Current Board of Directors

Robert Abrams joined the DCA Board in 2006. He reviews dance performances as well as social dancing for ExploreDance.com, of which he is also the publisher and editor. His dance-related articles have also included such topics as still photography ballets featuring photographs of dancers from the New York City Ballet. Robert has been studying dance for more than ten years and currently takes lessons in West Coast Swing. He competed in ballroom on the pro-am level. Robert has a Ph.D. in Education from Cornell University and works for Care for the Homeless. He is an expert in the knowledge representation technique known as concept mapping. Some of his recent projects include the children’s books “Sweet Dreams, My Dance Critics” and “Dance Your Verbs – a board book about dance and literacy for toddlers”, and the modernization of the Proceedings of the conferences on Research on Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics.

Tom Borek originally began his career as a dancer and choreographer in San Francisco and became inspired to write about dance, which he did for Dance News, and aired his views over KPFA radio. In New York he studied dance at the Merce Cunningham Studio and the Martha Graham School, and performed with choreographers at the early Dance Theater Workshop. As a dance commentator Borek wrote for a number of publications in New York and was the Et Alia critic on WBAI radio covering theater, books, art,and multi-media events. Founder and editor of Eddy, the magazine published articles and reviews on dance and other arts. Borek also writes poetry and has had his poems published. He has taught dance criticism and history and served as a post-performance moderator. Borek has given presentations at conferences: on dance criticism at the International Conference – Dance and Its Audience; global art in dance at the Greenmill World Dance conference in Melbourne, Australia; and, more recently, dance in the current global context at the World Dance Alliance/Dance Critics Association conference, July 2010, in New York. He has also taught writing on dance at the Wesleyan University summer graduate liberal arts program and served as a thesis advisor. Borek has been executive director of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, Rosalind Newman and Dancers, and Dance HK/NY. He is an affiliate at the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Princeton University.

Ali Duffy is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas Tech University. She holds an MFA in Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a BA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She founded Flatlands Dance Theatre in 2010, and serves as Artistic Director, choreographer, and dancer for the company. Ali covers the American Dance Festival at Duke University every summer for World Dance Reviews and has also been published inBallet-Dance MagazineDance Spirit MagazineClassical Voice of North CarolinaThe World and I, and is featured in The Longwood Guide to Writing. The Dance Critics Association named her their honorary Gary Parks Scholar, and in 2010, she was elected to their National Board of Directors. Her written research has been presented at the International Conference on the Arts in Society in Sydney, Australia, the Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, and the Annual Conference on the First Year Experience in San Francisco. Texas Tech recently honored her with the 2010 Gloria Lyerla Memorial Research Grant to study the works of choreographer Jerome Bel. Ali has toured internationally with Stiletto Entertainment and has performed in American Dance Festival’s Acts to Follow, NC Dances Festival, Choreo Collective, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra Concert, and has also been invited to perform the contemporary works of Donald McKayle, Martha Williams, BJ Sullivan, Ann Dils, Duane Cyrus, Posy Knight, and Katherine Kiefer Stark of Naked Stark Dance Company.

Joanna Gewertz Harris, Ph.D, dance teacher, dance therapist, historian and critic, was an editor for IMPULSE, the annual of contemporary dance, from 1957-70 and is senior editor for the current IMPULSE project. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin (BS Dance), Mills College (MA Dance) and UC Berkeley (PhD, Drama), she taught at several Bay Area colleges, including UCB and UCSC. Currently on the faculty of OLLI Institute and the Modern Dance Center, Berkeley, her articles are included in the books “Margaret H’Doubler: America’s Dance Education Pioneer” and “Legacy in Dance Education.” “Beyond Isadora: Bay Area Dancing, 1915-65, ” a history of Bay Area dance was published in 2009. Joanna reviews for www.culturevulture.net.

Philip W. Sandstrom, active in dance producing and design for dance in NYC for the past 30 years. He had designed lighting for the performing arts, the visual arts, and architecture. Known as one of the most prolific designers of downtown dance, Sandstrom has designed the lighting for hundreds of choreographic premiers in almost every dance venue in New York City. His extensive lighting work for dance, theater, and performance art has ranged from the novice to the emerging to the famous, covering the many genres of the Off and Off-Off Broadway scene. In creating original designs on the national and international touring circuits he has worn paths through Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Minneapolis, Washington, DC, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and Russia. His work in television includes broadcasts by Dance in America and Metro Arts. He is the recipient of three New York Dance and Performance Awards (aka Bessies) for Lighting Design. As the Director of Operations and Production at Dance Theater Workshop, he developed a gimlet eye for dance and honed his expertise at dance producing via thousands of productions. Later as a writer for Dance Insider his contributions to the arena of criticism have evolved to include his unique experiences as a dance collaborator and a dance producer. His reviews often embody his background in design, assessing their reflection upon the dance as well as the prowess of the dance itself. He received his MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Rajika Puri, an international exponent of two forms of Indian dance: Bharatanatyam and Odissi, has studied ballet, modern dance and flamenco, and is versed in western music. Known for her work with different kinds of music – flamenco, Bach, American Song – and for her danced storytelling, she now conceives evening-length productions with her company of dancers and musicians, like ‘DEVI-MALIKA: a garland of danced stories on the feminine divine in India’ (’05), ‘Conversations with Shiva: Bharatanatyam Unwrapped’ (’07), and ‘TAPASYA: Ascetic Power and Tales of the Ganges’ (’09). Cast by director Julie Taymor as lead in Lincoln Center Theater’s ‘The Transposed Heads’ (’86), she went on to productions at the Public, Guthrie, Theatre for a New Audience, and Classic Stage Company, and took part in films. An M.A. (NYU, ’83) in ‘The Anthropology of Human Movement’ (understanding movement traditions from a cultural perspective), she writes, lectures and gives workshops on Indian dance and theater. Her reviews and articles – on flamenco and modern as well as Indian dance – have appeared in Playbill, Semiotica, India Today, The Independent (India), NewsIndia Times, Narthaki.com, and Exploredance.com. Ms Puri is co-curator of ‘Erasing Borders’ the Indo-American Arts Council’s festival of Indian dance. www.rajikapuri.com

Rita Kohn is a senior writer with NUVO Newsweekly as their craft beer columnist and reviewer of local arts and culture. Her by-line also currently appears in national journals and on-line including Theatre Library Association, Dramatists Guild, Dance Critics Association, ExploreDance.com.

She is the author of 20 books including True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana [Indiana University Press*, 2010] and the forthcoming Full Steam Ahead: The Enduring Impact of the First Steamboat on the Ohio River [Indiana Historical Society Press, 2011]. She is editor of the Ohio River Valley series published by University Press of Kentucky+ and a reader of potential author manuscripts for UPK+ and IUP*.

Kohn’s 25-plus plays have been produced nationwide and include the “Stories of Indiana” series presented at the Indiana State Museum, where “Before the Shadows Flee: Edwin Booth at the Brooklyn Academy” ran May 2010 to close out the ISM “Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth /Indiana and National celebrations.” Rich Lives, presented August 2010 at the Indiana State Fair Pioneer Village, was the first dramatic production at The Fair.

Kohn is a writer and producer of documentaries with WFYI-Public Television including Long Journey Home: The Delawares of Indiana, Wind Chimes & Promises and Before the Shadows FleeRich Livespremieres January 2011.

Kohn served on the faculties of Illinois State University, Butler University and Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis, with the Indiana Humanities Council as coordinator of the NEH-six states humanities councils “Always a River: The Ohio River and the American Experience” project, and with the Indianapolis Children’s Museum as an exhibits writer. She is a frequent presenter at conferences, most recently at the American Theatre Library Association in Boston, Hoosier Folklore Society in Nashville, IN, Ann Katz Festival of Books in Indianapolis, West Lafayette [IN] Public Library. She is an active civic volunteer including co-founding the Indiana American Indian Theatre Company and Indy Fringe DivaFest.

Kohn holds degrees from Buffalo State College, New York, and Illinois State University, which awarded her Outstanding Alumni Award in 2003. She was named a Sagamore of the Wabash in 2004. Grants include: National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Indiana Arts Commission, Arts Council of Indianapolis, Indiana Humanities Council, Lilly Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Central Indiana Community Foundation and the Austrian government for a study on how family heritage is transmitted across generations. She is recognized in multiple Who’s Who publications, and has received awards in all her genres.

Current professional memberships: Authors Guild, Dance Critics Association, Dramatists Guild, Hoosier Folklore Society, Indiana Association of Historians, National Museum of the American Indian [Smithsonian], Theatre Library Association, Women’s Press Club.

Brian Schaefer is a writer, arts journalist, and presenter from Los Angeles. He holds degrees in Dance and Communication from the University of California, San Diego where he wrote about dance and the arts for San Diego News Network, SanDiego.com, and Power Line Magazine.

He received a fellowship in Arts Journalism from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2007 at the American Dance Festival and served for three years as the Program & Audience Development Manager at ArtPower! at UC San Diego, the university’s multi-disciplinary arts
presenting organization.

Brian lives in Tel Aviv, Israel and is the dance writer for Time Out Israel and an editor for Ha’aretz national daily newspaper. He was a 2010-2011 Dorot Fellow, volunteers at the Suzanne Dellal Centre for Dance & Theatre and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in
Literature/Writing at Bar Ilan University.

Brian’s reviews, features, and OpEds have appeared in the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dance Magazine, The Forward, Moment Magazine, Ha’aretz, and the Jerusalem Post. He blogs at www.MyTwoLeftFeet.net.

Alyssa Schoeneman is a dance critic, blogger and performing artist based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her writing credits include Dance Teacher magazine, Dance Studio Life magazine, CultureVulture.net, Smilepolitely.com and the News-Gazette in Champaign, Illinois. In December 2011, Schoeneman launched her blog, “Dance in Real Life,” on which she reviews local dance and writes feature articles. Schoeneman holds a BFA in Dance and an MS in News-Editorial Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She attended the DCA Conference in 2011 as a Gary Parks Scholarship winner, and has since been working with the DCA Board to develop a social media initiative for the organization.  http://ascho3.wordpress.com/

Mariko Nagashima is a dance writer, performer, and teacher based in Seattle. She currently writes for and manages the Web site SeattleDances, the only site dedicated solely to dance in the Seattle area. She holds a B.F.A. in ballet and a B.S. in biology from the University of Utah, where she wrote for the Daily Utah Chronicle and received much of her dance training. As a performer in Seattle she has danced for ARC Dance, Ballet Bellevue, and project 29, among others.

Kirsten Wilkinson has been a member of the professional dance world for most of her life. She holds a BA in Dance and Modern Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and an MA in Dance and Research from American University in Washington DC. Kirsten has worked within the not for profit field of dance in various capacities. She was the first Project Assistant at both NIPAD (National Initiative to Preserve America’s Dance) and Dance/MetroDC. She has held multiple positions at Dance/USA and was the founder and project manager at the Hawaii Dance Collective. Wilkinson received a CLIR Fellowship in 2012 and continues to be a project associate at the Dance Heritage Coalition, where she received consecutive fellowships in 2005 and 2006.

Kirsten is also a Dance Archivist at the Library of Congress within the Music Division. Her archival experience also includes time at the University of Maryland Performing Arts Library, where she was a liaison between the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and the library while the company gifted their collection to the university. She also spent time at the Rosebud Indian Reservation researching plausible and viable techniques for documenting, preserving and accessing Native American Dance forms.

Besides her passion for dance preservation and documentation, Kirsten is also a professional dancer and sought after instructor. She is Artistic Director of her own contemporary dance company, KWdance, and has performed and presented original choreography in such places as Libya, Morocco, Honolulu, San Francisco, New York, Egypt, Heidelberg, Brasilia, and Paris. She also lectures around the country about topics in Dance Preservation, Dance Theory and Dance History. She specializes in Vaganova Ballet Technique, Hawkins Technique and Improvisational Movement. She has taught at American University Cairo, University of San Francisco, University of Alaska Fairbanks, University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Oregon, and Istanbul Bilgi University to mention a few.

She is also a published author. Kirsten is currently teaching and choreographing in the DC area while she also continues to research and support dance documentation and preservation on all fronts. Follow her blog at www.kwdanceblog.wordpress.com


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