choreographer Ayako KURAKAKE
Ayako was born in Osaka, Japan and received her B.F.A. in dance from Osaka University of Arts. From 1991 to 1998 she danced with K. Chamber Dance Company and won the Modern Dance Choreographic Competition of Japan in 1993 and 1994.
Since 1998 she has been studying composition with Kazuko Hirabayashi and received her M.F.A. in Choreography from SUNY Purchase in 2001. During that time she worked as a rehearsal assistant for Ms. Hirabayashi and has set her dances at the Alvin Ailey School and at SUNY Purchase.
Over the past few years Ayako has choreographed dances that have been performed in Spain, Japan, in NYC by the American Dance Guild and Joyce Soho Presents.
Ayako has spent the past three summers in Spain judging The International Choreographic Competition. This past winter she was invited by the Contemporary Dance Company of Spain to teach a workshop and set a piece on the company. Also in 2004 she spent three months in Japan teaching dance and choreographing for Osaka University of Arts.
dancer Sarah CHIESA
Sarah was born in Pine Bush, NY and began studying modern dance at age 11. During summers as a teen she attended the New York State Summer School of the Arts run by Carolyn Adams. There she learned reps by Ruth Andrian, Donald McKayle, Danny Grossman, David Parsons, and Julie Strandberg. In 1999 she received the Sue Benonson Scholarship based on talent. She furthered her dance training at a more professional level for her senior year of high school at the North Carolina School of the Arts where she performed works by Diane Markham, Shawn Sullivan, and Trish Casey. She went on to the college at the SUNY Purchase College Dance Conservatory.
At Purchase she performed works by Jose Limón, Stephanie Tooman, the Nutcracker, and a world premier by Kevin Wynn. In the summer of 2001 Sarah attended the Study Abroad program in Burgos, Spain where she danced for and was taught by Kazuko Hirabyashi and performed works by Kathryn Alter and Jonathan Reidel. She recently graduated from SUNY Purchase last spring.
In July 2004 she attended the Professional Project at Ballet Divertimento in Montreal, Quebec. There she studied with Margie Gillis and learned repertory from various Montreal-based modern dance companies. She also choreographed a duet for students at the program and was mentored by Margie Gillis.
Most recently Sarah performed at the Merce Cunningham Studio in NYC a work choreographed by Sue Bernard.
dancer Nixon BELTRAN
Nixon, a native of Colombia, studied dance technique and composition at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, and worked as the assistant rehearsal director of the Martha Graham Dance Company. He also studied at Trisha Brown Studios and Dance Space in New York City.
Nixon has performed and collaborated with established and emerging theater directors, composers, artists and choreographers such as Robert Wilson, John Galliano, Julien d'Ys, Elizabeth Streb (Streb/Ringside), Shirin Neshat, Nadine Helstroffer, Felix Ruckert, Mark Dendy, Jeanette Hemstad (The Blue Tooth Dance Group), Flor Villazan, Makram Hamdan, among others.
He has taught yoga, Montessori, Piaget and Neo-Humanistic educational method throughout South America, and dance history at the Arts School of Santa Fe de Bogota and Association Mujeres de Exito in Colombia. His own choreography has been performed in New York City, Salzburg (Austria), Merano (Italy) and Paris (France).
For the past three summers, Nixon has participated in Robert Wilson's Watermill Center for the Arts and Humanities where he has taught Ashtanga Yoga and movement. Future projects include a collaboration with Alvaro Restrepo's El Colegio del Cuerpo (The College of the Body), an educational/social/artistic project in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, as well as the creation of a dance/theater work in collaboration with visual and performing Colombian artists for the Iberoamerican Theater Festival in Bogota, based on the life of and children's poems/fables by Rafael Pombo, one of the most celebrated 19th century Colombian poets.
musician Patrick GRANT
"... a modern electronic master...(he) is a totally wired contemporary musician who combines live performance with cutting edge technology", writes The New Music Connoisseur about this emerging American composer. According to the Village Voice, Grant's distinct sound has "...a driving and rather harsh energy redolent of rock, as well as a clean sense of melodicism ... the music's momentum and intricate cross-rhythms rarely let up, making the occasional infectious tunes that emerge all the more beautiful for surprise."
Patrick has created musical scores for the theatrical visionary Robert Wilson, The Louvre Museum, The Cornell Gamelan Ensemble, The Living Theatre, music for the documentary film "Resist!" which won the prize for best documentary at the EuropaCinema Festival in Italy, 2003), and The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company in San Francisco (a piece called "the strangest and most ravishing dance of the year" by the SF Chronicle and nominated for Best Dance Score of 2003 by the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards).
His works have been performed at the Bang on a Can Annual Marathon in NYC, Music at the Anthology, Celebrate Brooklyn! by Gamelan Son of Lion, etc. As a presenter, Mr. Grant has produced dozens of concerts of new music in the alternative spaces of New York, in art galleries, theaters, factory lofts and clubs, since 1988. He is founder and artistic director of Strange Music Inc., an organization dedicated to releasing recordings and presenting compelling new work with performances and installations in New York and around the world.