In this time of environmental upheaval, as the recent hurricanes have, in an instant, uprooted so many people from their homes, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre’s new choreographic work, Refuge, is a timely exploration of our relationship with space and the temporary nature of all things. Inspired by Francesco Clemente’s art installation Encampment, Refuge is a moving collage and explores our relationship to our surroundings.
Throughout the evening-length work, which is divided into three sections—"Shelter", "A Delicate Balance", and "Resilience"— five principal dancers and an ensemble of 10 dancers step through a changing landscape tossing, chucking and moving around folding screens, cushions, and lanterns. The landscape does not only constantly shift, but, as a result, disrupts our sense of identity, purpose, direction, and safety. As the piece progresses, dancers are isolated, each in their own way searching for shelter, for firm ground, reminders of where we have come from and signs telling us where to head next.
Choreography: Amanda Selwyn and dancers
Costume and Scenic Design: Anna-Alisa Belous
Sound Design: Joel Wilhelmi
Lighting Design: Dan Ozminkowski
Stage Management: Jaimie Van Dyke
Alex Cottone grew up in Boca Raton, Florida where he attended Alexander W. Dreyfoos Jr. School of the Arts where he trained with Jeff Satinoff and Jan Hanniford Goetz. He received additional training from Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary. After graduating high school, Alex attended Marymount Manhattan College (New York, NY) and earned a BFA in modern dance. While at Marymount. Alex was an original member of Billy Bell's Lunge Dance Collective. In 2014, he participated in Springboard Danse Montreal where he worked with Aszure Barton and Artists as well as MADboots Dance. On the side, Alex has subbed contemporary classes at Broadway Dance Center. This past year, he was given the opportunity to perform at BC Beat with choreographer Reed Luplau. This is Alex’s second season with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.
Adam Robert Dickerson was born and raised in Colorado. After graduating high school, Dickerson began his training with the Colorado Jazz Dance Company under the direction of Zetta Alderman. He continued his training at Colorado College with Patrizia Herminjard and Debbie Mercer. While at CC, he performed works by Anna Sokolov and Trisha Lai while attending Summer Intensives at the Martha Graham School. Additionally, he choreographed works for the American College Dance Festival (two final gala recognitions), the Grand Prix Semi-finals, and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Dickerson spend one year with with Graham 2 before joining Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre in 2015. This is Adam's fourth season with the company.
Manon Hallay was born in France. She started dancing in the Conservatoire de Tarbes and went to Bordeaux at 13 to study in a pre-professional course.Two years later she has been accepted to the Royal Ballet School of Antwerpn and had the opportunity to work with choreographer as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui or Micheal Shannon. She moved out to New-York four years ago to integrate the Alvin Ailey school as a scholarship student. She has been a member of Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre since 2014 and she is now artistic director of Les Ballets Nomades.
Torrey McAnena is originally from Abington, Pennsylvania and received the majority of her early dance training at Metropolitan Ballet Academy under the direction of Lisa Collins Vidnovic. She continued her dance training at Marymount Manhattan College, graduating with a B.F.A in dance with a ballet concentration. Recently, Torrey was selected to dance with the Cunningham Fellowship Trust workshops. This is Torrey's fifth season with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.
Sarah Starkweather is a contemporary dancer and ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor based out of New York City. Since 2009, Sarah has performed over 100 times with professional companies from Texas, Missouri, and New York. Sarah has presented her own work at festivals and venues in San Antonio, TX, and St. Louis, MO, as well as at The Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, NY. Sarah holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio during which 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, choreographic, and leadership workshops across Texas and the United States through MA Dance. This is Sarah’s fourth season with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.
Larissa Asebedo is originally from the Denver area where she began her training in classical ballet. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.F.A. from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY. In her third year Larissa had the privilege of studying abroad at the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts in Perth. During her studies she worked with Kyle Abraham, The Merce Cunningham Trust, Xan Burley, and John Heginbotham. Recently Larissa has worked in freelance professional projects with Lisa Fagan Dance Problems, Megan Mizanty, Kensaku Shinohara, John Zullo, Asako Miyahira, and Fooju Dance Collaborative. She is excited to join Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre's ensemble of dancers this season.
Annie Corrao is a recent graduate of Muhlenberg College where she earned her BA in Dance. While at school, Annie had the opportunity to train and perform under (Jessica Lang, Trinette Singleton, Hiedi Cruz-Austen, and Jeffrey Peterson). She also taught ballet and creative movement to students age 2-18 at the college's community dance program. Annie is now back in her hometown in Westchester, NY, where she continues to teach dance, acrobatics and children's theater. This is her first season as an ensemble dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.
Laura Déziel was born and raised in a small town of Shawinigan, Quebec, Canada. She trained at L’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and is a scholarship graduate of the Professional Training Program at The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she worked alongside Graham II. Laurie has performed as a soloist for the Balasole Dance Company’s season MIXTUS presented at the Ailey CitiGroup Theatre. She is currently a company member of Smashworks Dance Collective and SHIFT, Dance. Arts. & Media. Laurie is excited to join Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre’s ensemble of dancers this season.
Misaki Hayama was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She graduated Saitama Prefectures High School of Arts and studied dance at Japan University of Art. During her schooling, she learned modern, ballet, jazz, hip-hop, Japanese traditional dance, tap and singing. She has won many dance competitions in modern dance and also won first place in a hip-hop dance competition in the Philippines. Misaki performed in a dance ensemble for The Lion King and A Chorus Line in Tokyo, Sapporo and Osaka in Japan for four years. Upon moving to New York in 2015, she attended The Ailey School as a Fellowship Student.She has had the opportunity to perform at The Apollo Theatre and has worked with she worked with Oberdiah Wright, Leslie Dockery, and Alfredo Gillman in new musical Night Songs at Actors Theatre Workshop. In 2016, she danced as a guest artist with with George William Faison at gospel festival. Misaki is happy to join Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre’s ensemble of dancers for the world premiere of Refuge.
Madison McGain hails from Maui, Hawai'i. She has just finished her four year undergrad at Adelphi University where she received a BFA in dance. While attending Adelphi, Madison performed works by Martha Graham, Orion Duckstein, Oliver Tobin, Lar Lubovitch, Earl Mosely, and Manuel Vingoulle. In addition to her university training, she has studied at San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and Bates College, where she has performed works by Ohad Naharin, and Kate Weare and others. Professionally, Madison is working with MizantyMoves, Spaces of Fontana, and was an apprentice for CoreDance Contemporary. She is very excited to be working as an ensemble dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre!
An Alabama native, Ashley McQueen is a freelance performer, choreographer, and fitness instructor. She holds a BFA in Dance from Webster University and is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance from Hollins University while working as a Teaching Artist for Notes In Motion Outreach Dance Theatre and West Side YMCA. She is the Founder/Artistic Director of Smashworks Dance Collective, a New York-based group of movers whose evening length performance of “City Stories” was named a Village Voice “Voice Choices” in 2017. Her choreography has been presented in numerous festivals around the United States, and on various contemporary dance companies. She is thrilled to be an ensemble dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre!
Melissa Monconduit was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She moved to Dallas, Texas during her freshmen year of high school and began her formal dance training at Contemporary Ballet of Dallas. After graduating high school, she attended Fordham University while continuing her dance training as a student at The Ailey School. She graduated from Fordham University with a B.A. in Natural Science. She then performed with Vissi Dance Theater and shortly after, she began her first season with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company in 2014. Later that year, she joined Laurie M. Taylor/Soul Movement's summer production and performed at Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out. In 2016, Melissa joined the New York cast of HAIRitage as choreographer/dancer. Most recently, Melissa danced/modeled in New York Fashion Week for the Desigual Couture Show. This is her first season as an ensemble dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.
J'nae Simmons is from Queens, New York. She began her training at a local dance school at the age of eight. There she trained in numerous dance forms including modern, ballet and tap. Simmons graduated Summa Cum Laude from Long Island University – Brooklyn, obtaining a BFA in dance with a personal training minor. She has worked with several choreographers during and after her time at LIU, including: Alexandra Beller, Ron K. Brown, Wally Cardona, Alenka Cizmesija, Davalois Fearon, Aviva Geismar, Ori Flomin, , Andre Tyson, Suku Dance Lab, Donna Uchizono and Netta Yerushalmy. This is her first season as an ensemble dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.
Maggie Westerfield grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. There she began her training at Planet Dance under the direction of Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard. She furthered her education by attending summer programs including Peridance Blueprint as well as Cedarlake 360 on full scholarship. Westerfield danced as a soloist for Exhale Dance Tribe, in addition to performing with the Cirque Du Soleil Bug Squad, Asia Duo Dance Company, and in the Capezio 125 Year Gala at New York City Center. She received a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she has had the pleasure of performing works by Deborah Jowitt, James Martin, José Limón, and Vita Osojnik. She is most recently working with Amirov Dance Theatre and is thrilled to join Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre’s ensemble of dancers this season.
Anna Zekan is from Newport, OR where she began dancing at the Newport School of Artistic Movement under the direction of Nancy Mittleman. She continued her training at Colorado College where she performed works by Patrizia Herminjard, Shawn Womack, Debra Mercer, Tsui-shuang Lai, and Casey Avaunt. After graduating with a B.A. in Dance and Creative Writing, she relocated to NYC to attend the Martha Graham School, and has since performed with Maher Benham's Coyote Dancers, Alice Klugherz, and Fooju Dance Collaborative. Zekan is also a published writer and instructor at Pure Barre West Village. This is her first season as an ensemble dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre.