Training Student Showcase : Sasha Marlan-Librett

Feb 28, 2023, 8:00 pm EST


Gibney: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
The Theater (Studio H)

Gibney proudly presents an evening of work by Professional Training Student Sasha Marlan-Librett. Experience Sasha Marlan-Librett’s film Thank You for Coming and live work What to Do? What to Expect?—in a culminating performance of her time as a Gibney Professional Training student.

Thank you for Coming is a dance film collaboration directed by Joaquin Bear and Lucia Flexer-Marshall, choreographed and performed by Sasha Marlan-Librett. Designed to introduce the themes of Marlan-Librett’s live dance piece, Thank You For Coming is inspired by existential premises regarding the mechanisms of self-creation, and explores the degree to which a person has agency within the execution of their obligations. Tumbling through New York City, our character charges thoughtlessly down the street, becomes manipulated by invisible forces, and finally falls into a dream world that becomes the stage on which Marlan-Librett’s live dance piece will be performed.

What to Do? What to Expect? is a live dance-theatre piece that uses words and movement to communicate the relentlessness and absurdity of the everyday tasks of becoming—the living, doing, and re-doing of oneself. These everyday repetitions increase in urgency when accompanied by the pressure to return to normalcy after immense disruption or disillusionment—whether public or personal. The movement created for the live performance plays with the physicalization of these ideas, accompanied by an existentialist dialogue which addresses the audience in a self-referential welcoming speech and later bounces between the performers onstage. In the end, the questions posed reach beyond their answers.


Thank You for Coming

Choreographer and Performer: Sasha Marlan-Librett
Directors: Lucia Flexer-Marshall and Joaquin Bear
Sound: Joaquin Bear & Aldous Solano

What to Do? What to Expect?

Choreographer: Sasha Marlan-Librett
Collaborating Performers: Tori Mazzacone, Nellie Enrique Mejia Jr, Madi O’Halloran, Cassie Renner, Sumayyah Smith
Musical Score Engineer: Leo Menninger


Sasha Marlan-Librett (she/her) is an NYC-based freelance contemporary dance artist and emerging choreographer. Sasha is a recent graduate from Scripps College (‘22), where she received a BA in Dance (Performance & Choreography) and Philosophy. In Los Angeles, Sasha worked in collaborative processes with artists such as Rosanna Tavarez, Kevin Williamson, Rebecca Lemme, and Liz Lerman. Since graduating, Sasha was selected to perform with Monica Bill Barnes + Co in “The Running Show,” at the American Dance Festival. She now continues her research and interest in philosophical and existentialist-style dance-making that feels accessible to a range of audiences. This interest in finding where philosophical, cerebral, and psychological thought intersect with intuitive and kinetic knowledge began with a year-long research endeavor, catalyzed by her receiving the Mellon Fellowship for interdisciplinary research in dance and philosophy. In her senior year, she completed a dual thesis in philosophy and dance, titled: Performing Consciousness: a Phenomenological Approach and Existentialist Performance Project. Sasha is currently training in the Choreographic track at Gibney’s Visa and Professional Training Program, tonight’s program being a culmination of the past six months of learning and creating!

Joaquin & Lucy are a film production duo specializing in short works inspired by dance theater and early cinema. Trained in filmmaking and dance respectively, both artists work collaboratively on nearly every aspect of their work in an effort to create cohesive worlds in which setting and movement conform around a unique character. Working within the limits of dance and mise-en-scene, they seek to transport the viewer into the world of the unconscious and precipitate an experience of uncanny beauty.

Leo Menninger is a Brooklyn-based musician. Primarily a drummer, he has played in a wide variety of genres ranging from contemporary jazz to experimental punk and is always looking for new and exciting musicial collaborations. Leo’s other current projects include drumming for the band Weathergirl and the sibling DJ duo IceClimbers.

Tori Mazzacone grew up in the valley of the sun- Phoenix, Arizona. She trained at Scottsdale College, the Peridance training Program, and GibneyPRO. She received her BFA from Alonzo King LINES Ballet at Dominican University. While in Phoenix, she was a full-time dancer with CONDER/Dance. To further support her training, she has attended rigorous intensives and workshops with San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Hubbard Street Chicago’s Pre-Professional Program, and Springboard Danse Montréal. Tori has had the chance to work with choreographers such as Idan Sharabi, Katie Scherman, David Harvey, Maurya Kerr, and Mike Esperanza. She is now an NYC based freelance dancer and GYROTONIC® trainer.

Nelson Enrique Mejia Jr . (he/him) is a movement artist, teacher, and sound designer based in Brooklyn, New York. He is a 2022 graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Dance and Choreography department. At VCU, He had the opportunity to collaborate not just with guest choreographers but faculty as well, culminating in residencies/performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, assistant choreographing for faculty work, and serving as videographer, director, and editor for the VCU Freshman Repertory class. He received departmental awards for Outstanding Creative Work in 2021/2022, and was a recipient of The Carpenter Scholarship, awarded to a graduating senior in the department. Additional training includes Arts Umbrella, Gagalab, and Springboard Danse Montreal. Nelson has performed works by Kyle Abraham, Rena Butler, Alanna Morris, Eric Rivera, and The Urban Bush Women, among others. He has toured internationally with Gaspard&Dancers and is currently with Ponybox Dance Theater.

Madi O’Halloran (she/they), hails from New York City. She received a B.A in Dance with a concentration in Political Science from Columbia University in May of 2022. A movement artist and researcher, Madi is interested in exploring the political and queer worldmaking capacities of dance via performance and theory. As a dancer, Madi has had the opportunity to perform works by Arnie Zane/Bill T. Jones, Chameckilerner, Candace Brown, Doug Varone, Martha Graham, and Wesley Ensminger.

Cassie Renner (she/her) is a dance artist and Certified yoga instructor based in New York City. Graduating from the University of South Florida, Cassie obtained a BFA in Dance Performance and a minor in Nutrition and has had the opportunity to train and perform in works of faculty members Michael Foley, John Parks, Bliss Kohlmyer, and Andee Scott. Additional training includes master classes and intensives with Gibney dance, Camille Brown, Douglas Gillespie, Jennifer Archibald, Gaga with Bret Easterling, Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts, and Orange Grove Dance. Cassie is always furthering her study of the body and its potential for movement. She is an artist who seeks to discover the combination of senses and textures inspired by consciousness and its connection to repetition. She offers her teaching and movement as an opportunity for healing for both individuals and the community.

​​Sumayyah Smith is an interdisciplinary dance artist and emerging choreographer. She has trained in Europe and New York City, most recently as a student in the Gibney Professional Training Program, where she worked with renowned faculty in a multitude of dance techniques. Sumayyah’s work seeks to discover the body’s potential for movement through human anatomy and its connection to space. Her research is concerned with exploring ideas of polarity and duality, pace, and impact, creating a movement vocabulary of spirals, expansion, and sensory awareness.


The Gibney Independent Training offers students from across the world the opportunity to train full time at Gibney, New York City’s premiere destination for contemporary dance. Training Students at Gibney have the opportunity to train with NYC’s foremost dance educators, gain practical skills toward building a sustainable career in the arts, and join a network of incredible dance artists. Each Training Student in the Choreographic Process Track spends six to twelve months creating and producing an original work, culminating in a final performance in The Theater at Gibney.

COVID-19 Safety Policies at Gibney Center

Masks are required for all audience members attending live performances at Gibney Center. Proof of vaccination is no longer required. Nonetheless, Gibney encourages all who are eligible to maintain up-to-date vaccination status in accordance with CDC Guidelines.

Photo by William Blackman