Participants 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.07.54 PM

NIA AUSTIN-EDWARDS the Founder of PURPOSE Productions — a company that supports artists and activists in the manifestation of PURPOSE-full work that seeks to unify and develop our world community. She’s also is an editor and contributor to The Dance Enthusiast and was recently named a John R. Munger Research Fellow for Dance USA. Her performing career began in her mother’s womb, developed in Atlanta, GA, at Total Dance / Dancical Productions, Inc., and was further formalized through Tri-Cities Visual and Performing Arts Magnet High School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.  Since her transition from Marketing & Communications Director at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, PURPOSE Productions has had the pleasure of supporting dance artists such as Adia Tamar Whitaker and Marjani Forte, theater artists such as Melanie Jones and Latonia Phipps, organizations such as 651 ARTS and STooPS, initiatives such as Paloma McGregor’s Dancing While Black and Camille A. Brown’s The Gathering, among others. | | @KwanzaaKid



MOIRA BRENNAN is the Program Director for the Multi-Arts Production/MAP Fund. She studied theater at New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Her writing about the arts and feminism has been published in the New York Times, Ms. Magazine, American Theatre,, among other publication.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 3.24.52 PM

DASHA A. CHAPMAN is currently the Postdoctoral Associate in Duke University’s Department of African and African American Studies. Dasha received her Ph.D. from the Department of Performance Studies at NYU.  As a dancer ethnographer and scholar, she is now at work on her book manuscript based on her dissertation, Dancing Haiti in the Break: the Labors and the Grounds of Dance in Haiti and its Diasporas for which she was awarded the Deena Burton Memorial Award for Outstanding Dissertation Research. This project examines the labor of contemporary Haitian dance artists, focusing on the political and ethical dimensions of the collectives they sustain through their teaching and performance work in both Haiti and its diasporas of New York and Boston. Her broader interests are centered in Afro-Caribbean and African diasporic aesthetics, religions, collective movement practices, historical memory, genders and sexualities.  She completed her M.A. in NYU’s Draper Program in Humanities and Social Thought, and her B.A. in Boston University’s University Professors Program with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Cultural Studies. She is a dancer of Haitian, West African, and Afro-Cuban techniques, and performs with contemporary choreographers in New York City as well as in Haiti. Dasha is organizing a symposium on contemporary Haitian performance, gender and sexuality to be held at Duke this coming academic year.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.05.55 PM

THOMAS F. DEFRANTZ is Chair of African and African American Studies and Professor of Dance and Theater Studies at Duke University. Born a Hoosier, his work focuses on theories of African diaspora aesthetics, intersections of dance and technology, and dance historiography. He writes articles and essays about black dance in the United States, as they are practiced in the US and in global contexts. He is the director of SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group in residence at Duke that explores emerging technology in live performance applications that works to create innovate interfaces that help us tell alternative histories. He currently convenes the working group Black Performance Theory and the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance. He is past-president of the Society of Dance History Scholars, an international organization that advances the field of dance studies through research, publication, performance, and outreach to audiences across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. His books include the edited volume Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (2002) and Dancing Revelations: Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (2004) and Black Performance Theory co-edited with Anita Gonzalez. A director and writer, his creative works include CANE: A Responsive Environment Dancework that premiered at Duke in April, 2013.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.30.20 PM

JANE GABRIELS has a movement practice that incorporates her work as a poet and singer as well as a producer/curator. Based in the Bronx, and in Montreal, she began working at the non-profit arts organization Pepatian in 1999 and became its Director in 2006. At Pepatian, she develops, produces and supports contemporary inter-disciplinary art by Latino and Bronx-based artists via multiple projects. For three years, she was the co-curator and Project Director for the Young Roots Performance Series at Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture (2011-13), and is developing a book project about the series. She recently completed her doctoral work at Concordia University (Montreal) and theorized about the performing arts scene of the South Bronx, accompanied by a dance theatre solo, Becoming a Boogie-Down Rican.

In 2014, working with Dena Davida, she co-organized « Envisioning the Practice : Montreal International Symposium on Performing Arts Curation, » and co-taught a pilot course on  performing arts curation at L’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). She is currently co-editing a book based on the symposium with other members of CICA-ICAC/International Community of Performing Arts Curation. Jane also currently curates “aLIVE” – a performance series at sweet little venues throughout Montreal.

She has collaborated with numerous artists on performances as well as on three albums of original work and a book of poems. Her workshops “360 Creative” and “Urban Meditation: The Lost, The Found, The Fantasy” offer participants interdisciplinary approaches to their creative process through movement and writing. She is currently developing a new dance theater solo about her family history in Montreal, Sh’or-e.

As a consultant for artists over the past 15 years, she has raised needed funds for non-profits and artists through individual donations, institutional funding and corporate sponsorships, in addition to securing other professional development resources. She established janejane productions to create and support artistic projects, and offers consulting as well as editorial services.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.34.40 PM

LEVI GONZALEZ is a New York City based dance artist living and working in the city for the past 17 years. He currently serves as Director of Artist Programs at Movement Research where he oversees the Artist-in-Residence Program, as well as various discursive events and artist opportunities, panels, exchanges and organizational partnerships. He was Artist Advisor for New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks Residency Program from 2007-2013, a position he helped institute and develop over those 7 years. He also served as Artist Advisor for the Brooklyn Arts Exchange Artist in Residency program in 2012-2013. He helped to facilitate an exchange with Movement Research and the National Dance Center in Bucharest between New York and Romanian artists in 2010-11. Additionally, he was an artist member of the Movement Research Board of Directors from 2007-2009 and was a founding editor of Movement Research’s online publication Critical Correspondence from 2005-2009. He organized and facilitated an intensive workshop for dance artists at The Kitchen with Dean Moss called Form and Practice from 2005-2007. He received a BFA in Dance from California Institute of the Arts in 1997. His choreographic work has been commissioned by The Kitchen, BAX, DTW, PS1, Danspace Project, Movement Research, The Chocolate Factory Theater, Abrons Arts Center, and more. His work has been presented locally, nationally and internationally. As a performer he has collaborated with numerous dance and theater artists including luciana achugar, John Jasperse, Donna Uchizono, Michael Laub, Daria Faïn, Juliette Mapp, ChameckiLerner and Jeremy Nelson. He has taught extensively in New York City, for various Universities, and in guest residencies throughout the US and abroad.


 Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.37.59 PM 

AARON GREENWALD has been the Executive Director of Duke Performances since 2006. The organization has a 2.2 million dollar budget and serves upwards of 35,000 patrons annually — roughly 8,500 of whom are Duke students. Duke Performances has commissioned, developed, and premiered major new work from composers Steve Reich, John Luther Adams and Jason Moran; choreographers/dance companies Shen Wei Dance Arts, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Urban Bush Women, and Donald Byrd Spectrum Dance Company; and musicians Bon Iver, Simone Dinnerstein, Branford Marsalis, and The Bad Plus amongst others. In addition to commissioning and developing new work, Duke Performances maintains an annual schedule of roughly 80 performances — these shows are staged in a network of more than a dozen venues both on campus and in town — and span every conceivable genre. The majority of these presentations include an artist-in-residency component that engages both Duke’s campus and the broader Durham community.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.39.57 PM

ISHMAEL HOUSTON-JONES is a choreographer, author, performer, teacher, curator, and arts advocate known for his improvisational dance and language work. His improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York City, across the United States, in Europe, Canada, Australia and Latin America. For more information on his numerous artistic credits, awards, published texts, teaching, and curatorial work, see


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.44.55 PM

RASU JILANI is an Independent curator, social sculptor and entrepreneur whose work investigates the intersection between art, culture and civic engagement as a means of raising critical consciousness. The objective of his work is to catalyze interaction between artists, the local community and the wider public, in order to promote awareness around social issues through exhibitions, humanities, community programs and cultural events.

As socially-engaged art curator and community programming professional, Rasu Jilani joined the staff of MAPP International Productions in April 2013 as Director of

Community Programs. His latest work at MAPP includes programming the humanities for Blink Your Eyes: Sekou Sundiata Revisited – a citywide retrospective, Triple Consciousness: Black Feminism(s) in the Time of Now at Brooklyn Museum, Days of Art and Ideas at The New School, artists’ salons, community discussions, and artists led workshops. Prior to joining MAPP, he worked with over 125 artists to curate, design and manage artistic and community events addressing social concerns and civic issues. He served a two-year tenure as Senior Fellow of Arts, Culture and Sustainability at the Pratt Center for Community Development, where he managed art and cultural programs designed to connect New York City neighborhoods with Pratt Center’s community and environmental sustainability projects. These projects included Arts East New York’s Summer Saturdaze at East New York Farms, Bedford Stuyvesant’s Retrofit Block-by-Block, Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation’s Restoration Rocks and Youth Arts Education, Brooklyn Greens Sustainability Leadership Conference, Cypress Hill Verde Summit, and the “Amplify Action: Sustainability Through The Arts” exhibition.

Mr. Jilani is also co-founder of the art and socially responsible brand, Coup d’etat Arts, a platform for creative expression that transcends cultural boundaries. In 2008, he introduced the Coup d’etat Art Collective, a Brooklyn-based collaboration of highly respected artists to produce various art-related events throughout New York City, including the Afropunk Festival, BEAT Festival, Long Island University, Pratt Institute, Columbia University, The New School, Mighty Tanaka Gallery, Skylight Gallery. Mr. Jilani holds both a B.S. from Syracuse University.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.47.44 PM

JOSPEH JORDAN has been Director of the Sonja H. Stone Center for Black Culture and History since 2001. He is also Adjunct Associate Professor, African/African-American Studies, an affiliate faculty member in the curriculum in Global Studies, and Director of the Venezuela Aspects of the African Diaspora Study Abroad Project. His current work focuses on the cultural politics of race, identity and artistic production in the diaspora.

His writing includes an upcoming special issue of Black Scholar, co-edited with Daynali Flores-Rodriguez on the Life and Work of Frantz Fanon, and an essay entitled Can the Artist Speak? Hamid Kachmar’s Subversive Redemptive Art of Resistance in Bodies of Knowledge: Interviews, African Art, and Scholarly Narratives, Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee, eds., (Indiana University Press forthcoming 2012). Other work includes Globilizacíon y Derechos de Propiedad Intelectual: Problemas y Perspectivas, Política Exterior y Soberania. Publicacíon Trimestral del Instituto de Altos Estudios Diplomáticos ‘Pedro Gual’, Julio-Septiembere 2007; and Cabral, Solidarity and the African Diaspora in the Americas (book chapter) in Cabral no Cruzamento de Épocas: Comunicações e Discursos  Produzidos no II Simpósio Internacional Amílcar Cabral, (2005)

He currently serves as a Board member of the National Council for Black Studies as a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Black Scholar Journal of Black Studies and Research; as a member of the Editorial Board of PALARA – Publication of the Afro-Latin American Research Association; and as co-chair of TransAfrica Forum’s Scholar’s Council. He is a founding member of the Afro-Colombian Solidarity Network, and a member of the coordinating team of the Future of Minority Studies Research Project.



CHRISTINA KNIGHT received her Ph.D. from Harvard’s Department of African and African American Studies with a primary field in History of Art and Architecture.  The recipient of numerous grants for graduate study, including a Ford Foundation Dissertation fellowship, she is currently on faculty in Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College.  Research interests include the connection between embodied practices and identity, the relationship between race and the visual field, and the queer imaginary. Her current book project focuses on representations of the Middle Passage in contemporary American visual art and performance. She is also a playwright, and is collaborating with her sister on a performance adaptation of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth that combines drag culture, Haitian funereal imagery and house music; that project will premier this fall.


jaamilkosoko by erikcarter

Originally from Detroit, MI, JAAMIL OLAWALE KOSOKO is a Nigerian American curator, producer, poet, and performance artist currently based in Brooklyn, New York. With his creative partner Kate Watson-Wallace, he co-directs anonymous bodies || art collective, a visual performance hub focusing on innovative approaches to curation, performance, and education. He is a Co-Curator of the 2015 Movement Research Spring Festival and the 2015 Dancing While Black performance series at BAAD in the Bronx; a 2014 American Express Leadership Academy alum, a contributing correspondent for Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), and Critical Correspondence (NYC); a 2012 Live Arts Brewery Fellow as a part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival; a 2011 Fellow as a part of the DeVos Institute of Art Management at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; and an inaugural graduate of the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) at Wesleyan University. Kosoko is a Founding Advisory Board Member of the Coalition for Diasporan Scholars Moving and has most recently been elected to the Executive Committee on the Board of Trustees at Dance/USA. He has sat on numerous funding and curatorial panels including The Map Fund, Baker Memorial Prize, the National Endowment for the Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. Visit for more information.



NICOLE MARTIN is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. She is an artist-scholar committed to supporting aesthetic practices through theoretical frameworks at the intersection of black studies, performance studies, and black feminist studies. As a solo performer and performing artist, Nicole explores black subjectivity and racialized mourning as embodied and ritualized affect. She has been a guest performer for The Encyclopedia Show – Austin. Nicole was also featured in the 2003 Showtime documentary, Freshman Diaries. Her current research interests focus on the relationship between performance, visibility, gender, race, historical archives, and state interests. Her dissertation investigates the emerging persona of the “black leading lady” through the figures of First Lady Michelle Obama, Olivia Pope from ABC’s Scandal, and playwright Lynn Nottage’s ingénue in By The Way, Meet Vera Stark. She is currently serving as an executive committee member for the Hemispheric Institute’s Graduate Student Initiative to be held in Austin, TX, forthcoming November 2015.


PALOMA MCGREGOR is a choreographer, writer and organizer living in Harlem. An eclectic artist, she has structured improvisation for a floating platform in the Bronx River, choreographed an Afro-futurist pop opera at The Kitchen and devised a multidisciplinary performance work about food justice with three dozen community members and students at UC Berkeley.

A collaborator by nature and practice, Paloma has worked extensively with her sister, director Patricia McGregor, as well as with Niegel Smith, multidisciplinary artists Mendi+Keith Obadike and LaTasha Nevada Diggs, musician/cultural critic Greg Tate, composer Vijay Iyer and environmental educator Damian Griffin.

Paloma is director of Angela’s Pulse, which creates and produces collaborative performance work dedicated to building community and illuminating bold, new stories. Paloma’s work has been supported by grants and creative residencies from the Jerome Foundation; iLAND; Earthdance; Wave Hill; Voice & Vision; Dance ExchangeLower Manhattan Cultural Council; Foundation for Contemporary Art. Paloma is a 2014-15 Artist In Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, where she will develop a solo iteration of her performance project, Building A Better Fishtrap. The project, rooted in her 88-year-old father’s vanishing fishing tradition, examines what we take with us, leave behind and return to reclaim.

Paloma has also been creating movement for theater, including productions of Spunk and A Winter’s Tale (California Shakespeare Theater), A Civil War Christmasand Amadeus (Center Stage), the world-premiere of The House that Will Not Stand (Berkeley Repertory and Yale Repertory), and Brownsville Song (LCT3).

In addition to her creative work, Paloma has been developing Dancing While Black, an initiative that supports the diverse work of black dance artists by cultivating platforms for process, performance, dialogue and documentation. She does this work in partnership with like-minded institutions, including Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Urban Bush Women, MoCADA and NYU’s Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics, where she has been an Artist in Residence since 2013. Paloma has also written about dance and civic engagement for Surdna Foundation and Americans for the Arts, as well as facilitated numerous workshops for organizations interested in the intersection of arts and activism.

Paloma toured internationally for six years as a dancer with Urban Bush Women, and continues to perform in her own work as well as project-based work with other choreographers, including Liz Lerman, Cassie Meador and Jill Sigman.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 1.56.36 PM

SARAH SCHROTH was named Mary D.B.T. and James H. Semans Director of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University in June 2013. Formerly, she served as Nancy Hanks Senior Curator at the Nasher, organizing exhibitions and helping to shape the new museum as a cornerstone of the arts at Duke.

Schroth has curated numerous exhibitions ranging from old masters to contemporary art, including the award-winning 2008 exhibition, El Greco to Velázquez: Art during the Reign of Philip III. As a result of that exhibition, which she organized with the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Schroth was named knight-commander in the Order of Isabel la Católica by King Juan Carlos I of Spain. She also has collaborated on major exhibitions with the Museo del Prado, the Seattle Art Museum and others, and has published widely.

Schroth is also chair of Duke University’s Council on the Arts, working to promote the arts as one of five priorities in the university’s strategic plan. She also chairs the President’s Art Advisory Committee overseeing public sculpture on campus. She is an adjunct professor in Duke’s Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies.

Schroth earned her Ph.D. from The Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, specializing in Spanish art of the 17th Century. Before coming to Duke, she held curatorial positions at the Kimbell Museum in Fort Worth, Texas; the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; and the Ackland Art Museum at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Among her publications are articles in Apollo and The Burlington Magazine, and essays in El Greco to Velázquez (MFA Publications, 2008), Spain in the Age of Exploration (Seattle Art Museum, 2003) and Rubens’ Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma (Museo del Prado, 2002).


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.01.03 PM

MARÝA WETHERS is a dancer and arts manager based in NYC since 1997. In her role as arts manager, Marýa is currently the Managing Director & Producer of company nora chipaumire and a freelance Producing Consultant for international projects in Eastern/Central Europe and Africa. From 2007-2014, she worked in the Programming Department at New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop/DTW) as the International Project Director of the Suitcase Fund program, where she developed a cultural exchange program with contemporary dance artists in the USA and Africa, and managed the program activities in Eastern/Central Europe.

Marýa curated the Out of Space @ BRIC Studio series for Danspace Project from 2003-2007 with a particular focus on work representing the perspectives and experiences of artists who are of color, queer, and/or female. She has served on selection panels for several presenting and funding organizations in NY and nationally, including the National Endowment for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Brooklyn Arts Council, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and as an Advisor to NEFA’s National Dance Project program. She has served as a guest lecturer for presenting/service organizations and college/university dance programs in the tristate area, including NYU, Ailey Fordham, Hunter College, Movement Research, Harlem Stage, and Dance/NYC, as well as Mount Holyoke College and ACDF at Connecticut College. Marýa was a member of the New York Dance & Performance/Bessie Award Committee in 2006-07. Her writing, UnCHARTed Legacies: women of color in post-modern dance, was published in the 25th Anniversary Movement Research Performance Journal #27/28 (2004).

Marýa is a recipient of a National Performance Network Mentorship & Leadership award and two APAP Cultural Exchange Fund grants to support research and planning trips to Tanzania & Kenya and Bulgaria. Marýa graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with High Honor, cum laude and a Minor in African-American Studies.


Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 2.02.36 PM

ANDREA E. WOODS VALDÉS is an Associate Professor at Duke University teaching modern dance and dance for the camera. She has directed Duke In Ghana summer study (2012-2014). SOULOWORKS/Andrea E. Woods & Dancers recently celebrated 20 years of dancing and dancemaking. Previous resident of Brooklyn, NY, and native of Philadelphia, Woods has danced with Clive Thompson, Mafata, Saeko Ichinohe and Leni Wylliams dance companies. She is a former dancer/rehearsal director of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co. and has a BFA from Adelphi University, an MFA in dance from Ohio State and an MAH in Caribbean Cultural Studies from SUNY Buffalo. She has been a staff writer for Attitude: The Dancers’ Magazine. Her work has taken her to:  Cannes, Taiwan, Russia, Senegal, Morocco, Korea, Poland, Singapore, Belize, Yucatán, Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Ghana, Trinidad, Cuba and throughout the US.  She has been guest a guest artist at:  Medgar Evers College, Howard University, Ohio University, Rhode Island College, California State University Long Beach, North Carolina School of the Arts, Hollins University, Sarah Lawrence, Goucher College, NYU Tisch School of the Arts (faculty) and Spelman College.   She has received grants from:  The Jerome Foundation, (NEFA) The National Dance Project, National Performance Network and Arts International and is a recipient of the NC Arts Council 2012 Fellowship.

Woods uses dance as contemporary folklore with a ​creative process strongly linked to identity and representation. ​Her areas of interest include women in the arts, Afro-Cuban dance/music, African Diaspora history/culture and Dance for the Camera. Her research interest is in ​exploring the intra-cultural, interdisciplinary dialogues and activities that happen between Black women artists beyond the boundaries of nation and politics.

One thought on “Participants 2015

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *