Shannon joined Air Force ROTC immediately after 9/11, where she became a Distinguished Graduate from Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles' Detachment 040, commissioning into the Air Force in June 2006. She fulfilled her service commitment as an Intelligence Officer around the world before she moved back to her home state of California to pursue acting. Shannon is passionate about sharing feel-good stories through film, music, and dance. A certified yoga and pole dance instructor, Shannon specializes in alignment-based movement. She has dabbled in dance training, including modern, jazz, and ballet, but nothing could have prepared her for the excitement of Diavolo. She is honored to take the stage with this team of artists!
Lugdy is a native of Southern California. She proudly served her tour of duty as an Officer in the U.S. Army in Japan. After her tour of duty was completed, she continued to live in Japan for a few years where she learned about the Japanese culture, traveled throughout Japan, and became a Taiko Drummer. During her college years, she was a part of the Claremont Ballroom Dance Team which fueled her love of dance. After graduating from college and serving her tour in the military, she returned to the states to work and continued dancing. She became an awarded Silver level intercollegiate competitive Ballroom Dancer competing for four years in 14 different American and International Dance styles. A year ago, after working many years as a defense contractor she decided to make a career change because she wanted to pursue her dreams of dancing, acting, performing, and film making. She took a leap of faith and this past year has been fortunate enough to have worked in the production of various films and a TV pilot as of recent. She also created, produced, and edited her own short documentary about women in the military called “This is Our War Too” which was selected by the Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA) to be showcased on the big screen at the Veterans of Humanities and Arts event. Her film can be viewed on the LACMA website under the Veterans Make Movies Archive – a true honor. She was also extremely fortunate to attend a Diavolo workshop for Veterans this year where she was subsequently selected to participate in the Diavolo Dance experience – a dream come true! She is humbled and truly honored to be dancing and performing with such a talented team of Diavolo choreographers, dancers, and fellow veterans.
David was born in Biloxi MS and joined the Marine Corps from 2006-2010. Searching for answers after enduring his various tours, he moved out to Los Angeles, CA to seek treatment from his various experiences. After trying various methods and treatments he decided to turn to the Arts as a form of therapy and rehabilitation when all else had failed. During one of his dance classes he was introduced to Diavolo and was immediataly enamored with this form of modern expression. Having brought his dreams to fruition, he is now able to express himself in the purest way, thanks to this special project involving his fellow warriors. His is currently working as an entertainer with experience in Shakespheare in summer, Suviving the Cut (Marine Scout Sniper edition) and Rekill, a knockoff of the walking dead. It is an honor to serve to the last breath.
Martha was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Upon graduating from High School, she joined the Army Reserve where she served from 2001-2009, and was deployed to Iraq from 2003-2004. She graduated from California State University Los Angeles in 2008 with her B.S in Mathematics. After being in an accident that left her with a broken hip, Martha became infatuated with the human body and soul, and how beautifully it can heal when it is taken care of. Her faith, taking dance classes and moving her body around in any way everyday have helped Martha manage PTSD and the hardships of everyday life. In hopes of one day using her Math degree, her dream is to calculate the unlimited limits of the movement of the human body. She is honored and thankful to be part of this Veteran’s project with Diavolo and is proud to dance alongside those who’ve also served.
Gerald J. Lange Jr.
“BJ” , USAF (Ret.) is an actor, comedian, and TV host. He is a native of St. Louis “in pursuit of happiness” who’s often referred to as a “big kid following his dreams”. Studying Theatre throughout high school and college he soon found himself in morning radio getting arrested for pranks. Just ask him. BJ is a proud graduate of The Second City Hollywood Conservatory, where he also teaches and is an alumni of iO West (formerly improvOlympic West) and instructor at The Improv Trick and Orange County School of the Arts. He has also studied at Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. BJ was the host of Maxim’s Spring Break 2006-2013 Panama City Beach, FL (MTV), GameRiot (MTV2), mtvU’s Campus Invasion and a sportscaster for The World Series of Video Games (CBS Sports). He was also the host of ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas at Bryant Park NYC. His acting credits include sketches on Jimmy Kimmel, Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show”, as well as various national commercials. BJ is a hopeful testicular cancer survivor and is a medically retired Air Force Reserve medic currently enrolled in the Air Force Wounded Warrior Ambassador Program where he is a motivational speaker. He hopes to return to duty. BJ is a pilot and currently serves as a Public Affairs Officer and aircrew member in Civil Air Patrol (USAF Aux). @BjComedy // vftla.org/veteran/bj-lange
Christopher is a former Police Officer and Army veteran turned actor and veteran's advocate. Raised in Oakland, California and a graduate of UC Berkeley's Peace and Conflict Studies department, he now lives in Los Angeles as a thespian. He's the founder of Warriors For Peace Theatre, an organization that uses Shakespeare as a form of catharsis for veterans struggling with PTSD and reintegration and is designed to bring veterans of different nations together to promote peace and healing (www.warriorsforpeacetheatrecom). Christopher Loverro believes art transcends politics and brings people together. His stage credits include Orlando in As You Like It and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. He currently studies at the Anteus Classical Academy.
Dianna Leanne Wilson
Dianna grew up an all star athlete in St. Louis MO. She served in the United States Army from 1992-1997. After her time in the military she returned to St Louis where she started acting in theater and short films as well as working on the production side. She moved to Los Angeles in 2004 to pursue a life in entertainment where she has worked on some of the most iconic shows of the decade. She had also started getting more involved with theater and that's where she started to connect with other veterans and veteran groups. The connections within the veterans groups is how she came to be part of this fantastic group that the Diavolo producers put together. She is honored and humbled to be participating in this program.
VETERAN PERFORMER ALTERNATES
Jacques Antoine Walden Jr.
Jacques served 10 years in the United States Air Force as an Armament System Specialist. He worked on the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, B-1 Lancer and B-52 Stratofortress aircrafts. He has been station at Whiteman AFB, MO and Edwards AFB, CA. He has been deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam on multiple occasions. He separated as an E-5/Staff Sargent. Jacques has also performed in the dramatic arts all throughout middle and high school. He has done plays such as Wait before Dark, Fiddler on the Roof, and Twelve Angry Men just to name a few. One of his biggest theater productions was The Bronze Star which was recognized nationally as part of the cast by Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, receiving Distinguished Performance & Production Ensemble Award. Most recently Jacques has begun his transition from theater to film. He has enrolled himself at The New York Film Academy and is majoring in BFA for Acting in Film.
Oscar has known since childhood that he wants to be in front of the crowd. An Actor. A Dancer. A Performer. Watching his favorite movies growing up, like Matilda and The Never Ending Story, Oscar has always allowed his imagination to throw him into those worlds, becoming part of it. So began his longing to act. But like most big dreamers, Oscar’s insecurities were strong enough to prevent him from chasing those ideas. Not sure of his next move, he enlisted in the Navy at 18. Because of the GI Bill, the military afforded Oscar the opportunity to attend the Academy of Dramatic Arts. Against his fears, he auditioned and was accepted, thriving under the mentorship and encouragement of his acting teacher Michele Gossett. Upon graduating, he realized his desire to perform was actually an inherent need. Oscar relocated to Los Angeles in the past year to fully pursue acting and in less than 6 months, has begun to make his mark by booking a Google commercial, a US Navy commercial, and a docu-series for PBS. And most recently, he took the leap, pun intended, to flex his dance muscles with Diavolo.