Charli Brissey is an experimental artist and choreographer hailing from Richmond, Virginia. There she received a BFA in dance and choreography, as well as an MFA in kinetic imaging, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her video- and performance-based work has been presented at various galleries, conferences, film festivals, and performance venues nationally and internationally, including the National Queer Arts Festival (San Francisco), the Eye Film Institute (Amsterdam, the Netherlands), the CURRENT SESSIONS (New York City), the Center for Performance Research (New York City), Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center (New York City), the Arts in Society Conference (Budapest, Hungary), and the Elm City Dance Festival (New Haven, Connecticut). In 2012, Brissey began an ongoing collaboration with Courtney Harris, creating multimedia works regarding queer notions of gender performance and sexuality. Their collaborative projects have been presented at and/or commissioned from Dance Camera West (Los Angeles), the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (Vancouver, Canada), the LOIKKA Dance Film Festival (Helsinki, Finland), the Bangalore Queer Film Festival (Bangalore, India), the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (Seattle), the Zurich Moves! Dance Festival (Zurich, Switzerland), the Nottingham Playhouse (Nottingham, England), the Topanga Film Festival (Topanga, California) DANCE:FILM (Edinburgh, Scotland), and several others. In 2013, Brissey received a fellowship from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has served as the video producer and editor for the American Dance Festival Summer School since 2014.
Elise Frost is a choreographer, educator, and performing artist hailing from Orlando, Florida. Her pursuit of art came at a young age in a creative house in which she exercised the freedom of the imagination and improvisation. She began her formal movement training with Eliza Harwood and Kip Watson in tandem with her studies in Shakespearian Theater at The New School of Orlando. Her interest in performance and the marriage of dance and theatre led her to participate in several local start-up dance companies . These experiences sparked her interests as a creator and resulted in launching her journey as a free-lance choreographer at the age of sixteen. She went on to choreograph for both CineDance Jazz Dance Company, Soul Play Modern Dance Company, DRIP, as well as Atlanta-based Brooks and Co. Dance along with producing several solo works at the Johnny Holloway Theatre. She continued her dance education and choreography at the University of Florida, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2011. Since graduating, she has gained experience working closely in non-profit and arts administration as well as starting her own dance company in 2013. She currently serves as Artistic Director while pursuing her MFA in Dance at the University of Illinois where she intends to let her curiosity of movement and life drive her into new creations.
Mauriah Kraker believes that everything is a dance, a negotiation, a chance to reimagine. Her work is shaped by her time as an Olympic-level athlete; she wrestles with the fission that exists between a love of perfection and a desire to enter the studio in an improvisational manner, fully present to each moment of creation. Working under the name kitchendances, she has created projects on printing presses in Germany, in rivers of the Midwest, under bridges in Taiwan, and in Bangkok's zombie buildings. Mauriah has worked with Maria Gillespie + Guests and Wild Space Dance Company in the Midwest, Assembly Dance Theatre in Taiwan, and Pilobolus Creative Services in New York, appearing in its renowned shadow work worldwide. Her solo work has been presented at the 92nd Street Y (New York), the Center for Performance Research (New York), WTF Gallery (Bangkok, Thailand), INOVA-Institute of Visual Arts (Milwaukee, Wisconsin), and the Nature, Art, and Habitat Residency (Bergamo, Italy). After receiving her BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she's thrilled to continue celebrating her Midwestern roots as she begins her MFA studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Charlie Maybee is a music and dance artist hailing from Woodbridge, Virginia. He received his BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2014 and moved to Champaign, Illinois, where he was an adjunct instructor, production manager, space coordinator, and accompanist at the University of Illinois Department of Dance as well as the director of dance arts for the Champaign Park District until 2016. He has since been accepted into the University of Illinois MFA Dance Program, where he is currently researching his own creative process in creating art work where tap dance is the central focus and how to integrate tap dance into the scope of contemporary art.
Chloe Nagle is a dance artist investigating the relationships between practice, creative process, and performance. Presently in her creative practice, she is seeking to find and express the essence of a personal truth. She has performed her work as a soloist at the American Dance Festival, the Bates Dance Festival, and Danceworks-Milwaukee. She was recently admitted to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is looking forward to continuing her studies as an MFA candidate in dance!
As a teenager, Momar Ndiaye danced recreationally with friends with whom he placed among the finalists for national dance competitions in Senegal. He began to seriously train in dance when he began studying with Marian Niox (modern jazz) and Honoré Bakana (Afro-jazz) from Cameroon. Momar produced and choreographed videos to accompany musicians on tour including Jeannot Soussou (Togo-Senegal) from 2001 to 2003 and Lore Fortune (Cameroun) in 2004. Also in 2004, Momar formed his own company CADANSES. In 2008 he taught dance and coached students in Student International Training (SIT), a study abroad program for Americans in Dakar. The same year, he met Andreya Ouamba and was invited to participate in his Ateliers Experiences et Corps (AEx-corps), which is a free training program designed for African dancers. Ouamba completely changed Momar's view of dance and allowed him to become more aware of his body and his possibilities. Since then, Momar has worked with international Choreographers from all over the world such as Andreya Ouamba, Keith Henessy, Dan Tchekpo (Benin-Germany), Opiyo Okach (Kenya-France), Martin Kravitz (USA-France), Sidi Graoui (France-Morocco), and Marc Thomkins (USA-France), among many others. Momar has also performed in festivals around the globe, including, among others, Impulstanz, Tanz Im August, and Dialogue de Corps. Momar has created and performed Azote (2004), Biodiversity (2004), Dechet (2005), Affranchi (2009), Me and My Space (2012), and Toxu (Between Dream and Reality) (2014). Momar is currently a member of the company Premier Temps with Andreya Ouamba and is dancing in her recent works. He has also collaborated with Kieth Henessy to create the piece Negotiate.
Kendra Portier is a performer, teacher, and dance maker based in New York City. Direct from Ohio, Kendra trained and performed with BalletMet and received a BFA with honors from Ohio State University. A member of David Dorfman Dance since 2010, Portier continues to perform with Vanessa Justice Dance and Race Dance, is on the faculty at the Gibney Dance Center, and is a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work(s) as both teaching artist and dance maker are under the moniker BAND, which has been a guest artist at numerous dance programs and festivals and has been presented by a Tisch School of the Arts Dance Residency (New York), a Bates Dance Festival Emerging Choreographer Residency (Maine), Gowanus Loft (New York), CRAWL (New York), Gowanus Arts+Production (New York), Arts by the People (New Jersey), Dixon Place (New York), Triskelion Arts (New York), A.U.N.T.S (New York), RoofTop Dance (New York), and Dance New Amsterdam (New York).
Leah Wilks is a choreographer, teacher, and performer based out of Durham, North Carolina. She began her dance career by sucking her thumb in the corner of a ballet class at age three. Surprisingly, this progressed into a full-fledged pursuit of dance training including ballet, modern, rhythm tap, composition, and improvisation. Leah holds a BA with Honors in Environmental Studies from Vassar College, where she danced as a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater. She performs regularly as a member of Renay Aumiller Dances, real.live.people.durham, and The Dept. of Improvised Dance and runs her own multimedia dance company VECTOR with visual artist Jon Haas. Most recently, she has been on the faculty at North Carolina State University, Carolina Friends School, 9th St. Dance, and the American Dance Festival and has been a guest teacher at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro and Elon University. In addition to teaching, performing, and creating work for the stage, Leah also collaborates with a number of musicians and video artists on music videos and interactive installations and is an organizer and founding member of Durham Independent Dance Artists and the arts nonprofit Culture Mill. Currently, Leah is a first-year MFA candidate at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she is both a media and teaching assistant.