Faculty

ADF’s faculty form the foundation of the festival community. They are a group of generous, inspired, and accomplished artists, serving as mentors and guiding students to new heights of artistry and physicality. After an intense program of dance and dialogue, students and teachers often forge relationships that last long after the festival.

2022 faculty

michelle gibson

Michelle Gibson – Choreographer, Cultural Ambassador, Educator, Mother, and Performing Artist received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/ The American Dance Festival at Duke University. Her teaching practice and choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary / Traditional / Afro Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Cultivating her craft over the past years to preserve her culture Michelle has been teaching and creating works that are firmly rooted in New Orleans culture and has defined this idea as her own “Second Line Aesthetics” that she has determined involves both technical and improvised movement, brass music and the embrace of communal ritual. Sharing her culture aboard Michelle was invited to Rennes France teaching her New Orleans Second Aesthetics and Guest Lecture with the Compagnie Engrenage and the festival Le Funk Prend Les Rennes (translated the Funk Takes the Reins).

The festival honored and focused on the brass band culture of New Orleans both music and dance also focusing on Nigerian Afrobeat. A nine-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival and currently a candidate working towards receiving the Katherine Dunham Technique Certification she has had wonderful opportunities teaching her Afro-Modern technique, lecturing on culture inclusion within the arts, and setting choreographic works at various intensives, institutions and universities not to mention choreography for several theater companies and live entertainment organizations locally, in the U.S and internationally. As a freelance artist presently living in Dallas TX and dance faculty member at Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Michelle is dedicated to her energies, pedagogical practice, and performance-based research geared toward culturally cultivating and engaging communities and the world aboard.

momar ndiaye

Momar Ndiaye is an international performer, choreographer, teacher, and videographer from Senegal. He received his MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois in 2017 and was awarded with the prestigious Bruno Nettl Award for excellence in choreography for his thesis work, Point 0, upon graduation. Ndiaye has created and toured several staged dance performances along with choreographies for music videos with his own company “Cadanses” since 2004 and was a full-time dancer in the international dance company “Premier Temp” (2008-2014). Momar Ndiaye received ImPulsTanz’s Danceweb scholarship in 2012, Aex.corps/Residences et creations 2012, Pamoja (réseaux panafricain de résidence et de production) in 2014, Afrique Caraïbe Pacifique en creation in 2015, Movement research in 2016, and the European Union creative funds for the project Share-Creative-Africa in collaboration with Exodos (Slovenia) in 2020. Currently a full-time Assistant Professor in the department of dance at the Ohio State University, Ndiaye’s research focuses on the effects of Negritude, interculturalism, globalization, and colonialism on the “performance of daily life” in Senegal and Africa at large, as well as the subsequent impact of those concepts on traditional patrimonial dances and staged dance.

Photo by Kat JaIllner

rodney hill

Rodney Hill is the Company Manager and Director of Rennie Harris Puremovement and Rennie Harris R.H.A.W. Born and raised in the tough streets of North Philadelphia entering the hip hop scene in 1988. For over a decade, Rodney has performed on stages nationally and abroad. Featured in many videos for such artists as Boyz II Men, Will Smith, Music Soul Child, just to name a few. Rodney has also performed on TV shows such as L.A. R&B Divas, NBC Late Night Show with Conan O’Brien, Soul Train, NBC’S NFL Under The Helmet, and BET “Teen Summit.” In addition, he has toured and performed with Rennie Harris Puremovement, R&B singer Brave Williams, Julian King, Aaries, Mad Skillz, Rapper “EVE”, R&B legend Teddy Pendergrass, Janet Jackson’s DJ Dj Aktive, Shanice Wilson, Mary J. Blige, 50 Cent, and Philly’s own The Roots Crew. An accomplished dancer, choreographer and teacher, Rodney has performed and taught in universities, dance studios locally, nationally and internationally in countries such as France; Bogotá Columbia; Democratic Republic of Congo; East Asia; Egypt; Israel, and Palestine. In the year 2020, Rodney graduated from Wilson college receiving a MFA in Choreography. Rodney’s inspiration for dance comes from his community and family while continuing to educate and inspire others, through his hard work, dedication and commitment to hip hop and its culture. Lastly, in 2022, Rodney Hill will be sworn into office as Councilman for Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, which is a suburban community right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he grew up.

Classes: The world of Hip hop Street Dance foundation

Photo by Brian Mengini

Matt Pardo

Matt Pardo M.F.A., AEA. – Experience: Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, River North Chicago Dance Company (apprentice), Pittsburgh Opera, Groundworks Dance Theatre, “Einstein on the Beach” (Olivier Award – Best Opera), Lucinda Childs Dance Company, among others. Dance Europe Magazine selected him as a “Top 100 dancer in the world” for 2010/2011 and called him “an artist to watch”. Pardo is a co-founder and co-director of The Blanket (theblanket.org), which has been featured in Dance Magazine-online, Departures Magazine (American Express), and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The Blanket is now producing Lucinda Childs Dance and worked in collaboration with The Joyce Foundation on a week-long run of DANCE at the Joyce Theater in October 2021. Choreographic and teaching credits include the American Dance Festival, Point Park University, Elon University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Centre National De Danse (Paris), Slippery Rock University, and more. Scholarly research includes an article in the Journal of Dance Education discussing the use of experiential observation in developing a practice of performance. Pardo is an assistant professor at James Madison University. (matt-pardo.com)

Photo by Dirty Sugar Productions


2020 faculty

michelle gibson

Choreographer, Cultural Ambassador, Educator, Mother, and Performing Artist received her BFA in Dance from Tulane University and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University/ The American Dance Festival at Duke University. Her teaching practice and choreographic works range from genres of the African Diaspora, Contemporary / Traditional / Afro Modern, Afro Funk, Jazz, and her own New Orleans Second Line Aesthetic. Cultivating her craft over the past years to preserve her culture Michelle has been teaching and creating works that are firmly rooted in New Orleans culture and has defined this idea as her own “Second Line Aesthetics” that she has determined involves both technical and improvised movement, brass music and the embrace of communal ritual. Sharing her culture aboard Michelle was invited to Rennes France teaching her New Orleans Second Aesthetics and Guest Lecture with the Compagnie Engrenage and the festival Le Funk Prend Les Rennes (translated the Funk Takes the Reins).

The festival honored and focused on the brass band culture of New Orleans both music and dance also focusing on Nigerian Afrobeat. A nine-year faculty member with the American Dance Festival and currently a candidate working towards receiving the Katherine Dunham Technique Certification she has had wonderful opportunities teaching her Afro-Modern technique, lecturing on culture inclusion within the arts, and setting choreographic works at various intensives, institutions and universities not to mention choreography for several theater companies and live entertainment organizations locally, in the U.S and internationally. As a freelance artist presently living in Dallas TX and dance faculty member at Booker T. Washington High School of the Performing and Visual Arts, Michelle is dedicated her energies, pedagogical practice, and performance-based research geared toward culturally cultivating and engaging communities and the world aboard. 

momar ndiaye

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

Matt Pardo

Matt Pardo – M.F.A., AEA.  Experience: Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, River North Chicago Dance Company (apprentice), Pittsburgh Opera, Groundworks Dance Theatre, “Einstein on the Beach” (Olivier Award – Best Opera), Lucinda Childs Dance Company (company member/company class instructor), among others. Dance Europe Magazine selected him as a “Top 100 dancer in the world” for 2010/2011 and called him “an artist to watch”. Pardo is a co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based organization, The Blanket (theblanket.org), which has been featured in Dance Magazine-online, Departures Magazine (American Express), and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Recent choreographic and teaching credits include the American Dance Festival, Point Park University, Elon University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Centre National De Danse (Paris), and Slippery Rock University. Recent writing includes an article in the Journal of Dance Education discussing the use of experiential observation in developing a practice of performance and an insert in the Genius Guide to College Dance Programs. Pardo is an assistant professor at Shenandoah University. (matt-pardo.com)

JOSE VELASQUEZ

Jose Velasquez is a Hip-hop and street dance performer from Durham, NC. Since he began his career as a dancer, Jose not only participated in a wide range of competitions, he has had the opportunity to perform and choreograph for a variety of different artists known locally and abroad. He began teaching in 2005 and has had the opportunity to travel and teach in many different settings, from Native American reservations in Arizona to the public and private school systems in North Carolina and even universities including Duke, NC State, and Elon. He is proud of being able to help inform his community and students on the history and culture of Hip-hop and other street dances. Jose currently is teaching classes for kids and adults at Ninth Street Dance and Threehouse studios in Durham.

Photo credit: Rose Miller

Kate wALKER

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.