Kelsie Acton graduated with a BA in Drama from the University of Alberta in 2006, followed by an MA in Theatre Studies from the University of Guelph. While in Guelph she began to study with Dance Theatre David Earle. She has worked with CRIPSiE, Toy Guns Dance Theatre, and Rising Sun Theatre in Edmonton. Her choreography has been presented by Dancefest@Nextfest, the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Latitude 53, and the Expanse Movement Arts Festival.
Artist and Activist
Bailey Anderson studied disability at the intersection of dance pedagogy, performance, and feminist theory at CU Boulder. Bailey’s work has been presented at the Canadian Society for Dance Studies, Sans Souci Dance Film Festival, in London at the Society for Dance Research, and at the Body-Mind Centering Association Conference. As a fellow at the New York Public Library, Bailey developed a project on Disability Aesthetics in Early American Modern Dance. Bailey is currently an independent choreographic artist and Accommodations Coordinator at the University of Iowa.
Artist and Activist
Margaret Bridger is a dance artist, writer, health activist, and teaching artist. Her choreographic work has been presented at Access Living, a leading disability rights organization in Chicago; and her writing has appeared in her blog, Crohn’s Chronicles. Bridger earned her AA from Cottey College in 2008 and her BA in dance with concentrations in dance making and dance studies from Columbia College Chicago in 2011. Bridger is a doctoral student in Disability Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Mel Chua is a dance artist, engineer, auditory low-pass filter, and multimodal polyglot currently working at the Biomedical Engineering department of Georgia Tech in the Studio for Transforming Engineering Learning and Research (STELAR) while completing her Ph.D. at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education. Chua received her B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College of Engineering and spent several years in the open-source software and hardware industry before returning to academia. Chua’s research focuses on faculty development, learning in hacker/maker communities, embodied qualitative research methodologies, and prototyping alternate ontologies of curricular culture in engineering education.
Artist, Performer, and Choreographer
Vanessa Hernández Cruz
Dancer, Choreographer, Filmmaker, Poet & Activist
Vanessa Cruz (she, her, hers) is an emerging Chicana disabled dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, poet & activist. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, she received her Associates Degree in Dance from Santa Monica College. She is currently a candidate for the B.A in Dance Science from California State University Long Beach.
In 2020, her dance film “Nycto-Eternity” won The Dance Cinema Award from Frostbite International Film Festival and was recently screened for The Midnight Film Festival in New York. In 2018, She won first place in the Global Citizenship Research Symposium: Dance & Disability in Santa Monica College for her dance film “Grey City”. Vanessa’s choreographic work has received the award for Cultural Diplomacy for Innovation in Choreography from Ballet Beyond Borders in 2019.
Her dance training embodies Horton Technique, Ballet, and various dance forms. She has trained at Cal State Long Beach, Santa Monica College, and in dance intensives that includes: BODYTRAFFIC Dance Company, Gaga Home Lab, LINES Ballet workshop, and AXIS Dance Company: Choreography & performance module. She has had the opportunity to learn choreographic work from Marjani Fortè-Saunders, Barak Marshall staged by BODYTRAFFIC Dance Company, Reagan Li, Meri Bender, Mark Tomasic, Sri Susilowati, Laura Smyth, & Keali’i Ceballos.
Activism through the lens of Disability Justice, intersectionality, and community care is deeply rooted in her work. Through the university student-led organization, Affinity AIDE (Advocates for Inclusion and Dancer Equity), along with the other amazing student cohort, the following has been achieved in the Department of Dance at CSULB: a disability statement in the syllabi, an initiative to ensure all dance concerts are accessible, disability dance in their curriculum and more.
Her lifetime aspirations are to continue to perform, choreograph, create, and to continue to pave an easier path for future disabled artists through her activism.
Check out more of Vanessa’s work on Instagram: @galaxiesdance
Dancer, Graphic Designer, and Performer
Christelle Dreyer is a dancer, graphic designer, and performer. Dreyer obtained a National Diploma in Graphic Design from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and a Baccalaureus Technologiae in Graphic Design. Currently working towards her Magister Technologiae. As a Ballroom and Latin dancer, Dreyer won first place for her section at the 2007 Holland World (disabled) Champions in Boxmeer, Amsterdam. Contemporary dance work includes performing with, and as a teaching artist with Remix Dance Company.
Mark Travis Rivera
Choreographer, Podcaster, Speaker, Writer
Mark Travis Rivera is an award-winning professional storyteller––telling stories is at the core of Mark’s purpose in life. A graduate of William Paterson University of New Jersey, Rivera earned a bachelor’s in women’s & gender studies with a minor in public relations. In 2013, Rivera received the Student Government Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award for his commitment to the William Paterson community. In the same year, he was honored with the Campus Pride Voice & Action Award for his work with the LGBTQ community. More recently, he won the Audre Lorde Award for Social Justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY.
Rivera is the youngest person to found an integrated dance company in the United States, marked dance project, a contemporary company for dancers with and without disabilities, established in March 2009, made its debut at Rutgers University. The company has also performed at the Silk City Summer Arts Festival, the Painted Bride Art Center, the Mandell Theater, the Actor’s Fund Arts Center in Brooklyn, NY and New York University. Through MDP, Rivera has worked with choreographers such as Caitlin Trainor, Stacey Tookey, Todrick Hall, Tyce Diorio, and Marinda Davis.
After ten years of remarkable dancing, Rivera decided to dissolve the marked dance project and continue working as an independent disabled choreographer. Rivera’s writing has also been published in The Bergen Record, Herald News, The Star Ledger, Fox News Latino, and The Huffington Post. His debut collection, Drafts: An Imperfect Collection of Writing was published in August of 2017 through Amazon. In 2020, Rivera launched his wellness podcast, Marking The Path, which is available on Apple Podcast and Spotify. Rivera resides in Oakland, California.
Octavia Rose Hingle
Dance Artist & Visual Storyteller
Octavia Rose Hingle is an adaptive dance artist and visual storyteller born & raised in the East Bay Area, California. They facilitate collaborations with artists across disciplines that center accessibility as an aesthetic portal to visions of past and future ancestors that travel through the present moment. Octavia holds a BA in dance from Middlebury College, and has studied with ODC/Dance, AXIS Dance Co, and the Headlong Performance Institute. They have recently performed original choreography for LEVYsalon, the SAFEhouse for the Arts, the Shawl Anderson Queering Dance Festival & the National Queer Arts Festival. You can see more of their work at vimeo.com/octaviarose
Facilitator, Choreographer, and Performer
Harmanie Taylor is a facilitator, choreographer, and performer. Taylor has been actively involved in the integrated dance movement since 2006. Taylor has worked with Alice Sheppard, CRIPSiE (AB), Real Wheels Theatre (BC), and is a co-facilitator with All Bodies Dance Project, an integrated dance company based in Vancouver, BC. Taylor’s latest works premiere in June 2019 at the All Bodies Dance Project Production: Magic and Remembering. Taylor holds a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Lethbridge and an Arts and Cultural Management certificate from MacEwan University.
Professor Emerita of English, Emory University
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is a disability justice and culture thought leader, bioethicist, educator, and humanities scholar. Her work in bioethics, critical disability studies, and health humanities brings disability culture, ethics, and justice to a broad range of institutions and communities. She is co-editor of About Us: Essays from the New York Times about Disability by People with Disabilities and the author of Staring: How We Look as well as several other books. She is a Hastings Center Fellow and Senior Advisor and professor emerita of English and bioethics at Emory University.
Professor, Chair of Disability Studies Minor, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, UCLA
Guggenheim fellow and Alpert Award-winning choreographer, filmmaker, scholar, and activist Victoria Marks joined the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures / Dance in 1995 and, since 2017, she has served as the Associate Dean, Academic Affairs for the School of the Arts and Architecture. Marks serves as the chair of UCLA’s Disability Studies minor. She creates dances for the stage, film, and in community settings. Her choreography has long considered the politics of citizenship, as well as the representation of both virtuosity and disability. These themes are part of her ongoing commitment to locating dance-making within the sphere of political meaning.
A sunlit, outdoor headshot of a smiling white woman with short greying hair in front of green foliage.
Artistic Director, Kinetic Light
Alice Sheppard trained with Kitty Lunn and first performed with Infinity Dance Theater. Alice then became a core company member with AXIS Dance Company. Her choreography has been commissioned by CRIPSiE, Full Radius Dance, and MOMENTA Dance Company. Alice is the Artistic Director of Kinetic Light, a project-based ensemble, working at the intersections of disability, dance, design, identity, and technology to create transformative art and advance the intersectional disability arts movement. A USA Artist, Creative Capital grantee, and Bessie Award winner, Alice creates movement that engages intersectional disability arts, culture, and history, challenging conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies.