2017 Festival Artists


Rachel Barker

Rachel Barker is a choreographer, educator and performer from Salt lake City, Utah. She is currently based in North Carolina where she is an Assistant Professor and the Dance Education Coordinator in the Department of Dance at UNC Charlotte. Her choreographic work has been presented in venues in Seattle, WA, Columbus, OH, and throughout Utah and North Carolina. Rachel was named the 2016 NC Dance Alliance Choreography Fellow and was a visiting artist at the international On Site/In Site Festival in Winston-Salem, NC. She conducted site-specific research as an artist-in-residence with collaborator JoAnna Mendl Shaw at the Sedona Summer Arts Colony in Arizona summer 2016. Rachel has studied with and performed the work of artists Bebe Miller, John Jasperse, Keith Johnson, Cyrus Khambatta, and Donna Uchizono, among others. She has taught at The Ohio State University, Brigham Young University, ACDFA and other festivals, and directed a high school dance program for three years. She received an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University where she was a three-year Distinguished Fellow, an MA in Teaching from Westminster College, and a BFA from the University of Utah.


Ramya Kapadia

Ramya Kapadia was initiated into Bharatanatyam at the age of 12. Since 2003, she has been studying under Guru Kripa Baskaran of the Natyarpana Dance Company (Milwaukee), and tours all over the USA to present solo and group productions, workshops and lecture demonstrations. Ramya was an instructor for Indian Classical Music in the Division of Continuing Studies, UW-Madison and has been actively involved in promoting Indian Classical music and dance in the United States. Besides being a Bharatanatyam dancer, Ramya is also an accomplished vocalist and has toured all over the world to provide vocal accompaniment to Bharatanatyam dance performances. Currently, she runs the Natyarpana School of Dance and Music in Durham, NC and trains students both in Carnatic voice and Bharatanatyam. She recently formed the Spand Dance Company along with Smt. Hasita Oza (Kathak) in order to explore modern dance, yoga and various Indian Classical dance forms.  In 2015, she was honored as a NC Dance Alliance Choreography Fellow. Ramya works closely with the Duke Dance Department and the Durham Arts Council to foster a vibrant and creative cultural environment in the Triangle.

Thresh (Part I) 2016Choreographed by Natalie Marrone and The Dance CureMusic: Pauline Oliveros and MusicanticaSet and costume design: Natalie MarroneVideo: Amber SchmiesingSound editing: Halle BernsteinDanced by Rachel Mehaffey and Lucas MelfiSpecial thanks to our set design assistants Allison Fall and Scott Bell,our company apprentice, Brianna Cooper, and the Duke University Dance Program for sponsoring the creation of this work.  November 17, 2016Reynolds Industries TheaterDuke University Dance ProgramDurham, NC

Natalie Marrone

Natalie Marrone is an artist fusing modern dance, vernacular jazz dance and Italian folk rituals to create a unique performance aesthetic, showcased by her company The Dance Cure. Her work has been featured in national commercials, live television events and presented throughout the USA, Italy and Taiwan. Most recently Ms. Marrone’s choreographic work has been featured at the American Dance Festival and the film ‘Alto’ starring Annabella Sciorra and Diana DeGarmo. She has taught throughout the United States, including Ohio State University, Western Michigan University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Meredith College, Duke University, and Elon University.


Courtney Owen-Muir

COURTNEY OM (OWEN-MUIR) hails from Toronto, Canada and is full-time dancer, choreographer and dance educator. Her professional training included Ryerson University, BFA Dance program and  The Conteur Academy, a contemporary conservatory, where she graduated in 2013 under the direction of Eryn Waltman. She has trained with such notables as Sidra Bell, Alexandra Wells, Gerri Houlihan, Abby Zbikowski, Shannon Gillen and Kate Hutter. Courtney has worked internationally as a dancer and choreographer; she performed in Greece on a 6 week tour through Ryerson University performing contemporary dance works and supporting acting roles, produced and directed by Peggy Shannon. Her professional work in the United States began in 2014, working with Code F.A.D Dance Company, The KT Collective and performing in BELLAN Performance Dance Theater. Courtney is currently working with Gaspard and Dancers 7th annual season in both New York City and North Carolina. As a choreographer, Courtney began producing work in the USA in 2014 at the annual SARUS festival in Wilmington, NC.



Paideia is an ever-evolving cross-collaboration comprised of sound artists, dancers, and practitioners: Chanelle Bergeron (Raleigh, NC)–poetry, improvised sound-collage; Minori Sanchiz-Fung (originally Venezuela, now NC resident)– poetry and prose, paint on canvas and panel, and improvisational electronic music; Blakeney Bullock (Winston-Salem)– organizer and dancer studying kinetic activism focused on the outward limits of connectivity and community; Moriah Lee (Winston-Salem)–cellist currently teaching for UNC School of the Arts Community Music School; Caitlyn Swett (Winston-Salem)–dance maker; Widow (A.Vitacolonna) (NC)–intuitive medicine, somatic expression.


Matt Pardo

Matt Pardo graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2007 with a B.F.A. in Dance, and received his M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2016.   He has danced for the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Groundworks Dance Theater, RG Dance Projects, and the River North Chicago Dance Company. Teaching and choreographic credits include Skidmore College, Montclair State University, Universidad de Las Americas Puebla, the University at Buffalo, and Point Park University, to name a few. In 2011, Matt joined the Lucinda Childs Dance Company and now teaches company class for LCDC while on tour.  His opera credits include the world tour of the Olivier award-winning Philip Glass opera ‘Einstein on the Beach’ and performances with the Pittsburgh Opera in the ‘Daughter of the Regiment’, directed and choreographed by Séan Curran. He was recognized as one of the Top 100 Dancers in the World for 2010-2011 by Dance Europe Magazine. Matt is a co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based organization called The Blanket, a project which aims to expand the dance community in Pittsburgh. Starting this fall, Matt will be joining Elon University as an Assistant Professor of dance.


Megan Payne

Megan Payne is a Charlotte based choreographer and performer.  She received her MFA in dance from Hollins University in partnership with the American Dance Festival (2012) and her BFA in dance from Ohio University (2009).  Her choreography has been presented at the American College Dance Festival, the American Dance Festival, and the Detroit Dance Festival, among other performance opportunities.  Megan has also had the privilege of performing in works by Camille Brown, Ulysses Dove, Gladys Bailin-Stern, Ronald K. Brown, and Mariah Maloney.  Megan choreographs and dances professionally with Charlotte based contemporary company, Baran Dance, is a faculty member at Central Piedmont Community College, and a contributing member of the Goodyear Arts Collective.  Megan is also the co-curator of Women’s Showcase, an annual festival presenting local + regional female artists.

Headshot 2016

Alexandra Joye Warren

Alexandra Joye Warren (Founding Artistic Director of JOYEMOVEMENT dance company): Based in Greensboro NC, JOYEMOVEMENT has performed in Durham, Charlotte, NCDF, Greensboro College, Guilford College, UNCG, Duke University, the Collegium for African Diaspora Dance Conference in 2016, La Femme Festival in Chicago, IL, and Trillium Performing Arts in Lewisburg, WV. A native of the Washington, D.C. Metro area, she received her BA from Spelman College and her MFA in Dance from the UNC-Greensboro. Alexandra performed, choreographed, and taught in New York, and studied with Urban Bush Women, Germaine Acogny’s Jant-Bi at L’Ecole Des Sables, Bill T. Jones in development of FELA! the Musical, Paloma and Patricia McGregor, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, and Van Dyke Dance Group.


Chris Yon (NCDA/NCDF New Works Award Winner)

Chris Yon (NCDA/NCDF New Works Award): Yon’s work has been presented nationally and internationally, including American Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, Philadelphia Dance Project, ODC Theater. Commissions: The Danish National School of Performing Arts(Copenhagen), The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana), Irish Modern Dance Theatre(Dublin). Recipient: 2003 NYFA Fellowship for Performance Art, 2005 BESSIE Award for Performance, 2009 SAGE Award for Choreography, and 2011 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreography. He is an adjunct instructor at ASU in Boone and lives in Winston-Salem with Taryn Griggs and their daughter, Beatrix.