FRESH 2016 – Participating Artists

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Following is a list of artists participating in FRESH 2016

FRESH 2016 – Artists Involved.  


Marie Alarcón is a multimedia and sound performance artist based in Philadelphia, Pa. She has an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania and has been working in community media as an educator and producer for the past 10 years. She is currently a CFEVA Fellowship Finalist, and has shown work internationally including Franz Josephs Kai in Vienna Austria, The Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia, and the City Hall Gallery, and has performed at the ICA Philadelphia and the Print Center.


Elizabeth Ardent is a dancer, curator & lankdyke living in Oakland, California. Elizabeth has presented work in San Francisco at CounterPULSE, ODC Theater, SOMArts & The Garage. She has presented work in Oakland, Portland, Brooklyn & Montreal in warehouses, backyards, living rooms, coffee shops and disco lofts. She has held residencies in Los Angeles, rural Germany & the Florida Keys. Elizabeth is a member of SALTA, a collective of dancers who curate a groovy monthly roving series of experimental performance. She works as the Production Manager for the Mills College Dance Department. Elizabeth is committed to radical expression, Authentic Movement, sex, other peoples’ land projects & lovingkindness. She holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from CIIS~


Mary Armentrout is a San Francisco Bay Area based experimental choreographer, performance artist, videographer, teacher, and curator, and the director of the Mary Armentrout Dance Theater (MADT).  She calls her genre-mixing works performance installations, and one of her site-specific works recently won an Isadora Duncan Dance Award.  Working primarily with repetition and duration, her works attempt to problematize aspects of intentionality and presence, and engage her audience in that problematization.  Her work has been presented at numerous venues all over the San Francisco Bay Area, and has also been presented across the US and the UK, Europe, and China.  She teaches on-going dance and composition classes in the Bay Area, in festivals, and recently at universities in England, Louisiana, and China.   She is the organizer of the Dance Discourse Project, an on-going series of artist-curated discussions of the Bay Area dance scene, and co-curates the mixed performance salon “The Milk Bar” in Richmond.  See more at


Robert Avila is a San Francisco-based arts writer who has covered theater, dance and performance for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, American Theatre, In Dance and other publications. He also writes irregularly at


Olive Blackburn is a dancer and researcher who lives in Oakland. She is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, writing a dissertation on bay area dance history and political economy. Her book of poetry,Communism is up there and we are down here but it is happening now (2014), was published by Timeless Infinite Light. She is a member of a dance cult called SALTA.


Hey there people. What is possible in our being together? How can a generous collectivity create opportunities to deepen the wilds of solitude?  What are the realities that we identify with, and how can we have more potency in our choice making and range in our actions? When do we want to scramble our identifications and when do we want to refine them?    I hope to engage with you/we in asking these questions.  And I want to work in such a way that you/we ask questions at the precipices of our knowing. Let’s practice resistance! Let’s practice saying yes! It is muddy. And dancing.  – leslie castellano


Sherwood Chen (Marseille/San Francisco) has intermittently created solo, collaborative and group dances, and co-founded dance collaborative Headmistress with Amara Tabor-Smith. He has worked as a performer for artists including Anna Halprin, Xavier Le Roy, inkBoat, Ko Murobushi, Grisha Coleman, Dohee Lee, Sara Shelton Mann and l’agence touriste. He performed as a resident member of Min Tanaka’s company Mai Juku in rural Japan during the 1990s. For over twenty years, he has researched and contributed to Body Weather, movement training initiated by Tanaka and his contemporaries.

Since 2000, Sherwood has led workshops internationally in studio and in natural and urban landscapes. Recently, he has led training for professionals in spaces including Ménagerie de Verre (Paris), Centro Nacional de las Artes (CENART, Mexico City),  Independent Dance / Siobahn Davies Dance Studio (London), Sala Crisantempo (São Paulo), Budapest Tánciskola, Arlequi (Banyoles), ODC (San Francisco) and Ufer Studios (Berlin).


Jess Curtis, living and working in both San Francisco and Berlin, has created a body of work ranging from the underground extremes of Mission District warehouses with Contraband and CORE (1985-1998) to the formal refinement and exuberance of European State Theatres and Circus Tents with Compagnie Cahin-Caha and Jess Curtis/Gravity (1998-present). In 2000, Jess Curtis founded Gravity as a research and development vehicle for very live performance. Gravity aspires to the creation of exceptionally engaging body-based performance that explores and addresses issues and ideas of substance and relevance to a broad public. With Gravity Mr. Curtis has produced nine full-evening performance works. He also teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Performance throughout the US and Europe, and has been a visiting professor at UC Berkeley, and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He holds an MFA in choreography and a PhD in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis. |


The Dance Studies Working Group was established in 2004, with funding from the Townsend Center at UC Berkeley. We include practicing artists, undergraduate and graduate students, writers, critics, theorists, and Bay Area community members. The group is currently led by Olive Blackburn, Randi Evans and Kate Mattingly. Our activities engage with practice, theory, performance, and pedagogy by hosting discussions, readings, and showings of works-in-process. The DSWG also runs a website called BayWatch, an online platform for dance writing in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Hana Lee Erdman is a dance artist who works with choreography and curatorial practices, approaching performance from both embodied and visual sensibilities. Her work generates a space of public intimacy and sensitivity, proposing the practice of being together as a creative one. She wants to see what and how we can do together in order to create potential for transformative experiences through subtle and subversive shifts of power and exchange.


Margit Galanter is a movement investigator and dance poet living in Oakland. Her collaborative embodied inquiries range from performance, teaching and her private practice to larger-scale cultural praxes. Most recently, Margit co-edited and wrote in the book Embodied Lives, is reviving the arts + ecology festival SEEDS, and is following multiple conversational threads that nourish her obsession with the hermetic, inclusive furnace of the Cave. art site // practice site. Cave Forms is an inquiry with many currents – in coastal caves, on the streets, at its home in Temescal Arts Center, and now, here, at FRESH 2016.


keyon gaskin doesn’t care for bios.


Allie Hankins is a performer & performance maker, and teacher currently residing in Portland. She is an inaugural member of FLOCK, a new dance center & creative home to Portland’s experimental dance artists, and a founding member of Physical Education, a critical & casual, reading & researching, drinking & dialoguing, dance & performance body comprised of herself, keyon gaskin, Taka Yamamoto, and Lucy Lee Yim.


Keith Hennessy is a performer, choreographer, teacher, writer and organizer. Born in Sudbury, Canada, he lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, ritual and public action as tools for investigating political realities. Ideas and practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, punk, and queer-feminism motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s creative and activist projects. Hennessy directs CIRCO ZERO, and was a member of the collaborative performance companies: Contraband (with Sara Shelton Mann), CORE, and Cahin-caha, cirque bâtard. Recent awards include the USA Kjenner Fellowship (2012), a Bilinski Fellowship (2010), a NY Bessie (2009), two Isadora Duncan Awards (2009), and a Goldie (2007). Current projects include Turbulence (a dance about the economy), Bear/Skin a solo folk dance, Sara (the smuggler) a solo for Sara Shelton Mann, and two performances responding to the war and refugee crisis in Syria:  future friend/ships a duet with Jassem Hindi, and Action (Syria) a museum solo by Keith. Recent teaching includes Ponderosa (Germany), Impulstanz (Vienna), AEx-Corps (Dakar), UBC (Kelowna), HZT (Berlin), Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam), Texas Women’s University, and FRESH Festival (SF). Hennessy has an MFA in Choreography and a PhD (ABD) in Performance Studies from UC Davis.


Samuel Hertz, composer and performer, received his MFA at Mills College, where he studied composition and electronic music with Pauline Oliveros, Fred Frith, and Zeena Parkins. He has worked with numerous dance companies throughout the United States, and his work has been seen/heard at ACUD MACHT NEU (Berlin, Germany), Nebulullaby (London, UK), ACRE Gallery/ACRE-TV (Chicago, IL), ARTX (Long Beach, CA), Jack Straw New Media Gallery (Seattle, WA), Harvestworks (New York, NY), The Uncreativity Festival (Minneapolis, MN), and WBEZ Radio (Chicago, IL) among others. Samuel has worked as lead technical assistant to, and performed with, Morton Subotnick, Alvin Curran, and John Driscoll. Currently, he composes music for a number of San Francisco Bay-area choreographers, in addition to working on an electro-acoustic composition commission by the OpusCentrum Ensemble (Bourges, France). Recently, he was an artist-in-residence at Bains::Connective in Brussels, Belgium.


Jesse Hewit is a dance artist, based in San Francisco. Through re-imagining sociological contexts of the body, his work attempts to unsettle dominant ideas about power, narrative, safety, and beauty. His original works and collaborations have been presented in venues and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Manheim, Berlin, Krems, Vienna, and Oslo. He studied dance and performance at Tisch School of the Arts in New York, and in 2005, Jesse moved from New York to San Francisco to pursue graduate study in cross-disciplinary sociology. In 2007, he began making dance work under the moniker Strong Behavior. Jesse teaches, writes, organizes, and curates conversations and actions about art and society, up and down the west U.S. Coast and in Western Europe.


Monique Jenkinson (FAUXNIQUE) uses dance and drag to consider the performance of femininity as a forceful, vulnerable and subversive act. She creates and performs her work locally and internationally in a range of contexts from nightclubs to theaters to museums. Her ever-evolving cabaret show Faux Real played London’s Hackney Attic and Provincetown’s renowned Afterglow Festival in 2014, and in 2015 returned to SF’s Oasis for a successful run. She created new work as an Associate Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts (2014) and her acclaimed solo Instrument, created during her time as a de Young Museum Irvine fellow (2012) traveled to the zürich moves! festival (2015). She is a past GOLDIE recipient, a recent de Young Museum Irvine Fellow and a current member of the advisory committee for the Friday Nights at the de Young series.


Debby Kajiyama’s interests lie in the intersection of cultural studies, social justice, and performance. She is inspired by influential teachers Jimi Nakagawa and Nora Dinzelbacher; the movement research of Kira Kirsch, Frey Faust, and Nita Little; and the passion of the cultural workers of Oakland’s EastSide Arts Alliance. Since 2001, she has created five full-evening programs and numerous shorter works with NAKA that have been presented nationally and internationally. Debby has also performed with Dandelion Dancetheater, the Dance Brigade, and Somei Yoshino Taiko Ensemble. She has been an artist-in-residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, an Irvine Fellow at Montalvo’s Lucas Artists Residency Program, and a recipient of an ACTA Apprenticeship to study Taiko with Jimi Nakagawa.


Violeta Luna’s (Actress/Performance Artist/Activist) work explores the relationship between theatre, performance art and community engagement.  Working within a multidimensional space that allows for the crossing of aesthetic and conceptual borders, Luna uses her body as a territory to question and comment on social and political phenomena.  Born in Mexico City, Luna obtained her graduate degree in Acting from the Centro Universitario de Teatro (UNAM,) and La Casa del Teatro. She has performed and taught workshops extensively throughout Latin America and Europe, as well as in Rwanda, Egypt, New Zealand, Japan, Canada and USA. While primarily working as a solo performer, she is also an associate artist of the San Francisco-based performance collectives La Pocha Nostra and Secos & Mojados. She is a Creative Capital and National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures (NALAC) Fellow, and a member of The Magdalena Project: International Network of Women in Contemporary Theatre. Significant works include: Requiem for a Lost Land, Frida, NK603: Action for Performer and e-Maiz, Apuntes sobre la Frontera and a series of collaborations with La Pocha Nostra.


Sara Shelton Mann –  Alwin Nikolai and Murray Louis Companies, 1968-72, Halifax Dance Co-Op 74-79. She moved to San Francisco in 1979 and developed the performance group “Contraband” touring from 1979-96. She collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Pena 1996-2000. Since 2000 She has taught and created performance work internationally.  Her awards include 6 Isadora Duncan Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Gerbode Choreographer in Collaboration Award with David Szlasa, and CHIME, a project of Margaret Jenkins Company and a Lifetime Achievement Award 2014/Bay Guardian. She is a practitioner of several healing modalities and integrates her research with her teaching and performance endeavors.


Kate Mattingly is a doctoral candidate in Performance Studies at U.C. Berkeley.


David Molina (composer) is an award winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, sound artist/designer and recording engineer. He has created music and sound for theatre, video, film, dance, performance art, radio, television, installation, and multimedia productions for the past 18 years. Recently he has been inventing and building instruments from salvaged materials, which become part of interactive, multimedia installations displayed at galleries and festivals, including a solo exhibit Transience: The Work of David Molina, at Asterisk Gallery SF (2013,) He has worked with numerous bay area theatre companies, performing arts venues, educational institutions, museums, and with several regional companies and organizations throughout the U.S., and has performed and had his music featured internationally. He is a founding member of the interdisciplinary troupe Secos Y Mojados (2009 Creative Capital grantees). His music and bands: Ghosts and Strings, Transient, Earthlike, and Impuritan are available on Resting Bell (Berlin,) Dorog Records (Peru,) Black Note Music (USA,) Distant Spore (USA,) or through his own D.I.Y. releases.


Navarrete x Kajiyama Dance Theater [NAKA] was founded in 2001 by co-conspirators José Navarrete and Debby Kajiyama. We create interdisciplinary performance works for the stage, street corners, & site-specific environments. Driven by a curiosity about people’s histories, we often make work about the awkward, the vulnerable, the underdog. Since 2006, we have created work addressing our deepening concern with social and environmental issues. Recent themes include: genetic modification of native crops, cultural colonization, the privatization of water, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, racial profiling and state sponsored terror. NAKA uses art installation and multimedia to complement the intense physicality of live performance.


José Navarrete is a native of México City. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from UC Berkeley and an M.F.A in Dance from Mills College. José has studied dance with Sara Shelton Mann, Taiko with Hiroyuki Nakagawa and Argentine Tango with Nora Dinzelbacher. He is the recipient of a Bessie Schönberg residency at The Yard, a Djerassi residency, a CHIME Mentorship with Jess Curtis, and a CHIME Across Borders fellowship with Ralph Lemon. Navarrete has taught performance in Mexico, at local high schools and colleges, and at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. He currently leads the Guerilla Performance Group at Oakland’s Eastside Arts Alliance.


Mara Poliak is a dancer, artist and writer based in Oakland.  She is currently touring Snake Talk with Abby Crain and Maryanna Lachman, and working with Margit Galanter in her project Cave Forms.  Mara has shown her solo and collaborative work in SF, LA, NYC, Seattle, and Portland. She is also a member of SALTA, a 7-woman collective that curates a free monthly mobile performance series in the East Bay. Mara teaches at Creativity Explored, a studio in San Francisco for adult artists with developmental disabilities.


Brontez Purnell is a writer, musician, dancer, and choreographer whose projects include the cult zine Fag School, his novel Johnny Would You Love Me…”, his band “The Younger Lovers,” and the Brontez Purnell Dance Company (BPDC). Since founding BPDC in 2010, Purnell has presented original dance and movement theatre works at the Berkeley Art Museum, CounterPULSE, the Garage, Kunst-Stoff Arts, the Lab, SOMArts, YBCA, and the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. He is the recipient of the 2015 Creative Work Fund Media Arts Grant to create an experimental documentary on the postmodern Bay Area choreographer Ed Mock. Brontez holds a B.F.A. in Theatre and Contemporary Dance from California State University, East Bay.


Rubro Obscene Collective is a theater group established in 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil. Composed exclusively by women artists of performance, dance and theater is intended to deal with questions about the legitimacy of women’s rights in the Brazilian social context.


Mica Sigourney is a performance artist, drag queen, curator, gogo dancer, instigator, emcee and nightlife enthusiast. Utilizing 15 years of performance training, Sigourney creates drag numbers, performance installations, gogo happenings and theater pieces that ride the tension between artifice/construct and vulnerability/authenticity. Sigourney took part in the danceWEB scholarship at ImPulsTanz Festival in 2014 and has a degree in art from Antioch University. He founded OX in 2008, and has curated and produced works and collaborations with the organization since that time.


Roderick Steel has Master’s in Film from the University of Sao Paulo. He works with film, video, painting, performance and curating. Overriding concerns in his work include the journey images takes within other images, how images behave in different media and how they relate to each other, using photography and cinema as references. This applies to how images of the self are projected into the image world: through trance and other sublime experiences.


Julie Tolentino creates installation, performance, sculpture, visual, sound and video work. She is actively developing three works: the VOID Series, The Sky Remains the Same with Stanley Love in NYC and LOLAs, upcoming with Ryan Tacata. She is the co-editor of the TDR Provocations section and editor of an upcoming book entitled: Guard Your Daughters – Clit Club 1990-2002.


Michael Turner, Jr. (performer-collaborator) lives in San Francisco’s Bayview District where he practices turfing. The performing arts have helped him stay in school and have afforded him job opportunities. Michael was an artist in Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Young Artists at Work program from 2009-2012. He enjoys performance, but sees visual art as his real love. Michael has been editing games and creating animation. He is currently a student at the College of San Mateo studying Graphic Design. He thanks his previous art mentors, who have inspired him to want to continue to be exposed to all kinds of art.


Roberto Varea’s stage work and research writing focuses on live performance as means of resistance and peacebuilding in the context of social conflict and state violence.  His creative work includes direction and dramaturgy in community-based projects, and regular collaborations with Violeta Luna and David Molina, primarily as part of the performance collective Secos & Mojados.


Sophia Wang creates and performs movement-based works in collaboration with performance artists, writers, and visual and sound artists. She has presented works at the Berkeley Art Museum, San Francisco’s ATA, SOMArts, and the Lab, and Oakland’s Lobot Gallery and Temescal Arts Center. She is currently developing a series of sculpture and performance installations as part of a collaboration entitled “Manners” with Bay Area visual artist Lisa Rybovich Crallé. She and Lisa are recent recipients of Southern Exposure’s Alternative Exposure Grant for Heavy Breathing, a curatorial project exploring the practice and concept of critical somatics. In 2016, they will produce a related series, Physical Education, with the support of the Berkeley Art Museum. She holds a PhD in English from U.C. Berkeley.


Anna Martine Whitehead is an artist, writer, choreographer, and curator. She makes solos and collaborative work interrogating race, gender, time, and loss at the limits of performance. Anna Martine has shown work at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, KUNST-STOFF, SOMArts, Southern Exposure, and CounterPULSE in San Francisco; The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; AUNTS in Brooklyn; and Pieter, homeLA, and Watts Towers Art Center in Los Angeles. In addition to her choreographic and solo work, Martine has worked collaboratively or made significant contributions to the work of Keith Hennessy, Jesse Hewit, Jefferson Pinder, taisha paggett, Julien Previeux, and Spiral Q Puppet Theater. She is a contributor to itch dance journal and writes ‘Endurance Tests,’ a recurring column in Art Practical exploring creative practices of the African Diaspora. She has co-produced VAST LANDSCAPE, an ongoing open sound- movement studio; and movement//movement, a social justice based practice space in Detroit via the Allied Media Conference. Anna Martine holds an MFA from California College of the Arts and has lectured there as well as at Cal State East Bay. Visit for more.


Miriam Wolodarski [USA/SWE]

Miriam Wolodarski is a performer, maker, teacher, and manager of The Finnish Hall, an arts and community space in Berkeley.   She holds an MFA in Contemporary Performance from Naropa University, a BSS in Political Science from Uppsala Universitet, and a banana in her left hand. Her performance work is an ongoing kinesthetic and visual thought process influenced by Contact Improvisation, Viewpoints, physical theater, Axis Syllabus, BMC, and the Dharma Art teachings of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, among others. It has been supported by programming at CounterPULSE, TragantDansa, Centre Cívic Barceloneta, Climate Theater, Danceground Keriac, Earthdance, and The Hemispheric Institute, among others, and more generally by the balancing act between technique, anarchy, critical thinking, and inclusivity that is so precariously embodied by the Bay Area contemporary dance scene.  


Originally from Shizuoka, Japan, Takahiro Yamamoto is an artist based in Portland, Oregon, working in dance performance, sculpture, and photography.


Lucy Yim is based in Portland, OR // Questioning – Struggling – Presenting // Love pouring out. Shattered. In the room.


Mlondolozi ‘Mlondi’ Zondi is a multi­media artist who works mainly in dance, drama, and performance/live art. He is a second year PhD student in performance studies at Northwestern University in Illinois. He received his MFA in dance studies as a Fulbright scholar at the University of California, Irvine (USA). Prior to that, he studied at the University of Kwa­Zulu Natal (South Africa) where he obtained a BA Honours cum laude with a concentration in theatre studies, media and cultural studies. His professional performance career includes performing for theater-for-development companies such as Soundtrack4Life (Cape Town) and Arepp Theatre4Life (Johannesburg). He also worked as a full-time dancer for the Flatfoot Dance Company as well as The Playhouse Company in Durban. Before moving the US, he worked at The Market Theater in Johannesburg under the tutelage of directors Malcolm Purkey and Neil Coppen. Mlondi has created his own body of performance work that includes Crawl for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (2009). He also created Drag at the DAG (site ­specific Drag Performance at the Durban Art Gallery 2010);The Martyrdom of the Kitchen Saints (2010); Geography of my Umbilical Cord (Jomba Contemporary Dance Festival Fringe 2011); IN­MATE ( 2013); VIRTUAL VENUES, (2013);CEREMONIOUS (commissioned by the Laguna Beach Art Museum,California 2013); fix(2014); and Dead Skin (2015).


To read about co-curators and producing team we welcome you to visit our About page. 

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