HEIDI LATSKY (Artistic Director) Read full biography here.
MEREDITH FAGES has performed with Armitage Gone! Dance, Alexandra Beller, Monica Bill Barnes/Waterwell, Wally Cardona, David Hallberg and Francesco Vezzoli, Deborah Hay, Mana Kawamura, Heidi Latsky Dance, Motley Dance, Jimena Paz, Laura Peterson Choreography, Becky Radway, Sarah Skaggs, Steeledance, Palissimo/Pavel Zustiak, Mitzi Adams, Eidolon Ballet, Helen Heineman, Todd Rosenlieb Dance, and Virginia Ballet Theatre. She has been featured in Ashton, Balanchine, Christensen, and Tudor ballets. On film she has collaborated with directors Xan Burley and Alex Springer, Bat-Sheva Guez, Deborah Lohse, Richard Move, Donnell Oakley, and Mark O'Maley, and she will be appearing in the upcoming music video for Ximena Borges' song "Who and Who". Meredith has been photographed as a demonstration model for the Joffrey Ballet School's Ballet-Fit (Dena Simone Moss, St Martin's Griffin, 1999) and for the November 2013 issue of Dance Teacher in a profile of Rommett Floor-Barre Technique teacher Jodi Moccia. She has summited Kilimanjaro, appeared in the New York Times Sunday Styles spread, and bakes the occasional wedding cake. She was born in Charleston, SC and graduated from Columbia University with a Pre-Medical Concentration in English. Meredith is the proud mother of Graham Sterling Proskin, born July 2014. She joined HLD in 2007.
JERRON HERMAN joined HLD in the summer of 2011 never having danced before. Primarily a writer, Jerron now tells story through his body. He is the Company Associate to broaden exposure to disability & dance and the newest (and youngest) member of the Bessie's Selection Committee for excellence in dance. Extending his talents to education, Jerron is the resident dance teaching artist with HLD. A Bay Area native, Jerron holds a B.A from The King's College and has written and produced a full-length musical and a one-man show. He was the subject of two specials, ON THE SCENE with John Bathke and Open Studio with Jared Bowen on PBS. He has served as a panelist for Dance/NYC, La Mama ETC, and a Queensborough Community College Symposium. For his performance in the world premiere of TRIPTYCH, The New York Times called him, "the inexhaustible Mr. Herman..."
JILLIAN HOLLIS began dancing at a young age in Syracuse NY. She studied at The Center of Ballet and Dance Arts, headed by Deborah Boughton and performed in many high school and local community theater productions. Jillian attended college at Point Park University and graduated in 3 years with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. Jillian met Heidi Latsky at Point Park College and had the opportunity to partake in a workshop and dance for her there. In the spring, Jillian graduated and moved to New York City, by the fall she was performing with Heidi Latsky Dance at The Duke Theater on 42nd Street. Jillian has been dancing with the company since 2002 and is a teaching artist for HLD as well. Jillian has had the opportunity to work and perform with many other artists and companies including Rocha Dance Theater, Incidents Physical Theater, Heather Harrington, Carrie Ahern, Joseph Mills, TAKE Dance, The Good to Go Girls, Lady Rizo and the Assettes and Jenny Rocha and Her Painted Ladies. The Painted Ladies won Best Large Group in 2015 at The Burlesque Hall of Fame in Vegas. Jillian is also a vivacious burlesque performer in the NYC scene and when not dancing she is teaching Pilates, making costumes or baking. Jillian has been written up in The New York Times as “blithely irrepressible” and her movement described as “voluptuous and powerful” by Deborah Jowitts.
XIMENA BORGES (Musical Director) is a New York/Venezuelan experimental artist who joined HLD as Music Director in 2015. She's received critical acclaim as an "extremely eclectic songwriter, armed with an array of digital and analogue technologies, XI.ME.NA uses her voice to blend the music of disparate times and places, creating alluring sonic collages in real time."
QUEMUEL ARROYO had the pleasure of crossing paths with Heidi Latsky Dance during the spring of 2015 when she was recruiting athletes with disabilities for a performance at Lincoln Center. Professionally, Mr. Arroyo works for the Department of Transportation helping to make the streets of New York City accessible to all pedestrians. He states, "My job with the city is beautifully enhanced by the work of Heidi Latsky which gracefully portrays a synchronous of individuality and vitality of persons from all walks of life."
CHRIS BRÁZ joined Heidi Latsky Dance in June 2016. Chris has been featured in Salon.com, and The New York Times in Katy Pyle's Production of Sleeping Beauty & The Beast, a well as cameo appearances on Hulu and for his queer commentary in Buzzfeed news.
RISHMA DHANRAJ joined HLD in October 2015. Highlights of her career include performing her choreographic work, "Worlds Apart Yet the Same" at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW) Family Matters Series in 2007, graduating from Teachers College, Columbia University with a MA in Movement Sciences in 2016 and performing in HLD with an integrated, diverse cast of dancers.
SARAH DONNELLY is a performer, choreographer, teacher, activist, organizer and producer. Among others, Sarah has had the great fortune of performing with the STREB Extreme Action Company, Noémie Lafrance at SENS productions and The Metropolitan Opera. Sarah started working with Heidi Latsky Dance in 2015.
DIANE DUGGAN, Ph.D., BC-DMT has worked as a dance therapist & dance educator with students with disabilities since 1973. She teaches in the 92nd St. Y Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) and Dance Therapy programs and has taught in the NYU Dance Education Masters program since 1994. She is co-author of Dance Education for Diverse Learners (2009) and is on the editorial board of the NDEO journal Dance Education in Practice. She is a member of the Dance/NYC Task Force on Dance and Disability. She is delighted to be performing with Heidi Latsky Dance.
DONNA FISH has been dancing with Heidi since 1979! Additionally to her dance career she is a psychotherapist in private practice here in NYC and has taught at Harvard Medical School, Columbia University and is on faculty of Center for Study of Anorexia and Bulimia. Highlights of her career include her private practice working with people, writing the book "Take the Fight out of Food: How to Prevent and Solve Your Child's Eating Problems," dancing with Heidi throughout all these years and performing in MaryJohn Frank's show "Debutante!"
STANLEY GAMBUCCI joined Heidi Latsky Dance in 2016. Originally from San Diego, Stanley currently lives and works in New York.
JUDY GARFINKEL began working with HLD in the Spring of 2014. Judy’s dance background includes performing with the National Ballet of Israel, The Eglevsky Ballet, and The Feld Ballet, and teaching for Sarah Lawrence College and the Mead School, where she created their movement/dance program. Since receiving her Master’s Degree in Holistic Thinking and Learning (at 55!), she focuses her passion for helping people thrive into Move Into Change, a career and life coaching practice
TIFFANY GEIGEL is a Puerto Rican, physically disabled, native New Yorker who does not allow her difference to define her nor hinder her in anyway. She joined HLD in 2015 on a project to project basis. Now in 2017 she is fully emerged in the company and extremely excited for the future with HLD. She started dance training at the age of 3 with Rita Hamilton Dance in Brooklyn NY as well as Dance Universal with Julie Ann Miranda at the age of 7. Tiffany became a dance instructor for children ages 5-18 years old at Dance Universal. She received her Bachelor’s degree in New York.
LAWRENCE GOLDHUBER began working with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1985 (continuing) and has created work with DV8, Meredith Monk, and Jan Fabre. He has presented seasons at Danspace, PS122, Abrons, and Dance Theater Workshop (DTW). Goldhuber received a 1995 Bessie Award for sustained achievement and served as the co-host for the 2002 Awards. He is the recipient of a 2002 Fellowship in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts and has received funding from the Jerome, Harkness, and Joyce Theater Foundations and the American Music Center, among others. Commissions include DTW, Joyce Theater, PICA, Danspace, PS122,Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and Jacob’s Pillow. Goldhuber & Latsky performed internationally, receiving commissions from the American Dance Festival, Whitney Museum, Cannes, and Celebrate Brooklyn!
MILLIE GONZALEZ, M.A., has performed with Heidi Latsky Dance since August 2016. As a member of ZCO Dance Project and a New Jersey-based integrated belly dance troupe called Shimmying Lotus, she has co-choreographed and performed various genres of dance. Millie's dance career highlights include her first-ever staged performance in New York City with ZCO Dance Project in 2015, performing at the New Jersey and New York Disability Pride Parades, participation in AXIS Dance Company's Summer Intensives, performing On Display at the United Nations in honor of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and being featured in Amro Arida's video of On Display in Times Square.
NICO GONZALES joined Heidi Latsky Dance in 2015 as part of her movement-installation ON DISPLAY. He is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts and has performed works by Merce Cunningham, Bill T. Jones, Ohad Naharin among others. Nico also dances with Bryn Cohn + Artists, Rovaco Dance Company and Gwendolyn and Guests (Nourishment project).
BRENDA GREEN After first completing her BA in Philosophy and her MA in Human Development in Mexico City, Brenda launched her career in dance by obtaining a BA in Contemporary Dance. While still in Mexico, she performed in various projects with choreographers Oscar Ruvalcaba, Victor Hugo Reyes and Marco Vasconcelos. Additionally, she taught contemporary and improvisation dance classes for two years, and created a choreography titled “Is it uncomfortable for you?”. After arriving in the US, she created and conducted a year-long dance therapy workshop at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Most recently, she participated in the 9/11 Table of Silence tribute directed by Jacqulyn Buglisi. Brenda has also been collaborating with Heidi Latsky since 2015.
GWENDOLYN GUSSMAN joined HLD in 2015. She joined as a member of ON DISPLAY and later shifted her role into being a Global Ambassador of ON DISPLAY for Denver, Colorado in 2016. In addition to her work with HLD, Gwendolyn is currently a company dancer with Sean Curran Company, Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance, Roger C. Jeffrey's 'Subtle Changes Inc.', as well as directing her own work entitled, Nourishment. Past company credits include Shen Wei Dance Arts and Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble.
TERRENCE HEWITT started with Heidi Latsky dance with a project with The AIDS Service Center in 2006 called "Food For Thought". He has performed in "Moving Portraits" with the AIDS service center, as well as in work by Dance New Amsterdam. He has also had stage and film roles. He considers his work in Heidi Latsky's "IF" "a highlight and after being in other different projects, which I loved, "ON DISPLAY has meant a lot to me."
ANITA HOLLANDER, SAG-AFTRA National Chair of Performers with Disabilities, began dancing with Heidi Latsky in 2009. As an actress/singer/dancer, she has performed throughout Europe, Asia & America, at Carnegie Hall, London’s Half Moon Theatre, NY Shakespeare Festival, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, the Kennedy Center and The White House. A Helen Hayes Award nominee, her appearances include theatre (Still Standing, Ragtime, CATS), TV (Law & Order, OZ, The Sopranos, BBC From The Edge), films (Handsome Harry, Musical Chairs) and dance (HLD & Infinity Dance Theatre).
JUBIL KHAN, a Native of Philadelphia, received a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance from Temple University. Captivated by African and Hip Hop, she participated in renowned African American Deaf Dance Company (Wild Zappers) and KanKouran West African Dance company in Washington, DC. She then expanded her dance training in Modern and Ballet dance techniques at other renowned dance schools and studios such as Philadanco, University of the Arts, Dance Theater of Harlem and more. Later she curved her interest in other avenues and did fashion modeling for upcoming designers and pursed some acting. In 2015, she then returned to the dance scene joining Heidi Latsky Dance Company, a company that advocates disability in dance, for inspiration. It's an honor to come back to the dance scene and challenge her dance skills with the Company and perform. Thank you for the opportunity. Currently, grooming her careers in other outlets she hopes to create a brand name as an entrepreneur as well as remain an performing artist.
DONALD LEE Joined Heidi Latsky Dance in Summer 2016.
CLAUDE LOUISSAINT 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 and Elianna.
LOUISA MANN joined HLD in 2014. Highlights include being part of the premier of ON DISPLAY at Lincoln Center in 2015 and performing "Grace" at Citi Summer Streets in 2016.
SAKI MASUDA Joined HLD in 2013, and has performed "Somewhere", "Solo counter solo", "Triptych", "On Display". Her other credits include, ”the King and I” (Maltz Jupiter Theatre), ”Cats” as Victoria (Palace Theatre, Pentangle Arts center), ”Sayonara” (staged reading, PanAsian Rep Theatre), "Awaited-Christmas spectacular"(Crossroads), "Bride of Frankenstein" (Venus Theater Festival), Heidi Latsky Dance, Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company, Staten Island Ballet, Steps Repertory Ensemble, Ballet Hispanico Ensemble, Xodus Dance Collective, Benjamin Briones Ballet, Cyrus Art Production, Assisting choreographer for Debbie Roshe and among others. Saki was born and raised in Japan, and currently lives in NYC to pursue her dream.
KYLE MARSHALL joined HLD in 2017. He is a dancer and dance maker working in New York City and New Jersey. Kyle currently dances with Doug Elkins Choreography Etc. and is an apprentice for the Trisha Brown Dance Company. In order to support his dance making, he organized Kyle Marshall Choreography in 2014.
JOHN MCGINTY joined HLD in 2014. His credits include: New York: Fêtes de la Nuit (New Ohio Theatre), Veritas (The Representatives), World premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s new play, The Healing (Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Theater Row), Movements of the Soul (Baruch Performing Arts Center). Regional: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Sacramento Music Circus and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts), Tribes (Guthrie Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Everyman Theatre), Pippin (Center Theatre Group, Deaf West). Film: “Wonderstruck” with Todd Haynes, “Sign.” TV: “I Killed My BFF” and “FBI: Criminal Pursuit.” Web series: “High Maintenance” (Vimeo and HBO), “Don't Shoot the Messenger.” Workshops: "Other World" with Gabriel Barre, “Cyrano” (New York Theatre Workshop, Deaf West); “Brindlebeast” (Fat Chance) “Another Kind of Silence” (Playwright Realm). A highlight of his career was being the first actor who happens to be Deaf to play Quasimodo in a Disney musical, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.
AMY MEISNER-THREET has been a member of HLD since July 2016. Having attended The HS of Performing Arts, NY Tisch/SUNY, BA in Dance, MSW Hunter College. Alvin Ailey 111. SAG-AFTRA. Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, wheelchair user since 2004. Entertainment Chair NY Disability Pride Parade board member.
EVE PACKER started working with HLD in 2010. Highlights of her career with include performing in "IF" (2010), her 3 poetry books, 5 poetry/jazz CDs, Beckett's "Footfalls" at Medicine Show, Vision Festival, and performing in ON DISPLAY.
KELLY RAMIS was born in Portland OR and graduated with a BA in dance from Point Park University. Ramis has been a member of Heidi Latsky Dance since August of 2016 and, "could not be happier to be a part of such an inspiring company!" Other highlights include performing with Modus Operandi in Vancouver BC and being a member of Donofrio Dance Company, based in Brooklyn NY.
JACLYN REA has been grooving with Heidi Latsky Dance since spring 2016. Highlights of her career include performing and teaching internationally, (Mexico, London, Armenia, and Italy) and performing Martha Graham's Panorama at New York City Center after graduating in 2012.
MARK TRAVIS RIVERA is an award-winning activist, choreographer, dancer, speaker, and writer. He first met Heidi Latsky in 2011 when he had the opportunity to learn a part of GIMP. Mark has worked with choreographers such as Marinda Davis, Stacey Tookey, Tyce Diorio, and Todrick Hall, He has danced for Band of Artists in Philadelphia, PA and AXIS Dance Company in Oakland, CA. He is the founder and artistic director of marked dance project.
CARLO RIZZO is a retired modern jazz dancer and gymnastics teacher, now licensed bodyworker and child care worker. He began working with Heidi in the spring of 2015.
COLLEEN ROCHE is a dancer with ZCO Dance Project and an integrated belly dance troupe called Shimmying Lotus. Her first performance with Heidi Latsky Dance was the three-day Citi Summer Streets in August 2016. Colleen's dance career highlights include her first performance in New York City with ZCO Dance Project in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the ADA, dancing at the New Jersey and New York Disability Pride Parades, and performing On Display with Heidi Latsky Dance at NYU on International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016.
MARIA SCHIRMER is an interdisciplinary theatre artist, performer and writer. Her work has taken her to India, Brazil, Chile, Canada and most recently Santa Fe, New Mexico where she was a WISC Fellow in Residence. She is also an arts educator who teaches theater and creative writing in public schools across NYC. As a lover of political performance, autobiography and public art she is thrilled to be a part of HLD, which she joined in 2015 as part of the inaugural cast of ON DISPLAY at Lincoln Center.
CARMEN SCHOENSTER joined HLD in October of 2016 after meeting Heidi at Steps on Broadway. Heidi asked if she would be interested in joining her for a project called On Display and Carmen began working with HLD right away. Previously she danced for a company called Todd Rosenlieb Dance for two years and have trained at Nashville Ballet, Charlotte Ballet and graduated from the Governor's School for the Arts in 2011.
MARGOT STEINBERG joined HLD in January 2017. She is an actress and voiceover artist and danced in high school and college. Certainly performing with HLD was a highlight of her more mature dance career. Filming with Sandra Bullock and being directed by Sir Richard Attenborough was an acting highpoint, as well as having her own theatre company in London.
LESLIE TAUB is a disabled model and performing artist who trained with AXIS Dance and has been working with Heidi Latsky since 2015. Her favorite "Team HLD" experiences include collaborating with NuVu Studio students to design a unique wearable sculpture costume, and opening the 2016 Culture Shock Festival on The High Line. In addition to her role in ON DISPLAY, Leslie continues to study ballet and modern dance.
ALEXANDRIA WAILES has been a member of HLD since 2013. Among the highlights of her career; associate choreographer and Deaf woman track in the Broadway revival of SPRING AWAKENING, directing/acting in episodes of DON'T SHOOT THE MESSENGER, being Kattrin in MOTHER COURAGE for the Public's Shakespeare in the Park and receiving a LA Ovation Awards nomination for Lead Actress in a Musical for Deaf West production of SLEEPING BEAUTY WAKES. Go to www.alexandriawailes.com for more info.
KRISHNA WASHBURN is a VI dancer and ACSM-certified inclusive athletics trainer living the sweet life in Harlem. She joined HLD in 2015 as part of the original ON DISPLAY cast, which was her first professional dance performance. Since then, she has worked with Infinity Dance Theater, Marked Dance Project, LEIMAY, ZCO Dance Project, and has developed an extensive body of work with her collaborator, wearables artist Ntilit (Natalia Roumelioti), that has been displayed at Immersive Gallery, Chashama Spaces, and Queens Museum.
MARISSA WILEY joined Heidi Latsky Dance in the summer of 2015. She has been humbled to perform with Heidi Latsky Dance at numerous venues including the United Nations, the High Line, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center and the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Other career highlights include performing works by Merce Cunningham, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, Crystal Pite, David Dorfman Dance and Shannon Gillen.
BRYNT BEITMAN is from Dallas, TX. Before graduating from The Juilliard School, he was nominated for a Presidential Scholar in the Arts award by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. He has danced with TAKE Dance, Nicholas Andre Dance, Bruce Wood Dance Project, New York Baroque Dance Company, and Texas Ballet Theater. His own works have been shown in New York City, Montreal, and Varna, Bulgaria. He is happy to have joined Heidi Latsky Dance in April 2013.
JENNIFER BRICKER always had a passion for tumbling and gymnastics, despite being born without legs, and has competed against able-bodied athletes. She moved from her small town in southern Illinois to work for Walt Disney World, where her life took an unexpected twist and she started performing as an acrobat/aerialist. She currently pursues a career in television and film, speaking, and fitness in Los Angeles.
IDIL BRAY began her dance training at the age of 4 at Ballet Arts, the professional school of Ballet Tucson, and at age 12 she became a resident artist at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She is currently a student at the Ailey School.
STEPHANIE BUSIA holds a BA in both Dance and Psychology from Beloit College in Wisconsin, with departmental honors in Dance. There, she choreographed and danced in the Senior Showings, and in 2009, her choreography was performed at the American College Dance Festival.
LAWRENCE CARTER-LONG is the Executive Director of the Disabilities Network of NYC, the founder and curator of the disTHIS! Film Series, and a commentator for television and radio. A popular public speaker on a wide array of topics, he was presented with the Paul G. Hearne Award to recognize emerging leaders within the national cross-disability civil rights movement.
NATE CRAWFORD competed in gymnastics for the University of Illinois at Chicago, graduating with a Bachelors of Business Administration. After giving up a traditional role in business management, he now performs around the globe, including a world tour with Britney Spears.
LANDES DIXON is from Jacksonville, Florida and received his B.F.A at Southern Methodist University. Dixon has studied at array of institutions such as Bates Dance Festival, The Martha Graham Dance School and Atlanta Ballet. Landes' company performance history includes, Bruce Wood Dance Project, Steps Repertory Ensemble, Trainor Dance, Heidi Latsky Dance, and BalletNext.
KEVIN FAY began dancing at The Joy of Motion Dance Center in Bethesda, Maryland. During summers while attending Northwestern University, he trained with, among others, The Ailey School, and these days he’s in New York working with companies like Douglas Dunn & Dancers.f
JEFFREY FREEZE has been a professional dancer for 30years. His credits include the movie Dirty Dancing and the Broadway production of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. He has served as associate director of Heidi Latsky Dance for 12 years. Freeze received his BFA from North Carolina School of the Arts and is currently working on his post-baccalaureate pre-med coursework at Hunter College. He routinely teaches dance and Pilates at Steps on Broadway and major universities. He has been a guest artist with Debbie Harry, Penny Arcade, Abdel Salaam, and RuPaul. He is grateful to have had the opportunity to mentor with an amazing artist, gentle soul, and good friend: Ms. Latsky.
LEZLIE FRYE is an activist, performance artist, poet and scholar. Her academic work explores intersections of dis/ability, race, gender, sexuality and nation, with particular interest in art and aesthetics, citizenship and the politics of life and death.
GEORGE GALLEGO is the Founder and CEO of Wheels of Progress, an organization focused on creating affordable and accessible supportive housing for persons with disabilities. In recent years, he has been a world-class athlete competing in triathlons around the world and a member of S.A.G.
M. LEONA GODIN started working with Heidi Latsky Dance during Summer Streets 2016. She is a blind writer, performer and doctor of philosophy. She has written and produced two plays: The Star of Happiness, about Helen Keller's time on vaudeville and The Spectator & the Blind Man, about the history of the invention of braille. Her writing has recently appeared or is forthcoming in O Magazine, FLAPPERHOUSE, Newtown Literary, and Quail Bell Magazine, where she writes a column called Distill My Heart, about all things aromatic and alcoholic. She writes with all four senses and remembered sight at: http://www.drmlgodin.com. Follow her on Twitter @DrMLGodin
AMBAR GONZALEZ is a Dominican-born New Yorker who graduated from Hunter College’s BA programs in Dance & Theatre. She is also a veteran and former United States Army Reservist, and while serving in Iraq she took on the additional duty of a recreational Latin dance instructor to soldiers and civilians.
DAVID HARRELL is an actor, dancer, writer, speaker and disability advocate. He holds a BFA. in Theatre Performance from the University of Southern Mississippi and a MFA. in Theatre Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He moved to New York in 2008 to continue his acting and advocacy work.
JORDAN HOLLAND hails from Detroit, Michigan, and is proud to be working and dancing in NYC. Since moving, he has been working actively with Heidi Latsky Dance, ChrisMastersDance and Bryan Strimpel. Performance credits include Judson Church, The Irondale Center, 100 Grand, Roulette, The Red Hook Arts Festival and most recently "Carmina Burana" with The Stonewall Chorale. A recent graduate of Wayne State University, Jordan was given the opportunity to work with Jeff Michael Rebudal, Biba Bell, Larry Keigwin, Ron de Jesus and Julie Bour among many other prominent choreographers and dance artists.
ELFIE KNECHT is a dis-ability rights activist and adaptive sports enthusiast who plays the accordion and classical piano. As a certified peer visitor for the Amputee Coalition of America, Elfie shares with - and listens to - hundreds of new and kindred amputees.
DAVID LINTON is a Professor of Communication Arts at Marymount Manhattan College, where he teaches course in media studies, theory and communication history. While active in academic politics, he is also an avid skater (both roller and ice) and did the skateography for a production of “Alice in Wonderland.”
SIMI LINTON is the co director/co-producer of Invitation to Dance, a film about dance and disability. She is the author of Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity, and a memoir, My Body Politic.
CATHERINE LONG is a Performance Artist whose work aims to give insight into how perceptions of ourselves are shaped by our perceptions of others. An international performer, she has a BA (Hons) in Arts Therapies.
TOBY MACNUTT is a quadrupedal queer crip, anthropological scholar, activist, and dancer whose academic focus has been on community creation, identity development, and communication. Past experience includes speaking, writing, and leading workshops for a variety of groups in educational, professional, and conference settings.
AKEMI NISHIDA is an activist, educator, student, and cultural worker for social justice. She came the U.S. in 2002 from Japan and her work soon began to focus on disability and diversity, and privilege and alliance.
SULEIMAN RIFAI arrived from Tanzania in 1979 for vision rehabilitation and had the opportunity to train at the Alvin Ailey New Visions Dance Project where he mainstreamed into their professional dance program with sighted dancers. He is currently a full-time psychotherapist, runs marathons, and in 2010 was the first blind person to complete the Empire State Building Run-Up.
JENNY ROCHA is a dancer/performer, choreographer, costume designer and teacher. Her work has been presented by Danspace Project, Joyce Soho, Lamama ETC, and more, and she is currently a teaching artist in New York City.
EVAN RUGGIERO began dancing at age 5 and by age 10 was accepted into the New Jersey Tap Ensemble (Deborah Mitchell, dir.). He performed at Lincoln Center, the Shomberg Museum of Harlem, and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, among others. During his sophomore year at Montclair State, while pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre, Ruggiero was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, of the right leg. After nine surgeries in six months, his leg had to be amputated to stop the cancer, and he underwent chemotherapy for 16 months. Ruggiero held close to the dream of dancing, inspired by Clayton “Peg Leg” Bates, a legendary African American entertainer who taught himself to tap dance after losing a leg in a cotton gin accident at age 12. Within 18 months of the amputation, and only two days after receiving his “peg-leg,” Ruggiero was tapping again.
STEVE SCHEPIS appeared on Broadway in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert and Finian's Rainbow. Other NY theatre credits include Anyone Can Whistle and On The Town, both at City Center's Encores. He toured Europe with the 50th Anniversary World Tour of West Side Story. Regional credits include Tommy Keeler in Annie Get Your Gun at Goodspeed Opera House, Benjamin in Seven Brides at Sacramento Music Circus, and Oklahoma at Papermill Playhouse. You can see Steve dancing in Beyonce's Mrs. Carter Tour promo video.
ROBERT SIMPSON studied modern dance with Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, Willa Kahn, and Irene Feigenheimer and ballet with Alfredo Corvino, Michael Vernon, and Pamela Pribisco. In New York City he has performed his own work as well as in works by Barbara Roan and Claudia Gitelman and, since 2010, with Heidi Latsky. As a result of a cerebral vascular accident in 1998, Simpson lost the use of his left side. In 2005 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
THOMAS VALLETTE was paralyzed for a year after a debilitating car accident. When he regained mobility, he started his acting career and eventually moved to Florida to act and direct. He lost his hearing through an illness and now teaches sign language.
CHRISTINA BRIGGS WINSLOW was born in Virginia, where she danced with the Richmond Ballet and earned a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. A puppeteer, choreographer, and Pilates instructor, she is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Drama and Dance at Hofstra University.
GREGORY YOUDAN, JR. joined Heidi Latsky Dance in 2010. Most recently, he has performed with David Parker and The Bang Group, Sokolow Theatre/DanceEnsemble, Flexicurve, and the New York Baroque Dance Company. Past credits include Lifedance/Gloria McLean, H.T. Chen & Dancers, Catherine Gallant/DANCE, and Kelley Donovan and Dancers, among others. He was a featured dancer in Thaddeus Strassberger’s Le roi malgré lui and the Göttingen Händel Festspiele’s production of Teseo. Additionally, he was an original touring cast member for Cirque Legacy’s City Life. Youdan has appeared in the music videos of Black Taxi, Greg Lato, Ben Lerman, and Mandy Moore. He holds a BA in Dance from Hofstra University.