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Day of Dance Choreographers

We are thrilled to have Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Jenna Charko, Heidi Cruz-Austin, Kiana Rosa Fischer, Shuning Huang, Sri Thina Subramaniam, & Aparna Shankar, Jennifer Turnbull, and Cierra Woods creating new site-specific work this year. Read more about each of them below.

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Esther Baker-Tarpaga

Esther Baker (MA, MFA UCLA) is a choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, parent, and educator. She co-organizes projects that are site-responsive and is co-founder of Propelled Animals, an interdisciplinary arts and social justice collective and recipients of a MAP Grant, a USAI Grant, and NPN Grant. She is an adjunct faculty at Temple and recently created site responsive performances at La Ville en Mouv’ment, Dakar, Palmerin Festival, Senegal, Cherry Street Pier, The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, ArtYard, New Jersey, The Chicago Architecture Biennale, No New Idols Festival in Riga, Latvia, Lynden Sculpture Gardens, Milwaukee, The Englert Theatre, The Wassaic Festival NY, LabBodies Baltimore, Vox Populi Philadelphia, InsideOut Festival, Burkina Faso, and Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, Pittsburgh. She was an Artist in Residence at Marin Headlands and a recipient of NY Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, and was a US Cultural Envoy in Guinea, Botswana, and South Africa. More at @estherbakertarpaga

Jenna Charko

Jenna Charko is from Warren, New Jersey, and holds her BFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a Minor in French Language and Culture. She began her training at Washington Rock Dance under the direction of Cleo Mack, performing in the Outlet Dance Project as part of the school’s youth modern company. In her time at NYU, Jenna performed works by Arnie Zane, Christina Robson, and Jeremy Nelson, and choreographed various original works. Jenna hopes to incorporate her background in visual arts with dance and choreography, exploring the bounds of each medium as a a catalog for lived experiences. More at

Heidi Cruz-Austin

Ms. Cruz-Austin has an MFA in Dance from the University of the Arts and is currently a Co-director and Assistant Professor of Dance at Muhlenberg College. She studied at the School of American Ballet and The Pennsylvania Ballet, where she received an apprenticeship in 1994. She joined the Pennsylvania Ballet Corps de Ballet in 1995, where she danced numerous featured roles for various choreographers, danced with the Philadelphia-based company Ballet X, and performed as a guest artist throughout the United States and Europe. She has been commissioned to create works for numerous colleges and festivals with her company DanceSpora. Ms. Cruz-Austin was awarded a 2008 and 2023 Choreography Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. In 2022, Ms. Cruz-Austin was given a citation from The House of Representatives of Pennsylvania for her continued leadership in the field of ballet and dance, as an advocate, teacher, and artist. @hcruza @dancespora

Kiana Rosa Fischer

Kiana Rosa Fischer graduated from Rutgers University with a B.F.A. in Dance in 2016. As a freelance artist, Kiana has danced for Cleo Mack/Rock Dance Collective, Ocampowang Dance, John Evans and Ani Javian. She has performed at festivals and venues such as KYL/D's Inhale Performance series, APAP at CityCenter, SteelStacks’ MusikFest, Mixtures Artistic Creation Program curated by the Consulate General of Spain, NYC, Joe Pub’s DANCE NOW, Rutgers University, Bam Fisher, Dixon Place, and internationally at the Taipei National Experimental Theater. Kiana’s choreography has been presented at Dixon Place, Morven Museum, MGSA’s DancePlus at MGPAC, NJPAC, and Hub City Opera and Dance Company’s unRooted film series. In 2022, she premiered work for Dance New Jersey and NJPAC’s Jersey (new) Moves program. Kiana currently teaches in the Dance department at MGSA, Rutgers University. @kianathellama__

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Shuning Huang

Shuning Huang, born and raised in Nanjing, China, received her MA in Dance Education from New York University, and BA in Dance Studies from Beijing Dance Academy. She started formally studying Chinese dance and ballet at the age of 6, and shifted her focus to modern dance from undergraduate school to continue her studies, her training encompasses Chinese (classical and folk) dance, Modern/Contemporary, Ballet, and Jazz. She is currently a dancer in Six Degrees Dance and New York Chinese Culture Center, has performed at the Mark O'Donnell Theater, WAXWorks, Culture Lab LIC, the Tank, Dixon Place, Emerging Artists Theater, New York Botanical Garden, just to name a few. As an educator, Shuning strives to create a more effective learning environment for her students. She believes that dance is a form of expression that has no boundaries and allows for different sparks to emerge. Learn more at @shyulavniga

    Sri Thina Subramaniam & Aparna Shankar

    Sri Thina is recognized for creating work that focuses on two distinct dance styles, Bharatanatyam and Odissi – her work gravitates towards examining the influence these two dance styles impose on each other. She has collaborated in productions such as Broken Seeds, Ravana, and 4 Horsemen. She has curated the San Francisco, West Wave Dance Festival, The Varnam Salon in NYC, and has presented her choreography at the Drive East Festival in NYC. More at @srithinadance


    Aparna Shankar, a Bharatanatyam dancer, has danced in Bhoomi Magal, a solo show, in numerous ensemble shows with Navatman Dance Company, and as an ensemble dancer in The Affair. Most recently she has forayed into choreography, collaborating with others (Meghana Murthy, Uditha Thiagarajan, Sri Thina Subramaniam) to present Hindolam Thillana, Wrapped in Stars at Dance Bloc 2022, and Nirmale|Shyamale: The Dualities Within at Emerging Artists Theatre’s Spark Theatre Festival. She’s also explored dance choreography for film in BEAST. @whats_appu

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      Jennifer Turnbull

      Jennifer Turnbull is a Black Queer artist who works to advance justice for humanity using all her art tools as a multidisciplinary performer, educator, dancer & choreographer, cultural organizer and collaborator. Dance is Jennifer's first language, photography their first love. The stage is their home, the streets are their playground, the parks are her canvas and water is sanctuary. More at @jenniferturnbull

        Cierra Woods

        Cierra Woods is a dance artist, movement facilitator, and arts administrator born on the unceded land of the Susquehannock people, now called Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Woods received her Bachelor of Fine Art in Dance awarded the Rose Vernick Choreography Award from Boyer College of Music and Dance. She has performed at the Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Harrisburg Fringe Festival, Judson Memorial Church and Brooklyn Museum. And has worked with esteemed artists such as Sidra Bell, Dara Meredith, Andre Zachary, Krystal Butler, Kun-Yang Lin, Merian Soto, Wen-Chung Lin, and MICHIYAYA Dance. More at @cwoodswork

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