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.
Stefanie Arndt received her education at the Hamburg Ballet Opera School. In 1983 she won the Prix de Lausanne and joined the company of Hamburg Ballet under the direction of John Neumeier. She became principal dancer and danced the leading roles in the classical repertoire as well as in the contemporary repertoire and worked with many leading choreographers and created several roles. Her work as a dancer has been honored many times. In 1994 she joined Ballet Frankfurt and worked closely with William Forsythe dancing in all his major works. She is staging William Forsythe work all over the world and is working internationally as teacher and coach. She also has been assisting David Dawson and Jacopo Godani in several creations.
Wendy Houstoun has worked as an independent London based artist since 1980. She classifies herself as a performer who makes work and has created a body of solo pieces that also reflect much of her collaborative and directed work with companies and artists over this period. Early work in the 80s and 90s included her performances with Lumiere and Son Theatre Company, DV8 Physical Theatre, Nigel Charnock, and Rose English established her reputation for honesty and courage with performances on film, stage, and site specific. The last 20 years has reflected a move toward language, process based work, and slower investigative work involving research periods and creations with Candoco, Matteo Fargion, Kate Macinstos, Charlotta Overholm, Khamlane Halsackda, Gary Clarke, Vivienne Wood, Jane Mckernan, Charlotte Vincent, Julie-Anne Long as well as maintaining a performance profile with Forced Entertainment, Vlatka Horvat, and Gary Stevens. Early solos (Haunted, Happy Hour, Desert Island Dances, Keep Dancing) all toured extensively and the last two works 50 Acts and Pact with Pointlessness marked a formal and emotional shift attempting to deal more directly with the complications of aging and death. Her associations with Arts Admin, The South Bank, Greenwich Dance Agency, Islington Arts Factory (all London), Dance 4 (Nottingham), and Performance Space in Sydney, have been especially important in her continuing work. A new text and sound work is in development with Carriage Works in Sydney for 2019.
Born in California, Christine Kono-Pohlmann studied classical ballet with Igor Schwezoff in Los Angeles (1955-1961). She worked with George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Kazuko Hirabayashi, Anna Sokolow, Donald McKayle, and was a soloist for the Pennsylvania Ballet Company and Eliot Feld’s American Ballet Company. Established in Europe since 1972, she worked with Kurt Jooss, Christopher Bruce, and Glenn Tetley and danced with the Tanz Forum Köln. In 1981 she obtained her master’s degree for teaching dance at the Folk wang Hochschule in Essen. She was codirector of the dance department of Gymnasium Essen-Werden from 1981-1987. She was ballet mistress for Pina Bausch’s Wuppertaler Tanztheater from 1987-1994 as well as for Joachim Schlömer from 1994-1999. For the last 18 years, she is dedicated to her own movement research with Dimitris Kraniotis. In collaboration with Dimitris Kraniotis, David Kern, Thomas McManus, Paolo Rudelli, and Elizabeth Waterhouse, she has created dance events which have been presented in France, Germany, and Greece. Recently, she has taught for different companies and schools, notably for Wuppertaler Tanztheater, Ballet Preljocaj, The Forsythe Company, Dance On/ Diehl+Ritter, and the Centre National de la Danse in Paris.
After working as a dancer and actress with the Theater der Klänge, Thusnelda Mercy pursued her study of dance at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen, Germany. At the end of her studies, after working with several choreographers such as Joachim Schlömer, Juan Kruz Dias de Garaio Esnaola, and Malou Airaudo, she collaborated with the German choreographer Sasha Waltz and continues to work with her as a guest dancer. Figure Humaine, Women, and Kreatur are the latest pieces she has created with the company Sasha Waltz & Guests. From 2003 to 2015 she was a fixed member of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch and still works as a guest dancer and assistant. She also acts in the Wim Wenders film Pina. Since 2009 she has worked as an independent choreographer and as a dancer and assistant for different directors and has been teaching in international festivals. She collaborates with the choreographer and dancer Pascal Merighi in many productions such as Samuel and Songs of Childhood, a duo with the dancer Dominique Mercy. She continues her career as a choreographer with her latest creation Partita for the Ballet de l’ Opéra national du Rhin.
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.
Martin Nachbar is a choreographer, teacher, and writer in the field of contemporary dance and performance. He is one of 50 dance artists listed by the Goethe-Institut. As dancer and performer he worked for companies and choreographers such as Les Ballets C. de las B., Vera Mantero, Thomas Lehmen, Jochen Roller, and Meg Stuart. Since 2004 he has choreographed more than 20 small and larger scale pieces such as Urheben Aufheben with a reconstruction by Dore Hoyers Affectos Humanos. With Repeater he brought family relations with and through movement on to the stage. This duo with his 70-year-old father has toured worldwide. Since 2008 Nachbar has taught for institutions such as Trinity Laban, Parts, SNDO, SEAD, HZT, and FU Berlin und Universität Hamburg.
Michael Schumacher is a performing artist with roots in classical and modern dance. He has been a member of several groundbreaking companies, including Ballet Frankfurt, Twyla Tharp Dance, Feld Ballet, Pretty Ugly Dance Company, and Magpie Music Dance Company. As an independent artist, he has appeared in productions by Peter Sellars, William Forsythe, Dana Caspersen, Sylvie Guillem, Mark Haim, Paul Selwyn Norton, and Anouk van Dijk. Working as dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Schumacher has developed a unique approach to the discipline of improvisation. He has collaborated with several pioneering artists, including Han Bennink, Katie Duck, Mary Oliver, Kirstie Simson, and Alex Waterman. Schumacher has created original works with the dancers of Ballet Frankfurt, Netherlds Dance Theater III, The Dutch National Ballet, Dansgroep Amsterdam, and Jin Xing Dancer Theatre. In recent years, Schumacher’s work has come to the forefront in several productions of the Holland Dance Festival. With Jiři Kylian, he created the hauntingly beautiful Last Touch First, which has been performed throughout Europe and the U.S. to great acclaim. Together with Sabine Kupferberg, Schumacher created Queen Lear, a magical distillation of Shakespeare’s epic King Lear. In 2008, Schumacher was awarded both the Gouden Zwaan and the Jiři Kylian Ring, the first dancer/choreographer ever to receive the two awards at the same time. Michael Schumacher began dancing in musical theatre productions in his hometown of Lewiston, Idaho. After moving to New York, he received a B.F.A. in dance from the Juilliard School. He currently resides in Amsterdam and conducts workshops in movement analysis and improvisation worldwide.
Stella Zannou was born in Athens and has studied dance at London College of Dance, London Studio Centre, the American College of Greece (BA), and the Greek State School of Dance. She formed Smack Dance Company in Greece and currently lives in Berlin, working as a freelance dancer, teacher, and choreographer. As a dancer she has worked with, amongst others, Johannes Wieland, Walter Bickmann, Maya Lipsker, Clint Lutes, Xaris Mandafounis, Thomas Mettler, Richard Siegal, Michael Klein, etc. As a choreographer she has created/presented work, among other places, for Staatstheater Kassel, S.E.A.D. – Bodji project, One small step festival, Dock 11, Athens International Festival, Gnarl Festival, and No ballet fest. She is teaching dance in places such as Staatstheater Braunschweig/Kassel, S.E.A.D.- Salzburg, cie Toula Limnaios, Proda – Oslo, Nachschub – Basel, Potsdamer Tanztage, One small step festival – Corfu, etc. Zannou has won the price of the audience for the duet “We like men strong cause they last longer,” in Budapest Solo and Duo Dance Festival, in 2003 (choreographed by Stella Zannou for Prosxima Dance Company), and was voted as “dancer of the year” for the Ballet Tanz magazine by Katja Werner 2003 and from Arnd Wesemann in 2010.