Saira Barbaric (They/Them/Theirs)
Saira Barbaric is a Black disabled trans artist who’s been self-producing performances, events and short films since 2017. Saira’s work has been shown in galleries, nightclubs, theaters and public parks all over North America and Europe. Saira creates in mediums considered both high and low art with the goal of weakening the barriers between the two.
Image description: Saira in fishnets, knee pads and small green afro buns twists on a stage with their cane hand toward the camera. Photo by Snacks the Photographer
Suzanne Cowan (She/Her/Hers)
Dr Suzanne Cowan is an artistic director with Touch Compass Dance Company in New Zealand (touchcompass.org.nz). She is actively engaged as a professional in the field of disability dance. As well as graduating with a PhD in Dance from the University of Auckland in 2018 she has won numerous awards for her academic research and choreography including the Tup Lang Choreography Award in 2011, the June Opie Fellowship in 2014 and an AMP national scholarship in 2014. Internationally she is the only disabled artistic director of a professional, nationally funded dance company who holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Dance and teaches at a national and international level both academically and in the dance studio. Last year she taught a pioneering course ‘The History and Theory of Integrated Dance’ at Rutgers Arts Online, based in New Jersey.
Image description: Black and white photo of a pale skinned woman with shoulder length brown hair leaning towards the camera. Her shoulder strap on her right shoulder has wooden beads.
Kayla Hamilton is a Texas born, Bronx based performance maker, dancer, educator, cultural consultant, and the artistic director of K. Hamilton projects. Kayla is a 2023-2025 Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. Her past performance work has been presented at the Whitney Museum, Gibney, Performance Space New York, New York Live Arts, Abrons Arts Center, and the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD). Kayla has developed ‘Crip Movement Lab’- a pedagogical framework centering cross-Disability accessible movement practices that are open to every-body. She has taught dance at Sarah Lawrence College, Amherst College, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Utah, and University of Iowa. As a consultant, Kayla has developed and designed programming for Disabled artist for the Mellon Foundation, ArtSpeak, Dance USA, Movement Research and The Shed. As a dancer, Kayla was part of the Bessie award winning skeleton architecture, she has also danced for Maria Bauman, Sydnie L. Mosley and Gesel Mason. Kayla is currently in the process of creating a future organization centering the work of BIPOC Disabled creatives, while co-leading the 10th anniversary season of Angela’s Pulse/Dancing While Black, and developing a new evening length performance set to premier in NY in 2024 (TBA).
Image description: This is a headshot of Kayla Hamilton, who is a dark brown-skinned Black woman. She is posing in front of a blurred brick wall. She is wearing a long sleeve black & white striped shirt. She has light makeup and her gaze is towards us. Her black & golden highlighted dreads are down.
Maya Quetzali Gonzalez (She/Her/Hers)
Maya Quetzali Gonzalez is an artist, arts worker, and organizer. Her recent assistant directing and movement work includes YOU WILL GET SICK (Roundabout), MACBETH (Broadway), and OUR TOWN/NUESTRO PUEBLO (DTC). She is a member of WOCA, an Associate Member of SDC, and serves on the board of IndieSpace. She also works with Jane’s Due Process, a Texas-based reproductive justice organization. Maya is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she was a Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholar.
Image description: Maya, a Mexican American young woman with short wavy black hair, smiles softly at the camera. She wears a black turtleneck. Behind her is a painted canvas tapestry with an abstract yellow design.
Shireen Hamza (They/Them/Theirs/She/Her/Hers)
Shireen Hamza likes to sing and dance in the sun. She is an historian and artist living in Chicago, where she teaches with a prison education project (PNAP). Her historical research focuses on the history of science beyond the modern West. Specifically, she works on the history of medicine, bodies, and sexuality in the medieval Islamic world, especially the regions connected by the Indian Ocean. In recent work, Shireen draws on premodern medical texts to create poetic scores for dance and movement. She facilitates intimate workshops for dancers and non-dancers to explore experiences of illness and therapeutics through the scores.
Image description: shireen, a brown person wearing glasses, a kurti and blazer, and covering her hair with a hijab in the style of a turban, looks into the camera and smiles. she is sitting in the sun with water behind her.
Antoine Hunter (Purple Fire Crow)
Oakland native, Antoine Hunter aka Purple Fire Crow is an award-winning internationally known Black, Indigenous, Deaf, Disabled, choreographer, dancer, actor, instructor, speaker, producer and Deaf advocate. He creates opportunities for Disabled, Deaf and hearing artists, produces Deaf-friendly events, and founded the Urban Jazz Dance Company in 2007 and Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival in 2013. Awards include the 2022 Disability Futures Fellowship, 2021 Dance Teacher Award, 2019 National Dance/USA fellowship recognized by the Mayor of Oakland, 2018 inaugural Jeanette Lomujo Bremond Humanity Arts Award and 2017 Isadora Duncan (Izzie) for BAIDDF. In response to Covid-19 in July 2020, Hunter founded #DeafWoke, an online talk show that amplifies BIPOC Deaf and Disabled stories as a force for cultural change. Www.realurbanjazzdance.com
Image description: Artist portrait of an Indigenous Black person with dark chocolate skin from his mother. He has almond shaped eyes with long lashes. a single dreadlock visible across his cheek and the rest of his hair in a low braid. Antoine has a full beard and is bare chested with his left hand raised artistically near his face. His right hand is gently supporting his left forearm. Photo credit: RJ Muna
WillYum LaBeija (They/Them/Theirs)
Willyum LaBeija, William McLeod, North Carolina native who served in the US Army. During his time of service, he completed the MWR Soldier Show for two years as a dance captain. Training includes classical and urban genres of dance with an emphasis in vogue performance. Current member of the Royal House Of LaBeija since 2011 Recipient of the following awards include National Veterans Art Summit 2019 residency, Movement Residency Brazil/Panama 2019/2020, Links Hall Co-Missions Winter Residency 2019, Physical Theatre Residency in Austria 2019/2020, New International Performing Arts Institute Residency 2020, Neighborhood Arts Entrepreneurship Project-Task force member, Ways Residency 2020, Global Water Dances Choreographer/Site Lead2019/2020, Breaking Grounds Performance Series 2018.
Image description: Photo of WillYum LaBeija
Zahna Simon (She/Her/Hers)
A San Francisco native and Deaf from birth, Zahna is a professional dancer, chemist, avid health nutritionist, researcher and Deaf advocate. Zahna is the Assistant Director for Urban Jazz Dance Company and the Bay Area International Deaf Dance Festival and a full time office manager at a Professional Fiduciary Office. She has been featured in KPBS TV, CBS Bay Sunday, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine and Ikouii Creative’s Book, IN THE STUDIO, published on Stance on Dance and was a Deaf Editor for Sins Invalid Disability Justice Primer. She has also performed with Kim Epifano, San Francisco Trolley Dances, Alameda Island City Waterways, Man Dance Company and Abilities Dance Boston.
Image description: Zahna is a white female with long blonde hair. She is wearing a black sportsbra and shorts striking a movement pose. Photo credit: RJ Muna
Akhila Vimal C. (She/Her/Hers)
Dr. Akhila Vimal C. is a dancer, and a performance, and disability studies scholar. As a trained dancer, who identifies as disabled, owing to partial and recurrent vision loss, Akhila’s research is located at the intersection of performance and disability and disabled dance pedagogy. Methodologically, she is committed to Practice as Research. As a Fulbright-Nehru Postdoctoral fellow at UCLA (2022-24), her project is to develop a practice-led dance pedagogy for blind and low-vision performers. The pedagogical model aims to collectively initiate collaborative learning, through somatic engagement with blind and low-vision performers, including the cultural unlearning of the expectations that come with dance training and sensibility.
Image description: Image of Akhila standing on a rock with a brick-orange pair of trousers, an ivory T-shirt, a black and red scarf, and glasses. Hills and lush meadows are behind her.
alx velozo (They/Them/Theirs)
Alx Velozo is a trans and disabled sculptress, educator, and performance artist raised in North Florida: occupied Timucua land, currently residing in Baltimore, Maryland: occupied Pascataway land. Their installations and performances combine cultural imaginations of illness, touch, kink, the medical industrial complex, and kinesthetic learning models. They explore this research through mold-making processes, movement and object-based performances, and facilitation. They most recently received their M.F.A. in Sculpture and Extended media from Virginia Commonwealth University, and previously received a B.F.A. from Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. Velozo has exhibited, taught, and facilitated in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Richmond, Miami, and Chilchota, MX, Montreal, QC.
Image description: A white performer in a white mesh shirt dances with a lavender cane across a floor covered with cornstarch. A large black speaker looms in the corner of the room and the cornstarch holds the trace of the dancer’s movement and floor contact with their cane and feet.