gibney is thrilled to announce the 2019-20 work up artists
wendell gray II
emma rose brown
christine C. wyatt
Work Up is a residency, professional development program, and performance opportunity that supports early-career artists.
Emphasizing the articulation of ideas in both movement and language, artists are selected through a two-tiered application process including a written submission and a live audition.
This year’s panel, Lindsey Dietz Marchant, André Zachery, Evvie Allison, and Nana Chinara, selected nine works for presentation on three shared programs in March 2020. The selected artists receive a $1,000 performance fee, 30 hours of granted rehearsal space, and professional development opportunities at Gibney.
Learn more about each artist below, and stay tuned for more information about their work this winter!
Gabriella Carmichael is a dancer, a performer, a maker, a lover of words, and a proud dyke determined to reveal herself with a compassionate and provocative voice. She is engrossed by issues of power, absolution, difference, and healing, with her work often trafficking through territories of homophobia and queerness, isolation, and relationships. Her work has been performed at venues such as Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Triskelion Arts Center, Center for Performance Research, Brooklyn Ballet, Mark Morris, Dixon Place, School of Contemporary Dance and Thought (Northampton, MA) and Smith College (Northampton, MA). She was a 2018 artist at Brooklyn Arts Exchange through NEEDING IT/The Helix Queer Performance Network, the 2017 recipient of the Benny Simon Family Scholarship through Gibney, and has collaborated extensively with Annie Heath/Heath in Progress She is a yoga teacher throughout the city and she enthusiastically loves this work. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and 5-College Dance Consortium where she studied dance and cultural anthropology. She uses her movement practice as a tool for greater empowerment, stronger community creation, and finding space where we can feel like we belong.
Wendell Gray II
Wendell Gray II is a dance artist and choreographer currently living in Brooklyn, NY. He has collaborated with artists such as Pavel Zustiak, Jonah Bokaer, Helen Simoneau, I-Ling Liu, Christal Brown, Esther Baker-Tarpaga, and J Bouey. He has shown his own work at Movement Research at Judson Church, Center for Performance Research, and BAAD! He has been commissioned to make works for University of the Arts, Pennsylvania Ballet II + Philadanco II, and Periapsis Music and Dance. Wendell is a BFA graduate of the University of the Arts (15’) under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield and was raised in Atlanta, GA.
Kalliope+Symara began their creative relationship at SUNY Purchase in 2015, and have continued making work that prioritizes using information yielded by interdisciplinary discourse that challenges the traditional foundations of dance. Together they have been a part of BadDance Festival, Spitball, Culture Shock/Fall Fest Music Festivals, and have performed at DIY music spaces: The Glove, Silent Barn, Whitsons, and the Forum Art Space. Their work “Two and Four” was selected for the Collaborations in Dance Festival at TriskelionArts. They have created movement installations for gymnasiums, outside amphitheaters, galleries, living rooms, beaches, and racquetball courts.
Michel Kouakou (CO.to.GHA)
Michel Kouakou is a choreographer and dancer from the Ivory Coast. He is the founder and Director of Daara Dance. Michel received his MFA in Dance from Hollins University. He is the recipient of the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance (2012), a Jerome Foundation Fellowship for research in dance (2012), winner of a New York Foundation of the Arts Artist Fellowship (2008), and winner of the U.S. Japan Fellowship (2008) to conduct six months of research in Tokyo and Kyoto. In 2008 he was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative and in 2010 and was a finalist in The A.W.A.R.D. Show in New York City and Los Angeles. Mr. Kouakou moved to New York in 2004 and subsequently to Los Angeles, where he is served as a lecturer at UCLA since 2010. He maintains an active touring and teaching schedule across the globe and continues to pursue his long-term goal of building an “artistic bridge” between his origins in the Ivory Coast and the US. Michel Kouakou’s company has moved to Minnesota due to a new job position at the University of Minnesota where he was teaching as an assistant professor in dance at the Barbara Darker Center for Dance. Michel becomes a member and co-founder of the in Ivorian Diaspora Dance Association based in Both Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and Paris, France. Michel is also a co-founder of COtoGHA and a member of Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group based in New York. Living in New York, Michel is also Working as a Teaching Artist for the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Bronx Arts Ensemble in New York.
Clement Mensah (CO.to.GHA)
Clement Mensah is a performer, choreographer, and educator. He is a third culture kid who was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa. After living and going to school in the Netherlands, the U.S. and the U.K., where he did a postgraduate degree at Trinity Laban conservatory. A member of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance group since 2012 and former member of Battery Dance, Mr. Mensah is humbled to have performed, taught and traveled with various dance companies to at least forty-nine countries. As founder of Off the Radar Creative Project and co-founder/creator of Co.to.Gha he aims to use the gift of creativity to bridge different cultures and bring generations together through self-expression and educate the next generations. Mr. Mensah is grateful for the interspecies learning opportunity and humbled to be part of The Equus Project.
Glenn Potter-Takata/GORN is a Japanese-American performance maker from Los Angeles, based in The Bronx. His work centers on activating the body through research and follows a line of inquiry around perceived value systems, deconstructing existing value systems into distorted ritual performances. Birds swim, fishies fly, GORNs drop tags. Performance credits include work at Dixon Place, HERE Arts, HOWL! Arts, Links Hall, Long Beach Opera, Redmoon, National Puppetry Festival, and original works by Kota Yamazaki, Dan Hurlin, and Kestutis Nakas. BFA, Roosevelt University. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. http://gorngorngorn.com
Emma Rose Brown
Emma Rose Brown is a Queens-based performer, multidisciplinary artist, and oral historian working in the field of dance. She assists in the preservation and production of the Dance Oral History Project at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. She was a 2018-2019 Fresh Tracks artist at New York Live Arts and a SU CASA artist-in-residence in Middle Village, Queens through Queens Council on the Arts. She has shown work at New York Live Arts, The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, Rochester Folk Arts Guild, Abode Farm, and Ponderosa Movement and Discover. Emma has improvised, and performed in the work of Julia Gladstone, Diana Crum, Jen Polins, Keely Garfield, Lisa Parra, Tyler Rai, Wally Cardona, and Jennifer Lacey, Joanna Kotze, K.J. Holmes, Inkyung Lee, and Emily Johnson.
Born and raised in Germany, Ramona Sekulovic is an independent performing artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Trained as a dancer as well as a visual anthropologist, she currently strives to incorporate the experience and perception of her own body as well as its individual physical aesthetics influenced by anatomy, history, and habit into choreographic practice. Her choreography has recently been produced by Movement Research at the Judson Church, WestFest, Green Space Studio, Dixon Place, Austin Dance Festival, Nacre in Saratoga Springs, the Dumbo Dance Festival, and SoloDuo Festival among other venues. Ramona is a guild certified Feldenkrais Practitioner. She holds a MA in Visual Anthropology from Freie Universität, Berlin, and a BA in Anthropology from Columbia University.
Audre Wirtanen is a brain researcher & performer based in Brooklyn, NY. Her background and life trajectories as a movement neuroscientist, performer, Adaptive Alexander Technique teacher and co-developer, and chronically ill, abled passing body weave together in all of her current mediums of work. She explores the conversation our experience has with our nervous system, how thinking is a sensorimotor action and challenges the notion of objectivity in systems that ‘care’ for bodies and characterize ‘normalcy’.
Christine C. Wyatt
Christine C. Wyatt is an art maker and truth seeker through dance, choreography, and performance. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD she began training in performing arts schools and programs in Baltimore County. After a multitude of training experiences in music, theatre, and dance, Christine obtained a B.F.A. in Dance & Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in May of 2018. Experiences- training and performance- with artists like Mari Andrea Travis, Carl Pitts, Ed Terry, Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange, Jawole Jo Zollar/Urban Bush Women, MK Abadoo, Maria Bauman, Dr. Gaynell Sherrod, and Alicia Diaz/Agua mDulce Dance Theatre has influenced her movement practice. Her perspective of art as resistance is a fundamental part of her practice and support of other artists. Christine sees movement as a means of liberation for the body, mind, and spirit. Africanist movement values, a love for American art forms, and a passion for commemorative justice and anti-racist, community-centric work inform her dance life. Learn more about Christine and her journey on Instagram @ChrisCat_bar and online at- bit.ly/rvameetchristine.
Photos, clockwise from top left: Gabriella Carmichael, photo by Travis Emery Hackett; Wendell Gray II; Kalliope+Symara, photo by Anouk Grandits; Michel Kouakou; Clement Mensah; Glenn Potter-Takata/GORN; Emma Rose Brown; Ramona Sekulovic, photo by Dusan-Sekulovic; Audre Wirtanen; Christine C. Wyatt, photo by Brandon Lane.