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FCDD Alumni News 2018

Amherst College

Tierra Allen (AC ’09) is the Community Discussions Coordinator at TheatreFIRST in North Berkeley where she recently assistant directed WAAFRIKA 123 by Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko. This past summer, she attended the Urban Bush Womens’ Summer Leadership Institute and recently completed directing projects with Playwrights Foundation and PlayGround. Tierra earned a San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award nomination for her role as Napoleon in The Farm at TheatreFIRST. She was one of the 13-member Coalition of Black Women Professional Theatre Makers who organized against Marin Theatre Company’s production of Thomas and Sally. Last year, Tierra won an Isadora Duncan "Izzie" Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Company Performance for her role as Babygirl in An OPEN LOVE LETTER to Black Fathers: A Choreopoem.

Donatella Galella (AC '09) is an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Riverside. She recently published chapters in The Disney Musical on Stage and ScreenThe Palgrave Handbook to Musical Theatre Producers, and The Sixties, Center Stage.

Lucille Jun (AC ‘08) spent the past eight years living and performing traditional dance in Korea. She is currently working toward her Master of Fine Arts in Performance/Choreography at Smith College.

Jasia Kaulbach (AC ‘14) earned a Master of Arts from the Met Film School in London after graduating from Amherst. She lives in Brooklyn where she works full time as a video producer at Inc. Magazine and Fast Company Magazine, in addition to freelance filmmaking. She has just won a NY Emmy award for producing the short documentary, Ghost: Bed-Stuy Veterans and the Evolution of Bruk Up in 2017. She also won a Folio Eddie award for Inc. Magazine’s documentary series Women Who Lead.

Jemma Levy (AC ‘95) is an Assistant Professor of Theater at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA. She is also the Founding Producing Artistic Director of Muse of Fire Theatre Company in Evanston, IL, where she directed Richard III this past summer. The company is about to head into its tenth season. Jemma is also a freelance director and recently directed The Merchant of Venice with Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival’s Touring Company. 

Anne Penner (AC ‘97) is an Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Denver where she teaches acting, directing, and actor movement training. This past summer, she played Queen Margaret in Shakespeare’s Richard III.

Katie Rubin (AC ‘99) is writing a solo piece about the #MeToo Movement from her home in Piedmont, California, for Capital Stage, an Equity Theater in Sacramento. She completed a two-month run of Transitions at Theater Rhino, the world's longest running LGBTQ Theater. Additionally, she teaches acting at the American Conservatory Theater, improv at Stanford University, and her own writing class, “Tell Your Story.”

Jenney Shamash (AC ‘11) is currently in London working on a project, An Occupation of Loss by Taryn Simon. She also manages the US debut of Australian comedian, Hannah Gadsby. Recently, Jenney produced a light sculpture as part of the Amsterdam Light Festival with artist Ben Zamora. This past summer, Jenney worked on a musical, Born For Thiswritten by and about gospel singer BeBe Winans. The multi-media concert by ETHEL that Jenney produces, commissioned by the Ringling Circus and Brooklyn Academy of Music, opened at the Ringling headquarters in Sarasota this past winter, and had its NY premiere earlier this year.

Adam Sloat (AC ’99) is the creative director at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in NYC where he is responsible for all graphic design, copywriting, and video production.

Nat Smith (AC ’11) completed a Playwriting MFA at Ohio University this year and moved to Boston.

Isaiah Tanenbaum (AC ‘05) 
continues to act and produce with his theater company Flux Theatre Ensemble, most recently appearing in the world premiere of Kevin R. Free’s AM I DEAD?, a dark comedy that explores America's complex and broken relationship with black bodies through a remix of the Isis/Osiris myth and Sartre's No Exit. Isaiah has started a new phase of his theatrical career, working as an Education & Engagement Specialist for NYC’s Conflicts of Interest Board, training public servants on NYC’s ethics law.

UMass Amherst

Rachel Aylward (UM ‘13) is a Brooklyn-based actress, writer, voiceover artist, and yoga and meditation instructor. She fuses her marketing background and creative talents at RAYS PRESS, a consulting firm for big message organizations looking to improve how they talk to their communities.

Jonalyn Bradshaw (UM ‘12) is a freelance artist with Davis Contemporary Dance and Hard Candy Dancers, and teaches recreational modern, jazz, and ballet at Peak Athletics in Highlands Ranch, CO. She is the Education and Group Sales Coordinator for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Shirah Burgey (UM ‘11) graduated with a Post Baccalaureate Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northeastern University and currently works as a Physical Therapist at Cambridge Hospital. She is a member of the Boston-based contemporary dance company Urban Underground, and has presented choreography with that company, Kelly Donovan and Dancers, and the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival.

Jessica Courtney (UM ‘08) received her Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Dance/Movement Therapy from Lesley University in 2017. She is now providing career counseling to students at MIT in that university’s Global Education and Career Development office, and recently conducted a workshop for students and post-docs on Successful Interviewing Through Body Language, based on the research of Amy Cuddy.

Yolanda Daelemans-Greaves (UM ‘81) works part-time as a Stage/Production Manager in both dance and theater. She is also running for her third term as Selectwomen in the Town of Ashland, MA. Her daughter Adriana Greaves (UM ‘18) just graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology.

Brendan Drake (UM ‘09) was a 2017-2018 Fresh Tracks Artist at New York Live Arts. His most recent work, This is Desire, premiered at Brooklyn Studios for Dance this past March.

Jennifer Rockwell (UM ‘04) retired from dancing professionally with the Saint Paul City Ballet in 2012, and moved to CT, where she was a faculty member at New Haven Ballet until this past fall. Jennifer is currently enrolled at Sacred Heart University where she is getting a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy.

Rebecca Steinberg (UM ‘13) completed her third season as a dancer with New Dialect in Nashville, TN under the direction of Banning Bouldin. This past year, Rebecca traveled as a guest artist to lead master classes and workshops at various institutions. She continues to present her choreographed work, with upcoming commissions from New Dialect, Nashville Ballet, and Middle Tennessee State University.

Andy Taylor-Blenis (UM ‘83) teaches at Tufts University and Wheaton College, and is the Artistic Director of Wheaton College Dance Co., Boston Scottish Country Dancers, and Back Pocket Dances. She recently received the City of Cambridge’s Trailblazing Women Award and the San Antonio Folk Dance Festival’s National Dance Award.

Mount Holyoke College 

Kate Bailey (MHC ‘08) continued formulating her own Pilates-based movement series based on spirals, and is now a Pilates instructor in NYC.

Mariam Dingilian (MHC ‘14) presented a solo piece in progress, Static: Rewind, in the Fertile Ground New Works Showcase at Green Space in Queens during April 2017.

Merli V. Guerra (MHC ‘09) continues to co-direct Luminarium Dance Company in Boston, with Kimberleigh A. Holman (MHC ‘09), now in its seventh season. Merli recently completed a six-month guest cohort position with We Create— celebrating female artists in Boston—in which she created new work tackling Alzheimer’s and memory loss. She also received a grant to bring Luminarium Dance Company to Fuller Craft Museum for a one-week residency continuing her breathing installation series from 2011. 

Kaitlin McCarthy (MHC '09) 
is currently a staff writer for Seattle Dances and a choreographer in Seattle. As a writer, she looks for the values expressed within the dance and evaluates how well the piece fulfilled those values.

Heather Southwick (MHC '90) is currently Director of Physical Therapy at the Boston Ballet.

Margaret Wiss (MHC ‘16) made her choreographic debut at the Biomorphic Dance Festival in NYC. She has been pursuing work as a choreographer, and had seven residencies in the past year alone, including choreographing Superposition on Five College dancers for the 2017 Mount Holyoke College Fall Faculty Dance Concert. 

Hampshire College

Pele Bausch (HC ‘96) premiered A.K.A Ka Inoa as part of New York/Pacific Island Time, curated by John-Mario Sevilla and Hālāwai, at the 92Y, Harkness Dance Center in December 2017.

Nicole Bindler (HC ‘99) taught an Embodied Embryology workshop, and performed an improvised solo Everything at the 2017 Texas Dance Improvisation Festival. She also taught Contact Improv at Headlong Studios. Nicole organized a U.S tour for Diyar Dance Theater to perform a collaborative work WOMEN, a hybrid dabke/contemporary dance that explores the parallels between the conquest of Palestinian land and Palestinian women’s bodies.

Strauss Bourque-LaFrance (HC '06) designed costumes for Tere O'Connor Dance’s Long Run, which toured in fall 2017 as well as a piece, Tiny Movements Tap into Vibration And Sensation, featured in the New York Times Arts Section.

Kim Brandt (HC '01) premiered her new work, Problems at MoMA in NYC. Problems was developed in conjunction with Kim’s three-month residency at MoMA PS1, expanding upon recent work presented at SculptureCenter, Movement Research, Issue Project Room, and Pioneer Works.

Eva Dean (HC ‘82) premiered her company’s new work Liquid Silver: Sanctuary during fall 2017 in Brooklyn. The company participated in the first Brooklyn/Malmö International Exchange Residency, awarded to Maria Naidu from Malmö, Sweden.

Justine Lemos (HC ‘95) recently had an article written in collaboration with Mark Wright published in the Journal of Latin American Antiquity by Cambridge University Press.

Michelle Marroquin (HC ‘94) holds the annual event Dia de los Muertos in Holyoke and Easthampton. She and others share this unique Mexican tradition through workshops, a film screening, a panel discussion, and performances.

Laura Ann Samuelson (HC '11) collaborated with composer Nathan Hall to curate an evening of micro experiences and explorations of music, movement, sound and dance at the Denver Art Museum in January 2018.

Allison Smartt (HC ‘11) sound designed and composed the piece #PrayFor, featuring choreography and text by Andrew “Fig” Figueroa (HC ‘15).

Mariana Valencia (HC ‘06) was awarded a 2018 Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant. These grants were established by John Cage and Jasper Johns to assist artists with funding to make their work in full.

Smith College

Joy Davis (SC MFA ‘15) was a Visiting Lecturer in Theater, Dance, and Media at Harvard University, and is currently an Associate Professor at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. Joy recently created work for New Dialect in Nashville, Urbanity Dance in Boston, and The Theorists in Austin. With collaborator Alexander Davis, The Davis Sisters were Schonberg (Boston) Fellows in Residency at The Yard this past summer. Joy offers Countertechnique workshops at the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, Lion's Jaw Dance + Performance Festival, and the American Dance Festival.

Maura Nguyen Donohue (SC MFA ‘08) is an Associate Professor at Hunter College/CUNY and a Faculty Fellow at the Roosevelt House Institute for Public Policy. She toured Europe with La MaMa's Great Jones Repertory Company in a joint project with the Italian company Motus. Maura continues to serve as co-chair of the New York Dance and Performance (Bessies) Awards Small Capacity Committee, as Vice Chair of the Board for Movement Research, as a writer for Culturebot, and as co-producer/curator for the Estrogenius Festival. She's also still involved in the ongoing durational performance of mother of 2

Safi Harriott (SC MFA '14) recently presented choreography at the New Traditions Festival, a project of Brooklyn-based Dance Caribbean Collective (DCC). She is now a dedicated member of DCC, serving as Programming Coordinator and Assistant to the Director. DCC produces performances and develops educational programming which facilitate ongoing dialogue between traditional and contemporary Caribbean expressions. Safi remains deeply invested in community building through the arts, and is thrilled to be doing this work. She is also currently a Master of Arts candidate in the Sociocultural Anthropology program at Columbia University.

Sam Kenney (SC MFA '04) is Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Fredonia/The State University of New York.

Kellie Ann Lynch (SC MFA ‘07) is currently building community as Artistic Director of Elm City Dance Collective in New Haven through company performances, education, and community projects. She also performs with Adele Myers and Dancers, Kate Weare Company, and David Dorfman Dance.

Bronwen MacArthur (SC MFA ‘16) taught at Amherst and Smith Colleges this past year where her piece Welling was performed by Five College dancers in the 2017 Smith College Fall Faculty Dance Concert. Bronwen has been serving as Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University, as well as teaching at Yale University, including an undergraduate seminar in the history and practice of dance kinesiology, anatomy, and somatics. She toured nationally with the Bebe Miller Company presenting Miller’s new work In a Rhythm and recently traveled with the company to Colombia and Peru.

Katie Martin (SC MFA ‘10) created and performed in several long-form and durational dance works for gallery spaces with the support of the MA Cultural Council Finalist Award for Choreography and the Northampton Arts Council. These included evening-length companion dances QUARTET and QUARTET redux, dancing with former FCDD faculty members Paul Matteson and Jennifer Nugent, as well as Kate Seethaler (SC MFA ‘16); Incision Objects, a 2-hour duet with Jenny Bennett (UM ‘06), embedded within Jake Meginsky’s sound installation at A.P.E Gallery; and QUARTET No. 3, a commission for the opening of the Arts Trust Building in Northampton, performing alongside Lauren Horn (AC ‘17), Ian Spak (UM ‘18) and Jenny, with live electronic composition by Jake. QUARTET No. 3 was reprised in the Faculty Dance Concert at Amherst College in September 2017. Katie also enjoyed collaborating and performing in ongoing dance projects with Wendy Woodson at A.P.E. and with Barbie Diewald (SC MFA ‘16) in the 2018 Five College Faculty Dance Concert.

Donna Mejia (SC MFA ‘12) is an Assistant Professor of Dance in the University of Colorado Boulder's Theatre and Dance Department, and has affiliate appointments in Women and Gender Studies, and Ethnic Studies. She is also the new Director of Graduate Studies.

Tara Madsen Robbins (SC MFA ‘06) is a full-time dance faculty member at The Cab Calloway School of the Arts, an arts-oriented magnet school for grades 6-12 in Wilmington, Delaware. She lives with her 6-year-old son Dylan outside of Philadelphia.

Kelly Silliman (SC MFA ‘13) is enjoying her role as Program Director for the Northampton Center for the Arts, and encourages FCDD alumni who want to stay local to contact her about rehearsal and performance space opportunities. Kelly also continues her work with the tinydance project, an arts and sustainability endeavor.

Debbie Williams (SC ‘99) lives in London, where she recently completed her PhD in Dance at the University of Roehampton, exploring the claims of dance and transformation experience in adult non-professional dancers. She is currently the University of Roehampton’s UK Coordinator for the Choreomundus International Master in Dance Knowledge, Practice and Heritage. 

Cat Wagner (SC MFA '13) completed her first year as the new Director of Dance at Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield MA.