Rhythm McCarthy has worked with North Carolina Dance Theatre, the California Ballet Company, Agnes DeMille, Valerie Bettis, Pauline Koner, Duncan Noble, Alwin Nikolais, Donlin Foreman, Anthony Morgan, and Ernestine Stodelle. Teaching and choreographic credits include residencies and guest artist positions with Florida State University, Jacksonville University, Missouri State University, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Illinois, Austin Peay State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of South Carolina, Coker College, and Imperial College in London, England.
Lisa Fusillo began her professional ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, D.C. with Mary Day, Frederic Franklin, Oleg Tupine, and Edward Caton. Later, she studied in New York, London, Copenhagen and St. Petersburg (Russia). The Royal Ballet School in London awarded Fusillo with the Professional Teaching Diploma. Fusillo has performed, taught, and choreographed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Her choreography has been presented in London, Amsterdam, Paris, Innsbruck, Heidelberg, Taipei, Chiang-Mai ( Thailand), Tokyo and the United States. She also choreographed for and coached Yuan-Ting Chuang for the 1994 International Ballet Competition. Fusillo is a Fulbright Scholar and has been a visiting ballet mistress for CloudGate Dance Theatre in Taipei.
Carlyle Brown is a writer/performer/producer based in Minneapolis. He has produced The Masks of Othello: A Theatrical Essay, The Fula From America: An African Journey, Talking Masks, Therapy, and Resistance, Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been…. and Abe Lincoln and Uncle Tom in the White House. His plays also include The African Company Presents Richard III, The Little Tommy Parker Celebrated Colored Minstrel Show, Buffalo Hair, The Beggars’ Strike, The Negro of Peter the Great, Pure Confidence, A Big Blue Nail, Dartmoor Prison, and others. He has received commissions from Arena Stage, the Houston Grand Opera, the Children’s Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Goodman Theater, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of Louisville.
Beto DeFreitas: was raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Contramestre Beto started learning capoeira in 1991. After relocating to Chicago in 1994, Beto started studying under Mestre (master) Cobra Mansa, who is a leading figure in the studies, research, and promotion of Capoeira Angola in the world. Contramestre Beto is the founder of the International Capoeira Angola Foundation – Chicago Chapter and supervisor of the ICAF Madison Study Group. Beto has been a major force in the dissemination of Capoeira Angola in Chicago and the Midwest and has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, both to teach and learn from master teachers.
Elizabeth Streb is known for “A preoccupation with movement and itself was symptomatic of a trend that was altering the traditional profile of modern dance.” She has been creating works from 1975 to the present and is known for her outrageous risk-taking and experimental shows. Streb includes risk into all of her choreography, giving the audience sensations of extreme feelings while watching the performers.
Donlin Foreman served as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company (1977 – 96) and was directed by Ms. Graham in all her major male roles. As co-founder of Buglisi/Foreman Dance (1993 -2005), he choreographed over 35 dances presenting seasons at the Joyce Theater; Jacob’s Pillow, America Dancing series/Kennedy Center, Melbourne International Festival. He holds numerous honors with critical acclaim for his performing and choreography. As Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College/Columbia University (1994 – 2010), he published Out of Martha’s House, a book of poetic writing, several articles in dance magazines, and for two years chaired the Dance Panel of New York State Council on the Arts.
Diádié Bathily (pronounced Jah-Jay) is the artistic director of Afriky Lolo, a dance company based in St. Louis that he founded in 2003 and incorporated as a nonprofit in 2007. Diádié is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, instructor, and costume designer. He has danced professionally for over 30 years on stages in Africa, Europe, and North America. Diádié’s specialty is West African dance. He has conducted master classes and workshops throughout Europe and North America and has performed with or choreographed for such notable companies as the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (Denver, CO), the Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts & Humanities (East St. Louis, IL), Ecole de Danse et d’Echange Culturel with Ms. Marie Rose Guiraud (Ivory Coast) and Broadway Dance Center (New York, NY).
Ting-Ting Chang is a visiting assistant professor in dance at the National Taiwan University of Arts. She is also the artistic director of DreamDance. She was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in dance at Washington University in St. Louis during 2008-10. Her creative journey has taken her through Africa, Asia, North America, and Europe. She has worked with numerous choreographers, including Victoria Marks (APPEX), Donald McKayle (Etude Ensemble), Takuya Muramatsu (American Dance Festival: ICCP), Cheng-Chieh Yu, Li-Hua Tsai (Taipei Folk Dance Theatre), among others.
Rachel M. Boyajian is a choreographer who was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance at Wichita State University. She has worked with such notable artists as Rachel Berman, Alyce Finwall, Taye Diggs, Andrew Palermo, and Shelley Senter. Boyajian began teaching dance at the age of 14 at studios in and around the Wichita area. Upon graduating college, she became a part of the Wichita State University dance faculty. Boyajian has created works for three American College Dance Festivals, the Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, the Contemporary Music Festival, the DanceIS Festival, Diavolo Unplugged, the University of Arkansas, and Wichita State University.
Japhy Weideman designs lighting environments for theater, opera, and other live events. His designs have been presented throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia and his studio is located in Brooklyn, New York. In New York City, his work has been seen on Broadway and at Lincoln Center Theatre, RoundaboutTheatre Co, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater, LAByrinth Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Second Stage, Primary Stages, NY City Center, Juilliard Opera Center, Manhattan School of Music, Ma-Yi Theatre Co, and Soho Rep. Dance includes Chase Brock Experience and Tami Stronach.
Jack Heifner is best known for his play Vanities, which ran for five years in New York and became one of the longest-running plays in off-Broadway history. His is also the author of Patio/Porch, Natural Disasters, Running on Empty, Bargains, Boys’ Play, Home Fires, Heartbreak, Comfort and Joy, The Lemon Cookie, Dwarf Tossing, and over thirty other plays produced in New York, Los Angeles and theatres around the world. Mr. Heifner has written the book to six musicals, including Leader of the Pack on Broadway and Vanities—A New Musical, which opened in New York in 2009. He has also written for television and film.
Bill Hastings has performed in over 50 musicals and plays including Broadway and National touring productions of The Most Happy Fella, A Chorus Line, Cabaret, Rags, Bob Fosse’s Dancin’, and Sweet Charity. Bill has choreographed numerous productions for U.S., European, and Japanese theater, television, video, industrial, and concert dance companies. In Texas, Bill served for six years as Resident Choreographer for Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars and Humphrey’s School of Musical Theatre. While there, he choreographed over 20 productions including; Peter Pan, The King and I, The Pajama Game, My Fair Lady, South Pacific, Where’s Charlie?, The Wiz, Grease and Pinocchio.
Sheila Callaghan is a playwright whose plays have been produced and developed with Soho Rep, Playwright’s Horizons, South Coast Repertory, Clubbed Thumb, The LARK, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, New Georges, The Flea, Woolly Mammoth, Boston Court, and Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre, among others. Sheila is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award for emerging artists, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, a MacDowell Residency, a Cherry Lane Mentorship Fellowship, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and the prestigious Whiting Award. Her plays have been produced internationally in New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Germany, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.
Madeleine George is a playwright whose work The Most Massive Woman Wins premiered as part of the Young Playwrights Festival at the Public Theater in 1994. Since then, her plays, including The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, Precious Little, and The Zero Hour, have been produced and developed by Playwrights Horizons, 13P, Clubbed Thumb, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, Berkeley Rep and Shotgun Players in Berkeley, City Theatre in Pittsburgh, About Face Theatre in Chicago, Two River Theater Company in New Jersey, and the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, among other places.
Shouze Ma earned his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He was a founding member of Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the first modern dance company in China. He taught and performed internationally in France, the United Kingdom, Korea, Hong Kong, India, the United States, and China. His choreography received enthusiastic critical praise at numerous international festivals such as the American Dance Festival, international dance competitions in Paris and Japan, the India International Dance Festival, and the Beijing International Dance Festival.
Ray Castrey has created music for more than 75 theatre and dance works. He has taught and played at workshops and festivals throughout the U.S. and has performed in almost every imaginable musical setting, as well as some unimaginable ones.Ray is the director of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy and is an emeritus member of the Theatre and Dance Department at Missouri State University. He lives in Springfield, MO, where he plays in the quartet Distant Relative, conducts music workshops and drum circles, and dotes on his grandkids.
Lorenzo (Rennie) Harris is an artistic director and choreographer who celebrates hip-hop culture by using some of the world’s most influential forms of movement, music, and storytelling to revolutionize contemporary concert dance. Born and raised in North Philadelphia, Harris has been teaching workshops and classes at universities around the country and is a powerful spokesperson for the significance of “street” origins in any dance style. The mark of Harris’ career began as a performer and choreographer through performing for crowds at clubs, parties and within his community with his first company, the Scanner Boys in the 1980s (a hip hop performance group of which Harris was a founding member).
Anjali Austin is a former member of Dance Theatre of Harlem and has worked with choreographers such as Agnes de Mille, Alexandra Danilova, Glen Tetley, Geoffrey Holder, and Frederick Franklin. Her performance credits include Swan Lake (Act II), Flower Festival, Concerto Barocco, Prince Igor, Paquita, Giselle and Frankie, and Johnny. During Ms. Austin’s career, she enhanced her performing and technical skills with intensive training in Pilates and is a Master Trainer in the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM.