2017 Day of Dance Choreographers
Ann Robideaux's bio (along with the other festival directors) can be found here.
Lora Allen is the artistic director of allendance. Her work has been presented at Center for Performance Research (NYC), Christ Church Neighborhood House (PHL), Community Education Center (PHL), thefidget space (PHL), CHI Movement Center (PHL), The Iron Factory (PHL), TouchstoneTheater (PA), DeSales University (PA), Northwestern State University (LA), The Performance Garage (PHL), The Grande Theater (NJ), The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Coventry University (UK), Wilson College (PA), Triskelion Arts Center (NYC), Movement Research (NYC), The Performance Garage (PHL),The University of Kansas (KS) and Dixon Place (NYC). The company has taught students at DeSales University, Wilson College, Coventry University, The University of Kansas, and The College of Charleston. She is currently a collaborator in ProjectTrans(m)it: a collaborative, long-term research and performance project delving into tech-riddled space. Lora is the founder, and artistic director of The Iron Factory, a space that works to support the challenging and experimental work of performance artists with on-going classes, performances, and artists opportunities, and the home rehearsal and performance space for allendance. Lora has a BA in Dance from DeSales University. www.allendance.org
Mesma Belsaré is a dancer, painter and actor. She was trained in Bharatanātyam at the Kalāpadma Academy (Bhopal, India) and Nātya Vriksha Academy of Performing Arts (New Delhi, India). She is continuing her studies under the guidance of Dr. Maya Kulkarni in New York City. Belsaré is recipient of the Cambridge Arts Council's Artist-Grant, the Government of India scholarship for advanced training in Bharatanātyam and Indian classical music, and the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) DANCE grant. Solo dance performance venues include The Lincoln Center (NYC), Asia Society (NYC), Alvin Ailey Theater (NYC), The Lincoln Theater (Washington D.C.), Siri Fort (New Delhi) and the Harbourfront Centre (Toronto). Artist-residency and performance venues include Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA 2015-17; William Patterson University, Wayne, NJ 2016; Holy Cross College, Worcester, MA 2011; Marymount Manhattan College, New York City 2009; University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 2008; Emerson College, Boston, MA 2007; The New School, New York City 2007; Tufts University, MA 2005, and the Boston University, MA 2004. Theater/Acting credits include When January Feels Like Summer (Central Square Theater, Cambridge, MA), Gehri Dosti: five short plays with a South Asian Bent ;-) [Harvard University and Wellesley College, Circle East, NYC (choreographer)], Tughlaq (Harvard University), Dance Like a Man (Triveni, New Delhi and Harvard University) and the opera The Bandit Queen (Holy Cross College and Boston University). www.mesmabelsare.com
Alice Blumenfeld holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University and a BA in Comparative Literature from New York University. She received a Fulbright Grant for her work in contemporary flamenco choreography. She has created five evening length performances since 2013, and formed Abrepaso as a platform for her limitless and relevant vision of flamenco to take shape. Blumenfeld toured nationally and worked as a teaching artist with Flamenco Vivo. She has worked with a range of dance companies, including; EntreFlamenco, Nélida Tirado, Jácome Flamenco, The American Bolero Dance Co., and Grammy award winning artist Hernán Romero, and many others. www.aliceblumenfeld.com
Camile Gamble is an artist and choreographer full of passion for the arts. A Temple University graduate, she has a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with a minor in Psychology. She currently works at The Performance Garage as Technical Director. Upon graduating in 2015, Camille continues to train and perform throughout the Philadelphia area. She has worked with artists such as Dr. Kariamu Welsh (Kariamu and Company) and Keila Cordova (3 Pony Show/keila cordova dances). Camille loves to choreograph and constantly pushes herself to better her work and provoke emotion out of her movement. She co-produced her first show in April of 2017 entitled The InterACTion Project. Her work has also been featured in numerous shows thoughout Philly, such as the ETC Performance Series, IDA's Black Box Showcase and KYLD'S Inhale/Exhale Performance Series. https://camillegamble.wixsite.com/portfolio
Paola Garcia is a New York City based Sufi dancer and member of UNESCO International Dance Council. She is a student of internationally renowned Persian choreographer and dance master Rana Gorgani. Paola has performed in different spaces in New York City, including the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, Alwan for the Arts, Mana Contemporary, and Brooklyn Studio for Dance. Last year she traveled to France to do an intensive seminar with Rana Gorgani. This summer, Paola will travel to Turkey with her teacher to further her learning of sama and then, back to France to pursue a UNESCO dance teaching certification and study privately and in a seminar with Rana Gorgani. Paola has traveled extensively in the Middle East, including living in Egypt for several months, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, and Turkey. Her travels were inspired by her love of Arabic music, dance, language, poetry and cultures. Paola is a graduate of Columbia Law School and a writer and translator. She is presently finishing a Master’s in Islamic Studies at Columbia University. Paola is originally from Mexico and has lived in New York for over 15 years.
*For more on writing, Arabic music and dance, please see: https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/03/154468/praise-arabic-music-belly-dance/
Merli V. Guerra is a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with a background in ballet, modern, and classical Indian dance. She is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Luminarium Dance Company—an award-winning contemporary dance company based in Boston, MA, that is regularly hailed for its unique combination of dance and light. Guerra has performed lead roles on international tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009), while her choreographic works, dance-on-camera films, and interactive art installations have been presented by more than 80 venues across New England, New York, and the West Coast. Her work with Luminarium extends beyond the traditional stage; her Night at the Tower project was honored as one of just three projects (out of 5,000+ across the state in 2014) to receive the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious 2015 Gold Star Award. Beyond choreography, Guerra is Art Director of Art New England magazine; Senior Contributor to The Arts Fuse (critiquing and highlighting dance events across New England), and a ballet and contemporary dance critic for the international Fjord Review. Guerra frequently acts as a panelist, judge, guest choreographer, critic, speaker, and advocate for the arts. She recently relocated to Princeton, NJ, and now splits her time, traveling between Princeton and Boston for her work in the arts. http://www.luminariumdance.org
Pamela Hetherington is a professional dancer, choreographer, educator, and artistic director. A Philadelphia native, she was a principle dancer with Tap Team Two & Company, under the direction of Robert F. Burden, Jr., from 1996-2011, during which time she performed widely in major theaters and festivals all over Philadelphia and the East Coast. Those experiences led her to imagine and produce dozens of tap dance and live music events in Philadelphia, starting in 2007. In 2014, she created Take It Away Dance, a tap dance and live music company that is the sound of Philadelphia. Her work has been presented by Small Stakes Philly, Jazz Bridge, The Philadelphia Jazz Project, Fringearts, the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange, the Reading Terminal Market, Creative Philadelphia, Koresh Dance Company, Dixon Place, the Barnes Foundation, Mann Center for the Performing Arts and The Fillmore (Zakarak Productions). She has received artistic support from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2014-2017), Small but Mighty Arts (2014), and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (2016-2017). Her first original jazz composition for tap dance wase published in the Philadelphia Real Book, 1st Edition (Feb. 2017). She owns and operates Sound Space, a percussive and world dance space in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia. Her extensive community tap outreach efforts were recently recognized in the May 2017 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine. pamelahetherington.net takeitawaydance.com
Kathleen Hickey, a native Chicagoan, is a choreographer, dancer and teacher. Currently based in West Lafayette, Indiana, her work has been seen throughout Chicago (Links Hall, Hamiln Park, South Shore Cultural Center, Fasseas Whitebox Theatre), Milwaukee (Mitchell Hall, Kenilworth Studios), New York (Gibney Dance), Minneapolis (Bryant Lake Bowl), and the Indianapolis region (Wabash College, Anderson University, Purdue University). She has performed in works by director Rebecca Holderness at the New York Drama League, in New York City, choreographer Brandi Coleman at Mitchell Hall in Milwaukee, WI, and director Joel Ebarb at the Kampa Museum, in Prague in the Czech Republic. Hickey holds a B.A. in Political Science from Purdue University and an M.F.A. in Dance and Performing Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and currently is a Visiting Instructor in the Division of Dance at Purdue University's School of Visual and Performing Arts.
Sigrid Zahner is an Associate Professor of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue University, and is head of the ceramics program there. In addition to teaching both graduate and undergraduate level ceramics, Sigrid has taught undergraduate sculpture courses, textile courses, and co-taught the graduate level installation class in the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Purdue.
Sigrid’s work is represented in several museums and collections, including the Grimmerhus Museum, Danish National Museum of Ceramic Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, The NAU Museum in Arizona, The Copia Museum, Napa, CA, Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center Skaelskor, Denmark, and the Diane and Sandy Besser Collection. In addition to showing in the USA, Sigrid has shown all over the world including in Japan, Denmark, UK, and has shown at NCECA, The National Council of Education in the Ceramic Arts.
Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, choreographer and performer. In 2014
she founded the roving performance series The Bunker Presents, which gives a platform to
underexposed choreographers and cultivates dance literacy among audience members. She graduated
from Hampshire College in 2011 with a self-designed concentration in Resource Politics and
Performance Studies. She is interested in cooperative, non-hierarchical labor and dismantling
capitalism. She founded Undertow Dance in 2016 and has been invited to present her choreography at
Triskelion Arts and Green Space.
Cleo Mack is the founder and Artistic Director of Cleo Mack Dance Project. Her choreography has been commissioned by 10 Hair Legs, Perpich School of the Arts, and Quad City Ballet. This year she was the recipient of the 2017 Hollins University Teaching Award. She has been 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., and the Hungarian American Dance Festival in Hungary. Cleo was selected by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch in 2002.” Ms. Mack has enjoyed support from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and has also received space grants from Victory Hall, The Field, DTW, and Lincoln Center. Ms. Mack has created costumes for Pam Tanowitz, Meghan Frederick, Chein-Ying Wang, Randy James and Julia Ritter. She has been a teaching artist for the American Repertory Ballet Institute, Rutgers University, DeSales University, and the University of Iowa. She is currently Director of Dance at the Middlesex County School of Performing Arts and co-owner of Washington Rock Dance. Cleo serves on the boards of DanceNJ, CoLab Arts, and the Dunellen Arts Commission. Recently she has served on the committees to rewrite the New Jersey State English Language standards as well as the New Jersey State Arts Standards. 2016 marks the inception of Mack's newest project, Rock Dance Collective, a shared project with collaborators Kelli McGovern and Blair Ritchie dedicated to pushing progress in the field of dance. rockdancecollective.com.
Vanessa Owen is originally from Amity, Pennsylvania and she re8ceived her B.F.A. in Dance from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She has danced professionally with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, the Washington Reflections, the Dayton Philharmonic’s production of Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, the Kennedy Center’s production of Children of Eden and Company E of Washington DC. Vanessa was awarded a 2013-2014 Fellowship in Choreography by the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and her choreography has been presented at Wright State University, the 30th Annual Choreographer’s Showcase, YES! Dance Virginia, Velocity DC Dance Festival, Malayaworks’ Intersections, Agora Dance, Shenandoah University, and Company E.
As an artist with Company E, Vanessa worked extensively with the U.S. Department of State as a Cultural Ambassador; taking her to Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, England, Russia, Cuba, Israel, Palestine, Azerbaijan, and Uruguay. On these tours she performed and choreographed many concert dance and musical theater productions and led intensives and workshops in contemporary dance. Vanessa now lives in the mountains of Western North Carolina and freelances as a choreographer and dancer. https://www.facebook.com/stewartowendance/
Ramita Ravi graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in May of 2017. Born and raised near Pittsburgh, she has trained and competed for 18 years in styles including ballet, contemporary, tap, and hip hop - winning 10 regional titles & the national title of Miss Headliner. She has also trained in Bharathanatyam since age 5 under Smt. Jaya Mani, and she completed her arangetram in 2009. She was a top 30 finalist on So You Think You Can Dance Season 14, recognized as the first Indian Contemporary contestant to be on the show in 14 seasons. Currently residing in NYC, she dances with Kalamandir Dance Company NYC and has taught Indian Contemporary guest classes at Broadway Dance Center and Abby Lee Dance Company. During her time at Penn, Ramita was Chair of the Dance Arts Council, Chair and Artistic Director of Arts House Dance Company, and Outreach Chair & Choreographer for Penn Thillana. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCB60wNev05ZjiZZNix1iXTQ
Shreekari Tadepalli is an Indian-American poet hailing from Troy, Michigan, currently located in the Greater Philadelphia area. Her prose has been featured in anthologies such as Bullying Under Attack (TeenInk 2013), and she has performed spoken word poetry locally, at the Philadelphia Fuze, and internationally, representing Bryn Mawr at the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) in Austin, Texas. As the American-born daughter of immigrants, a trained Indian classical dancer, and student of multiple South Asian languages, she leverages her cultural identity to create art that resonates with others. As Chief Editor for Yugadi Publishers, an independent publishing house based in India, she raises the voices of other writers in English, Telugu, Sanskrit, and other languages. Balancing her creative pursuits with her passion for science and medicine, Shreekari adds a refreshing young voice to the Indian literary diaspora.
Sahasra Sambamoorthi's passion aligns accordingly with Sridhar's; to reignite the fire of the South Asian performing arts within the US. Sahasra's knowledge started from her Bharatanatyam training at the late age of nine – but this did not stop her from absorbing the style almost immediately, having her arangetram only four short years later and performing in India at prestigious venues such as the Krishna Gana Sabha and the Kartik Fine Arts in Madras 2 short years after that under the smart and able guidance of guru Smt. Kalaimamani Ramya Ramnarayan. From a young age, she knew she wanted to remain in the field not only as a dancer but as an arts administrator, and her time on Columbia University's South Asian fusion dance group Taal only furthered that ambition. Sahasra consequently co-choreographed and co-produced Her Story, a powerful dance drama about the lives of women legends in Hindu mythology with alumnus Srinidhi Raghavan. The unpredicted success of the show led her to start her dream in Navatman, Inc and further her education by garnering her MA from New York University in South Asian dance, history, and anthropology. Though Sahasra was both born and trained in the US, this has only served to widen her ability to connect with both Indian and non-Indian audiences. It has also helped her gain accolades and scholarships, such as the New Jersey State Council of the Arts Folk Arts Apprenticeship, and has been called by reporters as a "young trailblazer...on the crest of the wave leading us towards a new understanding of South Asian arts in the United States." www.navatman.org
Blythe E. Smith began dancing at the age of three in South Jersey. Her training includes the Atlantic City Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, Columbia City Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Intensive,The Rock School for Dance Education Intensive, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet Intensive. Blythe was offered scholarships to attend Joffrey Ballet, Boston Conservatory, and SUNY Purchase. She attended The University of the Arts on scholarship and graduated with a BFA in Ballet Performance in 2004. She was offered a trainee position with Ballet Magnificat in Jackson, MS in 2005. Her performance credits include Regional and National Dance America Festivals and soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Paquita, Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, and The Sleeping Beauty, all performed at The Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, PA. Blythe was a member of Alchemy Dance Company for seven years and danced several performances of new work throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. She danced extensively in a touring Tina Turner Review show entitled Simply the Best for four years. Blythe was a member of Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble for five years in which she also choreographed for the company and taught on faculty for the Danse4Nia Conservatory. As a part of D4N she danced in performances such as Thelma Hill Dance Festival and Pentacle Dance Works. Blythe has been a dancer with DanceSpora, under the direction of Heidi Cruz-Austin, for three years. In the Summer of 2012, Blythe completed the Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop at Alvin Ailey. In May 2016, Blythe graduated with her Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Temple University. She is now presenting choreographic works in Philadelphia as well as designing new curriculums. In Summer 2014, her pas de deux, Pales in Comparison was performed at the Koresh Come Together Festival. She is a dance instructor and choreographer for several studios throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania and has worked in the Philadelphia school system under the organization PAEP, Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership. She also has choreographed contemporary solos and acted as a coach for students training for YAGP. In addition to teaching, Blythe has worked counseling young dancers for Ballet organizations including CPYB, Ballet Magnificat, and American Ballet Theater. Blythe is the Associate Artistic Director and founder of Magnolia Hill Studios:Art and Dance, a studio dedicated to sharing a love of the visual and performing arts with children. She has choreographed and directed eight full-length shows for MHS and helps direct the community outreach portion of the studio. In January of 2015, Blythe had the opportunity to set a piece entitled, Watermark on Pennsylvania Ballet 2. It was commissioned specifically for the program One Book, One Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Public Library. Blythe was a recipient of the Temple University Project Completion Grant to complete her MFA thesis concert, Kairos. She received the Rose Veronica Choreography Award for her overall achievement during her time at Temple.
Maxine Steinman a performer, teacher, and choreographer spanning over 25 years, has presented her choreography in numerous festivals and venues such as Joyce Soho, The 92ndStreet Y Harkness Dance Festival, the Westfest Dance Festival, the American Dance Guild Festival, DUMBO, the Battery Dance Festival, and Making Moves Festival, as well as others. She has traveled to Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Italy, and Cyprus to teach, choreograph, and perform her work. Jack Anderson and Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times have called her choreography “ingenious” and a “jewel” and in 2009 and 2011, she was awarded grants from the O'Donnell-Green Foundation for Music and Dance. Over the past 18 years, Maxine has created works for colleges and conservatories in the US and abroad at places like Montclair State University, Hofstra University, Marymount Manhattan College, the Ailey School, Institute del Teatre, Centro Andaluz de Danza, and University of Colima. Maxine was a soloist with the Eleo Pomare Dance Company for 12 years and has also performed with Denishawn Repertory Dancers, Mafata Dance Company, Robin Becker, Regina Larkin, Sue Bernhard, Spiritdance, Danceimprints, and in the LINKs project with the José Limón Dance Company, among others. Maxine holds a BFA in dance from Adelphi University, an MA in Dance and Dance Education from Teachers College Columbia University, and an MFA in Dance/Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts. Maxine is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Program Coordinator of the BFA Dance Division at Montclair State University. Learn more at www.maxinesteinman.com.
Micayla Wynn's movement research delves into the self inclination of natural dance involving extreme emotional and character development. She seeks to experiment with varying mediums of art, specifying upon cross-cultural pollination through movement. Micayla's work has been presented in San Francisco at Scottish Rite Masonic Center, New York City at Triskelion Arts and Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), in Jerusalem, Israel at the Gertrud Kraus Choreography Competition, as well as performances within Rutgers University. She was the recently the 2017 recipient of the Margery J. Turner Award for Choreography. http://micaywynn.wixsite.com/mysite