2016 Mentors

From sanitation workers to firefighters, Venetian gondoliers to professional baseball players, power linemen to forestry technicians, ALLISON ORR creates award-winning choreography with all kinds of performers. Challenging audiences to expand notions of dance and performer, Orr finds the raw material for her work in the stories and experiences of ordinary people, spending months researching and immersing herself in the community she is engaging. Uncovering that which is essential to the life of a community but often goes unnoticed is central in Orr’s work, as she seeks to give voice to people who may be marginalized or frequently overlooked. Recently a visiting scholar at Wesleyan University, Orr has been commissioned by numerous presenters including the Fuesebox Fetival and the Kyoto Arts Center. She was named Best Choreographer of 2003, 2008, and 2013 by the Austin Critics Table, Best Movement Illuminator by the Austin Chronicle, one of Tribeza Magazine’s Top 10 Austinites. In 2010 Orr co-founded Body Shift with partner Celia Hughes of VSA Texas. A mixed-ability dance project, Body Shift provides classes and workshops for dancers with and without disabilities. The only program of its kind in Texas, Body Shift has hosted numerous dance artists such as Alito Alessi, Gerda Honig, Nina Martin, and Karen Nelson while supporting local choreographers to create and develop mixed-ability work.


BARRY HUGHSON has served the performing arts field for 23 years as a professional arts executive. In 2014, he joined The National Ballet of Canada as Executive Director.

Hughson was previously Executive Director of Boston Ballet. Under Hughson’s leadership, Boston Ballet achieved several key milestones, including the retirement of its long term debt, completing a multi-million dollar renovation of the ballet’s headquarters and international tours to Canada, Spain, Finland and the UK, as well as raising more than $60 million dollars in contributed revenue.

As an arts advocate, consultant and educator, Hughson has had teaching and speaking engagements in the USA, Europe and South America. He is the Vice Chair of Dance/USA, North America’s largest service organization for professional dance. He is a founding member of Dance/USA’s National Leadership Council for Dance and has served as a mentor to emerging arts executives through the Institute for Leadership Training. In January 2015, in partnership with Dance/USA, Hughson spearheaded the first ever meeting of North American and European dance leaders, bringing together 22 administrators from nine countries for two days of meetings at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London. In Canada, Hughson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Dance Assembly and serves on the Steering Committee for the Canadian Arts Summit.

Hughson began his career as a dancer with The Washington (DC) Ballet, where he performed classical and contemporary repertoire at the Kennedy Center and on tour throughout the world.


CARLA DeSOLA, a pioneer in liturgical dance, is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and author. She founded the Omega Liturgical Dance Company at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City, in 1976, and currently directs Omega West Dance Company in the Bay Area. DeSola has been teaching classes at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, since 1990, through the Pacific School of Religion and the Center for the Arts, Religion & Education. She has a Diploma in Dance from Juilliard, and an M.A. in Theology and the Arts from the Pacific School of Religion. Omega was founded to express the spiritual-human-social-healing dimensions of dance, exploring inner aspects of movement integrated with the world’s spiritual resources.


DAVID LEVENTHAL is a founding teacher and Program Director for Dance for PD®, a collaborative program of the Mark Morris Dance Group and Brooklyn Parkinson Group that has now been used as a model for classes in more than 125 communities in 16 countries. He has trained hundreds of teachers, therapists and administrators in the Dance for PD® approach. He's co-produced three volumes of a successful At Home DVD series for the program and has been instrumental in designing innovative projects like Moving Through Glass, a dance-based Google Glass App for people with Parkinson's. He is the co-recipient of the Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award. He has spoken about the intersection of dance, Parkinson's and health at the University of Michigan, Rutgers, Brown, Stanford, Columbia, Georgetown, Tufts, and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Liège (Belgium), among others. He pioneered and leads a dance-based Narrative Medicine course for Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. As a dancer, he performed principal roles with the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1997-2011 and received a 2010 Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for his performing career with Mark Morris. He graduated from Brown University magna cum laude with honors in English Literature.


HOLLY WILLIAMS is Senior Associate Dean in the College of Fine Arts and Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2014, she completed her term as President of the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), the largest organization serving dance in higher education in the United States. That same year she was awarded the Texas Woman’s University Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award. She also has served as Interim Chair for the Department of Theatre and Dance at UT.

As a dancer, Williams performed nationally and internationally with the companies of Laura Dean and Mark Morris. With Morris, she toured worldwide and was in residence for three years in Brussels, Belgium, performing in original casts of such seminal works as The Hard Nut (Tchaikovsky); L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato (Handel); Gloria (Vivaldi), Love Song Waltzes (Brahms); Going Away Party (Bob Wills) and numerous others. She also performed at City Center in New York with the Jose Limon Dance Company.

As a noted choreographer, Williams received an international Fulbright Specialist award in Dance for residency at the Taideakatemia Turun in Turku, Finland in 2010.  She has been commissioned to create new dance works by the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, State Street Ballet (Santa Barbara), Ballet Austin Senior Young Artists and other companies; she has been a guest artist at numerous university programs throughout the United States. Three of her original works have been selected by adjudication for ACDFA's National Festival 

Williams' choreography for the Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Theatre Alliance, Dallas Theatre Center and the concert stage have won her national acclaim. She was Dance Captain for the Houston Grand Opera’s production of Candide and has staged numerous ballets for the Dallas Opera. Her dance/video work Bolero made its international debut at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland and her signature work Black Magic was performed in St. Johann, Innsbruck, and Salzburg, Austria as part of the Tanzsommer festival in 2004. She has served on dance panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, Dance/USA and the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. 

As writer and dance critic, she has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News, The Austin American-Statesman and other publications.

Williams has a B.A. from Barnard College/Columbia University in New York and an M.F.A. from Texas Woman's University. Williams joined the faculty at the University of Texas in 1995. She is married to author and journalist Bill Minutaglio and has two children, Rose and Nicholas.


MK WEGMANN, President & CEO, National Performance Network, has 30 year’s experience in organizational development and artists' services. NPN supports the creation and touring of contemporary performing and visual arts in the US and around the globe, and in its home in New Orleans, serves as an intermediary and fiscal sponsor through its Local Network.  From 1978-1991 she was Associate and Acting Director for the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and from 1993-1999 was Managing Director of the theatre company Junebug Productions.  Wegmann serves on Boards of Directors for National Performance Network, Junebug Productions, Performing Arts Alliance (PAA) and the Cultural Alliance of New Orleans (CANO). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Spring Hill College and a Master of Arts degree from Louisiana State University of New Orleans (now UNO).


PAMELA YOUNG joined DANCECleveland as Executive Director in March 2003.  With a strong background in project management, development and non-profit organizational and transition management, she has brought focused leadership and experience to northeast Ohio’s premier dance presenting organization.During her tenure with DANCECleveland, she has been recognized for her innovative leadership, created a new model for audience development which has been nationally recognized, commissioned new works by national dance makers, launched an innovative early childhood educational program and curated season after season of remarkable dance performances by national and international dance companies.  

Young has been the recipient of two Joyce Awards by the Joyce Foundation (Chicago), the winner of the 2014 Martha J. Joseph Prize-for distinguished service to the arts from the Cleveland Arts Prize and was a featured speaker at the first Arts and Innovation Summit in Denver Colorado.  She has served on a number of non-profit boards, including Dance/USA- the national service organization for the dance field, as well as a panel reviewer for The Ohio Arts Council and MAPFund. Most recently she has led the feasibility study and planning process to launch the new National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron which will be completely operational in 2016 and on which she serves as the President of the Board of Directors.

Prior to joining DANCECleveland, Young had an esteemed career working with a number of arts organizations in the Greater Cleveland community, including:  MOCA-Cleveland, Cleveland Public Art, Dancing Wheels/Professional Flair and Cleveland Ballet and has served in a variety of functions from Acting Executive Director, Development Director and Earned Income Specialist. Before entering the non-profit arts sector, Young worked for a number of architectural and design firms.

Young received her Bachelor of Science in Design from the University of Cincinnati and Certificate of Non-Profit Management from CASE-Mandel Center for Non-Profit Management.  She is married with two wonderful daughters, Kara and Olivia and, as a life-long resident of Cleveland Heights, claims it is the best place in the world to live.


ROSY SIMAS is an enrolled Seneca from the Heron clan. She is a Minneapolis based choreographer, engaged in the dance field as a performer, teacher, curator, lecturer, panelist, activist, advocate, and mentor to other Native artists and artists of color. Simas is 2016 First Peoples Fund Fellow, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2013 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow. Her work is supported by NEFA National Dance Project (2014, 2016), National Presenters Network (2015), the Minnesota State Arts Board (2014, 2016) and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (2014). Her most recent work, We Wait In The Darkness, has toured to 14 cities and won a 2014 Sage Award and a 2014 City Pages Artist of the Year citation. For more than 20 years she has created work dealing with a wide range of political, social and cultural subject matter from a Native feminist perspective. Her newest work Skin(s) is being developed in three regions -- the Twin Cities, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago metropolitan area. Skin(s) explores what we hold, reveal, and perceive through our skin. Simas is examining the beauty and diversity of how Native people identify and the contradictions, pride, joy, pain, and sorrow that arise out of our many dimensions of identity. Skin(s) will open at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis in October 2016. Simas main collaborator is French composer François Richomme. Together they work with Native artists and artists of color from many different disciplines.


SABRINA MADISON-CANNON is currently an Associate Professor of Dance and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies in the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. She received her professional training as a scholarship student at the National Academy of Arts and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. As a soloist with the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco), Madison-Cannon worked with such renowned choreographers as: Talley Beatty, Milton Meyers, Elisa Monte, Michael Peters, Gene Hill Sagan, and Lynne Taylor Corbett. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Iowa and a certification in Pilates from Stott Conditioning in Toronto, Canada. Madison-Cannon’s teaching experience includes faculty positions at Southern Methodist University, the University of North Texas, and the Philadelphia School of Dance Arts.  Her guest teaching positions include: The University of Iowa, Hampton University, The Kansas City Ballet School, Motion 41, Fort Wayne Ballet Academy and Virginia School of the Arts. In addition she has the honor of being the University of Georgia’s first “Willson Center for the Arts - Franklin College Visiting Scholar” in the departments of Dance and African-American Studies. 

In 2014, Madison-Cannon traveled China to present a new work in Beijing and Tianjin choreographed to an original score by Narong Prangcharoen– a collaboration with the UMKCs Wind Symphony Players under the direction of Professor Steven Davis and the UMKC Dance Division.  In 2004, she was invited to present her research from the Library of Congress’ Lester Horton Collection in a paper titled, “Lester Horton and his Continued Influence on the African-American Dance Ethos” for the Society of Dance History Scholars conference in Durham, North Carolina. Her choreography has been presented for the International Choreographers Showcase in Barcelona and Madrid, the New York International Fringe Festival, the American College Dance Festival’s Gala Performance and four times for the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) conference in Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver and Philadelphia.  She has been invited to present works internationally for the 45th International Choreographers' Showcase at ArtéDanse in Biel, Switzerland and the 59th International Choreographers Showcase in Bari and Bellaria Igea-Marina, Italy.  She is a graduate of the 2013 HERS Denver Institute, a leadership program for women in higher education.