TRACKS // Artist Profiles

Artist profiles

Featuring dance artists based in Boston and Pittsburgh.

Presented by: Kat Nasti Dance & JAMpress management


Kat nasti dance
SHOWING: maman, Steam Heat (June 7 only)

Choreography: Kathleen Nasti
Music: Max Richter
Dancers: Kat Nasti, Tara Lynch, Janelle Abbott Staley

Maman is a physical and durative contemporary piece that considers " a woman's truth" as reflected upon in the Virginia Woolf's essay a room of one's own.

Kat Nasti Dance was founded in 2007 by Kat Nasti and is currently based in Boston. Kat Nasti embraces dance in all of its glorious forms and her choreography has taken place on the ground, in the air, and on tiny little stages. The work draws from her world travels and background in ballet and jazz and presents a contemporary form that is dynamic, fun, funny, and poignant. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Staycee R. Pearl
Music: Herman Pearl aka DJ Soy Sos
Dancers: Chandra Blount, Shonnita Johnson, Rayne Jones, Ronnell Kitt, 
LaTrea Rembert, Jessica Marino, Ira Cambric

FLOWERZ is a vibrantly driven dance and live deejay performance inspired by the movement and music in House Culture. Artistic Directors share a common history within the scene: Staycee as a regular on the dance floor in clubs and loft parties, and Herman as a producer with nationally acclaimed dance track makers including Three Generations Walking. Recently premiered in the gymnasium of the landmark old YMCA building in Pittsburgh, PA and now at the Ace Hotel, FLOWERZ is a flexible work, suitable for a variety of open spaces and stages.

ABBEY : In the Red is a night of Jazz like no other in a live music and dance filled performance inspired by the life and music of Jazz vocalist, composer, and civil rights activist Abbey Lincoln featuring vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield and musicians Ben Barson, Ben Opie, Paul Thompson, and Elisa Kohanski. Integrated into this immersive musical experience is a moving, contemporary dance performance by STAYCEE PEARL dance project created to actively express the evolution of culture through the performing arts. Also featuring The Legacy Arts Project dancers and collaborating artists Idia'Dega, Atticus Adams, and Scott Nelson.

STAYCEE PEARL dance project (PAS|SPdp) exists to interpret and mirror the human condition through dance and dance centered multi-media experiences. With diverse casting and programing, PAS|SPdp explores innovative conceptual possibilities while participating in meaningful collaboration with artists, educators, musicians, choreographers, and activists. PAS|SPdp produces innovative dance performances, layered visual and sonic artistic presentation, and programming around compelling concepts and themes relevant to current social/political issues. PAS|SPdp often illuminates and interprets the works of celebrated legendary and contemporary artists of the African Diaspora, and collaborates with other artists to broaden our creative scope and bring varied perspectives to the work. Previous collaborators include percussionist Jeff Berman, cellist Dave Eggar, video artist Carolina Loyola-Garcia, choreographer/dancer Ursula Payne, dramaturge Adil Mansoor, and visual/video artist Alisha Wormsley. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Graduate Program
Le Corsaire

Choreography: Marius Petipa
Music: Riccardo Drigo
Dancers: Saki Tsuruta, Masanao Ito

Classical Ballet; Le Corsaire (The Pirate) is a thrilling ballet about Conrad, a dashing pirate, and his love for Medora, a beautiful harem girl.

Saki Tsuruta and Masanao Ito are dancers of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre Graduate Program. These young dancers, on the cusp of their professional careers, perform regularly in PBT’s main-stage company productions, most recently in Giselle, The Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, and Romeo and Juliet. Throughout each year, dancers in the PBT Graduate Program are also cast in performing ensembles that expand PBT’s performance reach so that audiences throughout the region are able to enjoy the superb training and artistry of these young dancers.

The ensemble prepares each dancer for a professional career. Dancers, from ages 18 to 22, hail from places across the Americas, Canada, Europe and Asia. These dancers have studied for many years in their quest to become professional dancers and have been selected from an international group of candidates by the artistic staff of PBT and PBT School.

Under the leadership of PBT Artistic Director Terrence S. Orr and PBT School Co-Directors, Marjorie Grundvig and Dennis Marshall, ensemble dancers participate in an extensive schedule of daily classes, rehearsals and performances. To complement daily ballet technique class, the dancers study character, modern, contemporary, Pilates and yoga. Ensemble dancers enhance their experience through performances, lecture-demonstrations, and by working closely with renowned choreographers.

Each year, many dancers from this ensemble go on to join PBT’s company or receive contracts and apprenticeships with other prestigious national companies around the country and world. Ensemble alumni have performed with companies including American Repertory Ballet, Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, Atlantic City Ballet, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Austin, Ballet Met Columbus, Ballet West, Boston Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Colorado Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, Complexions, Columbia City Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Nashville Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Nevada Ballet Theater, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Richmond Ballet, Sacramento Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and our own Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, where more than 50% of the Company roster is composed of PBT School alumni. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.

Molly Hess

Choreography: Molly Hess
Dancers: Molly Hess

A dance theater solo.

Molly Hess is a Cambridge, MA based dance artist interested in interested in memory, storytelling, feminism, care in the face of conflict, and connection of voice with movement. In 2016 Molly + Tessa Make a Dance around the East Coast. In 2016 Arc Dance Research Laboratory selected her as the emerging artist in residence. Her work employs vivid imagery, storytelling and sometimes power crafting to create immersive experiences for audiences and has been presented in many venues on the East Coast and beyond. Besides having a dedicated choreographic practice Molly is a member of Back Pocket Dancers and teaches dance with a focus on creative process in Cambridge and Arlington, MA. She received her B.A. in dance from St. Olaf College in 2012. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.

SHOWING: PASSENGER, a diddy (June 7 only)

Choreography: Shana Simmons
Music: Original Composition by Ian Green
Dancers: Kaitlin Dann, Kurtis Sprowls, Jamie Erin Murphy, Shana Simmons
Additional dancers (A Diddy): Carmella Cuomo, AJ Libert, Daniela O'Neil

PASSENGER is a full-length contemporary dance work, which creates a performance environment of choreography, sound, and visual spectacle. The audience remains challenged to think about the impact of extinction and how it relates to them.  PASSENGER explores the comparison of bird behavior (migration, flocking) to human behavior, the consumption of resources, and how it connects to the extinction of the passenger pigeon. The extinction of the passenger pigeon was honored in 2014 on its hundred year anniversary through a nationwide collective effort to bring awareness to the public. PASSENGER was a part of those efforts, presented through a site specific performance at the National Aviary.

Shana Simmons Dance (SSD) was founded in 2009 by Artistic Director Shana Simmons to create unique and engaging contemporary dance. Since its founding, Simmons has used dance as a means to express other people’s opinions as well as her own: to interpret and create. She takes inspiration from the immediate world in which we are living, and her choreographic expressions are created from the ways in which our society is changing, the need for intimate connections to people and objects, and providing the viewer a unique perspective, if not participatory action. The result for the viewer is an emotional reaction or a thought process about the work. SSD projects aim to draw audiences into modern dance in new and creative ways and highlight current societal topics for project based work.

SSD began its project history in 2009, following Simmons’ graduation from LABAN in London, England. Their first collaboration was with Artmongers, an artistic company focusing on community murals and led by Patricio Forester. The company’s first two projects involved a site specific Tea Party for the local Deptford community, next to Greenwich, and a Hospital Project for the newly revamped children’s hospital wing at St Thomas’s Hospital, located in London proper. Both performance events utilized the sites in creative and entertaining ways, engaging the audience into the performance and encouraging dance as an accessible and fun form of expression. The goals of both of these performances were to bring new life into places that otherwise seem desolate or scary.
Since their relocation to Pittsburgh, PA, SSD has produced three major productions through the support of the Heinz Small Arts Initiative. Relative Positions (2012) was a building take over involving over twenty artists who performed/presented their works in site specific locations throughout. Over 250+ attendees were documented and it boasted “Pittsburgh as a vibrant arts scene.” Jane Vranish, Pittsburgh Post Gazette. PASSENGER (2014) honored the hundred year anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon, once the most numerous bird in North America. Presented at the National Aviary, five dancers swept, leapt, and careened through space, transforming the center of the aviary into a feathered nest of movement.

Objective I (2015) was a collaboration with NYC based company, The Moving Architects, experimenting with editing in dance. Based on an article written by Judith Mackrell, both choreographers created and edited each other’s work. Presented as a two step project, Objective I was presented in both NYC and Pittsburgh. Discussions ensued with audiences; topics of artistic voice, entertainment value, and the true nature of a choreographic work were debated.

Along with these three productions, Artistic Director, Shana Simmons, has created more than twelve choreographic pieces since 2009. Her works have been seen in London, Belgium, New York City, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. SSD also has a long standing collaborative relationship with The Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra, producing four separate works to date.

SSD strives to maintain excellence in choreographic quality, create experiences for audiences highlighting current topics, and views performance as an exchange between audience member and performer. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.

SHOWING: Tough Love, Knew I Was Wrong, Changes, Hometown Pride and 501s' & Chuck Tays

Rap Artists: Swerve LG, Kid Flem

A fusion of story-telling ballads from past and present projects that will help to paint mental narrative for audience members.

Faith And Brutality (F. A. B) is an American Hip-Hop group formed in 2009, from Pittsburgh PA. The group is comprised of two rappers, known by their stage names, Swerve LG and Kid Flem. The duo brings a unique sound into the rap culture that commands attention and leaves a lasting impression on all audiences. F.A.B Released their First Single, "Tough Love," on May 6th, 2013, from their Blackboard East Album, and plan to release more music later this year. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.

Represented by Creative Direction Artist Management.


Choreography: Brady Sanders
Music: Julianna Barwick, Valgeir Sigurðsson, STAT News
Dancers: Brady Sanders, Shana Simmons

Alzheimer's disease and related dementia affects millions of people worldwide. This short contemporary work grapples with the question, "When we forget ourselves and our loved ones, what remains?” 

Brady Sanders currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA and has performed with Dansz Loop Chicago, Inaside Chicago Dance, Thodos Dance Chicago, Attack Theatre in the Pittsburgh Opera, the Murphy/Smith Dance Collective, Jamie Erin Murphy and Shana Simmons Dance. He has toured nationally and internationally with Thodos Dance Chicago and The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps. Brady founded and is the current Artistic Director of the Pride of Cincinnati Dance Ensemble. His choreography has been performed by many artistically innovative groups including but not limited to, The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps, the Pride of Cincinnati Winter Guard and The Pride of Cincinnati Dance Ensemble. Brady’s choreography was most recently seen at the 2016 newMoves Contemporary Dance Festival and the Texture Contemporary Ballet WIP Choreography Project. He is currently teaching, performing and choreographing extensively throughout the Pittsburgh area and across the Midwest. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Paul Singh
Music: ''Entr'acte'' by Caroline Shaw
Text: Paul Singh
Dancers: Danielle Davidson, Shura Baryshnikov

Commissioned in 2016, Paul Singh's exquisite work, Oracles 1 & 2,  exhibits arresting technical prowess while weaving beautifully unusual movement material with raw human moments.  The accompanying sound score -- a rich world of spoken word and musical phrasing -- is matched by the ebb and flow of physical effort and stillness in the dance, punctuated by difficult Cunningham-esque technical puzzles.

Doppelgänger Dance Collective (DDC) co-founded in 2015 by dancers Shura Baryshnikov and Danielle Davidson, fosters the creation and performance of original, contemporary choreographic work for duet performance. Compelled to dance together from the start, they conceived of a performance project that framed or captured this shared duality, their immediate bodily complicity. DDC is the tangible result of these dialogues.  The pair offers choreographic commissions to a diverse group of artists each season and is committed to public accessibility and service to the community, through mentoring and teaching opportunities, as well as informal showings and presentations. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Crystal Nilsson and Stephen Ursprung
Music: Olafur Arnolds, The Books, Calvin Harris
Text: Crystal Nilsson and Stephen Ursprung; Read by Catriona Hynds
Dancers: Larissa Ursprung, Stephen Ursprung

As described by cultural anthropologist Marc Augé, transportation terminals represent non-places; they are as ubiquitous as they are nonexistent. They represent an anti-cultural space that lacks cultural familiarity, yet they are a part of the cultural knowledge of our increasingly globalized society. It is our argument that it is in the shared familiarity of these spaces so devoid of cultural specificity that we uncover and display our most universal human characteristics. By stripping away the notion that culture makes us human, we hope to use human movement—both pedestrian and transit-specific—to build a movement vocabulary that reflects global knowledge of locating and relocating ourselves.

NilsSprung Dance Project was created as an outlet for the creative exploration and collaboration of Crystal Nilsson and Stephen Ursprung. Nilsson and Ursprung share a passion for improvisation, physical rigor, and a playful and whimsical exploration of complex ideas. NilsSprung Dance Project has presented work at Movement Research (NYC), SpringWIDEOpen (Holyoke, MA), Brown University (Providence, RI), Framingham State University (MA), and with the Boston Touring Group at Chisenhale Dance Space in London, UK. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett
Music: Colin Stetson; Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld
Dancers: Naoko Brown, Callie Chapman, Justin Daniel, Danielle Davidson, ArVejon Jones, Flora Kim, Shoshana Moyer, Lonnie Stanton

When we connect with another person, signals become interwoven. We transfer patterns and ways of being by an organic and energetic osmosis.  Briefly, we are not alone. As we move through experiences, we are left with the traces of former relationships that could be described as ghost memories. We capture each other in this way being caught in a state of perpetual longing to not be alone. 

Prometheus Dance, directed by Diane Arvanites and Tommy Neblett, was founded in1989. The company has performed extensively both nationally and internationally. Prometheus Dance has been produced in New York City by the Joyce SoHo, New York University, Downtown Baca, La Mama, at Lincoln Center’s Out-of-Doors Festival and in Avery Fisher Hall; in Boston by the Celebrity Series, OperaBoston, Dance Umbrella, Crash Arts, First Night, Boston Center for the Arts, Emerson Stage, and The Boston Conservatory; and in Connecticut by the New England Artists’ Trust Congress and the International Festival of Arts And Ideas. Recent festivals include Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Yard, Outside the Box Festival, Riverside Dance Festival, and Bates Dance Festival. The company has performed internationally in France, Spain, Venezuela, and Ecuador and will be traveling to Istanbul in 2018. The artistic directors have also created dance for OperaBoston, Boston Opera Collaborative and the Boston Movement Collaborative. Prometheus hosts a professional development program for artists and presents outreach performances in public schools, alternative venues, shelters and senior homes. Awards for choreography include a Creativity Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and six Artists Fellowships for Choreography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Jamie Erin Murphy
Dancers: Jamie Erin Murphy, Brady Sanders, Shana Simmons

Words on Lost is an excerpt from Murphy’s new work-in-progress full-length piece, Identity, dealing with rediscovering oneself and voice. This piece is an exploration of words that make us feel lost or trapped that have been formed into a movement vocabulary.

Jamie Erin Murphy is a Pittsburgh based choreographer, dancer and educator who is passionate about exploring the human body through movement. She is a 2007 graduate of Point Park University and has performed with numerous companies in the area. She has presented work in PA, OH and NY and is a three time nominee of the Carol R. Brown Arts Achievement Award. Through her choreography and education of others, Murphy believes in making her art form accessible for all bodies. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Maree ReMalia in collaboration with HyunJung Lee
Dancers: HyunJung Lee, Maree ReMalia

e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. is a collage of a duet created by Korean movement artist HyunJung Lee and American dance artist Maree ReMalia. Their abstract expressions reflect their experiences and discussions grappling with acknowledging, becoming, belonging, persevering, suffering, mourning, coping, and celebrating.

Maree ReMalia | merrygogo and ChudaChudaHyun are the artists’ platforms for creating collaborative, project-based performance works with communities of shifting collaborators. They work with individuals across a range of identities, abilities, and disciplines with the intention of honoring and showcasing the particularities of the people with whom they are creating and bringing unlikely groups together. Their dances have been presented in Israel, South Korea, and the United States. Together they co-facilitate Gaga classes, improvisation, and repertory in professional, academic, and community settings with dance professionals and youth, college students, and adults of all ages who are in training and also newcomers to dance. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Kimberleigh A. Holman
Music: Field recordings and arrangement by K. A. Holman
Dancers: Melenie Diarbekirian, Katharina Schier

Between Words and Space is a contemporary duet built somatically on finding risk and authenticity in the present tense, and thematically on the trials and tribulations of communication. Created in 2016 by Kimberleigh Holman with Luminarium Dance’s Katie McGrail and Katharina Schier, the work features bold physical decision making, communicative ulterior motive, manipulation in communication and as a device, and fluidity in self and relationship. Silent observation, physical response—how do we communicate our joys, our daily cruelties?

Luminarium Dance Company, founded by Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh Holman, is an award-winning contemporary dance company now in its sixth season that is regularly hailed for its unique combination of dance and light. The Boston-based company has performed its repertory in venues from New York City to California. The company's latest project was a commission to open TEDxCambridge—the single largest TED event in the world—which debuted at the Boston Opera House to an audience of 2,600. Luminarium regularly conducts community outreach projects: several for underserved youth throughout the Northeast through its Arts in Action Projects; an annual Cultural Community Outreach Project, using dance and art to highlight a local landmark; and America's only 24-Hour ChoreoFest each season. Luminarium is proud to support its company members and guest artists who join the company from Greater Boston, while its artistic directors act as panelists, mentors, and guest lecturers at colleges and art institutions throughout New England. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.


Choreography: Teena Marie Cluster
Music: Excerpt of "Cielo" by Murco; "Trust Me" by Sango
Dancer: Teena Marie Cluster

My Good Side is a solo, evening-length, interactive, hip hop dance theater show. It utilizes various street dance forms to investigate our relationship to vanity on social media. My Good Side explores where fantasy ends and reality begins, in an attempt to curate our lives through technology.

Teena Marie Custer is an urban dance theater artist based in Pittsburgh, PA.  She battles and performs with her street dance crews Get Down Gang and Venus Fly. Her urban dance theater work has been presented at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London, The American Dance Festival, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Ford Amphitheater in LA, and the American College Dance Festival Gala Concert.  She has also created hip hop dance theater works for over 25 university dance departments around the U.S., and her tv and film credits include BET, MTV’s MADE, the feature film “Leading Ladies,” directed by Erika Randall and “Fathers and Daughters” starring Russell Crowe. CLICK TO LEARN MORE.