Ilona Bito is a dance artist and educator living in NYC. She has performed with artists including Kathy Westwater, The Commons Choir/Daria Fain, Adi Eytan, Dawn Kintsle, The A.O.M.C./Sarah Rosner, and Sinecdoche Dance/Belinda He, and is a co-organizer of Occupy Dance. Her solo and group choreography has been presented at Glasshouse, BKSD, Outpost, Open Perform , House Fest, and TAB. She teaches creative movement, improvisation, modern, ballet, and tap to children at Abrons Arts Center, WMAAC, BKSD, and with MR's Dancemakers in the Schools. She has previously taught pre-K - 2nd grade at Pono and Freebrook Academy, completed advanced training in "Original Play", and was a member of IDEA- the Institute for Democratic Education in America. She holds a B.A. and MS. Ed. from Sarah Lawrence College, where she completed her thesis with CPE 1: "Teaching Movement: Bringing Theory into Practice in NYC Schools." Her work investigates improvisation, play, and the creative collaboration between teaching and learning.
Elise Knudson is a New York based dancer/dance-maker. Her interest in being where ideas and actions intersect has led to occasional writing and collaborations with artists of various media. She has created about thirty long and short works which have been presented around New York City, in Canada and Mexico. She holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University and has worked with Koosil-ja/DanceKumiko, Risa Jaroslow, Luke Gutgsell and other wonderful people. Elise recently set a dance on Manhattanville College students and taught Theory and Practice of Improvisation at Yale University. She is a core member of Antititled Dialogue, a collective dedicated to the practice and performance of dance improvisation. In addition to Movement Research, Elise also currently teaches with Ballet Hispanico and Little Red.
Amanda Loulaki is the Programming Director of Movement Research. Ms. Loulaki was born and raised in Iraklion, Crete. In 1990 she received a BA in Education from the Department of Pedagogy in Crete. In 1994 she received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio and moved to New York. She has been Programming Director at MR since 1998 and programmed the Movement Research Improvisation Festival/NY from 2000-2004. Ms. Loulaki has served on panels for Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace Project at Saint Mark's Church (Food for Thought), P.S. 1 Museum of Modern Art (Warm Up Series) and Fresh Tracks (Dance Theater Workshop). Ms. Loulaki has performed in the works of various artists, has shown her own choreography in New York City, Greece, Romania, Denmark, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was an MR A.I.R. in 2001-02. Ms. Loulaki received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in August 2007. Ms. Loulaki was one of the choreographers for The Barnard Project at Dance Theater Workshop (December 6-8, 2007), and was an adjunct Associate Professor at Barnard College of Columbia University during the 2007 fall semester. She has also taught at Hunter College, DNA (Dance New Amsterdam), M.I.T, American Dance Festival, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. She has been a Dance Makers in the Schools teaching artist since 2000 and currently teaches in the after school program at East Village Community School.
Bessie McDonough-Thayer is a dancer and choreographer currently living in Brooklyn. Born in NYC and raised on Nantucket Island, Bessie graduated from Smith College in 2003 with a degree in dance and Italian, and has been living and working in New York ever since. She has been working at Litte Red School House (LREI) since the summer of 2009. This is her second year as the LREI Afterschool Program Coordinator, and she was previously a Core teacher for two years with the Blues. She enjoys working and collaborating with artists and friends in different fields and from diverse backgrounds.
Paloma McGregor is a Harlem-based artist and community builder. She has created performance work for theaters, outdoor stages, abandoned buildings, parks and a river. She is director of Angela's Pulse, which creates and supports collaborative performance work rooted in building community and telling bold, new stories. Paloma is currently developing Building a Better Fishtrap, an iterative performance project that examines what we take with us, leave behind and return to reclaim; the work is inspired by her 88-year-old father's vanishing fishing tradition. Part 1 of this project will premiere in May 2015 at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance. She is also currently Artist in Residence at BAX, where she is developing Part 2, a solo installation. Paloma was 2013-14 Artist in Residence at NYU's Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, where she focused on developing Dancing While Black, an initiative that cultivates platforms for process, performance, dialogue and documentation. Paloma toured internationally for six years as a dancer with Urban Bush Women and has performed in project-based work, including with Liz Lerman, Cassie Meador, Jill Sigman and Marjani Forte.
Yvonne Meier, originally from Zurich, Switzerland, has lived and worked in New York City since 1979, where she became a member of the original group around Performance Space 122, regularly collaborating with Ishmael Houston-Jones, Jennifer Monson and many others in the U.S. and Europe. Her work, spanning anywhere from big spectacles to quiet solos, has been supported by three Fellowships in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA Inter Arts, Franklin Furnace and Pro Helvetia. The American Masters program of the NEA has supported the upcoming recreation of her performance-instillation work, The Shining. She has received "Bessie" Awards for her works The Shining (1993) and Stolen (2009). She has twice been supported through the Movement Research Artist-in-Residence program. Meier has been teaching Releasing Technique and Authentic Movement nationally and internationally for the last 30 years. After a life-long commitment to improvisation she has developed her own improvisation technique known as Scores. Meier also teaches children's dance classes in NY Public Schools through Movement Research's Dance Makers program.
Alicia Ohs has been working with youth for 10+ years in community service, substance abuse prevention and the arts, and teaching yoga since 2005. She has collectively run a CSA farm and worked developing health and wellness strategies at the Audre Lorde Project, an organizing center for LGBTQ people of color. Alicia is currently a collaborating and performing member of Faye Driscoll Dance Group in the Thank You for Coming series. She is honored to have performed in Andrea Geyer's film project at the Museum of Modern Art, choreographed by niv Acosta and with Sally Silvers, The Body Cartography Project, Sondra Loring, Laura Arrington, RoseAnne Spradlin and others. She graduated with honors from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts in the Experimental Theatre Wing. In New York, Alicia has presented her own work at BAX, Dixon Place, Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, CATCH and Dance New Amsterdam (as the former Dance Space Center). In 2014, her love of farming, movement and wellness culminated in the co-curation of Movement Research's Spring Festival: fallow time.
Nami Yamamoto, originally from Matsuyama, Japan, graduated from New York University in 1993 with a MA in Dance Education. Since then her work has been presented in New York and elsewhere: Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, P.S. 122, Movement Research at Judson Church, Dancing in the Streets at Wave Hill, The Kitchen (Dance in Progress), Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (Inside/Out), Community Education Center and Philadelphia Museum of the Art in Philadelphia, Studio 303 in Montreal, UC Irvine, Dance Studio Moga in Japan, Contemporary Dance Festival Free Dance in Ukraine and Walker Art Center. Her work has been funded by Creative Capital, Jim Henson Foundation, Manhattan Community Arts Fund from Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Suitcase Fund from Dance Theater Workshop, Puffin Foundation and Parent/Choreographer Grant from Brooklyn Arts Exchange. She has been nurtured and inspired by her residency experience at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Asian Pacific Performance Exchange in UCLA, Movement Research, Dance Wave in Matsuyama Japan and Summer Theater Lab in UC Santa Barbara. Her work has been commissioned by The Wooden Floor in 2006 and 2009 and she choreographed two original pieces for more than 50 young dancers age 10-18. Other commissioned works are for BaxCo, a youth company at Brooklyn Arts Exchange in 2010 and Yumesanya, a youth company from Matsuyama, Japan in 2012. Currently, she is a mother for her 4 year old daughter, Momiji, and creating her piece Headless Wolf. Her recent passion is assisting dance classes at East Village Community School and teaching and learning from young dancers.