WNYCI 2018 Awardees

The WNY Choreographers’ Initiative is a new program designed to help WNY resident choreographers develop their choreographic skills by providing them with appropriate resources that are generally unavailable or unaffordable. These resources include 24 hours of creative studio time, professional dancers, the guidance of a professional mentor chosen by the artist and a $2,500 stipend.  The Two choreographers selected for the award in 2018 are Tammy Carrasco and Nancy Hughes. The WNY Choreographers’ Initiative is made possible with support from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Choreographer: Tammy Carrasco
Mentor: Michelle Boulé
Dancers: Tim Bendernagel, Chloe London
Project dates:
August 20-23 2018 (Brockport)
Sept 20-22 2018 (Brockport)
Oct 5-7, 2018 (NYC)
Open Rehearsal: Sat. Sept 22 2018, 4-5pm (Hartwell Hall, Brockport)

Tammy Carrasco is a dance artist, educator, and the Artistic Director of Wild Beast Dance. In 2015, Carrasco joined the faculty at The College at Brockport, SUNY as Assistant Professor of Dance, and has taught workshops on contemporary dance, choreography, and improvisation at universities nationally and internationally. In recent years, she taught at North Carolina Governor’s School East as Lead Dance Instructor, and presented her pedagogy at National Dance Education Organization.

Photo: Steve Clarke

Wild Beast Dance is a Rochester-based company with the philosophical underpinning that art and dance can elicit curiosity about the implicit meanings of the body as informed by social, political, and historical contexts. Carrasco’s choreography frames dance performance as our shared corporealities rendered visible and tangible in real time. As the current state of the world increasingly fills with unknowns and anxieties about the future, Carrasco aims to make art that emphasizes the “now”, grounding performers and viewers in aspects of humanity that unify us. Wild Beast Dance implicates viewership as a creative act, empowering audiences to activate themselves as autonomous authors of the work.

Carrasco’s work has been presented at various venues in New York City, such as Triskelion Arts, Movement Research at Judson Church and Open Performance, Jennifer Mueller/The Works, and Gowanus Art and Production, with upcoming shows at Dixon Place and NimbusPRESENTS. Philadelphia venues include the Performance Garage and the CEC. Her work has also been featured in festivals such as The Keybank Rochester Fringe Festival, OhioDance Festival, American College Dance Festival Association Gala 2017, and Baltimore’s Charm City Fringe Festival.  wildbeastdance.com 

Carrasco is a recipient of funding from the Greater Columbus Arts Council, The College at Brockport, SUNY, and The Ohio State University. She received a MFA from The Ohio State University and BFA from University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and is a Walnut Hill School graduate.


Choreographer: Nancy Hughes
Mentor: Kendra Portier
Dancers: Rachel Keane, Nanako Horikawa, Maya Gonzalez
Project dates:
Nov 2-4 2018 (Buffalo)
Nov. 9-12 2018 (NYC)
Open Rehearsal: Sunday Nov 4 2018 (Wasteland Studios, Buffalo)

Photo: Mike Collins

Originally from Texas, Nancy has been living in Buffalo for eight years.  Hughes is an educator, performer, choreographer and event organizer who co-facilitates regular events for contact improvisation and modern/contemporary dancers.  Hughes has been awarded grants from NYS DanceForce, Northampton Arts Council and KeyBank and has received sponsorship from Harold Grinspoon.  Nancy Hughes produces dance events throughout the year. This includes the Tuesday Contemporary Dance Series, Buffalo Sunday Contact Improv Jam, Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts Youth Performance Workshop, Mission Improvable, and is currently working on a new guest artist series.  Her work as a performer and choreographer has been performed across the U.S. as well as in Paris, France and Toronto, Canada.  Nancy is influenced by the work of Nancy Stark Smith and the Underscore, and she co-coordinates the annual Global Underscore. She can be seen performing in Buffalo with Center Dance, Anne Burnidge Dance and others in theaters, museums, galleries, people’s homes and silos.

Hughes is currently the director of Center Dance. Center Dance is an emergence focusing upon movement, wellness, and education. Through interdisciplinary performance, movement training, community outreach and the presentation of learning opportunities Center Dance strives to increase Buffalo’s gravity as an international hub for creative exchange between dance artists.