ADF is fortunate to have some of the finest dance musicians 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 musicians below.
A rock and roll piano and keyboard player, Jefferson accompanies classes using percussion, flute, electronics, electric percussion, and many piano styles. He is the bandleader of the Jazzphibians and has performed with Fort Worth’s Hip Pocket Theatre, Jubilee Theatre, and Sojourner Truth Players. He is a former accompanist at Fort Worth Ballet, Boston Ballet, and White Mountain Summer Dance Festival and has been accompanist at North Carolina School of the Arts since 1992. BalletClassMusicforFree.com
Photo Credit: Grant Halverson
Mr. Dixon, composer and multi-instrumentalist in the field of music for dance, received his Bachelor of Arts in percussion performance from the University of North Texas School of Music, focusing on world music, jazz, drumline, and classical genres. He apprenticed under the tutelage of composer/accompanists Claudia Howard Queen at the University of North Texas and Keith Fleming at Texas Women’s University. As a multi-instrumentalist dance musician, Mr. Dixon uses piano, percussion, voice, electronics, samplers, and loops to create symphonic soundscapes allowing for a supportive and free environment.
Mr. Dixon has been accompanying dance classes since 2007 and has worked with such luminaries as Gerri Houlihan, David Dorfman, and Desmond Richardson to name a few. His works have premiered nationally at Texas Women’s University, University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, Denison University and internationally at the World Dance Alliance Global Summit in Mexico and Canada. He has also played for the prestigious American Dance Festival since 2016 and has composed over 20 original works for dance, as well as performing in touring bands throughout the U.S. As the Denison University Resident Dance Musician, he currently plays for Modern, African, and Capoeira classes as well as performing music regionally with various groups.
Vladimir Espinosa is a musician, actor, and choreographer born in Havana, Cuba. He graduated from the ENA (National Arts School in Cuba) in 1985. He also studied with the National Folkloric of Cuba with Regino Jimenes and Pelladito: both having taught at ENA. After he graduated he became a professor and instructor in the school of the arts and the house of the culture in Havana, Cuba. Then he started a professional career for different companies as an actor, dancer, and choreographer the companies he worked with included: Teatro Caribeno (Cuba), Teatro Orile (Cuba), Compania National De Danza (Ecuador), and Rojo Oscuro (Ecuador). In 1996, Vladimir was the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the election ceremonies of Miss Ecuador. He has been a teacher, instructor, and musician accompanist for the American Dance festival (Duram, North Carolina) since 2005. He propagandized a movie (El Accidente De La Libertad) and a co-production with Germany and Venezuela. Vladimir was part of many different groups and bands like Savuka Son, Havana Express, Coral y Esmeralda, Los Gatos, Las Manos Del Sol, Solazo, Western Mambo, Lenny Marcus Jazz Trio, Jazz Trio Michel and Vladimir, Latin Clave, and many others. He was an instructor of Latin Percussion, Afro-Cuban Dance, and Musician accompanist in residence at Hollins University. His specialties include Latin and afro-Cuban music, contemporary Latin and Afro-Cuban Folkloric Dance, and traditional African Diaspora rhythms. Since 201he has been performing with bands like El Coco, JStop Latin Jazz and Music Road Co. and the Reunion with his group Solazo. Vladimir has always been an active participant of music events in the community like Local Colors, the Latino Festival in Roanoke, Floyd Fest and Stepping Out in Blacksburg Virginia. He is currently teaching salsa classes with Focused Radio and at Roanoke Ballet theater teaching Afro Cuban Rumba, Salsa and Latin styles.
Natalie Gilbert is a pianist, accompanist, composer, and teacher and was ADF Music Director from 1981 to 2011. In addition to her work as a musician, Natalie is a nationally certified massage therapist and body worker licensed in the state of North Carolina and has a private practice as well as being an independent contractor at Duke Diet and Fitness Center. In 2012, she travelled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, where she studied Thai Yoga Massage. She incorporates these methods into her table massage. She has taught middle school music at the Carolina Friends School in Durham and has an active piano teaching studio with students of all ages, emphasizing improvisation and all styles of music. She also has students at the NC School of Science and Math. She currently plays for dance classes at Duke University and for the Carolina Ballet summer dance intensive. She has been music coordinator at The Ohio State University Department of Dance and is a founding board member of the International Guild of Musicians in Dance. Her music degrees are from Oberlin (BA) and Ohio State University (MA). As a composer and accompanist living in New York City for 16 years, she freelanced as a cocktail pianist and worked extensively with dancers as well as being on the faculty of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Dance Department. In 2008, her featured interview was published in The Body Eclectic: Evolving Practices in Dance Training, edited by Melanie Bales and Rebecca Nettl-Fiol. She has composed music for choreographers including Liz Lerman, Dan Wagoner, Ze’eva Cohen, Sally Hess, Linda Tarnay, Jessica Fogel, Peter Goss, and Viola Farber. In addition, she has been on the faculty of the C.I.D. in Paris and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. Natalie was also part of ADF/Korea in 1990 through 1992. She currently has five CDs of music for dancers for sale. All are available in the ADF store. www.nataliegilbert.com. Two online interviews are available here, here, and here.
Photo: Ben McKeown
John Hanks has been ADF faculty since 1984, attended ADF/Seoul (Korea) in 1990-1991, and ADF/Henan (China) in 2012 and 2014. He is Music Coordinator for the Duke University Dance Program and a busy freelance drummer/percussionist performing with many jazz, classical, musical theater, rock/blues, and contemporary music groups. He has released three albums of music for dance: Here Come the Drums, Drumjazz, and Percussion Jams.
Andy Hasenpflug (Director OF MUSICIANS)
ADF Music Director Andrew Hasenpflug has accumulated an extensive list of credits in dance, theater, jazz, rock, classical, patriotic, and commercial venues. These include the US Air Force Band, Equity Library Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and jingles for Kroger food stores and Hoolihan’s restaurants. He has worked as a dance accompanist at the American Dance Festival, the Doug Varone summer intensive, the American Colleges of Dance Festival, Slippery Rock University, Henan Normal University (China), Columbia College Chicago, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, the University of Cincinnati, the University of Colorado, SUNY Purchase, Marymount College, and the Lou Conte Studios. He has composed for such artists as Big Red Dance Company, Jesse Factor, LiJun Zhou, Rosie Hererra, the Seldoms, Dance Alloy, LabCo, Ursula Payne, Amy Chavasse, TopToToe Butoh, Tom Truss, Jennifer Keller, Zephyr Dance Company, The Overture Academy Cincinnati, Helander and Co., and the University of Cincinnati. His teaching credits include the University of Cincinnati, Columbia College Chicago, and Slippery Rock University. Mr. Hasenpflug currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA, where he freelances and works as the music director for the dance department of Slippery Rock University. www.andyhasenpflug.com https://soundcloud.com/andy-hasenpflug
Photo credit: Ben Viatori
Claudia Howard Queen
Claudia Howard Queen uses piano, percussion, voice, mandolin, and electronic instruments to create sophisticated, uplifting, visceral music for dance. She has accompanied for over 275 dance instructors in NYC and Chicago professional studios, in universities throughout the US and internationally. Her awards include three Fulbright Specialist Awards to Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan, three National Endowment for the Arts Awards, two Meet-the-Composer Awards, and a fellowship from the University of North Texas Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. She performs internationally with the Taiwanese Improvisational Dance Company Ku & Dancers. Queen holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Former Associate Professor of Music for Dance at the University of North Texas, she has taught Music for Dancers, Dance Improvisation/Choreography, and Composer/Choreographer Collaboration. She trains dance musicians in the art of dance accompaniment, and is a guest artist in dance programs throughout the US. Queen has been at ADF since 2006 and at ADF Henan, China in 2011 and 2014.
Amadou Kouyate is the 150th generation of the Kouyate family of Manding Diali (oral historians/musicians of West Africa) and the first generation born of his father’s lineage in America. Amadou performs a musical montage on the 21-string Kora, and rhythmic presentations on Djembe and Koutiro drums. His repertoire ranges from traditional songs from the 13th century to contemporary original compositions incorporating blues and jazz riffs. In addition to his solo work, Amadou Kouyate performs with his world rock ensemble Proper SKANKS, Amadou Kouyate Ensemble, the international duo project WEEDOU Everything! and Memory of African Culture. Amadou has worked extensively with Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble, Farafina Kan and Kankouran West African Dance Company. Some of his credits include performances at The Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Institution, The NAMM Show, Bristol Academy and Isle of Whyte (England), Tim Festival (Brazil), Petronio Alvarez Afro-Colombian Festival (Colombia), Garvey Festival (Costa Rica), Lowell, Baltimore Rhythm Festival, East-Lansing and Dayton National Folk Festivals, Harrisonburg International Festival, Intersections Festival (DC), DanceAfrica DC, Atlanta and Chicago, with The National Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, National Geographic, The Creative Alliance and the Victoria World Rhythm Festival. Amadou has worked on various film and video game scores, and has presented and lectured at over 30 colleges and university institutions worldwide.
Amadou received the Maryland Start Arts Council Governor’s Citation, The Maryland Master/ Apprentice Award and other artistic awards from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Special Talents and Musical Theatre Scholarships at Howard University and Levine School of Music. In his traditional scholarship, Amadou has studied in Mali, Senegal, Guinea and The Gambia with master musicians of the Djali tradition including Djimo Kouyate and Toumani Diabate. Thus far, Amadou having an illustrious career as both a performer and educator. He was an Adjunct Lecturer of African Music and Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, and director of the African Drum Ensemble, and Artist-In-Residence at Montgomery College of Rockville, and is now working at Goucher College and UMBC. Amadou an alum of the distinguished Artist In Residence program at the renowned Strathmore Music Center, and a teaching artist at the Wolftrap Organization for the Performing Arts, and continues to present to audiences around the world.
After two decades of world touring, five solo albums, and stunning collaborations including over 90 albums of credits, Tim Motzer continues to “traverse manifold territories in music” (Guitar Player magazine). Tim is widely known for his distinct textural acoustic-electro guitar voice utilizing looping, bowing, electronics, and prepared techniques. He has collaborated with numerous musical luminaries including David Sylvian, Burnt Friedman, Jaki Liebezeit, poet Ursula Rucker, King Britt, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Vernon Reid, David Torn, Markus Reuter, and Pat Mastelotto, among others. Since 2016, Tim has toured the world playing prestigious venues and jazz festivals with Bandit65, an improvising trio he co-leads with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Gintas Janusonis; their most recent release, Searching the Continuum (Heartcore Records), received a rare five-star review from J.D. Considine in Downbeat Magazine. His film/TV credits include the hit HBO series True Blood as well as Miami Vice, a major motion picture directed by Michael Mann. As an in-demand, solo live composer/improviser in the world of modern dance, Tim most recently played to sold-out houses in Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Oujda, Morocco; Philadelphia, PA; and Toronto, Canada. He currently serves as faculty in the University of the Arts School of Dance in Philadelphia, where he has worked for over a decade as a musical co-creator alongside master choreographers. He also has a longstanding collaboration with legendary choreographer Manfred Fischbeck, as part of Group Motion Dance Company.
For the past 20 years, Tim has brought his dynamic, eclectic array of musical projects together under his own 1k Recordings imprint, which has over 40 releases and counting. He composes, records, and produces his own solo and collaborative work, along with projects for other artists. For more info about 1k, please visit 1krecordings.com
Eric Mullis received an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina. He has presented choreography at the North Carolina Dance Festival, the Midwest Alternative Performance Festival, the Richmond Dance Festival, the FACT/SF Summer Dance Festival, and UrBANGUILD Kyoto. Eric currently teaches philosophy at Queens University of Charlotte and has published essays in Dance Research Journal, Performance Philosophy, Dance Research, Dance Chronicle, and the Journal of Performing Arts and Digital Media. His recent book (Pragmatist Philosophy and Dance: Interdisciplinary Dance Research in the American South) is included in Palgrave-MacMillan’s Performance Philosophy series. ericmullis8.com
Photo: Aspen Hochhalter
Bio coming soon!
West Oxking is a multi-instrumental sound wizard. He worked full-time serving the Dance department of Texas Woman’s University from 2014-2019. This is West’s fourth year he has served on faculty at The American Dance Festival.
He also has led a Folk-Punk-Rock and Roll ensemble West Oxking & The One Night Crusade. They have recorded and will released a full length album entitled Last Stands sometime in 2020.
Currently, he lives in Asheville, NC with his partner and two dog children. West’s current interests are creating lofi instrumental music.
Atiba Rorie has been playing percussion instruments since he was a young child. He currently holds a BA in Music from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and has also studied with Babatunde Olatunji, Fahali Igbo, Bradley Simmons, Chief Bey, and The National Dance Ensemble of Ghana in a one month intensive in Accra, Ghana, and a one month intensive study in Guinea, West Africa. He has taught at Winston-Salem State University and currently teaches at Guilford College in the Music Department. Rorie is an accompanist in the UNC Greensboro Dance Department. He is the founder of the dynamic bands Africa Unplugged and The Afro-Soul Trio. Rorie is also a musician in various professional ensembles, with which he has performed at many venues including Dance Africa in New York, Tedx Greensboro, National Black Arts Festival, Black Dance USA, and two presidential inauguration celebrations. In 2005 Rorie was invited to participate in a Drums of Passion Tribute to Babatunde Olatunji at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference. Rorie has been a guest artist at CaldCluegh Community Center, Duke University, High Point University, Agnes Scott College, Williams College, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Black College Dance Exchange, North Carolina School of the Arts, and Radford University.
Percussionist, musician, and former musical director for the African American Dance Ensemble, Khalid Saleem has lived, worked, and studied in the Ivory Coast and worked and studied with Rose Marie Guiraud, Babatunde Olatunji of Nigeria, Ladji Camara of Guinea, Titos Sampa of Zaire, Les Ballet Africains, and the National Dance Company of Guinea. Khalid has been on faculty in the Dance Department at The College at Brockport, State University of New York, since 1994. Khalid was very active during The College at Brockport’s annual diversity conference and was invited to present African percussion workshops in Salvador, Brazil in November 2008. Khalid’s latest International cultural exchange travels took him to Haiti in January 2011, traveling with SUNY Oswego’s Psychology Department as a consultant, teacher and musician. He performed at the August 2011 National Black Theater Festival in Winston-Salem, NC, Sankofa, and the African Dance and Drum Ensemble at The College at Brockport. He is the recipient of the Greater Rochester Cultural Arts recognition award, November 2011. Khalid also participated in Konkoran’s 2011 annual conference in Washington, DC, where Chuck Davis and Melvin Deale were honored. He has been on the ADF faculty since 1985.
Del Ward is a 25 year old musician from Hillsborough, N.C and is now based in Los Angeles, California. He most recently was employed at UNC Greensboro as a dance accompanist, and collaborated with B.J. Sullivan and Justin Tornow, among others. As a guitarist, vocalist, and pianist, Del brings a unique sound to dance classes. At 17, Del released his self-produced debut album and has since had two successful west coast tours playing as a solo act. He most recently moved to Los Angeles in March driving cross country playing shows and teaching at universities along the way. He was the lead singer, writer, and guitarist for the Greensboro based band, “Hot Mess” which broke up in 2019, however you can still listen to their single, “Heart on Fire” on Spotify. He is currently working on a solo album in Los Angeles and works as a sound engineer and producer at his studio in North Carolina.
Photo credit: Zach Rimmer
Ken Ray Wilemon
Percussionist, painter, and music-maker based in Durham, NC, Ken Ray Willemon has accompanied dance at Texas Christian University, University of Texas, Connecticut College, Hollins University, various ACDFAs, the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival, and the 2012 ADF China in Xinxiang. He is currently on staff at Meredith College, NC School of the Arts, and Duke University. ADF faculty long time.