What Moves You? @ Sarah Pilger

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Sarah Pilger: Dancer
San Francisco, CA

What Moves You? 
“Humans. Our grand varieties, the things we make, the emotions we feel, and our ever-changing identities.”

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I grew up just outside of San Francisco, in a small town called San Anselmo. I just graduated from the University and Pennsylvania and decided very last minute to move to New York and pursue my passion for dance. Penn has a very pre-professional culture that seems inescapable and unavoidable. I was set on applying to grad schools, but decided I couldn’t live in regret if I didn’t step outside of my comfort zone and try to dance professionally.

Photo Credits: (black and white): Jason Lau; (arabesque): Araba Ankuma; (overall white with blue fabric): Jason Lau; (blue smoke): Kevin Wang; (pink background): Carson Kahoe; (red background): Christian Hopkins

What Moves You? @ Javier Padilla


Javier Padilla: Dancer/Choreographer
San Juan, Puerto Rico

What Moves You?
“The stories that unfold right in front of us each and every day!”

Javier Padilla is a movement based artist from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Starting his training at School for the Performing Arts under Waldo Gonzalez and Olaya Muentes in Puerto Rico, he then continued his studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts pursuing a BFA in Dance. During his time at Mason Gross, Javi had the opportunity of working with artists such as Jessica Lang, Keith Thompson, Netta Yerushalmy, Joe Goode Performance Group, Meghan Frederick, Randy James and Bereishit Dance Company. His choreographic work has been presented at venues such as Dixon Place, Open Source Gallery, The Secret Theater, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Triskelion Arts, The Salvatore Capezio Theater, Battery Park, Judson Memorial Church and the Inside/Out Stage at Jacob’s Pillow. Javi is also the Artistic Director of The Movement Playground, an emerging movement collective that has been performing and touring in the New York Tri-State Area since 2014 and are excited to premiere their first commissioned works with Ballet Forte (NJ) and Bucknell University (PA) in the upcoming year.

For more info: www.jpmovementplayground.com

Photo Credits: Whitney Browne, Brayden Donnely, Hayim Heron

What Moves You? @ Jessica Markham


Jessica Markham: Dancer
Charlotte, NC

What Moves You? 
“I believe God has blessed me with the gift of movement to tell a story – that moves me. My search for happiness & freedom motivates me to move. There is a plan & purpose assigned to my life and dance is a strong part of that – that moves me.”

Born in Washington DC, Jessica began her dance career at the age of seven when her grandmother suggested her mother put me in classes so her hyperactive grandchild would stop blocking the television with her awesome dance moves. She attended Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte NC and later received her bachelors degree in Visual & Performing Arts with a concentration in Dance from Johnson C. Smith University. Moving to NYC in 2013, she has performed at the National Black Theatre, SOBs and performed in a commercial with Panasonic shown at the 2017 SXSW festival. Currently, Jessica dances with the Indorican Multicultural Project and background for the phenomenal MC, Nitty Scott.

What Moves You? @ Alissa Johann


Alissa Johann: Dancer/Choreographer
West Chester, PA

What Moves You? 

Alissa trained in classical ballet, modern and jazz at the Brandywine ballet in West Chester, PA. She later went on to earn a B.A. in Dance and a B.A. in Media Studies from Cedar Crest College in 2016, while also furthering her technique at Muhlenberg College. She has received several scholarships and awards and has attended summer intensives at the Joffrey Ballet School and American Ballet Theater. Alissa is a professional dancer, choreographer, and instructor in Philadelphia, PA.

For more: http://alissajohann.wixsite.com/alissajohann

Photo Credits: Brian Mengini, Anna Bonacci, Amico Studios 

What Moves You? @ Michael Bishop


Michael Bishop: Artistic Director/Dancer/Choreographer
Gulfport, MS

What Moves You? 
“I am moved by the very nature of humanity. Art is a reflection of its time and as an artist, I want to create work that speaks to the truth of my era while also challenging the perspectives of those involved in an effort to move towards a better tomorrow.”

Michael Bishop, a native of Mississippi, started dancing at age 21 at Belhaven University. While in school Michael toured internationally with T.A.L.K Dance Company, was the assistant choreographer for the 2010 International Ballet Competition closing ceremonies and won the Bezalel Award for outstanding artistic achievement for his senior class. Upon graduating from Belhaven with a BFA in dance and choreography and moved to New York and started training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Independent Study Program. Michael then toured with the International European Tour of West Side Story 2012-2014, performed with numerous companies nationally, set several premier works for the Forza Malizia Dance Company, taught and choreographed for the Sangre De Cristo summer intensive, began preparations for the development of his own dance company and is currently working with Bill T. Jones through Opera Philadelphia. Michael is an AGMA Union member and SAG-AFTRA Eligible as well as a model for Jianhui London.

For more: http://mjuanbishop1.wixsite.com/juanbishop1

Photo Credits: Darlena Chiem, IG: darlenaChiem

What Moves You? @ Anna Mahalia Rose


Anna Mahalia Rose
Accord, New York

What Moves You? 

Anna Mahalia Rose hails from the Shawangunk Mountains of Upstate New York where she received her early training in classical modern, release technique, percussive, ballet, and world dance, and toured professionally across the United States with The Vanaver Caravan Dance Company, appearing in a myriad of venues and festivals including Symphony Space, Jacob’s Pillow, The Egg, and the Lincoln Center Outdoors Festival.

Anna received her BFA in dance at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she choreographed extensively and performed in the works of Netta Yerushalmy, Gregory Dolbashian, Vita Osojnik, Kay Cummings, and Elizabeth Coker. During her time at NYU, Anna also performed at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, Triskelion Arts Comedy in Dance Festival, and at the Florence Dance Festival, where her own choreography was presented.

Over the years, Anna has expanded her training at Bates Dance Festival, B12, White Mountain Dance Festival, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Toscana Dance Hub, and at the New England Center for Circus Arts. At these festivals and others, she has had the pleasure of training with numerous companies and choreographers including Johannes Wieland, Doug Varone, Monica Bill Barnes, David Dorfman, Annamari Keskinen, Tomislav English, Brian Brooks, Shen Wei, Mark Morris, Jodi Melnick, Shannon Gillen, Sidra Bell, Batsheva Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, among others.

Currently, Anna is freelancing in New York as a performer and is in the process of forming her own company. She is currently in the midst of choreographing and co-directing a dance film, which will be released in early 2018.

What Moves You? @ Sarah Starkweather


Sarah Starkweather: Dancer
Houston, Texas

What Moves You? 
“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Sarah Starkweather is a freelance dancer and fitness professional based out of New York City.

Since 2009, Sarah has performed over 100 times with professional dance companies from Texas, Missouri, and New York. Sarah has worked with choreographers such as Jennifer Archibald, Matt Luck, Ashle Dawson, Amanda Selwyn, Ashley L. Tate, Jennifer Medina, Stefano Nappi, Katelyn Halpern, and Ashley McQueen. Sarah has presented her own work in Texas, Missouri, as well as at The Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, New York.

Sarah holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio, which during this time she also began her classical training with Catalina Garza, Ernesto Quenedit and Esther Mayer of The Cuban National and Royal Ballet, respectively. Sarah is a founding member of the San Antonio Dance Fringe, and continues to teach technical and leadership workshops across the United States through MA Dance, for whom she also adjudicates regional and national dance competitions.

Sarah has been an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor since 2014 and currently teaches barre, flexibility, and kickboxing conditioning classes for Equinox Fitness Clubs. Sarah is also a PMA Pilates Mat Certified Instructor.

For more, http://www.starkmoves.com.

Photo Credits: Krysteen Villarreal, Optik House, Locale Magazine, Stephen Delas Heras, The Movement

What Moves You? @ Brigid Transon


Brigid Transon: Choreographer
Delafield, WI

What Moves You? 
“Dancers and audience members creating connection through empathy and personal narrative.”

Brigid recently moved to New York in order to receive her masters as a Lincoln Center Scholar at Hunter College in Dance Education. She loves the process of working with dancers and using free writes to create movement. Her favorite moments of choreographing come from the time spent in the studio discussing the movement and what the movement means to the dancers working with her. She is looking for avenues to pursue showcasing her choreography outside of the school setting. Brigid received her undergraduate degree in dance at The University of Wisconsin- Madison with certificates in global health and dance movement therapy. She works to incorporate what she has learned through dance therapy into her choreographic practices using authentic movement as a method in addition to free writes for generating movement. She is intrigued with simple pedestrian movement and how she can transform the movement onto the stage.

For more, http://www.brigidtranson.weebly.com

Photo credit: Nolan Elsbecker (headshot), John Maniaci, and Maureen Janson Heintz

What Moves You? @ Courtney Murray


Courtney Murray: Dancer
Boulder, Colorado

What Moves You? 
“The need to connect with people. One of my favorite elements of dance is that it creates a connection between people, whether it’s you and the audience or you and dancers. The world makes it hard to open up to people and dance forces you to be vulnerable and invite people in. I love the moments in class when you get to improv with the other dancers. People I don’t even know their names but we are dancing together and connecting and looking each other in the eyes. No where else can you do that and be in a safe place. It’s magical.”

About Courtney
I started dance when I was four because I was born extremely pigeon toed and the doctors suggested to try dance or surgery. I feel in love with dance because I was a shy girl with a lisp and it helped me feel like I had a voice when in real life I felt I didn’t. I was trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, swing, and tango. I had the honor of being a company member in the Schiff Dance Collective, Blue Moon Dance Company, Rogue Co. Dance, Sammy J Dance, and The Damsels. After moving to New York, I trained in Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester Program where my choreography won the Choreography Award for that year. Now I dance with Borne Dance Company while choreographing dance films. Dance has made the biggest impact in my life, it has allowed me to speak when I couldn’t, it has nourished my body and it pushes me to step out of my comfort zone every single day.

For more, courtneymurraydance.com