STEPHANIE BUSIA (Performer) holds a BA in both Dance and Psychology from Beloit College in Wisconsin, with departmental honors in Dance. She currently works for Heidi Latsky Dance as Management Associate and is a cast member in her work "IF." Throughout her years in college, she choreographed and danced in the Senior Showings, December Workshops, and her choreography was selected every year to be performed at the Annual Chelonia Dance Concert. In 2009, Steph's choreography was chosen to be performed at the American College Dance Festival.
KEVIN FAY (Performer) began dancing at The Joy of Motion Dance Center in Bethesda, Maryland. After moving to Chicago to attend Northwestern University, Kevin continued dancing at both Northwestern and The Ruth Page Foundation School of Dance, where he performed with Larry Long & Dolores Lipinski's Civic Ballet of Chicago. Over summers, Kevin trained with The Ailey School, ABT, The Taylor School, and The Hubbard Street Dance Center, where he spent a year on scholarship after his college graduation. Since leaving Chicago, Kevin has danced with Dayton Ballet in Ohio, Dana Tai Soon Burgess & Company in Washington, D.C., and Daniele Desnoyers at springboard danse montreal. Now, he rehearses and performs in and around New York City with Jin Ju Song-Begin, Douglas Dunn & Dancers, and Michael Mao Dance Company. He is thrilled to be working with Heidi Latsky Dance now and will always be grateful to her, his family, his friends, and his teachers.
AMBAR GONZALEZ (Performer) is a Dominican born New York native. She is a graduate of the Hunter College BA programs in Dance & Theatre. There she had the pleasure of creating her own choreography as well as working with choreographer Keely Garfield. She is also a veteran and former United States Army Reservist. She served in Iraq where she took on the additional duty of a recreational Latin dance instructor to soldiers and civilians. Since returning in 2007 Ambar has taken on the new role of stage manager. She has learned to use her theatre base and the technical aspects of performing arts in hopes of expanding on creativity involving her own choreography.
JULIA HAHN-GALLEGO (Free Lance Set Designer, Production Designer, and Scenic Artist) She holds a Master's Degree in Fine Arts from the Academy Minerva in the Netherlands. She has worked on venues throughout Europe and America, ranging from small theatres to large opera houses. She has designed award winning scenery for theatre, film and television for over 10 years. Julia is an active board member for Wheels of Progress, a 501C3 nonprofit organization that is devoted to creating accessible and supportive housing for persons with disabilities. Julia is also an avid marathon runner and triathlete. She is thrilled to be a part of Heidi Latsky Dance Company and to appear with her husband George.
GEORGE GALLEGO (Performer) is the Founder & CEO of Wheels of Progress: an organization focused on creating affordable & accessible supportive housing for persons with disabilities. He is also the president of the NY Chapter of the Spinal Cord Injury Association. George survived a spinal cord injury in 1992. After years of coming to grips with his disability, he became a mentor and advocate for persons with disabilities. His B.S. is in Organizational Management. For the past 4 years he has been a world-class athlete competing in triathlons around the world. He is a member of S.A.G. Needless to say, George is thoroughly excited to be working with Heidi Latsky Dance.
TERRENCE HEWITT (Performer) 2007 Performed in "moving portraits" with the AIDS service center in outreach project choreographed by Heidi Latsky. 2009 performed with at Dance New Amsterdam in a piece called 24/7 choreographed by Isabel Gotzkowsky. 2010, Film: Lead role in Tweedy Barnes playing Tweedy Barnes directed by Shawn Soland at N.Y.film, and participated in Project X "Pulse" at the Creative Center.
ELFIE KNECHT (Performer, multilingual licensed NYC Tour Guide and Activist) Elfie plays the accordion and also enjoys playing her piano classical style. In addition, she is a member of "IF" with Heidi Latsky Dance Company. Elfie is an adaptive dis-ability sports enthusiast. This includes, but is not limited to, adaptive water skiing, tennis, archery, kayaking, skydiving, adaptive snow skiing, handcycling, flying trapeze and ziplining. As a certified peer visitor for the Amputee Coalition of America, Elfie shares with and listens to hundreds of new and kindred amputees. She is a dis-ability rights activist. Elfie sends much love and deep gratitude to her beautiful wife for her support, love and generosity of spirit.
DAVID LINTON (Performer) is a Professor of Communication Arts at Marymount Manhattan College where he teaches course in media studies, theory and communication history. He is also President of the new York State conference of the American Association of University Professors and is active in academic politics. He is an avid skater (both roller and ice) and once did the skateography for a production of Alice in Wonderland.
SIMI LINTON (Performer) is the co director/co producer of Invitation to Dance, a forthcoming film about dance and disability. She is the author of Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity, and the memoir My Body Politic. She received a PhD from New York University and taught at the City University of New York from 1985-1998.
CLAUDE LOUISSAINT (Performer) has worked with HLD since 2002, and is thrilled to be working in this capacity. CL is also thrilled and proud to be the mom of Asta, 8, and Elianna, 4.
EVE PACKER (Performer) Bronx born poet/performer, appears solo, with music, in dance and theater. Eve has published three (3) poetry books: Skulls Head Samba, Playland poems 1994-2004 and in the Spring of 2011, New Nails (all Fly By Night Press). Eve has four (4) poetry/jazz CDs and the recent First and Last. Eve lives downtown and loves to swim daily.
SULEIMAN RIFAI (Performer) is a dancer, psychotherapist and marathon runner. Suleiman arrived from Tanzania in 1979 in order to receive rehabilitation training at the Lighthouse International, the association for the blind. Through the Lighthouse dance therapy program, Suleiman was chosen to train at the Alvin Ailey New Visions Dance Project. Suleiman was later given a scholarship by Alvin Ailey to mainstream into their professional dance program with sighted dancers. Suleiman also danced with Ann Carlson, performed at the Dance Theater of Harlem, at Jacob's Pillow and other venues in the tri-state area. Sarah Swenson choreographed duets which they performed together. He is currently a full time psychotherapist at a homeless shelter in Brooklyn working with men with substance abuse and mental health issues. He has completed four NYC and two Boston marathons and is the first blind person to complete the Empire State Building Run-Up in February, 2010.
JENNY ROCHA (Performer) is a dancer/performer, choreographer, costume designer and teacher. Along with being a member of Heidi Latsky Dance, she has also recently worked with Sean Curran Company and Kelli Wicke Davis. As choreographer and artistic director of Rocha Dance Theater, Jenny's work has been presented by Danspace Project, Joyce Soho, Lamama ETC, Galapagos Art Space (where she is currently a resident artist with her Painted Ladies Project) and many more. As a teaching artist, she has taught at West Virginia University, ACDFA at Connecticut College, Roger Williams University (2001-2009) and currently NYC's Dance New Amsterdam.
THOMAS VALLETTE (Performer) After a serious car accident, Tom was paralyzed for an entire year. When he regained mobility he started his acting career. He joined the Phila Childrens Repertory company. He worked with the Phila Drama Guild and the Actors Center. Then he moved to Florida where he became artistic director for ART ACT. He directed and acted in many productions. Afterward, he moved to NYC and was cast as Ricky in Forty Deuce. Hot Keys at the Naked Angels. His film career began when he played Speck White in the critically acclaimed independent feature LOW. Then he fell ill and lost his hearing. Now he teaches sign language and is writing a show (a memoir) called, "Learning To Listen."
The Heidi Latsky Dance Creative Team
CHRISTOPHER ASH (Lighting Design - GIMP) has been a designer for lighting, scenery, and projections since 1997. In 2008 his career went international with the design of "Troia" for Anadolu Atesi in Istanbul, Turkey. He received an after dark award for lighting design in 2006 for "The Sweet Smell of Success", and was recently Jeff nominated for his design for "Wedding Play". His dance designs have been trumpeted by Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun Times stating "(Ahimsa)... a powerfully enigmatic ensemble work (with) moments of intense silence, all dramatically heightened by (Christopher Ash's) brilliant lighting." His set for "Frozen" was considered one of the best sets of the 2007 in Chicago by Robert Loerzel of the pioneer press. You can see more of his work atwww.ChristopherAsh.com
KATHY KAUFMAN (Lighting Designer - IF) A native of New York City, Kathy Kaufmann has been lighting dance and performance around the world for over 20 years. She has had the good fortune to work regularly with many wonderful artists including David Parker, Meredith Monk, Gina Gibney, Eiko and Koma, Ben Munisteri, Jacques D'Amboise, Kota Yamazaki and Jody Oberfelder. Her most recent projects were for Daria Fain, Aitana Cordero, Larissa Velez, Cherylyn Lavagnino, Patricia Hoffbauer and Hilary Easton. She was honored to be included in Curtain Call: Celebrating a Century of Women Designing for Live Performance at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and received a Bessie award for her body of work in 2004 and for Yvonne Meier's Stolen in 2009.
CARLOS ARIAS (Costume Design) Born in Barcelona, Spain, Carlos Arias moved to the U.S.A. in 1975. After a long and successful career in fashion design, he took up photography. Arias has exhibited his work throughout the U.S.A. and internationally, and his work is in numerous private collections. While still designing costumes for dancers and special fashion collections, he is a technical consultant for important fashion companies. He lives and works in New York City.
CHRIS SCHWARTZ and CHRISTINA FRIK (Costume Design for 2008 Premiere) - Dynamic Duo Beach wear designers for labels: Dotti and Beach Star. Their designs are in Macy's and Nordstoms in the Swim Dept. Both enjoy being creative and get inspired by music and the arts.
CHRIS BRIERLEY (Composer) is a graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester and was a founder-member of the Kreisler String Orchestra. The orchestra won first prize in the International Jeunesses Musicales String Orchestra Competition in Belgrade and collaborated with Brian Eno, John Cale, Youssou N'Dour and Michael Nyman For the past ten years Chris has worked in Soho, London as a composer for film and commercials. His most recent score is for 'The Age of Stupid', the new film from Director Franny Armstrong, starring oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite, due for theatrical release in February 2009. Other credits include the feature-length documentaries 'Drowned Out' and 'Mclibel', which was broadcast nationally in the USA in 2006. Chris has a long-standing association as writer and performer with the Band of Holy Joy and is a visiting artist at Heart;N'Soul, a ground-breaking arts organisation based in London run by artists with learning disabilities.
EVA MANTELL'S (Visual Artist) artwork has been seen at The Whitney Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, P.S.1, The Jersey City Museum, and internationally at The Istanbul Biennale; Foto Antwerpen, Belgium; Art and Idea Gallery, Mexico City; Solar Art Center, Bolivia. She has created visuals for dance and theater productions including "Balletto Stilletto" and "Trophy Wife" at LaMama, E.T.C., and "Blood Cherries" at Dance Theater Workshop. Please visit www.evamantell.com
SXIP SHIREY (Composer), just finished composing music and sound design for "Marsupial Girl" by playwright Lisa D'Amour, which was developed through collaboration between The Minneapolis Children's Theater and New Dramatists. As a member of The Daredevil Opera Company, Sxip has performed at The Sydney Opera House and The Adelaide Festival in Australia, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C, The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and at The New Victory Theater on Broadway with Anti-Gravity's Crash Test Dummies. Shirey and co-composer Rima Fand toured New England Universities with Erin Orr's puppet theater piece "Savage Nursery", which was developed with a grant from the Henson Foundation and developed at HERE. Fand, Orr and Shirey are currently developing a short piece to be performed at Saint Anne's Warehouse puppetry lab. Shirey's solo work is performed regularly at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater in NYC. Shirey toured as support act and host for The Dresden Dolls Fall 2006 tour. He has also performed at The Adelaide Fringe in Australia and at numerous underground parties in Brooklyn. Shirey's favorite piece in the last year was working with gay, lesbian and trans-gendered teens for a piece directed by Michelle Matlock through YES and Dance Theater Workshop.
FRANK PONZIO (Musical Director) has earned wide acclaim and admiration for the integrity, sensitivity, and passion of his playing. A graduate of Indiana University School of Music, Frank has performed and collaborated with numerous distinguished artists such as Ben Vereen, Phil Donahue and Baby Jane Dexter. He performs regularly with Aisha Morris (Stevie Wonder's daughter). As a composer, Frank has written for TV commercials, plays, and film. As an educator, Frank has been especially active in the community. He has enjoyed a fifteen-year association with Jacques d'Amboise and National Dance Institute (NDI), serving as its Music Director from 1991 to 1994. Since 1997, he has been the music teacher and dance accompanist for wheelchair-mobile students at PS 199 in New York.
STAN STRICKLAND (Singer, saxophonist, flutist, actor) has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, the Caribbean, New Zealand and the former Soviet Union. In addition to numerous radio and television appearances, Stan has performed in many clubs and concert halls, including Jordan and Symphony Halls in Boston, Carnegie Recital Hall and Town Hall in New York, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured on recordings by Bob Moses, Marty Erlich, Webster Lewis and Brute Force. Stan has performed with jazz greats Yusef Lateef, Pharoah Sanders, Herbie Mann, Danilo Perez, Shirley Scott and Marlena Shaw. Love & Beauty, Stan's new jazz vocal CD, featuring new arrangements of great jazz classics as well as original material, was released by Hawkline Records in 2005. Stan has opened for Jazz greats Miles Davis and Sonny Rollins, and for Barenaked Ladies. He toured South Africa with The Village People, and was a featured soloist with Take Six and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall.
His acting experience includes the leading roles in the Boston Art Group's production of Harlem Renaissance, Notheastern University's production of Crossing John, and Dr. Sax in a production of Jon Lipsky's play about Jack Kerouac, Maggie's Riff, produced by the Vineyard Playhouse. Stan has performed and collaborated with over a dozen choreographers including Alvin Ailey, Jose Limon, and Bill T. Jones. Stan is profiled/featured, (along with Blair Underwood and Lamar Burton), in a new film documentary that was filmed this past spring, entitled Black Man Up. He has performed at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of Academy Award winning documentary Born into Brothels and at three exclusive fashion/fragrance events for fashion icon Donna Karan.
Stan has a M.A. degree from Lesley College in Expressive Arts Therapy where he is an adjunct professor. Stan is Co-Executive Director of Express Yourself, a multidisciplinary team of professional artists, working in partnership with adolescents in public mental health residential facilities to produce multimedia performances that also teaches at Berklee College celebrate the restorative powers of serious art making.
RANDALL WOOLF studied composition privately with David Del Tredici and Joseph Maneri, and at Harvard, where he earned a Ph.D. He is a member of the Common Sense Composers Collective. He is composer-in-residence for the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and with the String Orchestra Of New York City. In 1997 he composed a new ballet of "Where the Wild Things Are", in collaboration with Maurice Sendak and Septime Webre. In 2003, he composed "Women At An Exhibition" for the Akron Art Museum and Symphony, with a video by Mary Harron (director of "American Psycho") and John C. Walsh. He composed an arrangement of Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight" for the Kronos Quartet, who are playing it on tour. He works with John Cale (cofounder of the Velvet Underground) as an arranger, notably score for the cult classic "American Psycho. On October 11, 2008, Woolf's string quartet version of songs of Nico will on a festival curated by Cale at Royal Festival Hall in London. His works have been performed by Kathleen Supové, Jennifer Choi, Timothy Fain, Mary Rowell, Todd Reynolds, Ethel, Kronos Quartet, conductor and flutist Ransom Wilson, Present Music, Fulcrum Point, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Seattle Symphony, Paul Dresher Ensemble, Bang On A Can/SPIT Orchestra, California EAR Unit, and others. Current commissions include a concerto for beatboxing flutist Greg Pattillo, and a piece for Classical Jam.
ORLANDO WELLS (viola/violin), a native of Orange, NJ, Orlando Wells began studying the violin at the age of 9. While attending LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, he picked up the viola. Mostly self-taught in High School, he graduated winning the Behrens Foundation and B'nai Brith scholarships. Mr. Wells attended S.U.N.Y. Purchase, and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. His primary teachers have included Yuval Waldman and Michael Tree. Equally proficient on both the violin and the viola, he has held the principal viola chair with the Antara Chamber Orchestra, and the concertmaster chair with the Soulful Symphony in Baltimore, the Orchestra of the Bronx, and the Bronx Opera. He has appeared as a soloist with Antara, the Manhattan Virtuosi and the St. Peter by the Sea Orchestra. Mr. Wells also performs with The Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, SONYC Chamber Orchestra, The Ritz Chamber Players, Allentown Symphony, Sweet Plantain String Quartet, The Emerald Trio, and the Radio City Christmas Show Orchestra. Performing frequently on Broadway, he has played regularly with Phantom of the Opera, The Producers, Spamalot, Wicked, and was the violist on the first national tour of the Broadway show, Little Women. Most recently, he was the violinist/violist on the new Broadway show Crybaby. He has collaborated with musicians of many different genres and styles. Some of the artists he has worked with are, John Legend, Mariah Carrey, Rihanna, Kanye West, Marvin Hamlish, the Akua Dixon Swing Quartet, and Sojourner Strings. Mr. Wells has recorded with artists Joss Stone, Joe, and Alicia Keyes among others.