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As a part of our commitment to strengthening and connecting the dance community at large, we are excited to continue our panel discussions and expand them to talk about the questions that we have as a community. 

In order to make our discussions relevant to the concerns of the community, we want your input! What should we be talking about? What kind of panelists should we be bringing to discuss these things? Please share your thoughts with us through the form below so that we can curate our 2020 panels. 

Panel Discussion Ideas

Thanks for submitting!

2019 PANEL

Friday, September 27, 2019 at 5pm - Ailey Studios

This year we are excited to include a Professional Development Panel discussion. Artistic directors, choreographers and industry professionals will gather to discuss the different stages of choreographic careers and how presenters and directors make key decisions on commissions and which artists they present. 

Interested in attending?


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Associate Producer

Ariana is the Associate Producer of Jacob’s Pillow Dance and over the course of her 6 year tenure at the Pillow has worked in many facets. Currently, Ariana supports all Pillow programming as a producer, serves on the creative team, curates the Inside/Out Performance Series. Brawley graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with Bachelors of Fine Art in Dance and a Bachelors of Art in Communication; where she received the Virginia Robison Award for Excellence in Dance and Academics.

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Artistic Director, Choreographer

Described as “mesmerizing” [The Stewardship Report] and “brilliant” [Huffington Post], Cameron McKinney is a New York City-based choreographer, dancer, educator, and author. He founded Kizuna Dance in 2014 with the mission of creating works that celebrate the Japanese language and culture. He was awarded a 2019-20 U.S.-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship to collaborate with renowned Japanese choreographer Toru Shimazaki on the creation of a new 30-minute work to be showcased as part of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games events. His work has been recognized through a Choreographic Fellowship for the Alvin Ailey Foundation’s New Directions Choreography Lab, provided through generous support from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation. He also recently received a three-month Individual Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council to travel to Japan and continue his studies on the intersections of streetdance and butoh in 2019. In addition to receiving commissions for new works from The Dance Gallery Festival (NYC), the Men in Dance Festival (WA), The Thacher School (CA), SUNY Brockport (NY), and Peridance Capezio Center’s inaugural Choreographic Development Project (NYC) in 2018, he has also been commissioned twice by the Joffrey Ballet School (NYC), twice by the Let’s Dance International Frontiers Festival (UK), and by SpectorDance (CA) and LIU Brooklyn (NYC), among others. Cameron was also chosen as one of ten emerging choreographers for Doug Varone’s DEVICES choreographic mentorship program in 2015. 

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Dance Curator

Danni Gee has over 30 years experience in the Arts and Entertainment industry, both on stage and behind the scenes. Her professional performing career began as a dancer with the Philadelphia Dance Company. After several seasons there as a leading soloist, Danni joined the world renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and remained there as a principal dancer for seven years. Danni’s dance career was ended abruptly due to injury, but she was able to then focus her energy on her vocal talent, and has since gone on to provide backing vocals to artists such as Sister Sledge, Gloria Gaynor, and Cher. She also formed her own independent rock band, Suga Bush, and with Danni as the lead singer and songwriter, they perform regularly at renowned venues such as The Bitter End, The Blue Note and The Apollo.

Danni, however, has always kept one foot in the dance world, continuing to attend performances and classes. Danni accepted the position of Dance Curator for CityParks SummerStage in 2006. In her 12 seasons as Curator, she has engaged such established companies as Parsons Dance, Dance Brazil, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Kibbutz Contemporary Company, Morphoses, Martha Graham Dance Company, Limon Dance Company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as well as many emerging choreographers and teaching artists. She has commissioned several new works for the organization and presented many World and New York premieres. Danni, who is also a Music Programming Associate at SummerStage, assisting with all things related to the booking of domestic and international music artists, is also involved with the curation of citywide SummerStage dance workshops and panels, and family programming.



Artistic Director, Choreographer

A native of Québec, Canada, Helen has been commissioned by The Juilliard School, the American Dance Festival, Oregon Ballet Theatre, the Bessie Schönberg Residency at The Yard, Springboard Danse Montréal, and the Swiss Intl. Coaching Project (SiWiC) in Zurich. She was a resident choreographer at Baryshnikov Arts Center, NYU/Tisch, Bates Dance Festival, Broadway Dance Lab, and has received fellowships from The NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts, the Bogliasco Foundation, and twice from the North Carolina Arts Council. She has also choreographed for LA-based BODYTRAFFIC. Simoneau was awarded 1st place for choreography at the Intl. Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany for her solo “the gentleness was in her hands” which also won The A.W.A.R.D. Show: NYC. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally at notable venues such as The Guggenheim Museum (NYC), Dance Place (DC), Joyce SoHo (NYC), Tangente (Montréal), The Aoyama Round Theatre (Tokyo), PACT-Zollverein in Essen (Germany), Athens Intl. Dance Festival (Greece), and the Shanghai Dance Festival (China). 

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Program Officer, National Dance Project

As Program Officer, Dance at the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), Kristin Gregory has a significant role in the administration of the National Dance Project (NDP), one of the largest sources of for funding for the creation and touring of new dance works in the U.S. Kristin’s involvement with NDP includes implementing significant changes to programs to meet the needs of dancemakers in response to field-wide research and learning. Additionally, Kristin has been a significant part of the implementation of a regional grant program supporting catalytic opportunities for dancemakers in New England. Kristin has been a member of the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility working group at NEFA since its inception. The group provides training opportunities relevant to the current strategic goals of the organization of improving access to resources for art makers, and guides the organization toward a more inclusive and equitable environment for all staff members and constituents.

Prior to joining NEFA, Kristin served the Development Department at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, leading the charge for Government Advocacy for the Arts and Arts Education, running the Corporate Relations program, and assisting with Grant Writing and events.



Artistic Director, Choreographer

Born in England and raised in Switzerland, Nicole von Arx (NVA) is a freelance dancer and choreographer based between Brooklyn (USA) and Geneva (Switzerland). She graduated in 2011 from The Alvin Ailey School in New York City under the direction of Denise Jefferson. She also trained at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Springboard Danse Montréal 2011& 2015, Dance Area and Jacob's Pillow 2010 Contemporary Program. As a choreographer, Nicole was invited to present her work internationally at the Bâtiment des Forces Motrices, TanzFest Winterthur 2018, La Fête de la Musique on the stage of l’ADC, and the Flux Laboratory in Switzerland, and at Reykjavík Culture Night in Iceland. In the USA, her choreography appeared at the Museum of Moving Image, CPR (Center for Performance Research), Judson Memorial Church, Sam Houston State University, The Battery Dance Festival, The Wild Project, The 14th Street Y/YCabaret, the Ailey Citigroup Theatre and Gowanus Arts. In 2017, she was one of the three emerging choreographers commissioned to create a new 30min work for The Dance Gallery Festival Level UP program. In 2011 and 2015, she had the pleasure to create solo works on students from The Ailey School and SUNY Purchase. Nicole is currently creating and performing in New York City and Switzerland under the name NVA & Guests.



Artistic Director

The Dance Gallery Festival

Originally from Slovenia, Astrid von Ussar has become a sought after choreographer and teacher since arriving in New York City. She is on faculty at The Ailey School since 1999 and has recently joined Joffrey Ballet School, Astrid has also taught at Ballet Hispanico, Peridance, Dance New Amsterdam, Dancewave, Long Island University, and Sam Houston State University. Additionally, the demand for Ms. von Ussar’s skilled approach has led her to teach workshops throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 2002, von Ussar launched VON USSAR danceworks. Since its premier VON USSAR danceworks has been presented at the Monterey Dance Festival, Dumbo Dance Festival, West Fest, Dance/NOW Festival, The Dance Gallery Festival and, most notably, the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, MA. Most recently the company has been presented at the Joyce Theater’s Dancin’ Downtown and the NYC Summerstage Festival. On top of her choreographic pursuits, von Ussar instructs a curriculum based program for the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation entitled, Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Dance. She also developed her own unique movement style that is the base of her work, witch she teaches at Universities around the US.  She holds a Master of Arts degree in Dance from Teachers College, at Columbia University. After producing numerous smaller showcases for emerging choreographers between 2000 and 2005, von Ussar founded The Dance Gallery Festival in 2007.

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