Dance/NYC 2019 Symposium



Friday, February 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 23, 2019, 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.

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

(Panel speakers are organized in alphabetical order.
For Legal and SmART Bar consultants, please scroll to the bottom.)

A. NIA AUSTIN-EDWARDS (ANAE) is the Founder and CEO (Creator.Emancipator.Oracle) of PURPOSE Productions and has built a life around the practice of support through writing, performing, creating, marketing, listening, caring, and more. ANAE’s creative career began in a mother’s womb, developed in Atlanta, GA, at Total Dance / Dancical Productions, Inc., and was further formalized through Tri-Cities Visual and Performing Arts Magnet High School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nia has presented choreography throughout Brooklyn and performed with a variety of phenomenal dance artists such as Gus Solomons, Jr., Deborah Jowitt, Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Adia Tamar Whitaker, Camille A. Brown, Stefanie Batten Bland, Jesse Phillips-Fein, Paloma McGregor, and Marjani Forte-Saunders. Nia was a Dance/USA John R. Munger Research Fellow from 2014-2015 and an Editor & Contributor for The Dance Enthusiast from 2013-2016. Since transitioning from Marketing & Communications Director at BAX in 2013, PURPOSE Productions has had the pleasure of supporting dance artists such as Adia Tamar Whitaker and Marjani Forte, theater artists such as Ella Turenne and Latonia Phipps, organizations such as 651 ARTS and STooPS, initiatives such as Dancing While Black and Camille A. Brown’s The Gathering, among others. PURPOSE Productions has also hosted workshops in a variety of subjects from marketing to their signature #LiberatedLifedstyle practice.

ABOU FARMAN is an anthropologist, writer and artist. He is the author of the book Clerks of the Passage (2012) and is currently an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research. As part of the artist duo caraballo-farman, he has exhibited internationally, including at the Tate Modern, UK, and PS1/MOMA, NY, and received several grants and awards, including NYFA and Guggenheim Fellowships. He is producer and co-writer on several feature films most recently Icaros: A Vision. 

ALI ROSA-SALAS As Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement, Ali Rosa-Salas develops the Center’s live programming, exhibitions, and residencies with Artistic Director Craig Peterson. As an independent curator, she has produced visual art exhibitions, performances, and public programs with AFROPUNK, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, 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. In addition to her role at Abrons, Ali supports electronic music DJs and producers as Special Projects Manager for Discwoman.

ALIA LAHLOU engages individuals and groups to achieve more connection, honesty, and depth, in service to holistic social change. Her work has taken her around the world and has focused on conflict transformation; leadership development; collaborative workplaces; identity; processes of deep listening, visioning, and reflection; and community building. Alia is an Associate at the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC), a consulting and training organization focused on equity and collaboration. Outside of IISC, Alia is a core member of the facilitation team at YES!, an organization working at the meeting point of personal, interpersonal, and systemic change. At the root of all her work is a dedication to creating safe spaces for people to grow and to learn/ unlearn in community. Alia grew up in Morocco and has degrees in international relations from Brown University and Al Akhawayn University, though she learned everything she knows outside the classroom. She is deeply inspired by the life and work of James Baldwin, particularly his simultaneous and uncompromised commitment to both justice and to love. Alia strives to walk through the world with authentic attention to both.  Things that make her happy include being on a plane, her color-coded home library, babies, and dance parties.

ANA "ROKAFELLA" GARCIA is a NYC native who has represented Hip-hop dance professionally over the past two decades. She co founded Full Circle Prod Inc- NYC's only non profit Break Dance Theater company with her husband veteran Bboy Kwikstep. Rokafella has acted in theater pieces, performed poetry, directed a documentary highlighting the Bgirl lifestyle entitled "All The Ladies Say" and performs her original music based on growing up in Hip-hop's Mecca. She is hired internationally to judge Break dance competitions based on her mastery of the classic Hip-hop dance style and she teaches unique workshops aimed at evolving and preserving its technical aspects. Presently she is an artist in residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation, an adjunct professor at The New School. She has been featured in pivotal Rap music videos, tours, film and commercials as well as choreographed for diverse festival concerts such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Rokafella is a multi faceted Hip-hop artist who references street and Latino culture as her foundation.

ANANYA CHATTERJEA (2011, Guggenheim Choreography Fellowship, 2012 McKnight Choreography Fellowship, 2016, Joyce Award), Artistic Director of Ananya Dance Theatre, a Twin Cities-based professional dance company of women artists of color, makes “People Powered Dances of Transformation” intersecting contemporary dance-making and social justice choreography. Her latest work, Shaatranga/Women Weaving Worlds, was described as characterized by “dynamite dancing… raw power and force” and her choreographic craft was applauded for “drumming up compelling images” (Star Tribune, 9/24/2018), “this company, this work, must be seen” (RV Art Review, 10/28/2018). She has toured her work to the Bethlehem International Performing Arts Festival, Palestine (2018), Aavejak Avaaz Festival, Delhi (2018), Crossing Boundaries Festival, Addis Ababa, (2015), Harare International Dance Festival, Zimbabwe (2013), New Waves Institute of Dance and Performance, Trinidad (2012), and other national and international locations. She is currently creating a new work with the support of a MapFund award, exploring global connectivities. Ananya is excited to be the recipient of an Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellowship.  Ananya is Professor of Dance at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches courses in Dance Studies and technique. She recently presented the keynote talk at the joint conference of Congress of Research in Dance and Society of Dance History Scholars (2016). She is currently writing her second book, Heat, Contestations in Line, under contract with Palgrave McMillan, re-framing understandings of Contemporary Dance from the perspective of dance-makers from global south locations.

ARTHUR AVILES is an award-winning New York-Rican dancer/choreographer, was born in Queens and raised in Long Island and the South Bronx. He’s the founder of his contemporary dance company, Arthur Aviles Typical Theater, and the co-founder of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. He received his B.A. in dance and theater from Bard College, and was a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 1988 to 1996. The New York Times called him “ of the great modern dancers of the last 15 years.” Aviles was honored with a Bessie Award, an Arts and Letters Award from his alma mater in 1995, a BRIO Award, a NYFA Fellowship, the Mayor’s Award for Art and Culture in 2008, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Master’s Grant from Pregones Theatre in 2010 and received an honorary doctorate from Bard College in 2015.

AYANO ELSON Born in Okinawa, Japan, Ayano Elson is an artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her choreography has been presented by the Chocolate Factory, Gibney Dance (Work Up), Knockdown Center (Sunday Service), Lincoln Center, Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, Roulette (lec/dem), and AUNTS at Arts@Renaissance, MANA Contemporary, Mount Tremper Arts, and the New Museum. Last year, she was a 2018 Movement Research Van Lier Emerging Artist of Color Fellow. Ayano has performed in works by Kim Brandt, Jessica Cook, devynn emory, and Simone Forti in spaces like the Guggenheim Museum, the Kitchen, Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, MoMA, MoMA PS1, Pioneer Works, and Roulette.

AYODELE CASEL an actor, choreographer, and tap dancer is the the 2017 recipient of the  “Hoofer Award”. She premiered her one-woman show "While I Have The Floor" at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. Also an educator, she received a “Transcendence Award” in 2018 for being a champion of arts education and was recently recognized by the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade for her work in the recovery of the island in the wake of Hurricane Maria. A frequent New York City Center collaborator, she served as choreographer for Carole King and Maurice Sendak's musical "Really Rosie" for its Encores! Off Center under the direction of Leigh Silverman, a soloist for Jeanine Tesori’s “Jamboree”, a soloist at Fall For Dance, and a soloist for “¡Adelante Cuba!” as part of Latin Jazz great Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Ayodele will be leading New York City Center’s “On The Move” in Spring 2019. Her work is rooted in the expression of identity, culture, language, and communication. Ayodele is currently Artist In Residence at Harvard University.  Hailed by the legendary Gregory Hines as “one of the top young tap dancers in the world,” and by The New York Times as “A tap dancer of unquestionable radiance”, Casel has steadfast become an internationally sought after artist and powerful voice for the art form. 

BRANDI STEWART is the Program Officer for the Arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and works with staff to plan, implement, review and evaluate the program’s goals and strategies. Prior to joining the foundation in 2018, she was a member of the Arts team at Bloomberg Philanthropies and helped to manage the arts and culture portfolio at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Brandi also reported on small business news and trends as a journalist for Fortune Small Business Magazine. Brandi graduated from Duke University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and African & African American Studies. While at Duke, she received the Lars Lyon Volunteer Service Award for her work using movement as a tool to engage youth with mental and physical health challenges. A native New Yorker, Brandi’s interest in the arts is rooted in her background in ballet and modern dance. After training at the School of American Ballet, the Ailey School and Dance Theatre of Harlem, she performed with the New York City-based modern company Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company. She currently sits on the board of Dance/NYC, the advisory board of Duke Performances and the board of DCL, Inc., a literary nonprofit focused on elevating the stories and achievements of the African American community.

BRANDON GRYDE has served as Director of Government Affairs for Dance/USA and OPERA America since 2011, representing the membership in front of Congress, the White House, and federal agencies. He advocates on a range of issues that include support for the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Education at U.S. Department of Education, and nonprofit tax policy. Brandon has served as director of communications at Youth Service America and director of publications at Jump Street in Harrisburg, PA, where he managed a re-granting program in partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and launched AND Magazine, a quarterly arts and healthy lifestyles publication for teens. Brandon has a B.A. in Ethnomusicology and American Literature and Culture from UCLA and an M.A. in American Studies from Penn State.

BRITTANY WILSON is a Queens native who began her training at the Edge School of the Arts. She later pursued a double major in Dance and Exercise Science at Lehman College in the Bronx. She has been choreographing original pieces for 12 years which includes producing her first evening length concert in 2011 entitled “Fresh”. Her performance credits include Lehman College, Green Space, Dixon Place, Alchemical Theatre, Harlem School of the Arts, The Secret Theatre and Downtown Art. In 2014 she was appointed Artistic Director of Herbert H. Dance Company at Lehman College in which she was an active member since 2010. During this time, Brittany created work inspired by, but not limited to, her journey as a woman. In February 2018 she ended her time as AD to pursue her personal goal of running her non-profit, B. Wilson Producing Scholars, that benefits emerging dance producers/choreographers. Her journey as an arts administrator began in 2016 when she applied for Pentacle's "Cultivating Leadership in Dance" internship. The experience led to opportunities such as interning with Dance Films Association, Abraham.In.Motion and as of May 2017 securing an Administrative Coordinator position at BEAT Global. Furthermore, Brittany teaches dance to children ages 5-8, is the Company Manager of ModArts Dance Collective, a member of the DanceNYC Junior Committee and a 2019 Queens Council on the Arts, Art Producer.

CARLO ANTONIO VILLANUEVA is a Filipino-American performing artist living in New York. His work in performance and choreography follows a deep interest in systems of organization, and playful destruction. Carlo’s physical training oscillates among Cunningham Technique, Authentic Movement and other improvisatory practices, yoga, weight training, and running. In the past year, he has been engaged in the work of Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Yasmeen Godder, Keely Garfield, and Parijat Desai. He is a graduate of Rutgers University, with a BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, 2013. Carlo’s past projects have been supported and included by AUNTS, Bethany Arts Community, the Brooklyn Arts Exchange UPSTART Program, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Gibney Dance, Movement Research, Recess, and NYU Tisch Dance. He was a 2015 Teaching Artist in Residence at Stony Brook University, and was supported by a Foundation for Contemporary Art Emergency Grant for a collaboration with Miriam Gabriel in 2017. Villanueva is currently in a research phase of a solo performance project called GALLIVANTING. He is also currently devoted to the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, through which he participates in the creation of large-scale performance productions; tours repertory programs nationally and internationally; and teaches dance classes in New York and abroad. The Company is in process for a new work called Deep Blue Sea, set to premiere Spring 2020 in New York City.

CAROL K. WALKER is Chair of Dance at Hunter College, CUNY since August, 2017, came out of retirement for this prestigious position. The Dance Department is the only free standing Dance Department in the CUNY system. She has overseen new curriculum revisions for the BA Degree initiated in Spring 2019, launching of the new Hunter Dance MFA Degree program enrolling the first students in Fall ’18, developed new recruiting strategies for the undergraduate BA and collaborated with the BA Ed, BA/MA and AGDEP Programs for events and programming. Prior to Hunter College Walker was Dean of the School of the Arts, 2002-2005 , and Dean of Dance at Purchase College SUNY 1984-2007. She had a distinguished international career in Europe, Australia, and Asia. She was artistic director of the renowned Purchase Dance Corps and produced performances and workshops at the Beijing Dance Academy from 2010 to 2015.

CHARMIAN WELLS received her PhD in dance from Temple University and her MA (performance studies) and BFA (dance) from NYU. Her research is focused on the concept of choreographing belonging in the African diaspora, in particular within concert dance of the Black Arts Movement in New York City. This stems from her performance background as a dancer with Forces of Nature Dance Theatre since 2005. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence and Lehman Colleges. Her writing has been published in Movement Research’s Critical Correspondence and The Brooklyn Rail, and a forthcoming anthology edited by Thomas DeFrantz.

CHRISTINE BRUNO is a Disability Advocate and Inclusion Consultant with a varied background as an actor, director and coach. She has previously represented Inclusion in the Arts at symposiums, forums, panels, resource events and radio outlets across the country and internationally at film and arts festivals, and served as the organization’s representative on the Broadway League Diversity Committee. A proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA, Christine is the Chair of the New York Local SAG-AFTRA PWD Committee, served as the 2011 Co-Chair of the I AM PWD global civil rights campaign and is a member of the SAG-AFTRA National Committee for Performers with Disabilities and the Actors’ Equity EEO Committee. She holds an MFA in Acting and Directing from the New School, is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Skidmore College and is a member of the Actors Studio. As a performer and director, Christine has worked nationally and internationally in theatre, television and film, including Law & Order and the award-winning features Flatbush Luck and This is Where We Live. She most recently appeared in Jose Rivera’s adaptation of Genet’s The Maids at New York’s INTAR Theatre; toured England in the world-premiere musical, The Ugly Girl, and completed filming on the upcoming independent feature iCreep. 

CLARA BELLO is the Dance Educator/ Arts Liaison at Dos Puentes Elementary in Washington Heights. She has taught for over 12 years as a literacy intervention, classroom and dance teacher and holds a BA in French, MS.Ed. in Bilingual Childhood Education, 30 credits in Dance Education, and is working on a Master’s in Educational Leadership. Clara is a DEL graduate and Arnhold New Dance Teacher Alumna. Her dance program blends her passion for the humanities with principles of creative movement with curricula taught primarily in Spanish. Clara's interests and strengths lie in exploring relationships between and best practices in the arts and issues of equity, human rights and social justice, language learning (of all kinds), academic achievement, social-emotional learning, interdisciplinary learning, curriculum development / implementation, formative assessment, community building, and creating / maintaining a positive and challenging learning environment. She enjoys teaching, and learning about different cultures. Clara is a Citywide Dance PD (DELTA team) and Arts Mondays PD series Facilitator, a Writer and Reviewer for the Arnhold Dance Curriculum / Unit Review Program, and Tutor for the Arnhold Dance Teacher Tutoring Program. She contributed to the NYCDOE Dance Curriculum Writing Team (2015), and NYCDOE Dance Blueprint (2015 revision), and proctored and scored the NYCDOE Arts Achieve Dance Assessment (2010-2013).

DAWN MARIE BAZEMORE is a performer, choreographer and dance educator. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the department of Theatre and Dance at Rowan University and has held residencies at The University of the Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of North Carolina School for the Arts. Dawn Marie was a member of Philadanco from 1998-2009 after which she performed featured roles in Broadway and region theatre productions. Dawn Marie first premiered her choreography at the American Dance Festival and has since received commissions to choreograph for Philadanco, Grace Dance Theatre and Nimbus Dance Works. She has also developed projects for her dance collective Dawn Marie Bazemore|#dbdanceproject. Most of the her creative work addresses socio-political concerns directly affecting the communities to which she identifies. In 2015 her essay, Dance and Activism: The Practice and Impact of Sociopolitical Concert Dance, was published in the inaugural edition of the online journal The Dancer-Citizen. Since then Dawn has been selected to be a 2018 Jacob’s Pillow Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellow and the 208-19 Dance Visions Artist in Residence at the Performance Garage. Dawn Marie is a graduate of the NYC High School of Performing Arts and has earned a BFA from SUNY Purchase and an MFA from Hollins University.

DENISE SAUNDERS THOMPSON is the President and CEO of The International Association of Blacks in Dance, a non-profit dance service organization. Denise’s nonprofit/for-profit management and philanthropic career spans over 20 years of executive and program director experience. She has advised organizations on administrative, programmatic and fundraising issues including strategic plans, policy and procedures, communications programs, budgeting and contracts.  She has pioneered top-ranked courses on the collegiate level (graduate and undergraduate) in artistic development, entrepreneurship, fundraising, grant writing, leadership, management, and production. Denise is as a Professorial Lecturer for the Graduate Arts Management Degree Program at American University. In 2015, she concluded 17 years of service at Howard University in the capacities of Professor and Theatre Manager/Producing Artistic Director. Denise currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Dance/USA, Friends of Theatre and Dance at Howard University, and is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA), Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA), and Theatre Communications Group (TCG).

DESPINA SOPHIA STAMOS Born in a village in Andros, Greece, raised in NJ, Stamos has been an ongoing, dedicated member of the NY dance community since 1989. In addition to a long career with multiple dance companies, and founding her own project, the modern dance awareness society, she is a co-founder of Chashama, a vital resource creatively linking performers to unused space throughout the city for site-specific performance. She has also curated multiple dance events at a variety of locations, and created cross-cultural community dance projects across the world. She’s linked her art&politics work to social justice organizing through the Direct Action Network preceding the Occupy movement, and satirical guerilla dance group the Missile Dick Chicks.

EDISA WEEKS is a choreographer, educator and founder of DELIRIOUS Dances. She creates multi-media interdisciplinary works, that merge theater with dance to explore our deepest desires, darkest fears and sweetest dreams. Weeks grew up in Uganda, Papua New Guinea and Brooklyn, NY. She has a BA from Brown University, and received a full fellowship to attend New York University’s TISCH School of the Arts where she obtained an MFA in choreography. She is on the Board of Directors for Movement Research, and has served as a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and for other organizations. Weeks is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Dance Program at Queens College, where she teaches modern technique, improvisation, choreography, and mentors students.

EDWIN TORRES joined GIA in October 2017. He most recently served as deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and on the GIA board of directors from 2011 through 2016. Torres has a strong and diverse history in arts philanthropy. Prior to joining the NYC Cultural Affairs office, he was an associate director with The Rockefeller Foundation and director of external partnerships for Parsons School of Design at The New School. He has also served on the arts and culture team at Ford Foundation as well as on the staff of Bronx Council on the Arts. He holds a Master of Arts in Art History from Hunter College and a Master of Science in Management from The New School.

EMMA KAYWIN is a sexual health educator, writer, and activist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her background is in HIV writing and education, most recently working at the Mount Sinai Institute for Advanced Medicine as their Program Manager for Development, Communications, and the Peer Program. For two years, she was the sexual health columnist for She is the consent co-lead for the DC-based arts nonprofit Meso Creso and the consent and mediation lead for House of Yes. Through these and other roles, Emma delivers consent and sexual safety workshops to individuals nationwide. She is currently working towards a doctorate in health education at Teachers College of Columbia University, where she is researching how communities are developing consent and safety protocols to create more welcoming spaces.

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 in New York City. 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 most recent work, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars - an all night outdoor performance gathering taking place on and near eighty-four community-hand-made quilts - premiered in Lenapehoking (NYC) with PS122 on Randall's Island in summer 2017. She hosts monthly fires on the Lower East Side in Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Art Center and Lenape Center and is, with a transnational consortium including BlakDance, Vallejo Gantner, Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, ILBIJERRI, and others developing.

EVA YAA ASANTEWAA is the Senior Curatorial Director of Gibney, New York’s acclaimed center for dance and social activism. She won the 2017 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance as a veteran writer, curator and community educator. Since 1976, she has contributed writing on dance to Dance Magazine, The Village Voice, SoHo Weekly News, Gay City News, The Dance Enthusiast, Time Out New York and other publications and interviewed dance artists and advocates as host of two podcasts, Body and Soul and Serious Moonlight. She blogs on the arts, with dance as a specialty, for InfiniteBody and served as Editor in Chief of Dancer's Turn, a blog devoted to longform profiles of dance artists, created by students of her "Writing on Dance" workshop series at New York Live Arts. Ms. Yaa Asantewaa joined the curatorial team for Danspace Project’s Platform 2016: Lost and Found and 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 was awarded a 2017 Bessie for Outstanding Performer. As EYA Projects, she began partnerships with organizations such as GIBNEY, Abrons Arts Center, Dance/NYC, BAX and Dancing While Black to curate and facilitate Long Table conversations on topics of concern in the dance/performance community. She was a member of the inaugural faculty of Montclair State University’s MFA in Dance program. She has also served on the faculty for New England Foundation for the Arts' Regional Dance Development Initiative Dance Lab 2016 for emerging Chicago-area dance artists. In May 2017, she served on the faculty for the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography's inaugural Forward Dialogues Dance Lab for Emerging Choreographers and will return this year as a workshop facilitator. Ms. Yaa Asantewaa was a member of the New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards committee for three years and has been a consultant or panelist for numerous arts funding or awards organizations including the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. A native New Yorker of Black Caribbean heritage, Eva makes her home in the East Village with her wife, Deborah, and cat, Crystal. Learn more at

HEATHER ROBLES is a Brooklyn-based choreographer and performer. An alum of The Ailey School and Marymount Manhattan College, she has performed with many artists including Yvonne Rainer, Sidra Bell, Pavel Zuštiak, Nathan Trice/rituals, Renegade Performance Group, Buglisi Dance Theater, Alison Cook Beatty Dance, Fredrick Earl Mosley, and is a founding member of and dance activist with Suzzanne Ponomarenko Dance. Heather is also a birth doula, dance educator, teaching artist, producer, Managing Director of The New York Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, founder of blog Community of Motion, and advocate for mental health in the dance field. She has organized community discussions in New York to address suicide prevention, women's advocacy, and the stigma of mental health in the dance field.

IELE PALOUMPIS is a dance artist, educator, intuitive healer and death doula. their work is rooted in kinesthetic awareness and somatic healing – all within a trauma informed framework that centers social justice. iele’s choreographic work has been presented throughout the US and abroad. Honors include being a Leeway Foundation Art & Social Change Grantee, Queer Art Mentorship Fellow, BAX Fall Space Grantee and residencies at New York Live Arts, Franklin Street Works, and Zil Culture Center in Moscow through partnership with Movement Research & GPS. iele offers weekly classes through MR’s Physical Inquiry & Somatic Practices series and recently participated in a Teachers Teaching Teachers exchange program between MR & Workshop Foundation in Budapest. iele has danced for niv Acosta, devynn emory, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Jen McGinn, Perel, Katy Pyle, Emily Wexler, and Jill Sigman among others. In addition to their dance career, iele works as an end of life doula specializing in traumatic loss. The credentials iele has received include certifications from Valley Hospice & Home Care, Mount Sinai’s Hertzberg Palliative Care Institute’s Doula Program, and Accompanying the Dying through Quality of Life Care, LLC. In 2015, iele partnered with the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative to offer arts and healing workshops for community members who have lost someone to violence. Currently, iele is developing a somatic practice addressing the needs of those who are moving through grief.

ITA SEGEV makes performance, writes, performs/acts and does advocacy & community building work, mainly around the intersection of her transfeminine and anti-Zionist Israeli identities. Ita is a 2018/2019 Brooklyn Art Exchange Artist in Residence, a Fall 2017 BAX space grantee, a spring 2017 Chez Bushwick AIR and a 2016 NYLA Fresh tracks AIR with collaborator Georgia Wall. Her current evening length show in the making, titled Knot in My Name is also supported by New York Theater Workshops Adelphi summer residency as well as Women & Performance, a Journal of feminist theory and is set to premier in October of 2019. Ita recently collaborated in different capacities with Tristan Powell, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Shakina Nayfack, Lillieth Glimcher & (rebeca) RAD (You Are Here), J. Bouey, Juliana May, and Daryn Copland with which she started T4Palestine – an open online recourse for medicalized trans folks who seek to take hormones which are not produced by the state of Israel. You can read/hear more about that project, her personal story and sociopolitical context on CondeI? Nast’s Them magazine, Lenny Letter, PROTOCOLS and Unsettled podcast. Ita is a BDS supporting artist council member at Jewish Voice for Peace.

IV CASTELLANOS is a sculptor and abstract performance artist based in Brooklyn, NY. IV is the founder of the of IV Soldiers Gallery 2014 (performance space) and Founder in collaboration with Esther Neff of the Feminist Art Group. IV additionally has created work with the No Wave Performance Task Force, Social Health Performance Club and is in an ongoing performance collaboration with Amanda Hunt. Castellanos and Hunt are co-founders of a Brooklyn performance space Parallel. IV is a Bolivian-American Trans* Queer artist who consciously considers the fine details of their abstract performances. In addition, the surrounding details are just as
important. Who is getting paid to video, photo, are the performers given equal opportunity to contribute their interest while being comfortable. Strive for equity, equality, safe space and virtue.

J BOUEY is a Dance Artist, runs and co-host, The Dance Union Podcast with Melanie Greene.  J is currently a New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks 2018-19 Artist, and former Movement Research Van Lier Emerging Artist of Color Fellow for 2018, BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange 2018 Fall Space Grantee, and has performed with Elisa Monte Dance as an apprentice from 2015 to 2017. J has shown original work at Judson Church, Arts On Site, The Chocolate Factory, New York Live Arts, Gibney Dance, BAAD!, CPR - Center for Performance Research, and South Mountain Center for Performing Arts. J is a current performer and collaborator with Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT Dance Company, Dante Brown | Warehouse Dance, and Antonio Brown Dance and has also performed works by Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Dance and Edisa Weeks. As a dance instructor at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx, J contribute to making dance easily accessible in underserved communities for Black and Brown people.

J DELLECAVE holds a PhD in Critical Dance Studies from the University of California, Riverside; MA in Performance Studies from New York University; and has had a lifelong career in experimental performance. Based in Brooklyn, NY, J is an interdisciplinary performance-maker, scholar, and educator concerned with how bodily experience intersects with external fields of social, cultural, and political knowledge. J has held academic posts at University at Buffalo and San Diego State University. Their teaching areas include marginalized histories of contemporary United States dance, non-Western approaches to dance studies, dance and global justice, dance as a tool for anti-oppression frameworks, dance as political and/or cultural production, protest and activist dance, theory/practice in the classroom/studio, and performance as interdisciplinary teaching tool. J’s writing has appeared in the Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance, Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist History and itch Dance Journal.

J PEARL MARASIGAN earned a Bachelor’s degree in dance from Hofstra University, she danced for various choreographers and served as co-director of HalloHallo Dance. Pearl has been teaching dance at Bard High School Early College Manhattan since 2006; she started as a teaching artist and is now an NYC Department of Education dance teacher and acting Arts Coordinator. In 2017, Pearl earned her Masters in Dance Education through Hunter College’s Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program. When she’s not teaching, Pearl devotes a great deal of her time to training in the Afro-Brazilian martial art of capoeira.

JAAMIL OLAWALE KOSOKO is a Nigerian-American educator, curator, poet, and performance artist from Detroit, Michigan. He is a 2019 Red Bull Detroit Writing Fellow, recipient of the 2019 DiP Residency and Production Grant Award from Gibney, 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Award, and a graduate of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University where he received his MA. In 2014, Kosoko joined the Board of Directors for Dance/USA, the national service organization for dance professionals. He is also a founding advisory board member for the Coalition for Diasporan Scholars Moving. He has held producing and curatorial positions at New York Live Arts, 651 Arts, and The Watermill Center, among others. Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays have been published internationally in Curating Live Arts (Montréal), Alliances (Frankfurt), Norsk Shakespeare Tidsskrift (Oslo), The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal, the Broad Street Review, Movement Research’s Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence. He continues to guest teach, speak, and lecture internationally. His performance works have toured extensively throughout Europe, Canada, and the US. In February 2019, Kosoko will co-organize Black Poetry: A Conference at Princeton University with Tracy K. Smith and Joshua Kotin. For more information, visit 

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.

JACQUI RABKIN is the Director of Marketing at the House of Yes, a circus performance theatre and nightclub that has been operating in Bushwick since late 2015. She also co-directs the consent program at House of Yes alongside Emma Kaykin. Jacqui is passionate about working with community leaders and members to co-create safer dancefloor spaces.

JAMIE BENSON As an institution-less, rebel-clown choreographer, Jamie Benson defies performance traditions & dares a mass audience to interact with dance. Heralded as "Chaplin-like” by Backstage West & “Insightful & Irreverent” by LA Weekly, Benson's highbrow-meets-lowbrow work has been presented around the United States, across the international film festival circuit, within the Phaidon book Wild Art, & funded by the Brooklyn Arts Council. In addition to being a fringe artist, Benson is also a bonafide marketing nerd who graduated magna cum laude from Baruch College with a BA in digital communications. Now he concocts daring & unconventional promotional methods that revolutionize how creative industries advocate for worthy causes. In his actioned-oriented labs, Benson’s tough love approach is mitigated by a relentless sense of humor, with the aim to abolish self-destructive habits & inspire a fun-first “big picture” outlook about creative ventures. Jamie Benson has worked with & presented for Paul Taylor Dance, The Joyce Theater, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Dance/NYC, CUNY Dance Initiative, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Noel Pointer Foundation, Trent & Company, NJCU Arts Center, CreativesMX, Kupferberg Center for Art, Pilobolus Dance, & famed film composer David Newman.

JERRON HERMAN is an interdisciplinary artist and principal member of Heidi Latsky Dance. He’s been featured at Lincoln Center, ADF, the Whitney Museum, and abroad in Athens. Jerron now serves on the Board of Trustees at Dance/USA. Jerron has also shot for Tommy Hilfiger Adaptive, consulted for a Nike-sponsored project, and was profiled in Great Big Story. In 2018, he was a Snug Harbor PASS artist, a finalist for the inaugural Apothetae/Lark Play Development Lab Fellowship and was nominated for a Fellowship in Dance from United States Artists. His latest solo Phys. Ed. premiered in November at Gibney. Jerron studied at Tisch School of the Arts and graduated from The King’s College. The New York Times has called him, "...the inexhaustible Mr. Herman."

JILL SIGMAN is an interdisciplinary artist and agent of change whose work exists at the intersection of dance, visual art, social practice, and activism. She choreographs with bodies and materials to bring focus to intersecting issues of environmental and social justice. She is the Founder of Body Politic, an intensive laboratory for artist-activists which piloted at Gibney last summer. As an artist, Sigman works with things we cast off such as “garbage” and “weeds”, nudging us to envision a future in which we re-connect with the natural world and each other in just and empathic ways. She has built huts out of trash in places such as The Ringling Museum of Art, a former hospital in Greenpoint, and a fjord in the Arctic. She was the first Gibney Dance Community Action Artist in Residence, and has been an Artist in Residence at Movement Research, Catwalk, Guapamacátaro Interdisciplinary Residency in Art and Ecology (Mexico), The Rauschenberg Residency, and MANCC. As an educator, she has been a Creative Campus Fellow at Wesleyan University and an Adjunct Professor at NYU Tisch Open Arts. She is currently working with asylum seekers through the New Sanctuary Coalition and figuring out how to combine the real world choreography of justice with movement.

JOHN MCEWEN serves as the Executive Director of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, a service organization for the state’s 33 professional theatres.  The Alliance provides advocacy, technical assistance, and programming that supports collaboration among the state’s non-profit professional theatres, encourages professional theatre activities, provides a wide range of marketing and audience development initiatives, and helps member theatres in their growth and development.  Under John’s leadership, the Alliance developed the nation’s first statewide online discount ticketing program for the performing arts, njArtsTix. Prior to the Alliance, John served as Vice President for Development of the New Jersey Network Foundation where he was responsible for providing the leadership for an annual fund goal of more than $7 million in support of NJN Public Television and Radio’s programs and services. Prior to joining NJN, John served as the Director of Development for Paper Mill Playhouse where he oversaw all fundraising activities, long-range planning, and board development.  John provided the leadership for Paper Mill’s successful $10 million “Project Completion” capital campaign. John is the Founder and Chairman of the Cultural Access Network of New Jersey, Trustee of ArtPride, NJ Fund for the Blind, and the College of the Arts at Montclair State University. John has consulted many organizations on board development, long-range planning and fundraising.  Clients include Union County Arts Center, Electronic Information Services, Mile Square Theatre, New Jersey Ballet, Monmouth County Arts Council, Arts Boston,  Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, Algonquin Arts, and Opera Theatre of New Jersey.  John received his Bachelor’s of Arts from Montclair State University and his Master of Arts from New York University, where he has served as an adjunct professor in their Arts Administration Program. John’s awards and achievements include the first Leadership in Arts Access Award from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Governor Byrne and Kean Advocacy Award from Paper Mill Playhouse, a Citation of Excellence form the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Community Service Award from the New Jersey Department of Recreation.  John is a graduate of Leadership/New Jersey, a program of the state’s emerging leaders working together to make the state a better place to live and work.  John is also a graduate of the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders in the Arts, a partnership between Stanford University and National Arts Strategies. 

JONATHAN STAFFORD is currently the interim artistic team leader at New York City Ballet and the interim artistic leader at the School of American Ballet. He danced with NYCB for 16 years achieving the rank of principal dancer and has since served as a ballet master at NYCB and permanent faculty member at SAB. Jonathan is from Carlisle, PA and studied at the Central PA Youth Ballet and SAB before joining NYCB.

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 has presented models for the inclusion of digital devises in dance teaching practice through ACERT (Academic Excellence in Research and Technology. She is on the editorial board of the Dance Education In Practice journal. She authored and provided training in Revelations – An Interdisciplinary Approach for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. She received a BA in Dance at SUNY Brockport, 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.

KATIE LANGAN (Artistic Director) is the Chair of Dance at Marymount Manhattan College. In addition to her work at Marymount, Ms. Langan taught company class for The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for over three years and taught for several years advanced levels for the Ailey School summer program. She has also taught for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA), Dance Space, NYU Tisch, and Ballet Maestro. Lectures for Broadway Dance Center’s Teacher Conference have included; How to Teach a Good Barre, Why Go to College, How to Teach Fondus, and To the Pointe. Ms. Langan has also written several articles for Dancer Magazine including cover stories. She has been interviewed for articles written in Dance Teacher magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Studio Life, Dance 212, and Backstage, and was the subject of the feature article in the September 2017 issue of Dance Teacher magazine: Katie Langan: A Day in the Life. Ms. Langan served as a judge for DRA’s Dancin’ Downtown at The Joyce, the Princess Grace Foundation USA 2010 Dance and Choreography Panel and was a Board Member of Parsons Dance from 2009-2011. She has also served as a participant in “feedback” showings for The Joyce Theater’s Creative Residency Program. She is certified in The ABT National Training Curriculum© through Level 5. She received the Teaching Excellence Award in 2014 and the Raymunde McKaye Award in 2017 for establishing a national/international reputation in Dance at MMC.

KENDRA ROSS is a proud Detroit native working as a dancer, teaching artist, choreographer, facilitator and community organizer in her current home, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. As a dancer in New York City, Kendra has worked with Urban Bush Women, Andrea E. Woods/ Souloworks, Vissi Dance Theater, Motion Sickness with Monstah Black, MBDance, Moving Spirits Dance Company, and as a guest artist with Oyu Oro. In 2013 she also danced in a European tour with DJ Kid Koala in Vinyl Vaudville 2.0.  Kendra is currently a company member of Ase Dance Theater Collective. Kendra’s choreographic work has been presented at the Detroit Performing Arts High School, Joffrey Summer Intensive, Halftime Performances at Florida A&M University, the off Broadway show 7 Sins, and Greenwich Museu de Arte in Salvador, Brazil. Her community work began as a member of Urban Bush Women’s B.O.L.D Network co-teaching dance workshops and co-facilitating community engagement workshops. Along with sharing her art world-wide, Kendra serves as the Founder and Director of STooPS, an outdoors-based community building event that uses art as a catalyst to strengthen ties between different entities in Bed-Stuy. For more information visit

Dr. LAYLA ZAMI is an innovative academic, artist, curator and globetrotter. She is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in the Performance and Performance Studies Graduate Program at Pratt Institute. Born in Paris, France, in 1985, Zami spent 15 years in Berlin, Germany, where she obtained a Faculty Teaching Award from Humboldt-University, and a PhD funded by a Jewish Talents Fellowship (ELES Foundation / German Ministry of Education). Her transdisciplinary approach to research and teaching orbits around matters of dance, memory, diaspora and spacetime.  As a Resident Artist with the dance company Oxana Chi & Ensemble Xinren, Layla Zami creates and performs music, poetry and physical theater in dialogue with the choreography. She performed and presented at universities, festivals and theaters in Germany, France, Finland, Martinique, Taiwan, Indonesia, Turkey, India, Ghana, the UK. In North America, Zami performed at Abrons Arts Center, CUNY, Dixon Place, University of Toronto, Rutgers University, The Wild Project among others. Zami is a Founding Member of the Dance/NYC Symposium Programming Committee and serves on the Dance. Immigrants. Dance. Arts. Initiative. Together with Oxana Chi, Layla Zami curated events for The CUNY Center for the Humanities, Berlin Technical University and Dixon Place, and is a Co-Curator of Dance at the International Human Rights Art Festival.

LEAH KRAUSS joined the Mertz Gilmore Foundation in 2009 and is currently the senior program officer for Dance and Special Projects. The Dance Program provides operating support for contemporary dance presenters located throughout the five boroughs and makes discrete investments to advance the dance field by improving conditions for individual artists. In addition, Leahis currently co-chair of NY Grantmakers in the Arts, and an advisory board member for Dance/NYC. Prior to Mertz Gilmore, Leah was senior program officer at the New York Community Trust, where for 12 years her areas of responsibility included arts and culture, arts-in-education, and historic preservation. Additional experience in the arts includes five years at the Arts and Business Council where she recruited, trained and placed business executives as pro-bono management consultants with nonprofit arts organizations. Leah graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School. For three years, she practiced bankruptcy law and also served with Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in Philadelphia.  

LEAL ZIELINSKA Born and raised in Poland, to an American mother and Polish father, Leal started dancing at the early age of 3 years old. As a child, she trained in classical ballet, contemporary techniques and hip hop, and went on to study at the Codarts Rotterdam Dance Academy in the Netherlands in 2011. It was at that time, that her mental health interrupted her dance career trajectory, and she was forced to take time off from training. A few tumultuous years later, she managed to recover enough to rejoin the dance community, and reentered her education, this time at the Ailey School in New York. Since having graduated the Independent Study program in 2015, Leal has completed three seasons with Sidra Bell Dance New York having toured internationally and was chosen as Dance Magazines 25 to Watch as well as being featured on the January 2018 cover. She has had the pleasure to attend Springboard Danse Montreal in the summer of 2016, and in 2017 was signed to be represented by commercial agency blocNYC, which lead to engagements like appearing in a GAP commercial and performing alongside Ariana Grande at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards. As of September 2018 Leal is thrilled to be an artistic associate at Gibney Dance Company. Through her advocacy fellowship, she is hoping to use her experience to fuel advocacy work on the subject of mental health within the dance community. 

LUBA CORTÉS is a writer, organizer, and advocate, whose work explores the intersections of undocumented experiences, queerness, and indigeneity. Luba came to New York, from Mexico Puebla, and has been organizing immigrant communities, since they were a teen. Luba's expertise lies in amplifying immigrant voices and navigating political landscapes for national and local advocacy work. Their current work is focused on supporting detained immigrants and changing the narrative around enforcement. Luba has worked with national networks such as FIRM, United We Dream, and has been part of local coalitions, they currently work as the Immigrant Defense Coordinator at Make the Road New York.

LUCY SEXTON is a Brooklyn born producer, administrator, and performing artist who works in the fields of dance, performance, and film. She is currently Executive Director of the cultural advocacy organization New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, working for equity and support for culture for all New Yorkers. Since 2009, she has served as Executive Director of the NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies, building them for the first time into an independent organization. From 2013-16 she worked as a Consulting Associate Artistic Director of the planned performing arts center at the World Trade Center, conducting field-wide outreach and developing the center’s artistic mission and plan. As a dance artist she works with Anne Iobst creating and performing in the dance performance duo DANCENOISE which was founded in 1983, had a retrospective exhibit and performance at the Whitney Museum in 2015, and premiered a new piece at NY Live Arts in 2018.

MAIRA DUARTE is a NYC-based Mexican dance artist, organizer, curator, educator, performer, and film-maker. Maira's work explores internalized social constructs and the body’s relationship to nature, with a focus on the impact of global capitalism on social and environmental injustice, and upon the production and presentation of art. Her work has been shown at Movement Research at Judson Church (NYC), Performática (Cholula, Mexico), and Huerto Roma Verde (Mexico City), among others. She performs with Alex Romania, Justin Cabrillos, and Estado Flotante. She is faculty and member of the Racial Equity Professional Development Cohort at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and was formerly a dance professor at the University of The Americas Puebla. She’s received support from the Mexican Fund for Arts and Culture (2010), CUNY Dance Initiative (2014-16), and NALAC (2017). She is a contributor to the online publication Dancer Citizen and holds an M.A. in Dance Education from New York University. Her film “The Scientist Search” about a biological expedition in the Peruvian Amazon, was supported by and in view at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.

MARI MEADE is an educator, choreographer, and the Artistic Director of Mari Meade Dance Collective / MMDC . Meade has received the New York Choreographic Institute, UNCSA Development Residency, the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education and was an Artist in Residence at Chez Bushwick, Triskelion Arts, CUNY Dance Initiative, and Lake Studios Berlin. She has shown work at Clark Theatre at Lincoln Center; Danspace; Judson Memorial Church; Joe’s Pub; Battery Dance Festival; Triskelion Arts; ChopShop: Bodies of Work (WA); New Orleans Fringe Festival; Asheville Fringe Festival; Baltimore Dance Invitational; Lake Studios Berlin; Katlehong Arts Center (South Africa). She has been awarded a Brooklyn Arts Council regrant, and a “New Work” and Su Casa grant from Queens Arts Council. MMDC, is approaching their tenth year, and has performed nationally and internationally. MMDC's "dialogue" (excerpt) won Spoke the Hub’s Winter Follies (NYC), and was a top ten national finalist at McCallum Theatre’s Choreography Festival (CA). The evening length run of “dialogue” premiered to sold out audiences in June 2018. Mari Meade is also a board member of the Kenan Institute for the Arts and the Associate Director of the UNCSA’s Choreographic Institute. She has been commissioned by Amalgamate Dance Company, One Day Dance and CounterPointe. She is a teaching artist for New York City Ballet and Dancing Classrooms. She is a graduate of UNC School of the Arts.

MAURINE KNIGHTON is the program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. In that capacity, she is responsible for developing and overseeing grant-making programs that support artists and organizations in the contemporary dance, theater, jazz and presenting fields. Prior to DDCF, Knighton was the senior vice president for grantmaking at the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She also served as Senior Vice President for Program and Nonprofit Investment at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone. In the field of arts and culture, she was executive producer and president of 651 ARTS; program manager at the Nonprofit Finance Fund; and managing director of Penumbra Theatre Company. She is a former board member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals and of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), where she chaired GIA’s Racial Equity Committee. Knighton has also served as panelist and advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts, Arts Presenters Ensemble Theater Program, South Carolina Arts Commission and others. She currently serves on the board of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, chairing its Cultural Investment Fund Committee.

MICHAEL LEON THOMAS Performing credits include: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Donald Byrd/The Group, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, The Jamison Project, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company & Zvi Gotheiner & Dancers.  Michael's choreography credits include, The Ailey School, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Cape Town Dance Company, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Long Island University, Encuentro Internacional de Danza Madrid, Beijing Dance Academy, Beijing International Ballet Invitational, Danceworx Mumbai, Marymount Manhattan College.  He is a Movement Coach and has worked with actress/playwright Anna Deavere Smith for Notes from the Field - HBO production, Second Stage Theatre & American Repertory Theatre, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, Berkeley Repertory Theatre; On Grace, Grace Cathedral San Francisco & Harris Theatre; Let Me Down Easy, National Tour.  His teaching credits inclide, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Complexions Contemporary Ballet (Program Director for NY & Dallas Summer Intensives), Co-Director, CAS/AileyCamp New York, The Ailey School, LIU Post, Marymount Manhattan College, Hunter College, dance festivals and schools in the U.S. and abroad.  He is a Graduate of North Carolina School of Arts.

MIGUEL GUTIERREZ lives in Brooklyn, NY. He creates dance-based performances, music and poetry that focus on desire, identity and the search for meaning. He is a 2016 Doris Duke Artist. His work has been presented in venues such as Centre National de Danse, Centre Pompidou, ImPulsTanz, Fringe Arts, Walker Art Center, TBA/PICA, MCA Chicago, New York Live Arts, Live Arts Bard, and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. He has received support from Creative Capital, MAP, National Dance Project, and Jerome Foundation and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, United States Artists, New York Foundation for the Arts, Tides Foundation as well as a Foundation for Contemporary Art award and four NY Dance and Performance Bessies. He recently premiered This Bridge Called My Ass, a group performance that bends tropes of Latinidad to articulate new relationships to identity and form. It was presented by The Chocolate Factory as part of American Realness 2019. He currently performs a music project called SADONNA, where he turns Madonna’s upbeat songs into sad anthems. He runs LANDING, an educational initiative at Gibney, and his book When You Rise Up is available from 53rd State Press. 

PEARL BHATNAGAR is a community organizer, cultural worker, and writer committed to divesting from institutions that harm our communities, and re-investing in collective wellness. Pearl is inspired by the life and works of philosopher-organizer, Grace Lee Boggs.

RACHEL WATTS is a multidisciplinary arts educator who designs programs and facilitates professional development workshops that promote organizational equity and support student growth as learners, artists, critical thinkers, innovators and designers of their own professional pathways. Ms. Watts currently works as Director of Teen Programs and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiatives at ArtsConnection Inc. in New York City. She has also worked as Director of Education at Ballet Hispanico and as Director of The MYC Youth Center in San Rafael California, where she created a state of the art facility focused on developing teen leadership skills through the arts and technology. Ms Watts has a BA from Williams College and received her Master’s Degree at New York University in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies. She also studied Modern and West African dance with Noble Douglas in Trinidad, at Emerson College, and under the mentorship of Sandra Burton at Williams College. She serves on the board of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable and teaches undergraduate students in the Art Education Program at City College in Harlem. She is also the founder of The TECA Project. TECA: Teen Empowerment through Carnival Arts is a program that engages teens in the creation, design, and performance of a processional-arts costume band based on a theme or social issue that is important to them.

RAJA FEATHER KELLY Choreographer/Director is the artistic director of New Brooklyn Theatre. In 2009 he founded the dance-theatre-media company the feath3r theory. The two companies merged in 2018. In 2018 Raja was named the RandjeloviA?/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artists at New York Live Arts and Received a 2019 Creative Capital award. Raja has been awarded a Breakout Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (2018), Dance Magazine's inaugural Harkness Promise Award (2018), the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography (2016), and, twice, the Princess Grace Award (2017, 2018). He was born in Fort Hood, Texas and holds a B.A. in Dance and English from Connecticut College. Raja has been awarded a New York Dance Performance "Bessie" Award, a Bessie Schonberg Fellowship at The Yard, a DanceWEB Scholarship, a NYFA Fellowship, a HERE Arts Fellowship, 2018 Creator-in-Residence at Kickstarter, and a Choreography Fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU.  Over the past decade he has created thirteen evening-length premieres and six short-format works. Professionally, Raja has performed with Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, Keely Garfield, Kota Yamazaki, David Dorfman Dance, Kyle Abraham|, Christopher Williams Dance, and zoe | juniper. Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre and Soho Rep and Playwright Horizons.

REMI HARRIS is a Barbados born and Brooklyn bred multidisciplinary artist and educator whose work explores the intersectionality between dance, new media, and black female representation. Under the umbrella dbr projects, her work manifests in forms of movement improvisation, choreography, site-specific work, movement for video, installations, performance art, and art programming. Her projects have been featured at Abrons Art Center, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Danspace Project, Teatro La Tea, Triskelion Arts, The Actors Fund Theater, The Brick Theater, Thalian Hall, and several site-specific areas in NYC. Her video and virtual reality work have been presented as part of the Spark Dance Film Festival, Triskelion Dance Film Festival, and the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington N.C. Past curatorial work includes the Adaptable Apple series (a multidisciplinary series blending live performance, visual art installations, a gallery hang, and community-centered workshops in collaboration with visual artist Michelle Golden) and "fix yo' face" as part of Danspace Project's Food For Thought series. She was previously the Education Coordinator of Ballet Hispanico and the Co-Director of Brooklyn Studios for Dance. She advocates for equity of voice for dancers of color as a member of several art collectives such as the Artists of Color Council under Movement Research, within her teaching practice, and as a creative consultant. More info and full bio at

ROBIN DUNN F.A.C.E. Coach, Creative Director and Choreographer, Robin Dunn has established herself as one of the key community leaders within the entertainment industry today. Ms. Dunn is a graduate with a BBA degree in Marketing from Bernard M. Baruch College and has appeared in and choreographed several Off Broadway and Dinner Theater productions. She was Director of Amateur Night at the world famous Apollo Theater. Her client list includes Saturday Night Live, Nickelodeon, Sesame Street, Missy Elliot, Teen Vogue featuring Jive Recording artist 'Chris Brown,' Tony Award winner, Heather Headley, The Braxtons featuring 'Jay Z,' Brian, McKnight, Sean Kingston and Disney's Raven Symone. She also worked for the management team of the iconic rock band U2 and is the creator and Executive Producer of the awards shows Ladies Get Down (A Salute to Women in Hip Hop & more ...) and Fellas Git Dap (A Salute to Men in Hip Hop and more...).  Robin's method for breathing life into a performance is through her patented Robin Dunn's F.A.C.E. method. F.A.C.E., an acronym for Focus, Attitude, Confidence, Energy and Eye Contact, is a tightly constructed method designed to develop and enhance artists, business professionals and individuals with being more comfortable on stage, camera, the work place and in their everyday lives. Robin’s F.A.C.E. received rave reviews in Moscow, Russia for addressing 2,000 marketing professionals of Meridian International Group for two consecutive years. The workshops are currently being offered in New York City and are available for venues worldwide.  Ms. Dunn teaches Hip Hop dance at The Ailey School, The Ailey Extension, Hunter College, and Steps on Broadway. Robin has also taught at NYU, Syracuse University, East Stroudsburg University/PA Dance, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Earl Mosely's Institute of the Arts, Young Audiences NY, Harlem School of the Arts, Ron Brown’s Evidence Summer Intensive, Complexions Winter Intensive 2010, Fashion Institute of Technology, Long Island University/ Honors class, Project Dance and Connecticut Ballet in Stamford, CT.  She was the first to introduce the art of Hip Hop dance to the east coast at New York's Broadway Dance Center and The Ailey School. She has also learned from and collaborated with some of her fellow luminaries in the industry including Buddha Stretch, Mr. Wiggles, Frank Hatchett and Charlotte Pollak. Ms. Dunn continues to offer specialized F.A.C.E. workshops that include career development, performance technique and repertory for dancers and singers, in addition to motivational/guest speaking for a wide range of events. Dunn believes “a teacher’s job is to shape lives, build dreams and give hope for the future.” – author, unknown.

SABRINA JAAFAR originally from Fort Lauderdale, FL majored in dance at Dillard Center for the Performing Arts High School, and went on to graduate Magna Cum-Laude from the Alvin Ailey/ Fordham BFA program and holds a Master Degree in Dance Education K-12 from the Hunter College Arnhold Dance Education Program. She is the founding and current director of Fort Hamilton High School’s JOFFREY Dance Academy, an auditioned based NYC public school magnet program. Company credits include Buglisi Dance Theater, Ni-Ni Chen Dance Company, Yaa Samar Dance Theater, Hope Boykin Dance, The Dance Now! Ensemble, Nathan Trice Rituals Dance Theater, Foot Prints Dance Company, Broward Ballet, and apprenticed with Rioult Dance Theater. Sabrina has performed a wide range of works by choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Ohad Naharin, Doug Varone, Paul Taylor, Ronald K. Brown, Robert Battle, Elisa Monte, Neta Pulvamacher, Mathew Rushing, Pedro Ruiz, and Helen Pickett to name a few. Sabrina is a passionate dance educator who thrives on working with adolescents to realize their artistic and physical abilities.

SHAWN RENÉ GRAHAM is Deputy Director, Programs and Services at The Field. She is a freelance writer and dramaturg from San Jose, California who has worked with many writers including, Dennis Allen, France-Luce Benson, Nilo Cruz, Steve Harper, Walter Mosley, Lynn Nottage, Paul Rudnick, Susan Sontag, Dominic A. Taylor, Judy Tate, and Cori Thomas. She has been a guest dramaturg for KHamilton Projects, B3W Performance Group, the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, the Crossroads Theatre Company's Genesis Festival, the New Professional Theatre, and African American Women's New Play Festival, and on many panels including the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, National Endowments for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Artist Grants Panel in Playwriting and the Mark Taper Forum's New Works Festival and is currently the resident dramaturg of The American Slavery Project's:Unheard Voices. She is the Literary Director for the Classical Theatre of Harlem and founder of All Creative Writes, an artistic assistance service designed to provide individual artists and performing arts organizations with administrative, fundraising and writing support. Ms. Graham holds degrees from the California State University, Los Angeles and the American Repertory Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. She joined The Field in 2012 and lives in Bronx, NY.

SONIA GUIñANSACA is an internationally acclaimed queer migrant poet, cultural organizer and activist from Harlem by way of Ecuador. Guiñansaca, a VONA/Voices and BOOAT Alumni, has performed at The Met, Brooklyn Museum, The Highline, Joe Pubs, El Museo Del Barrio, The Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Galleria de La Raza, and featured on NBC, PBS, Latina Magazine, Pen American, the Poetry Foundation, and UK’s Diva Magazine to name a few. They presented keynotes, workshops, and panels at universities throughout the country. Their migration and cultural equity work has also taken her to London and Mexico to lead policy and arts projects. Named as 1 of 10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know by Remezcla, 1 of 13 Coolest Queers on the Internet by Teen Vogue, the 2017 and 2018 Artist in Residence at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and 1 of 3 U.S.A Future Leaders Delegates for the British Council in 2018.  They have emerged as a national leader in the undocumented/migrant artistic and political communities. Co-founded and help build some of the largest undocumented organizations in the country, coordinating and participating in groundbreaking civil disobedience actions in the immigrant rights movement. They has also founded some of the first creative artistic projects by and for undocumented writers/artists. For the past 6 years leading cultural equity work as the Managing Director at CultureStrike.  Now, represented by Writers House Agency and is working on her first book.

STEPHANIE ACOSTA is an interdisciplinary artist and curator who places the materiality of the ephemeral at the center of her practice, questioning meaning-making and manufactured limitations. Acosta blends performance with practice-based research, making work in response to, while also creating, site and space. Engaging ensembles in facilitated processes, she creates fleeting performance works that challenge site, space, and perception to bring about shared experiences. Acosta has produced and presented works with and for Museum of Art and Design, Chocolate Factory, Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Knockdown Center, the Current Sessions, Miami Performance International Festival, Anatomy Collective, IN>Time Symposium, the Chicago Park District, the Performance Philosophy conference, High Concept Labs, Read/Write Library, No Media, and Radius. In her continued commitment to the experimental voices of New York and Chicago's performance art communities, Acosta has also collaborated with artists such as Miguel Gutierrez, Daviel Shy, Mark Jeffery and Judd Morrissey of ATOM-r, as well as performance artist Robin Deacon, sonic artist Jeff Kolar. A Cuban American born and raised in Miami, Florida, and currently residing in Brooklyn, Acosta works extensively with unseen histories, performance, experimental radio, and film. Acosta continues an ongoing collaboration with Intrinsic Grey Productions including on experimental feature film The Ladies Almanack, which recently had its world premiere at Outfest LA and is currently screening at national and international film festivals. Currently, Acosta heads up the monthly performance series Sunday Service with co-creator Alexis Wilkinson. Recently Acosta curated the Readings series for American Realness 2018. She can also be found working on a new publication with longtime collaborator Rory Murphy under the name NO ONE IS ANYWHERE, as well as on upcoming performances with artists Leslie Cuyjet, Miriam Gabriel, Jessie Young, Angie Pittman, and Miguel Gutierrez.

SYDNEY MAGRUDER is a professional ballet dancer, singer and actor. Credits include: The Wiz (Boston, MA), and Panic! The Musical (New York, NY). She was most recently featured in Katy Pyle’s “Giselle of Loneliness” at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 2018 Gala. She has performed works by Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, Kevin Wynn, Diane Coburn Bruning and many more. Offstage, she uses social media as a platform to speak out about mental health and reform in the ballet world. She’s been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, DanceSpirit Magazine, Health Magazine, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, The Mighty, and The Huffington Post. She lives in Manhattan with her wife and their dog.

SYDNIE L. MOSLEY is an artist-activist and educator who produces experiential dance works with her all-women company SLMDances. Through her choreographic work, the company works in communities to organize for gender and racial justice. Her evening length dances The Window Sex Project and BodyBusiness address sexual harassment in public spaces and the economics of NYC dance, respectively. In February 2017, Sydnie was recognized by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for using her talents in dance to fuel social change. Sydnie is a part of the 2017 Bessie Award winning cast of the skeleton architecture, or the future of our worlds, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. Other funding and recognitions include: Lincoln Center Education Manhattan Community Artist in Residence, LMCC Creative Engagement Grant, The Field Leadership Fund, CUNY Dance Initiative, Dancing While Black Artist Fellowship, The Performance Project @ University Settlement, Create Change Fellowship with The Laundromat Project, the Gibney Dance Institute for Community Action Training, and the inaugural Barnard Center for Research on Women Alumnae Fellow. She earned her MFA in Dance Choreography from the University of Iowa, and earned her BA in Dance and Africana Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University. Sydnie danced with Christal Brown's INSPIRIT (2010-2013) and continues to appear as a guest artist for Brooklyn Ballet. An advocate for the field, Sydnie sits on the Advisory Committee to Dance/NYC. For more information visit

TARA A. NICOLAS Born in Washington, D.C., with her family hailing from Haiti, Tara started performing at the age of 3 and never stopped. She began her career as a dancer and transitioned to acting. After receiving her Bachelors of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, she had the opportunity to perform works by Robert Battle, Paul Taylor, Francesca Harper, as well as vocal artists Pharrell Williams, Beyonce, among others. Film/TV credits include: Bolden! (King Bolden), Before I Disappear (Dear Vista), Godfather of Harlem (Epix), The Blacklist (NBC), and Gotham (FOX). Off-Broadway she has performed in The Liquid Plain (Signature Theater) and Standard Time (Fulton Theater). Through her work, Tara strives to create safe spaces for underrepresented individuals to have a voice. Tara recently completed the short film "Delivered, from Magnitude 7" about the 2010 earthquake in Haiti which she wrote, directed, and starred in. When she’s not creating, you can catch Tara eating dark chocolate, meditating with her crystals and essentials oils, or doing an intense workout. Website: IG: Taraanicolas

THOMAS DEFRANTZ Directs SLIPPAGE: Performance|Culture|Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance. Received 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance Award, Dance Studies Association. Believes in our shared capacity to do better, and to engage our creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, proto-feminist, and queer affirming. Consultant for Smithsonian Museum of African American Life and Culture, contributed concept and voice-over for permanent installation on Black Social Dance, 2016. Books: Dancing Revelations Alvin Ailey's Embodiment of African American Culture (2004); Black Performance Theory, with Anita Gonzalez (2014), Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion; with Philipa Rothfield (2016); Routledge Companion to African American Theater and Performance with Kathy Perkins, Sandra Richards, and Renee Alexander Craft (2018). Creative: fastDANCEpast, for Detroit Institute for the Arts; reVERSE-gesture-reVIEW for Nasher Museum in response to work of Kara Walker, 2017. Recent teaching: University of the Arts Mobile MFA in Dance; Lion’s Jaw Festival; MR MELT; ImPulsTanz; New Waves Institute; faculty at Hampshire College, Stanford, Yale, MIT, NYU, University of Nice. In 2013, working with Takiyah Nur Amin, founded the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, consortium of 300 researchers. Performing NYLA 2019 with Kathy Westwater (February) and Netta Yerushalmy (March). The Message is holier than Black death.

TOM FINKELPEARL is the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA). In this role he oversees City funding for nonprofit arts organizations across the five boroughs and directs the cultural policy for the City of New York. Under his leadership, DCLA has embarked on major new efforts to advance equity in the cultural sector, including the launch of a cultural workforce diversity initiative to promote a more inclusive arts sector; inviting the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project to examine the effects of culture on New York’s communities; and, alongside Mayor de Blasio, releasing CreateNYC, NYC’s first-ever comprehensive cultural plan. Building on feedback from nearly 200,000 New Yorkers, CreateNYC lays out a blueprint for expanding on the unparalleled strengths of the city’s cultural sector, while targeting investments to address historically underserved communities across all five boroughs.  Prior to his appointment by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, Commissioner Finkelpearl served as Executive Director of the Queens Museum starting in 2002, overseeing an expansion that doubled the museum’s size and positioning the organization as a vibrant center for social engagement in nearby communities. He also held positions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA PS1), and served as Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program. Based on his public art experience and additional research, he published a book, Dialogues in Public Art(MIT Press), in 2000. His second book, What We Made: Conversations on Art and SocialCooperation(Duke University Press, 2013) examines the activist, participatory, coauthored aesthetic experiences being created in contemporary art. He received a BA from Princeton University (1979) and an MFA from Hunter College (1983).

ZAVÉ MARTOHARDJONO is a Brooklyn-based artist born in Montréal, Canada. Their performances explore geopolitics, queer glam, healing, and modes of decolonization. Their most recent performances were presented at the 92Y, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Bronx Museum of the Arts, Storm King Art Center and Wendy’s Subway. Zavé has participated in LMCC's 2017-2018 Workspace Residency, BxMA Co-Lab Residency, Gibney Work Up 3.0, and the Chez Bushwick residency. Martohardjono studied political economy at Brown University and filmmaking at CUNY City College, and has worked in social justice in NYC for 12 years.


ALEX GOLEMAN completed his BBA in International Business and BA in German from Hofstra University, and has taken MBA courses from Baruch University. He got his start in arts administration through Pentacle’s internship program "Cultivating Leadership in Dance,” where he became passionate about using his business and professional skills to help others create art. Prior to joining Pentacle, he was a recruiter and Account Manager at Axelon Services Corporation, and a Quality Control Analyst at Park IP Translations. In 2014 Alex joined Pentacle’s fiscal department, providing fiscal administration for dozens of artists and dance entities in the NYC area as well as across the country. Recently he was promoted to Director of Fiscal Services and is responsible for managing the department, training new fiscal staff, and setting up new artists’ accounts. Alex has given presentations and workshops on fiscal sponsorship and financial topics at APAP and Gibney dance, and he was a participant in DanceNYC's study, "NYC's Foreign Born Dance Workforce," providing insight and data from Pentacle’s fiscal sponsorship programs.

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 Director of Programming at Pentacle, she has merged her passions for dance and entrepreneurship by helping dance artists navigate their craft within the performing arts and nonprofit fields. In her time at Pentacle, she has worked with over one hundred artists, trained more than 150 interns in arts administration, and has developed innovative ways to effectively serve young artists through Pentacle’s fiscal services. Clarissa specializes in educating artists about fiscal and infrastructure matters and has led professional development workshops at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference, Dance/NYC’s annual Symposium, 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. Since 2010 she has worked as a freelance bookkeeper for Robin Becker Dance. Today is she most proud of her work restructuring Pentacle’s Internship Program, growing Pentacle’s Fiscal Services, and creating a positive, healthy and inspiring work environment for Pentacle’s staff.

ELIZABETH JONES is a Senior Associate at LG Capital for Culture. She joined in 2015 with more than a decade of proven success as a multi-disciplinary arts administrator. She has helped manage development consulting work with LG Capital for Culture for the firm’s following clients: Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Dancewave, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, HB Studio, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, Origin Theatre Company, and Tarrytown Music Hall, among others. Previously, Elizabeth held development positions with American Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico and Paul Taylor Dance Company. She also worked in Human Resources at Bridgewater Associates. Elizabeth has extensive experience in event planning and execution; membership and major giving campaigns; board development and cultivation; creation and implementation of development plans; prospect research; intern and volunteer programming; recruiting and candidate experience; and general management. She was a SmART Bar presenter at last year’s Dance/NYC Symposium. Elizabeth served as the Inaugural Board Chair and Member of Dance/NYC’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC), now known as Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee. Elizabeth holds a B.F.A degree in dance from Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers University. She danced professionally for the Arena Football League’s New York Dragons dance team, The Firedancers, for 3 years. Elizabeth resides in New York with her husband and 2 children. More information:

JENNIFER EDWARDS is a process designer, facilitator, organizational development specialist, writer, and multifaceted creative - focused on finding structured solutions to complex problems. Her work and advice to business professionals has been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and Forbes. Her passions center around questions of learning, communication, the future of work, and humanizing systems. Jennifer has primarily consulted and built programs in innovation, arts & culture, and higher education spaces, with brands including the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron, The Georgia Institute of Technology and The New Museum / NEW INC. Jennifer is also a director/ choreographer and an award-winning spoken word artist. She has built two creative companies, an app, a large community building & storytelling initiative, and several courses in entrepreneurial practice. She has published nearly 100 articles and essays and is currently a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts teaching 'Business Fundamentals for a Creative Economy.'

JOHN LIM is a digital marketing and advertisement expert. He has been featured in the New York Business Journal, Philadelphia Magazine, AIThority, and HYPR Magazine. John specializes in scaling businesses quickly and profitably through digital advertising. In the past two years, John has scaled 5+ businesses over 7-figures while managing budgets as high as 2M/year. His clients have been featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, Food Network, Travel Channel, Business Insider, Forbes, CBS’s The Doctors just to name a few. Looking to make a broader impact on the world, John has decided to focus solely on companies with a measurable positive social or environmental impact. In just the past year, John has made a measurable impact on the digital strategies of United By Blue, Dance/NYC, Zizkotel Community Center in Prague, 2020 Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang, and Green Matters. If you have an idea and want to grow it using social media channels (business, event, non-profit), John can point you in the right direction on where to start.

KIMBERLY MARCOTTE graduated Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University in 2012, receiving her BA in dance with a dual concentration in ballet and jazz. Prior to joining Pentacle in 2018, Kimberly worked with Superbiz, a leading barter exchange company in the Tristate area, as a broker and administrative assistant. She has also maintained an active career as a professional dancer in contemporary dance and cirque companies. Kimberly is passionate about helping artists with their administrative demands, allowing them to focus more on their craft. She has recently been trained in Pentacle’s Fiscal Services Department on Quickbooks and not-for-profit accounting systems, and is excited to administer Pentacle’s Unique & Unique Plus fiscal sponsorship programs.

LAUREN GIBBS is the Founder and Director of LG Capital for Culture, is a multi-disciplinary arts administrator with nearly 20 years of experience and proven results in fundraising strategy. As a business woman, former dancer and dance teacher, she dedicates to the mission of her company to promoting and advancing the nonprofit cultural sector. LG Capital has led development strategy and implementation at: Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, Camille A. Brown & Dancers, Tarrytown Music Hall, Millay Arts Colony, HB Studio, Dancewave, and Queens Symphony Orchestra, among many others. LG Capital has extensive experience in the creation and implementation of annual and capital development plans; prospect research, grant writing, membership and major giving campaigns; board development and cultivation; event and retreat planning and execution; nonprofit incorporation; general management; and surveying. Gibbs has taught development strategy as a guest professor for the Master’s Program at CUNY; served as a dance grant panelist for the NYC DCA, and a SmART Bar presenter at the Dance/USA and Dance/NYC Symposiums; served on DRA’s Hudson Valley Dance Festival Committee for the last four years; and is a member of cultural nonprofits in Brooklyn where she resides. Gibbs has a M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from N.Y.U. and a dual Bachelors Degree in Dance and International Business from James Madison University. Visit:

MARC KIRSCHNER is the Co-Founder and Head of Content for Marquee.TV, a London and New York-based subscription video service for dance, opera, theater and documentaries. Dance highlights on Marquee include works by the Royal Ballet, Bolshoi, Paris Opera, Kyle Abraham/A.I.M., Tero Saarinen, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Sadler’s Wells On Screen. Marc’s key areas of expertise include digital video strategy and audience/revenue development. Marquee has also developed an aggregated audience pool, which can be segmented based on the particular needs of a presenter or dance company. Marquee.TV is available on web, and via apps for iOS, AppleTV, Android and Amazon Fire devices. Previously, he was Founder and CEO of TenduTV, which distributed performing arts programs in over 80 countries via major digital platforms including iTunes, Google Play and Amazon Instant Video and received innovation support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He has contributed articles on emerging trends in the performing arts for the Huffington Post, Dance/USA’s “Inside the Green Room” and others. Kirschner received his MBA from Columbia Business School, and a B.S. in Mass Media and Economics from Northwestern University. He lives in New York with his wife Susanna, a former professional dancer, his daughter Aria and dog Daisy.

NATHALIE MATYCHAK graduated from LaGuardia Arts High School and earned her BFA in dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to joining Pentacle, she was an intern with Parsons Dance; an assistant publicist at Ellen Jacobs Associates where she assisted with PR for Twyla Tharp's 50th Anniversary Tour, as well as seasons for Garth Fagan Dance, Meredith Monk, Chase Brock, Daniel Ezralow, Trisha Brown Dance Company, Alwin Nikolais Foundation, and Stefanie Batten Bland to name a few; a dance block coordinator at Fourth Arts Block, providing low-cost rehearsal space in the East Village; and a staff member for BalletTech, assisting with auditions at NYC public schools for students to attend their free dance program. In 2011 she founded MATYCHAK, a project-based contemporary modern dance company, and in 2013, she co-founded Breaking Glass: The Emerging Female Choreographers Project to provide a comprehensive multi-part platform for female choreographers.

RICHARD J. CAPLES In his 30 years as Executive Director of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (one of the longest such tenures in dance), Caples has provided the resources so that Lar Lubovitch could create more than 60 new dances for the company.  He has produced more than 2,000 performances, seen live by more than a million people in more than 20 foreign countries and 30 American states.  He has served on panels of various national and regional arts organizations, and currently serves on the boards of the Lubovitch Company and Doug Varone and Dancers.  For 14 years he served on the board (and in various officer positions) of Dance/USA. He was educated at Yale, Johns Hopkins and Cornell.  After practicing law in New York City with Sherman & Sterling, in 1983 he was appointed Executive Director of the Santa Fe Festival Theater.  In 1984 he returned to New York and joined the Lubovitch Company in his present capacity.  In 2010, Dance/USA presented him with the Ernie Award, in honor of his service to the entire field of dance.


CAMILLE TORRES is a Filipino-American who was raised in Queens and has been dancing since the age of five. She is a Laguardia Performing Arts High School alumni and currently attends Hunter College.

EMILY WONG is a first generation Malaysian-American to graduate from Hunter College with a B.A in Dance. She is currently a dance instructor at the Y while continuing to pursue her passion to dance, choreograph and stage manage.

FIONA TSANG is a Chinese-American pursuing a BA in both dance and childhood education at Hunter College. Born and raised in New York City, her training in dance includes ballet, modern dance, Chinese folk dance, and Latin dance. Fiona recently had the opportunity to choreograph for the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.  She has also choreographed many traditional Chinese folk dances for the NYPD Asian Jade Society.  Her piece, “UNNOTICED”, was selected to perform for the New York State Dance Education Association and now for DanceNYC.

GLEN LUMENTUT was born in Indonesia and raised in Rego Park, Queens. He is currently pursuing a major in psychology and a minor in dance at Hunter College.

KIEFER KEN is a senior at Hunter College, pursuing his degree in Dance Education. Originally from the Philippines, he is currently a teaching artist with RIOULT Dance NY.

NAM HUI KIM was raised in Tokyo, Japan and is of Korean heritage. Her dance career is over 10 years with experience on many different genres and hopes to become a professional dancer in the future.

SOPHIA TSANG is a Chinese-American from Brooklyn, New York and has been dancing since the age of 5. She is an alumni from LaGuardia Performing Arts High School and is currently at Hunter College.

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