"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 Indian dance (Odissi). As a dancer, Guerra has performed lead roles with modern and Odissi companies on international tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009), while her own choreographic works, dance-on-camera films, and interactive art installations have been presented by more than 80 events across the country (in California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and abroad in Italy. She leads Luminarium’s annual Cultural Community Outreach Project, which received the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious Gold Star Award in 2015 and led to her serving as Co-Chair of the Arlington Cultural Council. Beyond choreography, Guerra is a freelance dance journalist and graphic designer. She spent the last five years as Art Director of Art New England magazine, and is now Senior Production Coordinator for Princeton University Press. As a writer, she is Senior Contributor to The Arts Fuse (critiquing and highlighting dance events across New England), and a ballet and contemporary dance critic for the international Fjord Review, and Dance International magazine. In 2017, Guerra relocated to Princeton, NJ, where she recently created a Luminarium satellite company and was elected to serve on the Dance New Jersey Board, a nonprofit organization helping New Jersey’s expansive dance scene. Guerra frequently acts as a guest choreographer, panelist, moderator, speaker, and arts advocate who now splits her time, traveling between Princeton and Boston for her work in the arts. 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. Kim 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, Kim 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. Kim 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. Kim earned her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College. Learn more at kaholman.com.
Devon Colton was born in Ridgefield, CT, and is a 2017 Boston Conservatory graduate where she earned her BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance. Colton began studying ballet, modern, jazz, and tap at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance under the director of James Robey. Throughout her dance career she attended summer programs including the Ailey School, Boston Ballet, University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the American Ballet Theater in New York. She performed work by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Brian Brooks, Tommy Neblett, Lorraine Chapman, James Robey, and Natalie Cecchini. Colton has choreographed pieces, Taste of Regret and Spirit of Freedom, that have been performed at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, CT. She was an assistant dance instructor at the Fort Drum Military Base in Watertown, NY, and for two years at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance. Colton currently teaches dance at Joseph Estabrook School in Lexington, MA.
Jess 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.
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.
Melenie Dairbekirian joined Luminarium in 2011 and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She started out her professional career with Urbanity Dance and currently dances with Boston-area based companies Pantos Project, Luminarium Dance Company, and Turning Key Dance. Throughout her career, she has performed works by prominent choreographers including José Limón, Alwin Nikolais, Thang Dao, and Larry Keigwin, and has performed in venues such as the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Stage, and events such as the APAP Conference in New York City, TEDxCambridge at the Boston Opera House, and many other festivals along the East Coast. Melenie currently teaches at the Acton School of Ballet, and serves as the Ballet Mistress for Commonwealth Ballet Company.
Katie McGrail joined Luminarium in 2012. She holds a BA in Sociology-based Human Relations and certificate in Community Action & Public Policy from Connecticut College and an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, with a specialization in Dance/Movement Therapy from Lesley University. She is also a 200-hour certified yoga instructor. She has experience teaching dance and yoga to movers and shakers from age three to 90+. Katie 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.
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.
Victoria Kreutzer is a standing Junior at Rider University, majoring in Dance and Psychology. She works as a dance instructor in Levittown, PA, and has performed on her University’s dance team. Kreutzer has also choreographed, performed, and held the Secretary board position for the Rider Dance Ensemble organization. Kreutzer has previously worked with Merli V. Guerra for Rider Dances (2019) in Guerra's 8.7 million minus 1 and Global Waters Dances (West Windsor, NJ). Rider credits include performing in the annual production of Rider Dances.
Karina McKenna is a graduate of The Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts where she received an education in dance, academia, and public service. She has performed at The Regional and National High School Dance Festivals and 92nd Street Y. McKenna has worked with dance artists including Bill T. Jones, Larry Keigwin, and Christina Robson. She is a first-year BFA Dance major at Rutgers University Honors College where she is privileged to work with and perform choreography by Bennyroyce Royon.
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.