Assaf Benchetrit began his dance and music studies at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance in Jerusalem, Israel. Upon graduation, he danced with the Jerusalem Dance Theater, the Panov Ballet, and later with the Israeli National Ballet Company. During his military service, Benchetrit received the Remarkable Dancer prize from the Israeli government which allowed him to continue dancing while serving. After completing his military service, he arrived to the United States to dance with companies such as The Joffrey, Metropolitan Classical Ballet, Alabama Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Portland Ballet, and Gelsey Kirkland Ballet. Throughout his career, he toured through England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries. He performed lead roles in the majority of renowned ballet productions such as Swan Lake as Siegfried, Don Quixote as Basilio, La Corsaire as Ali, La Bayadere as Solar, Coppelia as Franz, Sleeping Beauty as the prince, the title-role in Petrushka, and a number of George Balanchine works including the title-role in Apollo, Donizetti Variations, and the Nutcracker as Cavalier. He holds a joint B.S in computer science and B.F.A in dance degrees with academic honors from Montclair State University, and an M.F.A degree in dance from Hollins. He was a faculty member at Yale University, Columbia University, Rutgers University, Montclair State University, and Raritan Valley Community College.
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)
Mohamed DaCosta, from Boké, Guinea, is a senior lecturer in African performing arts in the School of Theatre and Dance and the Center for African Studies, and affiliate faculty in the Center for World Arts at the University of Florida. One of a select number of practice-based cultural authorities on the traditional performing arts of Africa living in the United States, DaCosta speaks English, French, Fulani, Wolof, Mandinko, and Susu. DaCosta served as choreographer for the African Ballet of Gambia and performed with the company from 1980-85. In 1996, he performed across Europe as featured drummer with Culture Movement, commissioned by the U.S. Department of Defense. The internationally renowned Chuck Davis African American Dance Ensemble has also featured DaCosta in performance. As three-time University of Florida Center for World Arts artist-in-residence, DaCosta has used his exceptional command of West African performance traditions and engaging teaching persona to develop appreciation of West African culture at the University of Florida, New World School of the Arts, Santa Fe Community College, and in the greater communities of Florida and North Carolina. DaCosta’s abiding warmth, vitality, and artistry are an inspiration to students, fellow artists, community members, and audiences of all backgrounds.
Roderick George was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where he began his studies and classical training at Ben Stevenson’s Houston Ballet Academy. George continued to develop his skill by exploring modern technique at the Alvin Ailey School, all the while developing a collaboration of the techniques at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, TX. He joined Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet in 2005, which was very early in his career, engraving the beginning of his footprints in the dance world. George explored more of New York as he danced with Sidra Bell Dance NY, and the Kevin Wynn Collection, until he decided to move abroad to Switzerland where he joined the Basel Ballet/Theater Basel in 2007 and later to guest with the Goteborg Operan DansKompani in 2012. Beginning of 2014, he became a member of The Forsythe Company in Frankfurt, Germany. His career has embraced the collaborations of his work and other great choreographers such as Marie Chouinard, Peeping Tom, Jorma Elo, Jacopo Godani, William Forsythe, Johan Inger, Jiří Kylian, Sharon Eyal, Ohan Naharin, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, Richard Wherlock, and many others. George was selected to be an emerging choreographer for Springboard Dans Montreal in the summer of 2013. He was also nominated to be a choreographer and performer at the Emerging Choreographer Series for the Youth American Grand Prix of 2012. In 2015, kNoname Artist, a project-based company built in Berlin under his direction, was where he continued to use prior knowledge and experiences to not only improve his choreographic work but to showcase his creations all over. As Dust was his break-out work as an independent artist and has been performed in Aix-en-Provence, Berlin, Frankfurt, Mexico City, Tel-Aviv, Zurich, and others in Europe.
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.
As a professional dancer for 18 years, Britt Juleen spent most of her career in Europe at the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam and Germany’s SemperOper Ballet’s exquisite Opera House. She also performed with Ballet Arizona, Ballet Gamonet in Miami, Florida, and the contemporary dance companies’ iMEE, Jacoby&Pronk, and SFDanceworks. Juleen studied at the School of American Ballet, New World School of the Arts, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, and Houston Ballet Academy, and holds an M.F.A. in dance from Hollins. Juleen has taught at several schools and companies in the San Francisco Bay Area including Alonzo King LINES Ballet, ODC Dance Commons, Oakland Ballet, Marin Ballet, and Silicon Valley Ballet. She has most notably served as an assistant professor at San Jose State University as well as most recently the artistic director of Berkeley Ballet Theater.
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.
Clarice Young is an artist, performer, choreographer, and teacher who researches the intersection of African diasporic dance and contemporary modern dance. Melding elements of Afro-Caribbean, modern, and West African styles, she uses fundamentals from each to uncover ways to stabilize and release the body. Young is an original member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers where she served as an assistant to the director. She also performed with Ronald K. Brown’s Evidence, A Dance Company, as an apprentice from 2003-2006 and as a member from 2007-2017. She was appointed rehearsal director in 2011 and filled that role until 2017. Her roles in both companies created opportunities to expand her pedagogical skills as well as find her own path as a creator. Her choreographic work has been presented at her alma maters, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Hollins, where she received her B.F.A. and M.F.A. in dance respectively. Young has created and performed a full-length piece celebrating women of color at Judson Church and is also writing about the language of the movement style of Ronald K. Brown. Presently, she is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro..
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.