Featured Guests - MAD 2023

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Karen Brown Headshot

Karen Brown

Karen Brown spent 22 years traveling around the world as a principal ballerina, featured artist, master teacher and lecturer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) under the direction of legendary founder, Arthur Mitchell. From the inception DTH's Kennedy Center Community Outreach Residency in Washington, D.C., she was a master teacher and adjudicator for the groundbreaking and innovative community-focused program. Ms. Brown's immediate transition from active performer with DTH was to the Director of Education at the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education (ABCDE). Her background as
a master teacher includes teaching classes and workshops at colleges, universities and dance schools throughout Eastern and Western Europe, North and Central America, the Pacific Rim, Egypt, and South Africa. Ms. Brown has been certified as an ABT® Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 7. She is certified in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of the Vaganova Syllabus with John White in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She is also certified in Reinforced Motor Function for Ballet Application (RMF) founded by Sean McLeod and has recently founded the En Pointe Plus Dance Mastery Institute (EPP), a division of Karenina, Inc. (founded in 1997) offering coaching sessions for dancers utilizing new computerized motion analysis technology and accelerated learning techniques. Prior to joining the University of the Arts (UARTS) in Philadelphia as Assistant Professor of Dance (2007 – 2013), Brown served for six years as Artistic Director of Oakland Ballet Company in California (2000 – 2006). Throughout her career, Ms. Brown has received numerous awards, including New York Institute of Dance and Education Harriet Tubman Freedom Award in 2010 and the New York Dance and Performance Award or the "New York Dance and Performance Award or The Bessie; for Sustained Achievement in Performance" as a company member with Paradigm, Dance Legends in Concert (NYC) in 2018. She has been an Executive Director for Garth Fagan Dance in Rochester, New York and a Guest Artistic Director of Ballet Wichita in Wichita, Kansas where she and black choreographer Sean McLeod set a new Nutcracker Ballet on the company. In celebration of Juneteenth 2020, Ms. Brown opened the Karen Brown Coaching Studio dedicated to renowned ballet dancer, close friend, former dance colleague and benefactor, the late Mel A. Tomlinson and the studio also honors the legacy of the late DTH founder Arthur Mitchell. In fall 2020, she was hired as a new Assistant Professor of Ballet at the University of Missouri Kansas City Conservatory.

Henoch Spinola Headshot

Henoch Spinola

HENOCH SPINOLA (he/him), a native of Cabo Verde Islands, began his classical training with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA, graduating from the Young Dancers Program in 2006 to become a full company member 2007. After leaving JMBT, Henoch began working with Prometheus Dance from 2011–2012, along with other dance companies local to Boston. He then moved to New York City to dance in a work by Itzik Galili at the Metropolitan Opera from 2013-2014. He then earned a Master of Fine Arts within the Creative Practice: Dance Professional Practice Pathway from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Henoch has been a Core Member since 2019 and also serves as the BDT Trainee Program Manager and Coach.

Wesley Urbanczyk Headshot

Wesley Urbanczyk

WESLEY URBANCZYK (they/them), graduated with a BFA in Dance performance from Jacksonville University with a double major in English literature. They've had the privilege to work with choreographers such as Roya Carreras, Maleek Washington, Jennifer Archibald, Cleo Parker Robinson, Amy Miller, and Antonio Brown. After moving to Boston from Florida to join BDT's Trainee Program in 2021, Wesley was promoted to Apprentice in September 2022 and to Core Member Jr in January 2023.

Erica Isakower Headshot

Erica Isakower

Erica Isakower earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Hofstra University and is currently a Master of Fine Arts in Dance candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a multifaceted artist, serving as the artistic director, choreographer, and dancer for Chutzpah Dance. Erica's captivating work has been showcased in prominent cities such as New York City, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, Chicago, and various locations throughout New Jersey. Her choreographic eye has been recognized as she was invited as a guest artist to create commissioned pieces at Bucks County Community College in Pennsylvania and in residence at Broward College in Florida. Additionally, she was a featured dancer in Dorney Park's dance show for Halloween Haunt in 2019. Erica has also performed with Hanna Q Dance Company, Equilibrium Dance Company, and Allegory Dance Theatre, contributing her skills and passion to their projects. During her time at Hofstra University, she had the privilege of performing in works by Larry Keigwin, Anita Feldman, Luiza Karnas, and José Limón. Sharing her knowledge and nurturing the next generation of dancers is a vital part of Erica's artistic journey. Currently, she is a dedicated instructor at Dance Artistry Center, Monarch School of Dance, Hailey Jane Dance Center, and Tiffany & Co Academy of Dance in New Jersey, where she imparts her knowledge and passion to aspiring dancers. Erica's commitment to education extends beyond local boundaries, as she taught workshops abroad in Panama as part of the Movement Exchange Organization in 2019. Erica was recently awarded the South Jersey Artist & History Professional COVID Relief Grant award, recognizing her commitment as a choreographer, dancer, and dance educator within the community. To stay updated on Erica's upcoming performances and opportunities, follow @chutzpahdance on Instagram!

BDT (Boston Dance Theater)

BDT Boston Dance Theater

Under the co-artistic direction of Jessie Jeanne Stinnett and award-winning, Dutch-Israeli, choreographer Itzik Galili, Boston Dance Theater (BDT) is Boston's first contemporary dance repertory company with international ties at the leadership level. With a commitment to presenting works of socio-political relevance, BDT matches the talents of Boston-based dancers with those of acclaimed global choreographers, broadening the scope of contemporary dance practice and performance in our city. BDT is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt charity as of 2019.

Olivia Coombs Headshot

Olivia Coombs

OLIVIA COOMBS (she/her), began her training in ballet under the direction of Jessica Wilson at Ballet Workshop of New England. Olivia then studied at the Alonzo King Lines Ballet Training Program for two years where she performed in works by Alonzo King, Maurya Kerr, Sidra Bell, Iratxe Ansa, Gregory Dawson, Kara Davis, and Erik Wagner. Olivia apprenticed with Dawson Wallace Dance Project in Denver for one season. She has also performed work by Ismael Ivo as part of a special research project at ImpulsTanz in Vienna, Austria and Sao Paulo, Brazi. Olivia is a founding Core Member of BDT and also serves in the roles of Rehearsal Director and Trainee Program Coach.

Khris Henry Headshot

Khris Henry

KHRIS HENRY (he/him) is a native of Boston and is a BFA graduate of the University of Hartford at the Hartt School. He began his training at the Origination Cultural Arts Center and Boston Arts Academy. While a student, Khris has had experience with choreographers Nathan Trice, Catherine Young, Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden, Norbert De La Cruz, Brain Arias, and Yoshito Sakuraba. After guesting with BDT in 2019 and 2020, Khris joined as a Core Member in 2021. He is also a BDT Trainee Program Coaching Assistant.

Matt Steffens Headshot

Matt Steffens

Matthew is an international director and choreographer who lives in NYC. Most recently he served as the Associate Choreographer for the 6-time Tony nominated Into the Woods. Other Broadway credits include: Doctor Zhivago, Promises Promises Women on the Verge. He has toured with Into the Woods, West Side Story, Contact & Beauty and the Beast. You can see his work on film and TV in Pan Am, The Last Five Years, Clear Blue Tuesday and Across the Universe. He has a passion with working with young artists to create their own voice and hone their craft!

Brit Falcon (Falcon Dance) Headshot

Falcon Dance

Falcon Dance is an interdisciplinary project-based creative team bridging science and art, in a practice which allows them to reimagine dance as healthcare and vehicle for empathy. The work entwines restoration and athleticism, while creating through
sensational experiences, perception, and the psychological underpinnings of social occurrence. Practices which involve touch, imagery/visual art, writing, and sounding/joyous musical play, help us to build a vocabulary of movement language as a vehicle through which the work emerges. Our aesthetic has been described as fluid, athletic, fiery, rhythmically unexpected, grounded and mature. The process is highly collaborative and would simply not exist without the significant contributions in movement, ideas, and words from each artist. The company's artistry grows wholeheartedly through the beautiful wisdom, friendship, and connection the entire company gains through the collaborative process.

Featured Guest Artists - Bios

Heather Roffe
Dr. Sarah Carlton
Dr. Ellen Key
Robert Gardner
32nd Pack Dance Company
Briana Blair Kelly
Parvatha Chidambaram
Caz Lopata
Katherine Marino
Kristen Wegman
Rachel Daly
Catherine Messina
Tazdyn Francisco
Jeff Shade
Stevie Oakes
Cheryl Johnson
Beth Bartholomew
Fidel Ernesto Orrillo Puga
Natalia Lisina
Mackenzie Jackson
Annalyse Greider