2015 Choreographers 

Belle Alvarez  is originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She spent the first half of her childhood in Manila, Philippines before immigrating to the USA. Belle is a performer, choreographer, and educator based in Philadelphia. In 2014, she earned her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Temple University. During her undergraduate years, she performed in work by Jillian Harris, Colleen Hooper Performance Projects, Dance Exchange, Charles O. Anderson/Dance Theatre X, Larry Keigwin, and Beau Hancock. This past summer, Belle performed with local choreographers Alie Vidich and Chrissie Leech. Belle has presented work since 2009 in venues located in Bethlehem, PA, Philadelphia, Quito, Ecuador, and Auckland, New Zealand. Most recently, Belle presented her work at CHI Movement Art Center’s 22nd InHale Performance Series. Belle is delighted to be a participant in The Outlet Dance Project. Learn more about Belle at www.bellealvarez.com.

Zakiya Atkinson is an artist, choreographer, and educator who has accumulated a global perspective of the arts and is utilizing it as a way to foster the cognitive, artistic, and social growth of society at large. The founder and artistic director of Zaman Dance Theatre Collective continues to present multi-disciplinary works while facilitating opportunities that promote social growth through various forms of art. Atkinson's works have been commissioned and presented locally and internationally for stage, film, theatre, and educational programming. The Pennsylvania native began her formal arts training in Philadelphia and has continued her studies in New York City and with various international artists. Zakiya Atkinson's professional training has explored the fields of dance, theatre, creative writing and music. She received her BA from Temple University School of Communications and Theater and MA in Dance Education from New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. Zakiya Atkinson has facilitated arts outreach in Uganda, the Western Cape of South Africa, and received a National Education Association grant to conduct international research while developing cross curricular units for Human Rights. Zakiya Atkinson has traveled throughout the USA, the Caribbean, and the continent of Africa to perform, educate, and develop new works. She has served on the faculty at William Paterson University and City University of New York. Learn more about Zakiya at www.zamandancetheatre.com.

Melissa Caterina Chisena had the privilege of dancing and touring nationally with North Carolina Dance Theatre and The Richmond Ballet.  Currently residing in Philadelphia, PA, has danced with Jeanne Ruddy Dance, Tania Isaac Dance.  She has performed nationally at venues such as Bates Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow, Aaron Davis Hall-Harlem Stage, Dance Place in DC, The Annenberg Center and The Wilma in Philadelphia and numerous colleges throughout the US.  Her choreography has been featured at North Carolina Dance Theatre, Richmond Ballet, American Dance Festival, Regional Dance America, Ursinus College, Philadelphia Dance Theatre, Yes! Invitational, Come Together Festival, and many other venues across the Northeast.  She is currently a member of the NADINE Project, a collaborative choreographic company Connecticut, Stone Depot Dance Lab, Beau Hancock, The Naked Stark, and runs her own company, Chisena Danza.  She is the ballet mistress at Philadelphia Dance Theatre and teaches ballet and modern at Ursinus College, Bryn Mawr, Dance Elite, and Janice’s Danceworks.  She is the producer of An Evening of Duets and Philadelphia Youth Dance Fest.  Learn more at www.chisenadanza.com.

Heidi Cruz-Austin began her dance training at the age of four at The Dolly Haltzman Dance Academy in Allentown, Pa. She went on to study at the School of American Ballet and The Pennsylvania Ballet. Ms. Cruz-Austin received an apprenticeship with Pennsylvania Ballet in 1994 and joined the Company as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 1995. She danced numerous featured roles in her tenure there including leads for various choreographers such as Val Caniparoli, Ben Stevenson, Alvin Ailey, Margo Sappington, Christopher d’Amboise, and Matthew Neenn as well as featured roles in many George Balanchine ballets. Ms. Cruz-Austin also danced with Ballet X and has performed as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. Cruz-Austin has been a ballet instructor for the Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts since 2009. She has also taught ballet at Bryn Mawr College and is currently a ballet adjunct professor at Muhlenberg College, University of the Arts, and Temple. As a choreographer, Ms. Cruz-Austin has been commissioned to create works for Franklin and Marshall College, Bryn Mawr College, Muhlenberg College, Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, and Repertory Dance Theater. She was a recipient of the 2004-2005 New Edge Residency at The Community Education Center of Philadelphia. Heidi Cruz-Austin received a 2008 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts for her choreography and is currently the co artistic director as well as the resident choreographer of DanceSpora dance company. Learn more about Heidi at www.dancespora.org.

Taylor Donofrio resides in Brooklyn,NY. She received a BA in Dance from Manhattanville College and received an award of excellence in Choreography from the Dance and Theater Department for her multimedia based performance work. Taylor has performed with Misnomer Dance, Claire Porter, and Wally Wolfgruber, and in 2009 began performing with Pucci Plus Dancers. Taylor has had the opportunity to work as resident choreographer for Not An Original theater Company creating two original works. As well, she performed and choreographed for Te Ilum Theatre Company and most recently with Fresh Ground Pepper at the Bonnarroo Music Festival in Tennessee. In 2014 she was selected as one of 15 choreographers from around the Country to participate in Doug Varone’s Choreographic DEVICES course. In 2009 Taylor established Donofrio Dance Company (DDC). They have since performed in front of audiences at the 92nd St. Y, Center for Performance Research, Jamaica Performing Arts Center, Triskelion Arts, and the Dumbo Dance Festival. DDC is fiscally sponsored by New York Live Arts and have been since 2011. DDC has gained ground for their technological work within dance and has taken residence at the Dragon’s Egg in Connecticut and has also been featured in Dance Informa magazine. More information about Taylor can be found at www.donofriodanceco.com.

Caitlin Dutton is a movement enthusiast and native of Savannah, GA. She graduated from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase and studied at the London Contemporary Dance School (The Place) in the UK. Administratively,  Caitlin has helped produce the work of emerging and mid-career artists through Chez Bushwick’s Artist In Residence program in partnership with CPR – Center for Performance Research, has self-produced her own work as a guerilla site-specific festival in collaboration with the City of Savannah, GA, and co-produced concert work at Chen Dance Center. Caitlin has performed in dances by Richard Alston, Lane Gifford, Rosalind Newman, Nelly van Bommel, Lauri Stallings, and Twyla Tharp. She has danced professionally for Backhausdance and Motion/TRIBE in Califormia, gloATL in Georgia, Calpulli Danza Mexicana, Emily Faulkner, Regina Nejman, and Jody Oberfelder. Currently, Caitlin performs the role of Alice in Third Rail Project’s Bessie award winning immersive theater production Then She Fell. She also dances with Amalgamate Dance Company and coordinates their Guest Artist Showcase. As a choreographer, Caitlin has presented dances at Dance Theater Workshop (NYLA) and the Robin Howard Dance Theatre in London, UK, and in early 2014, she founded Caitlin+dancers as a small group of collaborators. Under the new moniker, the company has been presented in New York at Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, Westbeth, the historic Falchi Building (chashama commission), The Actors Fund Theater, Green Space, Gibney Dance Center, The Norwood, and PMT Studios, and in New Jersey at the DeBaun Center for the Performing Arts. More on Caitlin can be found at www.caitlinplusdancers.org.

Monica Gonzalez is a performer, choreographer, and video artist originally from Stockton, NJ. She attended Rutgers University with a presidential full-academic scholarship and graduated with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Art History. She received the Margery Turner Choreographer Prize in her senior year.  Recent performance highlights include performing at NJPAC for the Jersey (New) Moves festival and performing with Emily Johnson/Catalyst for SHORE: Performance at New York Live Arts. In 2014 she participated in the coLAB/Lustig Choreographic Residency program, a three month space grant which culminates in a produced performance.  Monica also pursues an artistic interest in videography and has presented her dance videos in several small venues.

Heather Harrington graduated from Boston University with a degree in psychology. She then moved to New York City and danced with the Doris Humphrey Repertory Company, the Martha Graham Ensemble, the Pearl Lang Dance Theater, and the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. Her choreography has been presented by various venues nationally and internationally  including Danspace Project's City/Dans series, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Sitelines series, the Toronto Fringe Festival, Fresh Tracks at Dance Theater Workshop, Rockefeller Center, Boston University,  New Stuff at P.S. 122, Dancing in the Streets at Wave Hill, The Yard, Joyce SoHo, The 92nd Street Y,  Kean University, and the Center for Architecture. She was a finalist in 18th International Choreographic Competition in Hanover, Germany in 2004 and invited to perform in the Bangkok International Festival of Music and Dance.  She has received grants from  Meet the Composer, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, and the Harkness Space Grant from the 92nd Street Y. She has been a resident choreographer for The Yard's Bessie Schonberg Choreographers and Dancers Residency, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, and the Hotel Pupik series in Austria.  As a figure skater, Harrington has performed, taught, and choreographed for The Ice Theatre of New York, a ice skating company that blends dance and skating.  She has been  a coach for Sky Rink and for Figure Skating in Harlem. She currently teaches modern dance at Kean University and teaches Pilates at Align Pilates. www.heatherharrington.com

Emma S. Kimball is a performing artist currently residing in Brooklyn, NY. Her interest in exploring the 

innumerable storytelling languages at our disposal often leads her to create pieces that employ movement, voice and design elements in equal measure. Emma graduated from Colorado State University with degrees in Dance and International Studies and has since worked with Built for Collapse, Loading Dock Theater, Wesley Doucette and the Eugene O’Neill    Theater Center. She recently attended Bates Dance Festival and was part of the Core Company at The Orchard Project. Her choreography has been presented at The Tank and in Movement Research’s Open Performance.

Cleo Mack is the founder and Artistic Director of Cleo Mack Dance Project. In 2009 she created a new work for Quad Cities Ballet. In 2006 she was honored to receive an Individual Artists Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in recognition of her high artistic merit.  Her work has been seen at Joyce Soho Presents, Dance Theater Workshop’s Fresh Tracks, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., WAX as part of “In the Company of Women”, P.S. 1 Contemporary Dance Center, George Street Playhouse in N.J., the Hungarian American Dance Festival in Hungary, and the Perpich School of the Arts in Minnesota where she was a commissioned choreographer. She was selected by Dance Magazine as on of the “25 to Watch in 2002.”  She began her dance training at the Minnesota Center for Arts Education and earned her BFA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University in 1998, where she was the recipient of the Turner Prize Award for Choreography and the ACDFA/Dance Magazine Award for Outstanding Student Choreography.  She has been a teaching artist for the American Repertory Ballet Institute, Rutgers University, DeSale University, and the University of Iowa. She is currently Director of Dance at the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical School of the Performing Arts and the Artistic Director of Washington Rock Ballet. This fall 10 Hairy Legs will be performing Mack’s “Bathtub Trio for Three Men”.  www.cleomack.org

 

Boroka Nagy is a dancer, choreographer, and film maker from Budapest, Hungary. She began her formal dance training at “The Fame School” in New York City and continued onto the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Program to obtain a degree in dance, with an additional major in film.  In 2009, Boroka performed Bertram Ross’s Nocturne at the 75th Anniversary celebration of the 92nd Street Y, and in 2011, she was selected to perform Alvin Ailey's Memoria with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at New York City Center. Her choreography has been shown at The Ailey Citigroup Theater and the Salvatore Capezio Theater in New York, the Claire Trevor Theater, the Experimental Media Performance Lab, the Robert B. Moore Theater in California, and various venues in Rome, Italy. In February 2014, her short dance film, Oublier le temps, was screened at the 42nd Annual Dance on Camera Festival in New York City, and in the following year, several of her films were screened across the United States at various screendance festivals. In 2015, Borokaobtained her Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the University of California- Irvine, where she researched dance on film and choreography. In her exploration, she created an interactive performance exhibition, which combined live performance, screendance, and projection art in an audience interactive setting. Boroka is currently a freelance dance and multimedia artist, exploring her deeper artistry of movement and film. More can be found at www.borokanagy.com.

Hilary    Pierce graduated magna cum laude from Bryn Mawr College with a BFA in sculpture and dance. She graduated from Headlong Performance Institute in 2014. Her unique style blends performance and sculpture in her work, either by designing and creating costuming to change the perception of movement on the human body or by using abstract art installations to create surreal, otherworldly environments for dance performance. Her performances are often described as “transcendent”, “mythical” and “emotional”. She has produced, directed, danced, acted, choreographed and designed solo and ensemble performance work since 2010. From 2012-2014 she worked as a studio assistant and teacher’s assistant for the Haverford College sculpture department. She currently professionally performs tribal belly dance across the United States, teaches, and choreographs belly dance for Bryn Mawr College, Haverford College and in the city of Philadelphia. She has studied West African dance, Kabuki Theater, Butoh, Rajastani dance, Kathak, Flamenco, Modern, Jazz, Ballet, Clowning, Commedia and Neutral Mask.

 

Donna Salgado has devoted her life to discovering where the worlds of dance, music, art, and learning intersect. At a young age she became engrossed with her classical ballet studies, training with Tatjana Akinafieva-Smith and Elena Manakhova. Under their guidance she performed in many of the classic works of ballet. She spent summers training at ABT, CPYB, NYSSSA Ballet, and Lines Ballet. She furthered her education with a BFA in Dance Performance from Towson University and an MFA in Dance Performance and Teaching from Purchase College, SUNY. During her schooling she performed the choreographies of George Balanchine, Geoffrey Holder, Paul Taylor, Yanis Pikeris, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar. She has performed professionally with the Eglevsky Ballet, the Connecticut Ballet, Deborah Lohse’s ad Hoc Ballet, Thomas/Ortiz Dance, and David Fernandez’s Some Dance Company. Commercially, she has performed in runway shows and installations for New York Fashion Week, the Armory Show, and the International Beauty Show Expo, and has collaborated with Grammy Award Winning Artist MYA. Donna has commissioned 12 different choreographers to create works on her and/or her company, CONTINUUM, including artists such as Edwaard Liang, Luca Veggetti, Emery LeCrone, Alexandre Proia, and Amy Seiwert. Her choreography has been presented by the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (in 2011, 2012, and 2015), 92nd Street Y, DanceNOW, Latin Choreographers Festival, the CURRENT SESSIONS, Brooklyn Ballet, Island Moving Company, Pace University, the Columbia Ballet Collaborative, the Princeton University Ballet, and the Harvard Ballet Company. In 2010, she founded CONTINUUM Contemporary/Ballet, a dance company committed to creating work that plays in the concert dance spectrum. CONTINUUM is a close knit group of New York City dance artists united by their classical training and their contemporary artistic voices. In addition to her work as a performing artist and choreographer, she is an advocate of education. She co-authored the children’s book Crafterina with her sister Vanessa, and is a faculty member at the School of Steps on Broadway, the Joffrey Ballet School, and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy. For more on Donna and her company see www.continuumcontemporaryballet.org.

Svea Schneider, born in Germany is a NYC based dancer, choreographer, performing artist and dance educator. She attended the Iwanson School for Contemporary Dance in Munich/Germany and moved to NYC in 2003 where she extensively trained in urban dance, floorwork, contact improvisation, acrobatics and Forsythe technique. Svea has taught and performed throughout Germany, UK, US, Canada, Dubai, India and Peru. She has worked with Pilobolus Dance Theater (PCS), Vissi Dance Theater and extensively toured the US and the UK with Decadancetheatre. As a dancer, Svea has performed at such renowned stages as the South Bank Center, Liverpool Playhouse, B Supreme Festival, Bumbershoot and Jacobs Pillow. Svea has worked for off Broadway, film, TV and commercials, working with companies and artists such as Chris Cornell, Timbaland, Lil’ John, MTV, BET, ABC Networks, Eska Music Video Awards. Svea is the founder of KINEMATIK Dance Theater (2010), an urban contemporary dance company that uses the body, visual imagery, technology and props to create thought provoking and visually stimulating dance experiences. From 2014 to 2015 she moved to Lima/Peru where she was appointed artistic director, principal choreographer and master teacher of the dance organization “D1 Dance” in Lima. Svea holds a BA (magna cum laude) in choreography and dance anthropology from NYU, received an emerging artist grant from the Brooklyn Council on the Arts and was the recipient of the Leo Bronstein Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Arts. Svea was chosen for the Performance Project Residency from 2011-2012 in NYC, the Flushing Town Hall Dance Residency in 2013 in NYC, and recently participated in the KHOJ International Artist Residency in Pune/India where she created a large-scale site-specific public dance performance in an abandoned hotel. Svea’s work is athletic, thought provoking and dynamic and often explores topics of identity, gender myths, memory, multiculturalism, and site-specific public space. More info about Svea can be found at www.kinematikdance.com.

 

Meredith Stapleton is a Philadelphia-based dance artist and teacher. She grew up in Harvard, MA training at Acton School of Ballet and performing with Commonwealth Ballet Company. In 2013, she graduated from  Muhlenberg College as a Dance major and Women's Studies minor. In Spring 2012, Meredith studied in Arezzo, Italy at Accademia dell’Arte where she met collaborator Joseph Ahmed. Meredith has attended many summer workshops, including Burklyn Ballet Theater, Alonzo King Lines School of Ballet, the Boston Conservatory, on scholarship with Summer Stages at Concord Academy, and Doug Varone & Dancers. She has performed works by Corrie Cowart, Trinette Singleton, Meredith Rainey, Sean Curran, Teresa Fellion, The Bang Group, Heidi Cruz-Austin, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, and  Jeffrey Peterson. Meredith has worked professionally with DanceSpora, Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, Teresa Vandenendsorge, Megan Flynn Dance Company, DRIGGProductions, Evalina Carbonell, Sean Thomas Boyt, Ashley Sleeth, Kat Sullivan, The Naked Stark, and Antonia & Artists. She rehearses her own stage, site-specific, and film projects out of Headlong Studios and Mascher Space Co-op. Meredith has taught at Happy Feet Dance Studio, and Haddonfield School of Dance, and is currently on faculty at Koresh School of Dance and Muhlenberg College. More about Meredith at www.meredithstapleton.com

Ayana Wildgoose is a 21 year old creative artist based out of Franklin Township, New Jersey. Her training in the arts began at an early age allowing her to pursue many different avenues of expression. The love and appreciation for sound brought her to spoken word as well as musical composition. She is now exploring the convergence of poetry and movement. Ayana's interests expand beyond dance to include visual art and design as she enjoys creating the attire for her own works. Being classically trained in many styles of dance including contemporary, ballet, and Hip Hop to name a few, she uses her diverse movement background to tell a story. Spiritually and self determination have become very prominent influences for her pieces as much of the inspiration comes from her understanding of people as a collective. As a woman of color, one of her main aspirations is to unify people and show them that all beings have more in common than we are led to believe. With a main message of love, Ayana strives to allow her creations to elicit an overall feeling of peace. In the future she will be exploring dance on camera and elements in nature.

 

 

 

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