January 29, 2020

PRESS CONTACT: LOIS WELK, Program Coordinator                                  loisapril9@gmail.com  607-329-0467


Two Western New York-based choreographers have been selected for the Western New York Choreographers’ Initiative 2020, a funding opportunity administered by The New York State DanceForce in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts.

The awardee – Naila Ansari of Buffalo, NY and Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp of Brockport, NY – each receive 24 hours of creative time, access to professional dancers, the guidance of a mentor chosen by the artist, and a $2,500 stipend.

The WNY Choreographers’ Initiative is designed to help WNY resident choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with resources to advance their creative practice. The 2020 Artist Selection Committee panelists were Remi Harris (NYC), Yamini Kalluri (NYC), Kendra Portier (NYC), Toni Smith (Troy), and Ivan Sygoda (NYC).

The Awardees

Naila Ansari

Naila Ansari. Photo by Lois Greenfield

A native of Buffalo New York, Naila Ansari is a Cum Laude graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts program. She is an original and former principal dancer for the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, where the company was named “Top 25 Dance Companies to Watch” in Dance Magazine for the 2012-2013 season. Naila has also danced and performed works for the legendary Lula Washington Dance Theatre out of Los Angeles, CA. She has had the privilege of dancing works by Robert Battle, Kyle Abraham, Camille A. Brown, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Sidra Bell, and Trebien Pollard, to name a few. Her choreography has been set on a host of colleges and universities as well as professional theatres.

Naila is currently a Fellow Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo State College and a candidate for a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance at the University at Buffalo (2020). Most recently, Naila has two publications in Theatre Journal and has had her choreography performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She is a collaborative artist for University at Buffalo’s Arts Collaboratory under the direction of Bronwyn Keenan. Naila’s work focuses on the performance of joy in marginalized communities through creative archived collections of oral histories, movements, performance, and film.

Naila Ansari’s professional mentor for this project, Jasmine Hearn, is a performer, director, choreographer, organizer, and teaching artist. She currently is a member of Urban Bush Women Dance Company and also collaborates with BANDportier, Vanessa German, and Alisha B. Wormsley.  Hearn is a 2018 Movement Research AIR and a 2019 Jerome Foundation Jerome Hill Artist Fellow.

Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp 

Photo by Annette Dragon Photography

Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp (MFA, CLMA) is a dance artist, educator, filmmaker, and activist. A transplant to Rochester, she has carved her space in the community while making work with electricGrit dance. Rose’s creative interests lie in integrating dance, theater, design, and media.

Her choreographic work with inFluxdance and SirensProof Films has been featured internationally for the past 14 years and continues to flourish with electricGrit dance. Her full-length work has been featured in various cities including Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Montreal, Toronto and Peubla, MX. She has been selected for residencies and performance projects including the Dance Complex’s I-ARE Residency and Green Street Performance Works Project in Cambridge MA, Sugar Space Artist in Residence in Salt Lake City UT and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s Choreographers Lab where she received the 2009 Emerging Artist Award.

Her artistic research centers around collaboration across disciplines. In 2016 she co-founded an organization called Artists Coalition for Change Together (ACCT) as a way to engage dancer-citizens in Rochester and beyond. In 2017, she received a grant from the Rochester Center for Community Leadership to spearhead an initiative using dance to foster collaborative relationships across various communities. Since then, her work as a community engaged educator and artist has deepened. She teaches with a focus on the dancer-citizen. Rose continues to perform and present her research and creative work internationally with a focus on dance as an agent of change. She is also grateful for her recent opportunities to be dancing with Biodance, Anne Harris Wilcox, Heather Roffe and Tammy Carrasco/WildBeast dance. Currently, she is exploring metaphor as it relates to socio-political art making and bodies of resistance. She is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Rochester in the Program of Dance and Movement.

Beauchamp’s WNYCI mentor, Mariah Steele, is a choreographer, dancer, educator and interdisciplinary researcher. As the founder and Artistic Director of Quicksilver Dance, Steele’s choreography has been performed across the country and internationally. Her case-studies investigating how dance can be used effectively in peacebuilding have engaged audiences at more than 15 universities, schools, community centers and conferences. Steele’s current research interests involve combining dance and science in numerous ways, including an interdisciplinary collaboration funded by the National Science Foundation to explore teaching high school Physics through choreography and movement. She currently teaches at the University of Rochester.

For more information about the NYS DanceForce go to www.danceforce.org