"unpredictable, provocative, and gratifyingly visceral"
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ARTISTIC DIRECTORS / CHOREOGRAPHERS
MERLI V. GUERRA
Merli V. Guerra is a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist with a background in ballet, modern, and classical Odissi Indian dance. As a professional dancer, she has performed lead roles with acclaimed companies on tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009), while her choreographic works, screendance films, and installations have been presented by 80+ events across the U.S., as well as Argentina, Canada, Georgia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Guerra is a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious Gold Star Award for her work with site-specific dance and community engagement—a topic which she presented on at the National Dance Education Organization’s 2020 National Conference. She has served on multiple Boards, most recently Dance New Jersey (a state-wide resource), as a thought-leader for new public programming. Beyond choreography, Guerra is a freelance graphic designer and arts journalist who served as Art Director of Art New England magazine for five years, followed by her work at Princeton University Press. As a writer, she is Senior Contributor to Boston’s The Arts Fuse, and a dance critic for the Toronto-based Fjord Review and Vancouver-based Dance International magazine. Guerra frequently acts as a guest choreographer, artist, panelist, teacher, and advocate for the arts. She now continues her work in Boston in addition to her more recent work in the Mid-Atlantic, including directing Luminarium's Satellite Company in Princeton, NJ, and teaching as a Part-Time Lecturer at Rider University and Rutgers University. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance degree from Rutgers University. Learn more at merliguerra.com.
KIMBERLEIGH A. HOLMAN
Kimberleigh A. Holman is an artist working interdisciplinarily in dance, theatre and design. Her work gravitates to the exploration of human social interaction and behavior, both real and fictitious, miniscule instances or broad patterns, through comedic, dark, sensory or abstract narrative. As a mover and maker, one of her biggest considerations is authenticity; she hopes to enable those performing her work to find genuine ways to be present in the performance space and hopes to inspire viewers to react in genuinely felt ways of their own. Holman excitedly creates work around these principles for Luminarium, where she passionately leads the company’s Arts in Action Project; an annual outreach program that strives to make social impact through youth arts experiences. Besides nearly 80 performances with Luminarium across New England, Holman has been invited to choreograph for commercials and film, dozens of theatrical productions across Boston, and to bring her work to stages ranging from public library basements to the globally renowned APAP conference in NYC. Holman is frequently hired as a guest artist at Boston-area universities, speaks on her career as an arts entrepreneur, and serves on multiple boards of directors. Some favorite recent projects include collaborating on a video/performance piece by Adara Meyers, which debuted at the Boston Center for the Arts in early 2018, and a research and performance project where Holman traveled up the Eastern Seaboard, performing in public locations in each of the fifteen East Coast states. Holman earned her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Learn more at kaholman.com.
Jessica Chang graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2011, where she earned a BA in Dance. She began her professional dance career in Boston and has worked with companies such as Angie Moon Dance Theatre, Annie Kloppenberg & Co., Audra Carabetta, Chun-Jou Tsai, Luminarium Dance, Ruckus Dance, and Vimoksha. The greatest influences of her dance aesthetic are Omar Carrum, Deborah Flemming, Carl Flink, Terese Freedman, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Claudia Lavista, Katie Martin, Fritha Pengelly, Kendra Portier, Cheryl Quek, and Lisa Race.
Melenie Diarbekirian joined Luminarium in 2011 and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from The Boston Conservatory. She started out her professional career with Urbanity Dance and currently dances with Pantos Project Dance, Luminarium Dance Company, and Turning Key Dance. Throughout her career, she has performed works by prominent choreographers including José Limón, Alwin Nikolais, Thang Dao, Larry Keigwin, and had the privilege to do Reagle Music Theatre’s Oklahoma!, where she performed the original Agnes de Mille choreography, restaged by Gemze de Lappe. She has performed in venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Stage, events like the APAP Conference in New York City, TEDxCambridge at the Boston Opera House, and many other festivals and colleges along the East Coast. Diarbekirian currently teaches at the Acton School of Ballet, and serves as the Ballet Mistress for Commonwealth Ballet Company.
Amy Mastrangelo has been dancing with Luminarium since June of 2011. She studied dance at Boston University, and was an active and avid member and choreographer of BU’s Dance Theatre Group while pursing both a BS in Therapeutic Studies and an MS in Occupational Therapy. Mastrangelo has choreographed productions at Salem State College and Marblehead Public Schools, as well as with the Colonial Chorus Players, and Freelance Players. She is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Calamity Collaborations Dance, a multimedia production company out of Cambridge, MA. Mastrangelo works full-time as an occupational therapist at Boston Public Schools.
Katie McGrail joined Luminarium in 2012. She is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist, a license-eligible clinical mental health counselor, and a 200-certified yoga instructor. She also has experience teaching ballet, modern dance, improvisation, creative movement and yoga to movers and shakers from age three to 90+. McGrail counts her early training at Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre and the lineage of the Connecticut College dance faculty (Shani Collins-Achille, David Dorfman, Heidi Henderson, Adele Myers, Lisa Race, and Derrick Yanford) among her greatest movement influences. She has had the honor of performing and having her choreographic endeavors presented in venues in the Boston area, around New England and New York, and in 2016 co-produced Dance Shorts, a professional concert featuring the choreographic voices of emerging female artists in the Boston dance community. McGrail is a graduate of Connecticut College (BA) and Lesley University (MA).
Jennifer Roberts is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College where she began her formal training in dance. Thanks to the brilliant faculty of the Five College Dance Department, she’s encountered many forms of dance and the different pedagogies for engaging and teaching non-traditional movers. Roberts has had the opportunity to perform works by wonderful choreographers including Katie Martin, Carl Flink, and Camille A. Brown. In addition to performing, she has been awarded grants to pursue her independent work in dance and liturgy and is a 200-hour certified Vinyasa yoga instructor. Recently, Roberts has had the honor of performing with Boston-based companies Weber Dance, Quicksilver Dance, Angie Moon Dance Theater, Grant Jacoby & Dancers, and Ruckus Dance along with collaborative projects with Olana Flynn and Jessica Chang. When not in the studio, Roberts can be found indulging in good fiction, good food, or a good nap.
GABRIELLA ANN BOES
Gabriella Ann Boes graduated from Rider University in the class of 2020 with a degree in Dance Performance. She has danced in and choreographed for both the Rider Dance Ensemble and Rider Dance Team. Boes co-choreographed Moons and Tides for Rider Dances 2019: The Dance and Sustainability Project, and presented a poster on the project at the 2019 National Dance Education Organization Conference in Miami, FL. She is currently choreographing for Rider University for Rider Dances 2021. Boes first performed with Luminarium's Satellite Company at the Liberty Hall Dance Festival in 2018, and is now performing in the company's Cultural Community Outreach Project launching in April 2021.
Starting his journey at Montclair State University, Dane Burch decided to pursue his dance career from the moment he finished his first class at nineteen years old. From that moment on, his life became constant practice between many different styles of dance. After graduating from Montclair State University, Burch performed with several groups including Free Space Dance, Jersey City Dancers, and Nikki Manx Dance Project. Along with performing, another passion of his is nurturing the technical and artistic abilities of his students. In the future, Burch plans to continue auditioning and working on his technique so that he may continue to move forward in his career. For the current work created by Merli V. Guerra, Burch is ecstatic to be part of the creative process in exploring history and combining it with dance.
Anna Fredeen has danced for 20 years with multiple studios in Connecticut and New Jersey. She currently studies and trains at Rider University to grow her knowledge and capabilities in Dance Science and multiple techniques, and previously studied at Texas Christian University for two years in the modern department. Fredeen has attended residential dance intensives in New York City and performed with dance companies at venues such as The Joyce Theater, Peridance, Disney World, and The Orange Bowl. In the summer of 2019, she attended American Dance Festival in Durham, NC and took classes that include counter technique and choreography. She currently is an instructor at the Dance Factory in Skillman, NJ, where she teaches genres ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and modern. As a committed dancer, she constantly sets new goals to always be pushed, to never stop learning, and to feel proud of her current dance ability.
Victoria Kreutzer is a standing senior at Rider University, double-majoring in Dance and Psychology. She has previously worked as a dance instructor in Levittown, PA, and currently teaches at a dance studio in Lawrenceville, NJ. Kreutzer has performed on her University’s dance team, as well as choreographed, performed, and held the Secretary Board position for the Rider Dance Ensemble organization. She recently showcased her own choreography, Like Clockwork, in the Rider Dance Day 2020 performance. Kreutzer has previously worked with Merli V. Guerra in Rider Dances (2019, 2020). She joined Luminarium's Satellite Company in 2019 for its Global Water Dances: South performance and was later featured in Guerra's 8.7 million minus 1 and like mercury in the palm of my hand alongside the home-base company in its 2019 production Luminarium in Concert. Rider credits include performing in the annual production of Rider Dances, as well as taking on the role as the Production Stage Manager for the Rider Senior Capstone performance.
Elizabeth Malone holds an MFA in Dance from Rutgers University and a BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts. As a Part-Time Lecturer at Rutgers, Malone has taught ballet and modern technique classes, Dance Composition, and Dance Appreciation Online. Her performance experience includes dancing with ARC Dance Company in Seattle for two seasons before moving to the east coast where she joined ReVision dance company in Washington, DC. While performing with ReVision, Malone led and assisted dance classes in the company’s outreach program for children, teens, and adults with disabilities, in addition to teaching at Joy of Motion Dance Center. Her choreography includes modern and contemporary ballet and more recently has been experimenting with the integration of sound and video design. Malone continues to find joy in sharing her passion for dance with others and evolving her pedagogical and creative processes to include non-Western dance and for facilitating online and face-to-face dance experiences.
Nikola Palivoda began dancing at a young age with his church's traditional Serbian Folk Dance group, Dukati, where he learned, performed and eventually choreographed professional and traditional choreography for 20 years. He trained and performed with the dance programs at Middlesex County College, Montclair State University and Raritan Valley Community College. Palivoda has performed with the Nikki Manx Dance Project, T.MAJ Dance, HealthQuest Fitness, for Freespace Dance, at several Dance New Jersey events and at the Koresh Showcase Series. He also Produces and Directs two annual dance concerts "Just Dance!" with Main Street Theatre Company Community Theatre and "Culture Crawl Dance Series: UNBOUND" at the UCPAC'S Hamilton Stage with the Rahway Arts + Business Partnership. When Palivoda is not choreographing, rehearsing, or teaching dance and fitness classes, he can most likely be found developing a new project.
A long-time social dancer, Ryan Carollo became fascinated by photographs of dancers in motion. In 2010, he began to experiment with making his own images and became proficient in capturing the spirit of motion. He began collaborating with Luminarium on its Mythos:Pathos production in 2012, and has since photographed all of the company's major productions, including joining Luminarium overnight for its annual 24-Hour ChoreoFest.
Russell Holman is the host of Luminarium’s Backlight Boston interview series and acts as a frequent set creation/electrical consultant for the company, having worked on all major productions since 2011. During the day, Russell is a certified arborist and sales representative, and has more than 16 years of field experience in the green industry with more than 9 years as a practicing arborist. Additionally, Russell has almost completed flipping a house and enjoys adventures with his wife, Kim, and Luminarium mascot, Twyla.
Stephanie Jossey, Marketing Consultant, has served on the Luminarium Dance Company Board since it's inception in 2010. She is an avid support of dance and theater, having directed, stage managed, and produced local Boston theater. She currently lives in Los Angeles where she works in TV marketing and advertising.
Christos Zevos, Composer, is a Boston-based music theorist, composer, and educator. He is currently completing his Doctorate in Music Theory at the New England Conservatory, focusing on the analysis and construction of both EDM and video game music. He plays bass in the band Ben Rudnick and Friends, the early Chicago tribute band Introduction - The Chicago Experience, and performs as a freelance bassist. He currently works as a teaching fellow at NEC, teaching undergraduate students. Zevos regularly assists with Luminarium's sound needs, and is the composer for the company's production HIVELAND.