× Upcoming Events Buy Tickets Board of Directors Staff Irvine Barclay Theatre Donors Join the Email List Follow us on Facebook Instagram Youtube Donate Now Past Events
Image for National Choreographers Initiative
National Choreographers Initiative
NCI Discovery - July 24, 2021
A Note From Molly Lynch, Artistic Director

Welcome to the 17th annual National Choreographers Initiative! We are jumping for joy to be back this year and excited to be collaborating and creating new works. Thank you all for your continued support and involvement with NCI!

When I first dreamt of this initiative, I wanted to create a laboratory that would foster the development of new works without the strict deadlines and expectations of a premiere. This project was made possible through the vision and commitment of the NCI Advisory Committee. The partnership with Irvine Barclay Theatre has been central to the success of NCI, as they act as our fiscal agent and present the Discovery showing. We are also grateful to UC Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts Dance Department, which provides the studio space for our rehearsals. I extend my sincerest thanks to all of the individuals who contribute to this project!

NCI’s Discovery showing features new work from four innovative choreographers — Sean Carmon, Mari Meade, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, and Eva Stone — created during a three-week intensive process with twelve professional dancers from Smuin Ballet and Sacramento Ballet. I hope you will engage in the creative process and join our discussion at the conclusion of the showing.

Since 2004, NCI has hosted 61 choreographers (24 women), 139 dancers from 47 different companies, and showcased 64 new works — 29 of which have been produced by companies throughout the United States. As the national scope of NCI continues to expand, I look forward to many more artistic achievements in the years to come!

Thank you for joining us and for supporting dance!

Program for July 24



Choreogrphy: Katarzyna Skarpetowska

Music: Johann Sebastian Bach: "Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor, BWV 1041"

Dancers: Brandon Alexander, Maggie Carey, Ricardo Dyer, Cassidy Isaacson, Lauren Pschirrer, Brennan Wall



Choreography: Mari Meade

Music: Simon Leoza: “Albatross,” “La nuée,” “Alcatraz,” “Seabird”

Dancers: Ava Chatterson, Julia Feldman, Michelle Katcher, Isabella Velasquez, Anthony Cannarella, Kristoffer Reyes

Find a Purpose/Lose a Purpose (a sketch)

Choreography: Eva Stone

Music: Luc Ferrari: “Didascalies”; Johann Sebastian Bach: "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645;" Johann Sebastian Bach: "Trio Sonata No. 6 in G major, BWV 530, 1. Vivace"

Dancers: Brandon Alexander, Maggie Carey, Ricardo Dyer, Cassidy Isaacson, Lauren Pschirrer, Brennan Wall

Part 1: A story of Grief: Danced by Brennan Wall

Part 2: A story of Loss: Danced by company

Part 3: A story of Love: Danced by company and made in collaboration with the dancers

Part 4: A story of Hope: Danced by company

*A huge debt of gratitude to the dancers, my family, support from my friends near and far, and to Miss Molly.



Choreography: Sean Aaron Carmon

Music: John Coltrane: “Olé”

Dancers: Ava Chatterson, Julia Feldman, Michelle Katcher, Isabella Velasquez, Anthony Cannarella, Kristoffer Reyes


Molly Lynch, artistic director

Molly Lynch

Molly Lynch is an award-winning choreographer and artistic director, with over 40 years of experience creating, producing, and presenting dance. She is currently a Professor and Chair of the Dance Department at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine. Ms. Lynch is the Founder and Artistic Director of the National Choreographers Initiative.

Ms. Lynch was the Artistic Director for Ballet Pacifica from 1988 to 2003. During her tenure, she established Ballet Pacifica as Orange County’s leading professional dance company and one of the area’s top arts organizations. Among her innovative trademark programs was the Pacifica Choreographic Project. Under Lynch’s direction, the company worked with 40 choreographers, premiered more than 40 new ballets and restaged some of America’s most beloved classics by George Balanchine, Antony Tudor, and Choo San Goh. Ms. Lynch has choreographed new ballets for Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Pacifica, Festival Ballet Theatre, Nashville Ballet, BalletMet (Columbus, OH), Dance Collage (Hermosillo, Mexico), Academies of Ballet in Philippines (Manila), Singapore Dance Theatre and the University of California, Irvine.

She began her dance training with Lila Zali, received a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet and performed as a soloist and principal dancer with the Louisville Ballet and Ballet Pacifica for over 10 years. In 1992, Ms. Lynch was given the esteemed Outstanding Alumnus Award from UCI and was named one of OC Metro magazine’s “Ten Women Who Make A Difference,” She is also recipient of the Red Cross Clara Barton Cultural Arts Award, Boy Scouts of America Women of Excellence Award, 2001 Choo San Goh Award for Choreography, 2007 Outstanding Arts Organization Award for her National Choreographers Initiative from Arts Orange County, and she was honored with Irvine Barclay Theatre’s prestigious Jade Award for her extraordinary leadership and creativity in 2008. In 2009 and 2014, she received the CTSA Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence from the Division of Undergraduate Education. In 2017, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Arts Visionary from Arts Orange County.

Sean Aaron Carmon, choreographer

Sean Aaron CarmonSean Aaron Carmon is a dancer and choreographer, originally from Beaumont, Texas. He has performed professionally as a soloist with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and on Broadway in the 2010 Tony Award- winning revival La Cage aux Folles and also in The Phantom of the Opera. His choreography has been performed all across the country and internationally and has been lauded as "everything and then some..." and "powerful" and "seriously flawless" by major national print and online publications, including The New York Times, Newsweek, DanceSpirit, and Dance Magazine. He was awarded Joffrey Ballet's 2017 Winning Works Choreography Award and New York City's Dance Gallery Festival Audience Choice Award. His choreography has been presented at the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert, California, and he has created multiple original works for the University of Richmond Department of Theatre and Dance. In addition, he has created several works for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for multiple Ailey Dancers’ Resource Fund benefit performances. He teaches master classes and choreographs for studios, dance conventions, high schools, colleges, and universities across the U.S. and internationally. 


Mari Meade, choreographer

Mari MeadeMari Meade is currently based in Dordogne, France, renovating an 1800s watermill into a creative, sustainable arts residency called Moulin/Belle. Meade is a choreographer, educator, and leader previously based in New York City, born in California, and raised outside New Orleans. In 2009, she started her New York City-based contemporary dance company, Mari Meade Dance Collective/MMDC, after receiving the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education. Meade was awarded fellowships at New York Choreographic Institute (an affiliate of New York City Ballet), University of North Carolina School of the Arts Choreographic Institute, Doug Varone’s DEVICES, and was an Artist-in-Residence at Chez Bushwick, Triskelion Arts, CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), and Lake Studios Berlin (Germany). She has been supported by the Brooklyn Arts Council, Queen's Council on the Arts (New Work and Su Casa grant), Dance/NYC, The Actor's Fund, and Semans Arts Fund. She has shown work nationally and internationally, including the Clark Theatre at Lincoln Center, Danspace/St. Mark’s Church, Judson Memorial Church, Battery Dance Festival, McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival, ChopShop: Bodies of Work, Baltimore Dance Invitational, Katlehong Arts Center (South Africa), and Lake Studios Berlin (Germany). She is a board member of The Kenan Institute for the Arts and the Associate Director of UNC School of the Arts Choreographic Institute. She has spoken at Women in Dance Leadership Conference, Dance/NYC’s Symposium, and was a mentor for Ann and Weston Hick's Choreography Fellows Program at Jacob’s Pillow. She is a teaching artist for New York City Ballet, Dancing Classrooms, and the Kupferberg Center. She received her B.F.A. from UNC School of the Arts. @moulinbelleperigord @mmdcbrooklyn @marimeade 


Katarzyna Skarpetowska, choreographer

Katarzyna Skarpetowska Katarzyna Skarpetowska is a native of Warsaw, Poland. She is an alumna of New York City High School of Performing Arts and received a B.F.A. from The Juilliard School in 1999 under Artistic Director Benjamin Harkarvy. Katarzyna was a member of Parsons Dance from 1999 until 2006, where she performed lead roles in the company’s repertory, including the iconic Caught. From 2007 until 2014, she danced for the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, performing at many reputable venues, including New York City Center and The Joyce Theater, Washington D.C.’s The Kennedy Center, and Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre. Her Broadway credits include Metro (Minskoff Theatre, 1992). For her choreographic achievements, Katarzyna was named Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch” in 2016 and was nominated for a New York Dance and Performance Award, The Bessie, in 2017. She has been commissioned by Richmond Ballet, BalletX, Parsons Dance, Buglisi Dance Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater II, Bruce Wood Dance, and The Juilliard School, among others. In 2018, Kate choreographed an Opera Theatre of Saint Louis production of Orfeo and Eurydice, in collaboration with Director Ron Daniels and maestro Pierre Vallet. She resides in New York City. 


Eva Stone, choreographer

Eva StoneEva Stone is a choreographer, teaching artist, and founder/producer/curator of CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, an annual contemporary dance festival held in Bellevue, Washington. She received a B.F.A. in Performance and Choreography from Arizona State University, and later earned an M.A. in Choreography and Choreological Studies from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in the U.K. Ms. Stone is also the Artistic Director of The Stone Dance Collective, which she originated in London, England. She’s created commissioned work for Spectrum Dance Theater, Pacific Northwest Ballet/Seattle Art Museum’s Sculptured Dance, Seattle International Dance Festival, Seattle Dance Project, and for regional ballet companies throughout the U.S. Her work has been presented in New York, Los Angeles, London, Geneva, Montreal, and St. Petersburg. In September 2018, she launched a nationally recognized choreography program, New Voices: Choreography and Process, for Young Women in Dance at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Most recently, Ms. Stone was commissioned to create a main stage work for Pacific Northwest Ballet’s 2019/20 season, which received high critical acclaim and local and national attention. This summer, her work will be presented at the prestigious Sun Valley Dance Festival where she will also be a part of the teaching faculty. 


NCI Advisory Committee

Bobbi Cox
Sophie Cripe
Diane Diefenderfer
Gale Edelberg
Joanne Keith
Anne Nutt
Sally Anne Sheridan
Jenny Szabo
Lynn Weiser

Special Thanks to:
Brooke Lester, assistant to the artistic director
Dave Friedman, photographer
Terry Gordon, videographer

NCI Donors

The National Choreographers Initiative would like to thank the following individuals for their support of the 2021 project:

Bobbi Cox
Mrs. William Roberts

Mrs. Alan V. Andrews
William J. Gillespie Foundation
Anne B. Nutt
The Robinson Foundation
Michelle Rohé
Richard and Elizabeth Steele Endowment Fund

James Carter
Sophie and Larry Cripe
Janet and Henry Eggers
Joanne and Dennis Keith

Alan Andrews and Molly Lynch
Diane Diefenderfer and David Hanlon
Gale Edelberg and Bob Butnik
Judi Gorski
Dr. Burton Karson
Marica Pendjer and John Miller
Andrew Rose
Sally Anne and Don Sheridan
Diane and Igal Silber
Jenny Szabo
Paula Tomei and David Emmes
Lynn Weiser and Mike Tompkins

Dance Contributor
Dr. Michael Bear
Laurie and Bart Brown
Beverly and David Carmichael
Gillian Finley and Robert Labaree
Mary and Andrew Franklin
Chuck Johnston
Rosalyn Laudati and James Pick
Kathryn Lynch and Robert McDonnell
Tom Nielsen
Charlene and John Pasko
Debbie and Geoffrey Sampson
Kim Smith
Karen and Gary Thorne

Diane and Dennis Baker
Stacie Brandt
Bronny Daniels
Deborah and Cody Engle
Dana and Deanna Huff
Yvonne and Damien Jordan
Judi Lapin
Jack Lyons
John and Margi Murray
Carl Neisser
Schalon Newton
Dolly Platt
Edward and Diana Putz
Peg E. Stamper Rollans
Katy and Jack Schoellerman
Laurence and Sharyn Woodhouse

Betsy Andrews and Alex Moad
William Bardens
Jeannie Berryman
Joy Dittberner
Frances Farrer
Julia Feldman
Roberta Fox
Rachel Gamby
Dr. and Mrs. Denis Gray
Alan Hineline
Bette Kain
Karen and Lorenzo Knapp
Don Laffoon and Grace Songolo
Laurie Miller Lewis
Ed McPherson
Mitsu and Reiko Nakano
Cyrus Parker-Jeannette
Rita Marks Penrod
Dr. Janice Plastino
Ivar Roth
Ann and Richard Sim
Jeff Slayton
Max Weismair
Linda and Steve Weitz
Mary Vensel White

Past NCI Choreographers

2019 Choreographers
Julia Feldman
Alan Hineline
Alex Ketley
Tom Mattingly

2018 Choreographers
Kevin Jenkins
David Justine
Ilya Kozadayev
Mariana Oliveira

2017 Choreographers
Suzanne Haag
Robert Mills
Penny Saunders
Christopher Stuart

2016 Choreographers
Tom Gold
Nicole Haskins
Stepanie Martinez
Ben Needham-Wood

2015 Choreographers
Nicolas Blanc
Norberto De La Cruz
Jimmy Orrante
Sarah Tallman

2014 Choreographers
Barry Kerollis
Gabrielle Lamb
Philip Neal
Garrett Smith

2013 Choreographers
David Fernandez
Susan McCullough
Kitty McNamee
Petr Zahradnicek

2012 Choreographers
Melissa Barak
Thang Dao
Darrell Grand Moultrie
Wendy Seyb

2011 Choreographers
Brian Enos
Heather Maloy
Peter Pucci
Paula Weber

2010 Choreographers
Anne Marie DeAngelo
Helen Heineman
Peter Quanz

2009 Choreographers
Sidra Bell
Deanna Carter
Rick McCullough
Olivier Wevers

2008 Choreographers
Amy Seiwert
Edmund Stripe
Emery LeCrone
Ma Cong

2007 Choreographers
Melissa Barak
Frank Chaves
Edwaard Liang
Jerry Opdenaker

2006 Choreographers
Ron De Jesus
Graham Lustig
Charles Moulton
Gina Patterson

2005 Choreographers
Val Caniparoli
Christopher d'Amboise
William Soleau
Luca Veggetti

2004 Choreographers
Ann Marie DeAngelo
Peter Pucci
James Sewell
Lynne Taylor-Corbett