Wabi Sabi Choreographers

Wabi Sabi Choreographers 2014

Atlanta Ballet Choreographers

Tara Lee (Company artist)

Tara Lee made her choreographic debut with Sixteen String in 2003. Originally created for an Atlanta Ballet choreographers’ workshop, Sixteen String was handpicked by John McFall to be performed by the Company the following year. In 2004, McFall offered her another opportunity, which led to the creation of the duet Poem. After making its premiere with Atlanta Ballet, Poem was also performed by New Orleans Ballet Theatre. Subsequent works include two commissions for Emory Dance Company; a Margaret Mitchell inspired duet for Georgia Public Broadcasting; and three critically acclaimed works for Wabi Sabi - the Akara (assisted by Jesse Tyler), Mind Myself, and En Route. Her two most recent Atlanta Ballet premieres, Pavo (assisted by Jesse Tyler) and the authors (a collaboration with artist/filmmaker Joseph Guay), were commissioned respectively for the company’s 2012 and 2014 seasons. This past summer, Tara choreographed for Janet, a silent ballet film by Adam Stone.

John McFall (Atlanta Ballet Artistic Director)

John studied dance with Ms. Tatiana Dokoudovska who not only taught him the art of dance, but also inspired him to pursue an adventurous life in theater. At sixteen, he was contracted to dance at Starlight Theater, one of the showcase summer stock venues in the country. Following this, he performed with the San Francisco Ballet for two decades, working with distinguished choreographers and touring the world. John became recognized as a choreographer himself and was commissioned to create premieres for a variety of companies, including San Francisco Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, and National Ballet of Canada. Mikael Baryshnikov invited John to create two works for American Ballet Theater in which Mikael also performed. In 1986 John received an invitation from Robert Barnett, Artistic Director of Atlanta Ballet, to premiere a work titled Watchers. Eight years later John would become artistic director. John has continued to contribute to the Atlanta Ballet repertoire with family classics such as Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Swan Lake, Firebird, and Don Quixote. Notably, he has expanded the range of the repertoire with invitations to many of the world’s most provocative and imaginative choreographers. These individuals include Wayne McGregor, Jorma Elo, Ohad Naharin, David Bintley, Christopher Wheeldon, James Kudelka, and Twyla Tharp. John is committed to continue leading Atlanta Ballet into the future with innovative and extraordinary works. By commissioning brilliant choreographers and nurturing the development of new talent, he will ensure that for generations to come Atlanta Ballet will present evenings of dance that touch the soul and engage the imagination.  Simply put, to INSPIRE.

Guest Choreographers

Gretchen Alterowitz (Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte)

Gretchen Alterowitz is a choreographer, scholar, performer, and educator. She has choreographed a variety of works, including Holding Ground, for Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi (2012); Dear X., a site-specific work made for the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, NC (2014); and Songs of the Fisherman, an evening length opera-ballet, performed at the Grachtenfestival in Amsterdam (2013) and published on DVD by Albany Records(2013). Additional works have been presented by the Women on the Way Festival (San Francisco); Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase (Monterey); and North Carolina Dance Alliance Choreographers Showcase (Durham). Gretchen is also a member of AGA Collaborative, a trio of dance artist-scholars who collaborate on research and performance projects. In addition to her choreographic work, Gretchen recently had an article published in the Journal of Dance Education (2014); this piece, “Toward a Feminist Ballet Pedagogy: Teaching Strategies for Ballet Technique Classes in the 21st Century,” discusses her implementation of feminist and democratic pedagogical approaches in ballet technique classes. She also has an article forthcoming from the journal Dance Chronicle (2014); this essay, “Embodying a Queer Worldview: The Contemporary Ballets of Katy Pyle and Deborah Lohse,” examines two contemporary ballets for how they engage with and disrupt established ballet conventions to work for social change. Gretchen holds an MFA in Choreography from the University of Iowa, and is an assistant professor of dance at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she teaches ballet technique, dance history, and choreography.

 Robert Dekkers (Artistic Director Post: Ballet in San Francisco and former Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education student)

Named “25 To Watch” by DANCE Magazine, Robert Dekkers is founder and artistic director of Post:Ballet. Collaborating with eclectic artists to present work that is “anything but risk averse” (SF Chronicle), Robert has created over a dozen new works for Post:Ballet since launching the company in 2009, including Mine is Yours (commissioned for SF International Arts Festival), Ours (short film premiered at Frameline Film Festival as part of HIV Story Project’s documentary Still Around), and field the present shifts (nominated for a prestigious Isadora Duncan Award in “Outstanding Performance- Ensemble” after its 2013 premiere at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts). Robert danced professionally with Ballet Arizona, ODC/Dance, Company C Contemporary Ballet, and is currently performing with Diablo Ballet. He was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award for “Outstanding Performance- Individual” for his 2012-13 season with Diablo Ballet, where he has danced leading roles in works by choreographers including George Balanchine, José Límon, Val Caniparoli, KT Nelson, Trey McIntyre, Septime Webre, and Mario Radacovsky. He has also performed in works by Twyla Tharp, August Bournonville, Maurice Causey, Lar Lubovitch, Jodie Gates, Ib Andersen, Paul Taylor, Brenda Way, and Julia Adam. Robert was resident choreographer for Novaballet from 2008-2009 and was recently appointed resident choreographer for Diablo Ballet after creating three critically acclaimed works for the company. His latest work for Diablo Ballet, cares you know not, was commissioned for the company’s 20th anniversary gala performance and featured an original score by Samuel Adams. His choreography has been presented at venues including the Tanzsommer Festival (Vienna), Ballet Builders Showcase (New York City), Against the Grain Festival (Seattle), and WestWave Festival (San Francisco). Robert has received commissions from companies including Atlanta Ballet’s Wabi Sabi, Smuin Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, and Quixotic/Fusion. In 2012, Robert choreographed and directed his first full-length work, Alice in Wonderland, for Contra Costa Ballet. Robert is a faculty member at Berkeley Ballet Theater, ODC/Commons, and LINES Dance Center. In addition to his work as a choreographer, teacher and dancer, he holds a degree in business from Rio Salado College.

John Heginbotham (Founding Director of Dance Heginbotham)

John is the winner of the 2014 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award and is a two-time recipient of the Jerome Robbins Foundation New Essential Works (NEW) Fellowship Grant (2010, 2012). In addition to his work with Dance Heginbotham, John’s choreography has been seen at Dance Theater Workshop, The Museum of Modern Art, Joe’s Pub at The Public Theater, and the New York and Toronto Fringe Festivals, among other venues.  He has created work for the Cork Opera House (Cork, Ireland), Dartmouth College, The Juilliard School, Purchase College, Princeton University, Long Island University, The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana, CA), Big Apple Baroque, Oasis Theater (Minneapolis, MN), art/pop group Fischerspooner, and the cabaret artists Lady Rizo and the Assettes and Our Lady J.  A frequent collaborator with live music, John has worked with numerous composers and ensembles, including string quartet Brooklyn Rider, Alarm Will Sound, the Raymond Scott Orchestrette, Jesse Blumberg, Tyondai Braxton, Colin Jacobsen, Gabriel Kahane, and Shara Worden (also known as My Brightest Diamond).  In December 2013, he choreographed Isaac Mizrahi’s Peter and the Wolf at the Guggenheim Museum and collaborated with Mizrahi again in spring 2014 on The Magic Flute at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, John graduated from The Juilliard School in 1993 and was the recipient of the Martha Hill Prize for Outstanding Achievement and Leadership in Dance. He has danced in the works of Pam Tanowitz, John Jasperse, Rebecca Stenn, Janis Brenner, Allison Chase, David Neumann, Ben Munisteri, Stanley Love, Vanessa Walters, and Pilobolus Dance Theater (guest artist). From 1995–1998, he was a member of Susan Marshall and Company, originating roles in her evening-length works, The Most Dangerous Room in the House and the award-winning dance opera composed by Philip Glass, Les Enfants Terribles.  John was a member of the Mark Morris Dance Group from 1998–2012.  As a member of MMDG, he performed across the United States and internationally with artists including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, The Bad Plus, Zakir Hussain and with opera companies including The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, and the English National Opera. As a teacher, John offers dance master classes in the United States and abroad. He has taught at institutions including the University of California, Berkeley, George Mason University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Washington, and The Laban Centre in London. He is currently on faculty at Princeton University and the Mark Morris Dance Center, and he is a founding teacher of Dance for PD®, an ongoing collaboration between the Mark Morris Dance Group and the Brooklyn Parkinson Group.

Heather Myers (Independent dance artist)

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Heather Myers works domestically and internationally as a freelance choreographer, teacher and performer. Heather has experienced a wide range of dance approaches, from classical to experimental. Her experiences, and her desire to explore and affect through art, lead her to continue work with the human and theatrical capacities of dance. Myers’ choreography has been produced by theatres and institutions such as Netherlands Dance Theatre’s SWITCH, Boston Ballet, The Banff Centre for the Arts, Korzo Theater in The Hague, and Citie Ballet of Edmonton. Heather has also been an organizer of publicly presented, multi-disciplinary improvisation projects in Holland. During her years as a dancer with Alberta Ballet, Boston Ballet, and Netherlands Dance Theatre, Heather performed works by Petipa, Balanchine, Kylian, Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Lightfoot/Leon and others, and was involved in the creations of artists such as Crystal Pite, Jorma Elo, Ivan Perez, Amanda Miller and Mark Morris. Heather has taught classical, contemporary, repertoire and improvisation classes for Ballet British Columbia, Netherlands Dance Theatre’s Education Department, Taipei National University of the Arts, Boston Ballet School, and in other organizations and situations. Though the above mentioned are quite separate practices, Heather seeks to research and progress in all of her endeavors. She is interested in working in a wide variety of creative situations and collaborations. Click here for Heather's full bio.

Ivan Pulinkala (Chair of the Kennesaw State University Dance Department)

Ivan Pulinkala is a contemporary choreographer living and working in Atlanta, GA. Originally from New Delhi, India, Pulinkala moved to the United States in 1998 to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance. In 2012, he received his doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Alabama. Pulinkala began his professional training and choreographic career in India, where he served as the artistic director of his own company from 1994-1998. Pulinkala served as the choreographer-in-residence for Delhi Music Theatre for five years and one of 25 Indian artists of the Millennium by the India Today Magazine in its December 1999 issue. Ivan Pulinkala is the Chair of the Department of Dance at Kennesaw State University, a program he founded in 2005. He travels nationally and internationally choreographing and teaching dance. His work has been commissioned for concert dance (modern and contemporary ballet), musical theatre, as well as corporate and commercial film. His choreographic interest lies in altering physical space through the medium of dance, and he often collaborates with visual artists to create unique physical elements that are explored through his work. His movement philosophy blends the intellectual investigation of sociopolitical subject matter with the physical exploration of space, to create work that is physically dynamic, and infused with strong visual and theatrical elements.Recent choreographic commissions include works for companies in Israel, China, and the U.S. Click here to read Ivan's full bio.

Bennyroyce Royon (Founder of Bennyroyce Dance Productions)

Filipino-American dancer-choreographer Bennyroyce Royon is a graduate of The Juilliard School and former dancer with the NYC-based contemporary ballet company Armitage Gone! Dance. Bennyroyce has been noted by The New York Times for his "keenly focused, succinct way with movement" and his ability to blend kinetic physicality, tactile gestures, and fluid energy. He has worked with notable choreographers such as Karole Armitage, Aszure Barton, Sidra Bell, and Carolyn Dorfman, and he has performed with numerous acclaimed dance companies, including the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Bad Boys of Dance, and Sidra Bell Dance NY. Bennyroyce has appeared in PBS Great Performances, on Good Morning America, and in the music videos of Son Lux and My Brightest Diamond. His passion and talent for choreography have earned him choreographic commissions from Atlanta Ballet, Bad Boys of Dance, The Juilliard School, The Joffrey Academy of Dance, Harvard Ballet Company, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Evolve Dance, and The Evergreen City Ballet. Atlanta Ballet presented the world premiere of FLUX (2011), a multimedia dance creation incorporating set design, large-scale video projection, and an original score by Son Lux. FLUX was praised by dance critics as “unexpected and heart-stoppingly dramatic” and “refreshingly original.” Bad Boys of Dance presented the premiere of Take 4 (2007) at the Jacob’s Pillow 70th Anniversary Season and was featured in the documentary dance film NEVER STAND STILL (2012) by award-winning producer and director Ron Honsa and narrated by Tony Award-winner and Kennedy Center honoree, Bill T. Jones. The Boston Globe applauded this highly charged work as “dynamite” and ”pushed at the edges.” Other choreographic credits include originating the lead role “Jacob” for iLuminate’s Off-Broadway production of Artist Of Light (2012) at The Duke on 42nd Street and as the assistant choreographer to Karole Armitage for the New York Philharmonic’s production of The Cunning Little Vixen (2011). In addition, Bennyroyce received The Joffrey Ballet’s Choreographers of Colors Award 2012, supporting the creation of Rush (2012), which premiered at the Harris Theater in Chicago. His dance company, Bennyroyce Dance Productions (BDP), a project-based, collaborative, multimedia, contemporary dance company, has appeared in New York at The Joyce Theater, the Salvatore Capezio Theater at the Peridance Capezio Center, Baruch Performing Arts Center, The Wild Project, and The University Settlement. BDP has also appeared outside of New York at the Theater at Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue, Washington and at the Roxy Theater in Morton, Washington. The company has received space residencies from Armitage Gone! Dance at MANA Contemporary in Jersey City, NJ (April/May 2013) and at The Art Mill in Jeffersonville, NY (August 2011). Bennyroyce is an active, sought-after teacher, bringing his own unique fusion of ballet, modern and contemporary dance to classes and workshops in Montréal, New York City, Seattle, and Stavanger (Norway). He encourages dancers to nurture their highest potential by cultivating a non-judgmental approach to movement exploration and unlocking creativity through playful improvisation. Click here to view a full list of Bennyroyce's performance and choreography credits.




Tara Lee. Photo by Charlie McCullers.
John McFall. Photo by Charlie McCullers.
Gretchen Alterowitz. Photo by Gordon Olson.
Robert Dekkers. Photo by Daniel O'Neill.
John Heginbotham. Photo courtesy of johnheginbotham.com.
Heather Myers. Photo by Patricia Ribas.
Ivan Pulinkala. Photo courtesy of http://ivanpulinkala.com/biography.cfm.

Bennyroyce Royon. Photo courtesy of bennyroyce.com