THE FOUNDER

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shannon hummel: FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Shannon Hummel is a professional choreographer, arts educator, arts activist and the Founding Artistic Director of Cora Dance. Hummel established her celebrated professional company, Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance, in 1998; its pay-what-you-can school for dance/education arm in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2009; and spearheaded the establishment of a permanent home for the organization in 2018. Driven to create access to the arts for all people, she opened the Cora Dance studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2009 as a home for her professional company and Cora Dance. Driven to create access to the arts for all people, she opened The Cora Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2009 as a home for her professional company and their education programs. The space strives to create exceptional dance experiences while addressing the impediments that restrict many people from the art-form.

Equal parts professional choreographer and community artist, Hummel’s work has been seen as much in church basements, public parks and community spaces as on some of the country’s finest stages. She has been repeatedly critically acclaimed by Style Magazine, Village Voice, Richmond Times Dispatch, and The New York Times where she has been a Top 10 Critics Pick for Dance and had her “finely wrought dances” called “poignant, funny, vivid and true, remarkably assured and perceptive” and most recently “a rare gem.”

While her choreography has been presented in over 30 NYC venues (including the 92nd Street Y, BAM, BAX, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Danspace Project, La MaMa, LMCC, NYLA, among others), Hummel is best known for creating accessible grassroots performances in off-the-beaten-path places in KY, NY, NJ, OK, VA, VT and WV.

She has been an educational advisor, mentor or faculty member for hundreds of institutions including her alma mater James Madison University; enjoyed significant residencies in support of her choreography from Vermont Performance Lab, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange among others; and taught and lectured widely at American Dance Festival, ACDFA, NYLA, Rutgers, William & Mary, Marlboro College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington & Lee, among others.  She is most proud to be the mom of a lively, lovely dancing boy named Henry. Click here to read more on the history of Hummel’s work with Cora Dance and or, to read her Artist’s Statment, click here.


ADMINISTRATIVE & PRODUCTION TEAM

Bora grace yoon: general manager

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Bora Yoon is a New York based arts administrator and movement artist. She graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a BA in World Arts & Cultures/Dance. Both artistically and administratively, her work investigates how sociopolitical climates directly affect the arts sector. She has been the General Manager at Cora Dance since 2019 and is energized by the organization’s work of combating the institutionalized structures that hold communities back from flourishing at their fullest potentials. As General Manager, Bora manages HR, Development and Financial Management and is the leader of the administrative team as well as institutional liaison to the Board of Directors. She is excited to further cultivate cultural and political intersections that provide a platform for young, marginalized voices to be heard and celebrated and is in her second season at Cora Dance in 2019-2020.  


KATHERINE SING: PROGRAMS & facilities administrator

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Katherine Sing is a Red Hook resident and Cora parent who joined the Cora Dance in the fall of 2018 as the Programs Assistant. She has worked as the Program Coordinator for Equitable Communities, a non-for-profit company founded by John Kent to bring early financial literacy to children and their families, at the P.S.15 site since 2017. During her time with Equitable Communities she facilitated workshops within P.S.15 and devised strategies to engage students and families in the importance of early financial literacy. Katherine spent her time as an administrative assistant at Avalon Red Hook working in early childhood education from 2014-2016. At P.S.15, Katherine served as the 2017-2018 PTA Secretary and the 2018-2019 PTA Co-President. Since 2010 she's also devoted her time as PTA coach and volunteer at PAVE Academy Charter School. Katherine has developed a love for volunteering/working with children, families and the community throughout the past 7 years and is excited to now be the 2019-2020 Programs & Facilities Manager of Cora Dance, serving as a direct link between Cora’s families, community partners and the organization.


NICOLE AsSANTI: ProDUCTION & CREATIVE SUPPORT MANAGER

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Nicole Assanti is a dance artist. With her Brooklyn-based dance company, Nikki and The Noise, Nicole creates nostalgic, anxious, and theatrical dance works. Her work has been shown in venues such as Cora Dance, Center for Performance Research, Triskelion Arts, and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. She has co-directed and choreographed music videos for artists such as Corina Corina, DJ Jen Urban, and Theo Lawrence. Most recently, Nicole was invited back to her Alama Mater, University of Florida, as a guest artist to teach and restage her work “When the lights go out, will you take me with you?” Since living in New York, Nicole has performed works by JoAnna Mendl Shaw and Brit Falcon, among other artists. She has taught Modern and Creative Movement at Cora Dance, and is a teaching artist for birthday parties at BAX| Brooklyn Arts Exchange. She was the 2018-2019 Professional Company Assistant for Cora Dance before taking on the new role of Production & Creative Support Manager. She continues to create work with her company, dance for JACKS, collaborate with local artists, and cultivate a teaching practice. Nicole has a BFA in Dance from the University of Florida, where she studied with artists such as Tzveta Kassabova, Raja Kelly, and Pat Graney.


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LISA BLEYER: VOLUNTEER EDUCATION AND FAMILY SUPPORT COUNSELOR

Lisa Bleyer is a social worker, school administrator and former professional dancer and choreographer. She has a BFA in dance from the Boston Conservatory and an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work. Lisa worked with a number of modern dance companies in NYC, including Cora Dance, for many years as well as presenting her own work both locally and internationally. After spending several years providing therapy to young people in a community based mental health clinic in Brooklyn, Lisa moved on to working in public schools in a variety of capacities and has a vast knowledge of the admissions process and the culture and offerings of middle and high schools across the city. Her work has been focused on building community and improving communication amongst parents, teachers, administrators and students of all ages. She remains engaged in finding creative solutions to bridging the school - family divide and believes deeply in the importance of diversity in our schools. Lisa has been involved with Cora as a dancer, board member, guest choreographer, and now, will be working with CYC/Cora Youth Company and Apprentice families to assist parents in finding schools that are the right fit for each family and distinctly support them as individuals and artists.


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NAHISHA McCOY: lead volunteer and OUTREACH associate

Nahisha McCoy, Cora's Lead Volunteer & Outreach Head, is the mother of three sons, a published author, and a long-time resident of Red Hook Houses. Nahisha is very active in the Red Hook Community, working with many non-profit and service organizations as a volunteer and advocate. She has long been a part of Cora as a parent and board member and is also a member of the Board of Directors for Falconworks Theatre Group


ARTISTS, FACULTY & CREATIVE TEAM

Kate Ageenko: Faculty

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Ekaterina Ageenko is a dancer from Russia who has earned a good reputation in her hometown Tyumen. After gaining prominence as a dancer, choreographer and instructor at Street Dance Federation, Ekaterina was crucial to dozens of dance showcases and distinguished events, including the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Top-5 Mega crew on HHI-Russia 2015 etc. Ekaterina decided to continue her journey in USA in 2017. Her main style is a hip-hop, also have been training in dancehall, house and other urban dance styles. “Dance is always more than just dance. It’s a culture, it’s a way that you express yourself, it’s a whole story. Tell me yours and I will tell you mine.”


HANS BILGER: COMPOSER

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Hans Bilger is a bassist, songwriter, and composer from Brooklyn, NY. The eldest in a musical household, he spent his childhood playing folk and country gospel in a family band. The experience colored his later studies of improvised, classical, and experimental music. His mentors include the bassists Greg Cohen (Ornette Coleman, Laurie Anderson, Tom Waits), Samuel Suggs (Concert Artists Guild), Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers), J.A. Granelli (Mr. Lucky), Axel Scherka (Staatskapelle Berlin), Kurt Muroki (Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center), and others. Bilger moved to Austin, TX in 2016, where he quickly became a sought-after sideman and session bassist. Recent projects include recordings with Eli Greenhoe, Odell Fox, R.O. Shapiro, Jenner Fox, Micah Motenko, and Will Taylor. Meridian, Bilger’s debut solo album, was released this September by Good Child Music. He has composed original scores for two of Cora Dance’s works, gifts and the 2019 re-imagined version of Elsewhere, which originally premiered in 2005. He is currently developing a new score for director Shannon Hummel's new work-in-development, Grove, which premieres in 2020. Bilger is also fascinated by the natural world. While studying evolutionary biology at Yale University, he co-authored a study on musical structure in birdsong with the ornithologist Richard Prum and wrote Aviary, a piece that uses songbird songs as raw material for a series of improvisatory and through-composed movements. Last fall, he joined the labs of Julia Clarke and Michael Ryan at UT Austin to start a PhD on the evolution of vocal communication in birds, bats and frogs. His scientific work is supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and UT Austin. Bilger currently lives in Berlin, Germany, where he splits his time between writing, performing, and CT-scanning bat larynges at the Museum für Naturkunde.


REBEKAH BONO: Dancer, FACULTY/lead teacher, YCP CO-DIRECTOR

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Rebekah Bono is a Brooklyn, NY based instructor, performer, and administrator. She graduated from James Madison University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in dance. During that time, she performed in and/or showed choreographic works in over 18 dance concerts, co-directed the Associate Dance Ensemble, and choreographed for the main stage musical "Guys and Dolls". She has been teaching dance of all styles to students of all ages and skill levels for the past 10 years in various studios, workshops, and intensive settings. Rebekah has worn many hats since joining Cora’s team in 2017. She has been an intern through James Madison University’s Independent Study Program in partnership with Cora. She was the Programs Manager from 2017-2019 as well as a beloved faculty member and dancer with the Apprentice Company. In 2019-2020, Rebekah will begin a new role at Cora, serving as Dance Education Supervisor and Lead Faculty, working closely with Artistic Director Shannon Hummel to ensure the excellence of programming both on and off-site and provide additional support to the faculty. As well as continuing to teach at Cora (Modern, Step, Tap and Satellite Programs) Rebekah is also a 2019-2020 YCP Co-Director (Tier 1) and is a dancer with the professional company for the first time this season. Rebekah is a dancer and rehearsal assistant for Soul Steps, directed by Maxine Lyle, a professional step group that performs and teaches step and step histories in schools, colleges, and showcases around the country since 2017. Rebekah has a strong passion for arts education and looks forward to her new roles at Cora and more opportunities to engage with artists and families.


KATIE DEAN: DANCER, graphic designer

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Katie Dean is a performer and graphic designer. She has performed in New York with visual artists and choreographers Phoebe Berglund, Kim Brandt, Xavier Cha, Jessica Cook, Ayano Elson, Jennifer Harge, Megan Harrold/ Inimois Dance, Ivy Baldwin Dance, Julie Mayo, Melanie McLain, Phoebe Osborne, Shannon Hummel/ Cora Dance, Nadia Tykulsker, Hannah Walsh, and Rebekah Windmiller, in collaborative work with Heather Bregman, Jake Dibeler, and Alaina Stamatis, and in a video by Mia Lidofsky and Celia Rowlson-Hall. She has performed at spaces including MOMA PS1, the Guggenheim Museum, the New Museum, the Jam Handy (Detroit), the Queens Museum, and other spaces, and has performed her own work in Philly and New York.  Her work can be found at katiedean.net. She has danced with SH/CD for nine years.


Elyssa Dole: Faculty

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Elyssa Dole is a former professional ballet dancer and is currently the Community Director of NationSwell. She began dancing early and enrolled at the San Francisco Ballet School studying Vaganova ballet technique at the age of 13. At age 16, she auditioned for the Vaganova Ballet Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia and was granted a rare opportunity to experience Russian culture through ballet during the Yeltsin era and during the infancy of the Internet age. Curious about how culture and tradition meets social change through art, Elyssa moved to NYC where she danced professionally for 10 years while continuing to study modern and contemporary techniques, African and Indian dance, Flamenco and the martial art of Capoeira. After graduating Barnard College, she became increasingly invested in the works she was a part of and began taking on managerial roles within projects. She began applying to business schools with a goal to better support creative pursuits and improve the business models for the causes she cared about. She was accepted to NYU Stern School of Business, where she studied statistics, accounting, microeconomics, finance and innovation for social impact. She holds an MBA from Stern School of Business and is an Innovation Fellow at Nike Foundation. She has written and published many articles on transitioning from her role as a professional ballet dancer into the world of business and the importance of creativity in fields beyond the arts. She is in her second year of teaching at Cora Dance and will be teaching Advanced Beginner Ballet and Pre-Pointe in the 2019-2020 Season.


Enya-Kalia Jordan: FACULTY

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Enya-kalia Jordan is a choreographer, dancer, and teaching artist from Brooklyn, NY. She is an alumna of Buffalo State College with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance. She is also a Master of Fine Arts candidate in choreography and performance at Temple University. Enya-kalia has performed with Just Sole: Street Dance, Nana Baakan’s Africa’s Voices, Kariamu & Company, Dr. S. Ama Wray and Camara Arts. She founded and artistically directs her movement-based artist collective, Enya Kalia Creations. Her collective has presented work at several venues including Dance for the Child International, University West Indies, Pennsylvania State at Abington and National Dance Education Organization. Currently she is cultivating ethnographic and phenomenological research for her thesis concert, Pissed: An Ode to the black woman warrior, which premieres fall 2019.


Maxine lyle: faculty 

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Maxine Lyle is a 2019-2020 faculty member at Cora Dance, teaching Step. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Williams College, where she co-founded Sankofa, the Williams College step team, and has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatrical Management and Producing from Columbia University School of the Arts. She has been a teaching artist and dancer for over ten years, specializing in the African American percussive dance known as “step.” She began stepping at the age of seven in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey and has been performing ever since. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of Soul Steps, LLC, a New York City-based step dance company that uses rhythm as a language to connect with and inspire young people. She has produced several plays and has also directed a youth theatre ensemble in Newark with the All Stars Project of New Jersey. She is currently a teaching artist with The Leadership Program where she uses step as a vehicle to develop leadership skills among young people. She has been a 2017-2018 Guest Artist in Cora Dance’s YCP Program where she created the work I AM STEP and begins her first year as a member of Cora’s faculty in 2019-2020/


JUlianNa marsh: DANCER, FACULTY, YCP student liason

Julianna Marsh holds a BFA in dance choreography from Arizona State University.  She has taught technique classes for the past 10 years in NYC including ballet, movement therapy and Ballroom Basics.  Her career as a performer has allowed her to work and perform with companies such as Delfos Danza Contemporanea of Mazatlan, Pilobolus Dance Theater, Kennedy Dancers, Kathleen Dyer with KDNY, and touring abroad with Vissi Dance Theater. Julianna has been a teacher at Cora Dance since 2016. This is her 4th season teaching at Cora. She was a Co-Director of YCP/Youth Company Programs Tier 1 and 2 in 2017-2018 and Co-Director of Tier 2 in 2018-2019. This season she will continue as the Lead Ballet teacher at Cora and begin a new role in the YCP Program as Student Liaison, providing social-emotional support to students and families and additional oversight support to the Program Directors. This is Julianna’s 1st Season dancing with the professional company, Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance, in the company’s new work in development, GROVE.


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Maria Kofman: COSTUME DESIGNER

Maria Kofman is a Brooklyn based costume designer and multimedia artist. She has shown work at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and the 41 Cooper Square Gallery in New York  City and appeared in performances at the Dixon Place Theater, 41 Cooper Square Gallery and 7 East 7th Street in NYC. In addition to individual costume design and fashion projects, she is a Wardrobe Assistant for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. This is her second season as costume designer for Cora Dance.



KELSEY KRAMER: DANCER

Kelsey Kramer is a Brooklyn-based mover, maker, administrator, and dance advocate. Originally from Virginia, Kelsey holds a B.A. in Dance and Communications from James Madison University. Since moving to New York, Kelsey has worked with choreographers and artists LuisaInnesFree Dance, Emily Kohl Mattingley, KIT District, Eric Gotshall, and Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance. Kelsey is half of JACKS - a moving, making duo with collaborator Lexie Thrash. The two recently collaborated on a film which premiered in November 2018 with artists Allistair Johnson, Emily Kohl Mattingley, Mika Mintz, and Amber Schmeissing. Currently, she works as Program Associate at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Change at the 92nd Street Y and is a member of Dance/NYC's Junior Committee (JComm). This is her third year as a dancer with Cora Dance. She performed in her first work with the professional company, gifts, in January 2019 and will return in the work in November 2019 as well as dancing in the company’s new work in development, Grove, which will preview in February 2020.


Adam Tan: FACULTY

Adam Tan is a Malaysian-born dancer who grew up in Knoxville, TN. Inspired by the movement of Hip Hop at an early age, Adam grew an interest in dance and started learning hip hop moves through watching music videos. At the age of 18, he immersed himself in his dance community in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He began taking classes, competed in numerous competitions, and auditioned for various artists. Realizing his passion for the art, Adam chose to pursue a career in dance and delved into training in many other styles such as contemporary, jazz, urban and even pole acrobatics. Adam’s Pole expertise awarded him Pole Art Champion at the International Pole Championships in Tokyo 2010 and Pole Fit Champion in Hong Kong 2012. He competed with Australia’s Hip Hop Champions, The Collektive in 2012 and competed with Art In Motion who were Semi- finalists on Malaysia’s 8TV Showdown 2012. In addition, he has danced for artists like Mizz Nina, Reshmonu, Jay Park, and other big artists in Asia. Today, Adam continues his career teaching classes around the world. He’s taught in countries like Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Philippines as well as delved into the community wherever he was at. While in Knoxville, TN, he co-created Southern Sole Dance Crew and in Philadelphia, PA he trained and performed with Hood Nation Dance Company. 


Bailey Vaughn: FACULty

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Bailey Jet Vaughn is a graduate of Purchase College SUNY with a BFA in Dance Performance, a concentration in Composition, a minor in Arts Management, and a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award. Bailey has performed in restagings of works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Ohad Naharin, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, and Emio Greco. She has also performed new works by choreographers Adam Barruch, Tom Weinberger, Ana Maria Lucaciu, and Norbert De La Cruz III. In the Fall of 2017 Bailey was selected to study abroad at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in the Modern Theatre Dans program. In the Summer of 2018 Bailey participated in the choreographic residency program at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in their last season. Bailey is currently a member of the internationally touring company, Ballet Nepantla.


3C/ Cora Community Connections Resident Artists

Maxine Lyle / Soul Steps

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Soul Steps speaks the language of rhythm. Founded in 2005 by Maxine Lyle, the company is based in the NY-NJ area and showcases the African-American dance tradition known as “stepping” (not to be confused with Irish step dance!). Their mission is to expand the presence of stepping throughout the world while creating avenues for cultural exchange and awareness among diverse communities. Step started among African-American fraternities and sororities on college campuses as a means of unity and self-expression, and has deep roots in the migrant labor culture of South African gold mines. For close to a century, step dancers have used their bodies as percussive instruments to create a new physical language that inspires, celebrates and forges community. Soul Steps brings this explosive art form to the stage in a high-energy performance that combines percussive movement, hip-hop rhythms, and call and response. Their performances, residencies, and educational programming are suitable for all ages. From school workshops in Brooklyn, to partnerships with U.S. Embassies throughout the world, to a cameo in an indie rock band video, Soul Steps embraces every opportunity to expose diverse communities to the magnetism and dynamic power of step.


Cameron McKinney / Kizuna Dance

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Kizuna Dance is an international repertory ensemble that blends streetdance with contemporary floorwork to create dances that celebrate the Japanese culture. The company has performed nationally and internationally at prestigious institutions and festivals such as The Japan Society, Performatica, the Let’s Dance International Frontiers Festival, Middlebury Institute for International Studies, Gibney Dance, and Movement Research, among many others. In July 2019, the company had its French premier at the International Choreographic Festival of Blois on the National Stage, "La Halle aux Grains" in Blois, France. The company will travel to Japan in Summer 2020 to perform alongside renowned Japanese choreographer Toru Shimazaki’s company Dance Barbizon in showcases for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Committed to outreach, the company engages with every tour location it enters, connecting with community members through post-show discussions, lecture demonstrations, open rehearsals, and masterclasses. Kizuna Dance has lead workshops and residencies in fifteen states and internationally in Japan, Mexico, France, and the UK. Kizuna Dance was founded by Artistic Director Cameron McKinney, whose work has been recognized through fellowships from the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, the Alvin Ailey Foundation, the Asian Cultural Council, and through commissions from numerous institutions across the country and abroad.


Falconworks Theater Company

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Falconworks Theater Company is an award-winning theater company based in Red Hook for over 15 years. Their mission is to empower individuals and communities through theater workshops that cultivate participants’ ability to tell their and their communities’ stories directly to diverse local audiences. Uniting these sometimes-disparate groups, Falconworks engenders local residents with a renewed sense of community and educates them about local issues that affect them all.


CORA DANCE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

OFFICERS: Danielle Vidals, President; John Foley-Murphy, Vice President; Nahisha McCoy, Secretary; Vanessa Adato, Treasurer

MEMBERS: Robert Aberlin, Trequan Bekka, Severn Clay-Youman, Ilya Feldsherov, Mesha Laidlow, Scott Pfaffman, Asha Rhodes-Meade, Christopher Sewell

Banner photo credit: Steve Pisano. Board member pictures, coming soon!