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Biographies

CAROLINE SHAW (Composer) is a musician who moves among roles, genres, and mediums, trying to imagine a world of sound that has never been heard before but has always existed. She is the recipient of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music, several Grammy awards, an honorary doctorate from Yale, and a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship. She has worked with a range of artists including Rosalía, Renée Fleming, Yo Yo Ma, and Kanye West, and she has contributed music to films and tv series including Bombshell, Yellowjackets, Maid, Dark, and Beyonce’s Homecoming. Her favorite color is yellow and her favorite smell is rosemary.

MELANIE GEORGE (Dramaturg) is the founding director of Jazz Is… Dance Project and Associate Curator and Director of Artist Initiatives at Jacob’s Pillow. As a dramaturg, she has contributed to projects by Raja Feather Kelly, LaTasha Barnes, Susan Marshall & Company, and Urban Bush Women, among others. Melanie is featured in the documentary UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance and founded the global advocacy website jazzdancedirect.com. Her choreography is regularly commissioned by colleges throughout the USA. Melanie is the former Dance Program Director at American University and has guest lectured at Harvard University, the Yale School of Drama, and The Juilliard School.

QUINN CZEJKOWSKI (Costume Designer) is a costume maker, mover, and floral artist based in NYC. They play with a variety of materials, move between organic vs. inorganic styles, things that look like clothes and things that don’t. Recent design credits include through the mirror of their eyes with Kimberly Bartosik, Darling with Helen Simoneau, Stand In with Jen Rosenblit, Chimera with Burr Johnson, rib bone/backbone with Heather Robles, and (T)HERE TO (T)HERE with Liz Gerring, as well as pieces for Gwen Welliver, Renay Aumiller, and Dylan Crossman, among others. Previously, Quinn managed the costume shop for Company XIV for 3 seasons.

MAYA ADDIE (Dancer) is a graduate from the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program. She is currently a Radio City Rockette. Maya has studied with The School at Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Program, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Joffrey Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, NW Dance Project, and more. She has had the pleasure of working with choreographers such as Darrell Moultrie, Yoshito Sakuraba, Elisa Clark, Adam Barruch, Amy Hall Garner, Marcus Willis, Jae Man Joo, and more talented artists. Maya enjoys all styles of dance and exploring new movements through both improvisation and choreography while also creating new connections with a variety of artists.

NIARA HARDISTER (Dancer) is a New York based dancer and arts administrator from Riverside, CA. In 2018, she graduated from Cornell University with a major in Hotel Administration and a minor in Dance. During college, she trained with Jumay Chu, Byron Suber, Nic Ceynowa, and Tucker Davis. Later, she moved to San Francisco where she performed with PUSH Dance Company, the LV Dance Collective, and Printz Dance Project. Since moving to New York, she has freelanced with The MET Opera, Nicole von Arx, Jamel Gaines, Helen Simoneau, Nicolas Fiery, Sofia Forero, and Eryc Taylor.

MATILDA SAKAMOTO (Dancer) is a New York and Los Angeles based choreographer, dancer, and artist. Professionally she has danced for Nicole Von Arx, Esmé Boyce, AMOC, and Hivewild. She has been featured in music videos and commercials for brands like Apple and Meta and for artists like Sia and more. Matilda was also part of an installation at the Whitney Museum for artist Nick Mauss and made her acting debut at the Public Theater for Richard Nelson's newest play The Michaels.

THRYN SAXON (Dancer) is a Miami, FL, born dancer, teacher, and choreographer based in NYC. Saxon has performed with companies such as Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Sleep No More, AND Kate Weare Company and is currently working with Helen Simoneau. As a choreographer Saxon has been selected for creative residencies that include the Mare Nostrum Elements: Emerging Choreographer Series, Artist in Residence at The Church in upstate New York, one of 8 resident choreographers at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in FL, and most recently as the Artist in Residence for the RADicle 22/23 Residency at The Croft in Michigan.

JIE-HUNG CONNIE SHIAU (Dancer) (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. Shiau has worked as a collaborator with an array of companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, Gallim Dance, Helen Simoneau Danse, MeenMoves, Adam Barruch/Anatomiae Occultii, and Kevin Wynn Works. Shiau is currently freelancing in New York City and is an Artistic Associate with Gibney Company. Shiau has presented works at New Choreographer Project in Taipei, Taiwan, Loyola University, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago summer intensives, SUNY Purchase College, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s 43rd virtual season. In addition, Shiau was a recipient of Chicago Dancemaker Forum Greenhouse Artist in 2019, Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” in 2018, Honorable Mention for Jadin Wong Award for Emerging Asian American Dancer in 2014, and Reverb Dance Festival Dancer Award in 2014.

SAVANNAH SPRATT (Dancer) is a Harlem-based artist originating from Rochester, PA. She holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she first had the pleasure of meeting and working with Helen Simoneau. Savannah has been a member of the Limón Dance Company since 2016 and collaborates often with the Merce Cunningham Trust, most notably performing in the Los Angeles installation of Night of 100 Solos. Savannah is a licensed GYROKINESIS® Level 1 Apprentice and enjoys knitting in her down time.

CAN WANG (Dancer) (pronounced /‘tsan-‘wɔŋ/) | 王璨, is a dance artist based in Philadelphia and NYC. She is of Chinese origin and influenced by both contemporary and classical dance and Western and Eastern culture. She has been a company dancer at Buglisi Dance Theatre and has worked and collaborated with internationally acclaimed choreographers, directors, and visual artists. Can is a prizewinner of the 2012 Chinese Lotus Dance Competition and has been invited to tour with the National Ballet of China as a guest artist. She has been teaching dance since 2012 in both China and the United States. She has been a guest faculty at University of the Arts and has taught workshops worldwide. Her choreographic works have been presented on stages in the United States, China, and South Korea. Can is an alumna of the University of the Arts(MFA Dance), The Juilliard School (BFA Dance), Beijing Dance Academy, and Unitec Institute of Technology.

MAYU NAKAYA (Understudy) is a dancer and choreographer from Japan. She moved to New York City in 2019 and studied at The Ailey School scholarship program for two years. Currently, she is a member of the sarAika Movement Collective and the improvisation based company Open Dance Ensemble with Philip Ellis Foster. In addition, she has presented her solo piece at several showcases as a freelance artist. While at The Ailey School, she met and worked with Helen Simoneau in the New Direction Choreography Lab. As the school's representative dancer, she participated in the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving Day (2019), the piece by Jessica Castro at the Judy Chicago, Brooklyn Museum for the International Women's Day celebration project (2020), a dance class demonstration of television coverage. She has also danced pieces by Jesse Obremski and Jie-Hung Connie Shiau at DANCING BEYOND 2022 organized by Earl Mosley's Diversity of Dance.