Bios for Critical Pedagogy Teachers and Facilitators
Bailey Anderson is an activist, artist, scholar, and teacher who mediates knowledge through the body. Bailey has explored disability and choreography with Alice Sheppard, Rosemarie Garland Thomson, and Victoria Marks as part of UCLA’s inaugural Dancing Disability Cohort and their work has been presented at the Canadian Society for Dance Studies, Sans Souci Dance Film Festival, in London at the Society for Dance Research, and at the Body-Mind Centering Association Conference, at both the Minnesota and Ursinus Fringe Festival, and Boulder Public Library. Bailey has studied with and supports the work of Axis Dance, DanceAbility International, Dance for PD, and IMPROVdance. Bailey is currently working on a project funded through the New York Public Library's Short-Term Research Fellowship entitled "Disability Aesthetics in Early Modern Dance." Bailey received degrees in both Dance and History from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder with specializations in Disability Studies and Somatics. Bailey is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Ursinus College outside Philadelphia, PA.
Amanda Benzin is a somatically conscious, rhythmically and passionately driven educator, Emmy-Award-winning performer, choreographer, and scholartist originally from Buffalo, New York. She holds an MFA in Dance from CU Boulder with concentrations in performance, choreography, somatics, women and gender studies and pedagogy. She graduated summa cum laude from the State University of New York at Buffalo with a BFA in Dance and minor in Business Administration. Benzin was a member of the renowned Chicago-based rhythm jazz dance company Jump Rhythm Jazz Project for 6 years touring nationally and internationally and receiving an Emmy Award for her work in the multiple-Emmy-Award-winning documentary JRJP: Getting There. She has performed, worked, and studied with diverse artists, including Gesel Mason, Erika Randall, Rennie Harris, Nii Armah Sowah, Nada Diachenko, Erika Berland, Tim O’Donnell, Jonathon Scott, Teena Marie Custer, Ananya Chatterjea, Billy Siegenfeld, Jeannie Hill, Gus Giordano, Frank Hatchet, Roberto Villanueva, Brandon Ellis, Robert Reed, Bill T. Jones, Doug Varone, Denise Vail, In Young Sohn of Korea, and Eager Artists of South Africa, across numerous genres of dance. Her teaching experience includes jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, hip hop and musical theatre to children and adults of all ages in many arenas across the country for the past 22 years. Driven by rhythm, emotion, reflection and connection, she seeks to foster the expression of vulnerability, strength and growth potential within the human experience. Her current research exists at the intersection of pedagogy, ethical practices, somatic techniques and vulnerability. Her research and choreography has recently been presented at ACDA, Alma College, DSA’s Conference at University of Malta, Hawaii International Conference on Arts and Humanities, and BMCA’s Conferences at Smith College, Texas State University, and University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Dance and Dance Program Coordinator at Colorado Mesa University.
Rosely Conz is a Brazilian dancer, choreographer, scholar, and dance teacher. Her work focuses on issues of immigration and identity, through media such as film, live choreography, and as a theme of her lectures. For the past 18 years, Rosely has been performing and choreographing professionally for dance companies both in Brazil and in the USA. She had her work funded by grants such as Pine River Arts in Michigan, FICC (Fund for Cultural Investments) and Capes (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) in Brazil, additionally to being a CHA (Center of Humanities and Arts) Fellow and recipient of the Gail Pokoik Scholarship in Boulder- Colorado. Her work has been presented at festivals and conferences nationally and internationally in Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Canada, and Barbados. Invited residencies include LLEAP (Laboratory for Laptop and Electronic Audio Performance Practice) at Arizona State University, Merge Dance Company at TX State University, and Orchesis Dance Company at Michigan State University. Rosely is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Alma College in Michigan, having taught at Michigan State University (as Visiting Assistant Professor of Global Diversity) and at Federal University of Uberlândia, in Brazil. At Alma, she continues her research on Antropofagia and cultural cannibalism as decolonizing practices in choreography and teaching. She has an MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, an MA in Performing Arts and BFA in Dance by the University of Campinas-Brazil. Collaboration is part of Rosely’s philosophy which led to partnerships with Bailey Anderson, Alexis Bacon, Ana Baer, Adam Sekuler, Julia Ziviani, amongst other incredible artists.
Sonya Smith is a former monkey bar junkie, competitive hurdler, backpacker, aerial dancer and body geek. Starting to dance at the ripe age of 17, Sonya avoided many of the body image pitfalls of dance training, able instead to celebrate dance's balance of athleticism and artistry. Since 1999 she has taught movement to children and adults; from creative movement to bungee dancing, mixed aerial apparatus to ballet, contact improvisation to vertical “wall” dancing. Teaching young people to embrace the powerful capacity of their bodies and making space for complexity of their evolving identities, feels profoundly important in this tumultuous time. The joyful, challenging, exhilarating world of aerial training lends itself perfectly to this empowering work. In order to satisfy my own desire for physical dancing, theatricality, storytelling and authentic representation I have been privileged to work with many companies and artists across the country including BANDALOOP, Zaccho Dance Theatre, Flyaway Productions, Michelle Ellsworth, Gesel Mason, Lizz Roman and Dancers, Dance Brigade, Sara Shelton Mann, and Eat Cake Productions. I am forever grateful for the many opportunities I have had working with powerful women, creating interesting, challenging and diverse work. I am so excited to share my breadth of knowledge gleaned from two decades performing professionally, a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Aerial Dance, Pilates and GYROKINESIS certificates, and unending curiosity about what is possible.
Megan Bent (photographer)
Megan Bent is a New England based artist and teaching artist. She received her MFA and Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2012. She received her BFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY, in 2004. Through photography, she explores disability culture and identity. Her artwork has been exhibited widely across the United States in exhibitions at The Vera Project, in Seattle, WA, The East Hawaiian Cultural Center/HMOCA in Hilo, Hawai’i, Flux Factory in Long Island City, NY, El Museo Cultural, Santa Fe, NM, The Foster Gallery, in Dedham MA, Soho Photo Gallery in Tribeca, NY, and the Austin Central Library Gallery in Austin, TX. She has been an artist in residence at the Nobles School in Dedham, MA and at the Honolulu Museum of Art, HI. She has presented her work at The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity in Honolulu, HI, at Other Bodies: (Self) Representation, Disability and the Media at the University of Westminster in London, U.K., and at Critical Junctures at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. Her work has been written about in The New York Times, Rfotofolio, and in Screen Bodies Journal. www.meganbent.com