Michelle, who founded Joyful Plate in 2011 to promote the joy that good food and beverages can bring to our daily lives, specializes in positioning and growing small to mid-sized lifestyle brands with strategy, research, package design and big ideas. She is also a blogger, sharing personal stories about what inspires at blog.joyfulplate.com. Michelle’s love for everything culinary began in the mid-90's when she managed the Wine & Champagne portfolio for Remy Cointreau, worked with the Antinori family of Florence, Sandro Boscaini from Masi Amarone, and a range of boutique Champagnes including Krug, Piper, and Charles Heidsieck. She has traveled extensively throughout Europe and has had many unique food experiences which inspired her to complete an advanced certificate in Wine & Spirits Education from the WSET in London and the Essentials of Fine Cooking from the French Culinary. In her free time, Michelle enjoys entertaining, especially making risotto for friends and family. She is also a branding volunteer to the Director of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger on the Upper West Side of New York City.
Born and raised in New York City, Ariel began her dance training at The Joffrey Ballet School and was a dance major at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts. In 2004, Ariel earned a B.S. in Dance with honors and a minor in Women's Studies from Skidmore College. For her senior thesis project, she choreographed a contemporary ballet for five dancers that was presented at the Skidmore College Academic Festival in Spring 2004. Upon graduation, Ariel moved back to New York City and joined ACFDance under the artistic direction of Adrienne Celeste Fadjo, with whom she danced until December 2007. In May 2005, Skidmore commissioned her to set a piece that was presented at the Saratoga Dance Museum. In 2007 Ariel began choreographing for York Dance Works and in 2008 she founded Ariel Rivka Dance, a. Contemporary Ballet/Modern Dance company based in New York City committed to creating work that explores raw emotion in the context of strong technique and form. In addition to prioritizing collaboration with living composers, Ariel Rivka Dance uses movement to expose, intrigue, and inspire the audience and collaborators. Comprised of dynamic and graceful dancers, ARD also strives to create a comfortable and inviting environment for the audience so they can deepen and/or develop their passion for dance. Apart from her artistic endeavors, Ariel received her Master’s in Early Childhood Education at Bank Street School of Education and teaches at the Jewish Community Project Early Childhood Center.