THE FOUNDER

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shannon hummel: FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Shannon Hummel is a professional choreographer, arts educator, arts advocate 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. 

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ADMINISTRATIVE & PRODUCTION TEAM

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Bora grace yoon: general manager

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.  


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KATHERINE SING: PROGRAMS & facilities administrator

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.


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NICOLE AsSANTI: ProDUCTION & CREATIVE SUPPORT MANAGER

Nicole Assanti is a Brooklyn-based dance artist. She has a BFA in Dance from the University of Florida, where she studied with artists such as Tzveta Kassabova, Nita Little, Pat Graney, and raja feather kelly. In 2015, she was the Choreographer-in-Residence at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Florida, where she made dances in conversation with the museum’s collections and unique architecture. Since living in NYC, Nicole has performed works by JoAnna Mendl Shaw and Brit Falcon, among other artists. She has been a Teaching Artist at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange for their Youth Arts Program, and has taught at Cora Dance. Nicole creates movement-based work with her company Nikki and The Noise which has been presented in venues such as Center for Performance Research, Triskelion Arts and Cora Dance. Most recently, Nicole co-directed and choreographed Corina Corina’s ‘Toothbrush’ music video. Nicole continues to create work with Nikki and The Noise, in addition to collaborating with local artists. She was the 2018-2019 Professional Company Assistant for Cora Dance before taking on the new role of Production & Creative Support Manager.


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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

HANS BILGER: COMPOSER

Hans Bilger is a bassist, singer, songwriter and composer from Brooklyn, NY. After an early diet of country and bluegrass music provided by his family band, the Charismatic Megafauna, he pursued formal training in improvised and classical music. His mentors include the bassists Greg Cohen (Ornette Coleman, 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. 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 Hummel’s new work-in-development, Grove, which premieres in 2020.

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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 Dr. 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 Drs. Julia Clarke and Michael Ryan at UT Austin to start a PhD on the evolution of vocal communication in birds and bats. His scientific work is supported by fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and UT Austin. He is currently at work on Austin Menagerie (working title), a series of musical sketches based on Texas fauna. Bilger currently lives in Berlin, Germany, where he splits his time between writing, performing, and CT-scanning bat larynges at the Museum für Naturkunde..


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REBEKAH BONO: DANCE EDUCATION SUPERVISOR, Dancer, FACULTY, YCP CO-DIRECTOR

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.


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KATIE DEAN: DANCER, graphic designer

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.


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Elyssa Dole: Faculty

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.


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CHARISMA GLASPER: FACULTY

Charisma Glasper, a native New Yorker, trained during her early years at the The Ailey School and Harlem School of the Arts. She attended Professional Performing Arts High School in Times Square, while training during the summers at Joffrey Ballet. Charisma completed her BFA at Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Having other passions in fashion, film and performance art, after graduating, since graduating, Charisma has modeled in Vogue Italia’s “NY ‘Voguers’ project” and for Marc Jacobs hybrid watch collection launch, appearing on websites and billboards in Tokyo, Japan and Melrose Ave in California. In 2017 Charisma performed for ESPN’s upfront show at the Minskoff Theatre. She posed alongside her fellow ColemanCollective directors for ElleUSA Magazine’s January 2017 issue, featuring emerging NYC Arts Companies. Charisma, along with Cain Coleman and Matthew Perez, is a founder and creative director of multidisciplinary performing arts company ColemanCollective, which aims to bring together artists as equal collaborators. This group features choreographers, dancers, actors, writers, visual artists, musicians, and artistic creators who seek to share and produce through unconventional creative partnerships. Performance, Education, and Collaboration are the collective’s three pillars. Charisma has worked with NYC public schools and nonprofit organizations to ensure the arts and knowledge of the arts through dance remain in NYC inner city schools and communities. She has creative directed and curated programs featuring the arts in LGBT communities.


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Maxine lyle: faculty 

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.



KEON WASHINGTON: FACULTY

Keon Washington is a New York City native, who has been dancing and performing for nine years. Once he gained an interest in dance, he began training in Hip Hop and other styles with some of the best teachers in New York City, such as Robert Cecil Brooks III, Amanda Pope, and the late Maurice C. Dean. Throughout high school and post-graduation Keon began realizing his love of training dancers as well as performing. To further cultivate his skill set as a teacher, dancer and choreographer, he began working alongside his mentor Amanda Pope as a teaching assistant at Lower Manhattan Arts Academy, Harlem School of the Arts, Amanda Pope Dance Company and Chimera Concept dance team. Currently, Keon is a teaching artist at the Harlem School of the Arts, Aubrey Lynch-Extra Essential Arts (AL-EEArts), and Cora Dance, where he has been a teacher since 2016. He will be teaching the Advanced Hip Hop Levels 4 and 5 at Cora Dance in the 2019-2020 Season.


3C/ Cora Community Connections Resident Artists

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Maxine Lyle / Soul Steps

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.

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Cameron McKinney / Kizuna Dance

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.

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Falconworks Theater Company

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: Chastity Cortijo. Board members pictured in page banner: Back row: L to R: Foley-Muprhy, Clay-Youman, Pfaffman, Bekka. Front row L to R: Artistic Director, Shannon Hummel, Laidlow, Adato, McCoy.