Dance/NYC Symposium


Friday, March 20, 2020, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 21, 2020, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.


Hunter College, 695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065
Find directions and accessibility features here.




AARON MATTOCKS is a Pennsylvania native, Sarah Lawrence College alumnus, two-time New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award nominee for Outstanding Performer (2013, 2016) and was named one of 2016's best performers by Dance Magazine for his longstanding relationship with choreographer Annie-B Parson and her company Big Dance Theater. He is currently the Director of Programming at The Joyce Theater. Prior to his work at The Joyce, he was the Executive Director of Big Dance Theater, producer/manager for Pam Tanowitz, company and general manager for the Mark Morris Dance Group (2002-2010) and produced projects, premieres and tours for Faye Driscoll, Beth Gill, and Steven Reker. Under his leadership, artists have received multiple NEFA/National Dance Project Production and Touring grants; Guggenheim, New York Foundation for the Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Arts and United States Artists Fellowships, and many others. As a dance writer, he has been published by The Performance Club, Culturebot, Hyperallergic, Critical Correspondence, and more. He has taught movement for actors at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and given masterclasses and lectures at Keene State College, Duke University, Sarah Lawrence College, Florida State University, Emerson College, and Rutgers University's Mason Gross School of the Arts, and has been a panelist for Gibney’s Dance in Process, the MAP Fund, and the NEFA/National Dance Project.

ALI ROSA-SALAS is the Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement. She develops the Center’s live programming, exhibitions, and residencies. As an independent curator, she has produced visual art exhibitions, performances, and public programs with AFROPUNK, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, DISCWOMAN, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, Weeksville Heritage Center, and more. She has also organized discursive events as an Alumnae Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women and as the Associate Curator of the 2017 American Realness Festival. She graduated from Barnard with a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with interdisciplinary concentrations in Dance and Race/Ethnic Studies and has an M.A. from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.

ARIEL QUIÑONES is quite the multi-tasker who mostly divides his time between DANCE, Inc. and West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC). At DANCE, Inc., he is dedicated to advancing the organization's potential by overseeing operations, fund and board development and outreach initiatives while also realizing his real passion, dancing. At WHDC, he manages the implementation of a $1.5M annual grant-making portfolio and monitoring pre-post award processes for more than 80 organizations providing services to West Harlem residents. Ariel holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from City College’s Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership and a bachelor’s degree in Dance from Hunter College.

ASHLEY YERGENS: Ashley R.T. Yergens is a byproduct of growing up with an affinity for tater tots, WWE SmackDown, and Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo. Yergens is a 2019-20 Live Feed Artist at New York Live Arts, where Yergens will premiere CU*T C*NTEMPORARY. Yergens is dedicated to unpacking the assimilation of trans identities into American popular culture. Yergens was a 2016-2017 Fresh Tracks artist at New York Live Arts, whose work has also been performed at Abrons Arts Center, Gibney Dance, Movement Research, Dixon Place, and Walker Art Center.

BRENDA DIXON GOTTSCHILD is the author of Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts; Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era (winner of the 2001 Congress on Research in Dance Award for Outstanding Scholarly Dance Publication); The Black Dancing Body–A Geography from Coon to Cool (winner, 2004 de la Torre Bueno prize for scholarly excellence in dance publication); and Joan Myers Brown and The Audacious Hope of the Black Ballerina-A Biohistory of American Performance. A self-described anti-racist cultural worker utilizing dance as her medium, she is a freelance writer, consultant, performer, and lecturer; a former consultant and writer for Dance Magazine; and Professor Emerita of dance studies, Temple University. As an artist-scholar she coined the phrase, “choreography for the page,” to describe her embodied, subjunctive approach to research writing. Nationwide and abroad she performs self-created solos and collaborates with her husband, choreographer/dancer Hellmut Gottschild, in a genre they developed and titled “movement theater discourse". Contact Brenda on Facebook & at her website

CANDACE L FELDMAN: Daughter of a Zimbabwean Father and Hawaiian mother, Candace received her B.S. in Theater with her emphasis on Directing from Kansas State University and an MBA from the University of Arizona. Feldman is the Managing Director of Disability Dance Works LLC., the umbrella organization for Alice Sheppard and Kinetic Light. Previously she was the Director of Programming for UA Presents. Feldman’s prior experience includes; Producing Director for 651 ARTS, (Brooklyn), Stage Producer for CBS Entertainment & Diversity Showcase, (LA), Associate Producer for Eti! East Africa Speaks with Theater Without Borders & SUNDANCE (NYC), Associate Producer for Love Heals All Wounds, featuring Lil Buck and Jon Boogs (Las Vegas). As an advocate for equity and social justice, Feldman’s work includes, Co-Founding Next Generation National Arts Network, a nationwide movement to create stability, legacy and cultural equity in arts administration, former Co-Chair for Women of Color in the Arts’ (WOCA) Professional Development Committee and has served on panels for equity diversity and inclusive leadership. Candace participated in the 2014 American Express Leadership Academy, selected as one of the 72 Changemakers to attend the 2019 American Express Leadership Academy Global Alumni Summit, recipient of the Joey-Lee Garman Award for Social Justice, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Fellowship, a Kennedy Center Gold Medallion Award for Excellence in Theatre.

CLAIRE BUFFIE is a producer and creative marketing strategist, with a focus in the entertainment industry and advocacy. She leads Dance Lab New York’s media production, creative direction and messaging as the Director of Creative Operations. Through her business, DEFINE, Claire consults with Miss America contestants and executives on public speaking, personal branding and advocacy campaign development. A professional photographer for 12 years, she specializes in actor headshots and served as the Director of Video Services at Reproductions, creating thousands of demo reels for actors. Current producing projects include a new folk/rock musical, The Circus in Winter and a satirical play, How to Be A White Man. Claire was Miss New York 2010 in the Miss America Organization with an advocacy platform of LGBT equality, placing in the Top 12 at Miss America 2011. Claire holds a Master's in Public Relations and Corporate Communications from Georgetown University and a B.F.A. in Visual Communications from Ball State University.

CLARISSA SOTO JOSEPHS began working at Pentacle in 2011 after earning dual degrees in Dance Performance and Entrepreneurship with a concentration in Legal Studies from Hofstra University. In 2016 she earned an MBA degree from Quinnipiac University. As Associate Director of Pentacle, she has merged her passions for dance and entrepreneurship by helping dance artists navigate their craft within the performing arts field. In her time at Pentacle, she has worked with hundreds of artists, trained more than 200 interns in arts administration, and has developed innovative ways to effectively serve artists through Pentacle’s programs. Clarissa has been a volunteer dance teacher since 2013, has served on grant panels of major foundations, and specializes in educating artists about fiscal matters and infrastructure support. She has led professional development workshops at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference, Dance/NYC’s annual Symposium, Actor’s Equity, and Gibney Dance’s Learning & Leadership Studio Workshop, to name a few. In 2016, she was named to the New York Hispanic Coalition’s 40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars. Today she is proud of her work restructuring Pentacle’s Internship Program, growing Pentacle’s Fiscal Services, and is excited to take on her new role as Associate Director working alongside Director Mara Greenberg to help more artists in the performing arts community.

CLAUDIA NORMAN is a cultural consultant/artist manager based in NY. She develops and executed international projects for the arts. She is the Founder/Executive/Artistic Director of the annual Celebrate Mexico Now Festival, taking place since 2004 in venues across NYC showcasing contemporary Mexican arts and culture. She worked for Sheldon Soffer Management with Nederlands Dance Theater, Noche Flamenca, Nrityagram, & Ravi Shankar; worked at Arts International as Program Manager for the Americas, and as the Artistic Director of the Latino Cultural Festival at Queens Theatre in the Park. She was the Producer of Public Programming for the Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Midsummer Night Swing , Catalan Days, Flamenco Festival, Sekou Sundiata retrospective, & PEN World Voices Festival. Claudia is known for producing & curating concerts of iconic figures from Latin America at Carnegie Hall (Chavela Vargas), Walt Disney Concert Hall (Violeta Parra). She also curates & co-produces Lincoln Center’s La Casita, a festival celebrating oral traditions, poetry, hip hop & global sounds. Norman served as Co-Chair & Committee for the APAP Conference, as panelist for the NEA, DCA, LMCC, AZARTS, MAFF; Jury for INBA/UAM; guest speaker at WOMEX, VIC, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico & the National Arts Marketing Project. Born and raised in Mexico City, Ms. Norman holds a degree on Latin American Studies from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, and a Certificate in Arts Administration from NYU.

COURTNEY HARGE is an arts administrator, director, and writer originally from Saginaw, MI who has been working in the service of artists for the last fifteen years. She is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Colloquy Collective, an emerging theater company in Brooklyn, NY and the Associate Director, Inbound Marketing for Fractured Atlas. Courtney is also a proud member of Women of Color in the Arts, and a 2016 alum of both APAP’s Emerging Leaders Institute and artEquity’s Facilitator Training. You can find more information about her at

DANNI GEE has over 35 years experience in the Arts and Entertainment industry, both on stage and behind the scenes. Her professional performing career began as a dancer with the Philadelphia Dance Company. After several seasons there as a leading soloist, Danni joined the world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and remained there as a principal dancer for seven years. Danni accepted the position of Dance Curator for CityParks SummerStage in 2006. In her 12 seasons as Curator, she has engaged such established companies as Parsons Dance, Dance Brazil, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Kibbutz Contemporary Company, Morphoses, Martha Graham Dance Company, Limon Dance Company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as well as many emerging choreographers and teaching artists. She has commissioned several new works for the organization and presented many World and New York premieres. Danni, who is also a Music Programming Associate at SummerStage, assisting with all things related to the booking of domestic and international music artists, is also involved with the curation of citywide SummerStage dance workshops and panels, and family programming.

DAVID GONSIER was born and raised in New York City. He has been a professional dancer for over 15 years, and has toured extensively both nationally and internationally as a freelance dancer in concert dance and opera productions. He has also worked as a freelance photographer for the past 10 years. David has been an AGMA member since 2009 and has had the privilege of being an AGMA representative at the Metropolitan Opera since 2014, and of serving as a delegate to that company’s most recent CBA negotiations in 2018. He was elected to AGMA's Board of Governors in April of 2019. David co-founded the Dance Artists' National Collective in 2019 with Evvie Allison and Alex Rodabaugh with a mission to organize freelance dancers in America towards collective action for safe, equitable, and sustainable working conditions for all dancers.

DUSTIN GIBSON is a community builder that develops he[art]work to expand the collective consciousness of marginalized communities and address the nexus between race, class, and disability. He works across classrooms, neighborhoods, kid jails, and adult prisons to support people in finding home and engage in creating a world without jails and prisons. He co-founded Disability Advocates for Rights and Transition, an organization led by disabled people that works to end the institutionalization of disabled people and support them in navigating systems to live in their communities with the dignity of risk. He is also a Peer Support Trainer with Disability Link in Atlanta, GA and a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collective.

EBONY NOELLE GOLDEN is a performance artist, scholar, and culture strategist whose work consists of site-specific performance rituals and live art installations that explore relationships between creativity and liberation. She relies on transparent and equitable partnerships with community members, institutions, and creatives in pursuit of social justice. For the duration of her career, Golden has been committed to building performance and public rituals with folks to fight reductive ideas about race, class, sexuality, gender, ability, and more. She centers the brilliant voices of people invisibilized by white-normative power structures and is clear about the wealth of culture and art present in their families and communities. She aims to utilize performance to tell enlivening stories to cultivate meaningful community connections that are viable for collective action and instillation of self-determination. For the last decade, she has collaboratively created site-specific public art performances grounded in authentic community storytelling. Each time, she has felt that those folks who joined herself and her collaborators on their creative journey had been enveloped into the project itself—no longer audience members, but co-conspirators or co-performers. This is the type of connection she strives for and is integral to why she works as a collaborative artist for progressive social transformation. In 2020, Ebony will launch Jupiter Performance Studio which will serve as the hub for the study of performance and theatre technologies rooted in the African diaspora. The studio will inform the development of a five-part ritual performance cycle to be produced over the next three years with partners in Harlem, Brooklyn, Durham, and Ashfield, Massachusetts. Additionally, Ebony works as the founding strategist and CEO at Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative. BDAC is a consultancy and arts accelerator that devises systems, strategies, solutions as well as arts, and engagement happenings for and with creative, education, public wellness, and culture sectors nationwide. You can find her on Instagram @ebonynoellegolden and

EMILY JOHNSON is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award she is based on the Lower East Side of Mannahatta in Lenapehoking. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her large-scale project, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars, is an all-night outdoor performance gathering that takes place among 84 community-hand-made quilts. Her new work in development, Being Future Being, considers future creation stories and present joy.  She hosts monthly fires on the Lower East Side in Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Art Center and Lenape Center and is part of a US based advisory group—including Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Lori Pourier and Vallejo Gantner, who, with international colleagues, are working to develop a Global First Nations Performance Network.

EVVIE ALLISON is a dance artist and advocate whose work asks questions about how we make dance. She is a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellow in Choreography and a 2019-20 Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellow. In New York City, Allison’s choreography has been presented by Danspace Project (DraftWork), Gibney (WorkUp), Movement Research at the Judson Church, Center for Performance Research, and Center for Ballet and the Arts, among other venues; has been featured on; and has been supported by residencies including Chez Bushwick, Tofte Lake Center, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, and PLAYA. In addition to making her own dances, Allison has performed extensively in projects ranging from music videos (David Bowie, Celia Rowlson-Hall) to ballet (Alabama Ballet, Katy Pyle/The Ballez) to experimental contemporary work (RoseAnne Spradlin, Kim Brandt, and many others). Allison’s advocacy projects include co-mentorship platform FREE ADVICE and dancer-owned business guide The Dancers’ Pocketbook Directory. She is a Co-Founder of Dance Artists’ National Collective, a growing group of freelance dancers organizing to create safe, equitable, and sustainable working conditions. Allison’s writing has been published in Dance Magazine, Critical Correspondence, and Movement Research Performance Journal. She is currently in her final semester as an MFA candidate in Dance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

GRIFF BRAUN is the Director of Organizing and Outreach at the American Guild of Musical Artists (“AGMA”), the national labor union of singers, dancers, and stage staff in opera, concert dance, and concert choral performance. Prior to joining the professional staff at AGMA, Mr. Braun enjoyed a long career as a professional dancer with several companies, including American Ballet Theatre, the Royal Swedish Ballet, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and the Metropolitan Opera, among others. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American History from the State University of New York and a Graduate Certificate in Labor Relations from the City University of New York.

JAMIE BENSON: Recovering fine artist, comedy impresario, and marketing consultant, Jamie Benson defies performance traditions and dares a mass audience to interact with dance. Heralded as "Chaplin-like” by Backstage, “insightful and irreverent” by LA Weekly, Benson's highbrow-meets-lowbrow work has been presented throughout the U.S., across the international film festival circuit, featured in the Phaidon book Wild Art, and funded by Brooklyn Arts Council. Benson revolutionizes how creative industries advocate for worthy causes through social media, press solicitation, email marketing, advertising, and search engine optimization. Wielding a bold, irreverent voice, Benson overrides the assumption that marketing is not a creative, humanistic pastime. Through unorthodox strategy and sheer strength of will, he has won features in the New York and LA Times, NY1, PIX11, and Brooklyn12 News, InStyle, NPR, Good Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, Pointe Magazine, LA Weekly, Steve Harvey Show, Dance Magazine and more. Jamie Benson has worked with Sony Pictures, Houston Symphony, Pilobolus Dance Theater, CUNY Dance Initiative, LMCC, Joyce Theater, Karole Armitage, NYU Tisch and famed film composer David Newman. Lily Binns, Former Co-Executive Director of Pilobolus, says that “for all of the conferences, books, newsletters, blogs, and feeds we all follow, Jamie Benson's approach is hands-down the best.” Visit to learn more about Jamie as an artist and for his work as a marketing consultant. 

JESSICA MASSART is the Senior Lead for dance and theater projects at Kickstarter. She collaborates with artists and organizations on crafting campaigns from the video and story to strategic outreach planning. Before joining Kickstarter, she directed marketing and communications for the likes of On the Boards, Performa, and the French Institute Alliance Francaise. She has also provided management for award-winning companies such as zoe | juniper and The Builders Association.

KATHLEEN ISAAC (MA, RDE) is the Director of the Arnhold Dance Education Programs at CUNY Hunter College, where she is Dance edTPA coordinator for the School of Education. She is a 2019-2020 Hunter ACERT (Academic Center for Excellence in Research and Technology) Fellow, presenting seminars on Jobs and Careers, Civic Engagement in Learning and Contemplative Pedagogy. She has shared models of interdisciplinary learning, student-student dance mentoring and integrating technology with dance education. She is on the editorial board of the Dance Education in Practice journal and co-authored a chapter titled Confronting Urban Phobias, with Dr. Elizabeth McPherson in Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies on Humanizing Dance Pedagogy. She authored and provided professional training to Ailey company members and teaching artists in Revelations – An Interdisciplinary Approach – a curricula written exclusively for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. She earned an MA in Dance from New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and is currently an inaugural member of the TC Columbia Doctorate in Dance Education Program.

LAUREL LAWSON: Laurel Lawson found that dance combines her lifelong loves of athleticism and art, and makes work which draw on liminality and synthesistic myth.  Both engineer and artist, her practice stretches beyond choreographic technique to novel ways of extending and implementing art through technology and design.  Also a member of Full Radius Dance since 2004 and the disabled artists’ collective Kinetic Light, she choreographs, teaches, and performs in NYC, Atlanta, and around the world. Beyond the studio, Laurel is an activist, an award-winning product designer and speaker, and a member of the USA Women’s Sled Hockey team.  Laurel Lawson is a 2019-20 Dance/USA Artist Fellow. Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists is made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Find her on instagram @worldsoflaurel

LUIS SALGADO is an international director, choreographer and educator from Puerto Rico currently based in New York City who most recently open his own adaptation of the musical FAME to great reviews in Washington D.C. He was the Assistant Latin Choreographer of In the Heights on Broadway, which won four Tony Awards. Last year Luis worked as the associate director/choreographer of Cirque de Soliel's Paramour in Hamburg Germany. Among the productions he has directed/choreographed in the United States and abroad are the fantasy musical Ella Es Colombia in Bogota, Colombia with MISI Musicals, the Holland Production of On Your Feet, RAGTIME, TO BE OR NOT TO BE... a Shakespearean Experience, AIDA, The Musical, FAME, Amigo Duende the Musical, In The Heights, Bountiful, Zuccotti Park, Song of Solomon, Speed the Plow, The Tempest and Candela Fuerza y Pasión in Lima Peru. In 2017 Luis directed and choreographed the U.S premiere of the Spanish version of In The Heights at GALA Theatre in Washington D.C which received nine 2018 Helen Hayes Awards including Best Musical, Best Direction and Best Choreography. He has appeared on Broadway in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, ROCKY, In The Heights, On Your Feet. Film credits include: "American Gangster"; "Dirty Dancing 2, Havana Nights”. Luis is the founder/director of R.Evolución Latina, an affiliate of the non-profit organization Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

LUMI TAN is Curator at The Kitchen in New York, where she has organized exhibitions and produced performances with artists across disciplines and generations since 2010. Most recently, Tan has worked with Kevin Beasley, Lex Brown, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, James Allister Sprang, Tina Satter/Half Straddle and The Racial Imaginary Institute. Prior to The Kitchen, Tan was Guest Curator at the Fonds ReI?gional d’Art Contemporain Nord Pas-de-Calais in France, director at Zach Feuer Gallery, and curatorial assistant at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Frieze, The Exhibitionist, and numerous exhibition catalogues.

MELANIE GEORGE is a dance educator, choreographer, scholar, and certified movement analyst. She is the founder and director of Jazz Is… Dance Project, and Dramaturg and Audience Educator at Lumberyard Center for Film and Performing Arts. As an institutional and freelance dramaturg, she has contributed to projects by David Neumann & Marcella Murray, Raja Feather Kelly, Maria Bauman-Morales, Susan Marshall & Company, Machine Dazzle, Ephrat Asherie Dance, Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, and Urban Bush Women, among others. Current projects include new works by Helen Simoneau Danse, Kimberly Bartosik/daela and Caleb Teicher & Company. A highly sought after teacher and choreographer of the neo-jazz aesthetic, Melanie is a featured contributor to the upcoming documentary on the history of jazz dance, UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz, and a contributing jazz dance scholar to the Jacob’s Pillow Archives. Melanie has presented her research on jazz improvisation and pedagogy throughout the U.S., in Canada and Scotland, and founded the global advocacy website

MELANIE PERSON: (Co-Director, The Ailey School) Melanie Person began her early dance training in Jackson, Mississippi at age 6. Upon moving to Columbia, South Carolina a few years later, she continued her dance training at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance while performing with the Columbia City Ballet. In the winter of 1976, by recommendation of her teacher Ann Brodie, Ms. Person auditioned for the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) Summer Intensive and was offered a full scholarship. Upon completion of that summer program, she became an apprentice to the professional company and, in 1979, became a full member after graduating from Professional Children's School. For 12 years, Ms. Person performed with DTH, traveling around the world performing a diverse repertoire. She later went on to earn her B.A. from SUNY Empire State College. In 1999, Denise Jefferson invited her to join the PPAS ballet faculty at The Ailey School and in 2000 Ms. Jefferson appointed her as the Co-Director of the Junior Division alongside Tracy Inman. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Person was made Chair of the ballet department and President of the Emergency Fund for Student Dancers. Ms. Person has served as a judge for Seoul International Dance competition and Japan’s Grand Prix. In 2009, she was named Associate Director of The Ailey School and in 2010, Co-Director with Tracy Inman after Ms. Jefferson’s passing.

MELISSA VAN WIJK is the Founder and Director of Born Dancing and Wearer Of All The Hats. She was born and raised in The Netherlands where she attended Dansakademie Brabant and started performing. Melissa has taught dance at NYC Public Schools in all 5 boroughs, working primarily in Special Education. She holds five NYS Teaching Certifications including Dance K-12th grade and Students With Disabilities 7th-12th grade. She has a Master’s degree in Dance Education from NYU, and will someday ‘soon’ complete her second Master’s in Education. Outside of Born Dancing, she works as a SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher) and Early Intervention Specialist. She is a Fellow at the Jubilation Foundation.

MEREDITH LEE BOGGIA has been working professionally in arts administration with institutions, festivals, tours, productions and management of Individual Performance Artists and Collectives as well as in Fine and Visual arts. She has worked on over 500+ individual productions in all stages of development on staff at institutions such as MASS MoCA, Dance Theater Workshop / New York Live Arts and independently at venues throughout New York City. She has been professionally affiliated with Aunts, National Performance Network (NPN), APAP’s Emerging Leaders institute and the Museum of Art and Design. In 2013, Meredith received the Mentor and Leadership Initiative for ‘outstanding leadership in the field by a young person in the field of arts administration’ from National Performance Network. Meredith has served regularly as the line producer for WILCO's Solid Sound Festival, The Wassaic Project’s summer festival, the New York Dance and Performance Awards, Raduno Food and Wine Events, Tribeca Film Festival, and Margaret Meade Film Festival; and as a benefit coordinator for Kentler Gallery, Cool Culture and Phillips Auction House, among others. As an Independent Creative Producer she is honored to have worked with many lauded artists, and looks forward to working with more. She has recently joined the staff at the New York chapter of the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and looks forward to supporting opportunities there.

MICHAEL MANSWELL: Artistic Director, Teaching Artist, Choreographer, & Singer, Manswell began his performance life as a storyteller at Arts Festivals in his native Trinidad & Tobago, winning many prizes and awards. He studied music at St Mary’s College and at Brooklyn College (CUNY). As a singer he has toured Europe, the UK, and the Caribbean and has performed as a soloist in many productions of opera and oratorio including Dido & Aeneas, The Marriage of Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Missa Criolla and Missa Luba. He studied dance at the Trinidad Dance Theater with Dr. Eugene Joseph training in Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom, and Folkloric styles. Michael worked with Geoffrey Holder on “Dougla II” and “La Valse des Bakas” for TDT and toured with the company in the USA and the Caribbean. A prolific choreographer, he has created several works currently in the repertoire of Something Positive Inc, the performing company he now directs. He has performed in Costa Rica, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago, Morocco and Cote d'Ivoire. Mr. Manswell presents lectures and workshops in dance, music, and traditional religious practice. One of “Brooklyn’s Black Men of Distinction 2000” and one of “Brooklyn’s Black Dance Kings (2010)”, Michael is currently an Adjunct Prof (Dance) at Lehman College (CUNY) and teaches for Something Positive Inc., Purelements An Evolution in Dance, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), and E.M Techniques.

MICHELE BYRD-MCPHEE: The tireless creator, director of Ladies of Hip-Hop, Michele Byrd-McPhee is always hard at work organizing, planning and executing the female focused festival. Michele has danced in music videos, battled in the club scene and traveled along as the Hip-Hop dance culture exploded onto stages and theaters. Being one of the few women dancing alongside groups of men, she became increasingly aware of the narrow opportunities for women. Her experiences as a woman in Hip-Hop dance were the catalyst for her to create an outlet for other female street dancers. Michele created a safe space. Spaces where it is ok to be women as you define it, not as defined by others. Her work celebrates womanhood... embraces being a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, as well as an artist and how all the things intersect. Michele earned her BS from Temple University and an MS in Nonprofit Arts Management from Drexel University. Michele also presented a new work at Connecticut College during their weeklong Women In Hip-Hop residency program and is currently serving on the prestigious Bessie Awards committee.

MICHELE KUMI BAER: Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the ancestral and unceded lands of the Ohlone people, Michele is a social justice practitioner working in philanthropy and the larger nonprofit sector. At Race Forward, Michele is developing the organization’s strategy and portfolio of work advancing racial equity in and racial justice through philanthropy. As Philanthropy Project Director, Michele works nationally with foundations, philanthropy-serving organizations, donor collaboratives, and affinity groups to strengthen philanthropy’s ability to normalize, operationalize, and organize for racial equity, both within individual institutions and throughout the sector. She is frequently on the road speaking and facilitating trainings. Throughout her career, Michele has worked in programming, advocacy, research, capacity building, and communications roles to advance racial justice, gender justice, and disability justice at and through nonprofits large and small. Previous posts include work at Columbia University, Dance/NYC, and the Global Fund for Women. She is skilled at conducting research and building consensus with diverse stakeholders to promote dialogue and action, propel new program development, and strategically enable nonprofits, collectives, and corporations to create and embody more equitable and just practices. Michele is also a trained dancer in African disaporian traditions from Brazil, Haiti, and West Africa (Guinea and Mali). Her dance practice is core to her social justice work. She has a Bachelors from Brown University and a Masters from Columbia University. Michele is currently based in Los Angeles.

NASRENE HAJ is a Palestinian and Jewish arts and culture professional, activist, and creator. She holds a liberal arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College in Cultural Studies encompassing dance, writing and Italian studies. In 2012, upon graduating, Nasrene co-founded THE CREATORS COLLECTIVE, a Brooklyn-based arts collective focused on collaboration and mentorship across age and discipline, under the mission of enabling creators to develop work driven by justice and action. In addition to co-directing the collective, Nasrene works as the Senior Development Manager at Prospect Park Alliance, following positions with the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Arts Council, and other local arts and cultural organizations. She welcomes the opportunity to connect and collaborate, and is especially focused on building connections to support the collective's current project: Artists Elevating Immigrant Narratives.

NIC KAY is an artist making performances.

PASCAL REKOERT, a Dutch native, started his dance career performing in Europe. In 1998 he performed in The Fall, receiving the coveted Prix d’auteur du conseil général de la Seine-Saint-Denis in Paris, France. Upon his arrival in New York in 2000, Rekoert became a premier dancer and Associate Artistic Director with Jennifer Muller/ The Works, assisting Muller with choreographies for New York City Opera and with projects in Bolivia, Thailand, China, and Brazil. In his own right, Rekoert choreographed commercially for New York Fashion Week, Motorola, Levi’s, and L’Oreal; originated and produced festivals like WestFest and HATCH; and choreographed the Dutch short dance film “Erasmus Spitzen, Crossing a Bridge on Points,” which premiered at the 1999 International Film Festival Rotterdam. After a 25-year international dance career in both Europe and the US, Rekoert moved into K-12 education as a Lincoln Center Scholar at CUNY Hunter College. He has helped revise the NYC Department of Education Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance, and is passionate about empowering Title 1 School youth. Rekoert currently pursues the Leadership and Policy specialization as a doctoral student within the Ed.D. Dance Education Program at Teachers College. Through his research, he aims to understand masculinity within the non-professional male K-12 teen population in urban schools. This year, Rekoert is teaching at the Central Connecticut State University and LaGuardia High School.

PALOMA MCGREGOR is a Caribbean-born, New York-based choreographer who has spent her career centering Black voices through collaborative, “community-specific” performance projects. The daughter of a fisherman and public school art teacher, McGregor amplifies and remixes the quotidian choreographies of Black folks, reactivating them in often-embattled public spaces. McGregor’s work situates performers and witnesses at the embodied intersection of the ancestral past and an envisioned future; for her, tradition transcends time. Working at the growing edge of her field, McGregor has been an inaugural recipient of several major awards, including: Dance/USA’s Fellowship to Artists (2019); Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center Institute Fellowship (2018); and Surdna Foundation’s Artists Engaging in Social Change (2015). In 2017, she won a coveted “Bessie” Award for performance as a member of skeleton architecture, an acclaimed collective of Black women(+) improvisers. Alongside her choreographic work, McGregor founded Dancing While Black (DWB), a platform for community-building, intergenerational exchange and visibility among Black dance artists whose work, like hers, doesn’t fit neatly into boxes. Since 2012, DWB has produced more than two dozen public dialogues and performances, supported the development of 22 Black artists through the DWB Fellowship, and published the country’s first digital journal by and for Black experimental dance artists.

PRISCILLA VELAZQUEZ, M.A., B.S., born and raised in New York City, is a full time public school dance educator at an arts middle school in Queens, NY. Over the past six years she has taught all grades ranging from K-12. Ms. Velazquez has also taught dance in the private sector for over twelve years at various studios such as Theresa’s Academy of Performing Arts (TAPA), Jorday Rivera’s Dance Studio, American Dance and Drama Studio and the Aaron School. In 2014, Priscilla graduated from Hofstra University with a B.S. in Dance Education and a double minor in Psychology and Disability Studies and in 2019 Priscilla graduated with a M.A. in Dance Education from Hunter College. Priscilla’s Educational Philosophy: Ms. Velazquez's passions for both dance and teaching allow her to work with energy and experience. Ms. Velazquez instills a strong foundation in technique for students of all ages while allowing them to grow creatively and choreographically. She challenges her students while allowing them to build confidence in their technique and more importantly in themselves.

SALEM TSEGAYE oversees grantmaking in arts, culture, and historic preservation at The New York Community Trust. She also manages the Mosaic Network and Fund, a collaborative fund that directs more resources to African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American arts groups in New York City. She formerly managed the New York City Cultural Agenda Fund, supporting arts advocacy and cultural policy and equity, and the Fund for New Citizens, supporting immigrant rights advocacy and capacity building for immigrant-led nonprofits. Salem has previously worked as a research administrator at Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, on the editorial team of Createquity, in development at the Queens Museum, and as a technical assistance provider to government agencies and small and mid-size nonprofits in Washington D.C. that provide health and human services. She has a B.A. from Duke University and an M.A. from Parsons The New School for Design.

SARAH MAXFIELD: Sarah Maxfield (Co-Founder/Operations Lead, ArtsPool) is a systems thinker and consummate operations generalist. She has significant experience developing and implementing workflow systems and finding efficiencies in the everyday. Ms. Maxfield has been actively engaged in the non-profit arts sector in New York City for nearly 20 years. Prior to co-founding ArtsPool, she worked in various operational capacities for Performance Space 122, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, Lincoln Center, and the Open Society Institute. Ms. Maxfield, also a performing artist and curator, has contributed as an artist/consultant to The Chocolate Factory Theater, the Gibney Dance Center, Galapagos Art Space, Dixon Place, The New Museum, and the Museum of Arts and Design, among many others. Her writing on performance and its context has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, The Movement Research Performance Journal, The Performance Club, and Contact Quarterly. She works in collaboration with an amazing team of dedicated arts-nerds at ArtsPool and lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

SOPHIA GARCIA: Sophia Garcia (they/them) is a 22-year-old, Mexican-American multidisciplinary artist and community organizer from Los Angeles. Their organizing and artistic work centers on immigration, mental health, drug/alcohol addiction, mass incarceration/prison abolition and queerness, particularly within the Latine/x community. Through their organizing with Sin Fronteras NYC, ArtSpace Sanctuary and in the MoMADivest Campaign, they are working towards dismantling the systemic injustices perpetuated against marginalized groups, using art, education and mutual aid as primary tools for self-liberation. In doing so, they strive to cultivate a safe environment of healing and reflection through community events and in their own artistic practice. F*** ICE. F*** Borders. F*** Capitalism. F*** Colonialism. F*** Imperialism. Si se puede.

SUSAN POPE holds a BA in dance from the University of Maryland and a MA in dance education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is an Arnhold Fellow in the dance education doctoral program at Teachers College. As a veteran dance educator with the Newark Board of Education, she serves on the writing team for the K-8 dance curriculum and model teacher PD cohort. She is also a member of New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) Teacher’s Resource Guide writing team. 2017 Susan created I DANCE BECAUSE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to dance education, scholarship and the emotional healing aspects of dance. Her publications include: an article in Dance Education in Practice titled TEACHING DANCE HISTORY TO MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS, I DANCE BECAUSE…, a collection of stories, essays and poems about dance; DANCING MY PRAYERS, a guide to combining movement and prayer in your devotional life; an article in the International Journal of AAHPERD titled Mourning Into Dancing – The Transformation of Lives: A personal Journey; May of 2000, Susan was invited to the White House to speak at a conference titled Raising Responsible and Resourceful Youth.

XIANIX BARRERA is a Bessie award nominated flamenco dancer, choreographer, teacher and producer based in New York. Female empowerment, queer themes, sexual identity and social justice color her choreographic work and create the focal point for the company she founded in 2012; Xianix Barrera Flamenco Company.  With a background in ballet, modern, jazz and percussive studies, Xianix has dedicated herself to the lifelong study of flamenco with the masters of the art form in both New York and Spain.  Throughout her career she has shared the stage with revered artists such as Raquel Heredia, Rosario Toledo, and Soledad Barrio (Noche Flamenca) on some of the most important stages in the world including The Joyce Theater, the Red Theater in Abu Dhabi and Cafe Silverio in Sevilla, Spain. Continuously pushing boundaries within flamenco, while remaining true to its tradition, her most recent production, "Mujeres", featured a rare all female cast that solidified an ongoing creative collaboration with revered female guitarist and composer Antonia Jiménez. Xianix has received ongoing recognition for her work; she was a scholarship recipient at the School of Jacob's Pillow, an Artist in Residence with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, and a SU-CASA arts engagement grantee. Most recently she was nominated for a Bessie Award for Outstanding Performer for her role in "Latido" as part of the Emerging Choreographer Series at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center produced by Mare Nostrum Elements. 

YIN MEI is a dancer, choreographer, director and visual artist known for creating dance/visual art works that fearlessly bridge social impact through art, technological, artistic and cultural divides to conjure a unique brand of theatrical magic. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, Choreography Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and was twice nominated for a Cal-Arts Alpert Award. Her creative work has been supported by leading funding organizations, including three times of National Dance Project/the New England Foundation for the Art, and three times the Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production, the National Endowment for the Art, the Asian Cultural Council, Meet the Composer: International Creative Collaboration, Live Music for Dance, Jerome Foundation, Greenwall Foundation, among many others. Her company Yin Mei Dance has been presented at venues such as the Asolo Theater at Ringling Museum, Fall for Dance Festival at the City Center, Danspace Project at St. Marks Church, DTW, LaMaMa Theater, Asia Society, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Art, Center for Performance at UCLA, Lincoln Center David Koch Theater, Lincoln Center Jazz Hall, Theatre du Chatelet Paris, National Theater of China Beijing, Grand Opera House, Nanjing, Poly Theater Ningbo, many other venues and International Festivals.
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