Director’s Choice Showcase
Spoke the Hub is proud to present this years’ Director’s Choice Showcase! We invite you to see some of our favorite performers from the infamous and zany Winter Follies production. This year’s featured artists are: Burr Johnson, Brother(hood) Dance!, Kalamandir Dance Company, Obika Dance and Lee Sachs
Burr Johnson/John Li
Burr Johnson holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University and works with choreographers John Jasperse, Helen Simoneau, Christopher Williams, and Shen Wei. He has also worked for Walter Dundervill, Ryan McNamara, Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay, and Yozmit. Burr’s choreographic work has been presented through Movement Research at Judson Church, Dixon Place, OneArmRed, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, Emergency Glitter at Abrons Art Center, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, Danspace Project, Skidmore College, and NYLA. He has guest-taught at Henrico Center for the Arts, Philadelphia University of the Arts’ pre-college program, the University of Utah, Salem College, and UNC Greensboro.
John Li was born and raised in Brooklyn, John studied at Skidmore College where he graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in Dance. At Skidmore he trained with Denise Limoli, David Otto, Mary Harney, and Erika Pujic among others. In addition to his classical training, John practices urban forms such as voguing and waacking, the latter of which he has trained and performed with Princess Lockerooo. John was also an intern for the Martha Graham Dance Company and currently interns for Shen Wei Dance Arts. John is also a newly certified Zumba® instructor.
Brother(hood) Dance! choreographic process thoroughly examines the intersection between gender, social, political and cultural constructs of western philosophies, and livelihoods from a African diaspora male and female perspective. Through the use of Brother(hood)’s personal experiences, historical and current references and accounts, the organization seeks to better understand how freedom has been an unattainable right due to governmental restrictions. By understanding the process of freedom, Brother(hood) Dance! uses movement to translate and discover humanistic and thought provoking questions, and resolutions.
Kalamandir Dance Company
Founded in 2009, Kalamandir Dance Company is the creative vision of Malabika Guha, director and teacher of the 24 years-running Kalamandir Kathak and Creative Dance school of NJ. Malabika wanted to bring together advanced dancers with a foundation in Indian Classical dance and use their experience with Western dance training and movement theory to expand and collaborate on original story lines and ideas. Her hope was that a dance company with a rich repertoire of movement and expression would be able to demonstrate the true universality of human emotions and experiences. The result was a company of dancers with training in Kathak, Ballet, Odissi, Modern, Bharatanatyam, Flamenco and Capoeira who started meeting weekly to explore all the exciting possibilities that their diverse abilities, ideologies, and experiences had to offer
Obika Dance creates work that is physically and emotionally stimulating, drawing from a rich movement vocabulary in ballet, modern, contemporary modern, jazz, West African and Caribbean movement. My choreographic process is indigenously formatted to express ancestral history and knowledge that lies within every cell of my body. I am scientifically attracted to the various possibilities that lay within the genetic make up of the human body. Obika Dance was established in 2011 and is based in Miami Florida. The company aims to create solo work that challenges, provokes, and questions the worldview of humanity by utilizing movement as a primary source to discover answers, questions and address social behavior patterns
In addition to being Artistic Director of Obika Dance, Brittany Williams is a principal dancer with Olujimi Dance Theatre in Miami, Florida. As a dancer, choreographer, and educator, I have traveled internationally to Paris, Scotland, Trinidad and Brazil. In 2011, I performed in the world premiere of Cordell with Brazz Dance Theatre at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, FL. In 2010, I was invited to the Makeda Thomas AIR Dance & Performance Institute Session I scholarship Artist in Resident at the De Republic, in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
Lee Sachs wrote, directed and starred in his award-winning thesis film “Wild Sound.” That short film earned him an MFA from NYU, received 12 international film festival awards and favorable press in the New York Times. He’s had material in development for a Hollywood producer that called him “bubbeleh,” wrote a screenplay about a wealthy Iranian antique dealer (which was financed by a wealthy Iranian antique dealer), directed Karaoke music videos and scouted locations for Woody Allen. Lee has performed a heady mashup of music, stories and comedy at venues like the Knitting Factory, The
Bottom Line, PS122, Dixon Place and other spots. He eventually wound up consumed by the internet and technology still honing his creative craft at a secluded location. Donning a convincing disguise as an IT consultant for large corporations, he grew a respectable practice in the nascent field of User Experience. Now Lee brings forth “Undiscovered Works” an exploration of his own work in business as it coalesces with the artistry of a little-known outsider artist named Djeryld.