Our Fellows

Meet Dance/USA's Fellows in Dance Archiving and Preservation! This program creates opportunities for archiving students to get mentorship and hands-on experience working with dance research collections and assisting artists and dance companies to preserve and organize their archives.

2020 Fellows

Sasha Jelan: 2020 Dance Archiving Fellow with Viver Brasil

Sasha Jelan is currently pursuing a masters degree in Archival Studies at Clayton State University. She received her BA in Art at the University of Southern California's Roski School of Art & Design, with an emphasis in photography. 

Sasha's professional experience includes supporting the digitization and educational programming of institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem. Her archival practice is rooted in re-thinking and reclaiming the authorship and access of the African Diaspora. 

Dance was a constant in Sasha's youth, where she studied West African, Ballet and Modern dance techniques. Sasha is very excited to revisit the history of African Dance with Viver Brasil, and to support an organization whose mission closely aligns with her archival interests.

R. Sumi Matsumoto: 2020 Dance Archiving Fellow with World Arts West

R. Sumi Matsumoto is pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science at the Pratt Institute, focusing on archival studies. She received her BFA in Dance with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She currently works in the Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Previously, she was an archives intern at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and volunteered in the archives of the José Limón Dance Foundation. Sumi is also a freelance modern dancer, who has performed at the Joyce Theater with the José Limón Institute and at MoMA with Ai Dance Theater. Sumi is passionate about dance archiving and is excited to build upon her existing experience through the Dance/USA Fellowship in Dance Archiving and Preservation. 

She looks forward to working more closely with dance artists through World Arts West and empowering practitioners of traditional dance forms to build personal archives.

Sarah Nguyen: 2020 Dance Archiving Fellow with AXIS Dance Company

Sarah Nguyen is a librarian-archivist in training and a movement practitioner. Their research interests include the ephemerality of dance, the obsolescence rate of digital creations, and the processes and ethics behind preservation, reproduction, and representation. As an advocate for open, accessible, and secure technologies, Sarah has fulfilled these values through projects such as Preserve This Podcast, Investigating & Archiving the Scholarly Git Experience, Mark Morris Dance Group Archive, CUNY City Tech Open Education Resources, and linkRot, an intermedia performance simulating the physical euphoria that internet content creation permits into the digital decay that comes with/out feelings of loss.

With AXIS Dance Company, Sarah is looking forward to bringing physically integrated dance, disability rights, and independent living movements to our cultural heritage legacy. The North Bay Area is Sarah’s hometown and they are excited to bridge recent experiences in archival practices with their lifelong dance practice to the community that inspired them to pursue dance preservation. Currently, Sarah is a Master's of Library and Information Science student with the University of Washington (UW) and will join UW’s Information School as a PhD candidate in Fall 2020.

Ishmael Ross: 2020 Dance Archiving Fellow with DanceATL

My name is Ishmael Ross and I’m a first year MLIS student at LSU’s School of Library and Information Science. I’m originally from California and received my B.A. in Legal Studies from U.C. Berkeley, where I studied human rights and the ways in which law impacts people of color. Currently I live in New Orleans, work full-time as a Librarian Associate, and possess a combined three years’ worth of archival experience. I was initially introduced to the archival world when working on a digital archives project that involved assessing Confederate payrolls and identifying female slave owners as an undergraduate researcher. I later volunteered at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) and assisted creating metadata for a scrapbook digitization project; while more recently I received an internship at the Southern Food and Beverage (SoFAB) Museum doing several tasks ranging from acquiring acid-free boxes, repackaging collections for long-term preservation, processing artifacts that were donated to the museum, and even created finding aids. This past spring I took part in a wonderful internship at the Amistad Research Center, working in both processing and research services, and I’m eager to translate these experiences to my project this summer. I find myself most interested in repositories and organizations that contain artistic or cultural records, and after graduation I hope to work somewhere that revolves around these pillars.

Being that my mother was a dancer, I understand the importance of preserving the artistic legacies of our elders. Finding out I was going to be a Dance/USA Archiving Fellow was a dream come true and I honestly can’t wait to be working with DanceATL. Atlanta has such a beautiful history that is entangled with resilience and innovation—I’m looking forward to doing outreach in the Metro Atlanta area and sharing my archival knowledge.


2018 Fellows

Carolina Meneses: Summer 2018 Dance Archiving Fellow at UCLA

Carolina Meneses is pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science at UCLA, specializing in archival studies. A second generation Cuban-American from Miami, she received her BA in comparative literature at Smith College where she focused on the intersection of memory, dance, and language. After college, she participated in an archival internship with a dance company based in New York City, which became the foundation for her interest in the contradictory nature of preserving the ephemerality of dance performance for research and reproduction.  

Carolina is excited to build upon her earlier archival experience and learn standards and best practices at UCLA Library Special Collections. Moreover, she is determined to apply her new knowledge and expertise to empower a local dance artist or arts organizations with the advantages of an organized and accessible archive for their legacy. Carolina’s more long-term goals include creating practical solutions to the challenges of capturing and making discoverable ephemeral collections so that they may successfully enter a national and international network of cultural exchange and distribution of cultural heritage documents.

Carolina is also the recipient of a Mosaic Scholarship from the Society of American Archivists, which provides support for minority students pursuing graduate studies in archival science.

Read Carolina's blog about her Fellowship here.

Daina Coffey:  Fall 2018 Dance Archiving Fellow at Chicago Dance History Project 

Daina Coffey is a Ph.D. Candidate studying U.S. history at the University of Chicago, where her teaching and research focuses on race, gender, and capitalism as well as urban and legal history. Deeply interested in digital preservation and records management, issues of accessibility, and curatorial practices, she has worked at a number of archives including the Bancroft Library at U.C. Berkeley, the Seaver Center for Western History Research at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, and the Special Collections and Research Center at the University of Chicago. Daina is thrilled to develop her archival skill set through working with local artists and dance-legacy materials at the Chicago Dance History Project this fall.

Read Daina's blog about her Fellowship here