Thank you to all of the wonderful performers, the Kate crew, all of the volunteers, our sponsors, and very appreciative audience for making our annual Dance for Peace (2016) a great success!
Ms. Craig is an accomplished dancer in Modern, African, and Caribbean folk forms, as well as a trained stilt walker. Melissa was a recent inductee into the Directory of Artists for ‘Hartford Performs.” She has performed as a principal dancer with the Cultural Dance Troupe of the West Indies, Sankofa Kuumba Cultural Arts Consortium, the Judy Dworin Performance Ensemble, and principal dancer, instructor, and founding member with the Island Reflections Dance Theatre Company.
Samuel Lee Roberts
Samuel Lee Roberts joined the acclaimed Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in 2009. He began his dance training under the direction of Kathleen Johnston, and attended The Juilliard School. He performed in the first international show of Radio City Christmas Spectacular in Mexico City, and danced with the New York cast from 1999–2004. Mr. Roberts performed during the award ceremony at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, worked with Corbin Dances and Keigwin + Company, and was a founding member of Battleworks Dance Company. In May 2006, Mr. Roberts was named Dance Magazine’s “On the Rise” dancer. He performed several roles in Julie Taymor’s film “Across the Universe,’ and in the original opera Grendel. www.alvinailey.org
Miki Orihara is best known for her work as a principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company, which she joined in 1987. Orihara has performed in the Broadway production of The King and I, with the Elisa Monte, Dance Troupe, PierGroupDance, Twyla Tharp, Martha Clarke, Anne Bogart and Robert Wilson. In 2010 she was awarded the prestigious Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement in Dance. She is on a faculty at the Graham School and The Hartt School. Mishmash＊Miki Orihara launched in 2013, as a Dance Director, created two music videos, which was released in June 2014. She produced a benefit concert “Dancing for JAPAN 2014″ as a curator, and also produced the first solo concert, “Resonance” at the La MaMa Theater in New York in May 2014. “Resonance” toured Wisconsin, San Francisco and Amsterdam in 2015 with Jazz Pianist, Senri Oe. www.facebook.com
Senri Oe has been active and influential in the Japanese music scene as a lyricist, composer and arranger since 1983. He has worked in the TV and film industry and has had a flourishing career as an actor and TV personality. Major awards he has received included: the Japan Gold Disc Grand Prix: Best Male Pop Artist, 1988; and FNS Pop Music Award: Best Song of the Year, 1989. In January 2008, Oe decided to pause his long career in popular music to pursue jazz and moved to New York—studying under Junior Mance and Aaron Goldberg. Oe graduated from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in May 2012 and is now appearing at jazz clubs throughout NYC and surrounding east coast areas such as Tomi Jazz, Zinc Bar, SOB, Blue Note; along with Japan tour at Tokyo Blue Note and Nagoya Blue Note. His second jazz album, “Spooky Hotel” went to the top in the Billboard Japan Jazz Charts, and he performed at Tokyo Jazz Festival 2013 with his big band and special vocalists, Sheila Jordan and Matt Dusk.
Island Reflections Dance Theater Company
The Island Reflections Dance Theatre Company is led by Artistic Director Stephen Hankey. Originally from Trinidad, Stephen has traveled the world teaching dance and appreciating differences. The company is dedicated to the improvement of society through exploration of diversity and physical movement. With an emphasis on Caribbean dance, the company teaches jazz, modern, ethnic and many other disciplines; and has performed around the New England area creating partnerships with community based organizations everywhere they go. www.islandreflections
Born in Cuba, Xiomara Reyes joined the American Ballet Theater as a soloist in 2001, and after two years was promoted to the rank of “Principal Dancer.” ABT’s repertory allowed her to develop and grow as an artist; performing works of her favorite choreographers like MacMillan, Ashton, Tudor and Killian. Xiomara’s distinguished dance career includes joining The National Ballet of Cuba were she performed as a corp de ballet and soloist, followed by seven years as a soloist with the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium before joining ABT. She has danced throughout the world as a “Guest Artist” in companies such as: The National Theatre of Tokyo, Ochi International Ballet in Osaka, Hakucho Ballet Japan, the Jeune Ballet de France, Ballet the Limoges, the Nafsika Dance Theater and Bashkirian State Ballet in Russia.
Kurt A. Douglas
Kurt A. Douglas received his BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory, where he was the recipient of the Ruth Solomon Ambrose Scholarship Award. He performed with the Boston Dance Theatre and The Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre in works by Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, and Lar Lubovitch. Kurt then joined The Limón Dance Company in 2001. During his first season with the company Kurt received a 2002 Princess Grace Award and was honored to perform for His Serene Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco and The Royal Family. He was the first African American dancer to step into the infamous role of “Iago” from “The Moor’s Pavane,” one of José Limón most famous works. Kurt was honored by Dance Magazine, and named one of the “TOP 25 TO WATCH” in the January 2006 issue. In 2008 Kurt joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for its 40th anniversary season. He has also been a “Guest Artist” with The Thang Dao Dance Company, Ballet Hispanico, and The Sean Curran Dance Company. Kurt has also produced and conducted Limón Dance workshops in Boston, New York, Oregon, Dallas and Bristol, England. Since Fall 2015, Kurt is a professor of dance at The Boston Conservatory Dance. www.bostonconservatory.edu/bio/kurt–douglas
Freedom Dance Ukraine
Freedom Dance Ukraine is a collaboration between dancers and musicians intimately affected by the events transpiring in Ukraine. Ukraine is currently characterized by place/displacement of people, national boundaries, and cultural identities. In 2014 Crimea was invaded and annexed by Russia and Ukraine continues to suffer a hybrid war on its eastern border with Russia–which threatens to undermine the Revolution of Dignity driving civil and government reform. This collaboration focuses on the movement of bodies as shaped by the current crisis, historical events, and the creative impulse in the present moment. Creative collaboration as art and politics form a basis for hope and the active pursuit of peace. Collaborators include dancers Elvira Demerdzhy (Crimea/Ukraine), Katja Kolcio (US), Nicole Stanton (US), and bandura and vocal artists Julian Kytasty (US/Ukraine) and Alina Kuzma (US).
Rachna Ramya Agrawal
Performer, choreographer, educator, and published author, Rachna Ramya Agrawal has studied the Lucknow style of Kathak under Smt. Maya Rao, and the Jaipur style of Kathak under Guru Rajendra Gangani. Rachna has been featured on Indian national television and has performed and presented workshops at venues such as the World Music Institute, Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Five by Five Dance Festival, and the White Mountain Summer Dance Festival, among others. Rachna is the Artistic Director of the Sumbhaav Dance Project, on faculty at Trinity College, and runs the Sumbhaav School of Kathak Dance in CT. She is a master teaching artist for the State of CT. www.kathakusa