ADF is fortunate to have some of the most dedicated faculty in the country on its roster. These individuals form a group of generous, inspired, and accomplished dance artists that are the foundation of the ADF community. They serve as guides and mentors, inspiring students to attain new levels of artistry and physicality. After a summer spent working side by side in the studio, seeing performances together, and dialoguing with one another, students and teachers often forge relationships that last long after the festival is over. We invite you to read about each of our faculty below.
E. Moncell “ill kozby” durden
Moncell is the new assistant professor of practice in Hip-Hop for the Glorya Kaufman School of Dance at the University of Southern California. Before USC, Moncell taught at the Yale School of Drama, Wesleyan University, and Bennington College. Moncell specializes in pedagogical practices that provide cultural and historical context in AfroDiasporic social dance formations. He began his professional career opening up for visiting recording artists in his hometown of Harrisburg, PA. In 1992 Moncell befriended and began dancing with Hip-Hop pioneer and commercial choreographer Emilio Austin Jr., who played a key role in Moncell’s comprehension of NYC “street” dance culture. In 1998 Moncell was invited to become a member of Philadelphia Hip-Hop theater company Rennie Harris Puremovement, which awarded him international travel and exposure to concert dance. Moncell held an appointment for 7 years at Drexel University until 2010, when he was accepted into an MA program to study Anthropology of Dance at Roehampton University in the UK. Moncell has published articles in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches and the Encyclopedia of African Cultural Heritage in North America, is currently writing an article for the Oxford University Press, and is working on his own book, Hip-Hop Dance in Context, as well as developing a documentary on the genealogy of Hip-Hop dance.
Photo Credit: Kate Singh (Aevum Images)
Choreographer, educator, and performing artist Michelle N. Gibson received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. Michelle is a seven-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival’s intensives held at Duke University. She has taught and set choreography at various intensives, institutions, and universities such as Middlebury College, Spelman College, and Henderson State University, to name a few. Michelle has also choreographed for several theater companies and live entertainment organizations locally and across the country. Michelle’s choreographic works cross the genres of the African Diaspora, Afro and contemporary modern, Afro funk, jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. One of her latest choreographic works, Voices of Congo Square, uses the rich culture and history of the Black Mardi Gras Indians as its premise and will be performed in 2018 during the 300th Tri-Centennial Celebration of New Orleans at the Orpheum Theatre. Most recently, Michelle has been appointed as the new Interim Artistic Director of the African American Dance Ensemble, founded by the legendary choreographer, scholar, historian, educator, humanitarian, and her mentor, Baba Chuck Davis. Michelle, a candidate for Katherine Dunham Technique Certification, has traveled to Rennes, France, sharing her New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic as a guest lecturer at the Compagnie Engrenage. While there, she performed at the festival Le Funk Prend Les Rennes (translated as “the Funk Takes the Reins”). Michelle’s current projects involve sharing her New Orleans culture through a series of workshops she’s coined The New Orleans Original BuckShop, which engages communities and participants in the culture and Diasporic traditions of Black New Orleans as it pertains to the rooted history of the city, through dance, language, art, and music. Using her Second Line Aesthetic in dance workshops, lectures, and demonstrations, with a focus on improvisation and the importance of New Orleans Brass Music, she acquaints participants with Second Line as a rooted spiritual impulse for the movement. As a contracted artist with the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Community Artists Program, Michelle is also sharing her gift of dance through movement therapy workshops with seniors in facilities throughout the Dallas Metroplex. In 2013, Michelle was awarded a National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network Creation Fund Grant to produce her first one woman show entitled Takin’ It To The Roots, a co-commission by South Dallas Cultural Center and Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans. This production was also made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts. Takin’ It To The Roots made its Dallas premiere in March 2016 and then premiered in her hometown of New Orleans at the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in October 2016. Takin’ It to the Roots investigates the creative impulse and practice that is rooted in Michelle’s New Orleans African lifestyle. Focusing on the importance of cultural exchange and community engagement, Michelle has traveled extensively as a guest artist. In 2017, Michelle shared her expertise and aesthetic at the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce Arts and Soul Festival, Dallas Arts District Block Party, Booker T. Washington School of Performing and Visual Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, El Centro Community College, Vogel Alcove Child Care Center for the Homeless, the Alabama Dance Festival, the Regional High School Dance Festival in Madison, WI, and Black Dance USA in St. Louis, MO. Michelle has been commissioned to choreograph a work for the Dallas Black Dance Theatre entitled Displaced Yet Rebirth for their Cultural Awareness Concert Series premiering February 2018.
Adam W. McKinney is a former member of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, ZviDance, and Milwaukee Ballet Company. He has led dance work with diverse populations across the U.S. and in Canada, England, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Palestine, Poland, Serbia, Spain, and South Africa. He served as a U.S. Embassy Culture Connect Envoy to South Africa through the U.S. State Department. Other awards of note include the NYU President’s Service Award for dance work with populations who struggle with heroin addiction, grants from the U.S. Embassy in Budapest and The Trust for Mutual Understanding to work with Roma youth in Hungary, a Jerome Foundation grant for Emerging Choreographers for work with Beta Dance Troupe, an Ethiopian-Israeli dance company, and a U.S. Embassy in Accra grant to lead a video oral history project with a Jewish community in Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana. He was a School of American Ballet’s National Visiting Teaching Fellow, an opportunity to engage in important conversations around diversity and inclusion in classical ballet. Named one of the most influential African Americans in Milwaukee, WI by St. Vincent DePaul, McKinney is the Co-Director of DNAWORKS (www.dnaworks.org), an arts and service organization committed to healing through the arts and dialogue. He holds a BFA in Dance Performance with high honors from Butler University, an MA in Dance Studies with concentrations in Race and Trauma theories from NYU-Gallatin, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
Momar Ndiaye is an internationally recognized dance artist from Senegal who has taught and toured his work both in the States and abroad. He received his MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he taught contemporary and traditional African dance forms from Senegal, Guinea, Mali, Congo, etc., as well as video dance documentation. Ndiaye has worked with many well-known choreographers from Africa, Europe, Asia, and America through the program Aex. Corps initiated by the Association Premier Temp in Senegal. Since 2010, Momar has danced for internationally acclaimed choreographer Andreya Ouamba in the Dakar-based company Premier Temps and was selected as a Dance Web participant at Impuls Tanz Festival in Vienna, Austria, in 2012. He has been developing work with his own company, Cadanses, since 2004 and has created and toured several staged contemporary dance works. In 2015, Ndiaye’s evening length piece Toxu was a finalist laureate in the Danse L’Afrique Danse (Africa and Caribbean in Creation) Festival in St. Louis and Senegal and was toured to Europe as part of the Belluard Festival in Switzerland. In 2016, Momar was selected to participate in two intercultural projects, Shifting Realities, supported by Tanz Haus and Hellerau in Germany, and 1space, a collaboration between KVS Brussel, Exodus in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and Alkantara Lisbon, Portugal. www.lacadanses.com
Kate Walker graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA, and an MS in Sport and Exercise Psychology from Argosy University. She has performed and had choreographic works presented around the country. She has been featured in Dance Studio Life, Dance Spirit, and Dance Teacher magazines for her experience as both a teacher and dancer. In the summers, she serves on faculty at the American Dance Festival. Kate joined the Dance Faculty at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in 2008 and became Dance Department Coordinator in 2014.