photo © Robbie Sweeney

ALTERNATIVA [Kathleen Hermesdorf + Albert Mathias] ALTERNATIVA is an apparatus for deeply integrated dance and music via creation, improvisation, performance, education and curation. Hermesdorf and Mathias create and instigate performance work based in visceral, dynamic and experimental investigations into ineffable aspects of the human condition.  They also share a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and roots in improvisation.  The organization supports the project-to-project creative work and acts as an umbrella for Alternative Conservatory, facilitated by Hermesdorf and AM Audio/Media, established by Mathias.  With support in San Francisco by ODC Theater in numerous residencies, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, CASH/Theatre Bay Area, CHIME/MJDC and the San Francisco Arts Commission, ALTERNATIVA has presented 8 home seasons since 1998, and toured nationally and internationally in affiliation with Movement Research/New York, Velocity Dance Center/Seattle, Bates Dance Festival/Maine, Ponderosa/Stolzenhagen, Germany, and Delfos & EPDM/Mazatlán, Mexico, among many others.  ALTERNATIVA was in residence at KUNST-STOFF arts from 2010-13, and is a founding member of [ABC] Arts Building Consortium with THEOFFCENTER, dedicated to shared resources, intentional curation and creative connectivity.



Laura Larry Arrington is a dance-artist working in hybrids of idea and practice.
Her work in dance (time/space/body/whole) pivots around a desire to orient towards the capacities in us all that can glimpse unseen and unutterable horizons. Her body is her life and her life is her work.


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Abby Crain is an Oakland, California based artist who makes dances and other structures for performance. She additionally works in the field as a teacher, performer, writer, and curator. Her solo and collaborative work has been presented in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Liverpool, Chicago, Cork, Berlin, Portland and Los Angeles. She teaches annually at the FRESH festival in San Francisco, the Drop Your City Armor Retreat in Dos Rios California with Sara Shelton Mann, Ponderosa Tanzland in Stolzenhagen Germany, and has additionally taught in New York City through Movement Research. She is currently on adjunct Faculty at Mills College. As a performer, she has worked with Miguel Gutierrez and the Powerful People (2001-2009), Sara Shelton Mann (1999- present), and has has also worked with Jesse Hewit, Guillermo Gomez Peña, Jess Curtis Gravity, Kathleen Hermesdorf, KJ Holmes, Nancy Stark Smith, and David Dorfman Dance. Her writing and interviews have been published by Itch Performance Journal (LA), PAPER FRONT (Portland), Critical Correspondence (NYC), and the Off Center (SF). Her curatorial projects include the NO THANK YOU SHOW, which asked artists to represent or stage work that has been rejected by granting organizations, theaters, collaborators, or the artist herself, the NON MAJOR SHOW, which asked artists to show work was not in their primary medium, as well as being on the curatorial panel of the FRESH festival. Her work is influenced by an ongoing polymorphous teaching and research project with Margit Galanter called Art Workouts, and a collaborative dialog around language and performances with Oakland poet, David Buuck. She was certified by Stephanie Skura to teach Open Source Forms in 2014. Her work has been nominated for a Bay Area Izzie four times. Her upcoming collaboration with Layton Lachman, MAra Poliak and Sam Hertzs, DEEP TIME SLOW DANCE/swimming pool, will premiere in May 2018 at Counterpulse Theater in San Francisco.


Thomas F. DeFrantz received the 2017 Outstanding Research in Dance award from the Dance Studies Assocation.  He is Professor at Duke University, and director of SLIPPAGE: Performance, Culture, Technology, a research group that explores emerging technology in live performance applications. Books: Dancing Many Drums: Excavations in African American Dance (University of Wisconsin Press, 2002),  Dancing Revelations Alvin Ailey’s Embodiment of African American Culture (Oxford University Press, 2004), Black Performance Theory, co-edited with Anita Gonzalez (Duke University Press, 2014), Choreography and Corporeality: Relay in Motion, co-edited with Philipa Rothfield (Palgrave, 2016). Creative: Queer Theory! An Academic Travesty commissioned by the Theater Offensive of Boston and the Flynn Center for the Arts; Monk’s Mood: A Performance Meditation on the Life and Music of Thelonious Monk, performed in Botswana, France, South Africa, and New York City; fastDANCEpast, created for the Detroit Institute for the Arts and reperformed at the Crystal Bridges Museum November 2016; reVerse-gesture-reVIEW commissioned by the Nasher Museum in response to the work of Kara Walker, January, 2017. Musical score, past-carry-forward for Dance Theatre of Harlem, 2013.  He convenes the Black Performance Theory working group. In 2013, working with Takiyah Nur Amin, he founded the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance, a growing consortium of 200 researchers. He acted as Dance Curator for the National Black Arts Festival, 2015. He has taught at the American Dance Festival, ImpuseTanz, Ponderosa, and the New Waves Dance Institute, as well as at MIT, Stanford, Yale, NYU, Hampshire College, and the University of Nice. He served as President for the  Society of Dance History Scholars, and acted as a consultant for the Smithsonian African American Museum, contributing a voice-over for a permanent installation that opened with the museum in 2017.  In 2015 he created a tap work “tell me a secret” for students at Washington University in St. Louis, and in 2016 he created a work “…but are we good now?” for the students at Columbia College Chicago. DeFrantz believes in our shared capacity to do better, and to engage our creative spirit for a collective good that is anti-racist, anti-homophobic, proto-feminist, and queer affirming.

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photo © Scott Shaw

Jasmine Hearn is a choreographer and dancer. A native Houstonian, she graduated magna cum laude from Point Park University with her B.A. in Dance.  Jasmine travels around the country to showcase her choreographic work and to participate in diverse dance projects. Currently, she is a collaborator and performer with Alisha Wormsley, David Dorfman Dance, Helen Simoneau Danse, and Tara Aisha Willis. To learn more about her please visit

photo ©  Nikki Carrara

Heidi Henderson, choreographer for elephant JANE dance, a pick-up company in RI, is a five time recipient of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Choreography Fellowship.  elephant JANE dance has performed  in London, Korea, Tampa, NYC and many lovely places in New England. Heidi danced in the companies of Bebe Miller, Nina Wiener, Peter Schmitz, and Paula Josa-Jones and in works by Colleen Thomas, Sondra Loring and others.  Heidi has been a contributing editor at Contact Quarterly, a vehicle for moving ideas.  She received her BA from Colby College and her MFA from Smith College and is an Associate Professor of Dance at Connecticut College. 

JAAMILJaamil Olawale Kosoko originally from Detroit, MI is the Artistic Director of  Kosoko Performance. He is a Bessie Award nominated Nigerian-American artist working within the creative spheres of poetry, performance, curation, community organizing, and education. He is a 2017 Princeton Arts Fellow, a 2017 Jerome Artists in Residence at Abrons Arts Center, a 2017 APAP Leadership Fellow, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. He is a 2016 Gibney Dance boo-koo resident artist and a recipient of a 2017 and 2016 USArtists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. His work has been presented throughout Europe and the United States. For several years he co-directed the art collective anonymous bodies with Kate Watson-Wallace.
He has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater, among others. Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays can be found published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), Movement Research Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He continues to guest teach, speak, lecture, and perform internationally. His newest work Séancers will begin touring throughout Europe  in March 2018

35221439266-2ca20eaabb-oPeter Schmitz has been making a mess for over 30 years in theater, dance and film/video. As a professional dancer/choreographer, Peter has worked throughout the United States, Amsterdam, Germany, France, England, New Zealand and recently in Ankara, Turkey. He was a founding member of Dance Gallery, a small modern dance company, a member of Creach/Co in New York City for over 8 years, and has performed in the works of Wendy Woodson, Ann Carlson, Richard Colton/Amy Spencer. He has choreographed for New World Theatre, Medicine Show Theater and Potomac Theater Project and is a member of Actors Equity.

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photo © Robbie Sweeney

Lauren Simpson is co-artistic director of Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations. She has danced for Liz Lerman and Risa Jaroslow. She teaches in the Dance Program at the University of San Francisco. M.F.A. University of Colorado, Ed.M. Harvard University, B.A. Carleton College Jenny Stulberg is co-artistic director of Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations. She has danced for Hope Mohr and Xandra Ibarra/La Chica Boom. Her dance-­films have screened in festivals across the country including San Francisco Dance Film Festival, and her film-work has been employed by companies such as Joe Goode Performance Group and BANDALOOP. M.F.A. NYU Tisch School of the Arts, B.F.A. Western Michigan University Simpson/Stulberg Collaborations was formed in the Bay Area in the Fall of 2014. In three short years, S/S has been nominated for two Izzie Awards both for outstanding choreography and performance in an ensemble, performed in theaters and museums all over the Bay Area, and granted prestigious residencies with Margaret Jenkins Dance Company’s CHIME Program and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center’s AIR Program. They are fiscally sponsored by Dancers’ Group, and have received substantial granting support from foundations such as the Zellerbach Family Foundation, The Rainin Opportunity Fund, and the Theater Bay Area CA$H Grant Award. They were also selected as FACT/SF’s resident JUMP Choreographers in 2015.


Lilly Valore was born in Boston, Massachusetts and started her formal dance training at the age of 8 and studied at The Boston Ballet School. Growing up, Lilly starred in mainstage roles in their production of The Nutcracker, including Party Girl, Snow Attendant and Polichinelles . She was also featured in Boston Ballet’s annual Spring showcase. Years later Lilly furthered her training at The Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s only Public performing arts high school. There she trained with Billy Mclaughlin, Tatiana Obeso, Sheryl Pollard Thomas, Christopher Ramsey, and Cristobal Marquez. At The Boston Arts Academy Lilly was introduced to many different dance styles such as Modern, Jazz,African,Contemporary, Improvisation, Contact Skills and much more. This created a more versatile foundation for her to continue her career in dance. Lilly was also debuted in many of the dance department’s productions from sophomore year forward. The productions that she was included in were Winterfest, Senior Dance Project and Springfest. She was also given the opportunity to choreograph her senior piece that was a huge hit in the dance department. She was asked to perform her solo in many different events such as Green Street dance company’s performance night and he was asked to perform at graduation to represent the dance department. Lilly has also attended many summer intensives and has been exposed to many different choreographers /teachers. She attended the Boston Ballet, Earl Mosley’s Institute of The arts, Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive, Burklyn Ballet, Boston Arts Academy Summer
Intensive, and The Boston Conservatory summer dance intensive and musical
theater/dance intensive. She has worked renowned choreographers such as Michelle
Chasse, Earl Mosley, Desmond Richardson,Dwight Rhoden of complexions, Heidi
Cruz Austin, Meghan Mccaffrey , Gianni Di Marco, Ebony Williams, Brian
Brooks, Zoe Scofield, Adriana Suarez, Mikko Nissan, Margaret Tracey, Brett Bell
and many more. Lilly devoted her summers to making connections and
furthering his dance training and also working on her artistry so that the fall
months she didn’t have to work on these things as much. Ms.Valore mainly
teaches in the Boston area. She has taught several master classes at 4 Star dance studio, Boston Ballet, The Dance Company of Wilmington,Ma and hosted choreography workshops in Rochester, New York, Peridance in New York and Deborah Mason dance in Massachusetts . She specializes in Contemporary, Ballet, Contemporary Ballet , Modern
Dance Jazz, Hip Hop, Heels, Vogue and House . Lilly now attends The Boston Conservatory where she is currently working on getting her BFA in Contemporary dance. She hopes one day to dance with a contemporary ballet company such as Complexions, Lines Ballet , Ballet Hispanico and Dancespora. Lilly also spends her
most of her spare time being a activist within the LGBTQ community and
advocating for dancers who Identify under these categories. She is actively
living a healthy stable lifestyle through dance and is soon on her path to becoming
a professional dancer within New York or considering graduate school as a dancer.

photo © Grant Halverson

Jesse Zaritt is a Brooklyn, NY based dance artist. He is the inaugural 2014-2016 Research Fellow in the School of Dance at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA. He has been working collaboratively with choreographer Jumatatu Poe since winter 2012; they recently presented an evening length duet at Gibney Dance Center in New York City. Their work has also been shown at AUX Performance Space (Vox Populi) and Fringe Arts in Philadelphia (PA) and at the Baryshnikov Arts Center (through the sponsorship of Triple Canopy), Dixon Place and New York Live Arts (through the Studio Series Program) in New York City. A duet created in collaboration with choreographer Katie Swords premiered at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City in Late October 2015. Jesse was recently commissioned by the American Dance Festival to create a duet with choreographer Mark Haim which premiered as part of the 2015 ADF performance season. Jesse has performed his solo work in Russia, Korea, Germany, New York, Japan, Mexico and Israel. His solo ‘Binding’ is the recipient of three 2010 New York Innovative Theater Awards: Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Solo Performance, and Outstanding Performance Art Production. From September 2008 through June 2011, Jesse was an artist in residence at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan as part of LABA, a laboratory for new Jewish culture. He has been commissioned to create original choreographic works for numerous American college programs; he has also created choreography for the Seminar HaKibbutzim College (Israel) and the Acco Theater Festival (Israel). Jesse was the recipient of a 2006-2007 Dorot Fellowship in Israel which enabled him to study the relationship between political conflict and choreography. Jesse was a performer with the Shen Wei Dance Arts Company (NYC/2001-2006), and the Inbal Pinto Dance Company (Tel Aviv/2008). Jesse has also performed in the work of Faye Driscoll (NYC/2010-2015) and Netta Yerushalmy (NYC/2009-2012). Jesse has recently taught at The University of the Arts (PA), Bard College (NY), the American Dance Festival (NC), Hollins University (VA), Pomona College (CA), and the University of the Americas Puebla (Mexico) as well as at festivals in Japan, Korea, and Russia. Jesse received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival (2008) and a BA from Pomona College (2000).