The Symposium Programming Committee exists to advise and assist Dance/NYC in the identification and programming of sessions offered at Dance/NYC’s biennial Symposium—and, by extension, further the dance field in NYC. Membership is comprised of Dance/NYC’s established Advisory Committee, Dance/NYC Task Forces, one member of Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee, Justice, Equity & Inclusion Partners, and additional candidates they identify. Ideal members will have experience in creating, performing, and/or presenting dance in the metropolitan New York City area, share our commitment to revealing, removing, and preventing inequities in professional dance, and represent the demographic makeup of the local population.
Click committee members' names below to access their bios:
Billy Griffin, Choreographer
Billy Griffin (He/Him) is a New York City based maker, shaker and educator. Select choreography credits include Shakespeare In The Park/Public Works' "As You Like It" (restaging and additional material), the Off-Broadway and National Tour of "Friends! The Musical Parody", as well as work for the Hudson Valley Dance Festival featuring "So You Think You Can Dance" winner Ricky Ubeda, The Red Bucket Follies for BC/EFA, The Drama League Gala At The Plaza Hotel (honoring Steve Martin), Hershey Park, Issac Mizrahi for QVC, The National YoungArts Foundation, New York Musical Festival, The Joffrey Ballet School, CLI Conservatory, Fordham/Ailey, New York University and Pace University. As a performer Billy was in the Broadway National Tour Productions of "Mary Poppins", "White Christmas" and "Young Frankenstein". Associate/Assistant credits include work with Sonya Tayeh, Josh Bergasse, Andy Blankenbuhler and Al Blackstone. Billy is on faculty at both Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. BFA NYU/Tisch. Proud member of SDC.
Brian Polite, Afro Mosaic Soul Dance Collective
Educated at Pratt Institute’s School of Art and Design, Brian Polite has performed as a poet, MC, vocalist, beatboxer, and dancer. From 1996 to 2005 he performed and recorded with the spoken word group Second2Last. In 2004 he was plucked from NYC’s underground club scene and put on stage by Adia Tamar Whitaker. Since then his talents have led him to collaborations with various companies and choreographers, like Camille A. Brown and Nita Liem.
He has facilitated dance workshops at Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY), at Sara Lawrence College, and at Oberlin College (Oberlin, OH); presented lecture demonstrations on House Dance; and participated as a panelist at the 2013 EMP Pop Conference at NYU, at the Dance/NYC 2018 Symposium, and Nightlife and Community Care: Collective Sociality on the Dance Floor presented by Shandaken Projects (Governor’s Island, NY 2019). Since 2004 he has been a Pre-college Instructor & Tutor with the Higher Educational Opportunity Program at Pratt Institute. With Ase Dance Theatre Collective he participated in the Meet the Artist educational series at Lincoln Center (NY, 2009, 2010).
Brian has consulted on a number of dance-related endeavors including the Club Culture Foundation, where he was part of the emergency grants selection committee and participated in the strategic planning process. He is currently a member of the Ase Dance Theatre Collective, co-founder of Afro Mosaic Soul Dance Collective, advisor for Kut the Rug Institute, and one third of the dance trio The Rhythm Conclave.
Cliff Matias, Cultural Director, Redhawk Indigenous Arts Council
Cliff Matias is an indigenous (Kichwa and Taino) cultural, teaching and performing artist. Since 1994 he has served as cultural Director for the Redhawk Native American Arts Council. From 1994 until 1999 he served as the New York City Cultural Director of Title 9 Native American Education.From1997-1999 he was contracted as cultural interrupter for the National Museum of the American Indian in NYC and was a feature artist in the museums production “A Native American Thanksgiving. As the leader of the Redhawk Dance troupe he has presented dance, music and educational workshops for schools, universities, public and private organizations around the world. Since 2005 he teaches a cultural diversity workshop through the opening doors program at Kingsborough Community College and a cultural dance workshop each semester at Barnard Columbia University. He is a champion hoop dancer, Northern men’s traditional dancer and a Samoan Fire knife dancer.
Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Consulting Curator, Freelance Writer and Editor
Eva Yaa Asantewaa was born in Lenapehoking (New York City) of Barbadian immigrant heritage, and is a veteran arts writer, editor, curator, dramaturge, educator, podcaster, and spiritual counselor. She won the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance. Since 1976, she has contributed dance criticism and journalism to major publications such as Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, SoHo Weekly News, and Gay City News and her arts blog, InfiniteBody. She's the creator and host of Body and Soul podcast. In 2016, for Danspace Project’s Lost and Found platform, Ms. Yaa Asantewaa created the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, an evening of group improvisation featuring 21 Black women and gender-nonconforming performers. Her cast won a 2017 Bessie for Outstanding Performer. Ms. Yaa Asantewaa is Founding Director of Black Diaspora, Founding Editorial Director of Imagining: A Gibney Journal, and founder of Black Curators in Dance and Performance. She was Senior Director of Curation for Gibney from 2018-2021. EXPERTISE: dance criticism, editing, curation, Tarot and spiritual counseling.
Laurel Lawson, Choreographer, Kinetic Light; Artist-Engineer, Rose Tree Productions
Choreographer, designer, and artist-engineer: Laurel is a transdisciplinary artist making work which imagines new kinds of experience, reinterprets traditional stories, and questions cultural assumptions. Her performing arts career began in music before serendipity brought her to dance, where she found a discipline combining her lifelong loves of athleticism and art. Featuring synthesistic mythology and partnering, her work includes both traditional choreography and novel ways of extending and creating art through technology and design; in the creation of worlds and products experienced, installed, embodied, or virtual. Whether beginning in the studio or with code, her art is grounded in and enriched by liminality, the in-between, and arises from her experience as a queer and genderqueer disabled woman and understanding of disability and access as aesthetic forces.
Laurel began her dance career with Full Radius Dance in 2004 and is part of the disabled artists’ collective Kinetic Light, where in addition to choreographic collaboration and performance in such award-winning works as DESCENT she contributes production design and leads both access and technical research and innovation, including projects such as Audimance and Access ALLways, a holistic approach to equitable accessibility in the arts informed by user experience and hospitality. Co-founder and CTO of CyCore Systems, she brings two decades of expertise in UI/X and product architecture to both technological and artistic work to create impactful experiences, and is also the founder and director of Rose Tree Productions, an Atlanta-based nonprofit.
Photo credit: Robert Kim
Nelida Tirado, Artistic Director & Teacher of Nelida Tirado Flamenco/Arte 718
Nelida Tirado hailed “magnificent and utterly compelling” (NY Times) began her formal training at Ballet Hispanico of NY. Barely out of her teens, she was invited to tour the U.S. with Jose Molina Bailes Españoles and work as a soloist in Carlota Santana’s Flamenco Vivo, soloist/ dance captain of Compañia Maria Pages and Compañia Antonio El Pipa, performing at prestigious flamenco festivals and television in Spain, France, Italy, UK, Germany and Japan. She has performed with "Noche Flamenca", in the MET's “Carmen” , World Music Institute’s “Gypsy Caravan 1”and featured flamenco star in the Broadway/touring company of "Riverdance”. Ms. Tirado was recipient of the 2007 +2010 BRIO Award for Artistic Excellence, and opened with her company Summer 2010 for Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portoundo for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Some highlights include HarlemStage E-Moves, “Amores Quebrados” at the Repertorio Espanol, Valerie Gladstone’s “Dance Under the Influence” 2011 & 2012 in collaboration with the Flamenco Festival USA and collaboration with jazz great Wynton Marsalis at Harvard University and the 2016 premiere of her solo show "Dime Quien Soy" in the Flamenco Festival NY. She was currently the recipient of the 2017 Rosario Dawson Muse Fellow through BAAD, featured in Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”, 2018/2019 recipient of Gibney’s Dance in Process Residence and will be seen in the Warner Brother’s film adaption of Lin Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights”.
Sahasra Sambamoorthi, CEO, Navatman Inc.
From a young age, Sahasra knew she wanted to be a dancer and an arts administrator. Sahasra consequently began Navatman, Inc and joined forces with Sridhar Shanmugam to co-found the organization as it currently stands. She is currently CEO of Navatman and has created well over 50 choreographies, directed a full feature film featuring Indian dance and music, is co-founder of the Navatman Music Collective - one of the world’s first Indian carnatic choirs - and the Navatman Junior Troupe, a one of a kind initiative training children in kathak, bharatanatyam, and vocals. Through Navatman, she has produced 2 albums of music over the years and is co-curator of the global Indian arts festival Drive East. She continues to give time to arts organizations around the city to help further visibility and give perspective of the Indian arts, such as the NEA, Ascend NYC, and more. Sahasra is the recipient of various awards, including the New Jersey State Council of the Arts Folk Arts Apprenticeship, and has been called by reporters as a "young trailblazer...on the crest of the wave leading us towards a new understanding of South Asian arts in the United States."
Sarah Marcus, Director of Education & Community Engagement, Mark Morris Dance Group
Sarah Marcus is the Director of Education and Community Engagement at the Mark Morris Dance Group. As Director, she develops and oversees all aspects of education and community engagement programming and partnerships in collaboration with communities across New York City, the US and abroad. Over the last 11 years, programming has grown to serve nearly 25,000 people annually. Prior to the pandemic, the education and community engagement programs served 2,500 children and teens with and without disabilities, 8,000 adult students, and partnered with forty community-based and cultural organizations in four of New York City’s five boroughs. Recognizing the Dance Group as a resource to the broader dance field, Sarah has developed professional development and training workshops that support career pathways and workforce development for students engaged in all aspects of the art form including arts administration, music in dance, teacher training, and pre-professional study. During her tenure, Sarah has developed programming that generates revenue representing 20% of the organization’s annual $10 million budget. As a member of the senior staff, she plays a critical role in the strategic vision, planning, and implementation of the organization’s short- and long-term goals, ensuring cross-departmental collaboration and efficiency. She works closely with all departments to meet revenue, both earned and contributed, capacity goals, and outcomes. Sarah oversees a team of six administrative staff and nearly 150 teaching artists and musicians all of whom are critical to ensuring high-quality delivery of services and programming that reflect and are representative of both Mark Morris’s artistic vision and his mission to provide access to arts and culture to anyone. To this end, Sarah remains steadfastly dedicated to the organization’s mission and core values; ensuring excellent inclusive and equitable dance and music education and artistic experiences.
Shari Nicole Cheverez, Choreographer & Director, AFRODISIA
Shari is a performance artist, yoga guide, and massage therapist with credits in Latin, Afro-Caribbean, and Street dance styles. She brings her love for culture and the healing, expressive art of movement into all that she does. No stranger to the restorative and creative power of the arts, Shari has been choreographing and educating dance for over 15 years. She has directed dance teams in Atlanta and New York City, and her performance credits include Carimi, Kai, Fuego, Amara La Negra, Oscar D’Leon, and large-scale dance festivals across the U.S. Shari is also the founding director of the Afrodisia Yoga Method, a dynamic, ancestral blend of Vinyasa and Kemetic Yoga practices featuring healing dance movements of the Afro-Indigenous Diaspora. As an accredited YACEP® and RYT® 500 yoga instructor and teacher trainer of over seven years, Shari integrates her passion for rhythm and knowledge of the energetic and physical bodies into her coaching practice, featuring an ancestral remix of creative, intuitive flows and balanced breathwork. In her administrative experience, Shari has worked with arts, higher ed, and civic organizations directing people and operations, arts education, and volunteer programs, as well as managing studios and global yoga programs, leading teacher training and continuing education opportunities. Shari carries with her an expertise in managing holistic wellness practices and methodologies, among other areas of educational and practical knowledge via her training as a dance artist, cultural anthropologist, scholar of religion, nonprofit director, and massage therapist. Shari has a dual B.A. in International Affairs and Anthropology from the University of Georgia and a M.A. in Religious Studies & Nonprofit Management from Georgia State University.
Sydnie L. Mosley, Artistic & Executive Director, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances
Artist-activist and educator, produces experiential dance works with her collective SLMDances, organizing in communities for gender and racial justice. Sydnie was recognized by NYC Mayor de Blasio for using her talents in dance to fuel social change and received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer. To develop her newest work, PURPLE: A Ritual In Nine Spells, Sydnie/SLMDances has received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Humanities in Place, MAP Fund, Harlem Stage Fund for New Work, Mertz Gilmore Late Stage Stipend, UMEZ Mertz Gilmore Seed Fund for Dance, Hi-ARTS Sky Lab Residency, and the Black Spatial Relics Microgrant. This follows a multi-year development residency through Lincoln Center Education as the Manhattan Community Artist in Residence. Further Current Funding/Recognitions: Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund, Black Art Futures Fund, and LMCC Creative Engagement Grant. Sydnie earned her MFA in Dance from the University of Iowa and her BA in Dance and Africana Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University. Sydnie performs as a guest artist with Brooklyn Ballet, has danced with Christal Brown's INSPIRIT, and sits on the Dance/NYC Advisory Committee.