CURT STEINZOR began his career as a classical clarinetist. He received his BA in Music from Wesleyan University (Middletown CT) in 1977 and his MFA in Clarinet Performance from California Institute for the Arts (Valencia CA) in 1981. At both institutions he also studied classical Javanese gamelan music under master musicians Sumarsam, Harjito, and KRT Wasitodiningrat. He earned a Ph.D. in Historical Musicology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1996. His dissertation surveyed dance music published in Italy between 1600 and 1640. Steinzor also has a Master of Library Science degree from the University at Buffalo. Steinzor has published several books and articles on music history and clarinet-related topics.

In 1982 Steinzor and his wife dancer/choreographer Elaine Gardner founded Pick of the Crop Dance, a Buffalo NY-based contemporary repertory company devoted to collaborations between dancers, musicians, and visual artists. During its 25 years of active production, the company delivered over 2,000 performances, workshops, master classes, educational projects, and other services to audiences throughout western New York, the Northeast, and abroad. In addition to performing, teaching, and serving as Executive and Music Director, Steinzor created some 35 original dance scores using a combination of computer-based composition, live recording, and live performance. Steinzor's music was featured in performances with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and other prominent local cultural institutions. His album-length dance soundtracks – HANSEL & GRETEL, THE SNOW QUEEN, and CINDERELLA – are available worldwide on services such as Amazon, Apple Music, and Spotify.

Steinzor became Director of the New York State DanceForce in 2009. His responsibilities include management of the infrastructure including fiscal administration; selection, supervision, and mentorship of the members; grant writing; public relations, marketing and advocacy; and planning of biannual membership conferences.

D. Chase Angier is an active artist, educator, curator and arts advocate. Angier Performance Works are created in collaboration with dynamic artists in the visual and performing arts; and have been exhibited internationally (Japan, Czech Republic, Germany, Mexico, The United Kingdom, Iceland, France) and nationally in theaters, galleries, and visually inspiring sites. Angier is the Chair of Alfred University’s Performing Arts Division, and a Professor of Dance in the School of Art and Design + Performing Arts Division. She is the Artistic Director for the Marlin Miller Dance Residency Program since 2002, and has collaboratively developed a dance program at Alfred University based on creative place making, site specific choreography and interdisciplinary performance. She has been a member of the NYSCA/NY State DanceForce since 2016 and has worked to bring artists such as Wendy Whelan, Brian Brooks, Eiko Otake, Saakumu, and Cameron McKinney to audiences in western NY. Angier was a curator for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, and a Curriculum Specialist in Dance for Juilliard’s Global K – 12 Program. Angier is an International Juror for the Exhibition of Countries and Regions at the 2023 Prague Quadrennial. She received her MFA in choreography from The Ohio State University and her BA in dance from The University of California, Los Angeles.

Gregory Cary is a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music. He studied with Vladimir Dokoudovsky, Hector Zaraspe, Margaret Craske, José Limón, Martha Graham, and at the American Ballet Theatre School. He toured with American Ballet Theatre in 1977-1978. In addition, he danced professionally with modern choreographers including José Limón, Helen McGehee, and Kazuko Hirabayashi. In 1990, with Bentley Roton, Kevin McKenzie, and Martine van Hamel, Cary co-founded the 153-acre Kaatsbaan International Dance Center, now Kaatsbaan Cultural Park, in Tivoli, NY. Cary wrote the original business plan and designed the Studio/Theater Complex and Dancers' Inn at Kaatsbaan and for 30 years was the founding Artistic and Executive Director. Cary served on the dance panel for the New York State Council on the Arts and was a member of the dance faculty of the State University of New York for 10 years. He is a nationally recognized visual artist with stained glass commissions in public buildings throughout the Washington, DC area and Hudson Valley. He collaborated with husband Bentley Roton on the set design for SO LONG EDEN for the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Dr. Robin Collen is an Associate Professor and has been Department Co-Chair—and currently Department Chair—since 2004. She began studying ballet with Natalia Clare in Los Angeles at the age of 7 and discovered modern dance in college at the University of Oregon. There, her stylistic influences included the techniques of Doris Humphrey and José Limón.

After college Robin moved to New York to study at the Nikolais/Louis studio. She was drawn to the movement training, the inclusion of improvisation and composition in daily practice, and the aesthetic—particularly of the work of Murray Louis. Robin returned to Oregon where she danced with the Mary Miller Dance Company, received her Master’s degree in dance at the University of Oregon, and served as a member of the dance faculty there for 3 years. Robin moved to Seattle and became immersed in the study of Laban Movement Analysis with Peggy Hackney, Pam Schick, Ed Groff, and Carol-Lynne Moore; she is a Certified Movement Analysis (CMA). In Seattle Robin choreographed plays and musicals, taught at local studios, and performed with independent choreographers. She moved to Ashland, Oregon to perform with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for 3 seasons. Along with performing Renaissance dances of the Italian court and English country dances she continued to choreograph and perform contemporary work. Robin received a Ph.D. in Dance and Related Arts at Texas Woman’s University. At SUNY Potsdam Robin teaches courses in Laban Movement Analysis, Modern Dance, Ballet, Dance History/Appreciation, Pilates, Improvisation, and Composition. At SUNY Potsdam Robin’s choreography has included contemporary works, musical theatre, and operas. Robin is affiliated with National Dance Education Association, Congress on Research in Dance, Society of Dance History Scholars, Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, and Motus Humanus.

Ms. D’Anne joined the staff of the New York State Council on the Arts in October 1977 and assumed the position of Director of the Dance Program at NYSCA from February 1980 until summer of 2011. Prior to that she was, for six years, Administrative Associate at the National Association for Regional Ballet and Project Director for NARB’s Craft of Choreography Conferences.

A love of dance and a dedication to the furtherance of the highest standards of artistic quality within the art form have occupied Ms. D’Anne from her earliest years to the present. As Director of the NYSCA Dance Program, she took on the role of dance advocate, fighting to help quality dance continue to flourish through the development of new funding initiatives that evolved out of the needs in the field. Among these initiatives have been the Long Term Residencies Program, Subsidies for Rehearsal Spaces, the New York State DanceForce (for reinvigorating statewide activity), the Commissions Program, and the Building Ballet Repertory category. These innovations have been instrumental in sustaining and elevating the landscape of dance in the state of New York.

Ms. D’Anne began ballet training at the age of three and studied in Denver, Colorado, with Lillian Cushing, one of the American pioneer dance teachers. Later, she came to New York City to study at the School of American Ballet and also studied with such well-known teachers as Valentina Pereyslavec, Vera Nemtchinova, Igor Schwezoff, and Vladimir Dokoudovsky. An injury brought an end to a brief performing career with American Ballet Theatre.

Ms. D’Anne, a recipient of the Dance Notation Bureau’s Distinguished Service Award in 1990, is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, with a major in Literature (Shakespeare, Folklore & Mythology and Comparative Drama) and minors in Pre-Law and French. She received a 2002 Bessie Award for Outstanding Service to the Field of Dance.

Ms. D’Anne is an Advisory Council Member at the School of American Ballet. She currently serves on the Advisory Committees of Dance/NYC and the 92nd St. Y Dance Center and on the Advisory Council of New York Live Arts. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the New York Dance and Performance Awards (The Bessies) and on the Advisory Board of Trustees of the Hospital for Joint Diseases/Harkness Center for Dance Injuries. She was invited to be a juror for the Prix Benois de la Danse in Moscow (May 2014); and recently became a Member of the Dance Committee, supporting the Dance Collection of the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.

Jacqueline Davis, professor of dance, brings 40 years of teaching and presenting experience to dance residency planning. The College at Brockport, State University of New York, has an extensive history as a dance presenter and residency host and the dance department is one of the country's largest and most comprehensive. Ms. Davis supports the continuing development of community partnerships between dance artists and her western New York colleagues and has facilitated many wonderful dance residencies that include activities for all ages. A charter member of the DanceForce, she is also a CMA, an Alexander Technique teacher, a K-12 state certified dance teacher and an occasional performer of her own solo dances.

Kim Engel is Assistant Director of the UAlbany Performing Arts Center, a five-theatre complex which hosts over 600 events annually in all of the performing arts. Previously, Kim was also the General Manager of The Egg and, during her thirteen years there, she programmed the dance series and administered long and short-term residencies with its guest dance companies. As an artist, Kim was company member of the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, a regional modern dance company. She also held roles with that company as a teaching artist, Education Coordinator and board member. Kim studied dance at Adelphi University and holds a BA in Communication from the University at Albany. She has worked at Jacob's Pillow, served on the board of directors of the Dance Alliance, and acted as a panel member for the Albany/Schenectady League of Arts, the Saratoga County Arts Council and The Arts Center of the Capital Region.

Margarita Espada has traveled the world in her careers as an artist, educator and cultural organizer, training in physical approach to theater practice. She is the founder and executive-artistic director of Teatro Yerbabruja, based on Long Island. She received her Master of Fine Art in Dramaturgy from Stony Brook University (New York). Margarita is a faculty member and the Theater Coordinator at Suffolk County Community College. She has received numerous awards and proclamation including 2018 NYS Citation from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office, 2018 “Artist of the Year ”by Legislator Monica Martinez, 2018 “Martin Luther King’s Living Legend Award” by NAACP, 2015 “Suffolk County Human Rights Commission Community Award”, 2015 “Long Islander who has made a Difference” from Long Island Progressive Coalition. Her use of the arts as a tool to promote civic dialogue among the diverse communities on Long Island has gained her the respect of community leaders and grassroots organizations alike. Her work has also been featured in media outlets such as Newsday, The New York Times, and the Associated Press.

A native of Glasgow, Scotland, Elaine Gardner studied ballet and modern dance in Syracuse, Phoenix, Los Angeles, London, Boston and New York. She performed in contemporary dances by Margo Sappington, Bill Evans, Charles Weidman, Donald Byrd, Kei Takei, Doris Humphrey and Laura Dean as a member of the Los Angeles-based touring repertory company Dance/L.A. from 1978 to 1980. In 1980, while living in Los Angeles, she founded Pick of the Crop Dance, a contemporary repertory company and in 1982 she re-established the company with her husband Curt Steinzor in Buffalo. Since then, she has performed individually and with the company throughout the northeastern United States as well as in Scotland and Latvia, creating a repertory of over 100 pieces as well as commissioning works by guest choreographers. Among the artists who have created works for the company are Colin Connor, Richard Colton, Terry Creach, Laura Dean, Itzik Galili, Gail Gilbert, Linda Kent, Jessica Lang, Kun Yang Lin, Peter Pucci, Nicholas Rodriguez, Marcus Schulkind, and Kevin Wynn. Gardner has served as a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts Dance Program. She teaches contemporary dance, ballet, and choreography at Nichols School in Buffalo, where she also directs the Nichols Dance Ensemble.

Danspace Project Executive Director Judy Hussie-Taylor has over twenty years of experience in arts administration and community relations. The former Executive Director of the nationally acclaimed Colorado Dance Festival (CDF), she has also served as Artistic Director for Theater Programs at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and Deputy Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art/Denver. She taught in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Colorado-Boulder and served as a director of the Department's prestigious Visiting Artist Program. Through her work at CDF, she participated in the National Performance Network and the National Dance Project. Recently, she served as a consultant for the National Dance Project's Regional Dance Development Initiative and Contemporary Art Centers Initiative. Her interviews, articles and essays have been published in Colorado newspapers, journals, and in catalogues and gallery brochures.

Margaret L. Kaiser is an independent Arts in Education consultant. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the NYS Dance Force and is a Facilitator for the Lincoln Center Institute for Arts in Education's online aesthetic education course. Ms. Kaiser is a member of the NYS Regents Professional Standards and Practices for Teaching Subcommittee, a docent for the Burchfield Penney Art Center, and a Board member of Pick of the Crop Dance. Ms. Kaiser was Executive Director of the Arts in Education Institute of Western New York in Buffalo, New York for the past 17 years, where she directed an in-depth multi-cultural focus for the Institute's aesthetic education program. Among her many projects, Ms. Kaiser co-produced and co-commissioned a Native American dance production, THE MAID OF THE MIST AND THE THUNDERBEINGS, funded by the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Arts Partners Program, which toured the East and West coasts. Ms. Kaiser has also served as a dance panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, Arts MidWest, and the Ontario Arts Council (Toronto). Ms. Kaiser received an M.A. and B.A. from SUNY College at Oswego.

James Lemons is the Executive Director of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts in Lake Placid, NY. During his tenure, the organization has revitalized its programming, increased community involvement, and experienced significant growth including a 75% increase in operating budget and a 40% increase in overall attendance. James has served as a guest speaker for the Association of Presenting Arts Professionals and South Arts, served as a panelist for the New York State Council on the Arts, and was a member of Autopistes – a collaboration of venues looking to increase the presence of international circus. James was formerly the General Manager of Florida Studio Theater, one of the largest producing houses on Florida’s West Coast, managing a budget of over $4.5M and producing 25 shows per season. James also oversaw the renovation of the Gompertz Theatre, a 100 year old historic theatre, and the creation of two new performances venues.

For forty years Nancy Long has been active in the dance world as a performer, educator, choreographer, presenter, producer, and activist. Building on the Mohawk Valley Dance Partnership's vision to enrich people’s lives through dance and to inspire people to make dance a meaningful part of their lives, Nancy Long has launched a new business, Utica Dance, that will preserve and build on the integrity of regional dance offerings instruction, training, and increase awareness and participation in dance throughout Central New York. Nancy attended CalArts before joining Donald McKayle's Inner City Repertory Ensemble. In 1974 she became a member of the NYC-based Joyce Trisler Danscompany, performing around the U.S. and Europe. Nancy appeared as a guest with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Jose Limon Dance Companies at City Center. For the past thirty-two years Nancy was the coordinator of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute's Dance Program and, in July 2014, she established Utica Dance, Inc to guarantee her continued interest in sharing dance with members of the community. Nancy has created numerous dances for her program. She is proud of the continuing success of her students in the field of dance.

Elena Mosley, Director and Founder of Kuumba Dance and Drum, began her dance career in various community centers in New York City. She performed with the Lady Helena Walquer Dance Company, Harlem, NY, Brothers and Sisters United of Staten Island and Haitian Dance Theater, under the direction of Louines Louinis. She participates in many cultural programs for Columbia, Greene and the Capital Region Schools and community arts programs. Elena serves as facilitator for the Kuumba adult company, which functions as a collective of African influences in modern society. She is currently the Executive Director of the Operation Unite Education and Cultural Arts Center located in Hudson.

Carlota Santana, Artistic Director and Founder of Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, has been designated "The Keeper of Flamenco" by Dance Magazine in recognition of her commitment to creating new works and developing young artists and choreographers. She has dedicated her company to the mission of building bridges between cultures, using the universal spirit of Flamenco. The company was founded in 1983 by Carlota Santana and Roberto Lorca; it was their vision that new Spanish dance should not only find a permanent home in the U.S., but also an environment in which its creation and performance would thrive. Since Mr. Loca's death in 1987 the Company, under Ms. Santana's direction, has expanded its repertory by presenting new music, dramatic works, and a mixture of various dance vocabularies, as well as by integrating Hispanic-American influences. Recent creations include "Bailes de Ida y Vuelta", flamenco's journey through Latin America, "Mano a Mano", a tribute to the bullfighter Manolete, and the contemporary flamenco story-ballet "Federico", a celebration of the life of Federico Garcia Lorca, all at The Joyce Theater.

Ms. Santana created the company's innovative arts-in-education program, integrating Spanish dance and culture with the school curriculum, and travels widely implementing this program. She is a member of the dance panel for the New York State Council on the Arts and has served on the panel for the National Endowment for the Arts. She is on the faculty of Duke University and has taught at Long Island and New York Universities. Under her artistic direction, the company has performed at Lincoln Center, The Joyce Theater, The New Victory Theater, Summerdance Santa Barbara, Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, Universidad Bucaramanga in Colombia, South America, Palacio de Congresos in Granada, Spain, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among many others.

Jim Self, choreographer and painter, has taught modern and post-modern dance technique, improvisation, choreography and dance studies at Cornell's Department of Theatre, Film and Dance since 1989. He has been choreographing and teaching dance since the early 1970s in Chicago. Credits include dancing in Merce Cunningham Dance Co. (1976-79), collaborating with Robert Wilson and Philip Glass for the Civil Wars/Rome Opera (1984), creating the BESSIE AWARD winning film BEEHIVE with the late Frank Moore, and touring Europe and the USA with his former company, JIM SELF and DANCERS. His work is featured in the films RETRACING STEPS (1987), and JIM SELF COMES HOME (1986/Alabama Public TV). He is committed to cutting edge performance and dance, particularly in the collaborative areas of music, visual design, light, costume, and new technologies.

Toni Smith, M.F.A., is a dance activist from the Capital Region of New York. She has been the Artistic Director of the National Museum of Dance and on the dance faculty for Skidmore College, Union College and Schenectady County Community College. Toni served as Faculty Advisor for month long residencies for Dean of Special Programs at Skidmore College (1999 to 2019). She was the Artistic Director of Toni Smith & Dancers from 1978 to 1986 in New York City. She has toured worldwide with various dance companies including the Vanaver Caravan. Toni is the recipient of grants in choreography from the New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer, National Arts and Letters Society and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council among others. Toni Smith is the Founder of Partners in Dance: a Consortium of Capital Region Dance Sponsors, and Artistic Directorof Rebound Dance Company, a company that supports the work of independent choreographers,fine arts and educational body work programs. Toni is a Body-Mind Centering Practitioner and Infant Development Movement Educator with a private practice specializing in chronic pain and neurological disorders. She is currently a guest lecturer in dance and somatics, while offering classes in adaptive yoga for all ages and abilities.

From 1976 to 2013, Ivan Sygoda was a Director of Pentacle, a service organization to which many dance artists outsource administrative functions such as accounting, grant writing and booking. He designed many of Pentacle’s special projects, such as its Help Desk mentoring programs; co-founded the New York State DanceForce; contributed to many arts publications; served on numerous panels; lectured widely on aspects of arts administration; and has served on the boards of Dance/USA, NAPAMA, Arts Presenters and the Western Arts Alliance. He was a long-time member of the New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards selection committee. He was awarded Dance/USA’s “Ernie” in 1996, the Arts Presenters Fan Taylor Distinguished Service Award in 2000, the South Arts 2013 Mary Beth Treen Award and the 2018 Arts Presenters North Alumni Service Award. In 2013, after 37 years at Pentacle, he transitioned to the position of Founding Director, and has now retired. He continues to serve as a consultant to the South Arts Dance Touring Initiative, functions, as he has for some 35 years, as Eiko & Koma’s Manager, and remains available to consult with dance artists on career issues.
Photo by Todd Richmond

PAZ TANJUAQUIO is a choreographer, performer and is co-founding director of TOPAZ ARTS, Inc. She has been creating dances in New York City since 1990. Her work has been presented by the Danspace Project, Performance Space 122, La MaMa, DanceNow/NYC, Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research at Judson Church, Aaron Davis Hall, Symphony Space, Dixon Place, Thelma Hill Performing Arts, Brooklyn Museum; and nationally at Godt-Cleary Projects in Las Vegas, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and Ohio University. Awards for her choreography include National Endowment for the Arts, NY Foundation for the Arts BUILD/Homer Avila Memorial Award, two Individual Artist Awards from Queens Council on the Arts, and DTW's Suitcase Fund where she participated in the Mekong Project's Cambodia Creative Residency and artistic research travel in Vietnam. As a dancer, she has performed with Molissa Fenley and Dancers since 1997. She has performed in the works of Marlies Yearby, Carl Hancock Rux, Clarinda Mac Low, Christalyn Wright, among others. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan, The Yard at Martha's Vineyard, Atlantic Center for the Arts in Florida, and Movement Research in NY. She received her MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and her BA in Visual Arts from University of California, San Diego.

TOPAZ ARTS, Inc. is a nonprofit organization founded in 2000 by artists Todd Richmond and Paz Tanjuaquio. TOPAZ ARTS fosters the creative process, producing the collaborative works of its founders and providing public programs for contemporary dance, music and visual arts. TOPAZ ARTS maintains a 2,500 sq. ft. multidisciplinary arts center in Woodside, Queens which includes a dance rehearsal space, audio room, and exhibition gallery. Providing a creative space, technical support, residency and presentation opportunities, TOPAZ ARTS enables artists to realize their projects and the process shared with audiences.
loiswelk-largeLOIS WELK

Lois Welk was inspired to pursue a career in dance after seeing a dance performance by Daniel Nagrin (The Peloponnesian War). She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in Dance and American History at State University College at Brockport NY, where Richard Bull became her mentor. In 1972, she founded the American Dance Asylum Inc. (ADA), a producing and service organization for the performing arts. From 1973-1979, she co-directed the ADA (then based in Binghamton, NY) with Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane. For more than 25 years the ADA has produced Welk’s artistic projects, among them The Parking Ramp Dances, The Train Station Dance, The Carousel Dance, The Hiawatha Island Dance, and most recently, Moving the Music. She been a member of the dance faculty at 171 Cedar Arts Center (Corning, NY), Alfred University (Alfred, NY) and has taught for various arts-in-education programs across New York State. Her work as executive director of 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, NY (1988-2002) earned her a New York State Governor’s Arts Award in 1998. At 171 Cedar Arts Center, Welk developed a nationally recognized presenting program that included concert dance, artists’ residencies, a jazz series, family programming and a world folk music festival. Program growth warranted a capital campaign and expansion project that more than doubled program space adding a 170-seat black box performance space, exhibition space, and two additional dance studios.

From 2003 to 2006, Welk served as artistic director of The Yard Inc., a performing artists’ colony on Martha’s Vineyard. In January 2005, she was appointed the Director of the New York State DanceForce, a network of organizations and individuals working to increase the quality and quantity of dance in New York. As Director, Welk brought leadership to the restructuring of the organization and expanded the reach of the programs.

Welk directed Dance USA’s Philadelphia branch office from 2007 to 2015. She served as Company Representative for BalletX, Philadelphia's premier contemporary ballet company, from 2015 to 2018. Currently, Welk is the Project Coordinator for the Western NY Choreographers' Initiative.

Cynthia Williams received her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, and her MFA in Dance from Connecticut College. She has been teaching at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1986, receiving tenure in 1992 and promotion to full professor in 2002. Cynthia teaches modern dance and ballet techniques, dance history, dance composition, improvisation, teaching methods, and interdisciplinary dance courses. She has been certified to teach Rommett Floor-Barre, is an active choreographer and lighting designer for dance. She has built a dance performance series at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in spite of limited funding and space and facilities challenges that has included Jane Comfort and Company, David Dorfman Dance, Molissa Fenley, Maureen Fleming, Lingo dancetheater, Bebe Miller, Claire Porter, Lisa Race, and Marlies Yearby among others.