March 7, 2022
PRESS CONTACT: LOIS WELK, Program Manager  607-329-0467


Thirteen New York State based choreographers have been selected for the NYS New York Choreographers Initiative 2022 (NYSCI), a funding opportunity administered by The New York State DanceForce, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts. For artists and more information go to

The NYS Choreographers Initiative is designed to help choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with resources to advance their creative practice. The awardees each receive a $2,500 stipend, access to a mentor, and support for 24 hours of creative time with dancers and other collaborators of their choice. Each project is basically a mini-residency, designed to fit the specific needs of each artist.

Originally launched in Western New York, the Choreographers Initiative expanded in 2022 to include 55 counties of NYS, and now serves choreographers who reside in the regions of Western NY, Central NY, Capital District/North Country, and Hudson Valley/Long Island.

The 2022 NYS Choreographers Initiative Awardees are:

Western NY
Sukanya Burman (mentor: Teresa Cuevas)
Laurie McFarlane (mentor: Rosalie Jones)
Aimee Rials (mentor: Rachel Lampert)
Solange Rodrigues (mentor: Jason Parsons)

Central NY
Kym McDaniel (mentor: Heidi Latsky)
Indira White (mentor: Juana Cala)
Catherine Wright (mentor: Erin Ellen Kelly)

Capital District/North Country
Alison Clancy (mentor: Dorian Nuskind-Oder)
Dan Safer (mentor: Katherine Profeta)

Hudson Valley/Long Island
Sophie Bortolussi (mentor: Sibyl Kempson)
Nancy Brier (mentor: Bridgman/Packer)
Guanglei Hui (mentor: Yin Mei)
Adam Weinert (mentor: Sydney Skybetter)

The 2022 NYS Choreographers Initiative Selection Committee Panelists are:

Western NY
Gregory Cary, Shaily Dadiala, Marcus McGregor, Elena Mosley, Toni Smith

Central NY & Capital District/North Country
Naila Ansari, Gregory Cary, Margarita Espada, Ivan Sygoda, Paz Tanjuaquio

Hudson Valley/Long Island
Hettie Barnhill, Gina Bonati, Shaily Dadiala, Jim Self, Ivan Sygoda

SOPHIE BORTOLUSSI (mentor: Sibyl Kempson)

Sophie Bortolussi is a French choreographer, performer and director based in the Upper Hudson River Valley. She moved to the USA twenty years ago to study at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, which she later joined. Through the Graham Company she met Martha Clarke who quickly became a mentor and with whom she has worked as a performer and assistant choreographer ever since. In 2006, Sophie co-created NU Dance Theatre, a dance company dedicated to site-specific and immersive performance.

As a performer, Sophie has performed in Martha Clarke’s “Angel Reapers,” “The Threepenny Opera,” “Garden of Earthly Delights” and “Kaos.” She originated the lead role of Lady Macbeth in Punchdrunk’s “Sleep No More” at the McKittrick Hotel in NYC (2011 World Falstaff Award). Also with Punchdrunk, she played the lead Wendy in London at the National Theatre’s production of “The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable” (2013 UK Broadway World nomination). Other notable performances include Thaddeus Phillips’ “Red-Eye to Havre de Grace” and Geoff Sobelle’s “HOME,” which she co-created (2018 bessie award).

As a director and choreographer, her work includes “One-In-Themselves” and “The Day Shall Declare It,” (2017 Stage Raw Theatre Award and 2015 Ovation Award nomination). From 2016-2018, Sophie directed and choreographed all of the immersive masquerade events at the McKittrick-Hotel.

She is looking forward to her mentorship with Sibyl Kempson / 7 Daughters of Eve Theater & Performance Co. thanks to the support of the NYS Choreographers’s Initiative 2022. For more information, please visit
NANCY BRIER (mentor: Bridgman/Packer)

Nancy Brier is a NY-based choreographer, dance educator, filmmaker, Certified Movement Analyst and co-founder/artistic co-director of N/N Dance Collaborative. Her concert works have been performed in NYC (Duke on 42nd St., Performance Space 122, Queens Theater in the Park and more), France, Czech Republic, Italy and on MetroArts Thirteen/MetroStories television networks. She recently received a NYSCA Re-grant to create an immersive Summer Solstice 2022 site-specific outdoor event combining dance, live music, sculpture, spoken word and film screenings in a scenic landscape. She has been making dance films since 2014 (Official Selections: 2019 L.A., Berlin, Amsterdam, London, Paris film festivals; Fall 2021 curated virtual series, Take Root) and is eagerly anticipating exploring the synthesis of recorded and real time video projections in live performance with her Choreographers’ Initiative mentors, Bridgman/Packer.

Born and raised in Arizona, Nancy received her BFA in Dance from Arizona State University, then relocated to NYC and performed with modern, contemporary and dance-theatre choreographers Frank Ashley, Lenore Latimer, Barbara Jo Fleming’s Commotion Dance Collaborative and others. She received her Master's degree from NYU and is a CMA (certification in Laban Movement Analysis, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Motif Notation). In the midst of 18 tours teaching/choreographing in France, La Federation Française de Danse presented her with an honorary doctoral equivalent, Professeur Agrégé, recognizing her as one of the notable dance educators/choreographers responsible for bringing contemporary American dance to France. Since 1993, she has taught on dance faculties including LIU, Nassau Community College, Adelphi, SUNY Old Westbury and CREPS (Montpellier, France).
Photo Credit: DSJ PhotographySUKANYA BURMAN (mentor: Teresa Cuevas)

Sukanya Burman is a dancer and choreographer born and raised in Kolkata, India.

She began her formal dance training in Bharatanatyam at the age of 3 and trained in Kathak, modern, contemporary dance and ballet. Sukanya holds a Diploma in Contemporary Dance and Movements Arts. She toured nationally and internationally as a repertoire member of Rhythmosaic Dance Company, later moving to NYC to pursue an Independent Training Program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.

Since then she has taught classes and performed extensively both in the US and in India. She is a guest faculty at the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet and a guest performer at the Indorican Multicultural Dance Project. She recently founded Sukanya Burman Dance Company in Jamestown, NY. Sukanya is interested in exploring socio-cultural discourse with an emphasis on bridging the gap between Western modern and Indian classical dance.

She also hopes to raise awareness, accessibility and provide opportunities in dance through arts education. Sukanya is currently a resident artist in the Curriculum in Motion Institute at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.
ALISON CLANCY (mentor: Dorian Nuskind-Oder)

Alison Clancy is an Irish-American artist in pursuit of beauty and catharsis. Most days start with ballet and end with electric guitar. Alison dances with The Metropolitan Opera and Zvi Dance and is signed as a solo artist to Independent Project Records. As a choreographer Alison develops otherworldly environments - expansive intersections of light and sound - and explores our humanity in relationship to these circumstances. Her work blurs the boundaries between art and technology, respecting the authority of each body's authentic story and collaborating with the ghosts that communicate through machines.
GUANGLEI HUI (mentor: Yin Mei)

Guanglei Hui is from China, and before he established his own company Cross Move Lab, he had been trying hard for twenty years to become an independent artist, choreographer and dancer. He studied at The B. Beishenalieva University of the Arts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, from 2001 to 2003, where he earned a degree in Choreography/Russian Classical Ballet Performance with Education. During study, he competed in the Bishkek International Dance Competition and won second place.

In 2005, he joined the Guangdong Modern Dance Company, the first ever modern dance company in China. In 2008, as a GMDC member, he performed in an anniversary celebration of the Pina Bausch Dance Company in Germany; in 2011, he worked as an invited choreographer in Yokohama Dance Collection; in 2012, he was invited by the International Choreographers Residency Program (ICR) participating in the American Dance Festival. In 2013, he joined White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company. In 2014, he began working with Shen Wei Dance Arts. In 2016, he was invited to Taipei Dance Round Table Project to work on a new original piece.

In 2017, he began teaching at Queens College. In 2018, he received Artist Commissioning Program Grants from Queens Council on the Arts and started teaching at Peridance Capezio Center. He has toured in more than twenty countries, participating in international arts festivals, he is also a co-founder of Touch Contact Improvisation in China.
KYM MCDANIEL (mentor: Heidi Latsky)

Kym McDaniel (she/her) is an experimental filmmaker, media collaborator, choreographer, and performer. Her films have shown at Slamdance, Antimatter, Chicago Underground Film Festival, ADF’s Movies by Movers, and selected exhibitions at the Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University, and the London Bow Arts Gallery, among

She began filmmaking after a head injury and resulting chronic illnesses asked her to reconsider her relationship to dance and the body. Her process is influenced by her studies in dance, disability, and psychology. She is an AmSAT trained Alexander Technique teacher with research interests in hypermobility and trauma.

She has an MFA in Film, Video, Animation, and New Genres from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and is currently an Advanced Certificate in Disabilities Studies candidate at the City University of New York. She teaches as an Assistant Professor in Cinema at Binghamton
Photo by Cielo Ornelas MacFarlaneLAURIE MCFARLANE (mentor: Rosalie Jones)

For over 20 years, Laurie MacFarlane has presented her choreography and improvisations in a variety of settings, from the proscenium stage to art galleries, sidewalks and empty storefronts. MacFarlane incorporates text, props, costume, and sound score to create character-driven dance-theater pieces, which are often whimsical or humorous. Her work has been presented throughout the United States, in Toronto, Canada, and at the Performatica and Rodara festivals in Puebla, Mexico. She is an Artist in Residence at MuCCC Theater in Rochester, NY and co-coordinates the annual Dances at MuCCC festival. She is a proud alumna of Bennington College.
AIMEE RIALS (mentor: Rachel Lampert)

Aimee Rials is a choreographer, a performer, and an educator. As a choreographer, her work blends emotional and physical concepts into movement. It is a visceral exploration, organically derived and inspired by her dancers. Her choreography delves into the dynamics of relationships, her personal history and a variety of themes involving identity.

Aimee received her Masters of Fine Arts in dance from Tisch School of the Arts. Her choreographic work has been performed at Washington University’s Edison Theater, 92Y’s Harkness Dance Center, Symphony Space, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, Merce Cunningham Studio, DUMBO Dance Festival, Cool New York Dance Festival, Ithaca College, Huntingdon College, and the Depot Theater. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at the University of Buffalo, Huntingdon College, youarehere dance company in St. Louis, and We Are Artists in Virginia. As a performer, Aimee has worked with Trebien Pollard’s Residue Dance Theater, Lauren Hale Dance and Beliz Demircioglu while in residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Aimee is currently an assistant professor of dance at Ithaca College.
Photo by ZJFrazee PhotographySOLANGE RODRIGUES (mentor: Jason Parsons)

Solange Rodrigues is a graduate of SUNY Purchase College, Class of 2020, with a BFA in dance, and a concentration in composition. Born and raised in Rochester, NY, she trained at Little Red Dance Studio for 14 years. At Purchase, she performed in several works and choreographed pieces within the Conservatory of Dance, as well as the Conservatory of Theater Arts. While teaching at various schools and studios throughout the city of Rochester, she is continuing to make work, and is currently dancing for Frazee Feet Dance under the direction of Zachary Frazee, BioDance under the direction of Missy Pfohl Smith, and is a guest artist for The Pocketfuel Groovers, directed by Nick Alselmo.
Photo by Dan SaferDAN SAFER (mentor: Katherine Profeta)

Dan Safer is the Artistic Director of dance/theater company Witness Relocation ( and has choreographed/directed all of their shows, ranging from fully scripted plays (including three world premieres by Chuck Mee, and an English language premiere by Toshiki Okada) to original dance/theater pieces, to many things in between, all over the place, from the back rooms of bars in NYC to Théâtre National de Chaillot in Paris to a giant leaky warehouse at a dance festival in Poland where a light fell off the grid halfway thru a show and almost killed him. WR is a resident company at LaMama in NYC. Dan recently choreographed “Jedermann”, at the Salzburg Festival in Austria. His work has been at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace, Les Subsistances (Lyon, France), and many other places. In 2011, he choreographed Stravinsky's RITE OF SPRING for Philadelphia Orchestra with Obie-winners Ridge Theater. Artforum Magazine called him "pure expressionistic danger" and Time Out NY called him "a purveyor of lo-fi mayhem.” He has choreographed fashion shows, music videos, and films, got kicked out of high school for a year, used to be a go-go dancer, and once choreographed the Queen of Thailand’s Birthday Party. Dan taught at NYU for almost two decades and is now faculty at MIT.
Photo by Eva Deitch for The New York TimesADAM WEINERT (mentor: Sydney Skybetter)

Called “impressive, strange, a puzzle you want to solve” by the New York Times, Adam Weinert is a choreographer, researcher, and gardener based in Hudson NY. He produced and choreographed two award-winning dance films screened nationally and abroad, and his performance works have toured to four continents including a number of non-traditional dance venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Tate Britain Museum, and The Tate Modern Museum.

Adam studied at Vassar College, The Juilliard School, and New York University, where he earned a Master’s Degree under the tutelage of André Lepecki. He danced with The Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, The Mark Morris Dance Group, and Shen Wei Dance Arts. In addition to his performance work, Adam has been published in The New York Times, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, and the Juilliard Journal. He was named a "Dance Renegade” by Dance Magazine, awarded the Léo Bronstein Award from New York University, and the Hector Zaraspe Prize for Outstanding Choreography from The Juilliard School.

In 2020 Adam was named a Bessie Honoree for his work reconstructing and interrogating the choreographic legacy of Modern Dance pioneer Ted Shawn. That same year, he launched Jacob’s Garden, a working farm, living archive, and participatory piece of choreography on the campus of the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. His ongoing research includes teasing out the sensual connectivity between performance, agriculture, nourishment, and community. For more information, please visit
INDIRA WHITE (mentor: Juana Cala)

Born in the Dominican Republic to a family of movers, Indira’s first language is dance. In 2005, Indira was a member of the Young Dancemakers Company (YDC) in Riverdale, NY; a summer intensive program focused on choreography through dance improvisation and founded by the marvelous, Alice Teirstein. Indira returned for two seasons as a costume and program apprentice. She danced with Choreographer Seán Curran and the Merce Cunningham company dancers. Indira received a Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College (IC). At IC, she lead student organization, Muevete, choreographing full-length performances. In the broader Ithaca community, she had the pleasure of teaching dance at the Community School for Music and Arts (CSMA) and was a Teaching Assistant in a Ballroom Dance Course at Cornell University. Later, Indira moved to Davenport, IA, where she danced at the Quad City Ballet School of Dance and performed in their 2011 Nutcracker Ballet production. In Davenport, she taught ballet and modern dance classes at the Midwest Academy of Dance and performed with the company’s ensemble from 2009-2012. In 2013, Indira returned to Ithaca and joined a humble and tight-knit community of dancers and movers. She produced pieces for collaborative performances including the Infinity in a Box exhibit at the Tompkins County Public Library, and Visceral, hosted by the Cherry Arts Center and funded by the Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County and the NYS DanceForce.
Photo: Aella Jordan-EdgeCATHERINE WRIGHT (mentor: Erin Ellen Kelly)

Catherine Wright is a dancer living in Utica, NY, where she choreographs, performs, and teaches in a variety of communities. Her experiential installations fuse dance, sculpture, and media. Each body of work is unique in response to the respective venue, theme, and artistic collaboration shared in Central New York and nationally in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, Kawaihae Harbor, Portland, Santa Cruz, and New York City.

Wright has a BFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, an MAT in Dance and Technology from MSU, Mankato, and E-RYT yoga certification. In 2018, she won the Cornell Cooperative Extension “Friend of Children Award" for developing and practicing a 3-year creative movement, music, and arts therapy curriculum for children in the New Discoveries program with Upstate Cerebral Palsy. She has performed works by Chuck Davis, Trisha Brown, Steve Koester, Ellen Bromberg, Emmy Thompson, Jennifer Glaws, Dustin Maxwell, John Munger, and Alwin Nikolais. She has been commissioned by the Jerome Foundation, the Walker Art Center, and the Bush Fellowship Foundation.

As an enthusiast of all things wild and natural, the NY Choreographer’s Initiative for 2022 will support exploration of nature-based site specific movement with mentor Erin Ellen Kelly. Catherine is a new mother to a toddler who keeps her present with fresh insights to experiential learning.
IG: cwright_be