Guest Artists and Faculty Presenter Bios
Save the Date
2022 OhioDance Festival
April 29-May 1, 2022
Guest Artist 2022
Tamara Williams is an Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte. She earned her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in collaboration with The American Dance Festival, The Forsythe Company, and Frankfurt University. Her choreography has been performed nationally and internationally including Serbia, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Mexico and in Brazil. In 2011, Williams created Moving Spirits, Inc., a contemporary arts organization dedicated to performing, researching, documenting, cultivating, and producing arts of the African Diaspora.
Williams has trained intensely in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil in Silvestre Technique and African Brazilian dance. She is a 2012 recipient of the Artist Residency Fellowship at the Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad, a 2013 recipient of the Harlem Stage/Aaron Davis Hall Fund for New Work grant, and a 2014 and 2015 Community Arts Fund Grantee by the Brooklyn Arts Council. In 2015, Moving Spirits, Inc. was accepted as Company-in-Residence at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Leadership in Jamaica, Queens. Williams was a 2015 and 2017 Turkey Land Grove Foundation recipient in which she participated in two seven-day dance writing residency in Martha’s Vineyard, and a 2015 Fall Space Grant recipient, awarded by the Brooklyn Arts Exchange. She is a recipient of a Digital Making Grant from the College of Arts and Architecture and several Mini-Diversity Grants and Chancellor Diversity Grants from UNC Charlotte’s Diversity Fund. She also received two Faculty Research Grants to further her studies of African American ring shout traditions in the Carolina’s low country and its roots in I???e l’agba traditions of the Yorùbá people in Nigeria. Williams has received several Culture Block grants from Mecklenburg County’s Arts and Science Council to offer free African Diaspora dance and music programming for communities around Charlotte.
Williams’ book, Giving Life to Movement (2021, McFarland Publishing Co.), analyzes African-Brazilian dance histories and cultures. Her manuscript, The African Diaspora and Civic Responsibility: Addressing Social Justice through the Arts, Education and Community Engagement, is currently under contract with Lexington Books. This latter text investigates how African American, African-Brazilian, Haitian, and Latine artists and scholars address civic responsibility and social justice issues through the arts. Her article “Reviving Culture Through Ring Shout” was published in The Dancer-Citizen and it investigates Ring Shout dance traditions created by enslaved African in the United States. Her book chapter “Dance: A Catalyst for Spiritual Transcendence” is forthcoming in the book, Fire Under My Feet: History, Race & Agency in African Diaspora Dance, under contract by Routledge. Williams has presented peer-reviewed papers at the Popular Culture/American Culture Association conference in San Diego and the Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD) conference in Seville, Spain.
Williams’ research on African American Ring Shout traditions has been disseminated at several colleges and universities including The Florida State University, Arizona State University, Spelman College, Appalachian State University, Davidson College, Miami-Dade College, Slippery Rock University, College of the Holy Cross, Bard Early College, Mercyhurst College, The University of South Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has created several community programs in New York City and Charlotte, NC providing opportunities for underserved communities to learn and practice dances of the African diaspora; histories and cultures which are strategically neglected in US education systems.
Moving Spirits, Inc. is a contemporary arts organization dedicated to performing, researching, documenting, cultivating, and producing arts of the African diaspora. Africanistic aesthetics heavily influences our company’s repertory. Our work blends modern, ballet, African diaspora dance forms, and contemporary West African dances.We believe that the creative arts should be used as a vehicle to bring awareness to injustices and obstacles impacting our communities. Moving Spirits’ artists dedicate themselves to evolving social change through dance performances and community engagement.
Kendra J. Ross is a proud Detroit native working as a dancer, choreographer, facilitator and community organizer in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. As a dancer in New York City, Kendra has worked with Urban Bush Women, Andrea E. Woods/Souloworks, Ase Dance Theater Collective, Monstah Black/ Motion Sickness, MBDance, Moving Spirits Dance Company, RAKIA!, Melanie Green and as a guest artist with Oyu Oro. Kendra also completed a European tour dancing with Adira Amram and DJ Kid Koala in Vinyl Vaudeville 2.0 and performed with Gyptian at the MTV Iggy awards. Kendra is currently a company member of Movement of the People Dance Company. Kendra’s choreographic work has been presented at the Florida A&M University, the off Broadway show 7 Sins, Museu de Arte in Salvador, Brazil, Detroit Performing Arts High School, Joffrey Summer Intensive, Dixon Place, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Actors Fund Theater. She has been an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Bates College, and The Neighborhood Project Through 651Arts, a BAX Space Grantee, and a Visiting Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts. Along with sharing her art world-wide, Kendra serves as the Founder/Director of STooPS, an outdoors-based community building event that uses art as a catalyst to strengthen ties between different entities in Bed-Stuy. www.thekendrajross.com
Monique LeFlore – From Nuts York City, NY, this is Monique’s first season with the company. She had degrees from the School of the Arts and SUNY Brockport.
These were the 2021 Presenters, 2022 presenters will be available January 2022
Samantha Amway is a Physical therapist from the Ohio State University’s Performing Arts Medicine program. They provide onsite, backstage, and immediate care along with dance-specific treatment and rehab, workshops and seminars, pre-season screenings, and reformer-based rehab.
Olivia (Libby) Atley is a classically trained dancer with a degree in dance performance from BGSU. She has been teaching dance in Columbus, Ohio for nearly 20 years. In 2017 Olivia added yoga and pranayama to her passions to share with the community, through trainings at Yoga On High. She is currently an educator at KIPP: Columbus and various yoga studios in the city.
Alice Blumenfeld is the founder and Artistic Director of ABREPASO Flamenco and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Oberlin College. She’s a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a Fulbright Grant recipient in dance. With over ten years as a freelance dancer, she has performed with companies internationally, including; Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Nélida Tirado & Co., The American Bolero Dance Co., and Grammy Award winner Hernán Romero.
Kenneth Brown is a Columbus-based dancer, instructor, and award-winning choreographer. He has had the pleasure of being a dance educator for the past twelve years teaching in studios and schools in Columbus and the surrounding areas, Marion, Mansfield, Delaware, Dayton, and Michigan. He is known for instruction and choreography that draws emotion and expression from artists and students.
Jessica Cavender Virtual Dance Collection Media Manager, is a specialist in the merger of dance and technology; an expert in video, photography, live/interactive media production, and web technologies. B.S. Electronic Media Communications, M.F.A. Dance and Technology, OSU
Sukanya Chand is an enthusiastic Dance Educator, Choreographer and Performer. She produces a variety of performing art events promoting cultural awareness, integration, enriching and entertaining Central Ohio community. She enjoys collaborating with various artists to create unique innovative pieces and gives Master classes through her dance company ‘Natya Nirvana’ and is an instructor at MUCAI Academy in Worthington, OH.
Mimi Chenfeld MA in Elementary Ed. the University of New York. a teacher, writer and educational consultant, has led the OSU Hillel Folk Dance programs since moving with her family from New York to Columbus in 1970. On their own, together and with the Hillel Group, Mimi and Marlene have danced with and for thousands of people through the years. Marlene Robbins and Mimi Chenfeld have danced together for many years.
Donna Collins serves as the executive director of the Ohio Arts Council a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Collins brings 25+ years of experience in leading a state agency and statewide non-profit organizations, demonstrating consistent success and solid results that impact policy, education, economic development, and the arts.
Megan Davis Bushway is a dance artist based in Columbus, OH. Megan teaches for BalletMet, Ohio Wesleyan and Momentum. Most recently, her choreography has been presented at Ohio Wesleyan and CDA Works. Megan also specializes in dance documentation and is the videographer for OhioDance. Megan received an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University.
Trezon Dancy from Hartford, Connecticut is a Choreographer, Performing Artist, and Educator. Dancy worked with various artists Travis Gatling, Kim Stroud, Nathan Andary, Earl Mosley, Ronald k. Brown, Kyle Abraham and many others. Dancy received his BFA in Dance: Performance and Choreography from Ohio University. Upon Graduation Dancy accepted a First Company position with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
Jane D’Angelo OhioDance Executive Director and Project Director of the Virtual Dance Collection. D’Angelo is a board member of Ohio Citizens for the Arts. She serves on the Chair Circle of Dance/USA B.S. Business Administration, Northeastern University CSS Administration & Management, Harvard University.
Ambre Emory-Maier, Director of Education, Equity and Community Engagement and BalletMet 2 Associate Director, Ambre completed her MFA in Choreography and Performance at The Ohio State University and MA in Dance Reconstruction and Directing from City University of New York. She has worked for Charlotte Ballet, the University of Hartford and Hartford Ballet and uses Labanotation to re-stage works.
Candace Feck (PhD), Virtual Dance Collection Oral Historian, is faculty emerita in Dance at The Ohio State University, where she taught courses in contemporary dance history, theory, criticism and oral history methodology, and served as Director of Graduate Studies. She holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology, an MA in Dance, and a PhD in Art Education.
Megan Fitze is the Director of Programs for Art Possible Ohio. Most recently, Megan worked for Massillon Museum as Education and Outreach Manager where she co-established an accessibility committee, created audio descriptive tours, and developed a sensory room. Megan also worked with Dublin Arts Council serving first as Education and Outreach Coordinator, and then hired as the Director of Education & Special Projects.
Mara Frazier is an Assistant Professor and Curator of Dance at The Ohio State University Libraries, Thompson Special Collections, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute. She holds a teaching certification in Labanotation and an MFA and BFA in dance from Ohio State and is the United States Treasurer of the International Council of Kinetography Laban.
Gregory King received his MFA in Choreographic Practice and Theory from Southern Methodist University and has performed with The Washington Ballet, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. King was recently nominated for a Governor Award for the Arts in Ohio, is an assistant professor of dance at Kent State University, and the artistic director of the Kent Dance Ensemble.
Kelsey Lee(she/her or they/them) is an interdisciplinary artist, currently dancing as a company member with Hixon Dance in Columbus, OH. She holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance and Choreography from University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee, and studied Meisner Technique at the Acting Studio-New York. www.kelseyleedances.com
Yulia Lukyanova Moriarty Russian born professional dancer, Yulia, started her dance training at the age of six. She received her degree in Choreography and Stage Performance from the Kaluga College of Arts and Dance in 2000. Yulia danced professionally in the State Company, Cossacks of Russia, Sultans of the Dance in Istanbul, with the Ondacruz Show Ballet Company in Portugal, and with Riverdance internationally.
Joe Moriarty, Owner of ML Dance Academy Joseph toured with Riverdance for over thirteen years as a Principal dancer. His highlights include starring on Broadway, performing in the People’s Hall of China and the Moscow Kremlin State Palace. Joseph is recognized by An Coimisiun Le Rinci Gaelacha as a T.C.R.G. certified Irish Dance instructor. Joseph has taught extensively throughout his touring career. He has instructed dance camps in New York, Los Angeles, Japan and Colorado.
Dr. Nyama McCarthy-Brown is an Assistant Professor at OSU. In 2017, she released her book, Dance Pedagogy for a Diverse World: Culturally Relevant Teaching in Research, Theory, and Practice. Currently, she is working on her second book about women of color in ballet. Nyama is an active consultant of dance education for organizations such as: San Francisco Ballet School; Rutgers University Dance Department; and Ohio Dance.
Brian Murphy has been dancing professionally for 20 years with a number of dance companies including Verb Ballets, Ohio Ballet, GroundWorks Dancetheater, Cleveland San Jose Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Richmond Ballet, BalletMet, and New Orleans Delta Ensemble to name a few. Brian is co-owner of Pilates by Murphys, artistic director of Wayne Center Ballet, and conducts workshops for dancers of all ages all over the country.
Jennifer Muselin, Former Ohio Dance Theatre Principle and Soloist. Ms. Muselin attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Jennifer was awarded an apprenticeship at Chicago’s famed Hubbard Street Dance Company and selected to instruct summer intensives with the National Cheerleading Association. In 2013, Jennifer opened JAM Dance Academy. Jennifer has embarked on her new venture as the Executive Artistic Director of Ballet Legato.
Bronwen Owsley is a professional Middle Eastern dance artist, choreographer, instructor, and RYT 200 (Registered Yoga Teacher) from Dayton, Ohio. She holds a Fine Arts degree in Theatre and is the director of award winning Middle Eastern Dance Company: Banat Alexandria. Bronwen has been featured on the PBS Series The Art Show, and in the magazine The Belly Dance Chronicles.
Regina Pietraroia is the founder and director of Dance Arts by Regina, offering professional dance instruction in North Royalton and Cleveland. She trained at Butler University and holds a BS in Education, a BA in English, and an MA in Arts Administration from the University of Akron. Regina has been dancing professionally for ten years, performing with many such as; Ohio Dance Theatre, Neos Dance Theatre, and North Pointe Ballet.
Kora Radella’s choreography has been performed in NYC at venues including Judson Church, Danspace Project, and 92Y, and in cities including Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago, Columbus, Cleveland, London, and Paris. Noted for her use of “awkward grace,” Radella researches being on the edge of control. She is a certified yoga teacher (500RYT). Radella is on the dance faculty of Kenyon College and is available for commissions and guest teaching. www.koraradella.com
Marlene Robbins graduated from OSU with her MA in Dance Education. She was the beloved Dance Teacher at Indianola Elementary School (Columbus Public Schools) for over twenty years before her recent retirement. She has been folk dancing most of her life.
Mitchell Rose, is an associate professor of dance-filmmaking at OSU. A graduate of The American Film Institute, his films have won 90 awards. The New York Times called him: “A rare and wonderful talent.” The Washington Post wrote that his work was “in the tradition of Chaplin, Keaton, and Tati—funny and sad and more than the sum of both.”
Quianna Simpson is a Columbus native who began training at the age of 7. In her current work with Thiossane, she acts as rehearsal captain and technique consultant. She recently choreographed “Renaissance Magic” a musical, celebrating the Harlem Renaissance’s 100th anniversary. She continues as a guest teacher for BalletMet.
Sara Lawrence-Sucato is Rehearsal Director, Company Dancer, and Director of Outreach & Community Engagement at the Dancing Wheels Company & School. From Columbus, OH, she graduated with honors from Mercyhurst University with a degree in dance. She joined the Company as a dancer in 2006. She teaches integrated dance technique in residencies, workshops, and masterclasses.
Kodee Van Nort is an educator who received her Master’s of Fine Arts from Sam Houston State University. Kodee currently teaches at Miami Valley Ballet Theatre and St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati Ohio. She is also pursuing her Language of Dance® Master Practitioner certification and serves OhioDance as Vice President.
Errin Weaver began her dance training in African dance as a company member of Dance Afrika Dance of Cleveland, OH. She attended Tennessee State University, where she danced on a university performing arts scholarship. Moving to Chicago she danced with the renowned Muntu Dance Theatre, under the direction of Amaniyea Payne, and performed the works of Abdel Salaam, Jeffrey Page, Monique Haley, Ronald K. Brown, and the late Pearl Primus.
Valarie Williams collaborates on artistic projects producing critical conversations connecting scholarship in the arts with solutions for global societal change. Williams, professor of dance at Ohio State, holds a BFA from The Juilliard School, MFA and PhD from Texas Woman’s University, and Labanotation Professional Notator Certification. She studied at the Paris Opera Summer Study and toured with Lincoln Center Institute.
Xiang Xu is an international choreographer based in New York City. He earned his M.F.A. from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and served as adjunct faculty and guest artist at Syracuse University and Santa Monica College. In 2017 he led a dance residency at the Deeply Rooted Dance Theater in Chicago and The Joffrey Academy of Dance has selected Xiang to premiere his latest work at its 9th annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition in March 2019.