Christopher K. Morgan (he/his/him) is Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place in Washington, DC, where he curates over 35 weekends of performances annually, oversees a school for youth and adults, and continues Dance Place’s role as a neighborhood community arts center and nationally prominent performing arts presenter. Morgan’s leadership at Dance Place is deeply connected to his identity as an advocate for cultural integrity and broad ranging representation from across the community, in the classroom and on stage. Born in Orange County, CA, his Native Hawaiian ancestry and wide-ranging international performance career influence all aspects of his work. Morgan founded his contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists in 2011; the same year Dance Magazine profiled him as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States. Said to be “direct, transcendent and entrancing” (The Washington Post), his choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents. Awards include a 2013 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship, 2014 and 2019 NPN Creation Fund, 2014 and 2019 NEFA National Dance Project Production Grant, an inaugural 2018 Native Launchpad Award from the Western Arts Alliance, and a 2019 Dance USA Fellowship for Artists. Teaching credits include American University (2011-14), the BA and MFA programs at the University of Maryland (2014-17), and residencies at over 20 conservatories and institutions of higher learning in the US and abroad. Since 2006 Christopher has directed Art Omi: Dance, an annual collaborative residency for international choreographers in New York, where he created an utterly unique international cultural exchange program. Frequently sought as a speaker and grants reviewer for an informed and balanced perspective, he has been at the forefront of national discussions on equity in the arts. He lives in Washington D.C. with his husband, opera director Kyle Lang.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Christopher is a mixed race/Native Hawaiian person with light brown skin, closely shaved dark brown hair, and dark brown eyes. He is facing the camera with his arms crossed over his chest, smiling , and wearing a grey button up shirt and black vest. Photo credit: Brianne Bland
J. Bouey is out here doing their best. Currently moving on pandemic timing and prioritizing rest, Bouey is finding their way back to joy. Bouey is the founder of The Dance Union Podcast, a recent 2021-2022 Jerome Fellow, and is a current Gibney Spotlight artist, Artist-In-Residence at CPR-Center for Performance Research, and 2021 Bogliasco Fellow. Bouey was also a 2018 Movement Research Van Lier Fellow and a former dancer with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Determined to manifest the dreams dreamt in their youth, Bouey is assuming this responsibility because these dreams sustained them when the sun didn’t shine or shined too bright to see.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: J. Bouey is a Black person assigned male at birth facing directly toward the camera wearing a black hoodie, red knit hat, and round, wire-frame glasses. The background of the photo is blue sky with streaks of white clouds.
Growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar earned her B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and her M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University. In 1980, Jawole moved to New York City to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion. In 1984 Jawole founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change.
She has created over 34 works for UBW, as well as for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and others. Her collaborations include Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire. Her company has toured five continents and was selected as one of three U.S. dance companies to inaugurate a cultural diplomacy program for the U.S. Department of State in 2010.
She is the founder of UBW Summer Leadership Institute, founding Artistic Director and Chief Visioning Partner of UBW and currently holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University. Jawole received a 2008 United States Artists Wynn fellowship and a 2009 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial. Jawole received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and honorary degrees from Columbia College, Chicago, Tufts University, Rutgers University, and the Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. Jawole received the Dance Magazine Award in 2015 and the Dance/USA Honor Award in 2016. Recently, Jawole received the 2017 Bessie Lifetime Achievement in Dance Award for her work in the field. In 2020, The Ford Foundation awarded Urban Bush Women as one of America’s Cultural Treasures.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Jawole Willa Jo Zollar is a Black woman shown facing the camera with a bright smile. Her hair is salt and pepper and worn in short twists, flipped to one side, with a few ringlets grazing her face. She wears silver drop earrings, a long black beaded necklace, and a black tank top under an open black cardigan. She is pictured in front of a neutral background. Photo credit: Crush Boone
Jonathan McCrory is a two Obie Award-winning, Harlem-based artist who has served as Artistic Director at National Black Theatre since 2012 under the leadership of CEO, Sade Lythcott. He has directed numerous professional productions and concerts. He has been acknowledged as an exceptional leader additionally through Craine’s New York Business 2020 Notable LGBTQ Leaders and Executives. In 2013, he was awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, North Carolina, and the Torch Bearer Award by theatrical legend Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of the collaborative producing organizations Harlem9, Black Theatre Commons, The Jubilee, Next Generation National Network and The Movement Theatre Company. McCrory sits on the National Advisory Committee for Howlround.com and was a member of the original cohort for ArtEquity. A Washington, DC native, McCrory attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and New York University’s TISCH School of the Arts.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Jonathan is a Black male, pictured facing the camera, as closely cropped dark hair and a trimmed beard. He is wearing a graphic white t-shirt with the words, “Black JOY,” printed in black font and a cardigan with thick black, grey, and white horizontal stripes.
Malik Robinson is the executive director of Cleo Parker Robinson Dance (CPRD), a not-for-profit cultural arts institution based in Denver, CO. As an internationally recognized arts organization, CPRD has served as a leader in preserving the rich heritage of legendary American modern dance choreographers. The organization is also distinguished for its arts-in-education and arts advocacy work. In his role, Robinson directs a small administrative staff with an operational budget of $1.3M.
During his tenure with CPRD, Robinson led organizational efforts to host the Annual International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference in 1999, 2009, and 2016. He was responsible for securing award-winning international tours to Israel, Italy, and Egypt for the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CPRDE). As the booking manager for CPRDE, Robinson successfully secured funding from national foundations for new work creation and tour support. He also booked and managed national tours to an average of 15 cities annually.
Through his dedication to education and the arts, Robinson created the after-school program Aye (Yoruba for “Life”), serving high-risk youth in northeast Denver. Through partnerships with diversionary programs and probation departments, the project served an average of 125 teens per year. In 2015, Robinson initiated efforts to forge the Bachelor’s in Dance program in partnership with Metropolitan State University of Denver. The dance major is the first offered by any institution of higher learning in Denver.
As the primary fund developer for CPRD, Robinson recently led the organization in a successful $1M capacity building campaign in addition to a $250K renovation project in the historic CPRD headquarters. He was also the CPRD lead in forming the partnership with the Denver Housing Authority in the acquisition of $20M award from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant supported the redevelopment of dilapidated housing that formerly surrounded the organization. Under his direction, CPRD has evolved into an anchor cultural institution and destination for dance in Denver with more than 25,000 visitors annually.
Robinson serves on several boards and committees including the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District Inclusivity Fund Committee, charged with developing the criteria for a $9M fund designed to increase cultural equity among Denver’s marginalized communities. He serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Blacks in Dance, Colorado Business Committee for the Arts, Denver School for the Arts Friends Foundation, and is a Dance/USA Trustee. Robinson is an Association of Performing Arts Professional Fellow, Livingston Fellow and Leadership Denver graduate. Robinson earned his B.A. in African Studies from Regis University. Robinson is the son of Tom and Cleo Robinson, and he is married to Olga Gonzalez with one son, Nez, and two daughters Ximalma and Xareni.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Malik is a Black male, pictured facing the camera, with short curly dark hair and a goatee. He is wearing a pale blue button-down shirt under a dark grey suit jacket. He is framed by a natural setting, with trees, blue skies, and clouds behind him.
Dr. Michelle Ramos brings a deep and incredibly robust diversity of experience to her new role as executive director of Alternate Roots. Her background includes most recently working in criminal justice reform as project director of the Vera Institute of Justice, philanthropic work as a program officer at Women’s Foundation of California and service organization leadership as Board chair of Dance/USA.
In addition to being a licensed attorney, she has significant organizing experience and has committed her career to serving communities and individuals adversely impacted by issues of race, gender, disability, class, socio-economics, inequitable laws, and systemic oppression.
Ramos, a retired professional ballet dancer has worked as an executive director for multiple non-profit arts organizations in many cities across the U.S. and was director of Dance/NYC from 2006-2010. She is the proud mother Broadway choreographer, Ellenore Scott, and since retiring from her own dance career, Ramos has continued teach dance, has competed as an Ironman triathlete, and now enjoys her southern New Orleans lifestyle.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Michelle is pictured facing the camera with a bright smile. She has golden-brown skin and chin-length salt-and-pepper curls. She is wearing a white top. The background is shades of blue and white.
Molly Terbovich-Ridenhour has served as the President & CEO of the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, San Diego’s oldest classical ballet school since 2011. Molly began her dance training at the young age of Dive. She graduated with an MFA in Dance at Arizona State University and has a BFA in Dance from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri. Molly spent her time in school focusing on dance performance, education, and administration. Since moving to San Diego in 2003, Molly has worked with Butterworth Dance Company, Eveoke Dance Theatre and various independent dance projects and choreographers, including co-founding Stella Nova Dance Company. Before joining SDCYB, Molly worked as a freelance arts administrator coordinating events such as the annual 5X5 Modern Dance Workshop, Celebrate Dance Festival and served on the Steering Committees of Rising Arts Leaders and San Diego Dance Connect. She currently serves on the Executive Boards for the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and Women’s March San Diego.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Molly is pictured seated at a table, facing the camera, smiling brightly with her chin resting on the back of her right hand. She is a white woman with straight dark hair worn in a chin-length bob, parted to the side. She is wearing a black tank-top and a watch around her right wrist. The picture is in black-and-white and rest of the room behind her is out of focus.
Peter Boal was raised in Bedford, New York. At the age of nine, he began studying ballet at the School of American Ballet, the official school of New York City Ballet. Mr. Boal became a member of New York City Ballet’s corps de ballet in 1983 and became a principal dancer in 1989. In 2005, he retired from New York City Ballet after a 22-year career with the company. Mr. Boal was also a full-time faculty member at the School of American Ballet from 1997 to 2005. In 2003, he founded Peter Boal and Company, a critically acclaimed chamber ensemble.
Among the many ballets in which Mr. Boal was featured at New York City Ballet are George Balanchine’s Agon, Apollo, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon), and Prodigal Son; Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering and Opus 19/The Dreamer; Ulysses Dove’s Red Angels; and works by William Forsythe, Peter Martins, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon.
In addition to touring with New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal performed as a principal dancer with Ballet Arizona, Ballet du Nord, the Maryinsky Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet, the Royal Birmingham Ballet, and Suzanne Farrell Ballet. In 1996, Mr. Boal received the Dance Magazine Award, and in 2000, he received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his performance in Molissa Fenley’s State of Darkness.
In 2005, upon his retirement from New York City Ballet, Mr. Boal became Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet (PNB) and Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Founded in 1972, PNB presents more than 100 performances annually of full-length and mixed repertory ballets at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall and on tour. The Company has toured to Europe, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada, and throughout the United States. Under the direction of Mr. Boal, PNB has diversified its repertory to include new works by Trisha Brown, David Dawson, Ulysses Dove, Marco Goecke, Jiri Kylian, Jessica Lang, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Susan Marshall, Mark Morris, Justin Peck, Crystal Pite, Victor Quijada, Alexei Ratmansky, Twyla Tharp, and Christopher Wheeldon, as well as additional works by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Mr. Boal has staged the works of George Balanchine (Apollo, Divertimento from “La Baiser de la Fée”, Duo Concertant, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker®, Prodigal Son, Square Dance, La Sonnambula, and Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux), Ulysses Dove (Red Angels), and Jerome Robbins (Opus 19/The Dreamer) for the Company and elsewhere. In 1992, he married New York City Ballet soloist Kelly Cass. The couple has two sons, Sebastian and Oliver, and one daughter, Sarah.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Peter is pictured facing the camera with a bright smile. He is a white male with short, sandy brown hair. He is wearing a v-neck white t-shirt and is in front of a blue-grey background.
Shelley Quiala is the Executive Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas, a role that she started in in August of 2020. Within the last ten months she has built a new leadership team, championed an organization-wide commitment to racial equity, and has formed statewide relationships to amplify cultural equity among performing arts organizations. She and her team are in the midst of producing a fully-hybrid Festival that will take place online and on the New Haven Green this summer. In its 26th year, the Festival will feature artistic greats such as Ronald K. Brown Evidence and Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for free concerts on the New Haven Green as well as talks by such luminaries as poet and author Joy Harjo and founder of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza. Quiala comes to the International Festival of Arts & Ideas from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she served as Vice President in Programming, Education and Community Engagement for over six years. She is a board member of the New Haven Chamber of Commerce and with Theater for Young Audiences (TYA-USA) and is a frequent speaker at national and international convenings. Quiala graduated Summa Cum Laude with a dual major in Spanish and a self-designed major of performance and social change from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is widely known for her commitment to equity in the field of performing arts.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Shelley is pictured facing the camera and smiling brightly. She is a white woman with shoulder length wavy blonde hair. She is wearing tortoiseshell glasses and a black top with small white flowers.
Thaddeus Davis is an associate professor at The University of South Carolina in the Departments of Theatre and Dance and African American Studies. In addition to his scholarly work, he is also co-artistic director of Wideman/Davis Dance. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Butler University in 1993 and his Master of Fine Arts from Hollins University/ADF in 2011. After an extensive performing career with leading professional companies, he continues to perform, research, choreograph, collaborate, and teach.
His current research explores the intersections of gender, class, race, and technology through an African American lens. His research is reflected in his choreography and writings, including: Ruptured Silence Racist Symbols and Signs (2015), past-carry-forward (2014), A Dissembled Life (2011), Dance Theatre of Harlem: Modernism, History, Culture (2011), and Balance (2009).
Davis has received multiple honors and grants for his work including: 2017 Provost Grant for the research and development of Migratuse Ataraxia, 2013 Map Fund Grant to support the research and development of Ruptured Silence: Racist Symbols and Signs, Jerome Robins New Essential Works Grant (2011), University of South Carolina Arts Institute, Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Reading/Dance Collaboration. Balance: Homelessness Project (2009), Canvas: The Master Class (2010), Cultural Envoy to Portugal, U.S. State Department (2007), Highlight of the Arts Season, Commercial Appeal, Memphis (2006), Winner of The New American Talent Choreographers Competition, Ballet Austin (2005), Choo San Goh Award for Choreography (2004), Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” (2002), Best Premiere of the Season, Dance Europe, Once Before, Twice After (2002-03), New York Times Top ten dance Highlight of the season, Once Before, Twice After (2002) calling it “reassuring evidence of New York dance’s promising future.” Butler University, 50 under 50 (2004).
Davis performed with many renowned companies including Donald Byrd/The Group (1998-2002), Dance Theater of Harlem (1994-1998), Complexions Contemporary Ballet (1995-2005), Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY Dance Galaxy (2000-2002), Indianapolis Ballet (1991-1993), Fukuoka City Ballet (1995), and Atlanta Dance Theater (1988).
Davis has taught as a visiting professor or guest artist for scores of colleges and professional dance programs. He was Visiting Professor at the University of Iowa (2008) and for the following professional dance companies and programs: Alley II (2012), Boston Ballet (2011), Dance Theater of Harlem (2011), Ballet Quorum, Portugal (2007), Northwest Professional Dance Project (2005-2007), Center of Contemporary Art (2005-2007), Ballet Austin (2004-2006), Ballet Classical Dominican, Dominican Republic (2004-2006), Spectrum Dance Theater (2005), and Steps on Broadway (2003-2004). Davis has taught as a guest artist at the following Universities and dance centers: University of the Arts (2017), North Carolina School of the Arts (2012), Florida State University (2012), Webster University (2011), Long Island University (2011), Marymount Manhattan (2011), University of Missouri–Kansas City (2011), Goucher College (2007), Auburn University (2006), Alvin Ailey/Fordham University (2005), Butler University (2005), Arizona State University (2004), and The Julliard School (2003).
As a fellow of the 2016 South Carolina Collaboration on Race and Reconciliation, Davis is committed to being an active participant in South Carolina’s efforts to improve community relations and support conversations on race and reconciliation. In addition, Davis serves as a member of Dance/ USA’s Board of Trustees.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Thaddeus is a Black male pictured looking out in the distance, beyond the camera. He has golden-brown skin and is bald. He is wearing a black tank top. Behind him, just out of focus, there is another figure with their arm extended to the side. The scene resembles a dance studio.
San Francisco native Bradford Chin (he/him) is a San Francisco- and Los Angeles-based dance artist, scholar, DEI/accessibility consultant, and audio describer for dance. Described by LA Dance Chronicle as “conceptually fun,” his collaborative works have been presented at festivals, museums, galleries, and schools. Formerly with AXIS Dance Company, he has performed works by choreographers including Arthur Pita, Jennifer Archibald, and Robert Dekkers, and has danced with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Contempo Ballet, and Laurel Jenkins, among others. For two years, he co-directed stART, highlighting emerging artists in partnership with ARTX and with funding by Arts Council for Long Beach. Specializing in physically integrated dance and inclusive teaching methods, Chin has taught ballet, contemporary modern, improvisation/composition, and jazz techniques in ten states and internationally. His applied and scholarly research interests are aesthetics, pedagogy, disability, race, and ballet in Western concert dance culture, and he is currently a Special Projects Consultant for Dance Data Project®. He earned his BFA in Dance from California State University, Long Beach and received additional training from the American Dance Festival and Backhausdance.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Bradford, an Asian male, looks coolly at the camera with the faintest smile touching the ends of his lips. His black hair is buzzed short on the sides, slightly parted on the left, and coiffed like a cresting wave toward the right. He wears a black, sleeveless, slim-looking down vest with the collar up around his neck, with a short-sleeve, pale grey v-neck shirt underneath. He is sitting on light grey, concrete stairs which rise behind him. Photo credit: Kaylin Bourdon
Britney Tokumoto is proudly from Honolulu, HI and attended Mid Pacific School of the Arts. She graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in 2012 and received her BFA in Modern Dance. In NYC, she has performed with Schoen Movement Company, Bare Dance Company, Colectivo Dos Zetas, Tami Stronach, and Denisa Musilova. Currently, Britney lives in Delray Beach, FL and collaborates with Adele Myers and Dancers, Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, and Loren Davidson. Together, Britney and Loren were commissioned as Miami Light Project’s Here and Now 2020 artists. Britney is honored to have joined the National YoungArts Foundation as Dance Discipline Coordinator in 2020.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Britney, an Asian female, smiles with closed mouth, looking at the camera with brown eyes. Her long hair, ombre from dark brown to sun-kissed blonde, is parted slightly to the side – the left side is tucked behind her ear and the other side cascades down her right shoulder. She wears a blue tank top. Green foliage, just out of focus, fills the background.
Erin Carlisle Norton is a choreographer, dancer, movement educator, and arts administrator. She is the Artistic Director of the NJ/NYC based dance company, The Moving Architects, and is the Executive Director of Dance New Jersey, the statewide service organization for dance and dance education.
Founded in 2007, Erin leads The Moving Architects as a non-profit dance organization that focuses on connecting people intimately to dance through community-based projects and programming in the areas of performance, education, and public discourse. Choreographically she constructs female-centric collaborative dance works and performance experiences, regularly working with artists in visual arts, multimedia, and sound. Erin’s work has been presented internationally through company performance and teaching tours to Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with the US Department of State and US Embassies, as well as in Morocco and Guatemala, and widely at dozens of traditional and unconventional venues including NYC area’s BAM Fisher, Bryant Park Dance Festival, Ramapo College Berrie Center, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place, The Tank, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Performance Mix Festival, and Gibney, among others. National venue highlights include 21C Museum Hotel (Lexington), Spring Break Art Fair NYC, The Dance Complex (Boston), Point Park University (PA), and Links Hall (Chicago). Choreographic residencies have included yearly residencies at Wilson College (PA); Dancewave as the first artist-in-residence (Brooklyn); High Concept Laboratories (Chicago); Columbus Dances Fellowship (OH); Nimbus Dance Works (NJ); and The Iron Factory (Philadelphia).
Erin frequently guest teaches in academic and community settings, and leads the company’s pay-what-you-can movement program, Community Movement Project, in Northern NJ. She also hosts and produces the company’s semi-monthly dance interview podcast, Movers & Shapers: A Dance Podcast, interviewing those who “shape” the dance field. Erin has a BFA and MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, a Graduate-level Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis from Columbia College Chicago (GLCMA), and is a Certified Pilates and Barre Instructor. She is a 2014 and 2020 Choreographic Fellowship recipient from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Erin, a white female, faces the camera. She has light colored eyes framed by red hair which is pulled into a bun with bangs. She is wearing a black and white checkered top in front of a grey background. Photo by Rachel Neville
Gabriel Carrion-Gonzales (he/him) is a male identifying dancer, choreographer, and arts administrator. He is native to the land known today as Albuquerque, New Mexico, unceded Tiwa territory, where he is currently based. He works as a Residency Artistic Associate with the National Dance Institute of New Mexico (NDI-NM) where he previously held a position of Albuquerque Artistic Associate. Gabriel is also starting with Dancing Earth as a Summer Institute invited artist. His work with NDI-NM has given him the opportunity to work closely with public school students in communities of lands know today as: Albuquerque, Artesia, Santa Fe, and Silver City. As a result of the global pandemic his dance education job has shifted to a 100% virtual format where he continued to work with public school students and public-school administrative staff from lands know today as: Artesia, Albuquerque, Gallup, Raton, Silver City, and Socorro. In 2019 Gabriel graduated with a BA in Psychology and an interdisciplinary minor in chemistry, dance, and arts administration. As an artist, Gabriel has studied ballet/choreography nationally including a 2.5-year training program at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB). Gabriel has performance experience with Yeztli Danza y Arte (ABQ), Keshet Center for the Arts Company (ABQ), and a co-directed start up project with work premiering as a COVID-safe show last fall under direction of the New Mexico Dance Project (Santa Fe). He is excited to continue his journey of self-empowerment through the arts/arts administration with the intent of helping arts communities grow towards being completely safe and equitable spaces for all.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Gabriel Carrion-Gonzales, a Hispanic male, smiles with closed mouth at the camera. He has short dark hair, dark eyes, and is wearing a black and reddish-brown patterned button-down shirt with the top button undone and a necklace. He is standing under an indoor-outdoor corridor, with sunlight seeping through columns to one side and a natural wood ceiling.
Gabriel Mata (pronounced: gah-bryehl mah-tah) is a Mexican U.S. American dance choreographer, educator, dance film maker, and performer. He also navigates the world as queer, Latinx, immigrant, and as of recently a permanent resident to the U.S. He creates with a humanistic and egalitarian process while developing practices of decentering/decolonizing. The StarTribune has called him “Sly, subtle and totally virtuosic, theatrical dancer-choreographer Gabriel Mata holds the stage with expressive movement and witty words.” Gabriel Mata/Movement is a Washington DC project-based company, initiated in 2015. His dance works have been performed in Minnesota, California, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In collaboration with haus of bambi, he has created dance films. His dances have been commissioned and presented by Georgian Court University, sjDANCEco, the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, Dance Place, Silicon Valley Pride, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. Recently, he was awarded the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Grant. He received his Master’s in Fine Arts from the University of Maryland – College Park.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Gabriel Mata, a Mexican male with short coiffed dark hair, dark eyes, tan skin, and a bare upper torso in profile, turns his face toward the camera with a slight smile.
Kerry Lee is the Co-Artistic Director of the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company, where she began her dance journey under the direction of her mother Hwee-Eng Lee while also immersing herself in the pre-professional ballet world. After graduating from Stanford University with an engineering degree and working for a top-ranked economic consulting firm, she followed her heart into the professional dance world in New York City. As a traditional Chinese and modern/contemporary dancer, she toured nationally and internationally with the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, H.T. Chen & Dancers, Dance China NY, and gloATL before returning home to co-lead the Atlanta Chinese Dance Company with her mother. The troupe of 80 dancers has enchanted Chinese and non-Chinese audiences alike through twenty original full-evening productions and hundreds of community outreach performances for schools/universities, museums, libraries, senior centers, military bases, arts festivals, international days, corporate events, Asian American community celebrations and more. The company has been the recipient of several grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and Georgia Council for the Arts.
For many years Kerry worked at the intersection of the arts and activism on staff at Alternate ROOTS (a regional arts service organization based in the South), where she is still a longtime member. She has also been politically active in the Asian American community, including the Georgia Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Biden-Harris leadership council, Young Asian Americans for Biden Georgia state lead, Volunteer Co-Coordinator for the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders’ first ever meeting in the Southeast, and Obama for America Fall Fellow. These life-changing experiences were instrumental in propelling her towards addressing social justice issues through the art of Chinese dance. Her signature work Ribbon Dance of Empowerment: Chinese Dance through the Eyes of an American combines Chinese dance with personal storytelling to share a rarely told story about growing up Chinese American in the black/white racial binary of the South, celebrating the role Chinese dance has played in her search for identity, belonging, and self-acceptance.
Kerry is a published writer. She recently co-wrote an article with Anne Huang for In Dance entitled, “Preserving, Building, and Connecting: Addressing Social Justice Issues through Culturally Specific Dance.” Previously, she wrote an article for Alternate ROOTS’ Creating Place: The Art of Equitable Community Building (a multimedia exploration of creative placemaking) entitled, “A Global South: Building Community through Chinese Dance.” She also maintains a personal blog entitled, Memoirs of a Chinese Dancer.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Kerry, a Chinese-American female, stands outside facing the camera with a smile. Her dark hair pulled into a low-ponytail that rests over one shoulder. She is wearing a black tee shirt with white writing. Behind her, white waves break from a blue ocean.
Loren Sass is an arts administrator, researcher, and writer. Currently, she serves as the Deputy Director of Development at Gibney (NYC) where she helps raise over $4M annually in support of the performing arts field. In September 2017, she joined Gibney as the Institutional Giving Manager, and subsequently held the role of Senior Manager of Institutional Giving before transitioning to her current position. Prior to Gibney, Loren served as the Development Assistant at the American Dance Festival for two seasons, after engaging as both a student and an intern. Loren relished the opportunity to experience the wide range of dance companies that came through the Festival; she enjoys a similar multiplicity at Gibney.
In order to develop her skills as an emerging leader in the dance field, Loren recently completed two years of service as part of Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee (JComm). As part of JComm, Loren participated in a range of professional development activities and engaged in critical dialogue about the New York City dance field with a focus on equity, inclusion, and advocacy. Throughout 2019-2020, Loren served on the Executive Committee as Communications Coordinator, playing a vital role in community outreach and alumni networking. Her years on JComm have shown her firsthand the importance of not only building a strong network of peers, but truly “building a net that works.” Loren hopes to continue strengthening this net as part of the 2021 Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training program.
From her gap year in Israel where she volunteered at an immigrant youth village, to the present day, Loren strives to combine her passion for dance with her Jewish identity and foster cross-cultural exchange. In October 2018, Loren presented research examining the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the development of contemporary dance in Palestine at the Jews and Jewishness in the Dance World Conference at Arizona State University. In April 2019, Loren again presented this research at the Conney Conference on Jewish Arts at the 92 Street Y. Her scholarship focuses on the intersectionality of dance, conflict and peace studies, anthropology, and religion. In 2020, Loren was asked to author a biography of Wendy Perron, former Dance Magazine editor-in-chief; this piece will be published in the Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia in 2021.
Loren champions development work as advocacy, and seeks to participate in and create sustainable, anti-racist fundraising practices that leverage the structures of philanthropy and engage in equitable community relationship building. Through fundraising, she strives to uplift dance artists and cultural workers by ensuring that philanthropic contributions aide in bringing program ideas to life, rather than dictating their creation. Ultimately, Loren hopes to merge her fundraising expertise with opportunities to create programs for audiences and courageous artists, in New York City and around the globe. Loren holds a B.A in Dance and Business Administration from Muhlenberg College, where she graduated magna cum laude.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Loren, a white-skinned woman with medium-length brown hair, smiles into the camera in front of a brick wall. She is wearing a long-sleeved burgundy top with roses on it, and one gold hoop earring is visible (although she was indeed wearing both).
Rebecca Fitton is from many places. She creates community through conversation, food, and movement. Born in England and raised in Wisconsin, her arts work is informed by her experiences as a queer, neurodivergent, biracial, multi-cultural immigrant. She strives to give equal priority to her multifaceted roles in the dance community as an artist, administrator, advocate, and audience member.
Fitton currently works as an independent arts manager for Will Rawls and J. Bouey, in addition to providing development support for Adrienne Westwood and 2nd Best Dance Company. Since 2017, she has worked as the Community Engagement Coordinator for DELIRIOUS Dances/Edisa Weeks facilitating public facing events including DELIRIOUS’ Roots Parties, a making and conversation space focused on prison reform and abolition movements. Fitton holds virtual space bi-weekly with the six members of FAILSPACE, a collective of artists working—and sometimes failing— to dismantle oppressive structures within peer-to-peer teaching and performance practices. She was a member of Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee from 2018-2020 and was Secretary from 2019-2020. Additional service to the field includes as a panelist for Dance/NYC’s 2020 Dance Advancement Fund, Triskelion Art’s 2021 Artist-in-Residence, and as a featured speaker at the 2020 Arts Administrators of Color Network’s Annual Convening.
Fitton presents her artistic work in non-traditional performance spaces. She has shared work in bars, grocery stores, rooftops, gardens, sidewalks, and streets across New York, New Jersey, Florida, Wisconsin, and Salzburg, Austria. She has been an artist-in-residence at Center (MI), a LEIMAY Subsidized Fellow at CAVE (NY), and a 2019 EMERGENYC participant (NY). Most recently, she completed a three-year process researching Asian American identity as an immigrant-now-citizen. She facilitated a Studies Project, “Re-presenting Asian American” at Movement Research (NY) in 2019 and received a 2020 New Work Grant from Queens Council on the Arts (NY) to present a culminating performance. The immersive performance, film, and reflection space explored nonlinear archival methods and captioning interventions. In summer 2021, she will be an artist-in-residence at The Croft (MI) where she will continue her research into rural artist communities and hyperlocal policy. During her time at The Croft, she will also serve as a mentor to their youth artists. She shares an ongoing trans-Atlantic movement practice conducted against Instagram’s algorithm with UK-based artist, Kayla McClellan. Her writing has been published by Triskelion Arts and Emergency Index.
As a performer, Fitton currently works with Structures for Change/Hannah Schwadron and Adrienne Westwood. She has previously worked with Abigail Levine, JACKS, Nathaniel Hendrickson, Renegade Performance Group, Rina Espiritu, Alex Ketley, and Rodger Belman. She is a proud member of Dance Artists’ National Collective. Currently based in Appleton, Wisconsin, the fall will call her south again as she relocates to Austin, TX to continue her public-school education and support the arts from a new geographic home.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Rebecca, a mixed-race woman, has brown chin length hair, messy bangs, and is smiling slightly. She is wearing a blue button down and is against a blurred white background. Sunlight falls onto her shoulders from behind.
Srishti Prabha is a non-binary, queer Kathak dancer and teaching assistant at the Chitresh Das Institute (CDI) in the Bay Area. Srishti has studied Kathak since the age of 5, first under Anuradha Nag and now under Charlotte Moraga, one of the few ganda bandhan shishyas (disciples) of Pandit Chitresh Das. For Srishti, Kathak has been a comfortable way to explore their/her gender and identity – a space where you are not beholden to cultural norms. They/she has found the most growth in their/her dance at CDI where an open-minded approach to the evolution of Kathak is a core principle. They/she is committed to social justice, equity, and elevating minority voices which they/she pursue in their/her everyday work as the Managing Editor at India Currents Magazine. India Currents, a community media platform devoted to the South Asian diaspora and its identities, covers Bay Area politics, culture, art, community, health, voices, and opinions that are of interest to first and second-generation immigrants.
Pandit Chitresh Das was a traditional Kathak dancer with radical views. He mined the depth of the art form to make modern connections. He said that traditional artists had to evolve without giving up the integrity of the art form. The legacy of Pandit Chitresh Das lives on through the current Artistic Director of the Chitresh Das Institute, Charlotte Moraga who has taken that ethos forward. She continues to evolve the art form while maintaining its traditional pillars of technique, rhythmic knowledge, improvisation, and stories, ensuring that she continues to highlight the methodologies, philosophies, and history of India’s rich and diverse cultures. The Chitresh Das Institute (CDI) is a leading Kathak institution, with over 160 students, and Moraga’s choreography has already received acclaim. Most recently, her work was performed by CDI students at Zellerbach Hall and the San Francisco Opera House.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Srishti, an Indian person, faces the camera with a slight smile. They have dark eyes behind wire-framed glasses, gold earrings, short dark hair to the nape of their neck and bangs. They are wearing an intricately designed top with sheer black trim and red, gold, and green embroidery. A delicate gold necklace is around their neck. Just out of focus behind them is a wall, building, green trees, and blue skies.
Tristan Grannum is originally from Brooklyn, New York. He began training in classical ballet at the age of 14 at Fiorello H. Laguardia High School for Performing Arts and Manhattan Youth Ballet. Over the years he has trained year-round at the School of Pennsylvania Ballet, and Dance Theater of Harlem where he was selected to dance in several outreach performances. He has also attended many notable ballet summer programs on full scholarship which include the Harid Conservatory, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, and Charlotte Ballet. In June 2017 he was invited to and participated in an international dance competition (Royal Dance Grand Prix) held in Beijing, China. There he won first place in the Contemporary ballet category. His professional performance credits include dancing with Brooklyn Ballet, Ballet Austin, Dayton Ballet, and the Black Iris Project. He has performed works by George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Septime Webre, Stephen Mills, Marianna Oliviera, and Tan Dao. Tristan has taught at several ballet/dance institutions across New York, Ohio, and Texas. Most recently Tristan took on the position as the Director of Dance for the Brooklyn Center for the Arts, an arts program which specializes in providing access to classical art forms for underprivileged adolescents across New York City. He is also the Artistic Director of the Judah International Dance Theater, a professional dance company that provides a platform for professional ballet/contemporary ballet dancers of color to showcase their artistry and talent.
IMAGE DESCRIPTION: Tristan, a Black male, rests his head on the back of his fingers with his face slightly tilted upward to the camera. He has closely cropped hair with a side fade, dark eyes, a trimmed moustache, and goatee. The image is in black and white.
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