of Arts degree.


Co-Assistant Director of AIT Minneapolis-St. Paul

Elise Little (she/her) has been skating with the AIT Minneapolis-St. Paul Professional Company for three seasons and is the 2021 Quest for Creativity champion. Her background in ice dance and classical ballet provides a strong foundation to explore creative movement in contemporary skating. Elise is thrilled to be working along side AIT MSP Director, Garrett Kling and AIT MSP Co-Assistant Director, Cameron Claire. She is looking forward to supporting the growth of AIT and contemporary skating through seminars, education, and performance opportunities in the Twin Cities. 

Sarah Zanolli

Assistant Director of AIT New York City

Sarah Zanolli (she/her) is a New York City-based coach and performer. With over 15 years of coaching and performing experience, she loves sharing the joy of skating with everyone from tots to adults, beginner to competitive levels. She has performed with Ice Theatre of New York and Glitz Entertainment at venues like Rockefeller Center, Wollman Rink, and at a variety of private parties and events on ice skates and roller skates. She runs the annual holiday rink at NOLA ChristmasFest where she’s known as the Ice Ambassador of New Orleans. Off the ice, Sarah’s other love is nonprofit work, and she can be found building homes after natural disasters anywhere fires, floods, or tornadoes may strike. She’s grateful to be serving as the Assistant Director of American Ice Theatre NYC and is excited to create more spaces for skating as self-expression for all.

Jimmy Morgan

Assistant Director of AIT Boston

Jimmy Morgan (he/they) is a coach, choreographer and professional figure skater based in Boston. He focuses on empowering his students by placing value in the whole skater including their long-term emotional and physical well-being. He holds a Mass Communication degree from Boston University. In his spare time, Jimmy is a Pro Ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization committed to the fair inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in sports. He loves reading, traveling, dancing, and watching too much Netflix. He can usually be found making Tiktoks in the corner of a rink or playing ball with his rescue pup, Cali.

Chelsea Ridley

Co-Assistant Director of AIT Chicago

Chelsea Ridley (she/her), also known as the Hip Hop Ice Queen, is a professional performer, choreographer, instructor, and social media influencer (Aurora Tights and Riedell Skates). Prior to her professional career, she competed at the USFS Senior level, passed ISI FS 8, and is a USFS double Gold Medalist (MIF and Freeskate). At eight years old, Chelsea skated in her first professional show alongside the great Surya Bonaly in “Ebony on Ice”, which featured an all Black cast. This show sparked her interest in performing and later shaped her career. Now, she has dedicated her art to performing and transferring her passion for dance onto the ice. Chelsea has performed in productions such as “Disney On Ice” as a principal performer and line captain, “BrownBody” as a movement artist and line captain, principal performer in the “UniverSoul Circus”, and guest skated for “Figure Skating in Detroit”. Some of her accolades include winning the “Star of the Future” award in the 2016 Pro Skaters Open, being featured on the TV show “Echappees Belles” which aired in France, and recently becoming a viral sensation for bringing her Jamaican roots onto the ice with a reggae dancehall inspired routine to “Toast” by the artist Koffee. When Chelsea is not traveling the country performing, she’s in her hometown of Chicago choreographing, skating with American Ice Theatre Chicago, guest teaching at seminars, and instructing skaters of all ages. She also enjoys teaching dance both on and off the ice (Hip Hop, Contemporary, Jazz, Modern, Caribbean).

Alex Martin

Co-Assistant Director of AIT Chicago

Alex J. Martin (they/them) is a contemporary figure skater, coach, and choreographer based in Chicago, IL. Alex has experience skating professionally with Holiday on Ice and Disney on Ice, touring across the US, Canada, and Germany. They received their Master in Choreography Techniques certification from American Ice Theatre in Fall 2022 and they enjoy studying methods of improvisational movement. Alex competed in ice dance for 8 years, earning 3 podium finishes at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. They also are a three time U.S. Figure Skating Gold Medalist in Pattern Dance, Free Dance, and Moves in the Field. Alex holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, and when they are not coaching ice dance or theatre on ice, they work as an Avionics Engineer in the Aviation Industry.

Annette Thomas

Director of Ballet for Figure Skaters
AIT Collaborator


Annette Thomas (she/her) is founder and director of Ballet for Figure Skaters. She has been a dance teacher and choreographer since 1970. Trained at Carnegie Hall by the late Maria Nevelska of the Bolshoi Ballet, Annette continued her studies with Ana Garcia of the San Juan Ballet Company, Marguerite De Anguera of the Connecticut Regional Ballet Company, and Mme. Alexandra Danilova of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. She began working with figure skaters in 1998, providing instruction in Russian Technique Ballet (the Vaganova Method, developed by Agrippina Y. Vaganova used to train the dancers at the Bolshoi and Kirov Ballet.) Annette also teaches Floor-Barre alignment and injury prevention as part of her program.

She received her Pedagogical Certification for the Study of Classical Ballet (Vaganova Pedagogical Training) from Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio, and currently teaches online certification courses in conjunction with AIT and the Ohio Conservatory of Ballet. She conducts workshops worldwide for Ballet for Figure Skaters, Floor-Barre, and Russian Method Classical ballet. She is the author of the internationally successful books Fundamentals of Alignment and Classical Movement for Figure Skaters and Lessons in Classical Ballet for the Figure Skater.

John Mucko

Director of Grassroots Development
Co-Founder of AIT Boston

John Mucko headshot

John Mucko (he/him) started his professional career with Ice Follies and later joined Holiday on Ice in Europe traveling the world for 9 years. He has been coaching figure skating for nearly 40 years and holds a Master Rating in choreography with the Professional Skaters Association, as well as a AIT certification with American Ice Theatre. John co-founded AIT Boston alongside Kate McSwain in 2015 and co-directed the Boston satellite through 2019. He established the grassroots AIT educational series in Rockland, MA. John also created the American Ice Theatre annual “Key to Creativity” Award that AIT rewards to a skating director, volunteer, or coach who supports and promotes the AIT mission and values each year. He has directed many workshops to introduce athletes of all ages to the concept of using dance movements, gestures, and emotions in their skating performance. He also served on the US Figure Skating Theatre On Ice Development Committee and currently serves on the PSA Theatre on Ice Ratings Committee.

Jodi Porter

Founder of American Ice Theatre

Jodi Porter headshot

Jodi Porter (she/her) has always been an advocate for fusing dance with figure skating. After a professional career both in the figure skating and dance worlds, Jodi is passionate about creating and promoting the artistry of skating by fusing the two together through education, workshops, performance, choreography, mentoring, and special projects levitra kopen.

An award-winning dance choreographer, Jodi is the author of the USFS Theatre on Ice glossary of Choreographic Elements, the developer of AIT’s Master Choreography Techniques online course, and the “Dance2Ice Barre” training programs. She is also the official presenter of Ricky Harris workshops across the globe.

She holds an MFA in Dance Choreography and a BFA degree in Modern Dance from a nationally recognized program at the University of Utah that gave her extensive technical experience in dance choreography, performance, and teaching. She is PSA Master Rated in choreography.

Jodi’s dance experience includes master classes and training with the Paul Taylor School, Alvin Ailey dancers, Trisha Brown Company, Sean Curran, and Murray Louis. She has danced professionally with Shipp Dance Theatre, and appeared as a guest artist with Repertory Dance Theatre. From 2002-2007 she has held a full-time position at Ballet San Jose as the Associate School Director, managing a program of over 450 students. She has choreographed successful dance projects with the school including a 1st Prize trophy for the piece ‘Sunset Tango’ at the International Grand Prix in Cesena, Italy 2005. Other dance credits include directing the Spy Girls, dancers for the San Jose Stealth Professional Lacrosse Team, and choreographing for the musical ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. Ms. Porter served on the Performing Arts Committee for the city of Mountain View from Jan. 2007 – Jan. 2010.

In figure skating, Jodi is a USFS freestyle gold medalist. After competing from 1980-1990, she traveled in numerous international ice shows with Disney on Ice and other production companies performing roles including: chorus, principal pair, principal soloist, and performance director until 1997. From that point her passion for choreography in dance/skating spurred her to direct and choreograph several of her own projects including: SLC Children’s Theatre on Ice 1997, Grizz Girlzz Hockey Cheerleaders 1999, SLC Contemporary Ice Theatre 2000, and the Urban Ice Project. In 2002, Jodi was an Assistant Cast Coordinator and performed in the XIX Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies, as well as choreographed the opening for the figure skating Exhibition of Champions.

More recent performance highlights include: Downtown Ice at San Jose 2004-2007, guest artists in SF Ice Shows 2005-2008, Sharks Hockey Games Intermissions 2004-2006, Bay Area Dance Week Closing 2004, Production of AIT’s “Sunset Tango” and “Latin Dance Explosion” at Shark’s Ice San Jose 2008, SF Union Square 2011 and in collaboration with Ice-Semblé Chicago 2012 and 2013 seasons. 2014 marked AIT’s first full-length production in Chicago with “Let’s Dance,” featuring Young Artists Showcase artists.