Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes is an immigrant, activist, artist, producer, and educator. With more than 10 years of production and stage management experience in theatre and dance, she has toured nationally and internationally with Zaccho Dance Theatre, Bandaloop, Dancing in The Streets, The Foundry Theatre, and Columbia University School of the Arts, among others. As a teaching artist, Ms. Duque Cifuentes taught children and adults of all ages how to express themselves through theatre and movement practice in over 100 New York City public schools and through community theatre programs. In 2011 she founded Theatre That Transcends, which taught local, underserved communities how to express themselves and address community issues through the art of theatre. As an activist, she plays an integral part in advancing a more equitable arts and cultural ecology by working on measures to increase access, justice, equity, and inclusion within dance for disabled artists, immigrant artists, and artists of color in the five boroughs of New York City. Ms. Duque Cifuentes is a member of the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, Women of Color in the Arts, the Children Museum of Manhattan's Dance Portal Advisory Board, and Eva Yaa Asantewaa's Curatorial Advisory Team at Gibney, and she is an advisor for the Latinx Artists Retreat, an annual convening for Latinx cultural producers across all artistic disciplines and fields. She was born in Medellín, Colombia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from Columbia University School of General Studies.
Arivel Figueroa, Producing Assistant
Arivel Figueroa is an arts and culture facilitator, event coordinator, freelance producer, and music blogger, born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 2009, she completed a BA in Theater at the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras and received another BA in Cultural Tourism in 2014. She was the recipient of the Medal of Highest Score by the Faculty of the University of Puerto Rico in 2014, Fellow of the 2017 National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts Scholarship, and Fellow of the Tisch School of the Arts Scholarship, Goldsmith Award. Before joining Dance/NYC, she worked for the Senate of Puerto Rico as a legislative assistant and Committee staff, creating and participating in a few non-profit projects for local musicians and artists. She is co-founder and Project Manager of the media and music blog Clandestino Puerto Rico/New York. In May 2018, Figueroa finished her MA in Arts and Public Policy at New York University (NYU). In February 2018 she was invited by the University of Pittsburgh's Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) to participate and present her last research in Cultural Plans in Latin America in the 22nd Latin America Social and Public Policy Conference (LASPP). Currently living in Brooklyn, NY, after working as an event and programming coordinator at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in NYU, she discovered the urgency for helping artists and activists to achieve their purpose, work, and goals. photo credit: Dexter Miranda
Heather Gault, Development Assistant
Having begun her professional dance career at the age of 6, Heather toured and performed with ballet companies throughout her childhood and adolescence, most notably with the Hartford Ballet and in the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of The Pharaoh’s Daughter at the Metropolitan Opera House. Today primarily a stage and screen actor, she has performed at theaters across the US and in Europe, and has been seen in films screened at Sundance, TIFF, NYMF and more. As a choreographer, Heather has twice been Visiting Guest Artist at Berry College in Georgia and has served as a teaching artist for various public and private schools throughout New York City. She holds a master’s degree in Musical Theatre Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and earned her bachelor’s degree in Theatre from the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the Dance/NYC team, she worked as a program coordinator for Lincoln Center Education, where she served as Acting Head of Higher Educational Partnerships. Outside of her regular endeavors, Heather is a Victory Belle singer of the National WWII Museum, traveling the country to perform for veterans and at special events. Proud AEA member.
Brinda Guha, Symposium Coordinator
Brinda Guha identifies as a non-disabled, caste-privileged, cisgender and queer South-Asian American, and is a trained Indian Classical Kathak dancer for over 20 years and has traveled throughout USA and to India, England, and Spain to perform. During training and performing for years in the Kathak (Malabika Guha) & Manipuri (Kalavati Devi) dance disciplines, as well as Flamenco (Carmen de las Cuevas; Dionisia Garcia) and Contemporary Fusion vocabularies, she co-founded Kalamandir Dance Company in 2010 based in the vocabulary of #ContemporaryIndian. This name is currently under review. Through Kalamandir, Brinda choreographed for many national stages, the North American Bengali Conference at Madison Square Garden, and self-produced and choreographed original feature-length dance productions which earned her artist residencies at Dixon Place (2018) and Dancewave (2019) to continue to develop work. Now, she is represented by CESD Talent Agency and is pursuing artistic direction, performance and arts education. She continues to train in Kathak, Manipuri, YorchhA? (est. Ananya Chatterjee), and Contemporary. Brinda also dances with dynamic percussive trio Soles of Duende, featuring Flamenco (Arielle Rosales), Tap (Amanda Castro), and Kathak. Her dream of having art meet activism was realized when she created WISE FRUIT NYC, a seasonal live arts installment (est 2017) dedicated to the feminine divine and honoring select women-led organizations. Between live installments, Wise Fruit NYC functions as a community-led space for beginner tools in social justice. For her day job, she works as the Symposium Coordinator for dance service organization based in the values of justice, equity & inclusion: Dance/NYC.
Candace Thompson-Zachery, Manager of Justice, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives
Born in Trinidad and Tobago, now local to Brooklyn, NY, operates between the spheres of dance, cultural production and fitness and wellness, with a focus on the Contemporary Caribbean. She has had an established career as a performer, choreographer, fitness professional, cultural producer, teaching artist, community facilitator and Caribbean dance specialist. In addition to her work in these areas, she leads ContempoCaribe, an ongoing choreography and performance project and is the founder of Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, an organisational platform for Caribbean dance in the diaspora that spearheads the New Traditions Festival in Brooklyn, NY. She graduated from Adelphi University's BFA program for Dance, and has presented, performed and taught at major venues including: Queen's Hall (T&T), John F. Kennedy Center, New York Live Arts, Brooklyn Museum, and The Ohio State University. She was an inaugural member of the Dancing While Black Fellowship Cohort 2015/2016, was an awardee of Adelphi University's 2017 - 10 Under 10 program, and a Dixon Place Artist-in-Residence for fall 2017. As a cultural producer and strategist, Candace has worked with the Dance and Performance Institute of Trinidad and Tobago, WIADCA (NY), Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Renegade Performance Group, and curator Claire Tancons, for the 2019 Sharjah Biennial. Ms. Thompson-Zachery holds an M.A. in Performance Curation from the ICCP program at Wesleyan University and a certificate from the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy at UPenn. with National Arts Strategies. Of tantamount importance to her is the vital role dance plays in our communities and she is eager to see dance artists of various styles, practices and traditions thrive in New York City.
Gregory Youdan, Research & Advocacy Coordinator
Gregory Youdan Jr. works at the intersection of dance, science, health and advocacy for various communities in NYC. He identifies as a gay, latinx, non-disabled, cisgender Dominican American. As a dancer, he toured domestically and internationally with the NY Baroque Dance Company, Sokolow Theatre/Dance and Heidi Latsky dance, where he now serves as a board member. Other company credits have included David Parker and the Bang Group, HT Chen and Dancers, Catherine Gallant/DANCE, Gloria Mclean and Dancers among others. Greg lectures on dance science and at several universities, including Columbia University, NYU, University of Rochester. He has presented scientific research at various academic conferences, including the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the International Society for Posture and Gait Research as well as published in academic journals. Greg is a certified Pilates teacher, having trained under several second-generation teachers. He continues to teach workshops for Pilates teachers based in movement science. Greg is a graduate of the dance program at Hofstra University. He holds masters degrees in motor learning/motor control and applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Aside from his work life, Greg is an avid foodie and enjoys traveling. He lives in Manhattan with his partner and their three cats. photo credit: Diana Kapatos
Heather Robles, Grantmaking Assistant
Heather is the Managing Director of the NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies. She is Founder and Artistic Director of Alma Dance Company. A Brooklyn-based choreographer and performer, she has worked with many artists including Yvonne Rainer, Sidra Bell, Pavel Zustiak, Nathan Trice, DANCENOISE, Andre M. Zachery, Buglisi Dance Theater, Fredrick Earl Mosley, and currently Suzzanne Ponomarenko Dance. She is on the board of Renegade Performance Group, Brooklyn Dance Festival, Sharron Miller's Academy for the Performing Arts, and a member of Eva Yaa Asantewaa's Curatorial Advisory Team at Gibney. Heather is also a dance educator, teaching artist, producer, founder of the blog Community of Motion, advocate for mental health in the dance field, and a certified birth doula at her company, Our Birth Doula. Photo Credit: AK47 Division
Jessica Gaines, Communications Manager
Jessica Gaines brings over 15 years of project management experience in the creative, arts, and marketing fields. Her interest in management was inspired early on from working in the private sector as a Marketing Account Manager. But it's the Arts and Culture sector where she found her professional home. Her connection to the arts stems from her training and background in dance; Jessica spent the early stages of her career as an independent/ freelance dancer, choreographer and instructor, stateside and internationally. Prior to joining Dance/NYC, she showcased her management talents with Americans for the Arts, City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs, and New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
As a proud Consultant with Leading ChangeMakers, a firm dedicated to racial equity in arts leadership, and Board Member with Dashboard (Dash), an arts agency connecting artists, curators, and strategists with space to reimagine experience, Jessica continues to practice her artist-first values. Jessica has held a seat with the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Council and Board Membership with T.Lang Dance.
In 2018, Jessica received a certificate in Executive Arts and Culture Strategy from University of Pennsylvania and National Arts Strategies. In 2019, she received an M.S. in Organization Change Management at The New School, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Studies. Photo credit: Phil Lee
Kirsten Reynolds, Development and Grantmaking Manager
Kirsten Reynolds is passionate about the arts and advancing the field of dance. As a dance artist, Kirsten has worked with several companies including: Rachel Thorne Germond Performance Collage, Ninja Ballet, 7 Midnights Physical Research, Golden Hour Dance and Nuo Spiritual Art Foundation. Kirsten has also had the pleasure of working as an arts administrator with Stephen Petronio Company where she cultivated the organization's archives and worked closely with the Development Associate. Kirsten is a recent graduate of Texas Christian University where she earned BFA degrees in Ballet and Modern Dance and is very excited to be working with Dance/NYC.
Kyle Rudnick, Operations Manager
Kyle is of German and Puerto Rican descent and identifies as someone with dyslexia and auditory processing disorder. A stage actor by trade, he has been working in a multi-disciplinary arts environment as an administrator for over a decade. Kyle graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University with a B.S. in Business Management and moved shortly afterwards to Upstate NY where he spent time working for institutions such as the Glimmerglass Festival and Bard College SummerScape Festival. During university and residency in Upstate, Kyle managed financials and operations for Purely Pets, a worldwide holistic animal supplement wholesaler. Upon moving to NYC, he continued a musical career at New York City Opera, then transitioned to manage programs at the Valentina Kozlova Dance Conservatory of New York - thus sparking a new zeal for dance! On stage, Kyle has most recently been seen in a Chekov production of Platonov at the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance and will be seen there in the Bald Sopranos this winter. His active role in theatrical improvisation and film production has deepened his knowledge as an artist. Aside from the arts, Kyle is strongly passionate about travel and food. He peacefully resides on Roosevelt Island.
Peter Elizade, Commuincations Assistant
Peter is a non-binary dancer, performance artist, and social media expert based in New York City. Peter is a graduate of the New School for Public Engagement. As a dancer, they have appeared on stages and music videos for artists including Honey Davenport, Kay Day and Friends, Ang Low, and Danni Perez. Peter is in ongoing collaboration with VMA nominated choreographer, Ljuba Castot for upcoming choreographic and artistic endeavors.
Peter has managed social media for nonprofit groups such as Dance/NYC and the New York State Council on the Arts, as well as corporate entities such as Boxers NYC - America's Gay Sports Bar. Peter is proud to blend their passions for nightlife, dance, and social justice into all of their endeavors.
James H. Monroe, Designer/Strategist Consultant
Monroe&Co is a New York City-based strategy and design studio that creates branding, websites, and print publications for non-profits, arts organizations, and growing businesses. Principal James Monroe has 15 years of experience designing and leading design projects. He is passionate about helping others learn and grow while remaining mindful of society and the environment. He believes it is important that even organizations with limited resources have access to effective communication design.
Jovanka Ciares, Executive Consultant
Jovanka Ciares is a former entertainment executive turned freelance project manager and director of operations. She is also a certified wellness coach and clinical herbalist. With over 7 years of experience in business consulting and strategy, project management & team building. She has managed the launch of 2 startups, worked as interim Chief-of-Staff & COO & managed product launches for herself and high-profile clients. Her consulting projects include partnerships with Corporations like Facebook, BRAVA Investments, Coca-Cola, Chase & non-profits like The Adelante Movement and Take The Lead Women. As an Executive at EMI Music, Jovanka managed a team of 19 and was responsible for generating over $20 million dollars/year in revenue. She became one of the youngest VP's in a company of over 2,000 employees worldwide and worked in projects with brands like Hallmark, Hasbro, Kodak and Mattel.
Michelle Tabnick, Public Relations Consultant
Michelle Tabnick PR is a full-service public relations firm specializing in the arts. The company creates PR strategies with the goals of promoting the client's brand image, building ticket sales, and reaching target audiences, with specific focus on integrated marketing campaigns. Photo credit: Christopher Duggan
Rila Group , Data Analytics Consultant
Rila Group is committed to providing exceptional research and analytics services to businesses and non-profit organizations. Our skills and experience help us deliver insight and impact for clients through a wide range of flexible support models, providing ad hoc and ongoing analytics solutions. In partnership with our clients we can identify and capture the most value and meaningful insights from data and turn it into competitive advantages. As a fully technology agnostic firm we are able to work with our clients' preferred technologies and platforms. We strive to be the first choice for any company interested in gathering and utilizing data related to their operations.
Rosemary Reyes, Grant Writing Consultant
Rosemary earned her B.A.'s in both International Studies and Communications from Loyola University Chicago (summa cum laude), her MSc in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics (merit), and her M.A. in Journalism from Fudan University in Shanghai, China where she also worked as a columnist for the Shanghai Daily. She worked as Manager of Global Initiatives at The Juilliard School in New York, spearheading international satellite programs in Mexico City, Northern China, and Brazil. She then honed her writing practice as Managing Editor and Development Manager at the contemporary art publication, Pelican Bomb, in New Orleans. Upon her return to her native New York City, Reyes led the Building Community Capacity Initiative in Southeast Queens in partnership with the Greater Jamaica Development Corporation and the Department of Cultural Affairs of NYC. Reyes currently works in New York City as an independent consultant specializing in grant writing, qualitative research, communications, justice, equity, and inclusion best practices, and community engagement. She worked as the Qualitative Analyst for the NYC Mayoral Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers and was the In-House Writer and Press Consultant for Performa 17. Her past clients also include: Randall’s Island Park Alliance, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Vera Institute, Queens Council of the Arts, A Blade of Grass, Ascendant Neighborhood Development, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation, and Xavier University. In addition to being an institutional consultant, Reyes is a certified reiki practitioner, shamanic practitioner, visual artist, and DJ. She is Co-Founder of SoulShifting Retreats, an eco-spiritual global community of conscious evolutionaries working with cross-cultural indigenous technologies in service to a shared vision of a peacefully evolving Earth, clean waters, healthy land, and liberated souls.
Sita Frederick, Human Resources Consultant
Sita Frederick is a Dominican, British-Canadian and American choreographer, performer, arts administrator, mother and facilitator from NJ and NYC. As a dancer, Sita performed with Urban Bush Women, Arthur Aviles Typical Theater, and Merian Soto Performance Practice. Her multi-disciplinary projects explore themes of power, colonization, migration, community, race and culture. Bronx-based arts organization, Pepatian, recently produced a documentary film about Latina choreographers featuring a collaboration with Sita, Marion Ramirez and Ana “Rokafela” Garcia. Last fall, she was the choreographic consultant on Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater’s new musical ¡Guaracha! During the COVID19 quarantine, she partnered with Cumbe Center of African and Diaspora Dance to produce an Afro-Dominican dance workshop video series with various collaborators for older adults. Sita has worked as a teaching artist for many arts organizations, and as an arts administrator for Manhattan New Music Project, Urban Arts Partnership, and most recently as the Director of Community Engagement at Lincoln Center Education. Sita is a mentor for Women of Color in the Arts’ Leadership through Mentorship program and is a new board member of Word Up Community Bookstore in Washington Heights. She has participated on the DanceNYC advisory committee and is grateful to support the team as a human resources consultant. Frederick holds a Master of Fine Arts in New Media Art and Performance from Long Island University, Brooklyn.
Equal Employment Opportunity
Dance/NYC provides equal employment opportunity without regard to race, color, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, political belief or activity, or status as a veteran. The policy applies to all areas of employment, including recruitment, hiring, training and development, promotion, transfer, termination, layoff, compensation benefits, social and recreational programs, and all other conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. It is the policy of Dance/NYC to comply with all the relevant and applicable provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Dance/NYC does not discriminate against any qualified Employees or job applicants with respect to any terms, privileges, or conditions of employment because of a person’s physical or mental disability. Dance/NYC makes reasonable accommodation wherever necessary for all Employees or applicants with disabilities, provided that the individual is otherwise qualified to safely perform the duties and assignments connected with the job and provided that any accommodations made do not require significant difficulty or expense.
Photography: Jo Chiang Photography: www.picturedbyjochiang.com