Sponsored by the Forest at Duke
Kristi Vincent Johnson – The Rivers Are My Veins
Cara Mossman – Peel Off Your Fears
ShaLeigh Comerford – Bound
About the Video Challenge
In an effort to support local creativity and choreographers and to continue engaging audiences, ADF invited 20 North Carolina choreographers to create a 60-second video dance that will be featured during a week-long online festival beginning June 8, 2020.
We will release four videos a day for five days on the ADF website. When new videos go up, the ones posted the day before will be taken down. All videos will be reposted together over the weekend of June 13-14 and audiences will have the chance to vote for the most creative and engaging work.
The three videos with the highest number of votes will receive awards. First place is a $1,000 honorarium and 40 hours of studio time at ADF’s Scripps Studios. Second place is a $500 honorarium and 20 hours of studio time. Third place is a $250 honorarium and 10 hours of studio time. All winners will receive two tickets to a 2021 ADF performance and have their videos screened during the 2021 festival.
About the Choreographers
Renay Aumiller has presented her choreography and scholarship of dance education across the United States, China, Italy, Cambodia, Sweden, and Taiwan. She is the Founder/Artistic Director of RAD | Renay Aumiller Dances and presents work locally in showcases, festivals, and self-produced concerts. She has performed for numerous choreographers based in Chicago, Florida, New York, and North Carolina. Aumiller’s education includes earning an MFA in Choreography from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Dance Studies from UNC-Greensboro. She is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Elon University and a level 2 Franklin Method® Educator.
“My goal as an artist is to invite audiences to view everyday life through the lens of modern dance.” Durham-based Anna Barker choreographs works that explore the human condition through relatable and shared experiences. With her dance-theater company, real.live.people, she uses movement and body language to express perceptions of success and failure, and to decipher human interactions and relationships. By actively engaging the viewer through familiar and everyday experiences, she ensures that her modern dance performances create an intimate connection between her and the audience. Through a combination of movement, music, text, humor, and theater, Barker’s work draws from our shared experience to create an exchange about our inherent social and interpersonal existence. Her genuine interest in actively promoting modern dance as an accessible means for expression and connection illustrates her interest in bridging the gap between dance as a formal medium and the lived experience of routine physicality. She is a 2018-2019 NC Arts Council Artist Fellowship recipient. The Artistic Director and choreographer/performer for real.live.people in Durham, she has choreographed and performed works at the American Dance Festival, NC Dance Festival, and Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and at the South East Center for Contemporary Art, Living Arts Collective, and Motorco Music Hall, among other venues. In 2017, she was awarded the Durham Arts Council Ella Pratt Emerging Artist Grant. Her upcoming feature-length dance film, Level Up, will premiere in 2020. Barker received her BFA in Modern Dance and a BA in Psychology from Temple University (2009, 2010).
Jody Cassell began dancing at age four when her mother let her walk down the street alone to Mrs. Supplee’s basement to learn ballet. Several years later, dance/theater improv took off under the muse of Martha Myers, former Dean of the American Dance Festival. Her technique was somewhat polished at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Jody’s life is devoted to creativity. She is a Teaching and Performing Artist in Dance, Dancing Storyteller who dances stories interactively with those shorter than she is and dances the transitions of life for adults. She is a children’s author for the story “Where’s Leon?” developed while working in Pre-K and K for Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. Her vocal ability has significantly improved since being awarded an Emerging Artist Award by the Durham Arts Council in 2011. Her Spirit Women are sculptures made from found, given, and self created objects whose purpose is to unite the human spirit in us all. Heart shaped objects in nature and the environment, shadows, and reflections are the subject of her photography. Her danced films center around the vulnerabilities of life. She delights in working with others in the transformation of their lives through the creative arts. The soundscapes for her dances are created in an incredible collaboration with dejacusse aka Jude Casseday for whom she is greatly indebted. Her husband Ronnie is tech man extraordinaire for her films. Her Soulmate is her found dog.
Kristin Clotfelter explores the complexities of the temporal human condition through the metaphysics of dance. She pursues dance as research toward embodied thinking, utilizing the platform of performance to set renderings of prospective understanding in motion. Kristin is Co-Founder/Co-Director of Studio C Projects, a collaborative company investigating live intersections of movement, design, and performance and the Associate Artistic Director of Barriskill Dance Theatre School, both based in Durham, NC. Kristin has cultivated her choreographic practices through residencies with Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA), Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Dance Omi International Arts Center, and Fleet Moves Dance Festival and shown work in Durham, Greensboro, Asheville, Brooklyn, Wellfleet, Ghent, Washington DC, and Charlottesville. She has cultivated her teaching practices through college-level ballet and modern dance at Duke University and through master classes at UNC School of the Arts, Columbia College Chicago, The National Museum of Dance, Princeton University, American University, the University of Virginia, and the University of Minnesota as well as Parsons The New School for Design. Kristin has been a member of Susan Marshall & Company since 2011 and a member of Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre since 2005. She danced for nine seasons at The Metropolitan Opera in various productions by Robert LePage, Julie Taymor, and Franco Zeffirelli, among others. In NYC, she collaborated with Johannes Wieland, Mark DeChiazza, Abby Levine, and The Movement Party and performed as Lady MacDuff in Punchdrunk’s off-Broadway show, Sleep No More. She also spent summers performing at The Santa Fe Opera and a season dancing with the State Theater of Kassel in Germany. She holds a BFA with honors in dance and a minor in Visual Arts from the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University program and is an MFA 2020 candidate at the University of the Arts.
ShaLeigh Comerford is an Irish and Native American dancer, choreographer, and artistic director of ShaLeigh Dance Works based in Durham, NC. She is a graduate of Hollins University with a master’s degree in Visual and Performing Arts. Her choreography and commissions have been presented throughout the United States and abroad in venues such as the American Dance Festival, North Carolina Dance Festival, American Dance Guild Performance Festival, Dixon Place, Booking Dance Festival at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Judson Church, and Tokyo Experimental Festival of Sound, Art & Performance. She has been commissioned by Keio University, Washington & Lee University, Cirque USA, North Carolina Museum of Art, Arts Access, and Shannon Media Inc. She has received support from MAP, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Durham Arts Council, Symonds Family Foundation, and Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture. ShaLeigh is a recipient of the 2018 Ella Pratt Fountain Emerging Artist Award and the 2013 Institute of Contemporary Art and International Cultural Exchange Award. She has been an artist in residence at Azule, Wildacres, Tokyo Wonder Site Shibuya, Cambridge University, GlogauAIR, K77 Studio, and Dance Theatre Workshop. She currently serves as a panelist and grant reviewer as well as a speaker on dance accessibility and inclusion across the state. She teaches regularly at a variety of studios and is an adjunct professor at Elon University.
Kristin Taylor Duncan
Kristin Taylor Duncan is a Durham native with a BFA from the UNC School of the Arts. She has trained at Jacob’s Pillow and on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studios. Kristin has apprenticed with Urban Bush Women and worked with choreographers Nathan Trice, Bridget Moore, Christal Brown and Sidra Bell, Andrea Woods Valdez, Helen Simoneau, Tania Perez-Salas Compania de Danza, Juel Lane, Gaspard Louis, and Yuxtadanza Compania de Danza of Venezuela. Kristin has worked with Dr. Kariamu Welsh and jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon as a dancer for the Clothes Line Muse. Mrs. Duncan is a recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant producing her first concert for her company KT COLLECTIVE. She has been commissioned to create works by Helen Simoneau, NC Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum, NC Museum of History, and Myra Weiss. Recently Kristin has performed in Approximation of a Woman produced by Jasmine Powell. Ms. Powell also invited Kristin to perform in the “Problem” PSA by vocalist and philanthropist Kwanza Jones. Mrs. Duncan is the Dance Educator at Riverside High School, Encore Academy of Dance, Ballet School of Chapel Hill, and Walltown Children’s Theatre. KT COLLECTIVE is preparing for a collaborative season with Soar Aerial Dance.
Taryn Griggs is a dancer and Pilates instructor based in Winston-Salem, NC. She has been creating, performing, and touring dances with her husband, Chris Yon, since 2002. Griggs has also danced with Mary Cochran, Sara Hook, Susan Rethorst, Irish Modern Dance Theatre, Liz Roche/Rex Levitates, Anna Sperber, Johannes Wieland, Ivy Baldwin, Tori Lawrence, Karinne Keithley Syers, Yoshiko Chuma, Hijack, Jodi Melnick, and David Neumann. She received a Sage Award for Performance in 2009 and a McKnight Fellowship for Dance in 2012. Griggs teaches Dance and Pilates at UNCSA in the School of Drama and School of Dance. Current projects include Paramodernities #2 with Netta Yerushalmy, Interstitial at SECCA with Chris Yon, and a new commissioned work for the American Dance Festival with Chris Yon.
Kristi Vincent Johnson
Kristi Vincent Johnson, a Louisiana native, is a performer, choreographer, educator, and community builder. She has presented work throughout multiple regions of the United States and performed works by such artists as Joe Alegado, Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Gaspard Louis, and Baba Chuck Davis. Committed to artistic excellence, Kristi was named the National Dance Association’s College/University Dance Educator of the Year in 2013 and received an award for Excellence in Teaching from North Carolina Central University [NCCU] in 2017. Her work was commissioned by the Ernie Barnes Foundation in 2018 to honor his artistic legacy and pay tribute to his iconic painting, “Sugar Shack.” Additionally, Kristi has been a grant recipient from such organizations as Durham Arts Council and Orange County Arts Commission with the purpose of building broader dance engagement via partnerships with various arts and cultural organizations, as well as creating venues for professional choreographers to present their work. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from Texas Christian University and is currently a doctoral candidate in Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Kristi Vincent Johnson is the Director of Dance at North Carolina Central University, the Artistic Director of The Repertory Dance Company at NCCU, and the founder of The Triangle Dance Project, a community building nonprofit arts organization.
Killian began her dancing and dance-making career in the early ’80s in Boston, studying with Mark Morris and Lucinda Childs. She was a member of Susan Rose and DanceWorks, served on the faculties of Radcliffe, DanceWorks, and the Boston Conservatory, and founded her company, No Forwarding Address. In 1988 she received a scholarship to study at ADF, after which she decided to remain in North Carolina. Between 1989 and 1995 she studied with Trisha Brown, taught at UNC-Chapel Hill and the Ballet School of Chapel Hill, created 10 evening-length works, received funding from numerous NC state and local arts agencies, and was named “Best in The Triangle” in dance for four years. In 1995 she left to pursue her Ph.D. in Performance Studies at the University of Utah, then relocated to Birmingham to teach, write, and create. Since returning to the Triangle in 2004, she has been full-time faculty in Communication Studies at UNC-Greensboro and continues to teach dance at the Ballet School. Her award-winning work has appeared three times in Manbites Dog’s “Other Voices” Series, in DIDA’s Seasons Two and Four, and at Meredith College as part of NCDA and Faculty Concerts. She has created site-specific work for the Carrack Modern Art, the Greensboro Project Space, Caffe Driade, and The Ackland Art Museum, exploring a variety of venues as part of her ongoing investigation of quotidian experiences that expose our most intimate lives.
Cara Mossman received her Bachelor Of Arts in 2013 from Meredith College in Dance Studies with a concentration in Private Studio Teaching, Performance, and Choreography. While in college, she was a full company member of the Meredith Dance Theater and the Meredith Jazz and Tap Company. She has had the opportunity to participate and perform in several American College Dance Festivals, the North Carolina Dance Alliance, and The Carol Finley Dance Group, and she also worked for Disney World as a character performer. Her teaching and choreography experience includes a wide range of genres and the qualification to work with all levels and ages ranging from two years old to adult. Her work has received recognition at the university level, regional conferences, and world-wide competitions.
Alyssa Noble is a modern dancer, community organizer, and digital media specialist from Chicago, IL. She earned her BFA in Dance and her MS in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and has been a Durham resident since 2011. Alyssa co-organizes Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA), an organization that works to advocate for the local dance community and to connect its members to resources. As a member of DIDA, Alyssa has helped program and support four seasons of independent dance performances and events in Durham. Since 2016, Alyssa has been creating and performing work with A+A Dance Company, which she co-founded with Allie Pfeffer. Alyssa has also performed locally in dance and performance art works by Leah Wilks/Vector, Anna Barker/real.live.people, Monet Noelle Marshall, and Meg Stein. Alyssa’s overarching artistic practice goals are to prioritize work that supports independent artist viability and to engage audiences in critical thinking around dance. Alyssa aims to create and participate in projects that initiate and continue important societal conversations, to increase inclusivity and accessibility levels of all of the projects that she is involved in, and to create and share resources as broadly as possible with other independent artists.
Courtney OM hails from Toronto, Canada, and is full-time choreographer, dance educator, and arts entrepreneur in Durham, NC. Her professional training includes Ryerson University’s BFA Dance program and The Conteur Academy, a contemporary conservatory, where she graduated in 2013 under the direction of Eryn Waltman. Courtney began producing work in the United States in 2014 at the SARUS festival in Wilmington, NC. There, she began receiving recognition for her choreographic works, which encouraged her to continue to produce work both locally and internationally. Courtney established OM grown dancers (a 501c3 non-profit dance platform) in 2016 and has presented four evening length works since its inception. The company has captivated audiences with prominent influences in intricate partnering and complex floor work. Their work has been shared on stages from Durham, NC, Tulsa, OK, Santo Domingo, DR, San Juan, PR and soon, Germany! The OM grown dancers are in their final stages of finishing a three-year project, The Fear Trilogy. Part 3, withOUT Fear is set to premiere at The Durham Fruit and Produce Company in October 2020. Lastly, Courtney OM is a co-owner and the dance director at Threehouse Studios, a boutique drop-in yoga, dance, and conditioning studio downtown Durham, NC. Along with creating work for OM grown dancers, she can be found this season teaching at Threehouse Studios, directing her pre-professional training program OM, still growing and teaching classes at high schools and dance studios across the Triangle.
Michelle Pearson is the Artistic Director of Black Box Dance Theatre, a NC based company known for their ground breaking collaborations in the making of deeply human and physically compelling dance. Michelle is the inaugural recipient of the Jan Van Dyke Legacy Award. She holds a BFA in Dance from ECU. She was a core member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange from 93-98 before moving into the position of Associate Artist with the troupe for another 15 years. She has been a guest artist and adjunct faculty at numerous schools including Meredith College, Catholic University, UNCG, St. Mary’s School, The American Dance Festival, Harvard Medical School, NCSU, and Arts Together. As an A+ Fellow, Michelle leads professional development workshops for educators throughout NC and the US. She was recognized by the NC Arts Council with a Choreographic Fellowship and was selected by the US Department of State to lead a Cultural Envoy to Sierra Leone in 2011 as well as Cultural Democracy missions to China in 2014 and 2016 and Kazakhstan in 2019. Recently, the USO of NC has deemed Michelle and her cohort of dancers as SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and engaged them to lead Warrior Reset Programs for active duty service members. Michelle is a William C. Friday Fellow committed to improving human relations in the state of NC. Call it choreography, performance, cultural democracy, healing art, leadership training, professional development, or arts integration; it’s all miraculous modern dance to Michelle.
Allie Pfeffer received her BFA with honors in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In New York, her work was presented at Gibney and as part of the LaMaMa Moves Festival. She also worked as the Center Programs Director and Associate Center Director at Gibney before moving to North Carolina. She co-directs A+A Dance Company with Alyssa Noble. Together, the two have presented two evening length works, What You Want (2017) and Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady (2019). In addition to work with A+A, she has performed with Gerri Houlihan, Renay Aumiller Dancers (RAD), Anna Barker/real.live.people, and Stephanie Woodbeck. She has taught at Ninth Street Dance, ADF’s Samuel Scripps Studios, and various high schools around the area. In 2019, Allie was thrilled to receive a grant from Durham 150 to design and create costumes for Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady.
Justin Tornow is a Durham-based dance artist. She is the director of COMPANY, co-creator of beta tests, producer of PROMPTS, and co-founder of Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA). Justin’s artistic interests are collaborative and interdisciplinary experiments conducted with a core group of partners in visual art, sound design, filmmaking, and lighting design. She teaches college-level courses and workshops in dance technique, composition, improvisation, and repertory at Elon University and serves as summer faculty with the American Dance Festival. She is also a visiting and guest teaching artist in the US and abroad. Justin served as the 2017 teaching-artist-in-residence at Tanzart Atelier in Kirschau, Germany, and a 2019 artist-in-residence at The Commons at UNC-Chapel Hill. As a 2018-2019 Cunningham Dance Research Fellow with the New York Public Library, Justin published original research on the pedagogy and practice of the technique titled Cunningham Technique as a Practice of Freedom. Beginning in Fall 2020, she will be a doctoral fellow in dance pedagogy at Temple University.
Andrea E. Woods Valdés
Andrea E. Woods Valdés, Sakarah Hall-Edge, Atiba Rorie, and Juan Francisco Valdés Santos are four NC based collaborative artists coming together for this Souloworks project. As life-long students and creatives in the African diaspora their artistic expressions are committed to social justice, arts activism, education, and community building.
Alexandra Joye Warren
Founded in 2014, JOYEMOVEMENT is a contemporary dance company that has performed regionally and toured nationally at many colleges, universities, festivals, and conferences, including Opening Night of American Dance Festival in 2017 and at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in collaboration with activist Bree Newsome. A native of the Washington, DC Metro area, Alexandra received her BA from Spelman College and MFA from UNC-Greensboro. She performed, choreographed, and taught in New York, finding a company home with Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT. Alexandra has been fortunate to study at Germaine Acogny’s Jant-Bi at L’Ecole Des Sables in Senegal and perform with Bill T. Jones in development of FELA! the Musical, Paloma and Patricia McGregor’s Angela’s Pulse, Maxine Montilus, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Van Dyke Dance Group, and Amy Love Beasley. Alexandra has presented her choreography as scholarly research most recently at the 2020 Collegium of African Diaspora Dance Conference at Duke University and at the 2019 National Women’s Studies Association Conference in San Francisco, CA. She is a recipient of the 2019 Arts Greensboro, Regional Arts Grant. She is currently teaching at The Experiential School of Greensboro and at Dance Project.
As a lifelong dancer and a graduate of North Carolina State University, Ronald West was mentored and trained under Kirstie Spadie of the North Carolina Dance Institute on a full scholarship while attending the College of Design School of Architecture at NCSU. He has studied and danced as a company member for the Black Box Dance Theatre lead by Artistic Curator, Michelle Pearson, and as an adjunct member of Dance Exchange under Artistic Director, Cassie Meador. A natural study, Ronald began assisting six months into his training and went on to teach by the end of his first year. He continues to define and explore a vast range of movement in his classes and is always exploring cutting edge contemporary, hip hop, and jazz styles. His professional work pushes social boundaries by using avant garde ideology and language, both verbal and nonverbal, to connect with each dancer and audience member. His work is a blend of high-concept choreography with movement that is progressively athletic, compelling, and innovative. He has danced in several professional productions both locally and nationally and has collaborated with choreographers such as Diego Carrasco Schoch, Kate Davis, Courtney Greer, Justin Tornow, Killian Manning, and Michelle Pearson. Throughout his career he has had works featured and selected in the North Carolina Dance Festival, the Durham Independent Dance Artists premiere season, and the independent documentary, Earth Caster. Most recently, Ronald traveled to China to work as a diplomat for the US State Department with the goal of using dance as a universal language with an overarching theme of disabilities advocacy in order to help special needs children and everyday citizens across the country. In 2011 he started his own dance company, now known as the BLACK IRISH REBEL DISCO aka the BIRD, with an emphasis on mobility of the upper body, quality of movement, pivotal anatomical architecture, and specificity in musicality. The influence of his undergraduate degree in environmental design in architecture will be evident in upcoming productions in the new decade, as he utilizes design to inform every facet of this thing we all love: dance.
Megan de roiz Yankee
Megan de roiz Yankee is a multiracial caretaker and adoptee who holds an MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. In response to her 2019 work, On the Wretched Narrow, INDYWeek’s Victoria Bouloubasis wrote, “The turbulence of this moment in history is visible everywhere: We witness frenetic outbursts every day in the news, in our communities, and this week, in Megan’s work.” Her career in dance is a cross-pollination of skillsets including performer, choreographer, arts administrator, and educator. Megan’s movement lineage weaves together contemporary dance techniques rooted in American modern and post-modern dance traditions, gymnastics, colorguard, contact improvisation, as well as somatic and releasing techniques. She advocates for increasing access to quality movement education for people and children of all income, experience, and ability levels, ages, heritages, and walks of life. Megan lives in Durham, NC, with musician/sound designer, John Osburn. Please visit meganyankee.dance for upcoming, Covid-safe classes and performance dates.
Chris Yon is a performer, choreographer, and teacher. He mostly performs, choreographs, and sometimes curates, with and for Taryn Griggs. As a performer, he has worked with and for Yoshiko Chuma, Justin Jones, Karinne Keithley, David Neumann, and Kristin Van Loon. Yon’s choreographies have been presented nationally and internationally at American Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, La Mama, Symphony Space, The Kitchen, Danspace Project, Gershwin Hotel, CBGB, The Knitting Factory, Walker Art Center, The Southern Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl, Philadelphia Dance Project , ODC Theater, Velocity Dance Center, Highways Performance Space, Pieter, Project Art Centre (Dublin), Tangente (Montreal), CiteDanse (Grenoble), Legion Arts (Cedar Rapids), and Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (Winston-Salem). His work has been commissioned by The Danish National School of Performing Arts (Copenhagen), The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana), Irish Modern Dance Theatre (Dublin), d9 dance collective (Seattle), North Carolina Dance Festival, and Greenhill Gallery. He has had residencies and space grants from MANCC, The Yard, SILO, and BAX. Co-founder of Ur, your neighborhood dance palace in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2003-2005. Recipient: 2003 NYFA Fellowship for Performance Art, 2005 “Bessie” award for Performance, 2009 SAGE Award for Choreography, 2011 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography, 2015 City Pages Best Choreographer. BFA, NYU. MFA, University of Iowa. Presently, he is the Administrative Assistant at IPLACe at Wake Forest Universtiy and an adjunct instructor at Appalachian State University in Boone, and shares a rehearsal and teaching practice with Taryn Griggs in Winston-Salem.