Sandra Chinn is a ballet teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a teacher for Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program, ODC Dance Company/SF, Smuin Ballet Company, and returning guest ballet teacher for Paul Taylor Dance Company and Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures (Nutcracker!, Swan Lake, and Edward Scissorhands). Most recently she conducted company classes for Abraham.In.Motion, Lucinda Childs Dance Company (Einstein on the Beach), Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Body Traffic, Aszure Barton and Dancers, Amy Seiwart’s Imagery and Post: Ballet by Robert Dekkers. In New York City, she was a company member of Dennis Wayne’s Dancers, Finis Jhung’s Chamber Ballet USA, and Bob Bowyer’s American Ballet Comedy. She was featured in the off-Broadway dance show Funny Feet, and received a Drama Desk Award nomination as “Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical.” She is delighted to be a visiting guest artist at Hollins.
Describing her as “incomparable,” Dance magazine praised the performances of Achille, stating, “It’s a sure bet that when she takes the stage, she will deliver not only the movement but the core, the bedrock, the very meaning and spirit of a dance.” In addition to teaching at Connecticut College, where she joined the faculty in 2009, Achille runs her own New York-based dance company, Eternal Works, founded in 2005. She is the recipient of the Bessie New York Dance Performance Award (2006) and ADF’s Martha Myers Choreography Award.
(Photo: Adam Campos)
Keith Hennessy is a performer, choreographer, teacher, writer, and organizer. Born in Sudbury (Canada), he lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, ritual, and public action as tools for investigating political realities. Ideas and practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, punk, and queer-feminism motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s creative and activist projects. Hennessy directs Circo Zero, and was a member of the collaborative performance companies: Contraband (with Sara Shelton Mann), Core, Cahin-caha, and cirque bâtard. Awards, commissions, residencies? Yes, several, including a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship. Rejections, unemployment, failures? Yes, plenty. Hennessy has an M.F.A. in choreography and a Ph.D. in performance studies from UC Davis.
Christina Johnson, born in Vienna, Austria, began her dance education at age seven. She trained at the Boston School of Ballet, the School of American Ballet, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem. By the time she was 17, she began her professional career. She was a member of the Boston Ballet for two years before joining the Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she rose to become a principal dancer within four years. In her 13-year tenure with DTH, she danced leading roles in much of the company’s repertoire, including Swan Lake, Giselle, Firebird, Voluntaries, Prodigal Son, Serenade, The Four Temperaments, and Fancy Free. Johnson has worked with distinguished choreographers and coaches, among them, Jerome Robbins, Frederic Franklin, Suzanne Farrell, Allegra Kent, and Sir Anthony Dowell. She also has had original works created on her by Glen Tetley, Rui Horta, Alonzo King, and Dwight Rhoden among others. She was a member of the Swiss companies, Le Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve for five years and the Ballett Basel for two years, where her repertoire expanded to include works by William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, James Kudelka, Ohad Naharin, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Twyla Tharp, Amanda Miller, and David Parsons to name a few. Johnson has been a featured guest artist with various companies worldwide, including the renowned Royal Ballet of London. She is an original member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She made her Broadway debut in The Red Shoes. After her performance career she has been sought after as a teacher, coach, and ballet master, and has worked with companies such as the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Washington Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Pennsylvania Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Spectrum Dance Theater, Gotesborg Ballett, Ballett Basel, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Armitage Gone! Dance, Cornish College of the Arts, and the University of Washington to name a few. Johnson holds an M.F.A. in dance from Hollins in collaboration with the American Dance Festival, The Forsythe Company, and Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts in Germany. She is a certified life coach and marathon runner, and speaks French and German.
Peiling Kao is assistant professor of dance at University of Hawaii at Manoa, is a Taiwanese choreographer, educator, and dancer. Since moving to the U.S. in 2007, she has been working with choreographers of different aesthetic frameworks, collaborating with interdisciplinary artists, as well as creating her own work. Kao’s research and creative interests have been focusing on movement improvisation, bicultural and hybrid movement, dance lineages, and interdisciplinary collaboration. In May 2010, she finished her M.F.A. in dance at Mills College and received an E.L Wiegand Foundation Award for excellence in performance and choreography. She is a recipient of Lo Man-Fei Dance Fund from Cloud Gate Foundation in Taiwan (in 2016), Dean’s Travel Fund from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, College of Arts and Humanities (in 2016), and has been awarded one Isadora Duncan Dance Award (in 2012) and nominated for another (in 2013). She has taught modern/contemporary dance technique, movement improvisation, choreography, and Taiwanese/Chinese folk dance as a visiting faculty and guest artist at Mills College, Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program, and B.F.A. program at Dominican University of California, Hollins, UC Santa Cruz, Western Washington University, Austin Peay State University, California State University East Bay, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, and Chinese American International School in San Francisco. https://www.peilingkaodances.com
Originally from Zurich, Switzerland, Yvonne Meier has lived and worked in New York City since 1979, where she became a member of the original group around Performance Space 122, regularly collaborating with Ishmael Houston-Jones and many others in the US and Europe. Her work, spanning anywhere from big spectacles to quiet solos, has been supported by three Fellowships in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Inter Arts, Franklin Furnace, and Pro Helvetia. The American Master Piece program of the NEA has supported the upcoming recreation of her performance-instillation work, The Shining. She has received three “Bessie” Awards for her works The Shining (1993 and 2011) and Stolen (2009). She has twice been supported through the Movement Research Artist-in-Residence program. Meier has been teaching Releasing Technique and Authentic Movement nationally and internationally for the last 30 years. After a life-long commitment to improvisation, she has developed her own improvisation technique known as Scores. Meier also teaches children’s dance classes in NY Public Schools through Movement Research’s Dance Makers program.
Silfredo La O Vigo
Silfredo La O Vigo is a professional dance artist in Afro-Cuban and Haitian dance traditions, popular Latin dance, and modern dance forms. Vigo graduated from the National School of the Arts in Havana, Cuba in 1994, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree as a certified dance professor and professional dancer. In 1993, he trained and performed for one year with the Cuban National Folkloric Company and Danza Contemporanea de Cuba. He was also a soloist for five years with the professional touring company Cutumba: Ballet Folklorico Afro-Cubano from Santiago de Cuba. Following this work, his professional performing experience later included dancing with the modern dance company ODC/San Francisco – 2001 to 2003. He has toured and performed in venues such as the Joyce Theater (NYC), The Getty Museum Concert Series (Los Angeles), Cal State (Los Angeles), Cal State (Monterey Bay), and Kentucky Center for the Arts (Louisville). In addition, Vigo’s list of guest performances include principal dancer/guest artist for the Warner Brothers film The Matrix Reloaded. In 1999, he was a guest soloist in the Retrospective of Cuban dance performance La Pena in Berkeley, CA, and Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA. Vigo was a guest dancer for Bravura! with the Blankenship Ballet Company, Riverside, California, in 2003. He teaches modern dance, folkloric dance, popular social dance, and music percussion. He has shared his knowledge through master classes at Portland State University, University of Hawaii, University of Florida, and Santa Clara University. He has choreographed for Stanford University. Vigo is also known as a visual artist. He has presented art exhibitions in the ODC Gallery, Palace of Fine Arts, South Western College, Mesa College, San Diego Latin Festival, and Pulse Art Gallery. He resides in San Diego and currently teaches at Palomar College.
Doug Letheren is from New Hampshire, USA and studied at St. Paul’s School and the Juilliard School, where he received his BFA. He worked with Aszure Barton and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance before joining the Batsheva Ensemble in 2007. Doug continued to the Batsheva Dance Company from 2008 to 2012, where he worked with Ohad Naharin and Sharon Eyal, and became a student and teacher of Gaga. He is now a founding member of Sharon’s new project, L-E-V, and has assisted her in creations for companies such as Netherlands Dance Theater and the Royal Swedish Opera. He was also a guest artist with the Gothenburg Ballet, and is a recipient of the 2007 MOVADO Future Legends Award, nominated by Mikhail Baryshnikov.
Alexandre Munz was a former Principal dancer of the Berlin Opera Ballet, where many renown international choreographers created for him. His dance education at the Paris Opera Ballet School in the ‘80s at a time unrelated to the Dance Medicine issue, and an urgent desire to stop compromising with chronic injuries, impelled Alexandre Munz in a profound research on the tridimensional body functioning. Ten years ago, the impacts on his own body were so rapid and profound that he formalized a new pedagogical approach known under the name S.A.F.E.® (Spine Advanced Functional Empowerment). In the cutting edge of international somatic practices today, SAFE® Floor, SAFE® Barre and Graphysiology™ are solicited by French national Ballets, Universities in Europe and in the USA, prestigious European dance Institutes, and sport Institutes at the highest level. In 2013, Alexandre Munz was selected by President Alkis Raftis to become a member of the UNESCO International Dance Council. He was also appointed an Honorary member of CORPS de Ballet International (Council of Organized Researchers for Pedagogical Study, USA) alongside eminent dance artists such as Violette Verdy, Irene Dowd, Mavis Staines, Susan Jaffe, Alonzo King, Ben Stevenson and Igal Perry. A DVD of Alexandre Munz’s SAFE® Floor work was produced by the Brigham Young University in 2014 and is currently available internationally, dubbed in eight languages.
Naomi Perlov was in born in 1959 in Israel. She received her education from the Bat Dor School of Dance in Tel Aviv, the Schola Cantorum in Paris, and in 1984, she graduated with honors from the Benesh Institute of Choreology in London. After graduated Perlov worked as a choreologist and repetiteur for the Paris Opera, and enjoyed four years of work and touring with the company of Regine Chopinot. In 1988, Perlov began work with Angelin Preljocaj, and since then has assisted his creations and restaged his ballets all over the world. Notable works of his include “Le Parc”, (1994, Paris Opera), “ L’Oiseau de Feu”, (1995, Munich Oper) “La stravaganza” (1997, New York City Ballet), “Casanova” (1998, Paris Opera), “Sacre du Printemps (2001, Berlin Oper) and “Medee” (2005, Paris Opera). She has since restaged various Preljocaj works for the Paris Opera, Berlin Oper, New York City Ballet, Teatro alla Scala, Danish National Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Ballet de Capitole, The Mariinsky Theatre, ArtEZ in the Netherlands, and for the Ballet Preljocaj itself. From 1994 until 1998, Perlov served together with Ohad Naharin as Co-Artistic Directors of the Batsheva Ensemble. For four separate years (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005) Perlov also served as the Artistic Director for the Shades of Dance Festival, a national competition for emerging Israeli choreographers, held at the Suzanne Dellal Center. Perlov also assisted and restaged works for other choreographers, including Emanuel Gat’s 2009 work, “Winter Variation” to be presented at Lincoln Center and The American Dance Festival, and in 2010, Itzik Galili’s “For Heaven’s Sake”, set on the Berlin Opera Ballet. In September 2009, Perlov, along with Offir Dagan, founded the Maslool – Professional Dance Program – Bikurey Ha’Itim Arts Center in Tel Aviv. The Maslool brings young dance students from Israel and the world for a two-year program which utilizes vigorous technique training and repitory from a wide range choreographers to prepare for successful careers in dance. Maslool students have performed the works of Matthew Bourne, Idan Cohen, Nacho Duato, Sharon Eyal, Itzik Galili, Emanuel Gat, Yasmin Godder, Maguy Marin, Barak Marshall, Angelin Preljocaj, and many more. In addition to teaching her modern technique classes for the students of the Maslool Professional Dance Program, Perlov has also taught at Codarts-Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Livorno in Italy, the Jerusalem Academy in Israel, and Hollins University in the United States. She served as a jury member for the 2010 Cross Connection International Choreography Competition in Copenhagen, and in 2013 she organized an audition for the National Opera of Tirana in Albania. Also in 2013 she initiated the project “Silent Warriors”, a set of three performances, and was invited to Theatre de Chaillot in Paris to showcase the work. In 2014, Naomi Perlov restaged Preljocaj’s “Noces” on the students of the Maslool Professional Dance Program to perform in the Suzanne Dellal Center.
Georg Reischl, born in Austria, began his dance training with Rosa Hartlieb in Salzburg and attended the Vienna Opera Ballet School under the direction of Michael Birkmeyer. In 1993, he joined the ensemble of Liz King in Heidelberg. Thereafter, Reischl danced 4 years with Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. In 1999, Georg Reischl joined Ballet Frankfurt, where he experienced the repertoire and the collaborative creative process with William Forsythe. After the closing of Ballet Frankfurt, Reischl continued with the newly formed “The Forsythe Company”. Asked to become the resident choreographer for Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, Reischl left the company in 2006. As resident choreographer of Scapino Ballet, from 2006-2010, Reischl has created numerous pieces for the company, as well as formed important relationships on an international level. As a choreographer, Georg is known for his abstract and highly energetic work that appeals to the fantasy and the concentration of the viewer. The clarity of structure and detailed physicality result in pieces that evoke emotions and create an unpredictable and intense edge, without telling a linear story. In his work, he is not afraid of the experimental but also understands, how to embed the idea of tradition and repertoire. His choreography involves the dancer entirely, and preparing their sensibility to the “moment of performance”not to fall into patterns of reproduction. Not a symbolic delivery, but a pure physical outcome create the atmosphere and the content of each piece.
Ami Shulman performed with Compagnie Marie Chouinard and Jose Navas for several years. As the Artistic Director to the Chouinard Company on tour and in the setting of existing repertoire, Shulman has been a Rehearsal Director to both companies. Shulman has remounted and co-created works on companies such as the GoteborgsOperans Danskompani, the National Ballet of Canada and Ballet British Columbia and she has been a movement consultant on several theatre productions throughout Canada, including for the Grand Theatre Junction, Repercussion Theatre and the award winning director/playwright Yael Farber. Shulman is a highly sought after teacher, her unique approach to mindful, anatomical relationships in movement has invited her to teach extensively including for places such as the Juilliard School, Jacob’s Pillow, Alvin Ailey, the Boston Conservatory, the Rotterdam Danse Academy, Cedar Lake, LA Dance Project, CODA (Oslo), the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Brown University, University of California San Diego, the National Theatre School of Canada and the Cirque du Soleil. Shulman is an Artistic Associate of the Springboard Project Montreal and she is a certified practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method.
Spenser Theberge, a native of Portland, Oregon, USA, began his early dance training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theater. He continued his education at the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Columbia Dance, during which he was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a National Young Arts Foundation awardee. Under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes, Spenser earned his BFA from the Juilliard School in 2009, and graduated as a Princess Grace Award recipient. Following graduation, he began working with the Netherlands Dance Theater 2, under the direction of Gerald Tibbs. In 2012, Spenser was invited to join Netherlands Dance Theater 1 by Paul Lightfoot. During his time at NDT, Spenser created works with Lightfoot Leon, Johan Inger, Crystal Pite, and Alexander Ekman, and danced the works of Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, and Hans van Manen, among others. Spenser has had the privilege of performing all over the world for NDT and on behalf of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and the Dutch Royal Family. His own choreography has most recently been seen at the Korzo Theater in The Hague. Since 2013, Spenser has been a guest artist with The Forsythe Company in Frankfurt, Germany. In addition, he is working as a freelance teacher, performer, and choreographer throughout Europe and the US.