Dance/NYC Symposium



Saturday, March 21, 2020
9:30 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Zoom x Facebook Live

Sessions were free and open to the public. 

All sessions include ASL interpretation. 
Videos with closed captioning will be available soon.


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. 

CHRYBABY COZIE: From Harlem, NY, Chrybaby Cozie is one of the founding fathers of the Hip Hop freestyle genre called Lite Feet. Being raised in Harlem in the late 80’s was a source of great influence for Chrybaby, as it was his foundation for dance, music and the source of inspiration to uplift the youth and communities around him today. Chrybaby has been teaching Lite Feet and Hip Hop, for more than 10 years and is currently teaching at the Exile Professional Gym (EXPG) and Broadway Dance Center in NYC. Chrybaby has been cultivating and keeping the Lite Feet culture alive for ten years with the NYC youth. And through the culture, he has created a Hip Hop dance organization called ‘The Bwreckfast Club’ E.A.T (Earning All Together) in 2005. ‘The Bwreckfast Club’ is a platform for youth, to build upon their passion, talent and be given an opportunity to promote themselves in a positive light. After the creation of ‘The Bwreckfast Club’ Chrybaby created ‘The Lite Feet Nation’; a community connected by individuals who were there from the conception of the dance genre, to the youth who keep it alive today. 

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. 

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

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.

EDUARDO VILARO joined Ballet Hispánico as Artistic Director in August 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. In 2015, Mr. Vilaro took on the additional role of Chief Executive Officer of Ballet Hispánico. He has been part of the Ballet Hispánico family since 1985 as a dancer and educator, after which he began a ten-year record of achievement as founder and Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago. Mr. Vilaro has infused Ballet Hispánico’s legacy with a bold and eclectic brand of contemporary dance that reflects America’s changing cultural landscape. Born in Cuba and raised in New York from the age of six, he is a frequent speaker on the merits of cultural diversity and dance education. Mr. Vilaro’s own choreography is devoted to capturing the spiritual, sensual, and historical essence of Latino cultures. He created over 20 ballets for Luna Negra and has received commissions from the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet, and the Chicago Symphony. In 2001, he was a recipient of a Ruth Page Award for choreography, and in 2003, he was honored for his choreographic work at Panama’s II International Festival of Ballet. Mr. Vilaro was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame in 2016 and was awarded HOMBRE Magazine’s 2017 Arts & Culture Trailblazer of the Year. In 2019, Mr. Vilaro was the recipient of the West Side Spirit’s WESTY Award, was honored by WNET for his contributions to the arts, and most recently, was the recipient of the James W. Dodge Foreign Language Advocate Award.

ELIZABETH E. SCHLISSEL is an associate in Tannenbaum Helpern’s Employment Law practice representing clients in employment litigation, investigation, regulation, and other aspects of employment law. Elizabeth represents companies in all types of employment litigation in state and federal court including wage and hour matters, discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, hostile work environment, breach of employment contracts and restrictive covenants, and failure to accommodate disabilities. Elizabeth counsels employers, management teams, and HR executives regarding compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations. Counseling includes advising clients on a daily basis regarding personnel issues, wage and hour compliance, and preventing, investigating and responding to discrimination and sexual harassment complaints. In addition, Elizabeth regularly works with employers to draft, review, and update employee handbooks and policies. 

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. 

JACKSON POLYS is a multi-disciplinary artist belonging to Tlingit territory, living and working between what are currently called Alaska and New York, whose work examines negotiations toward the limits and viability of desires for Indigenous growth. He holds an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University (2015) and was the recipient of a 2017 NACF Mentor Artist Fellowship. He was advisor and co-organizer for Indigenous New York, the collaborative program initiative co-founded by Mohawk artist Alan Michelson and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. He is a principal contributor to the New Red Order (NRO). His individual and collaborative works have appeared at the Alaska State Museum, Anchorage Museum, Artists Space, Burke Museum, Images Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Union Docs, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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.

JULIAN SCHUBACH: Julian serves a broad range of creative clients including artists, entertainers and digital influencers, providing comprehensive financial education, planning and wealth management. Julian has been named a ‘Top-100 Financial Advisor’ by Investopedia and in 2018, Julian was a contributing writer for New York Foundation for the Arts book, ‘The Profitable Artist,’ penning three chapters focusing on personal finance for creatives. Julian received a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University at Buffalo and serves as a partner in the wealth management practice of ODI Financial in New York. Additionally, Julian provides financial consulting for various arts organizations including Creative Capital, Doris Duke Awards, Pentacle and NYFA. Julian is a dedicated member of We Are All Music Foundation (WAAM), Janie’s Fund and Little St. Nick Foundation. When not working with creatives, Julian lives on Long Island with his wife Lisa and his two rescue dogs, Taco and Cleo. 

KATY PYLE re-imagines ballet culture through the lens of their own values. Pyle's company, Ballez (est. 2011), creates large­ scale story-ballets, open classes, and public engagement. Major works: “The Firebird, a Ballez," Danspace Project (2013), “Variations on Virtuosity” American Realness (2015), “Sleeping Beauty & the Beast,” La Mama (2016), "Slavic Goddesses," the Kitchen, Visual Direction Paulina Olowska (January 2017), and "Ballez Class Everywhere" YouTube worldwide (2019). Pyle has brought Ballez to Yale, Princeton, Sarah Lawrence, NYU, Whitman College, Bowdoin College, Beloit College, Slippery Rock University, MDT in Stockholm, and the New School, where Pyle is a current faculty member. Pyle also teaches weekly Professional Ballez class at Gibney 890 Broadway. Ballez has been featured in the NY Times, Dance Magazine, them, Cosmopolitan and Teen Vogue, among other publications.

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 

MERLYNE JEAN-LOUIS, ESQ: Merlyne Jean-Louis is the founder and owner of Jean-Louis Law, P.C., a New York-based virtual law firm that focuses on business and entertainment law. A former dancer, she uses her legal and creative knowledge to help transform her clients (content creators, influencers, creatives and entrepreneurs) into CEOs. Merlyne is also a dance and social media law commentator. She has discussed intellectual property law as it relates to choreography and influencers on Bloomberg, CBS, The Verge and Marketplace Tech and the podcasts Poplaw and Carry on Friends. She also was mentioned in the book Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance. Merlyne received her J.D. from Duke Law School and B.A. cum laude from NYU.  She is admitted to practice in New York and is an active member of some amazing organizations, including the Black Entertainment Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA) and NYSBA. For more information about Merlyne, access to her informative legal blog and free business checklist, and her practice, visit

NIGEL CAMPBELL was born and raised in The Bronx, New York. Campbell began his training at Creative Outlet Dance Theater and is a graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School, and of The Juilliard School, under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes. Campbell has received additional training from The Miami City Ballet School, The School at Jacob’s Pillow, The Alvin Ailey School and Springboard Danse Montreal. While still at Juilliard, Campbell joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet as a soloist. Since graduation, Campbell has danced for the Saarlandisches Staatstheater under the direction of Marguerite Donlon, Luna Negra Dance Theater under the direction of Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, the GöteborgsOperans Danskompani under the direction of Adolphe Binder and in 2017 was names a Director of Gibney Company after spending two years as a dancer and Artistic Associate. In 2019, Nigel joined the faculty of The Juilliard School as an adjunct professor, teaching “Essentials of Entrepreneurship in the Arts” for dancers. The same year he also joined the faculty at S.U.N.Y. Purchase Conservatory of Dance as an adjunct professor teaching contemporary. A sought after master teacher and répétiteur, Campbell has set dances and given workshops throughout the United States and abroad, such as The Juilliard School, Princeton University, Ballet Hispanico, SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory, Springboard Danse Montreal, NYU, Yale University, The Ballet Akademien Göteborg, No)one. Art House, MUDA Africa, & LaGuardia Arts H.S. among many others. In addition, Campbell has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a 2019 Martha Hill Mid-Career Award, a 2011 Princess Grace Award, a National YoungArts Level 1 Award and a NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal. Campbell is a 2004 Presidential Scholar in the Arts and at 17, was featured on the National PBS documentary “American Talent.” In 2015, Nigel co-founded MOVE|NYC| with his partner Chanel DaSilva with the mission of cultivating greater diversity and equity in the dance field and beyond. Campbell resides in New York City.

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. 

TALILA A. LEWIS is a community lawyer and consultant who has been at the cutting edge of critically intersectional thought, education, organizing, advocacy and litigation that highlights and addresses the nexus between race, class, disability, other marginalized identities, and structural inequity for over a decade. Recognized as a 2015 White House Champion of Change and one of Pacific Standard Magazine's Top 30 Thinkers Under 30, Talila engineers & leads innovative and intersectional social justice efforts that illuminate and address grave injustices within education, medical, and legal systems that have gone unaddressed for generations. Talila’s  advocacy primarily focuses on anti-violence, decarceration & prison abolition. As one of the only people in the world working on deaf wrongful conviction cases, Talila regularly testifies before legislative & regulatory bodies and provides presentations and trainings on this and related topics. As the creator of the only national deaf prisoner database, Talila advocates with & for hundreds of deaf and disabled defendants and incarcerated & returned individuals. Talila co-founded & serves as volunteer director of Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of Deaf communities (HEARD), a volunteer-dependent nonprofit organization that works to correct & prevent deaf wrongful convictions; end abuse of incarcerated people with disabilities; decrease recidivism for deaf and returning individuals; a??and increase representation of deaf people in professions that can combat mass incarceration. As a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collective and the co-creator of Disability Solidarity praxis, Talila has spent most of 2017 and all of 2018 traveling the "United States," specifically to exchange knowledge with multiply-marginalized communities; visit incarcerated deaf/disabled people; and bake for "love, life & liberation" under the moniker Sweet Solidarity. Talila currently serves as a consultant for dozens of social justice organizations on various topics including racial, economic, gender, and disability justice and as an expert on cases involving deaf/disabled people. Talila previously served as the Givelber Public Interest Lecturer at Northeastern University School of Law and as a visiting professor at Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf. A recent graduate of American University Washington College of Law, Talila has received awards from numerous universities, the American Bar Association, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, American Association for People with Disabilities, the Nation Institute, National Black Deaf Advocates, and EBONY Magazine, among others. Talila is a 2018 Roddenberry Fellow & a 2018 Atlantic Fellow for Racial Equity.







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