Faculty

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.

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.

2019 faculty

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 holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2016) and an advanced honors B.F.A from the University at Buffalo (2007). He has danced for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Groundworks Dance Theater, RG Dance Projects, and the River North Chicago Dance Company (apprentice). He was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Dancers in the World for 2010-2011”, one of 10 Americans, by Dance Europe Magazine. Teaching and choreographic credits include American Dance Festival, Skidmore College, Broadway Dance Center, Slippery Rock University, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, Centre National de Danse (Paris), and Point Park University to name a few. In 2011, Matt joined the Lucinda Childs Dance Company and spent 7 years touring as a company member and company class-instructor performing and teaching in more than 20 countries. He recently returned to LCDC as a guest artist to perform in the company’s production of Available Light (Lucinda Childs/Frank Gehry/John Adams) for Lincoln Center’s 2018 Mostly Mozart Festival. His opera credits include the world tour of the Olivier award-winning Philip Glass opera Einstein on the Beach and performances with the Pittsburgh Opera in the Daughter of the Regiment, directed and choreographed by Séan Curran. 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), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the US News and World Report. Upcoming publications include an article in the Journal of Dance Education exploring how to develop a practice of performance and an insert in the recently released Genius Guide to College Dance Programs by Angela Carter. Pardo is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Union and is an assistant professor of dance at Shenandoah University. (matt-pardo.com)

CRYSTAL PERKINS 

Crystal Michelle Perkins is an Assistant Professor at The Ohio State University (OSU) where she teaches dance composition and contemporary movement practice. She holds an MFA in Dance from OSU and a BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University and is honored to have performed for nearly a decade with the world renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). She continues to create new works and restage an extensive repertory of masterworks by beloved African American choreographers as DCDC’s Associate Artistic Director. Perkins is a recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence award and the Josie Award, which recognizes exemplary commitment as a performer to the field of dance. Her work has toured across the United States and internationally to Kazakhstan, Russia, and Brazil. Perkins’ creative research centers on African American movement dialects and black female embodiment in contemporary dance performance. To that end, she is focused on creating pieces that embody blood memory, digital residue, personal/historical narrative, and spaces of justice/injustice. Perkins is a member of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals’ inaugural class of Leadership Fellows and the OhioDance Board of Trustees.

Photo credit: Scott Robins

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.