Excessive Realness | Faculty 2018
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Faculty 2018

Ya-Ya Fairley

Ya-Ya Fairley hails from Newark, New Jersey. They recently completed their Master of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of Utah. A few years prior, Ya-Ya graduated from Bates College (ME) with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology & Dance. Since graduating, Ya-Ya has held commissioned residencies at Yale School of Drama, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA), Bates College and Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School (MA). Their work explores the unearthing of social identity politics (race, gender, sexuality) as it relates to this heightened political moment of anti-blackness, transphobia and hyper surveillance through live performance. Ya-Ya has danced for Steve Koester, Eric Handman, Satu Hummastic, Michael Foley and Nicholas Leichter among others. As a dance-maker, Ya-Ya uses Black Feminist Theory as a launching pad for generating movement. Ya-Ya has also curated and co-created a plethora of performance installations, screendances and site-specific works. As an emerging scholar/practitioner, Ya-Ya strives to highlight those voices and bodies living and dancing on the margins.

*Photo Credit: John Sobczak

Kristi Faulkner

Kristi Faulkner Dance is a queer-identified contemporary dance company based in Detroit that dares to be different – creating thought-provoking, visceral experiences that generate meaningful conversation and social exchange. Performing everywhere from warehouses to community centers, from museums to the middle of the street, KFD believes in making dance accessible and empowering audiences to connect with their world. The company is led by Kristi Faulkner, whose work embraces a queer sensibility, challenging and excavating ideas about sensuality, strength, authority, disgust, attraction, and objectification. Faulkner embraces idiosyncratic and pedestrian movement, striving for authenticity by shedding the artifice of technically-focused performance to show what makes us human in ways that are relatable, yet sometimes uncomfortable. Her work has been presented throughout Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, and New York. Faulkner is a 2016 Maggie Allesee Choreography Award finalist for her work “OBject/obJECT”, and was awarded a New Leader Grant from the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs in 2017. She is also a Knight Arts Challenge winner for her project “Not in My House” – a collaboration with the Ruth Ellis Center to engage and inspire LGBTQ youth through performance and storytelling, premiering October 2018.

Ally Garcia

Alessandra Garcia is a teacher, choreographer, and dance-artist. She has been dancing since 2003, when she started tapping in her humble hometown of Spring Valley, NY. A Bronx native, Ally has been studying hip-hop dance for the longest and has trained with a multitude of artists, such as Jose “Hollywood” Ramos, Will “Willdabeast” Adams & Janelle Ginestra, KK Harris, Ysabelle Capitulé, Ephrat Asherie, Kadee Jacobsen, and Shakia Johnson. She has also collaborated with various hip-hop choreographers/dancers in the Five Colleges through the student org Dance and Step at Amherst College (DASAC). For the past six years, Ally has been assisting and teaching various levels and genres of hip hop technique including house, lockin, commercial, grooves, and old school. She loves the freedom that hip hop provides to innovate and build on one’s personal movement style. She is in a constant state of researching new artists, taking risks with her dance-making, and keeping the positive, self-expressive energy of hip hop alive in her work. Ally is currently a dance instructor at Ascendance Inner World Arts in Florence, MA. In addition, she is a co-facilitator of the Diaspora Dance Party held through Rooted Essence Dance, a Springfield, MA-based platform founded by Moriah Wilkins to promote community, healing, and culture through dance and other forms of artistic expression. Starting this September, Ally will be teaching hip hop in Terryville, CT at The Dance Project, a new dance studio that centers technique, competition dance, and private instruction. Ally plans to gain her MFA in Dance in the future, focusing on how Hip-Hop can empower young people to be social and political agents, promote cultural relevance to youth of color, affirmation to urban identities, and foster a deeper connection with their learning.

Donald C. Shorter Jr.

Donald is an artist living in Bushwick, Bk and has holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from West Chester University with a minor in Dance and an M.F.A. in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Labels such as activist, choreographer, dancer, singer, actor, gender nonconformist, and drag queen are interchangeable on any given day. Shorter is a former company member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. During that time he had the honor of creating THE NAZ with Bill T. Jones, which was performed in his one-man show As I was Saying. Donald has appeared in Broadway national tours such as: Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, A Chorus Line, and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Donald is the creator, writer, and performer of his one-woman show GENDEROSITY, which looks at the process of his drag transformation and uses drag to talk about gender nonconformity. Shorter has restaged choreography from the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company at Barnard College, Towson University, and University of Idaho. He has premiered solo works at the Pompidou Centre, American College Dance Festival, ALLGOLD artist space at MOMA PS1, The Actor’s Fund Building, Center for Performance Research, 92nd Street Y, and at the Performance Mix Festival. Shorter is currently a co-host of the PBS Digital Studios web series First Person PBS.