Guest Artists

2016-2017 Guest Artists

Lisa Fay

Lisa FayLisa Fay is an originating and performing movement-based theatre artist known for applying complex composed structures to ordinary human behavior. With an eye toward social critique, her work embraces pointed humor. Her work has been presented at theatres, festivals, and universities throughout the United States, on public television, and internationally, most recently in Seoul, South Korea. She has been an invited guest artist and resident artist at numerous theatre venues and universities including most recently Kenyon College in Ohio; Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington; IRT in New York; the Prop Theatre in Chicago; and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Additionally, she directs the INNER VOICES Social Isssues Theatre program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she works with undergraduate and graduate students.

Recent selected conference presentations and initiatives include the "Young Ensemble Practitioners SUMMIT" for the INTERSECTION: Ensembles and Universities conference held in Chicago in 2015, "Folding Time" for the Association for Movement Educators at Ohio State University in 2014, and "Engaging the Ethics of Ensemble: Creating Community in Transient Populations" at the New School/Eugene Lang College with La Mama Theatre and the Network of Ensemble Theatres in 2014.

Awards and honors for her work include two Illinois Arts Council fellowships for continuing investigations in movement-based theatre that she shares with longtime collaborator Jeff Glassman and most recently a New England Foundation for the Arts National Theatre Project capacity-building grant, 2016; Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation USArtists International award, 2014; New England Foundation for the Arts, National Theatre Project finalist, 2014 and 2015; Creative Capital's "On Our Radar" Roster, 2013; Illinois Arts Council Individual Artist's Project grant, 2014; and City of Urbana Public Arts Creative Mix and Here-and-Now Awards, 2012, 2014, and 2015 for community engagement projects.

As an artist she has been honored to serve several times as an Illinois Arts Council multiarts panelist and as a committee member convening the first Illinois Arts Council/MacArthur Foundation, Cultural Workers/Artist-in-the-Community Conference. She was appointed by the mayor of Urbana to serve on the task force charged with developing the vision, mission, and structure for the local Urbana Public Arts Commission.

Michelle Gibson

Michelle GibsonMichelle N. Gibson, choreographer, educator, and performing artist, received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/the American Dance Festival at Duke University.

Her teaching practice and choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, contemporary/traditional modern, afro funk, and jazz to her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Cultivating her craft over the past years in an effort to preserve her culture, Michelle has been teaching and creating works that are firmly rooted in New Orleans culture and has defined this idea as her own "Second Line Aesthetic" that she has determined involves both technical and improvised movement, brass music, and the embrace of communal ritual.

Sharing her culture aboard, Michelle was invited in September 2015 to Rennes, France, to teach her New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic and guest lecture with the Compagnie Engrenage and the festival Le Funk Prend les Rennes (The Funk Takes the Reins). The festival honored and focused on the brass band culture of New Orleans—both music and dance—and also focused on Nigerian Afrobeat.

A five-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival and currently a candidate working toward receiving the Katherine Dunham Technique Certification, she has had wonderful opportunities teaching, lecturing, and setting choreography at various intensives, institutions, and universities not to mention creating choreography for several theatre companies and live entertainment organizations locally, in the United States, and internationally.

As a freelance artist and New Orleans native, and presently living in Dallas, Texas, Michelle is dedicating her energies, pedagogical practice, and performance-based research toward cultivating the community and the world abroad.

Chad Hall

Chad HallChoreographer, director, performer, and dance educator Chad Michael Hall is the founder, artistic director, and choreographer of MULTIPLEX DANCE, an LA-based dance company combining Hall's signature athletic and acrobatic movement style with his obsessions with digital media. He is assistant professor of dance at the University of California-Irvine's prestigious Claire Trevor School of the Arts, where he teaches contemporary technique, choreography, improvisation, contemporary partnering, dance and video, and screendance. Before coming to UCI, Hall served as visiting assistant professor at Loyola Marymount University from 2008 to 2011.

Hall is recognized nationally and internationally for his creative work. He most recently choreographed for Kibbutzim College in Tel Aviv, where he also worked as a guest artist with ldan Cohen Dance Company. Domestically, his work has been presented at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York City and the Tempe Center for the Arts in Arizona, where his piece Substrata was hailed by the Phoenix New Times as "the standout of the evening" at the Breaking Ground International Dance and Film Festival. From 2012 to 2014, Hall performed as a featured soloist and improviser with the critically acclaimed production The Men Dancers: From the Horse's Mouth, sharing the stage with such living legends as Arthur Mitchell, Lar Lubovitch, and Gus Solomon Jr. as well as many of today's breakthrough male dance artists. Of Hall's solo choreography and performance in the show, Deborah Jowitt stated, "Chad Michael Hall moves as too few superheroes do and more should."

Lucky Plush Productions

Lucky Plush ProductionsLucky Plush Productions is an ensemble dance-theatre company based in Chicago, led by founder and Artistic Director Julia Rhoads. The company is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence—a palpable live-ness—shared by performers in real time with audiences. A unique hybrid of high-level dance and theatre, Lucky Plush's work is recognized for its layered choreography, nuanced dialogue, surprising humor, and socially relevant content.

Since its founding in 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30 original dance-theatre works including 12 evening-length productions. In addition to regularly performing in Chicago, the company has presented work in over 40 U.S. cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioners of the company's work include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Chicago, Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (Vermont), Links Hall Chicago, the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (Maryland), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky Plush has also collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Walkabout Theater, and M5.

Lucky Plush Productions is the first and only dance company to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a recognition of the company's exceptional creativity and impact. Other honors include creation, residency, and touring awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and National Performance Network; exchange awards from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; a presentation award from the MetLife Foundation; and an achievement award from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at the Chicago Community Trust.

Ashley Murphy

Ashley Murphy
Photo by Rachel Neville

Ashley Murphy of Shreveport, Louisiana, is in her first season with the Washington Ballet after dancing for 13 years with Dance Theatre of Harlem. In 2002, she trained and performed with Dance Theatre of Harlem's Dancing Through Barriers® Ensemble. The following year, she was accepted into the company and toured with it and performed ballets such as Firebird, Serenade, The Four Temperaments, and Concerto Barocco. Murphy has also taught for Dance Theatre of Harlem's Pre-Professional Residency at the Kennedy Center. She had the honor of performing at the White House, on BET, and on Jeopardy. She also represented the United States in a cultural exchange program in Jamaica. During Dance Theatre of Harlem's eight-year hiatus, she was influential in helping to restore the company by performing in the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble that continued to share the company’s legacy. When Dance Theatre of Harlem returned in 2012, Murphy performed many principal roles in ballets including Tchaikovsky's Pas de Deux, Glinka, Nacho Duato's Coming Together, Agon, Ulysses Dove's Dancing on the Front Porch of Heaven, and many others. She was also featured on the cover of Pointe Magazine with Misty Copeland and Ebony Williams as well as featured in a Verizon Wireless commercial.

Lisa Race

Lisa Race
Photo by Brian McCormick

Lisa Race is an associate professor of dance at Connecticut College and has lived in Connecticut since 2004. She received a Bessie in 1995 as a member of David Dorfman Dance (1989-2000). Her work has been seen at Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, and Movement Research at the Judson Church, among other New York City venues. In more recent years, Race and company have performed at Hollins University, the University of Florida, the Yard (Massachusetts), Wesleyan University, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, Connecticut College, the CT Dance Exchange at the Arts and Ideas Festival in New Haven, Dance Now NYC, and the Construction Company (New York City). Race has given workshops and/or made dances at destinations around the country and beyond, including the ImpulsTanz (Austria) and Kalamata (Greece) festivals, the Bates Dance Festival, and the American Dance Festival and in France, Denmark, England, Sweden, Finland, Hong Kong, and Argentina. Race has collaborated with Shawn Hove on two dance films, Folded and Stone Memory. Folded has been screened at the Sans Souci Festival, Dance for Reel, and the Light Moves Festival of Screendance (Ireland). Race is a guest performer with David Dorfman Dance, having most recently performed with the company in Greece, in Wyoming, and at the Met Breuer and Cooper Hewitt museums in New York City.


RUBBERBANDance GroupRUBBERBANDance Group (RBDG) was founded as a collective in 2002 by choreographer Victor Quijada out of a reactionary need to reconnect to the movement ideals of his maternal hip-hop lifestyle. The company became the testing ground where Quijada's coming of age through hip-hop culture and years of high-level professional experience in the contemporary ballet world would collide choreographically.

Since 2002, RBDG has produced three short films and nine substantial works that have gained recognition for a new and unique vision of contemporary dance theatre. RBDG has been presented throughout Canada and has represented Canadian artistic innovation in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, and Japan.

RBDG's artistic co-directors Anne Plamondon and Victor Quijada were resident artists of Cinquième Salle at Place des Arts de Montreal until June 2011.

Karen Schupp

Karen SchuppKaren Schupp is a nationally recognized dance scholar, artist, and educator. Her scholarly research addresses innovative pedagogical practices and curricula in postsecondary dance education and dance competition culture. Schupp is the author of Studying Dance: A Guide for Campus and Beyond, the first text to directly address student-centered approaches to studying dance as an academic discipline. Forthcoming book chapters include "Sassy Girls and Hard-Hitting Boys: Dance Competition Culture and Gender," "You've Got to Sell It! Performing on the Competition Stage," and, with Nyama McCarthy-Brown, "Dancing with Diversity: Postsecondary Dance Major Students' Perceptions of Cultural Diversity." She is currently the associate editor of the Journal of Dance Education, and her research has been published in the Journal of Dance Education; Arts Education Policy Review; Theatre, Dance, and Performance Training Journal; and the Brooklyn Rail.

Schupp's creative work includes self-portraiture, interdisciplinary dances, and conceptual works for nondancers and has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Arizona, and the United States Artist Project. She has performed with choreographers and companies including Victoria Marks, Mary Fitzgerald, Fred Darsow, and A Ludwig Dance Theatre. Her performance in Marks's Against Ending was recognized with a Horton Award for Outstanding Performance. She received a 2010 Artist Project Grant (an award funded through the NEA and the Arizona Commission on the Arts) to develop her work Western Door/Power Trail. In 2012, Schupp received a United States Artists Project grant to fund the proof-of-concept work for her ongoing project, In It to Win, which is now a web series available for viewing at

As an educator, Schupp has taught in many studios, as a guest artist in high school dance programs and in the community, and in postsecondary settings both domestically and internationally. She is currently an assistant professor in the School of Film, Dance, and Theatre at Arizona State University, where she received the Herberger College of the Arts' Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007. Schupp has an MFA in Dance from Arizona State University and a BA in Dance Performance and Education from SUNY Buffalo. For more information, please visit

Aaron R. White

Aaron R. WhiteAaron R. White, a Chicago, Illinois, native, found dance at the age of 14. His training began in high school with Deidre M. Dawson (former member of Joseph Holmes Dance Theater) and soon intertwined with Pierre Locket of the Joffrey Ballet.

Aaron earned his Master of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts (Tisch) and his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (U of I). For demonstrating academic prowess and talent, Aaron received a Talented Student Award from Tisch, earned an Academic Competitiveness Grant from the U of I, and was the progenitor of the Outstanding Performance Award, which was presented by the U of I Department of Dance. Lastly, Aaron was one of two students awarded with the I4I Scholarship, which funded part of his semester abroad at the Taipei National University of the Arts, where he studied dance meditation, classical Chinese dance, Kung Fu, and acrobatics.

During his freshman year, Aaron had the privilege of performing in the reconstruction of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company's D-Man in the Waters. He has also performed works by Jennifer Archibald, Germaul Barnes, Megan Bascom, Paige Cunningham, Ruben Graciani, Whitney V. Hunter, Alex Ketly, Malcolm Low, Linda Lehovec, Andrea Miller, Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Cynthia Oliver, Renee Redding-Jones, Paul Singh, and Caitlin Trainor. For the past three years, Aaron has been a member of the Sean Curran Company, Trainor Dance, and Project44.

Aaron has been a master instructor at the American Dance Festival, Tisch, Point Park University, Barnard College at Columbia University, University of Hawaii–Manoa, Towson University, Gibney Dance, Dance New Amsterdam, Joffrey Ballet/AfterSchool Matters Summer Dance Intensive of Chicago, Gallery 37 Advanced Arts Education Program, Chicago's All-City Dance Ensemble, Dancewave, and Chicago Contemporary Dance Theater. He was the co-coordinator of the Bruce D. Nesbitt African-American Cultural Center's Omnimov Dance Troupe for three years.

During his time of graduate study, Aaron discovered the healing power of Reiki via Professor Renee Redding-Jones. Serendipitously, his path linked with Marilyn Vega, Reiki master-instructor and RN, to further deepen his energetic studies and to become a Reiki master-instructor himself.

Aaron is currently a nomad, traveling around the world and sharing his gifts. He wishes to be a beacon of light to support others, illuminate fears, and facilitate healing through Reiki, dance, and education.

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