Synetic Studio Staff

Alex Mills

Classes, Synetic Fitness, Synetic Technique
Director for Teen Productions
Private Movement Coach and Consultant

Alex Mills has been working with Synetic Theater since 2008 premiering in his first production, Host and Guest.  Since then he has performed in over 13 productions including A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello both of which he received Helen Hayes Nominations in the Supporting Actor and Lead Actor categories.  He has Assistant Directed and Choreographed for both Synetic Teens A Midsummer Night’s Dream along with last season’s Teen production of Romeo and Juliet as well as being a teacher for the Synetic Fitness and Synetic Technique classes. As an actor he has also worked at Studio Theatre and Signature Theatre.  He believes in developing a strong sense of body awareness and control focusing on the development of physical strength and technique to create a confident actor both onstage and off. 


Tori (Victoria) Bertocci

Elementary Adventures in Acting, Middle School Foundations
Teen Preparatory Program: Creating Choreography, Movement for the Actor: Presence and Impulse, Skills and Technique
Summer Camp Instructor
Private Movement Coach and Consultant

Tori holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Theatre Performance and a focus in Dance/Choreography.  Tori is a fourth year Company Member with Synetic, and has been a teaching artist for Synetic Education and Outreach programs for the past three years.  In addition to acting and teaching, Tori is also a co-founder of relEASE, a physical theatre company in the DC area. relEASE’s production SELF premiered at Capital Fringe where it won the 2014 Directors Choice Award.  She choreographed Synetic’s Teen Company Production of A Midsummer Nights Dream (winning “Best Choreography”from DC Metro Theatre Arts’ “The Best of 2013”) and The Jungle Book. Tori has worked for Educational Theatre Company, Northern Virginia’s Children’s Theatre, and Moonlit Wings Productions as the Resident Director/Choreographer. She also taught children’s yoga with Excel Into Action and taught gymnastics/dance at The Little Gym of Springfield and Alexandria. Tori always finds ways to nurture her inner child and finds a sense of strength, courage, and creativity through theatre and teaching children to find love and confidence within who they are. We all have lessons to learn, lessons to share and theatre helps us find the way.


Joe Carlson

Teen Preparatory Program: Acting, Character and Process
Private Acting Coach and Consultant

Joseph Carlson (SAG eligible, and Equity Membership Candidate) has worked professionally on stage and in film for 8 years, while earning a BFA in performance and an MFA in Acting Directing pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  During his graduate work Joe specialized in Ritual Poetic Drama within the African Continuum under the direction of his mentor Dr. Tawnya Petiford-Wates.  Joe has worked as adjunct faculty for Virginia Commonwealth University in introduction to stage performance, team teacher and acting coach for the third year acting studio in the Theater VCU BFA program, the upper program theatre arts instructor for Seven Hills School, program leader with Art 180, Oxyrhtymics  instructor for first year performance majors at VCU, teaching artist and ensemble member of The Conciliation Project, and a professional clown with All About Fun Entertainment in Richmond, VA.   He has trained in the traditions of physical theatre with the famed DAH of Belgrade in Serbia, Jacque Lecoq protégé Johnathen Becker in the techniques of Grotwoski and Lecoq mime, and now is a second year Company Member, resident teaching artist, and Studio Coordinator with Synetic Theater.  He is the recipient of an Innovative Projects Grant for his production of Theatre in Battery Park in Richmond, VA, and a co-founder of the Shafer Alliance Laboratory Theatre, where students of VCU Theatre have plied their trade and craft in independently produced projects since 2006.  He has played principal roles in feature films and television series such as Lincoln, Killing Lincoln, Fatal Encounters, and the upcoming AMC Pilot about the Culper Spy Ring, as well as having performed in dozens of regional theatre productions, short films, independent features, regional and national commercials.  Last year Joe conceived, adapted and directed The Jungle Book, with The Synetic Teen Company.  Propelled by the belief that knowledge is not yours until you give it away, he has worked with great energy and passion to share the power of artistic expression as a form of both kinetic and reflective education, where students may draw from the world around them in order to engineer their personal aesthetics and envision how they might play a role in the ever unfolding drama of the human experience.


Elena Velasco

Camp Director
Teen Preparatory Program: Directing

Elena Velasco, a member of SAG, AFTRA, and AEA, has been performing and directing professionally for twenty years, having appeared at the Kennedy Center, Theatre Alliance, Discovery Theatre, Imagination Stage, Signature Theatre STAGES, and in several films, commercials, and TV shows.   Directing and choreography credit highlights:  Rough Faced Girl*Magic Paintbrush*Las Aventuras de Tio Conejo, The Armadillo’s SongBest Christmas Pageant Ever (Synetic Family Theater); La Perdida(Catholic University);  Córiolanas (DC Fringe); Bid to Save the World(Source); Charlotte’s WebMidsummer Night’s MusicalOnce on this IslandBig the musicalSeussicalAnything Goes, Oliver (Chalice);  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryThe Wizard of OzAnne of Green Gables, Seussical (MVCCT);  The Hampton Years (Theater J – Choreographer/Assistant Director); 1776 (Keegan-choreography); Maricela de la Luz Pajama Game, Cinderella, Pirates of PenzanceInto the WoodsAnnie, Jerome Robbins Broadway (area family theaters) She has been commissioned as a playwright and performer by Discovery Theater, the Hirschhorn, and the Newseum.  Ms. Velasco has worked as a teaching artist in residencies and outreach programs throughout the DC Metropolitan area, partnering with such organizations as Synetic Theater, Imagination Quest, Interact Story Theater, Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, and in public and private schools.  For over a decade as Director of Outreach for Educational Theatre Company, she developed original student musicals and served as director for their adult performing company, Shakespeare in the Schools.  She is a contributor to the book, Arts Integration for Education: The Teacher as Agent of Change, which features her chapter, “The Bilingual Classroom:  Teaching through Physical and Verbal Language.”  This book is due for release from Intellect publishing in January 2015. She will receive her MFA in Directing at Catholic University Spring 2015, where she also earned herBA, Magna Cum Laude. *Helen Hayes recommendation.


Robert Bowen Smith

Teen Preparatory Program: Physical Comedy
Private Vocal Coach and Consultant

Robert Bowen Smith is an Equity Membership Candidate, a member of Society of American Directors, and this spring intends to join the Screen Actor’s Guild. He began studying clown in 2006 when he trained with Commedia Maestro, Antonio Fava. Smith began working with Synetic Theater in the Fall of 2012 and just recently received his company membership. He also works with American Shakespeare Center, Imagination Stage, and Flying V Theater Company. Smith earned an MFA in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature from Mary Baldwin College in 2008. Smith has taught Acting at James Madison University and Imagination Stage as well as being an adjunct faculty at Washington and Lee University and Southern Virginia University.


Ben Cunis

Teen Preparatory Program:  Stage Combat
Private Movement Coach and Consultant

Ben has choreographed fights for Synetic Theater since 2007– shows include King Lear (for which he received the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography), King Arthur (also Co-Adaptor/Asst. Director), Othello (also Asst. Director), Antony and CleopatraDracula (HH Nomination—Choreography), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (also Co-Adaptor), Dante (also Co-Adaptor), Host and GuestCarmen (also Co-Adaptor), Romeo and Juliet, and Animal Farm. He also wrote, directed, and performed in Synetic Blackout Series’ Last Tango with Rosie. His production company, Granite Kiss Productions, won the 2008 Washington, DC 24-hour Film Festival with their film The Choices of Ghosts and released their web series based on the same film, Hamilton Carver: Zombie, P.I, which has been an official selection at the Independent Television Festival in Los Angeles and the Festival Cinema Tous Ecrans in Switzerland.


Chanel Smith

Beginner’s Modern Dance
Ballet Basics


Thembi Duncan

Teen Preparatory Program: Acting, Advanced Scene Study and Textual Analysis


Lee Ordeman


Lee Ordeman is an actor and teacher based in Washington, D.C. He has worked in association with theatres such as Washington Shakespeare Company, Scena Theatre, Bay Theatre, Roundhouse Theatre, and Arena Stage in plays including Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Hedda Gabler, The Insect Play, Mountain Language, and The Goat. He has appeared in dozens of commercials, industrial films and several webseries. Film work includes HBO’s Game Change and the featureBetter Living Through Chemistry, soon to be released. He is a member of Actors’ Equity, the union of professional stage actors, and holds an MFA in acting from the Catholic University of America. He can next be seen in The Trial of FDR, on stage at the Kennedy Center in May.

He also teaches movement and meditation, drawing on a broad and eclectic background. He took up dance performance while attending Williams College, and before turning to acting, he studied with renowned choreographer Kei Takei, touring internationally with her company, Moving Earth. He has also studied Sufi movement and practice with Sheik Ingo Taleb Rashid of the Naqshbandi Rashiddiya, with whom he collaborates on seminars and performances in association with El Haddawi, an organization promoting physical and spiritual arts based in Germany. His focus as of late is the development and promotion of movement training for actors. He is a member of the Association of Theatre Movement Educators.

For nearly 30 years he has studied and taught the Japanese movement art Shintaido.  He became an instructor in 1992 and studied in Japan for ten years with the art’s remaining originators.  For eight years he led classes and workshops for the Japan Shintaido Association in Tokyo. He has taught in the United States and Europe and is a board member of the International Shintaido College.