MEET THE ARTISTS

IRIS VAN PEPPEN | ALEX SPRINGER & XAN BURLEY | ALEXANDRA BELLER | CINZIA FIASCHI
SONDRA LORING | MARIA SIMPSON | THE ARCHITECTS | BELINDA HE | ANNEKE HANSEN
SARA PHOENIX | AMY SIMONSON | ZACHARY BIRD

IRIS VAN PEPPEN

irisvanpeppenFor over 18 years Iris van Peppen (1977) has been working as a dance artist in the field of instant composition and contemporary dance. With a sharpness she builds from what is present; diving immediate to the core of the dance. This can be during a class in release technique but also when creating a dance piece on a site specific location.

The classes and workshops that she teaches are: release & Hawkins technique, instant composition, contact improvisation and dance classes for mothers with their babies. Without any hierarchy Iris creates a dance performance in direct dialogue with it’s surrounding space, public, sound, dance: one can’t exist without the other.

She has created over 25 site specific dance performances in churches, museums, streets and in a shoe shop to name a few. Iris created f.e. Stranddans (Beach dance) at the Dutch coastline, Breaking Bricks at an industrial square, Ontplofte Blik (Exploded view) at a museum, Te Allen Tijde (At all times) in the Utrecht Starwatch centre and Golfslag (Billow) at the Utrecht docks.

Besides her own organisation and company DI Utrecht & Amsterdam; Contemporary Dance Platform Iris works as a teacher, performer, choreographer, organiser and coach in dance. Without distinction she works with non-professional dancers, professional (dance) artists and mothers with their babies, to name a few. To her this is all connected to what dance as an art in life really means: ‘being truely in contact with our body in time, space and in relation with others’. Since we all move and improvise in our daily life.

Iris van Peppen graduated at the SNDO, School of the arts Amterdam The Netherlands in 1999. She danced and worked with Tim O’Donnell, Michael Schumacher, Katie Duck, Andrew Harwood. Iris lives in Utrecht, The Netherlands and has two sons.

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ALEX SPRINGER & XAN BURLEY

alex-xanTHE MEDIAN MOVEMENT is the artistic intersection between Xan Burley + Alex Springer serving as a vessel for their collaborative choreography, teaching, and community engagement.  Burley and Springer have shown work at 92Y’s Sundays at Three, DanceNOW[NYC]’s Joe’s Pub Festival (2011 Encore Challenge winners), the TANK, Triskelion Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange (2011 Space Grant Artists), among others and are 2014 Artists-in-Residence at University Settlement. They have been commissioned artists at Oakland University (MI), Ohio University, The Collective (MD), Ball State University (IN), James Madison University (VA), and Goucher College (MD), among others.

Their choreography appeared in Frances Ha and their dance film daylighting won the silver award in DFA’s 48-Hour Challenge. Burley has performed with artists Nancy Bannon, Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance, Shannon Gillen & Guests, and Tami Stronach Dance and has been a member of Doug Varone and Dancers since 2012. She is on modern faculty at 92Y and produces WAXworks, a program of Williamsburg Art neXus. Springer has worked with Alexandra Beller, Amy Chavasse, and Donnell Oakley, among others. He has been a member of Doug Varone and Dancers since 2008 and acts as the company’s media manager and video designer/archivist.

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ALEXANDRA BELLER

alexandrabellerAlexandra Beller the is Artistic Director of Alexandra Beller/Dances, which celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2011 with a premiere at ICA in Boston and a 3 week run in New York City. She was a 2-year Artist in Residence at HERE Art Space, and has also been an AIR at Dance New Amsterdam and DMAC. Alexandra Beller/Dances is an ensemble of highly skilled dancer/actors working on the edge between dance and theater. Rich with personal revelations, performances attempt to move, stimulate, impassion and incite the audience. Ripe with metaphor, abstracted narrative and controversial ideas, the dances traffic through the dangerous territory of homophobia, sexism, and emotional isolationism. The company seeks to intersect distinctions between races, nationalities, sexual orientations and political affiliations through a series of artistic collisions. The creations are a truly unique hybrid form, where speaking and moving are essential forces in the creation of meaning.

As a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 1995-2001, Alexandra performed in over 50 countries and throughout the U.S. She was a unique and iconic member of the company, created roles in over ten original productions. In 2004-05 she collaborated as a performer in “The Belle Epoch,” with Martha Clarke and Charles Mee. Film work includes “Romance and Cigarettes” by John Turturro. In 2000, she was the subject of a series of photographs by Irving Penn, “Dancer,” which has toured the world. She also collaborated with David Michalek on the large-scale installation piece “Slow Dancing,” which premiered at Lincoln Center and continues to tour. She has studied with, and been mentored by, Ann Bogart, Bebe Miller, Ann Carlson, Janet Wong, RoseAnne Spradlin, and Janet Lilly.

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CINZIA FIASCHI

cinziafiaschiCinzia Fiaschi is an “action painter.” She uses gestural abstraction to make it seem as if her creation lives and breathes. Paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting piece often emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as an essential aspect of the finished work. The painting is a visual extension of her thoughts and emotions in the moment.

Fiaschi began her quest at the acclaimed Academy of Fine Arts in Florence under the direction of professor Gustavo Giulietti where she honed to great effect, a strong composition technique. After her formative training, Fiaschi matured and broadened her artistic imprint to fully evolve into an action painter and visual arts performer linking together painting, music, dance, and theater. In so doing, Fiaschi has acheived near-oneness with the true meaning of “live art” demonstrating this realization within the realm of alternative spaces, which she believes give maximum opportunity to explore the freedom of artistic interpretation. She has “performed” her art, often times incorporating crowd-participation, in such venues as town squares, courtyards, bars, dwellings and living spaces as well as in and around fountains, historic palaces, art galleries and theaters.

Cinzia Fiaschi’s reach is scopious. She readily integrates and assimilates her work in partnership with theater, dance and contact improv workshops and creative laboratories. She also creates live installations for film during festivals and dance performances actualizing fluid cinematography and spot video for publication. Fiaschi’s ubiquity and experimentation does not limit her, but allows her to fully embody and embrace “action painting”extracting gesture from static art as part of the journey of the emotional and the aesthetic. For years, she has demonstrated and presented this ethic at selected exhibitions at home in Italy and abroad.

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SONDRA LORING

sondraloringSondra Loring, co-founded the ImprovisationFestival/NY and was a NYC dancer and choreographer for almost two decades before relocating to the Hudson Valley. She organizes performances, classes, improvisations, and choreographs in unusual locations, including factories, historical sites and lighthouses.  Sondra received a Bessie (New York Dance/Performance Award) for her work as a performer, improviser and writer.

Sondra fell in love with yoga while dancing professionally in New York City, and then felt impelled to travel to India to study Ashtanga yoga with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. She continued to study Ashtanga in NYC with Eddie Stern and also began Iyengar studies with Genevieve Kapuler. Now she studies with senior Iyengar teacher Carrie Owerko.

Her aim is to unite these two forms in her teaching with great respect. She opened Sadhana Center for Yoga and Meditation in Hudson in 2003, and then Satya Yoga Center in Rhinebeck in 2005, with Jessie Montague. She has been teaching in NYC since 1994, currently at the Bhakti Center. She offesr classes that emphasize a graceful flow of movement, a quality of devotion, and a place for people to come together in community.

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MARIA SIMPSON

mariasimpsonMaria Simpson is the Director of the Dance Program at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. Maria has also taught at Mount Holyoke College, Middlebury College, the University of Washington, the Bates Summer Dance Festival, the 1997 Seattle Summer Dance Festival, the Vassar College Summer Workshop, and the Gibney Dance Center in New York City. Maria has performed with many dance companies and independent artists in both Seattle and New York, and has been working with Sondra Loring since 2012. Maria received a B.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts and an M.F.A. from the University of Washington.

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THE ARCHITECTS

the-architectsThe Architects were born out of collaborations between Katherine Ferrier, Lisa Gonzales, Jennifer Kayle, and Pamela Vail, dating back to the late 1980s at Middlebury College. For 20 years, the quartet has been engaged in celebrating composition through their commitment to collaborative movement research. The Architects have presented their work in such venues as the Zuzi Theatre, Tucson, Az.; Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, San Antonio; Chicago Dance Improvisation Fest; Improvisation Festival/N.Y.; Epiphany Dance Experiment, Chicago; Jazz Fest, Burlington, Vt. (in collaboration with Ensemble V, directed by Arthur Brooks); Improvised and Otherwise Festival of Sound and Movement, N.Y.; Big Range Dance Festival, Houston, Tex.; The Fringe Festival, Minneapolis, Minn.; The Flynn Theatre in Burlington, Vt.; Movement Arts Thorne’s in Northampton, Mass.; the University of Iowa; and Franklin & Marshall, Middlebury, Muhlenberg, and Keene State Colleges.

They were the company in residence at Work in the Performance of Improvisation from 2001-2005 at Bennington College; in 2007 they toured to Helsinki, Finland and St. Petersburg, Russia to teach and perform. They have offered a winter MICI workshop (“wiMICI”) in Tucson, Az. for the last three years. In their professional and life-long devotion to choreography, improvisation, and teaching, The Architects bring a holistic and ferocious intelligence to the dialogue of dance-making and teaching, process and product, individual voice and ensemble composition, crafting, and opening to the unknown.

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BELINDA HE

belinda-heBelinda grew up in Singapore and earned a degree in English Literature at the National University of Singapore before moving to New York City to pursue her passion in dance. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with an MFA in Dance, and is now teaching, making and dancing dances. She has taught at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Harlem School of the Arts, Long Island University and Queens College in New York City.

Belinda is the Artistic Director of SINecdoche Dance, which she founded in order to investigate pedagogical structures as a means to understanding and proliferating her creative process. She has performed with various artists such as Sara Rudner, Jon Kinzel and Kathy Westwater, and is currently an active member of the Anneke Hansen Dance Company, with which she investigated the act of performance and its application to the creation of a dance in ‘Practical Space’. She assisted the company in rehearsal direction and coaching for ‘she is not a comfortable thing’ which premiered in November 2013 in New York City.

Belinda was the Administrative Director of the Feldenkrais Institute of New York from 2011 to 2013, where she also taught weekly Awareness Through Movement® lessons while continuing her studies in the Feldenkrais Method®. Having graduated from the Feldenkrais Professional Training Program in 2013, Belinda is now a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. She utilizes her understanding of the human body in movement culled from her experience in the Feldenkrais Method® and various other somatic approaches in her practices of dancing, choreography and movement education.

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ANNEKE HANSEN

anneke-hansenAnneke Hansen has been creating dance works in New York City since 2002. Her company’s presentations have included intimate salon-style events, performance investigations that invite the audience into the studio, site-specific affairs, and more traditional theatrical showings.

Anneke Hansen Dance has been presented in NYC at The Chocolate Factory Theater, and as part of the La Mama Moves! Festival, Draftworks at Danspace Project, Movement Research at Judson Church, Dance Conversations @ The Flea, and at University Settlement. In 2010 and 2011 Hansen was international guest artist-in-residence at Dance House in Dublin, Ireland and her company has also enjoyed creative residencies at Rockbridge Arts Exchange in Virginia, and Vermont Academy in Saxtons River, VT. Nationally, Hansen’s work has been twice featured at The Big Range Dance Festival in Houston, TX and at Rockbridge Arts Exchange in Virginia. Her site-specific work has been performed in NYC parks and abroad in Washington D.C. and Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The company has received funding from LMCC’s Manhattan Community Arts Fund and NYFA’s BUILD grant.

AHD’s work is concerned with dancing and dancers and strives to create meaning through evocative, sensuous, and sophisticated movement. The studio process whereby the company’s work is developed is truly at the heart of Anneke’s aesthetic. Questions of what the body and mind are capable of, in terms of coordination, texture, and timing, are central to the studio explorations that serve as the source for performance works.

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SARA PHOENIX

sara-phoenixSara Phoenix created Cirque de Vol Studios and Celestine Movement Sanctuary with the intention of combining her life passions into an inspiring community that fosters human growth through creative movement and circus arts.

She practices, teaches and performs improvisational hoop dance and fire dance. These movement
art forms combine object manipulation and explorative dynamic improvisation while tapping into
a personal mind-body state known as flow.

She finds deep worth in practicing and sharing the meditative and healing joy that can be found in these art forms.

“Beauty comes in many forms–and there is no form more beautiful than you. Just exactly as you
are, this minute, right now, without changing a thing…you are beautiful. Beautiful enough to
take God’s breath away. You do believe this, don’t you? Oh, you must. You must. How can I
believe in my beauty if you don’t believe in yours?” ~ Neale Donald Walsch

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AMY SIMONSON

amysimonsonAmy Simonson is in the MFA program for Dance Performance at the University of Iowa. She receivedher BFA from Wichita State University. While in Wichita, she performed with Ballet Wichita and Wichita Contemporary Dance Theatre, in works by WSU’s faculty as well as Doug Varone, Charles Moulton, and Andrew Palermo and Taye Diggs.

Amy spent four years as a freelance performer and yoga and fitness instructor in Chicago; dancing in several festivals and events including working with Tapestry Dance Company, Salty Lark Dance Company, Montom Arts, The Fly Honeys, and Christopher Montiel. She has taught yoga to dancers for the American College Dance Festival and Hubbard Street Summer Intensive.

While in Iowa, Amy has had many opportunities to perform, including a dance/poetry collaboration with the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a 24 + 24 hour dancer/musician composition project. She was a member of the University’s touring company, in works by Jennifer Kayle and Charlotte Adams, and guest artists Lisa Gonzales and Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project.

Amy’s latest dance adventure was a month in Burkina Faso, studying West African dance and culture and performing and teaching for the Nomad Express Festival.

ZACHARY BIRD

ZACHBIRDZachary Bird graduated from The University of Iowa with a BFA in Dance this past May. While attending the University of Iowa, Zach worked closely with faculty members Jennifer Kayle, Charlotte Adams, and Alan Sener and performed works by guest choreographers Nicholas Leichter and Jennifer Muller. A highlight of Zach’s undergraduate work was assisting Jessica Anthony in her outreach program creating dances with the wonderful girls at the Iowa Juvenile Home. He is very excited to be a part of Cultivate this year!

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