Faculty

“The best part of the summer was the teachers. They demonstrated such a mastery of the material, demanded all of our presence and awareness, and pushed us (lovingly) to demand the very best from ourselves. This kind of teaching is uncommon, it’s the kind of teaching that the American Dance Festival is famous for, and it’s the kind that I crave all school year.” -2011 Student

ADF is fortunate to have some of the most dedicated faculty in the country on its roster.  These individuals form a group of generous, inspired, and accomplished dance artists that are the foundation of the ADF community. They serve as guides and mentors, inspiring students to attain new levels of artistry and physicality. After a summer spent working side by side in the studio, seeing performances together, and dialoguing with one another, students and teachers often forge relationships that last long after the festival is over. We invite you to read about each of our faculty below.

past faculty

Charles Anderson

CharlesAnderson.GabrielBienczycki

Charles O. Anderson, a native of Richmond, VA, is Head of Dance at the University of Texas at Austin and artistic director of Charles O. Anderson Dance Projects (formerly dance theatre X). He received his BA in Dance from Cornell University and his MFA in Dance from Temple University. As a dancer Anderson has worked with such noted choreographers as Ronald K. Brown, Talley Beatty, Jim Self, Mark Dendy, Sean Curran, Vincent Mantsoe, and Joy Kellman. Anderson’s choreography has been presented throughout the US as well as internationally at such venues as Dancespace at St. Mark’s Church, New York Live Arts, The Fusebox Festival in Austin, The Beijing Modern Dance Festival, and The Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. After many years in Philadelphia, in 2011 Anderson joined the Theatre and Dance faculty of the University of Texas at Austin as a tenured associate professor of African Diasporic Dance, where he has established himself as a teaching choreographer dedicated to creating interdisciplinary dance projects committed to social justice. Anderson was selected as one of “The 25 Artists to Watch” by Dance Magazine and is a Pew Fellowship in the Arts recipient. 

Photo credit: Gabriel Bienczycki

Kira Blazek Ziaii

kira-blasek-amanda-vincelliKira Blazek Ziaii is a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist originally from Houston, Texas. She has performed with Hubbard Street 2, Douglas Dunn & Dancers, Christopher Williams, anoukvandijkdc, Pilobolus Creative Services, Phantom Limb Company, and Shen Wei Dance Arts, among others. Her choreography has been presented in New York, Sarasota, Tulsa, Austin, and Los Angeles, as well as featured in music videos for Beach House and De Lux. Kira holds a BFA from Oklahoma University and an MFA from California Institute of the Arts. She has been a certified Countertechnique teacher since 2012 and is on faculty at University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Other teaching engagements have included Gibney Dance Center, Princeton University, California State University Long Beach, Hope Stone, Austin TBXS, Oklahoma University, and company classes for BODYTRAFFIC and Diavolo.

Photo credit: Amanda Vincelli

Robbie CooK

RobbieCook-KristinaPugh

Robbie Cook is a Brooklyn-based dance artist working as an Assistant Professor of Dance at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. During the summer he teaches at both the American Dance Festival and the Bates Dance Festival. Robbie has taught internationally through Japan Contemporary Dance Network as a member of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in Sapporo, Japan, The i-Dance Festival in Hong Kong, Chadwick International School in Incheon, South Korea and has been invited two times to Universidad de Las Américas in Puebla, México, to teach and set choreography on the students. While living in Los Angeles, he played percussion with String Theory Productions at the 2014 Emmy’s Governor’s Ball, led a contact improvisation workshop for the BODYTRAFFIC Company, and was on the dance faculty at Loyola Marymount University from 2011 to 2015. Robbie has also been on the dance faculty of Shenandoah Conservatory, Idyllwild Arts Academy, CSSSA @ Cal Arts, and TCU. As a dancer he has performed for Michel Kouakou, Rosie Herrera, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Douglas Dunn, Liz Lerman, Edwaard Liang, Margaret Jenkins, Liz Gerring, Keith Thompson, Stacy Spence, Laurel Jenkins, Jan Erkert, Third Rail Projects, Lucky Plush Productions, Dallas Opera’s Production of Boris Godunov, and Deborah Hay (SPCP ’01 & ’07) and performed Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A as a duet with Hope Mohr. Robbie’s choreography has been performed nationally and internationally in Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Alaska, and Tokyo, Japan, and on students at Pepperdine, UDLAP, Idyllwild, ADF, and Shenandoah Conservatory. He earned an MFA in Dance from Bennington College and a BFA from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Robbie’s classes draw from his study of Functional Anatomy with Irene Dowd and his continual investigation of the eight limbs of Yoga. Robbie Cook Dance.

Photo credit: Kristina Pugh

Elizabeth Corbett

ElizabethCorbett.Grant HalversonForsythe dancer Elizabeth Corbett trained at the National Academy of Arts and the School of American Ballet and with Maggie Black and Marjorie Mussman in NYC. She danced with the Joffrey Ballet and the Milwaukee Ballet before moving to Europe. There she became a soloist with William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet and danced for over a decade in works including Love Songs, Artifact, In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, Enemy in the Figure, Steptext, Behind the China Dogs, The Loss of Small Detail, and Vile Parody of Address. Ms. Corbett now guest teaches ballet, improvisation technologies, and Forsythe repertory workshops freelance and for Forsythe Productions internationally. She was Dance Coordinator for Anne Teresa DeKeersmaeker’s school of contemporary dance, PARTS, in Brussels from 1999 to 2005 and danced with Ms. DeKeersmaeker in With/For/By, a Rosas/Impulstanz production including works by Dana Caspersen, Amanda Miller, Forsythe, and DeKeersmaeker. She has been choreographic assistant to William Forsythe, Ms. DeKeersmaeker, and Robert Wilson in productions for the Paris Opera and Rosas. Ms. Corbett has taught classes and workshops for dance companies, festivals, and institutions around the world including PARTS/Rosas, Impulstanz Vienna, Cullberg Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, University of the Arts Philadelphia, Movement Research/International Dance Dialogues, Dance Ireland, Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts, and Beijing Dance Academy, where she received an honorary professorship. In the Memphis area, where Elizabeth currently resides with her family, she teaches Forsythe workshops at Ballet Memphis’ school and for the New Ballet Ensemble Company and School where she recently set an original work. She was recently awarded a Chairman’s Award locally for her fundraising, providing meals for schools in Kenya. Elizabeth has been an American Dance Festival faculty member since 2006 and is a current Rosenberg Distinguished Artist for 2015-2016 working in conjunction with Towson University and Forsythe Productions.

Photo credit: Grant Halverson

LEAH COX (Dean)

LeahCox.Grant HalversonLeah Cox is an educator, performer, and choreographer. In addition to being Dean of the American Dance Festival, Cox holds the position of Term Associate Professor at Bard College. Leah is an avid educator, teaching classes for all ages and levels of ability nationwide. She has been on faculty at the American Dance Festival, Peridance, and Dance New Amsterdam and is a master teacher and adjudicator for YoungArts. Cox worked with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company in various capacities from 2001 to 2014. She began as a company dancer, briefly occupied the role of rehearsal assistant, became the company’s first education director, launching its education programs, and regularly reconstructed the company’s works on students and professional dancers. When the company merged with Dance Theater Workshop to form New York Live Arts, Cox continued in her education capacity, developing Live Arts’ education programs. Most notably, she oversaw the six-year partnership between Live Arts and Bard College. Her choreography has been presented in New York City at the 92nd Street Y, Dixon Place, the DUMBO Dance Festival, and the CoolNY Festival, in addition to other locations beyond NYC. Cox is inspired by the way that her teaching, performing, and creative practices inform one another and provide a richly layered perspective on dance as it functions in contemporary culture.

Photo credit: Grant Halverson.

Joy Davis

Joy Davis teaches Contemporary Dance: Countertechnique during shopping period at Harvard University. Students gather in the dance studio on Garden Street to learn from Joy Davis (pictured), a certified Countertechnique expert, dancer, choreographer and educator. Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerJoy Davis is a dance artist, educator, and scholar. She received an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College and a BA in Performing Arts through the College Scholars Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Joy began training in the Countertechnique with founder Anouk van Dijk in 2005 at the American Dance Festival and completed the CTTT (teacher’s certification) as one four American instructors in 2012. Joy is honored to have taught on faculty at Smith College and Wesleyan University, and has taught Countertechnique workshops at the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, Gibney Dance (NYC), BodyVox (Portland), Fact/SF, New Dialect, Mocean (Halifax, NS), among many others. Under the moniker joy davis project, Joy has produced collaborative and location-based dance performance since 2006. She was a Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) Greenhouse Artist, received a choreographic residency at the Workspace for Choreographers in Virginia, and has premiered work in Northampton, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Knoxville, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Diego. Joy is on the advisory board to co-curate performance, discussions, and programming for Jen Polins’ School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (SCDT) in Northampton, MA, and is currently creating new works for New Dialect in Nashville and Scottsdale College Dance Department in Arizona. She recently joined the Dance Division faculty at The Boston Conservatory and is honored to be a Visiting Lecturer on the Theater, Dance, and Media at Harvard for the fall of 2016.

Photo credit: Stephanie Mitchell

E. Moncell “ill kozby” Durden

moncelldurden-katesingh

Moncell is the new assistant professor of practice in Hip-Hop for the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California. Before USC, Moncell taught at the Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Moncell specializes in pedagogical practices that provide cultural and historical context in AfroDiasporic social dance formations. He began his professional career opening up for visiting recording artists in his hometown of Harrisburg, PA. In 1992 Moncell befriended and began dancing with Hip-Hop pioneer and commercial choreographer Emilio Austin Jr., who played a key role in Moncell’s comprehension of NYC “street” dance culture. In 1998 Moncell was invited to become a member of Philadelphia Hip-Hop theater company Rennie Harris Puremovement, which awarded him international travel and exposure to concert dance. Moncell held an appointment for 7 years at Drexel University until 2010, when he was accepted into an MA program to study Anthropology of Dance at Roehampton University in the UK. Moncell has published articles in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, is currently writing an article for the Oxford University Press, and is working on his own book, Hip-Hop Dance in Context, as well as developing a documentary on the genealogy of Hip-Hop dance.

Photo Credit: Kate Singh (Aevum Images) 

Saar Harari

Saar was born on a farm in Israel to an artistic family and danced until the age of 18. At that age, he joined the Israeli Army for 6 years. He left the Army and started to dance again at the age of 24. In 1998 he created his first work as an independent choreographer for a dance festival at the Suzanne Dellal Centre in Tel Aviv. In 2001, Saar established LeeSaar The Company with Lee Sher, relocating to NYC in 2004. The company has been commissioned to create full evening dance programs by theaters and festivals in New York City, Portland, Austin, Seattle, Vancouver, Montclair, and other places. The Company has 9 permanent dancers and rehearses daily. The creation process is built, evolves, and draws from the Gaga movement language. Saar received an American green card for his art making. He is the recipient of the Six Point Fellowship in choreography, a Guggenheim Fellowship in choreography, and the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship.

Gerri Houlihan

GerriHoulihanGerri Houlihan began her professional training at the Juilliard School, studying with Antony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino, and members of the Martha Graham and Jose Limon dance companies. She performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company and spent five years as a soloist with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe. Ms. Houlihan has taught or choreographed for such institutions as NY’s High School of the Performing Arts, the University of Wisconsin-ilwaukee, the Bates Dance Festival, the Boston Ballet, the Harvard Summer Dance Center, Meredith College, the University of South Florida, North Carolina School of the Arts, the University of Richmond, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, and Virginia Commonwealth University. From 1984 to 1987, she directed her own school and company, the Boston Dance Project. She was one of five finalists in the Boston Ballet’s International Choreography Competition. From 1988 to 1999, Ms. Houlihan was on the faculty of New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL. During that time, she was also the artistic director of Houlihan and Dancers. The recipient of two Florida Individual Artist Fellowships in Dance/Choreography in 1991-92 and 1996-97, Houlihan and Dancers was on the touring roster for the state of Florida. She is a member of the board of directors for the Florida Dance Association and also for the American College Dance Association. Ms. Houlihan has been on the faculty of the American Dance Festival from 1981 to 1983 and from 1987 to the present. As an international representative for ADF, she has participated in eighteen international linkages, teaching in Korea, China, Brazil, Paraguay, Chile, Estonia, Poland, the Philippines, Russia, and Mongolia. She is the 2005 recipient of the Balasaraswati Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching and a 2012 recipient of the Pearl S. Tyner Distinguished Professor in Teaching Award. She received her MFA in 2007 from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival MFA program. She is the Pearl S. Tyner Distinguished Professor in Teaching at Florida State University. 

Photo credit: Sara D. Davis/ADF

SHAYLA-VIE JENKINS

shayla-vie-re-amunShayla-Vie Jenkins is a New York based performer, teacher, and dance maker.  She is a New Jersey native and graduated with honors from the Ailey/Fordham University program, with a major in Dance and a minor in English Literature. Shayla-Vie spent the past decade performing with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. During her tenure, she taught numerous master classes and workshops for the company. She also serves as a repetiteur, restaging some of Bill’s most notable works. Shayla-Vie is a founding member of Yaa Samar Dance Theater and has enjoyed working collaboratively in other projects with Francesca Harper, Alicia Hall-Moran, Grisha Coleman, The A.O. Movement Collective, Emily Manzo, Rebecca Lazier, Yanira Castro, and Yara Travieso. She is currently a MFA teaching fellow at Smith College and investigating her own choreographic voice. She has shown work at Movement Research at Judson Church, NYU’s Tisch Theater, Joe’s Pub, and Harlem Stage. 

Photo Credit: Re-Amun

yangkeun kim

yangkeunkimYANGKEUN KIM, choreographer/teacher/dancer/writer, is a professor of Soongeui Women`s College, Artistic Director of Garion Dance Company, and vice president of The Modern Dance Promotion of Korea. She has performed her work with Garion Dance Company, Korea Contemporary Dance Company, and Wansoon Yook`s Dance Company, touring Europe, US, and Asia. She is also the Director of JD-KSDF (JD-Korea Summer Dance Festival). Ms. Kim has organized KDF (KADF) since 1990, Seoul International Choreographer’s Festival since 1995, and workshops and JD-KSDF from 2016. She founded Y-Conditioning Association and somatic research along with other choreographers and dance teachers. She has taught Healing Technique at ADF since 2004.

Nia Love

nialove-granthalversonNia Love is an artist, choreographer, activist, mother, warrior, and educator continuing to expand conversations of intersectionality through dance. She was invited to apprentice with the world renowned Ballet Nacíonal De Cubá, Havana (1978). She is a graduate of Howard University (BFA) and Florida State University (MFA). Awarded Fulbright Fellowships (2001-2003), she continues to work nationally and internationally. Nia worked and danced with Min Tanaka, the celebrated Japanese Butoh master and has had her work presented at Judson Church, Harlem Stage, Bates Dance Festival, PS122, Projcet Artaud, and Tanzanian–Time 2Dance Festival, to name a few. Love was awarded the Alvin Ailey NDCL grant, the Suitcase Fund, and CUNY Choreographic Initiative and most recently the Movement Research Artist-in-Residence 2016-17.

Photo credit: Grant Halverson

PAUL MATTESON

paulmatteson-joshuasugiyamaPaul Matteson’s research explores methods for generating inventive personal movement within collaborative choreography. He was a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company from 2008 to 2012. Before that, he was a member of David Dorfman Dance and Race Dance, receiving a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his Body of Work in 2002. He also performed for Terry Creach, Peter Schmitz, Kota Yamazaki, Chamecki/Lerner, Jamie Cunningham, Neta Pulvermacher, Susan Sgorbati, Helena Franzen, and Keith Johnson. From 2012 to 2017, Paul taught at Amherst College and Mount Holyoke College and was a 2014 Massachusetts Cultural Council Award recipient in Choreography. Recent projects include Bored House Guests with Sara Hook and Sun Eaters with Tzveta Kassabova and Elena Demyanenko.  He is currently at work on a new evening-length duet with longtime collaborator Jennifer Nugent.  

Photo credit: Joshua Sugiyama

jennifer nugent

jennifernugent-arthurfinkJennifer Nugent danced with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company from 2009 to 2014 and David Dorfman Dance from 1999 to 2007, receiving a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for her work in the company. She has also had opportunities to perform and work intensively with Martha Clarke, Lisa Race, Doug Elkins, Bill Young, Colleen Thomas, Kate Weare, Barbara Sloan, and Dale Andre. Jennifer’s teaching and dancing is inspired by all her teachers and mentors, most profoundly by her time working and performing with Daniel Lepkoff, Wendall Beavers, Gerri Houlihan, David Dorfman, Bill T. Jones, Janet Wong, Wendy Woodson, and Patty Townsend. Her choreography and duet collaborations with Paul Matteson have been presented in New York City and throughout the US. She teaches regularly in NYC and abroad and has been a guest artist at numerous universities and dance festivals including the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, and Salt Dance Festival.  

Photo Credit: Arthur Fink

Jillian Peña

jillian-pena-leia-bathroom

Jillian Peña is a dance and video artist whose work seeks to make visible the confusion and desire of the self in relationship to itself and others. Her work is in dialogue with psychoanalysis, queer theory, pop media, and spirituality. Jillian was nominated for a 2016 Bessie Award for Emerging Choreographer in New York and was awarded the Prix Jardin d’Europe, the European Prize for Outstanding Emerging Choreography, 2014 at ImpulsTanz Dance Festival in Vienna. She has been presented internationally, including at Danspace Project, The Chocolate Factory, Dance Theater Workshop and The Kitchen in New York, and at American Dance Institute, ImPulsTanz Vienna, Sophiensaele Berlin, Modern Art Oxford, and the International Festival of Contemporary Art Slovenia. Jillian has created work for American Ballet Theater and the University of the Arts. She has been in residence at LMCC, PS122, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Movement Research, the National Dance Center of Bucharest, and Archauz Denmark. She was a Jack Kent Cooke Graduate Scholar during which she was awarded an MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was a fellowship recipient, and a Practice-based MPhil at Goldsmiths University.

Jorge Pérez Martínez

Jorge Pérez Martínez, born in Spain, studied classical and contemporary ballet in the Real Conservatorio Professional de Danza de Madrid, after his graduation he worked in different companies in Spain (Santamaria Compañia de Danza, Ballet de Carmen Roche), France (Europa Danse), Switzerland (Stadttheater Ballet Bern) and Holland (Introdans). During his professional trajectory, he has performed a very diverse repertoire on international stages all around the world from renowned choreographers, such as Jiri Kylian, Hans Van Manen, Glen Tetley, Lucinda Childs, Nacho Duato, Nils Christe, Mats Ek, and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, among others. In the last few years he has been active as a choreographer creating pieces for Introdans and Generale Oost (The Netherlands), the Landerstheater Eisenach (Germany), VALENCIA ENDANZA (Spain), the ISDS  Hong Kong, and teaching ballets from Lucinda Childs in different venues in America and Europe.

SHerone PRICE

SheronePrice1.GrantHalversonInstructor, choreographer, and dancer Sherone Price is currently Associate Professor of Dance at Appalachian State University. He has been a Lecturer at UNC-Greensboro, Visiting Instructor of Dance at Florida International University in Miami, and Artist in Residence/Henry Bascom Professor of Dance at University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has had selected choreography performed by Moving in the Spirit Touring Company, Atlanta, GA, at the White House hosted by President George Bush for a reception for the President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. He has a  BFA from University of North Carolina-Greensboro and an MFA from Hollins University in Roanoke VA. He has been a  Principal Dancer with Chuck Davis’ African American Dance Ensemble and a guest performer with Gamble Dance Theater and Jan Van Dyke Dance Group. He performed Talley Beatty’s Mourner’s Bench at the 1995 Scripps/ADF Award ceremony.

Photo credit: Grant Havlerson/ADF

RAY ELIOT SCHWARTZ

Concluyó el “Laboratorio somático: la imagen corporal” impartido por Ximena Monroy y Ray Schwartz / Encuentro Nacional de Danza 2016

Ray Eliot Schwartz attended high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts and received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and his MFA from University of Texas-Austin. He is the Academic Coordinator of the Dance Program of the University of the Americas-Puebla in México, founder of Performática: Foro Internacional de Danza Contemporánea y Artes del Movimiento, a research associate at the Center for Mind Body Movement, and a consultant and teaching artist for ArcDanz International Dance Workshop. Ray co-founded four contemporary dance projects in the southern U.S.: Sheep Army, The Zen Monkey Project, Steve’s House Dance Collective, and THEM. His primary influences in the study and practice of Contact Improvisation are Nancy Stark Smith, David Beadle, and the multiple dances he has enjoyed with people from all over the world over the last 30 years. He has been a guest artist for diverse populations in the US, South East Asia, South America, and Mexico and has served on the faculty of the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, MELT, the ZMP Summer Dance Intensive, the Colorado College Summer Dance Festival, and SFADI, among others. He is a published scholar who writes in Spanish and English about the interface of somatic movement education and contemporary dance practice. His somatic studies include certifications in Body-Mind Centering® and the Feldenkrais Method™. Additional studies include Zero-Balancing, Gross Anatomy (Dissection), Cranio-Sacral Therapy, and Traditional Thai Massage.

Photo Credit: Gabriel Morales

James Sutton

JamesSutton.Tom CaravagliaJames Sutton, dancer, teacher, and choreographer, was the co-recipient of the Balasaraswati/Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching from the American Dance Festival in 2015. He was for 14 years an Associate Arts Professor in Dance at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and is currently ballet master for New York Theatre Ballet. As a performer, he appeared as principal dancer with Houston Ballet, Chicago Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet, and DANCERS. Formerly Associate Director of the Kathryn Posin Modern Dance Company, he formed his own company in New York in 1983. His choreographic commissions span all aspects of theater and dance, from opera and musical productions to ballet and contemporary dance. A frequent guest instructor around the US, he taught on the faculties of Connecticut College, Southern Methodist University, and the University of Michigan, as well as for 15 summers at the American Dance Festival beginning in 1985. He was formerly ballet master for Ballet Hispanico of New York, and, for five years, company teacher for the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Internationally, he has been a guest teacher at t
he Maly (now Mikhailovsky) Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia, Cloud-Gate Dance Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan, Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia, and the Cullberg Ballet and Balett Akademien in Stockholm, Sweden, among other venues across Europe and Asia. Previously an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and teacher at the Juilliard School in New York, he also currently works in Communications for Brooklyn Academy of Music and is a contributing writer for Ballet Review.

Photo credit: Tom Caravaglia

Otto Vazquez “AQUABOOGY”

ottovazquez

Otto Vazquez was born in Miami in a family of strict religious order. Hip Hop and
Street Dance were not welcome subjects,  and most of his childhood experimentation with dance was done in utter secrecy. Later, as a teen, he ran away into the streets of Hialeah (his crime-filled neighborhood in Miami) and was assisted when he was homeless by a street gang. And as dark forces came to engulf him, he was reunited with his family and they whisked him away to a better neighborhood, far from Hialeah. As a teen he began going to underground Rave events, and it was there that he began remembering his tabooed passion of street dancing (mainly Popping and Locking) and the Hip Hop culture. Finding independence early on from living at home, he dived fully into his love of Street Dance. Soon after, the art form pulled him away from the negative gang influences and the drug infested Raves and allowed him to begin a career with dance, something he thought was impossible. By 1996, he began working dance gigs, doing his first artist tours, and only a few years after, he was living off of dance. By 2003, he was living in New York, working with an off-Broadway Hip Hop variety show called: “Break! The Urban Funk Spectacular.” And through his personal drive and his talent, and through the success of the show in the 2000s, he toured the world and was hailed as an off-Broadway star by many a reviewer. It was shows like “Break!” by Steve Love and “Legends of Hip Hop” by Rennie Harris that enabled Hollywood to revisit Street Dance by creating movies again. Aquaboogy was part of a wave of early entertainers that enabled an entire movement of movies like You Got Served and Step Up and the television shows America’s Best Dance Crew and So You Think You Can Dance.

Aquaboogy was the first Popper from Miami to go international and teach, perform, and expand the culture abroad in the 2000s. He taught many other young entertainers that have followed in his footsteps and have already created wonderful legacies on their own, and he still mentors many adults that once were his students as kids and teens. He helped create the Street Dance community in his native Florida by providing quality events for many years, bringing a grand host of dance legends to the peninsula to help build the talent that still resides there to this day. He is regarded as a positive, driving force in the global dance community, and his worth lies in more than just skills in dance, but a lifelong dedication to the culture, career, and lifestyle.

His autobiography will be published in 2017! Stay tuned!

Photo credit: Brandon Fotos

Andrea Weber

AndreaWeberAndrea Weber was a dancer with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 2004 to 2011, performing roles in over 25 works. Andrea is on the faculty of the Merce Cunningham Trust, teaching Cunningham Technique® at New York City Center and the Joffrey Ballet Trainee program. She has also taught at SUNY Purchase, Brown University, Skidmore College, the American Dance Festival, ArcDanz Festival, NYU Tisch, ABT Studio Company, Salem State College, and Dance New Amsterdam. Andrea has staged Pond Way for Ballett am Rhein and Ballet Vlaanderen, Suite for Five for the CNSMD in Lyon, RainForest for the Stephen Petronio Company, and Sounddance at UNCSA. Andrea has also danced with Coleman & Lemieux Compagnie, Dance Heginbotham, Jessica Lang Dance, Cornfield Dance, Jonah Bokaer, and Charlotte Griffin.

Photo credit: Grant Halverson 

Jesse Zaritt

jessezaritt-saradavisJesse Zaritt is a Brooklyn-based dance artist. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, having previously been the inaugural 2014-2016 Research Fellow in the university’s School of Dance. Jesse has performed his solo work in Uruguay, Russia, Korea, Germany, New York, Japan, Mexico, Israel, and throughout the United States. His solo Binding is the recipient of three 2010 New York Innovative Theater Awards: Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Solo Performance, and Outstanding Performance Art Production. Jesse has been working collaboratively with choreographer Jumatatu Poe since 2012; they recently presented an evening length duet at Gibney Dance Center in New York City. Their work has also been shown at AUX Performance Space (Vox Populi) and Fringe Arts in Philadelphia (PA) and at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (through the sponsorship of Triple Canopy), Dixon Place, and New York Live Arts (through the Studio Series Program) in New York City. A duet created in collaboration with choreographer Katie Swords premiered at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City in Late October 2015. Jesse was commissioned by the American Dance Festival to create a duet with choreographer Mark Haim, which premiered as part of the 2015 ADF performance season. From September 2008 through June 2011, Jesse was an artist in residence at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan as part of LABA, a laboratory for new Jewish culture. He has been commissioned to create original choreographic works for numerous American college programs; he has also created choreography for the Seminar HaKibbutzim College (Israel) and the Acco Theater Festival (Israel). Jesse was the recipient of a 2006-2007 Dorot Fellowship in Israel which enabled him to study the relationship between political conflict and choreography. Jesse was a performer with the Shen Wei Dance Arts Company (NYC/2001-2006), and the Inbal Pinto Dance Company (Tel Aviv/2008). Jesse has also performed in the work of Faye Driscoll (NYC/2010-2015) and works as an artistic advisor/dramaturge for her current projects. Jesse currently performs in the work of Netta Yerushalmy (NYC/since 2009). Jesse has recently taught at Bard College (NY), the American Dance Festival (NC), Hollins University (VA), Pomona College (CA), and the University of the Americas Puebla (Mexico) as well as at festivals in Japan, Korea, and Russia. Jesse received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival (2008) and a BA from Pomona College (2000).

Photo credit: Sara D. Davis/ADF