2021 Digital Symposium
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 18, 2021, 10:15 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 19, 2021, 10:15 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 20, 2021, 10:15 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Whova Digital Conferencing Platform
**For Registered Attendees Only**
All sessions included ASL interpretation and closed captions.
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Speakers are listed in alphabetical order by first name.
Click their names to access their bios.
Abou Farman, Associate Professor of Anthropology, New School
Art Space Sanctuary
An anthropologist, writer and artist, Abou Farman is author of On Not Dying: Secular Immortality in the Age of Technoscience (2020, Minneapolis: Univ. Minn. Press) and Clerks of the Passage (2012, Montreal: Linda Leith Press). He is Associate Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and founder of Art Space Sanctuary as well as the Shipibo Conibo Center of NY.
Photo credit: Abou Farman
Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Multimedia Artist, Editor, Educator, and Activist/Organizer
Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, (He/Him/His) Tulsa Artist Fellow and National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, is a multimedia artist, critic, organizer, and educator, orchestrating visual, acoustic, performative, textual, and terrestrial techniques to produce work across 23 nations in the Américas, Africa, the Arab world, Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Pacific. A Movement Research Artists of Color Council Core Member, he convened the Studies Project, “Decolonial Design, Indigenous Choreography, and Multicorporeal Sovereignties: A Womanist/Queer/Trans Indigenous Movement Dialogue.” He has collaborated with Rosy Simas Danse, as a multimedia artist, installationist, creative/critical/marketing/grant writer, journal editor, community outreach and engagement specialist, dialogue facilitator, and events organizer for Indigenous womanist performances, installations, and dialogues. In addition, he has collaborated with Valerie Oliveiro, Elisa Harkins, and Maggie Boyett on multimedia dance performances. As lead artist, he is developing multimedia performances with womanist and queer/trans Osage, Cherokee, Mvskoke, and Chicanx artists, activists/organizers, critics, curators, and educators. Bodhrán is author of Archipiélagos; Antes y después del Bronx: Lenapehoking; and South Bronx Breathing Lessons; editor of the international queer Indigenous issue of Yellow Medicine Review: A Journal of Indigenous Literature, Art, and Thought; and co-editor of the Native issue of Movement Research Performance Journal.
Dr. Aimee Meredith Cox, Cultural Anthropologist, Associate Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies
Aimee Meredith Cox (She/Her/Hers) is an Anthropologist, writer, movement artist, and critical ethnographer. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Anthropology and African American Studies Departments at Yale University. Aimee’s first monograph, Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015), won the 2017 book award from the Society for the Anthropology of North America and a 2016 Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing. She is also the editor of the volume, Gender: Space (MacMillan, 2018). Aimee is a dancer and choreographer. She performed and toured internationally with Ailey II and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and has choreographed performances as interventions in public and private space in Newark, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Aimee is currently working on two books projects based on ethnographic research among Black communities in Cincinnati, Ohio; Jackson, Mississippi; Clarksburg, West Virginia; and Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn. This overall project is called “Living Past Slow Death.
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes, Executive Director
Alejandra Duque Cifuentes is a nonprofit leader and advocate working to advance a more just, equitable, and inclusive arts and cultural ecology by developing measures that ensure dance workers, businesses, and organizations can thrive in the five boroughs of New York City. With more than 10 years of production and stage management experience in theater and dance, prior to joining Dance/NYC, she toured nationally and internationally with Zaccho Dance Theatre, Bandaloop, Dancing in The Streets, The Foundry Theatre, and Columbia University School of the Arts, among others. As a teaching artist, Alejandra taught children and adults of all ages how to express themselves through theater and movement practice in over 100 New York City public schools and through community theater programs. In 2011 she founded Theatre That Transcends, which taught local, underserved communities how to express themselves and address community issues through the art of theater. Her professional and educational background encompasses business, creative, and civic realms, including a BA from Columbia University School of General Studies in theater directing and an early career as a theater artist, stage manager, and arts educator. Through her work on cultural policy, Alejandra has earned appointments to Mayor-Elect Eric Adams’ Transition Committee on Parks, Arts & Culture and A Better Contract for New York’s Joint Task Force. She sits on the boards of Nonprofit New York and New Yorkers for Culture and Arts, and is a member of the leadership council of Creatives Rebuild New York.
Alejandra is a proud Queens resident and identifies as a white, nondisabled, immigrant, latina woman, and New Yorker. She believes healthy communities need a strong arts and culture sector and is committed to anti-racist practices that ensure artists can thrive in New York City.
Ali Rosa-Salas, Director of Programming, Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement
Ali Rosa-Salas is the Director of Programming at Abrons Arts Center/Henry Street Settlement. She develops the Center’s live programming, exhibitions, and residencies. As an independent curator, she has produced visual art exhibitions, performances, and public programs with AFROPUNK, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, DISCWOMAN, Knockdown Center, MoCADA, Weeksville Heritage Center, and more. She has also organized discursive events as an Alumnae Fellow at the Barnard Center for Research on Women and as the Associate Curator of the 2017 American Realness Festival. She graduated from Barnard with a B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, with interdisciplinary concentrations in Dance and Race/Ethnic Studies and has an M.A. from the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University.
Ana Nery Fragoso, Dance Educator and Dance Director for the NYCDOE Office of Arts and Special Projects
Ana Nery Fragoso, MFA is the New York City Department of Education Director of Dance. She grew up in the Canary Islands, Spain, where she performed and choreographed extensively. She studied at the Alvin Nikolais Dance Lab (NYC) for two years, graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in Dance and Education and earned a M.F.A. in Choreography from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been the recipient of two grants from the Ministry of Culture in Spain and a J. Javits Fellowship award. For twelve years, Ana Nery taught at P.S. 315, a Performing Arts Elementary School in Brooklyn, where she created a dance curriculum supported by the Laban Movement Analysis framework that emphasized improvisation, technique and dance making. She was the dance specialist at the East Village Community School in Manhattan as well where she created a brand new dance program. Mrs. Fragoso was a member of the New York City Department of Education Dance Blueprint Writing Committee and since 2004, she worked as a NYCDOE dance facilitator co-designing professional development workshops for New York City Department of Education dance specialists. She worked as a dance coach for the Artful Learning Community Grant (ALC) doing action research to develop strategies for collaborative inquiry around formative assessment practices and student learning in dance for six years and was part of the Arts Achieve team, a four-year project that developed innovative dance assessment tools and strategies. In 2017 she was a member of the NYS Dance Learning Standards writing team. Mrs. Fragoso was a faculty member of the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at the 92nd St Y from 2007 to 2014 and is currently an Arnhold Fellowship Recipient at Teachers College Ed. D. in Dance Education.
Anahid Sofian, Executive Director
Anahid Sofian Studio
Anahid Sofian (She/Her/Hers) studied ballet with Mary Clare Sale, formerly of the NYC Ballet, and modern dance with Bella Lewitsky and Erich Hawkins. She performed with the Richard Oliver Modern Dance Company in Los Angeles, and in New York participated in Tina Croll and James Cunningham's The Horses Mouth Greets the New Millennium at the Danspace Project of St. Mark's Church. She also studied jazz with Luigi and Afro-Cuban with Sevilla Forte. Ms. Sofian has been the recipient of grants from NYSCA and the NY State CAPS program and a residency at the Dance Theatre of Harlem where she participated in a Choreography Workshop directed by Bessie Schonberg. Working with members of the DTH Workshop Ensemble for seven months, Ms. Sofian created two dances fusing ballet and Oriental Dance. One piece for six dancers was based on Middle Eastern rhythms; a second dance, choreographed to a classical Arabic song performed on piano and kanoun (a zither-like instrument) was a balletic duet for two girls utilizing veils. Both were included at a DTH Open House performance at Aaron Davis Hall, CUNY. In the Sixties, recovering from an injury, Ms. Sofian’s interest turned towards Middle Eastern dance. Ms. Sofian’s aim was to take Oriental Dance out of the nightclub and onto the concert stage. Towards that end, she performed, with live music, at MOMA’s Jazz in the Summergarden Series in 1972 and 1973. In 1976, she applied for and was accepted into the NY Dance Festival held annually at the Delacorte Theatre in 1976. Her performance was so appreciated that the Festival kept Oriental Dance in the Festival for subsequent years. Ms. Sofian formed her dance company in 1979 with featured performances at Carnegie Hall, the Riverside Church Dance Festival. the Cleveland Museum of Art, Town Hall and at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. She established her studio in New York in 1972.
Anginese Phillips, Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist
Co-Director of Full Force Wellness & Dance Repertory
Anginese Phillips is a licensed creative arts therapist and board-certified dance/movement therapist with the American Dance Therapy Association. As the co-director of Full Force Wellness Repertory, LLC and founder of Creative Clarity, LLC Anginese has helped thousands navigate their mental & emotional health, specifically professional and personal life-changing transitions. Anginese has served as a guest workshop facilitator at St. Francis College, Gibney Dance, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Lutheran Social Services of New York, and WeWork.
Featured in Dance Magazine in 2020, Anginese’s clinical experience, as well as her theoretical framework in using dance/movement therapy, has become the catalyst for supporting each individual in learning more about their mental, physical, and emotional needs.
Antuan Byers, Dancer, Creative Entrepreneur, Arts Activist, Founder of Black Dance Change Makers
Antuan Byers (he/him) is a dancer, creative entrepreneur, and arts activist based on Lenapehoking (Manhattan, New York). Byers is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. program and holds a certificate from the Parsons School of Design. He is represented by Stetts Modeling Agency, New York City, and has been featured in OUT Magazine, Dance Magazine, Dance Business Magazine, Dance Spirit magazine. After touring internationally with Ailey II, he returned to Lincoln Center to rejoin the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, where he is a principal dancer and regular performer. Additionally, he has performed in several productions at the Park Avenue Armory, including Nick Cave’s Bessie Award-winning “The Let Go,” choreographed by Francesca Harper, and with the Washington National Opera Ballet, KEIGWIN + COMPANY, Danielle Russo Performance Project, MorDance, as well as solo work by Kyle Abraham. He is a fellow in the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron of the Arts Creative Arts Residency Program, where he is thought partner to Bebe Miller, Dominic Moore-Dunson, and Edgar L. Page. He is a former steering committee member of the Dance Artists’ National Collective, on the leadership team at Dancers Amplified, is a founding member of the Black Caucus at the American Guild of Music Artists, where he also serves as a member of the Board of Governors representing dancers in the New York Region. He is the Founder/CEO of Black Dance Change Makers.
Photo credit: Nick Suarez
April Biggs, April Biggs, Dance Artist; Disability+ Working Group Member, Creating New Futures
April Biggs is a Southern, queer, disabled dance artist, writer, and disability access consultant who works on the stolen lands of both the Kiikaapoi (Milwaukee, WI) and the Lenape (NYC) peoples. April is the inaugural recipient of the 2022 A-Ibanez Dance Artist Residency (VA), and was a 2020 Dance/NYC Disability.Dance.Artistry.Dance and Social Justice Fellow. She has been making, collaborating, improvising and teaching dance for 25+ years, and has presented dance work in venues across NY including Movement Research, DTW, Dixon Place, the Merce Cunningham Studios, and the ALT Theatre. April’s pedagogy and advocacy work follows a Disability Justice framework centering the most marginalized and celebrating the nuanced, full and exquisite experiences of disabled people. She holds an MFA in Dance from Ohio State University, an MFA in Poetry from The New School, and a BFA in Dance from Florida State University. April teaches both in community settings and academia, most recently at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University at Buffalo, and Ohio State University. She is the Disability Consultant to Rutgers University’s Integrated Dance Minor, a Phase 2 & 3 member of Creating New Futures’ (CNF) Disability+ Working Group, and an Envisioning Coordinator for Dance Artists’ National Collective (DANC). She serves on the Artistic Advisory Board of The Field Center and on the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) Dance & Disability Task Force.
Photo credit: Tim Bohannon
Ashley Denae Hannah, Financial Literacy Educator & Advocate, Dance Artist
Ashley Denae Hannah is an award-winning financial literacy educator and dance artist with extensive experience in curriculum design and project management. Ms. Hannah designs innovative in-person, e-learning and white-label financial literacy education curriculum.
Brittany Williams, Organizer and Artists, Co-founder of WoodShed Dance
Brittany Williams is a dancer, choreographer and freedom fighter. Brittany is 2017 Dancing While Black Fellow and an Artist in Resident at the Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn New York. She is a 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Scholarship recipient for the Program, Dance & Improv Traditions; a principal dancer with Olujimi Dance; the founder of Dancing for Justice and Obika Dance Projects. Brittany has worked with Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Yon Tande, Makeda Thomas, Chris Walker, Michelle Grant-Murray, Urban Bush Women, Forces of Nature and more.
Carol Foster, Special Programs Assistant
The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD)
Carol Foster is currently a Special Programs Associate for the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACKS IN DANCE (IABD) and is working in the capacity as a PERFORMING ARTS READINESS (PAR) Emergency Preparedness Consultant for the performing arts. She also serves on the inaugural Culture Caucus for the Kennedy Center's new wing, "The REACH." In which she has a two-year residency to work and present at the new wing. She is a founding member of IABD and served on its board for many years. Ms. Foster has successfully raised funds via grants and contributions throughout her arts career. Carol Foster has committed over forty-five years of dedicated service to the arts and arts education in the District, Maryland, and Virginia area. She founded and was artistic director of the DC Youth Ensemble, a young people's performing company that performed nationally and later internationally at the "Fringe" in Edinburgh, Scotland. She directed the Arlington Youth Street Theater, worked as Dean of Arts at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, taught visual arts in DC Public Schools, and was on staff as Adjunct Professor of Dance at the University of the District of Columbia. Ms. Foster has personally worked as a choreographer, performer, writer, director, arts administrator, and visual artist. She has been involved with many special projects/programs related to the arts and arts education inclusive of the President's Committee on the Arts' Turnaround Arts Initiative during President Barak Obama's administration. Foster has countless hours in community service and has provided advice and support to aspiring arts students, instructors, future company directors, arts organizations, studios, etc. Her favorite quote is an old African proverb stating, "you must always proceed as though you cannot fail.
Carrie Blake, Senior Consultant & Research Director
Carrie Blake is a management consultant, researcher, project manager and administrator dedicated to the cultural sector. Since 2006, she has been a senior member of the Webb Mgmt team. In that role, she has directed research and analysis on more than 250 studies and plans. Her recent research with Dance/NYC focused on New York City’s vast fiscally sponsored arts landscape and informed the City’s first ever cultural plan.
Before joining the firm, Carrie was the Associate Producer for the Office of Arts & Cultural Programming at Montclair State University (NJ) where she played a pivotal role in the establishment of Peak Performances, an ambitious new presenting, producing and commissioning program. Collaborating with innovative experimental artists from across the nation and around the world, Carrie coordinated regional, national and world premieres while establishing identity, presence, structure and policy for MSU’s new venture.
Prior to MSU, Carrie developed and managed fundraising events and campaigns for both The Drama League, a New York City-based nonprofit committed to developing artists and audiences for the American theatre, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art (Madison, WI). She also worked in marketing for the Madison Civic Center as management prepared for expansion to what is now the Overture Center.
Carrie is a proud alumna of the Bolz Center for Arts Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business where she completed several consulting projects, including business planning and market research for arts organizations. Her graduate research focused on the university arts presenters’ multifarious existence within university and community contexts.
Catherine Drury, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychotherapist
Catherine Drury, (She, Her, Hers) LCSW, is a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in supporting dancers through injury, stress, burnout, and career change. At her Manhattan-based private practice, Catherine treats adolescents and young adults with eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and histories of trauma using cognitive behavioral and evidence-based treatment modalities. She has also delivered workshops and lectures to the American Ballet Theatre JKO School and Studio Company, The Ailey School, and the Princeton Ballet School, fostering resilience and emotional intelligence among pre-professional dance students. In partnership with organizations such as the The Actors Fund, Gibney Dance, Dance/NYC, and the NYU Harkness Center for Dance Injuries, Catherine empowers dancers and dance communities to better care for themselves, navigate change, and obtain the guidance and resources they need at all stages of their dance careers. She has published on her work with injured dancers, presented at the Association for Applied Sport Psychology Annual Conference, and contributed to articles in Dance Magazine and Dance Informa Magazine. Catherine has a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and is currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where her research is dedicated to eating disorder treatment and athletic performance enhancement for dancers.
Cesar Valentino, Vogue Dance Icon and Pioneer
Cesar Valentino has been dancing for 45 years and began vogue dancing in 1983. In 1988, he quickly became a fixture in the underground ballroom and club scene where he won several coveted trophies. Cesar was also featured in one of the first ever articles about voguing in the Village Voice and in the documentary The House Of Tres (Directed by Diane Martel). He landed a spot on the Deep In Vogue tour with Malcolm McLaren throughout Europe in 1989, appeared in music videos with artists such as Toni Braxton, Carmen Electra, and K7s in Hi De Ho to name a few. Cesar appeared in Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning documentary, Voguing, The Message, and Vogue Classique. Cesar choreographed for recording artists Tony Terry and Sweet Sensation. Working as a runway coach for upcoming and established models, and himself modeling professionally for over 15 years, Cesar appeared in fashion publications for Gear, Details, Vanity Fair and Blue Magazine. Cesar worked behind the scenes at New York’s Olympus and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and served as casting and wardrobe supervisor for BET Rip the Runway.
Cesar has performed all over the world in countries such as Japan, Italy and Germany. He has served as a judge and taught vogue workshops at Funkin’ Styles Berlin Germany, Meeting Hip Hop in Sao Paolo Brazil, Manila Philippines, House Dance International and for the Festival Del fuego in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. His classic old way vogue style with grace and precision earned him the respect of his peers when he was presented the Marcel Christian Legend award in 1991, was awarded many other awards over the years such as the paved the way award, the gatekeeper award and the vogue and ballroom icon award.
Cesar is also a designer, make up artist and stylist. His design and beadwork can be seen in the award winning holiday windows of Bloomingdales.
Christina Dawkins, Founder of A4Abolitionist
Christina Dawkins has spent her career advancing human rights. She founded A4Abolitionist, a social justice consultancy to advise artists and educators advancing justice for the most vulnerable populations, and the Abolition Project, an organization that produces collaborative art and education projects to combat modern-day slavery.
Christina specializes in human trafficking, punitive incarceration, and immigrant detention. Christina has 10+ years of experience in higher education, developing programs, teaching courses, and advising students. She became the founding Program Manager of the Justice-in-Education and Public Humanities Initiatives, in addition to founding the Lang Prison Initiative, the first in-person college program at Metropolitan Correctional Center in NYC.
Christina honed her program design skills at institutions such as Columbia University and The New School, designing and implementing social justice projects. She developed curricula and workshops for Creative Time, the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights, Harvard University, Brown University, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, to name a few.
She holds an M.A. in Human Rights Studies from Columbia University and a B.A. in Communications from Northwestern University.
Claudia Norman, Producer, Celebrate Mexico Now Festival; Co Founder, The Generators
Claudia Norman (She/Her/Hers) is a multilingual award-winning arts producer, consultant and event manager based in NYC with 25 years experience developing, producing, and executing international performing arts projects in the USA and Latin America. She is the executive producer/founder of the annual Celebrate Mexico Now Festival; and for 15 years, Artistic Directors of the Latino Cultural Festival. She has commissioned more than 20 choreographers from Latin America to create new work to be premiered in the US; and have created cultural creative exchanges between American and Latin American artists. She is also curator/producer of La Casita at Lincoln Center Out of Doors; produced Yo-Yo Ma’s The Bach Project/Days of Action in Mexico City and the Farewell Concert at Carnegie Hall for Mexican icon Chavela Vargas; and is co-producer and co-curator of the Rebel Spirit series in the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Claudia specializes in online, streamed and live content curation in the performing arts. She has deep knowledge of community outreach, marketing, social media, fundraising and sponsorship development in global markets. Norman served as Co-Chair for the APAP conference from 2009-2010. She also has served as panelist for the NEA, DCA, LMCC, AZARTS, MAFF, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; The WallaceFoundation; Dance Jury for INBA/UAM/Mexico; guest speaker at WOMEX, VIC, Music Markets in Bogota, Buenos Aires, Mexico and the National Arts Marketing Project.
Colette Denali Montoya-Sloan, Archivist/Librarian
Adelphi University’s Manhattan Center and CUNY’s Guttman Community College
Colette Denali Montoya-Sloan MLIS, is a member of the Pueblo of Isleta tribe of American Indians and a descendant of the San Felipe Pueblo. A librarian working at Adelphi University’s Manhattan Center and CUNY’s Guttman Community College, she is also a fellow at the Indigenous Digital Archive, a project of the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Colette's recent article, “Visual Representations, Liminal Identities, and Archival Homes: Giulia Nazzaro & Colette Montoya-Sloan in Conversation,” appeared in Hemisphere: Visual Cultures of the Americas. She is a coordinator of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, where she manages the Spoken Word Project. She is a recent member of the Indigenous Womxn’s Collective NYC.
Davalois Fearon, Founder/Executive and Artistic Director of Davalois Fearon Dance
Davalois Fearon (She/Her/Hers) 2021-22 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow finalist and Bessie awardee, Davalois Fearon, was named one of Dance Magazine’s “7 Up-and-Coming Black Dance Artists Who Should Be On Your Radar.” Fearon is a critically acclaimed choreographer, dancer, and educator born in Jamaica and raised in the Bronx. She danced with Stephen Petronio from 2005-2017 and founded Davalois Fearon Dance in 2016 with the mission to push artistic and social boundaries. Her choreography is said to reflect a “tenacious virtuosity,” which has been presented nationally and internationally, including at renowned New York City venues such as the Joyce Theatre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New Victory Theatre. Fearon has been featured in prestigious publications such as The New York Times and Dance we Do: A Poet Explores Black Dance by Ntozake Shange. Among others, Fearon has completed commissions for the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Harlem Stage, and Barnard College and is a recipient of numerous awards, including New Music USA Project Grant, Map Fund Grant, Dance NYC Dance Advancement Fund Award, and the Alvin Ailey New Dance Direction Choreography Lab residency. She is a professor at Purchase College and the College of Staten Island.
Deana Haggag , President and CEO of United States Artists
Deana Haggag is the President & CEO of United States Artists, a national arts funding organization based in Chicago, IL. Before joining USA in February 2017, she was the Executive Director of The Contemporary, a nomadic and non-collecting art museum in Baltimore, MD, for four years. In addition to her leadership roles, Deana lectures extensively, consults on various art initiatives, contributes to cultural publications, and has taught at institutions such as Johns Hopkins University and Towson University. She is on the Board of Trustees of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art and Illinois Humanities Council, as well as on the Advisory Council of Recess. She received her MFA in Curatorial Practice from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a BA from Rutgers University in Art History and Philosophy.
DeeArah Wright, Changemaker & Social Entrepreneur
DeeArah (She/Her/Hers) is an artist, mover, and strategist. Her approaches to leadership, partnerships, and activism are informed by over 20 years of experience in diverse fields, including: education, community engagement, dance and performance, and social entrepreneurship. DeeArah’s dance experiences reflect a passion for improvisation, movement ritual, and African Diasporic dance. She has moved with artists such as Jennifer Archibald, Kinetic Junglist Movement, and Monstah Black. She has partnered with organizations such as The Laundromat Project, The Field, STooPS, and Urban Bush Women to support artists’ development and their community engagement initiatives. In 2010, DeeArah founded Gather Brooklyn--community-engagement organization, and she co-activated its mission for 7 years. In 2014, DeeArah was Community Liaison for Creative Time’s and Weeksville Heritage Center’s funkgodjazz&medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn--a community-based and interactice art exhibition. She is a former Co-Director and current board member of JACK---an Obie Award-winning performance space in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, and she is the former Director of Education for Brooklyn Children's Museum. She’s invested in moving forward and facilitating learning around reparations, responsive pedagogy and program development, and solidarity economy. DeeArah and her family live in the Berkshires, where they are co-developing a BIPOC-led and owned cooperative rooted in agriculture, arts, education, and activism.
Denise Saunders Thompson, President and CEO
The International Association of Blacks in Dance
Denise Saunders Thompson (She/Her/Hers) is a senior executive, educator, producer, consultant and production stage manager with more than 25 years of experience in arts administration and management practice for private and nonprofit organizations. Currently, Denise is the President and Chief Executive Officer for The International Association of Blacks in Dance, Inc., D.d.Saunders & Associates, Inc., and Images of Cultural Artistry, Inc. She recently served as a Professorial Lecturer for the Graduate Arts Management Degree Program at American University and is now an Executive Consultant. For 17 years at Howard University, Denise held various positions at in the capacities of Professor, Theatre Manager/Producing Artistic Director for the Department of Theatre Arts and Manager of Cramton Auditorium. She is Co-Founder of PlayRight Performing Arts Center, Inc. and former Business Manager for The Malone Group, Inc., that co-produced Black Nativity at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Denise currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Performing Arts Alliance, Friends of Theatre and Dance at Howard University and is a member of Actors Equity Association (AEA) and Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA).
DHQ Brat, Choreographer/Dancer/Teacher/Co-Founder of Queen Moves
BRAT (She/Her/Hers) is a pro choreographer/dancer with Grenadian-Nevisian roots living in NYC. Traveling to the West Indies and back again, she developed a love for dance from Carnival and family fetes. Realizing that she had been bitten by the dancing bug, BRAT's mother enrolled her in Harlem School of the Arts and other after school programs. Eventually, BRAT landed a scholarship to Dance Theater of Harlem's Community Program where she realized she wanted to be a dancer.
This love led her to attend Columbia College Chicago which helped her evolve greatly as a dancer.There she added more color to her movement palate by studying techniques like Bhyrata Natyam, Contact Improvisation, Capoeira, Popping, and Aerial Dance. While living in Chicago, she was homesick and wanted to connect with her West Indian roots. This longing eventually led BRAT to enter the Midwest Dancehall Queen Competition. She won.
This victory gave her the opportunity to compete in the International Dancehall Queen competition. Doors were opened afterwards such as choreographing and/or performing at BAM, Performa 19, Nasty Woman Art Exhibit, The Shed, VOGUE, Target, Coachella, VMAS, and The US Open. It also allowed BRAT the fortune of co-founding her dance crew, Queen Moves, which connects and empowers women through dance and starting her dance apparel line that focuses on the financial empowerment of dancers. BRAT communicates with the world through dance and she is forever grateful for this language.
Douglas Scott, Artistic and Executive Director, Full Radius Dance
Douglas Scott (He/Him/His) Founder/Artistic/Executive Director of Full Radius Dance, discovered dance upon entering Western Kentucky University to earn a B.F.A. in Performing Arts. After graduation, He moved to Atlanta and spent several seasons with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Company, performing works by Ruth Mitchell, Ron Cunningham, Monica Levy and Sal Aiello. Douglas has furthered his education in physically integrated dance by attending workshops conducted by Dancing Wheels (Cleveland ,OH), Axis Dance Company (Oakland, CA), and Jurg Koch (Seattle, WA). He has attended and presented at national symposiums in New York City, Los Angeles, and Tampa sharing best practices in the field. Currently, Douglas is the national co-chair of the Dance and Disability Affinity Group of Dance/USA. A respected teacher for over thirty years, Douglas has extensive experience in teaching classes and workshops in modern and modern-based physically integrated dance for numerous schools, organizations, and conferences locally, nationally, and internationally, most recently in Spain and Germany. In 2014, Douglas was honored by Governor and Mrs. Nathan Deal with the prestigious Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities. He was cited as “a respected leader in modern dance” and for expanding “the definition and reach of modern dance by creating opportunities for dancers with and without disabilities . . . not only in the local Atlanta community, but throughout the State of Georgia, the United States and internationally.
Dustin Gibson, Founding Member, Harriet Tubman Collective
Dustin Gibson is guided by the aspiration, legacies, and pursuit of liberation. He develops he(art)work that embodies a practice of disability justice that can live, build, support and be implemented by marginalized communities to address the nexus between race, class, and disability. Dustin brings lived experience, scholarship, histories, art and resources into classrooms, neighborhoods, and carceral institutions to support people in collectively imagining and building a world free from institutionalization and incarceration. He has taught various disability-related courses at middle-schools, high-schools, kid jails, prisons and law schools. He also has worked with three Centers for Independent Living (CIL) in Pittsburgh, PA and both of the national CIL networks. He co-founded Disability Advocates for Rights and Transition, an organization led by disabled people that works in the tradition of deinstitutionalization to provide support to live freely in communities with the dignity of risk. He is a Peer Support Trainer with Disability Link, the Disability, Access and Language Justice Coordinator at PeoplesHub, a founding member of the Harriet Tubman Collective, and builds with grassroots organizations and artists to expand experiences of access.
Emil Kang, Program Director for Arts and Culture
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
Emil J. Kang is program director for Arts and Culture at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Mr. Kang previously served as executive and artistic director of Carolina Performing Arts at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a major multi-disciplinary performing arts program he founded in 2005. While in that role, he oversaw four venues and produces, develops, and presents work by artists from all over the world. He also served as professor of the practice in the department of music. In 2016, Mr. Kang was also named special assistant to the chancellor for the arts and founded Arts Everywhere, a major campus and community-wide initiative dedicated to integrating artistic practice, learning, and engagement in the lives of the entire community.
In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Kang to the National Council on the Arts, its first member from North Carolina. Mr. Kang also currently serves on the boards of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the International Society for the Performing Arts.
In prior years, Mr. Kang served in a variety of administrative roles with symphony orchestras across the country, including as president and executive director of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. He has also held roles with the Seattle Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra and served as an orchestra management fellow with the symphony orchestras of San Francisco, Houston, and Grand Rapids. A violinist from an early age, Mr. Kang received a degree in economics from the University of Rochester.
Emily Johnson, Choreographer, Director, Guggenheim Fellow
Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work. A Bessie Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award she is based on the Lower East Side of Mannahatta in Lenapehoking. Originally from Alaska, she is of Yup’ik descent and since 1998 has created work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Her large-scale project, Then a Cunning Voice and A Night We Spend Gazing at Stars, is an all-night outdoor performance gathering that takes place among 84 community-hand-made quilts. Her new work in development, Being Future Being, considers future creation stories and present joy. She hosts monthly fires on the Lower East Side in Mannahatta in partnership with Abrons Art Center and Lenape Center and is part of a US based advisory group—including Reuben Roqueni, Ed Bourgeois, Lori Pourier and Vallejo Gantner, who, with international colleagues, are working to develop a Global First Nations Performance Network.
Esther Nozea, Student, Bachelor of Arts in Dance at Hunter College
Esther Nozea is a senior at Hunter College where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance with a minor in Psychology and is a 2020 Hunter Mellon Arts Fellow (a fellowship program funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). While continuing her formal training at Hunter College, there she has performed works by Kyle Abraham, Rena Butler, Blakeley White-McGuire and Alwin Nikolais as well as receiving additional training from winter and summer studies at the Martha Graham School, Parsons Dance, and Movement Migration. In 2019, Esther and sixteen of her fellow classmates were kindly invited to perform with Monica Bill Barnes & Company at New York City Center’s Fall for Dance Festival. Then later, was casted in Monica Bill Barnes & Company first online show “Keep Moving” presented and commissioned by American Dance Festival with support from Jody and John Arnhold/Arnhold Foundation. After college, Esther plans to continue her dance journey and keep furthering her knowledge in the arts.
Frank Malloy IV, aka DJ OLOBÈ, Musician, Composer, and DJ
Harambee Dance Company
“I can see his soul through his hands,” one man exclaimed in a post-performance conversation. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised in New York City, Frank Malloy IV; musician, composer, and DJ is a human being of an indomitable nature with a Southern soul and New York flavor.
Frank was handed his first drum at the age of two and began to study classical music at the age of five when he attended the Special Music School at Merkin Concert Hall. After years of classical music study, Malloy began his journey as a professional musician upon attending Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in 2005. He has since then, worked with the likes of Erykah Badu, Robert Glasper, Lion Babe, OSHUN, Jidenna as well as brands such as Danna Karan’s Urban Zen, Everyday Ppl, The Big Quiet, and Abrimah Erwiah and Rosario Dawson’s Studio 189.
The biggest ingredient in Frank Malloy’s work is SPIRIT. Malloy uses his gifts and life experiences to create blended works that not only entertain people but capture the essence of what it is like to be ‘African in America.’
Malloy is currently the Musical Director of performing company, Harambee Dance Co., founded by his mother and father, solo recording artist, and live percussionist to several emerging and established DJs including Everyday Ppl’s DJ Moma, and WizKid’s lead sound man, DJ Tunez. He continues to acknowledge his responsibility to carry the ‘African in America’ culture forward by creating his own modern doundoun drum set, playing various West African percussive instruments on his B. Cool Afro mixes of popular songs, and answering the call to create new traditions for the many generations to come.
Malloy has also used his stage career to catapult into other realms of entertainment. He can be seen in 20th Century Foxlight feature film “Black Nativity” and the Golden Globe-nominated Starz Network original mini-series “Flesh and Bone.”
Germaul Barnes, Choreographer, Director of Viewsic Dance, Curator of Contemporary Improvisation for Black Men
Germaul Barnes (He/Him/They) is a choreographer, director, master educator, scholar, and designer with a multifaceted career spanning more than thirty years in contemporary dance. Global in vision and influence, he is known for a bold, urgent, energetic movement style, steeped in spirituality and optimism. His work regularly reflects his in-depth knowledge of and interest in anthropology, dance of the African Diaspora, musicality, and social justice. His latest commission, a new work "In the Folds" for Alabama Ballet, premiered in April of 2019. Barnes is a BESSIE Award-winning former dancer and current répétiteur for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He is currently Modern Instructor at the Alabama School of Fine Arts, curator for Contemporary Improvisation for Black Men, choreographer adviser for One Dance-UK’s - Dance of the African Diaspora and Movement Research. Barnes is the choreographer of One Love: The Bob Marley Musical which premiered in 2015 at Center Stage in Baltimore, MD. He has created more than 50 works for his dance collective Viewsic Dance, presented on stages and by companies across the world including SummerStage, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, 92nd Street Y, ICA Boston, Movement Research at the Judson Church He has also worked with Katherine Dunham, Eleo Pomare, Pilobolus, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Group Motions Dance Company, Philadanco, and as a guest artist for numerous ballet and contemporary companies.
Gregory King, Assistant Professor of Dance at Kent State University
Gregory King is a culturally responsive educator, performance artist, activist, and movement maker who received his MFA in Choreographic Practice and Theory from Southern Methodist University and is certified in Elementary Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau. His dance training began at the Washington Ballet and continued at American University and Dance Theatre of Harlem. He has participated in the Horton Project in conjunction with the Library of Congress and has performed with Rebecca Kelly Ballet, The Washington Ballet, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, New York Theatre Ballet, Donald Byrd /The Group, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, New York City Opera, and Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway.
King is a dance writer for ThINKingDANCE, Dance Magazine, Dance Enthusiast, The Philadelphia Dance Journal, CHOICE Review, and Broad Street Review. Mr. King’s response to the Dancing for Justice Philadelphia event, was published in Conversations Across the Field of Dance Studies and cited in the U. S. Department of Arts and Culture’s 2016 resource guide, Art Became the Oxygen. In 2020 King was awarded a See Chicago Dance Critical Writing Fellowship and was invited to present his research at The University of Auckland, New Zealand.
In addition to having served on the dance review board for the National Endowment for the Arts, King was nominated for a Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio and was recently appointed to the Board of OhioDance, and ThINKingDANCE. He was the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Creative Contribution award from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kent State University, and served as Provost Faculty Associate for the academic year 2019- 2020. Mr. King is a tenure track professor of dance at Kent State where he serves as the artistic director of the Kent Dance Ensemble.
Gregory Youdan, Research & Advocacy Coordinator
Gregory Youdan Jr. works at the intersection of dance, science, health and advocacy for various communities in NYC. He identifies as a gay, latinx, non-disabled, cisgender Dominican American. As a dancer, he toured domestically and internationally with the NY Baroque Dance Company, Sokolow Theatre/Dance and Heidi Latsky dance, where he now serves as a board member. Other company credits have included David Parker and the Bang Group, HT Chen and Dancers, Catherine Gallant/DANCE, Gloria Mclean and Dancers among others. Greg lectures on dance science and at several universities, including Columbia University, NYU, University of Rochester. He has presented scientific research at various academic conferences, including the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the International Society for Posture and Gait Research as well as published in academic journals. Greg is a certified Pilates teacher, having trained under several second-generation teachers. He continues to teach workshops for Pilates teachers based in movement science. Greg is a graduate of the dance program at Hofstra University. He holds masters degrees in motor learning/motor control and applied statistics from Teachers College, Columbia University. Aside from his work life, Greg is an avid foodie and enjoys traveling. He lives in Manhattan with his partner and their three cats. photo credit: Diana Kapatos
Iakowi:he'ne' Oakes, Executive Director of American Indian Community House
Melissa Iakowi:he'ne' Oakes is a Mohawk woman, Snipe Clan. She resides in Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, where she was born and raised, and New York City. She has trained in northern and southern tribal art, fashion, business, politics, and leadership, completing multiple degrees and certifications; and studied in Montréal, NYC, Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong. At an early age, she experienced Canadian Army tanks in her backyard, blockades on her street, and no school due to military occupation on her reservation territory for months at a time. From the Oka Crisis, to Idle No More, the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, and NoDAPL, Iakowi:he'ne' has been active from the day she was born. She has stood and been part of the Mohawk Warrior Society since inception. Through the American Indian Community House, and multiple venues, she furthers her commitments through targeted actions, open dialogues, teaching, and solution-driven programming.
J. Bouey, Dance Artist, Founder of The Dance Union
J. Bouey is out here doing their best, damnit! Currently moving on pandemic timing and prioritizing rest, J. is finding their way back to joy. J. is the founder of The Dance Union Podcast, a recent 2021-2022 Jerome Fellow, and is a current Gibney Spotlight artist. J. was also a 2018 Movement Research Van Lier Fellow, and former dancer with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Determined to manifest the dreams dreamt in their youth, J. is assuming this responsibility because these dreams sustained them when the sun didn’t shine or shined too bright to see.
Jamie Benson, Artist, Comedian, Dancer, Marketing Consultant
Jamie Benson: Recovering fine artist, comedy impresario, and marketing consultant Jamie Benson defies performance traditions and dares a mass audience to interact with dance. Heralded as "Chaplin-like” by Backstage, “insightful and irreverent” by LA Weekly, Benson's high meets low work has been presented throughout the U.S., across the international film festival circuit, featured in the Phaidon book Wild Art, and funded by Brooklyn Arts Council.
Benson is also a bonafide marketing nerd who graduated magna cum laude from Baruch College with a BA in digital communications. He revolutionizes how creative industries advocate for worthy causes through social media, press solicitation, email marketing, advertising, and search engine optimization. Wielding a bold, irreverent voice, Benson overrides the assumption that marketing is not a creative, humanistic pastime.
Through unorthodox strategy and shear strength of will, Benson has won features in the New York and LA Times, NY1, PIX11, Brooklyn12 News, InStyle, NPR, Good Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, Pointe Magazine, LA Weekly, Steve Harvey Show, and Dance Magazine. He’s worked with Sony Pictures, Houston Symphony, Pilobolus Dance Theater, CUNY Dance Initiative, LMCC, Joyce Theater, Karole Armitage, and NYU Tisch. Former Pilobolus Co-Director, Lily Binns, says that “for all of the conferences, books, newsletters, and blogs we follow, Jamie's approach is hands-down the best.”
Dr. Jane Anderson, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies
New York University
Dr. Jane Anderson is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Museum Studies and a Global Fellow in the Engelberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy in the Law School at New York University. Jane has a Ph.D. in Law from the Law School at University of New South Wales in Australia. Her work is focused on the philosophical and practical problems for intellectual property law and the protection of Indigenous/traditional knowledge resources and cultural heritage in support of Indigenous knowledge and data sovereignty. Jane is the co-founder (with Professor Kim Christen, Washington State University) of Local Contexts. Local Contextsa??is an initiative to support Native, First Nations, Aboriginal, Metis, Inuit and Indigenous communities in the management of intellectual property and cultural heritage specifically within the digital environment. Local Contexts provides legal, extra-legal, and educational strategies (including the TK Labels system) for navigating copyright law and creating new options for Indigenous control over vital cultural heritage.
JaQuel Knight , Director, Creative Director, Choreographer, Image Architect
JaQuel Knight has quickly become one of the top requested choreographers in the business! He is known as the man behind Beyoncé Knowles’ Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It), which won him his first MTV Moonman at the 2009 Video Music Awards for Best Choreography. The video also went on to win that year’s MTV Video of the Year and BET’s Video of the Year Award in 2009. He received recognition for the choreography, thought to be “genius and innovative.” Then went on to choreograph Beyoncé second single, Diva, from the I Am…Sasha Fierce album, as well as her 2009 - 2010 I Am… World Tour. Recognizing his work with Beyoncé, JaQuel was recruited by artistic director Jamie King, who has worked with Madonna, The Spice Girls, and Celine Dion to name a few, to contribute choreography for Britney Spears’ 2009 Circus World Tour. JaQuel’s most recent credits include working as the associate choreographer for hot feature film musical, Burlesque, starring Christina Aguilera and Cher. Working with Mattel, creating the Do The Barbie for Barbie’s 50th Anniversary Music Video. Also working along the side of commercial director, Joe Pytka on the Display King spot for Pepsi MAX featuring Snoop Dogg.
Jeffrey Guimon, Jeffrey Guimond, Music Administrator, New York City Ballet
Jeffrey Guimond (He/Him/His) is Music Administrator for New York City Ballet. Music licensing is one the many areas he handles in managing music operations for the company. Before NYCB, he was Artistic Administrator for New York City Opera. In addition to music licensing, his experience includes many aspects of producing live performances including casting and contracting artists, budgeting, scheduling, music library management and performance management. He studied at the Eastman School of Music and has spent nearly his entire professional life in New York City.
Jesse Phillips-Fein, Choreographer, Performer, and Dance Educator
Jesse Phillips-Fein is a choreographer, performer, and dance educator who grew up dancing at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange/BAX. She holds a Diploma in Dance Studies from the Laban Centre in London (2000), a B.A. in Dance & Cultural Anthropology from Smith College (2001), an M.A. from the Gallatin School/NYU (2015) and was a participant in the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC program. Her creative and pedagogical practices are continual experiments in divesting from whiteness and capitalism.. Her choreography has been performed at venues throughout New York City and at the annual Women’s Works Festival in mid-Coast Maine, and her writing on the intersections of dance and race have been published in the Journal on Dance Education, Palgrave Handbook on Race and Education, Pedagogies in The Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Differences in Education, and Slingshot. She currently collaborates with nia love, Tunu Thom, John Gutierrez, and studies with Benin Ford, Refilwe Nkomo & Alex van Biema.
Jessica Massart , Management and Marketing Consultant
Jessica Massart (she/her) is an arts consultant and the former Senior Lead for dance and theater projects at Kickstarter. She collaborated with artists and organizations on crafting campaigns, helping them raise a collective $3.7Million during her tenure. Before joining Kickstarter, she directed marketing and communication for the likes of On the Boards, Performa, and the French Institute Alliance Francaise. She has also provided management for award-winning companies such as zoe | juniper and The Builders Association.
Jonathan González, Multidisciplinary Artist and Educator with City University of New York
Jonathan González (They/Them/Theirs) is an artist, educator, and farmer meditating at the intersections of performance, text, sculpture, and other time-based media born and raised on Lenape territory: Queens, New York. González’s work speculates on the political utility of the performance as a method to interface with publics upon systems of liveness, objects, and economies of being that construct the built environment and social life. Their recent projects/collaborations include: 02020 (Performance Space New York), New York Wants to Kill Me and Everyone I Love (Kinstillatory Mapping), ZERO (Danspace Project), N**GGA F*GG*TS, & WHAT I REALLY MEAN WHEN I SAY “I’M ABOUT TO BURN THIS F**KING BITCH DOWN. (region(es) mag), Not Total (homeschool PDX, Yale Union x Paragon Arts Gallery), Working on Water in collaboration with Mario Gooden (Columbia School of Architecture), h/S: Jonathan González (CICCIO), Maroonage: Elaborations on the Stage and Staying Alive (Contact Quarterly), Lucifer Landing I & II (MoMA PS1 x Abrons Arts Center), black MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Their curations include Sunday Service @ Knockdown Center and Movement Research Fall Festival: invisible material. Previously an LMCC Workspace Resident, Shandaken Project AIR on Governors Island, NARS Foundation AIR, Jerome Foundation Fellow, Mertz Gilmore Grantee, Art Matters Fellow, and Performance Art/Theater Grants for Artists - Foundation for Contemporary Art.
Photo credit: Alexis Ruiseco-Lombera
Joti Singh, Artistic Director, Duniya Dance and Drum Company
Joti Singh (She/Her/Hers) is a dance creator and innovator, sprung from the U.S. American south to parents from northern India. She is the Artistic Director of Duniya Dance and Drum Company. Joti began her dance training in Punjabi circles, carrying through her body the culture that’s in her blood and memory. As an adult, West African dance entered Joti’s purview, transforming her body’s imagination. Through this multilingual body, Joti explores where history intertwines with contemporary continuities of celebration and injustice. She created the performance “Half and Halves,” about the Punjabi-Mexican communities of California with collaborator Zenon Barron. Joti has received support from the Creative Work Fund, the San Francisco Arts Commission, California Arts Council, the Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and more. Currently, Joti is creating the piece “Ghadar Geet: Blood and Ink,” about her great grandfather, Bhagwan Singh Gyanee's role in the Ghadar Party, based in San Francisco in the early 20th century, fighting for India’s independence from Britain.
Joti and her partner, musician Bongo Sidibe, lead bi-annual trips to Guinea and in 2012, opened the Duniya Center for Arts and Education in Conakry. She teaches Bhangra all over the SF Bay Area, including at Dance Mission Theater. Joti founded the World Dance program at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts in 2016. She holds an MA in South Asian Studies from UC Berkeley and a BA in English from Reed College.
Photo credit: Tara Layman
Dr. Julia Iafrate, Sports Medicine Specialist
Julia “Dr. J” Iafrate, DO, CAQSM, FAAPMR is a physician and the Director of Dance Medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. She received her medical degree from Midwestern University - Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine. She subsequently completed her residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Mayo Clinic, followed by a Sports Medicine Fellowship at the University of Iowa.
Dr. J’s primary clinical interests include all types of musculoskeletal injuries, college and professional-level sports coverage, sports & dance medicine, diagnostic and interventional ultrasound-guided procedures, global health, nutrition, and resident teaching. She works with multiple dance schools in New York City and is frequently asked to lecture nationally and internationally.
Dr. J has been interviewed on Cuomo Primetime, Fox5 News, and numerous sports medicine podcasts. Her expertise has been featured in Self Magazine, Dance Magazine, Bloomberg Report and other nationally recognized print publications. Iafrate is a New York Magazine SuperDoctors Rising Star in Sports Medicine (2019, 2020, 2021). She is also a team physician for the US Ski and Snowboard team.
jumatatu m. poe, Artist, Educator, Organizer, Voyager, Enchanter
Jumatatu Poe is a choreographer and performer based between Philadelphia and New York City who grew up dancing around the living room and at parties with my siblings and cousins. My early exposure to concert dance was through African dance and capoeira performances on California college campuses where my Pan-Africanist parents studied and worked, but I did not start “formal” dance training until college with Umfundalai, Kariamu Welsh’s contemporary African dance technique. My work continues to be influenced by various sources, including my foundations in those living rooms and parties, my early technical training in contemporary African dance, my continued study of contemporary dance and performance, my movement trainings with dancer and anatomist Irene Dowd around anatomy and proprioception, my sociological research of and technical training in J-sette performance with Donte Beacham. Through my artistic work, I strive to engage in and further dialogues with Black queer folks, create lovingly agitating performance work that recognizes History as only one option for the contextualization of the present, and continue to imagine options for artists’ economic and emotional sustainability.
Kerry McCarthy, Vice President for Philanthropic Initiatives, The New York Community Trust
Kerry designs donor services that make best use of the expertise in our competitive grants program. She is co-chair of The Trust’s Mosaic Network and Fund. She also is on the board of the Billie Holiday Theatre; a member of the City Department of Education’s arts education committee; and the former vice chair of Grantmakers in the Arts. Kerry has a B.A. from Sewanee: The University of the South, and an M.A. in Folk Art Studies from New York University.
Kevin Gotkin, Co-Founder of the Disability/Arts/NYC Task Force and Visiting Assistant Professor, NYU
Kevin Gotkin (They/Them/Theirs) is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, & Communication, New York University. He is also a lead organizer of the REMOTE ACCESS party series where a network of disabled artists, activists, and academics discover new forms of access techniques, vibrational joy, and ritual. From 2016-2019 with Simi Linton, he co-founded the Disability/Arts/NYC (DANT), an organization that sought to built a public pedagogy for disability aesthetics and artistry. His writing has been published in BOMB, A Blade of Grass Magazine, and Dance Magazine.
Krishna Christine Washburn, Artistic Director of The Dark Room Ballet
Krishna Christine Washburn (She/Her/Hers) has performed with many leading dance companies including Jill Sigman’s thinkdance, Infinity Dance Theater, Heidi Latsky Dance, Marked Dance Project, and LEIMAY. Krishna has collaborated with many independent choreographers, including Patrice Miller, iele paloumpis, Perel, Vangeline, Micaela Mamede, Apollonia Holzer, and most notably with A. I. Merino, who especially created her signature role, Countess Erzsébet Bathory, and with whom she founded the artistic collective Historical Performances. Krishna boasts several ongoing artistic collaborations, including work with wearables artist Ntilit (Natalia Roumelioti). Krishna is the Artistic Director of The Dark Room, a multi-disciplinary project with fellow visually impaired dancer, Kayla Hamilton.
Photo Credit: Krishna Washburn & Micaela Mamede
Krista Martins, Choreographer, Founder of Wukkout!®
Krista Martins is a professional choreographer, ACE certified group fitness instructor and founder of Wukkout! - a high energy Caribbean Dance Fitness Class and Nationally Accredited Instructor Training Program. She has been teaching and performing professionally for over 20 years; she is a former Adjunct Professor at Long Island University's Brooklyn Campus where she taught hip hop dance to undergraduate students for 10 years.
Krista's passion for dance can be found in a number of genres including hip hop, ballet, African and soca. Hailing from a Guyanese family, as a young adult, she began to identify her love for soca music and the deeply rooted culture connected to it and became an active participant in various Caribbean carnivals throughout North America. A strong advocate of health and wellness, Krista realized the benefits her mind, body and soul achieved from participating in these parades. She began teaching Caribbean dance workshops for corporate events and private parties. As the popularity of soca music grew, Krista saw the need to preserve the culture's authenticity while sharing its unique qualities to the masses and thus, Wukkout!' was born.
Now, after many years in business, Krista is using her experience to support dance and fitness professionals and help them create sustainable businesses through the online space.
Lady Krow, Dancer and Visual Artist
A native from Kansas City Missouri, Lady Krow is an artist and a dancer who has been dancing since the age of twelve. After transferring colleges from an arts institution to a liberal arts institution, she moved to Atlanta, GA. She is a Spelman College Alumna and graduated class of 2012, earning her BA in Fine Arts. During and after her years at college, she began her journey as a battle dancer and became a member of Funklordz Worldwide. She has practiced numerous styles of dance from krump, to robotics and popping. She is also a member of a Krump crew BLVCK FLXG Crew (Black Flag) founded in Boston MA and an all women’s krump crew, Bvck Bihhh (Behavior, Integrity, Hype, Honor and Holistic). She recently has hosted four community panel discussions based on the important issues within the street dance scenes. She just started her journey as a organizer/activist in Atlanta.
Photo credit: King Quic (President of Funklordz)
Laura Aden Packer, Executive Director, The Howard Gilman Foundation
Laura (She/Her/Hers) was appointed as the Executive Director of the Howard Gilman Foundation in July of 2014. She was entrusted by the Foundation’s Board to “reboot” a Foundation that had been dormant and without a professional staff for nearly a dozen years. The Foundation now provides over $30M in grants annually to New York City-based performing arts organizations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Laura served for thirteen years as the Arts Program Director for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the largest private funder of the arts in New Jersey. Before joining the philanthropic field, Laura worked for over two decades in the nonprofit theatre arena, including thirteen years as the first full-time Executive Director of the award-winning New Jersey Theatre Alliance and in senior management positions at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Laura was a founding member of ArtPride/NJ, the state’s advocacy organization, where she served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer for twelve years; she also completed a six-year term on the Board of Grantmakers in the Arts. Laura now proudly serves on the Boards of Philanthropy/New York and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Born and raised on the Upper West Side in her family’s art-filled apartment, Laura attended the Preparatory Division of the Juilliard School, studying piano, music theory, and voice, and later received her B.A. in Political Science and English from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She is delighted to once again be living and working in the city that first nurtured her great passion for the arts.
Laurel Lawson, Choreographer, Artist-Engineer, Rose Tree Productions
Choreographer, designer, and artist-engineer: Laurel is a transdisciplinary artist making work which imagines new kinds of experience, reinterprets traditional stories, and questions cultural assumptions. Her performing arts career began in music before serendipity brought her to dance, where she found a discipline combining her lifelong loves of athleticism and art. Featuring synthesistic mythology and partnering, her work includes both traditional choreography and novel ways of extending and creating art through technology and design; in the creation of worlds and products experienced, installed, embodied, or virtual. Whether beginning in the studio or with code, her art is grounded in and enriched by liminality, the in-between, and arises from her experience as a queer and genderqueer disabled woman and understanding of disability and access as aesthetic forces.
Laurel began her dance career with Full Radius Dance in 2004 and is part of the disabled artists’ collective Kinetic Light, where in addition to choreographic collaboration and performance in such award-winning works as DESCENT she contributes production design and leads both access and technical research and innovation, including projects such as Audimance and Access ALLways, a holistic approach to equitable accessibility in the arts informed by user experience and hospitality. Co-founder and CTO of CyCore Systems, she brings two decades of expertise in UI/X and product architecture to both technological and artistic work to create impactful experiences, and is also the founder and director of Rose Tree Productions, an Atlanta-based nonprofit.
Photo credit: Robert Kim
Lauren Slone, Director of Grants and Research, MAP Fund
Lauren Slone (She/Her/Hers) has created grant programs, arts education curricula, youth mentorship programs, presentation platforms, and performance projects that democratize public access to arts and culture throughout the United States.
Expertise: systems design, grant making practice, mentorship, research.
Lauren Wingenroth, Editor in Chief, Dance Teacher and Dance Business Weekly, Senior Consulting Editor, Dance Magazine
Lauren (She/Her/Hers) is the editor in chief of Dance Teacher magazine and the Dance Business Weekly newsletter. She also serves as an associate editor at Dance Magazine. Originally from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Lauren is a graduate of Barnard College, where she studied dance and English and was an Athena Leadership Scholar. She has performed works by artists like Annie B Parson, Mark Dendy and Reggie Wilson, and has choreographed several original musical theater works. She has presented her research on gender inequity in ballet at the Women in Dance Leadership Conference, and served as an adjudicator at the American College Dance Festival. She previously served as the chair of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee.
Photo credit: Jayme Thornton courtesy Dance Media
Leslie Scott , Founder Youth Protection Advocates in Dance
Leslie Scott (She/Her/Hers) is well known not only for her talents but also her unwavering work ethic, inspiring public speaking, contagious positive energy and bold use of movement to spread a positive message! She was on faculty at Hollywood’s Edge Performing Arts for 14 years and Millennium Dance Complex for 12 years. She is the Founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) and the lead developer of YPAD’s Certification, a first of its kind educational experience that is founded on evidence based research in the areas of emotional, physical, and sexual wellness and safety of dancers. Leslie was the Director of YPAD's Sex-Abuse in Dance Awareness and Prevention Division for 7 years. YPAD is now owned by the amazing Misty Lown and Leslie continues to serve on the YPAD Advisory Panel. As a survivor of child sexual abuse and adult sexual assault Leslie continues to be committed to using a no shame educational ethos to facilitate conversation about sexualization, objectification, and sexual abuse and exploitation within our dance industry. Leslie has worked closely with some of the world's leading researchers and clinicians in the areas of sexualization, objectification, eating disorders, social media, and sex-abuse. Additionally Leslie and Dr. Tomi-Ann Roberts conducted the world's first dance based social media study and a ground breaking study on how viral sexualized dance videos that exploit minors impact the brain wiring and beliefs of the viewers. During her professional dance career in Hollywood she was represented by the agency McDonald Selznick Association (MSA). She has been a dance educator for 31 years and has had the honor of teaching in 22 countries. Leslie left Los Angeles in 2018 after 18 years and relocated to Colorado to be with family, raise her daughter, and continue developing services and curricula that advocate for youth and adults Holistic wellness in all dance environments.
Linda La, Multidisciplinary Performer
Linda La (She/Her/Hers) is a multidisciplinary artist, teacher, curator, host and organizer from the Boogie Down Bronx, New York. Born out of the Iconic House of LaBeija, her creative work has been articled in both AFROPUNK and The Fader. She has been featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Timeout New York and W Magazine. She has curated performances with The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, La Mama Experimental Theater, New York Live Arts and VICE. Last year, she graciously performed under the direction of Bill T. Jones and Lee Mingwei at the MET and performed in the Obie Award winning The Fire this Time Theater Festival. She is currently working on her first studio project set to include original music and poetry. Her work can be found on all streaming platforms and archived at the Brooklyn Museum in the “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall” exhibit.
Photo credit: Dante Phantom for Haus of Phantom Clothing
Linda Kuo, Director, Dancers Unlimited
Linda Kuo (She, Her, Hers) is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, born in Taiwan and raised in Hawaii. She is also the Director for Dancers Unlimited, a bi-coastal company based in NYC and Honolulu. Her artistic focus is creating genre-blending movements that elevate individuals and communities, while facilitating important conversations to address social issues.
She has presented work at Shanghai World Expo, Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City Center Studios, Queens Summer Outdoor Dance Festival, Triskelion Arts, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Peridance Capezio Theater, and Dixon Place to name a few. As a dance educator, she was a featured teacher for NYC Dance Week, and has taught Contemporary and Hip Hop workshops at US Embassy in China, Mark Morris Dance Center, University of Hawai’i, Bard College, Castle High School (Hawaii), SEEQS Middle School (Hawaii), Honolulu Biennial Arts Festival, and many other dance studios in US and abroad. Always a student, Linda is mentored by House Dance pioneer Sekou Her and Hawaiian cultural practitioner E?AuliE?i Aweau in dance techniques, cultural knowledge, and community development. Linda continues to develop her skills as a dance educator and organizer through training in Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute and BOLD programs. She is also an alumnus of the 92nd Y Dance Education Lab. Most recently she was selected by HA?lA?wai as a featured artist for its New York / Pacific Island Time program.
Luba Cortés, Immigrant Defense Coordinator
Make the Road
Luba Cortés is a writer, organizer, and advocate born in México but raised in New York. In their organizing and writing, they explore undocumented experiences, queerness, femeness, indigenousness, and the intersectionality of it all. Luba’s expertise lies in building leadership through immigrant narratives and navigating political landscapes for national and local advocacy work. Luba has worked with national organizations such as FIRM, UWD, and currently works as the Rapid Response Coordinator at Make the Road New York, the largest participatory led immigrant rights organization in the country. Luba’s writing can be found in publications such as AM New York, Newsday, and the New York Times. Follow luba on social media @lubacortes
Maiya Redding, Student, Master’s in Fine Arts in Dance at Hunter College
Maiya Redding was raised in Chicago, Illinois, however currently lives in New York City. She graduated from SUNY Purchase College receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and graduated high school from The Chicago Academy for the Arts, where she also majored in Dance. During the first semester of hr Junior year in college she studied abroad at The Korean University of Arts (K-Arts) in Seoul, South Korea for four months. Within the last year she has set her work "Breaking through the Generational Curse" on Alessandra Corona Performing Works, and will be working with the company again early next year to extend the work for their International tour. She also set another work "Chicago Luvin" on Dance Lab NY, and in addition created and choreographed her own film titled "The Evolution of Womb(man)hood”. She is currently a student at Hunter College and will receive my Master’s in Fine Arts degree in Dance in May 2022. Currently, she working on a docuseries called “The Quarantine Diaries” that will consist of five episodes that will explore the journeys that people have gone through during the pandemic.
Mariclare Hulbert, Marketing Liaison, Kinetic Light and Founder, Mariclare Hulbert Consulting
Marketing Liaison, Kinetic Light
Founder, Mariclare Hulbert Consulting
Mariclare has 15+ years of marketing and communications experience in the arts and nonprofit fields; working with presenters, service organizations, independent artists, and dance companies of all sizes. After working at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts for nearly 10 years, as Director of Marketing & Communication, she has worked with and for a wide range of arts and social service organizations including Kinetic Light/Alice Sheppard/Disability Dance Works, Dance/USA, The National Center for Choreography-Akron, Portland’s Regional Arts & Culture Council, Arizona Commission on the Arts, choreographer Yvonne Montoya, Germaul Barnes/Viewsic Dance, Jacob’s Pillow (as a consultant), This Is My Brave, Inc, the Down Syndrome Association of Cincinnati, and others.
Mario I. Espinoza, Social Worker
The Actor's Fund
Mario is a Mexican immigrant born to hard-working Mexican people in Kumeyaay territory, currently in the early stages of their career in social work. Mario transitioned to the field of human services after 12 years in professional concert dance. Currently a social worker with The Actors Fund, Mario provides mental health services and clinical case management for Entertainment Industry professionals. Mario’s clinical focus is derived from a deep commitment to social justice and mental health, which gives rise to an anti-oppressive approach to delivery of clinical services.
Maura Nguyen Donohue, Associate Professor, Hunter College, City University of New York
Maura Nguyen Donohue (She/Her/Hers) is Associate Professor of Dance, Hunter College, City University of New York, Co-chair for Hunter's Public Scholarship Committee for the Presidential Task Force for Advancing Racial Equity, Chair of Arts & Humanities Division Curriculum Committee and a member of the Racial Justice Across the Curriculum Working Group of the Curricular Enhancements Racial Equity Committee. Prior to joining Hunter College as a full-time professor in 2009, she taught at Queens College, Mt. Holyoke College, Smith College and Hampshire College. She served on the Boards for Movement Research, the Congress on Research in Dance and Dance Theater Workshop and as Co-Chair of both the Small Capacity and the Breaking Boundaries subcommittees of The New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies) Committee. She has written for Culturebot, American Theater Journal, Dance Magazine, the Dance Insider, MR’s Performance Journal and was guest editor for Critical Correspondence’s “University Project.” Her work “Whitelashing: White Fragility in the Ivory Tower” was part of Gibney Dance’s inaugural volume of the journal Imagining, edited by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. She has published academically in the collection Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance and for the Women and Performance Journal. She has curated for the Estrogenius Festival, La MaMa and Danspace Project. She holds both a BA in Anthropology and Dance (‘92) and an MFA in Dance (‘08) from Smith College. With La MaMa’s Great Jones Repertory Company since 1997, she has toured the US, Europe and Asia in productions by Italian directors Motus, Croatian director Ivica Buljian, Ping Chong and Andrei Serbhan/Elizabeth Swados. Since 1995, her company MND/inmixedcompany was produced regularly in NYC and toured extensively across the US and to Canada, Europe and Asia.
Marz Saffore, Artist, Organizer and Educator, Decolonize This Place
Marz Saffore (She/Her/Hers) is an artist, organizer, and educator based in New York City. She is a member of MTL+, the artist collective which founded and facilitates Decolonize This Place (DTP). DTP is an action-oriented movement centered on six strands: Indigenous struggles, Black liberation, a free Palestine, de-gentrification, dismantling patriarchy, and workers.
Melanie George, Dance Maker, Educator, Dramaturg, Choreographer, Scholar, Founder of Jazz Is… Dance Project
Melanie George is an educator, dramaturg, choreographer, scholar, and certified movement analyst. She is the founder of Jazz Is… Dance Project. A highly sought after teacher and choreographer of the neo-jazz aesthetic, her jazz choreography is regularly commissioned by colleges throughout the United States. Melanie has presented her research on jazz dance improvisation and pedagogy throughout the U.S., in Canada and Scotland, and founded the global jazz dance advocacy website jazzdancedirect.com. As a dramaturg, she works closely with internationally recognized contemporary performing artists in the incubation of new works for the stage. Melanie has contributed to projects by Kimberly Bartosik/daela, Raja Feather Kelly, Susan Marshall & Company, Urban Bush Women, Machine Dazzle, Kathy Westwater, Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light, and David Neumann & Marcella Murray, among others. Current projects include new works by Helen Simoneau Danse, Caleb Teicher & Company, and Ephrat Asherie Dance. Publications include “Jazz Dance, Pop Culture, and the Music Video Era” in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and “Imbed/In Bed: Two Perspectives on Dance and Collaboration” in Working Together in Qualitative Research.. Melanie is a featured contributor to the upcoming documentary on the history of jazz dance, UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance, and a contributing jazz dance scholar to the Jacob’s Pillow archives. Melanie has worked as a consultant in the arts for over a decade, applying her expertise in scholarship and education to assist artists and arts organizations in articulating language and facilitating the development of creative work. In addition to her work with independent choreographers and dance educators, Melanie has provided professional services for Jacob’s Pillow, The Joyce Theatre, The Guggenheim Museum, BAM, and Stephen Petronio Company, among others.
Melissa Riker, Choreographer, Kinesis Project dance theatre/Founder and Collective Member, Dance Rising
Melissa Riker (She/Her/Hers) is Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre. She is a New York City dancer and choreographer who emerged as a strong performance and creative voice as the NYC dance and circus worlds combined during the 90’s. Riker’s dances and aesthetic layer her training as a classical dancer, martial artist, theatre choreographer and aerial performer. She creates dances on site - and in context. Riker invents large-scale out-door performances and spontaneous moments of dance.
Melissa Riker is the Executive Producer of the EstroGenius Festival, Co-Director of Women in Motion, and Founder/Collective Member of DANCE RISING, an emergency response to the cultural closures aimed at supporting the survival of dance and dancers in a post-pandemic NYC.
Michael Manswell, Choreographer & Teaching Artist, Something Positive, Inc.
Michael Manswell, Artistic Director, Teaching Artist, Choreographer, Singer began his performance life as a storyteller at Arts Festivals in his native Trinidad & Tobago, winning many prizes and awards. He studied music at St Mary’s College and at Brooklyn College (CUNY). As a singer he has toured Europe, the UK, and the Caribbean and has performed as a soloist in many productions of opera and oratorio including Dido & Aeneas, The Marriage of Figaro, Die Fledermaus, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Missa Criolla and Missa Luba. He studied dance at the Trinidad Dance Theater with Dr. Eugene Joseph training in Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Ballroom, and Folkloric styles. Michael worked with Geoffrey Holder on “Dougla II” and “La Valse des Bakas” for TDT and toured with the company in the USA and the Caribbean. A prolific choreographer, he has created several works currently in the repertoire of Something Positive Inc, the performing company he now directs. He has performed in Costa Rica, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago, Morocco and Cote d'Ivoire. Mr. Manswell presents lectures and workshops in dance, music, and traditional religious practice. One of “Brooklyn’s Black Men of Distinction 2000” and one of “Brooklyn’s Black Dance Kings (2010)”, Michael is currently an Adjunct Prof (Dance) at Lehman College (CUNY) and teaches for Something Positive Inc., Purelements An Evolution in Dance, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), and E.M Techniques.
Michele Byrd-McPhee, Executive Director
Ladies of Hip-Hop
The tireless founder of Ladies of Hip-Hop, Michele Byrd-McPhee has been working for over two decades to re-contextualize Hip-Hop spaces and conversations regarding sex, gender and race. Under her direction, LOHH cultivates dance environments that honor and acknowledge the roots of Hip-Hop and the many creative pioneers who have shaped them. This is especially important given the ways in which Black dance has been co-opted, appropriated without acknowledgement to its community & cultural origins.
Michele is entering the 18th-year of self-producing Ladies of Hip-Hop's annual festival. It is now in (3) cities across the globe and growing. LOHH Los Angeles, LOHH Toronto and the week-long festival in New York City. LOHH LA and LOHH TO are both done in partnership with other female organizers.
Michele earned her BS from Temple University & an MS in Nonprofit Arts Management from Drexel University. Michele also worked many years in TV and arts production, working as a production coordinator at Brooklyn Academy of Music and then as a Senior Music Coordinator at Late Night with Seth Meyers. Michele currently is teaching Marketing for the Arts and Arts Advocacy at Texas Tech University. She also serves as a Bessie Award Committee Member along with her ongoing commitment as Executive Director for Ladies of Hip-Hop and artistic director of LDC (LOHH Dance Collective).
Photo credit: @ladybyrdphotogrpahy
Nehemoyia Young, movement artist + community organizer
Nehemoyia Young (She, Her, Hers) is a Brooklyn based artist and organizer. These days she finds herself positively obsessed with the sacred, the secular, and the bifurcation of them both. She’s had the pleasure of working alongside Okwui Okpokwasili, Andre Zachary, David Thompson, Maria Bauman among others. Recent collaborations include “Sukkah in Place” which employs the Jewish holiday of Sukkot to examine the rituals, challenges and opportunities of life in social isolation. Nehemoyia is a 2019 graduate of Union Theological Seminary where she received a Masters in Theology, Performance Art & Ritual. She is the founder of SpiritList, a digital platform focused on indigenous healing and spirituality, as well as the co-founder of In Liberated Company, a movement based initiative to address religious trauma among ex-fundamentalists.
Nel Shelby, Founder and Principal of Nel Shelby Productions
Nel Shelby, Founder and Principal of Nel Shelby Productions, is deeply dedicated to the preservation and promotion of dance through documentation of live performances, fully edited marketing reels, live-stream capture, and documentaries and films that encapsulate the essence of nonprofit organizations. Her New York City-based video production company has grown to encompass a diverse list of dance clients including American Ballet Theater II, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Gallim Dance, Gotham Arts, Kate Weare and Company, Keigwin + Company, Monica Bill Barnes Company, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Wendy Whelan and many more. She has filmed performances at venues throughout the greater New York area including The Joyce Theater, New York Live Arts, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, St. Mark’s Church and Judson Church, to name a few. For nearly a decade, Nel has served as Festival Videographer for the internationally celebrated Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the Berkshires. Each season at the Pillow, Nel’s responsibilities include documenting aspects of festival culture in addition to its 20 mainstage dance performances, filming and overseeing documentation of more than 100 free performances and events, managing two dance videography interns and an apprentice, and educating students about the technical and philosophical aspects of filming dance. She also serves as Resident Videographer at the Vail International Dance Festival where she spent her first summer creating five short dance documentary films about the festival in addition to documenting its events and performances. Her longer-form, half-hour documentary on Vail’s festival, The Altitude of Dance, debuted on Rocky Mountain PBS in May 2013. She often collaborates with her wonderful husband, dance photographer (and fellow 4dancers contributor) Christopher Duggan on creative projects with dancers in New York City and beyond.
Nelida Tirado, Artistic Director and Teacher of Nelida Tirado Flamenco
Nelida Tirado hailed “magnificent and utterly compelling” (NY Times) began her formal training at Ballet Hispanico of NY. Barely out of her teens, she was invited to tour the U.S. with Jose Molina Bailes Españoles and work as a soloist in Carlota Santana’s Flamenco Vivo, soloist/ dance captain of Compañia Maria Pages and Compañia Antonio El Pipa, performing at prestigious flamenco festivals and television in Spain, France, Italy, UK, Germany and Japan. She has performed with "Noche Flamenca", in the MET's “Carmen” , World Music Institute’s “Gypsy Caravan 1”and featured flamenco star in the Broadway/touring company of "Riverdance”. Ms. Tirado was recipient of the 2007 +2010 BRIO Award for Artistic Excellence, and opened with her company Summer 2010 for Buena Vista Social Club featuring Omara Portoundo for the Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival. Some highlights include HarlemStage E-Moves, “Amores Quebrados” at the Repertorio Espanol, Valerie Gladstone’s “Dance Under the Influence” 2011 & 2012 in collaboration with the Flamenco Festival USA and collaboration with jazz great Wynton Marsalis at Harvard University and the 2016 premiere of her solo show "Dime Quien Soy" in the Flamenco Festival NY. She was currently the recipient of the 2017 Rosario Dawson Muse Fellow through BAAD, featured in Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”, 2018/2019 recipient of Gibney’s Dance in Process Residence and will be seen in the Warner Brother’s film adaption of Lin Manuel Miranda’s “In The Heights”.
Nicole Macotsis, Cultural Worker and Founder of Traditions in Motion
Nicole Macotsis is an independent cultural worker in Brooklyn, NY, specializing in dance and Arab traditions; she is also a dancer and a mom. Through her cultural consulting business, Tradition in Motion, Nicole provides fieldwork and public programming services. In partnership with Arab American New Yorkers she has developed programs such as A Dabkeh Tour of Bay Ridge; So You Think You Can Dabkeh, and Tarab Together: Sing and Dance bil ‘Arabi, promoting sustainability of Arab music and dance traditions. Her social media based project, Tradition In Motion: DABKEH!, features ethnographic interviews with local Arab American and Palestinian performers speaking to the cultural significance of dabkeh, a traditional levantine line dance. Previously Macotsis served as dance curator for NYC's Arab arts center, Alwan for the Arts and worked in Brooklyn Arts Council’s (BAC) Folk Arts Program under folklorist Dr. Kay Turner, where she directed Folk Feet, a fieldwork-driven documentation and presentation project on traditional dance in Brooklyn and was significantly involved in BAC’s Brooklyn Maqam: Arab Music Festival. She has an MA in Cultural Sustainability (Goucher College); was awarded the Rory Tuner Prize (2016) for her capstone, a Master (Diplôme) in International Development (IEP Paris) and a BA in Cultural Anthropology with high honors (Wesleyan University).
Nicole Wallace, Writer and Managing Director, The Poetry Project
Nicole Wallace is the author of WAASAMOWIN (IMP, 2019), a member of the Indigenous Kinship Collective, and Managing Director of The Poetry Project. Nicole was a June/July 2020 poetry micro-resident at Running Dog and a 2019 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow. Recent work can be read in print in Survivance: Indigenous Poesis Vol. IV Zine and online at Running Dog, A Perfect Vacuum, LitHub, and A Gathering of The Tribes. Originally from Gakaabikaang, and currently living on occupied Canarsee and Lenape territory in what is currently called Brooklyn, NY, Nicole is of mixed-European ancestry and a descendent of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Ojibwe).
Ni'Ja Whitson, Interdisciplinary Artist
Ni'Ja Whitson (They/Them/Theirs) is a Queer Nonbinary multidisciplinary artist, Creative Capital and "Bessie" Awardee, wound and word worker, referred to as “majestic” by The New York Times, and recognized by Brooklyn Magazine as a culture influencer. They engage transdisciplinarity through a critical intersection of the sacred and conceptual in Black, Queer, and Transembodiedness, architectures, science, and spirit. Whitson is an 18th St. Artist in Residence (Los Angeles), Center for Performance Research artist in residence, featured choreographer of the 2018 CCA Biennial, 2018-2020 Urban Bush Women Choreographic Center Fellow, and invited presenter at the 2019 international Tanzkongress festival. Residencies and fellowships include Jerome/Camargo, Dance in Process at Gibney, Hedgebrook, Movement Research, Bogliasco Fellowship with commissions including Danspace, American Realness and Vision festivals, ICA Philadelphia. Their award-winning practice extends to conventional and experimental theatre and performance with recent commissions from Yale Dance Lab, Spoleto Festival (Omar composed by Rhiannon Giddens, directed by Charlotte Brathwaite), EMPAC, and New York Live Ideas Festival. Whitson is a sought-after speaker, presenter, masterclass facilitator and conversationalist whose offerings have been shared among notable institutions and arts organizations: Wesleyan University, Princeton, Cornell, LAX Festival, Movement Research, 2020 keynote of the Collegium for African Diasporic Dance conference.
Nijeul X. Porter, Board Member, artEquity
Nijeul X. Porter, is a cultural organizer and producer with the wholehearted belief that art is always at the tipping point for change. Over the last ten years, he has worked with a number of state, national and global art and culture organizations for social impact, including The National Endowment for the Arts, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, AfroPunk, and Broccoli City Fest among others. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in Management from California Institute of the Arts and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from Howard University. Nijeul loves Black people, and is on a pursuit to fight for our collective liberation.
Olivia Mode-Cater, Founder and CEO, Dance Ed Tips
Olivia Mode-Cater, EdM. is a dance educator, presenter, and entrepreneur. She is the Founder and CEO of Dance Ed Tips, a company that creates high-quality, research-based resources and ongoing education for dance teachers. Dance Ed Tips has supported over 2,000 dance teachers around the world through their teaching materials, webinars, and online courses and has built an active community of over 17,000 dance educators through their social media platform. Dance Ed Tips' work has been featured in Dance Teacher Magazine (July/August 2020 issue), Dance Studio Life Magazine, News 12 NJ, The Star Ledger, Naatya Mandalam Podcast, KnowBox Dance Podcast, and the Business of Dance Podcast. Olivia’s work draws on her experiences as a veteran dance educator in all teaching settings: higher education, PK-12 schools, and private studios. Olivia is the former Director of Dance Education at Hofstra University. During that time, Hofstra's dance education program was recognized on a national level as one of the Top 30 Dance Programs in the United States for their high-quality dance teacher preparation training. Olivia has created two dance programs in New Jersey: one in a public high school and the other in an independent PK-12 school. Olivia has presented on dance education at a national and international level. Some events include Colorado Dance Education Organization Conference, Dance New Jersey Conference, New York Dance Education Association Conference, New Jersey Charter Schools Conference, and National Dance Education Organization Conference, among others.
Pavan Thimmaiah, Artist Choreographer, Director of PMT House of Dance
Pavan ‘PMT’ Thimmaiah, founder of PMT House of Dance (est. 2001), is an award-winning artist who broke with tradition to realize his dream of becoming a professional dancer. Pavan has since enjoyed a career highlighted by being the first Indian American to choreograph for a major recording artist and for network TV. He has been featured in Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Magazine, NY Times, Dance Europe, The Dance Gazette, Staten Island Advance & more.
Pavan has choreographed for artists Vanilla Ice, Macy Gray, Harry Connick Jr, Alex Feder, Matt Palmer, Apache Indian & others. His other choreography credits include New Year’s Eve in Times Square, 1st Place Apollo Champion (choreographer), Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central & MTV and NBA halftime shows since 2014. He choreographed the first ever NY Fashion Week Runway show at the USS Intrepid for fashion designer Chi-Zhang. He is perhaps best known as the resident choreographer for NBC’s The Today Show for over ten years.
PMT Dance Company has presented original work for The International Dance Festival, the Bollywood Movie Awards & for Sundance Channel’s “Young Revolutionaries” - performing across the US & Canada. As an educator, he has helped students across UC Irvine, Peridance, Joffrey Ballet, NYU, Alvin Ailey Extension, PMT & schools nationwide.
Pavan is also the founder of the Dance Studio Alliance NYC - an advocacy group of Dance Studios and NYC Arts Institutions - advocating for dance organizations & arts workers.
Photo credit: Orion Photography
Interdisciplinary Artist, Choreographer, & Writer
Perel (they/them) Perel is an interdisciplinary artist whose work is centered on disability and queerness as they relate to care, consent, sexuality, and personal and historic trauma. Utilizing choreography to examine power exchange between the artist and audience, “Perel is a master at timing, of tension, relief, and intimacy while creating a space of learning and unlearning.” (Victoria DeJaco, Spike Magazine). They are a 2020-2022 Disability Futures Fellow, an initiative by the Ford Foundation and Mellon Foundation, and a recipient of the Beth Silverman-Yam Award for Social Justice at Gibney Dance. Previously, Perel was a Mertz-Gilmore AIR at Movement Research (2018-2020), a 2018 DiP AIR at Gibney Dance, and the first International AIR for Disabled Artists at Sophiensaele, Berlin. Their work has been presented at The Chocolate Factory Theater, and with American Realness at Abrons Art Center and Gibney Dance, as well as at Impulstanz at the Leopold Museum, Kampnagel, and No Limits Festival for Disability and the Performing Arts in Berlin among numerous theaters and galleries internationally.
Key areas of expertise (I would say, more like, areas of continuous work and study): Disability theory and Disability Justice, Queer theory and allyship, and Feminism and survivorship. I am one of few known independently producing disabled artists in the U.S., so I have "expertise" on fighting ableism within the culture industry, namely theaters and dance producers. I am interested in how, when we say "access," we must talk about how to build a culture of inclusion, not only a physical environment. I am a continuous student of systemic oppression.
Photo credit from (do not) despair performance, 2018.
Dr. Renee Ortega, Dance Movement Therapist, League Education & Treatment Center
Dr. Renee Ortega is a Board Certified Dance Movement Therapist (BC-DMT) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT). In addition she is a certified occupational therapy practitioner. She has worked with the adult and pediatric population providing both dance/movement therapy (DMT) and occupational therapy (OT) services. She is a researcher looking at health care professionals levels of intercultural competence and recently defended a Phd in International Psychology with a trauma concentration. During this time of Covid -19 and social distancing she utilizes the principles of these professions and her BFA in dance to manage self-care, well-being and connection through daily dancing to connect mind, body and soul.
River Whittle, Lenapehoking
River Whittle (They/Them/Theirs) is a Caddo, Lenape, and Irish-American interdisciplinary artist and youth mentor. River currently lives in occupied Tiwa territory in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is versed in photography, printmaking, and experimental video, and is learning jewelry (silver, copper and beadwork) and pottery. River’s work focuses on the fluid and giving relationship between ancestors and future, beyond binary colonial structures.
Rodney Eric Lopez, Principal, Rodney Eric Lopez Enterprises
Born and raised in the Bronx, NY, Rodney Eric López is a seasoned and sought-after educator, artist, and non-profit leader. His diverse professional background includes successful tenures in teaching artistry in public schools in New York City and beyond, training, coaching and facilitation, corporate communications and public relations, and executive non-profit leadership. Rodney most recently served as Executive Director of Dancing Classrooms in New York City, where he was responsible for leading program growth, supporting new business efforts, training and professional development, and serving as the face of the organization in stewardship of its 20 national and international affiliates. His teaching work with Dancing Classrooms is featured in the Paramount Classics hit documentary Mad Hot Ballroom. He is a master instructor of Latin and social dance and has taught children and adults the art of dance both for personal enjoyment and as a powerful tool for team and community building. Prior to his career in arts education, Rodney was a successful professional in the area of communications and PR, serving a variety of non-profit and corporate clients. He consults with faith institutions in the area of fundraising and stewardship and is author of The Generosity Solution. He is a board member of New Urban Arts and serves as its Development Committee Chair. Rodney holds a B.S. in Communications Studies from New York University where he was a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar.
Photo credit: Johnson-Sarkissian
Romola Lucas, Principal, Law Office of Romola O. Lucas
Romola O. Lucas is an attorney and avid Caribbean/indie film enthusiast of Guyanese heritage who resides in Brooklyn, NY. Established in 2012, Lucas is the founder and Executive Director of the Caribbean Film Academy (CaFA), a New York-based non-for-profit created to share Caribbean films and support Caribbean filmmakers, in the region and the diaspora. Through her work with CaFA, Lucas produces films by filmmakers in the Caribbean, film festivals – the Timehri Film Festival in Guyana, and the Third Horizon Film Festival in Miami – distributes Caribbean films, through CaFA’s online platform, Studio Anansi TV.
At the Law Offices of Romola O. Lucas, she provides counseling in estate planning, probate and administration, tax planning, and contract negotiation and drafting, for individuals, entrepreneurs, non-profits, artists, seniors and members of the LGBTQ community.
Sydnie L. Mosley, Artistic Director, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances
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. Other recognitions include: LMCC Creative Engagement Grant, The Field Leadership Fund, CUNY Dance Initiative, Dancing While Black Artist Fellowship, and 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 is a part of the 2017 Bessie Award-winning cast of the skeleton architecture, the future of our worlds, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. 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.
Sulynn Hago, Guitarist, Composer, and Improviser and Member, Music Workers Alliance
Sulynn Hago (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, composer, and improviser whose playing spans from the heavy, fast energy of metal and punk bands to the dynamic subtleties of jazz, classical, ambient and experimental guitar. Hago's performance experience encompasses both intimate and mass settings from DIY tours around the country to international shows and festivals. An eclectic and adaptable guitarist, Hago seeks the challenge of playing, improvising and/or writing guitar in as many styles and musical atmospheres as possible, preferably on a classical guitar or an electric guitar rigged through a chain of effect pedals.
Within the music scene in Tampa where they grew up, Hago’s performance and writing experience started in punk bands, such as Ink and Sweat, New Bruises, Feral Babies, and Career. In 2012, their band Feral Babies received Creative Loafing's Best of the Bay Awards for "Best Local Punk Act" and "Best Local Metal/Hardcore" while their other projects received numerous accolades for their recordings and performances.
In 2018 Hago left their longtime home in Tampa, Florida and moved to Brooklyn, New York to further their jazz, classical and experimental guitar playing. Currently, Hago continues to tour with Propagandhi and writes and performs with post-punk band Career. In late 2019, after nearly six years of inactivity, Feral Babies reformed and began to play shows again. Hago is also working on their first solo instrumental record of original classical guitar compositions, a debut EP with their jazz, punk exotica project Vengeful Spirits, and the first full length of their new Brooklyn-based band Nervous Frames.
Tiffany Rea-Fisher, Artistic Director & Choreographer
Tiffany Rea-Fisher (Executive Artistic Director, EMERGE125) is an NDP Award winner, 2021 Toulmin Creator, 2022 Toulmin Fellow, a John Brown Spirit award recipient and was awarded a citation from the City of New York for her cultural contributions. She subscribes to the servant leadership model and uses disruption through inclusion as a way to influence her company's culture. She has extensive experience in choreographing and curating concert dance. As a choreographer, Tiffany has had the pleasure of creating numerous pieces for her company as well as being commissioned by Dance Theater of Harlem, Dallas Black Dance Theater, NYC Department of Transportation, Utah Repertory Theater, The National Gallery of Art in D.C., and having her work performed for the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Her works have been seen on many stages including the Joyce, the Apollo, Joe's Pub, Aaron Davis Hall, and New York Live Arts. Tiffany was the first Dance Curator at the interdisciplinary arts organization The Tank where she now sits on their Board of Trustees. She also curates the Bryant Park Dance Summer Series providing free art access to thousands while exposing upcoming and established artists to a wider audience. Her professional affiliations include being the Vice President of the Stonewall Community Development Corporation, an Advisory Board member of Dance/NYC, COHI member of IABD, and a proud member of Women of Color of the Arts.
Photo credit: Ayodele Casel
Ximena Garnica, Artistic Co-Director, LEIMAY
Ximena Garnica is a Colombian-born artist based in Brooklyn, working in the visual and performing arts fields as a multidisciplinary artist, choreographer, director, curator, and teacher. With her partner, Shige Moriya, Ximena is the co-founder and co-artistic director of the arts organization LEIMAY and the multidisciplinary performance group the LEIMAY Ensemble. The word LEIMAY is a Japanese term symbolizing the moment of change as in the moment between darkness and the light of dawn, or the transition from one era to the other. Their work is rooted in questions of being, perception, interdependency, and coexistence. She has been nominated for the USA Artists Fellowship and the Herb Alpert Award, and she was recently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California Riverside. Her works have been presented at leading arts venues such as BAM, HERE, The Brooklyn Museum, Japan Society, The Czech Center New York, The New Museum, The Watermill Center, The Asian Museum of San Francisco, Carnegie Mellon University; and in large and small public spaces such as Times Square, NYRP Community Gardens, and NYC streets, among many other spaces in the US and abroad in Japan, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Mexico, and Colombia. Garnica and Moriya’s practice is rooted in what they called “the entanglement”, their values are centered on practicing harmony in the circulations of powers and through the act of creation they are constantly rediscovering their standing point. Through their projects and works, they offer the spectator multiple entry points to engage with questions of being, interdependence, and coexistence.
Yanira Castro, Artist
Yanira Castro is a Puerto Rican born interdisciplinary artist living in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, NY). Since 2009, she has made participatory performances and interactive installations with a team of collaborators under the moniker, a canary torsi. Her work is rooted in communal construction as a practice of radical democracy and invites the public into co-creation. Castro is the recipient of the 2022 Herb Alpert Award for Dance and has received two New York Dance & Performance (a.k.a BESSIE) Awards for Outstanding Production, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowship as well as various commissions, residencies and national project grant awards. She has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, New York Live Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Abrons Arts Center, Danspace Project, The New Museum, ISSUE Project Room, The Invisible Dog Art Center, The Chocolate Factory Theater, and EMPAC, among others, and has toured nationally and internationally. She has received residency support for her work including MacDowell, Yaddo, IN_Residence @ Dancehouse (Australia), LMCC’s Extended Life program, Gibney Dance Center’s DiP program, Choreographic Fellow at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Artist Ne(s)t (Romania), and Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio, Italy). She is one of the co-authors of “Creating New Futures,” collectively-written documents drafted as calls-to-action to address deep-rooted inequities in the performance field.
Photo credit: Josefina Santos
Yo-Yo Lin, Interdisciplinary Artist
Yo-Yo Lin (She/Her/Hers) is a Taiwanese-American, interdisciplinary artist who explores the possibilities for self-knowledge in the context of emerging, embodied technologies. She often uses video, animation, live performance, and sound to create meditative ‘memoryscapes.’ Her recent body of work reveals and re-values the complex realities of living with chronic illness. [Yo-Yo Lin Headshot]
Refusing the medicalization of the ‘crip’ body, she works towards and dreams of an equitable toolkit that serves as a communal site for holding space for illness. Thus far, this dream has manifested as an open-sourced journaling tool (Resilience Journal), a movement workshop series led by and for disabled movement artists (ROTATIONS), and an audiovisual dance performance (‘the walls of my room are curved’). Her practice often facilitates sites for community-centered abundance, developing into physical and virtual installations, workshops, accessible nightlife party spaces. She was a 2019 Artist in Residence at Eyebeam, a 2020 Artist in Residence at CultureHub, and a 2020 Open Call Recipient for The Shed. Yo-Yo has shown her work at South By Southwest, New York Film Festival, and the Allied Media Conference. She serves on the Accessibility Advisory Team at Movement Research.
zavé martohardjono, Multidisciplinary Dance and Performance Artist
zavé martohardjono (They/Them/Theirs) is a Brooklyn-based, Canadian-born, NYC-raised, Indonesian-American multimedia artist. They use queer, de-colonial, and anti-assimilationist dance and performance practices to make work that converses and contends with the political histories our bodies carry. They are dedicated to community-driven justice and lead social justice strategy both in and outside the art world. They are a 2019 Movement Research Artist-in-Residence where they facilitate dance workshops centering resiliency and embodied freedom. zavé’s writing has been published in Imagining: A Gibney Journal and The Dancer Citizen. They are a Dance/NYC Symposium committee member.
SmArt Bar Consultants
Aaron McKinney, General Manager
Aaron L. McKinney (He/Him/His) currently serves as General Manager of Hi-ARTS, in New York City and Founder of The ALM Way, LLC. Aaron is known as a collaborative force, connecting the vision of executive management with the talents of artists, vendors and support staff, to produce high-caliber performance experiences. Aaron continues to pursue professional endeavors guided by his personal mantra “Aspire to Inspire before you Expire”, purposefully unifying the arts and social justice activism, as shown through his independent producer and consultative work across the performance arts landscape.
A native of Greenville, SC, Aaron’ education in the arts includes a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Performance from Florida A&M University and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management. In 2018, Aaron completed a fellowship with both the Emerging Leaders Institute of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) and ArtEquity’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Facilitator Training. Aaron has served as Project Manager for the Sankofa Justice & Equity Fund, founded by artist and activist, Harry Belafonte, and Producing Associate for 651 ARTS, a pillar of the contemporary black arts community. He has also served on several grant review panels, both local and national and sat on many zoom panels on the state of performing arts during a pandemic. For more information on Aaron, visit www.aaronLmckinney.com.
Areas of Expertise: Non-Profit Arts Management, Arts and Social Justice, Producing, Budgeting, Black Arts
Brittany Wilson, Founding Director, B. Wilson Producing Scholars
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. Her director, choreographer, producer credits include acting Artistic Director of Herbert H Dance Company from 2014-2018.
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 securing an Administrative Coordinator position at Bridging Education & Art Together (BEAT). In 2019 she was promoted to Program Director at BEAT, in order to create opportunities and advocate for NYC based Teaching Artists. Her passion for the arts exceeded the stage when she discovered there were more ways to contribute. This understanding led her to launch her fiscally sponsored organization, B. Wilson Producing Scholars, that benefits emerging dance producers/choreographers.
In addition, Brittany teaches dance to children ages 5-12. She previously served as a member of the DanceNYC Junior Committee, a 2019 Queens Council on the Arts, Art Producer and as the Company Manager of ModArts Dance Collective. All of these opportunities and then some continue to inspire Brittany to support the dance community through artistic and administrative mentorship, advocacy for working artists and financially supporting aspiring dance producers.
Cathy Zimmerman, Engagement Opportunity Strategist, Pentacle
Cathy Zimmerman is an independent producer, curator and creative consultant. She has a profound belief in artists as change agents and in the critical role arts and imagination play in creating just and democratic societies. With this core value at the forefront, she has worked for more than 25 years with U.S. and international performing artists and arts organizations in capacities including producing, curating, project development and management, artist representation, public relations and fundraising. Zimmerman was Executive Producer at MAPP International Productions, (1998-2016) --a producer of major performing arts projects that raise critical consciousness and spark social change --working with some of the major contemporary artists of our time, to bring their works and ideas to communities around the world. She is a recipient of the 2018 Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award for her leadership at MAPP. Currently Zimmerman is a group leader for the Association of Performing Arts Professional’s Leadership Fellows Program and is on the dance and theater faculty at Sarah Lawrence College where she teaches an academic course designed to prepare graduate students with the global perspectives needed as they embark on their professional lives.
Chris Bastardi, Head of Strategy & Crisis
Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis
Christopher Bastardi leads Sunshine Sachs Morgan & Lylis' Strategy & Crisis Communications practice, where he heads the firm's campaigns and communications for a variety of high-profile clients, ranging from public affairs for corporate clients, nonprofit messaging, and top-level crisis communications. He also manages third party collaborations for the firm's vast client network.
Chris handles crisis response for large events, concerts, and awards ceremonies as well as for nonprofits, corporations, and high-profile individuals.
Chris has an extensive and first-hand background in government and politics and was the lead in several efforts to both pass and defeat legislation and government regulations. Prior to joining Sunshine Sachs, Chris was Real Estate Lead at Edelman New York.
Some of his key projects include C-Suite reputation management for national and global executives; crises including active shooter situations, corporate malfeasance, and product recalls; the redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport; sports stadium proposals; and residential, commercial, and hospitality developments.
Most recently, Chris managed PR and crisis management for Mary Trump, niece of former President Donald Trump as well as for Bridget Kelly, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Chris Christie, whose conviction in "Bridgegate" was overturned by the United States Supreme Court.
Earlier in his career, Chris served as Director of Public Affairs and Communications for New York State Senator Kemp Hannon and worked on federal, state, and local campaigns.
He earned his BA from Fordham University and his MA from New York University.
Photo credit: CId Roberts Photography
Clarissa Soto-Josephs, Executive Director
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, and was named one of the New York Hispanic Coalition’s “40 Under 40 Rising Stars” in the same year. A staff member of Pentacle for over ten years, Clarissa has worked in the Fiscal and Education & Outreach Departments providing direct services to over one hundred artists, training hundreds of interns and fellows in arts administration, and developing innovative ways to effectively serve young artists through Pentacle’s services and programs. In July 2021, Clarissa was appointed Executive Director of Pentacle, the first BIPOC woman and the first non-founder to hold this top leadership role at the organization.
Clarissa specializes in financial education, strategy, leadership, and overall infrastructure support. She has led professional development workshops at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference, Dance/NYC’s annual Symposium, Actor’s Equity, and Gibney Dance’s Learning & Leadership Studio Workshop, to name a few, and served on grant panels of major foundations. Today she is proud of her work restructuring Pentacle’s Internship Program, growing Pentacle’s Fiscal Services, and is excited to take on her new role as Executive Director to help more artists in the performing arts community.
Photo courtesy Pentacle
Donald Borror, Executive Director, Dorrance Dance
Donald Borror (He/Him/His) is Executive Director of Dorrance Dance. Since joining the company in 2016, he has helped produce new works and large-scale NYC performance seasons, managed a robust international tour route, and overseen unprecedented budget growth and stability. Prior to this role he worked with Dunch Arts consulting firm where he executed strategic fundraising projects with The Apollo Theater, American Composers Orchestra, Mark Morris Dance Group, among others. Donald was a company dancer for Ballet Hispanico, a producer for Lincoln Center Education, and chair of the Dance/NYC Junior Committee. Annually he works with Buglisi Dance Theater to help produce the Table of Silence Project. He holds a B.F.A. in dance from The Juilliard School, receiving the Martha Hill Prize for Artistic Achievement and Leadership, and a M.A. in Arts Administration from Columbia University Teacher’s College. He has guest lectured on arts management at both his alma maters, Arts and Business Council of New York, University of Southern California, Baruch College, and University of Minnesota.
Jane Penn, Non-Profit Administrator
Jane Penn began her early years training as a dancer at The School of American Ballet and later at the Joffrey Ballet School. After an injury sidelined her career on stage, she transferred her passion into arts management. Penn has worked in the not-for-profit sector for more than 25 years. It all began when she interned at the Limón Dance Company. During her time at Limón, she helped develop the company's first-ever, arts-in-education program L.I.N.K.s, in partnership with The Surdna Foundation. Later in collaboration with the Limón Institute helped to develop and brand Limón4Kids. In 2003, she was enlisted by The Foundation Center to provide consulting services in its First Steps/Next Steps program for 'under-resourced' organizations and parlayed that into a successful consulting practice. Ms. Penn also held an eight-year tenure at The Studio Museum in Harlem working under the leadership of Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden. While at Studio Museum, she spearheaded a seven-year partnership with Target thanks to the launch of Target Free Sundays, which helped drive attendance and build bridges to multiple communities in Upper Manhattan. Continuing her work strengthening arts organizations through community building, she helped design two initiatives, JoycePass and PayWhatYouDecide, while serving as Director of Development at The Joyce Theater. A champion for artists and New York City's arts communities, Ms. Penn has spent a career promoting best practices and alternative ways of addressing the field's most pressing issues, including access, affordability and equity.
Julian Schubach, VP, ODI Financial
Julian serves a broad range of creative clients including artists, entertainers, and digital influencers, providing comprehensive financial education, planning, and wealth management. Julian’s clients include multi-platinum selling musicians and producers, award winning actors, directors and choreographers as well as trailblazers in the NFT and crypto landscape. In addition to his private client work, Julian provides financial education and literacy seminars to arts grant recipients and clients of arts non-profit organizations.
Julian has been named a ‘Top-100 Financial Advisor’ by Investopedia, honored as one of the top financial advisors under 40 by American Bankers Association, and was a contributing writer for New York Foundation for the Arts book, ‘The Profitable Artist,’ penning three chapters focusing on personal finance for creatives. Julian has been featured in Business Insider, Barron's, US News & World Report, Investopedia and many other publications.
Photo credit: Ellen Wolff Photography
Kimberly Marcotte, Fiscal Associate
Kimberly Marcotte (She/Her/Hers) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Point Park University in 2012, receiving her BA in dance with a dual concentration in ballet and jazz. Since joining Pentacle in 2018, Kimberly has honed her skills in nonprofit fiscal administration, managing Unique projects and Unique plus fiscal sponsorship programs, as well as Pentacle’s Bookkeeping service and Financial Urgent Care. She has led fiscal management workshops at Actor's Equity and was a SmART bar consultant at the 2019 Dance/NYC Symposium. 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.
Niya Nicholson, Managing Director
Niya Nicholson is a justice driven, creatively inclined nonprofit arts leader with 8 years of advancement expertise–namely, strategic fundraising and marketing coupled with business, leadership & program development. A native New Yorker raised in Harlem, Niya studied dance at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and obtained her B.A. in 2014 from Vassar College.
Niya’s career began in 2015, supporting both nonprofits and individual artists/collectives. Prior to the public launch of MOVE|NYC| in 2015, Niya served the organization as its sole volunteer administrator and has since served as its Managing Director who is responsible for the nonprofit’s growth and thriveability, including the acquisition of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, 11 Board of Directors, and rising from a $25K to ~$700K operating budget. Niya's prior positions include Director of Development of the José Limón Dance Foundation and previously Development Manager at Gibney, bringing 6 new high tech studios and an elevator to fruition.
Concurrently, Niya is Board Chair of MICHIYAYA Dance. Niya is also an inaugural and 5th year member of Dance/NYC’s Symposium Programming Committee and has been featured as a 2-time SMART Bar Consultant and 2018 session speaker. She was the Co-Chair for the 2017-18 Dance/NYC Junior Committee. Niya was selected as a 2018-19 Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training mentee (9% acceptance rate) and subsequently a featured speaker at the 2019 Dance/USA Conference.
Photo credit: Lelund Thompson
Sandy Garcia, Director of Booking
Sandy Garcia became Director of Booking at Pentacle in 2016, after almost two decades of experience working at presenting organizations, artist management companies and with internationally renowned artists in dance, theater, visual performance art and music. Prior to joining Pentacle she was a Booking Representative, International Tour Coordinator, and Director of Administration at Rena Shagan Associates, Inc. where she represented a roster of artists including Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan, SITI Company and Martha Graham Dance Company, among others. In 2020 she served as the Agents Managers Promoters and Producers Council Chair at Dance/USA and has been an active participant in Equitable Contracting efforts, serving in subcommittees alongside fellow dance colleagues at Dance/USA and Creating New Futures and participating on panels at the Western Arts Alliance and Arts Midwest conferences, APAP, IPAY, NAPAMA and NPN.
Photo credit: Pentacle
Sue Latham, Vice President of Development, Citymeals on Wheels
Legal Clinic Consultants
A. Browne Esq. is an intellectual property, entertainment, and business lawyer. Adjckwc (pronounced A-Zha-Ko) is passionate about helping people protect their legacy through ownership and the creation of strong legal relationships. Her goal is always to provide the best legal representation for your creative endeavors, both tangible and intangible. She loves dance, music, literature, film and working with the creatives that bring those genres to life.
Photo credit: @reflexion.raw
Ariana Sarfarazi, General Counsel, Artists for Economic Transparency (AFECT)
Ariana is a New York City-based corporate, entertainment, and intellectual property attorney. Once a proud “theatre kid”, Ariana has great passion for supporting the performing arts industry, particularly artists, creatives, and entertainment stakeholders from BIPOC communities.
Ariana is the General Counsel of Artists for Economic Transparency (AFECT), a non-profit organization devoted to educating artists, consumers of art, and stakeholders on the inner workings of the theater industry to encourage financial accountability and transparency, address institutional biases, promote equity, diversity, and inclusion, empower artists to advocate for best practices in their work environments, and encourage consumers to make informed decisions regarding the art they support. To learn more, visit https://www.afectchange.org/.
Ariana is also Legal Counsel to Music/Theater/Dance Professionals in the Academy (MTDPA), a non-profit organization committed to supporting, advocating for, and advancing BIPOC dance, music, and theater professionals as they develop their academic careers in the arts. To learn more, visit www.mtdpa.org.
Ariana is also an attorney with Sukin Law Group, an entertainment and intellectual property law firm known for groundbreaking work in music publishing and musical theater. Ariana was previously a corporate associate at an intellectual property law firm in New York, and in-house counsel at The George Washington University, where she negotiated contracts with major talent agencies on behalf of the University’s performing arts venue.
Ariana is a graduate of GW Law School and U.C. Berkeley. When she is not lawyering, Ariana is a singer, pianist, and writer, a huge lover of nature, and an avid patron of the arts.
Diane Krausz , The Law Offices of Diane Krausz
Law School Attended: Fordham University Class of 1984 J.D.
Johns Hopkins University
University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business Class of 1977 B.S.
Associations & Memberships:
The Association of the Bar of the City of New York (Member, Entertainment Law Section
Co-Chair, The Theatre and Performing Arts Section and Entertainment and Sports Law Section)
New York State Bar Association (Co-Chair)
The League of Professional Theatre Women (Member, Board of Governors).
Languages: French and Hungarian
Practice for over 35 years in entertainment law in NYC. Please see my website for further details.
Photo credit: NYCBA
Donyale Reavis, Managing Attorney Advisor, Calyx Advisors
Reavis & Associates
Donyale Reavis is an attorney who specializes in trust and foundation management, as well as intellectual property and corporate transactions whose clients are primarily former professional athletes, artists and recognized figures across the spectrum of entertainment, art and professional sports industries. She is an adjunct business law professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and architect of its summer pre-law academy in sports and entertainment law, launching in Summer 2021.
Ms. Reavis also manages a multi-million dollar public foundation in Philadelphia. Under her stewardship, the foundation has distributed more than $10 million through its scholarship programs, while increasing its endowment beyond $5 million dollars. Donyale graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Fels Graduate School of Government, receiving numerous presidential and leadership graduation awards. Following her college graduation from Boston University, Donyale spent a year teaching HIV/AIDS awareness while working with Ivorian villagers in West Africa. Licensed to practice law in four states and the District of Columbia over the past 20 years, Donyale brings a wealth of expertise to managing transitions, closely-held businesses, family foundations, and general administration and oversight of trust assets, charitable giving vehicles, art collections and other alternative assets and collectibles.
Ms. Reavis has developed her intellectual property and wealth management expertise from several vantage points. From completion of the CAP® (Certified Advisor in Philanthropy and CPWA® (Certified Private Wealth Advisor) education programs, Donyale has also worked with two separate AmLaw 100 firms, a venture capital funded fashion start-up, as well as a publicly traded apparel company.
Gale P. Elston, Art lawyer Gale P. Elston
Key areas: artlaw, artists'rights, intellectual property
Gale P. Elston is an art attorney who has represented artists, art institutes, and non-profits for over twenty-five years as an advocate for artists’ rights.
Three of her cases are featured in the Art Law Handbook, including a VARA based case establishing new law for the rights of artists: Phillip Pavia v. 1120 Avenue of the Americas Associates, et al, 901 F. Supp. 620 (S.D. N.Y. 1995).
She has litigated many VARA cases in the Federal Southern District Court of New York. Her cases have obtained monetary awards for artists whose work has been damaged, modified or harmed. She recently served on a College Art Association Panel as a presenter on ecofeminist artist Aviva Rahmani and The Visual Artists'Rights Act. She has lectured on Artists'Rights at the Leonardo Foundation, The Saas Fee Summer Institute of Art.
She has served on the board of numerous art related non-profits, including WhiteBox, of which she was also Executive Director; (Re)Create Artist In Residency Program, of which she is a founder; and Faith Ringgold’s Any Child Can Fly Foundation. She served as a Trustee for the MARIN HEADLANDS ARTIST IN RESIDENCY Program. She has lectured on copyright law for schools and panels, as well as operated art spaces. She has served to promote numerous artists’ rights pro bono, and represented notable artists including Carolee Schneeman, Phillip Pavia, Faith Ringgold, Ida Applebroog, and Hans Van de Bovenkamp, among others.
Entertainment and Intellectual Property Attorney
With a unique perspective on the entertainment industry that integrates legal, creative, marketing, technological and financial expertise, my legal practice focuses on providing guidance to help clients develop and realize their goals by utilizing an approach that applies my extensive and diverse background to deal formulation, acquisition, negotiation and plan realization. My client’s include many successful recording artists, songwriters, music producers, artistic/creative performers, authors, executives, managers, agents and talent agencies, recording and publishing companies, music, television and motion picture production companies, promotion and publicity firms and apparel companies.
A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications and The Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, I have practiced Intellectual Property law for more than thirty-five years, with a focus on the Entertainment and New Media Industries, as well as Copyright, Trademark and Corporate matters.
In addition to practicing law, I formed and was the GM of two independent record companies and managed a number of internationally well known artists.
I have also been a guest lecturer and taught courses on entertainment law and the music industry at Columbia Law School, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, The Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, William Patterson College and Belmont University’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music and have moderated numerous panels at national and international conferences and forums and have been quoted extensively in the media as an expert on entertainment industry and intellectual property issues.
Giselle Ayala Mateus, Law Office of Giselle Ayala Mateus
Giselle Ayala Mateus was born in 1991 in Bogotá - Colombia. Her mother is a district attorney in Colombia and her father is a Colombian retired attorney and community health worker with Planned Parenthood in New York City.
After finishing law school in Colombia and being admitted to practice law in this country, Giselle came to the United States to complete an LLM with the Brooklyn Law School. While figuring it how to be a single mom law school student in the U.S., Giselle successfully completed her studies and a specialization in Business Law. a??Then, to complement her legal education and build her experience Giselle worked with the non-profit organization Good Counsel Services, whose work is focused on educating and empowering nonprofits and social entrepreneurs.
In 2018, Giselle created FOCUS JURÍDICO, a not-for-profit project focused on supporting Latinoamerican entrepreneurs and artists. Giselle was admitted to practice law in New York in 2019, and since then, she has served as counsel and representative on issues related to the review and drafting of commercial contracts, creative developments, transfer of intangible rights, and business formation in the United States. She has also performed as a leading attorney for adjustment of status, asylum application, work visas, interview with immigration officials, presentation and validation of foreign documents. Likewise, she has worked as a simultaneous interpreter for family processes, immigration, and application for public benefits.
Dedicated to her clients and her practice of law Giselle is currently communicating to her audience via social media, Facebook, Youtube, Quora, and more. Her service-oriented practice has lead her to where she is now.
Giselle Ayala Mateus currently join the State Bar of New York (NYSBA), the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the FAME Center for Fashion, Art, Media & Entertainment Law of Cardozo Law School, and the New York Intellectual Property Law Association.
Glinnesa D. Gailliard, Attorney. Travel Advisor. Public Speaker. Content Creator.
Experienced Attorney with in-house and litigation experience. Broad scope of expertise with strengths in compliance, fraud, and data privacy. Dynamic, resourceful and results-driven individual with a deep passion for creating and delivering solutions that empower a team to exceed the company’s desired expectations.
Jeremy Manning, Partner, Manning, Esq.
As the first employee at the Innocence Project, a non-profit startup, Jeremy built a curriculum to teach non-scientist law students conventional serology so that they could evaluate the cases of innocent people in prison, many of whom were eventually exonerated after years of incarceration. The Innocence Project is now an internationally-recognized organization that has freed hundreds of innocent people from prison and has a budget of over $10 MM. Jeremy is General Counsel to the Back to Bach Project and represents classical musicians and other artists in his role as an attorney and producer and he also has significant experience counseling non-profit and for-profit startups. He is a graduate of Columbia University/Columbia College.
Josh Nathan, The Law Firm of Joshua C. Nathan, P.C.
Josh Nathan is a business, media, and nonprofit lawyer. He applies advocacy and business insight to help clients solve problems and maximize opportunities. With over 25 years of experience in the law and business of media, arts and nonprofit organizations, including as general counsel, chief strategist and senior management executive, Josh draws on his track record of structuring and negotiating deals, resolving disputes and developing and leading initiatives to achieve growth, impact and financial returns.
Josh Warrum, COO/CLO, Project X Media
Josh Warrum (He/Him/His) is the Co-Founder and COO/Chief Legal Officer of Project X (f/k/a ADstruc), the fastest growing OOH specialist in the United States. Josh is also the founder of Warrum Law, PLLC and previously served as Of Counsel to Roberts Leibowitz & Hafitz where he practiced intellectual property law in connection with entertainment, media and technology transactions. Josh also previously served as Associate General Counsel at The Beanstalk Group (Omnicom) where he represented corporate and celebrity clients in intellectual property transactions. Josh’s practice areas include intellectual property matters, strategic partnerships, media law, corporate law, IP licensing, entertainment transactions and M&A transactions.
Laura J. Winston, Principal, Offit Kurman
Laura J. Winston is part of the firm's intellectual property group. Ms. Winston focuses her law practice primarily in the areas of trademarks, copyrights and the internet, representing a broad range of both domestic and international clients from individual business owners and small startup ventures to established Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies.
Ms. Winston’s experience covers various industries, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, gaming software and hardware, alternative energy, travel and transportation, and numerous others.
Ms. Winston is known for her strategic counseling when registering trademarks and has been referred to as a litigation avoidance advocate due to her thoughtful and creative solutions for avoiding or resolving disputes.
Ms. Winston covers the full gamut of trademark services, whether it involves transactions, searching and clearance, acquisition and registration, opposition and cancellation proceedings, and domain name dispute resolution. In the circumstances where it is not possible to stay out of the courtroom, Ms. Winston is prepared and willing to handle litigation matters on behalf of her clients.
Mariia Khorun, Owner of the Law Office of Mariia Khorun, PLLC
Attorney Khorun discovered her passion for small and minority-owned businesses during her work at a specialized small business investment company (SBIC) licensed by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). Now a small business owner herself, Ms. Khorun can successfully identify and assist with various legal issues businesses may have.
She assist her clients with business law questions such as the following:
Small Business Administration relief
Business Matters (entity choice, formation, business licenses)
Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Certification in New York City and New York State
Nonprofit Matters, including religious organizations (formation, tax-exempt status, fundraising registration)
Trademarks, Copyright, Nondisclosure Agreements
Access to Governmental Information (anonymous Freedom of Information Act requests).
Max Hass, Counsel at Parlatore Law Group
Max Hass is Counsel with Parlatore Law Group and brings significant experience in the areas of intellectual property and entertainment law, while additionally focusing on copyright & trademark law, business law, intellectual property litigation, and commercial litigation.
Mr. Hass brings a wide breadth of experience to his practice. A musician himself, he has worked with dozens of musicians, artists, filmmakers, and small businesses in the creative sector. Additionally, he has developed and presented a series of copyright workshops for musicians, visual artists, and filmmakers over the last five years. He has been invited to speak on intellectual property and entertainment industry matters at the University of New Orleans, Tulane University, New Orleans Video Access Center (NOVAC), the Joan Mitchell Center, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, and numerous music conferences and events.
Outside of practicing law, Max spends his time reading, playing bass, drums, and guitar, writing music, and learning piano. He also enjoys cooking, yoga, and getting outdoors as much as possible. He is conversational in French and is learning Spanish.
He is an active member of the Colorado Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, and the Federal Bar Association. As a member of the Colorado Bar Association, he also sits on the Executive Council of the Sports & Entertainment Section.
He is admitted to practice in Colorado, Louisiana and New York, in addition to the U.S. District Court, District of Colorado; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana; U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York; U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.
He is originally from upstate New York and currently lives in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.
Merlyne Jean-Louis, Business & Entertainment Lawyer
Merlyne Jean-Louis is the founder of Jean-Louis Law, a New York-based virtual law firm that focuses on business and entertainment law. A former dancer, she uses her legal and creative knowledge to help transform her clients (content creators, influencers, creatives and entrepreneurs) into CEOs via contract, trademark, copyright, and business law.
Merlyne is also a dance law commentator. She has discussed copyright law as it relates to choreography on CBS, The Verge, Marketplace Tech and the podcasts Poplaw and Carry on Friends. She also was mentioned in the book Choreographing Copyright: Race, Gender and Intellectual Property Rights in American Dance.
Merlyne received her J.D. from Duke Law School and B.A., cum laude, in Psychology and French, minor in Pre-Business Studies from NYU. She is admitted to practice in New York and California. She is also a member of the Entertainment Arts Sport Law (EASL) Section of the NYSBA and the Black Entertainment and Sports Lawyers Association (BESLA).
For more information about Merlyne and her practice and a free business checklist, visit www.jllaw.net.
Photo credit: Joe Jenkins
Michael Burke, Legal
Experienced licensing and technology transactions attorney, specializing in software, technology and media development and licensing, as well as associated privacy and regulatory issues. Mchael's experience includes working within law firm and in house legal teams, as well as nine years as the solo GC of an industry leading organization.
Photo credit: Michael Burke
Nathan Sheffield, Nathan Sheffield, Co-Founder, Herzog & Sheffield PC
Nathan Sheffield is the co-founder of Herzog + Sheffield, P.C.--a boutique law firm in New York City providing concierge level legal services to a select group of entertainment industry professionals. Clients have included producers, talent, and creative team members on hit television series, award-winning theatre productions on Broadway and the West End, critically acclaimed independent films, and promotional and endorsement deals for actors, directors and celebrity chefs.
Sarah Haddad, The Law Offices of Sarah T. Haddad, Esq.
Sarah Haddad is the Principal Attorney of The Law Offices of Sarah T. Haddad Esq., which specializes in Business Litigation and Intellectual Property Law.
Ms. Haddad has been practicing law as a Trial Attorney for several years in New York State, United States of America and New South Wales, Australia.
She was a specialist advocate at a young age in the higher courts, starting her career as a lawyer in 2009, when she was first admitted as an attorney. Sarah was one of the youngest specialist Trial Attorneys (called Barristers) in New South Wales, Australia before becoming admitted in New York State. She was advocating in the Supreme Courts on a daily basis, communicating to Judges, clients and opposing counsel.
During Ms. Haddad's career she has independently run hundreds of hearings in almost every area of law and advocated some of the most complex matters in the common law legal systems of New York State and Australia. Sarah has been successful in every matter that she has independently taken carriage of in assisting parties and courts to reach the best resolution for a particular case.
Ms. Haddad obtained a Juris Doctor in 2008 from a world leading university, the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia and later obtained a specialization in Intellectual Property Law in a Master of Laws from Fordham University School of Law in 2019.
Sarah's background is in medical science, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in 2005 from the University of Sydney, Australia (a world leading university for science), and majored in Pharmacology and Physiology.
Ms. Haddad is a member of the New York City Bar Association and New York State Bar Association.
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