NCDF ARTIST BIOS

24/25 SEASON

Dance Project and the NC Dance Festival are pleased to announce the 2024-25 Season Artists. Artists featured here will be performing as part of the NC Dance Festival programming this season. 

Artist Ashley_Tate PC Peter_Wochniak - Ashley Tate

Ashley Tate

Presenting at The October 19th Mainstage Performance

Ashley L. Tate is a director, choreographer, educator, and performer from Saint Louis, Missouri.  She is an assistant professor of dance at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, an affiliate faculty member with the UNC Charlotte Department of Africana Studies, and founder and artistic director of Ashleyliane Dance Company (ADC). Tate received her MFA in Dance from Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to various cities in the state of Missouri, her work has been featured in showcases in New York City, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Chicago, Boulder, and Santa Monica. She is the co-producer of Dance the Vote, a non-partisan grassroots arts-based voter registration initiative and a key participant in the nationally recognized No Tears Project, a multidisciplinary festival designed to honor Civil Rights history. Her current research focus is centered around the intersection of arts, culture, and civic engagement.  She has been invited to present her research at several conferences and conventions, including the European Hip Hop Studies Network 2024 Conference in Cork, Ireland.

Audrey Baran

Presenting at The School Show, November 1st

Audrey Baran (she / her) is a Charlotte-based dance maker, performer, and educator. She holds a MFA in Dance from Hollins University and a BA in Dance and Graduate Certificate in Anti-Racism in Urban Education from UNC Charlotte. Baran was a selected choreographer for the 2022 Joffrey Ballet’s Winning Works and Charlotte Ballet’s Innovative: Direct from the LAB 2021. She has presented work in the Richmond Dance Festival, FEMMEfest, NDEO Conference, Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference, NC Dance Festival, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Triangle Dance Project, Ladyfest CLT, and Charlotte Dance Festival. Baran is the founder / artistic director of Baran Dance and a 500-hour Registered Yoga Teacher.

Michelle Pearson - Michelle Pearson

Michelle Pearson
(Blackbox Dance Theatre)

Presenting at The October 19th Mainstage Performance

Michelle Pearson, Artistic Director of BBDT, was the inaugural recipient of the Jan Van Dyke Legacy Award. She holds a BFA in Dance from ECU. She was a core member of Liz Lerman Dance Exchange from 93-98 before moving into the position of Associate Artist for another 15 years. She has been a guest artist/adjunct faculty at numerous schools including Meredith College, UNCG, St. Mary’s School, The American Dance Festival, Harvard Medical School, NCSU, and Arts Together. As an A+ Schools Fellow, Michelle leads PD workshops for educators throughout NC and the US. She was recognized by the NCAC with a Choreographic Fellowship and was selected by the US Department of State to lead Cultural Democracy missions to Sierra Leone, China, and Kazakhstan. Michelle is a William C. Friday Fellow committed to improving human relations in the state of NC. 

Nee_Headshot - Jill

Jill Nee

Presenting at The School Show, November 1st

Jill Guyton Nee is a North Carolina based choreographer and dance teaching artist. Her work has presented in Thailand and throughout the United States. She earned her BA in dance and BS in business management from Meredith College before attending The Ohio State University Department of Dance for her MFA. As a teaching artist, Jill served as the Head of Dance and an Associate Professor for the University of Memphis Department of Theatre & Dance for ten years, taught at several college dance festivals, and choreographed in the private studio sector for more than two decades.

Kristin Taylor Duncan (KT Collective)

Presenting at The October 19th Mainstage Performance

Kristin Taylor Duncan is a Durham native with a BFA from the UNC School of the Arts. She has trained at Jacob’s Pillow, Lou Conte Dance Studios and Collage African Dance Company. Kristin has apprenticed with Urban Bush Women, and worked with Nathan Trice, Bridget Moore, Christal Brown and Sidra Bell, Dr. Andrea E. Woods Valdes, Helen Simoneau, Tania Perez-Salas, Juel Lane, Jasmine Powell, Gaspard Louis, Yuxtadanza. Most recently she has been a community performer with Bill T. Jones Arnie Zane Dance Company and Ronald K. Brown Evidence Dance Company. Kristin had the honor of working with Dr. Kariamu Welsh and Nnenna Freelon in the ClothesLine Muse.

Mrs. Duncan is a recipient of the Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant and the Artist Support Grant. She has been commissioned to create works by American Dance Festival, UNC Arts Everywhere, Helen Simoneau, Dr. Kristi Vincent Johnson, NC Museum of Art, the Nasher Museum, NC Museum of History and Myra Weiss.

Mrs. Duncan enjoys working with and being inspired by her students of Riverside High School, Ballet School of Chapel Hill and Duke University.

Group shot blurred, non HD - Maitri Acharya

FlamenKatha

Presenting at The School Show, November 1st

Maitri Acharya is a seasoned Spanish Flamenco dancer/choreographer/educator and Managing Director of Flamenco Carolina, a Durham-based group dedicated to performing, teaching, public school programming, and organizing workshops throughout NC. 

Seema Viswanath is an accomplished Kathak and Bharatanatyam dancer/choreographer/educator and the founder/artistic director of Nritya MayaNanda School of arts in Morrisville, NC which aims to train and nurture the mind through Indian Classical Dance forms.

Shuchita Sakwaya is an accomplished Kathak performer/educator/choreographer with a Masters in Performing Arts and an Examiner at Bhartiya Vidyapeeth University. In her 20 years of experience, she continues to dedicate herself to promote the rich culture and tradition of Kathak.

Screenshot_20210823-232921_Gmail - Matthew Rock

Matt Rock

Presenting at The School Show, November 1st

Matthew Rock (Pinehurst, North Carolina) has performed, choreographed, and presented works in venues and theatres all along the Eastern US. Matt’s works were selected for the 34th Annual Choreographer’s Showcase in DC, Atlas Dance Festival 2017, Wake Forest Dance Festival 2018, NCDF 2019, and produced his own dance festival, Weymouth in Motion 2021 and 2022 in Southern Pines, NC. As artistic director of MARO Movement, his works provide different insights and perspectives that explore current societal events and human experiences through athleticism and artistry. Dancing with companies such as ArasDance, Jane Franklin Dance, and Light Switch Dance Theatre, and under the instruction of various renowned dance artists such as Mark Haim, he has received a versatile education in movement and performance. Matthew graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BFA in dance performance and choreography. He works with NC schools, studios, and programs to offer various masterclasses in dance techniques, integrative movement/dance therapy, and fitness training.

Sarah Council

Presenting at The October 19th Mainstage Performance

Sarah Council is a choreographer, teacher and the artistic director of Sarah Council Dance Projects (SCDP). SCDP is focused on contemporary dance investigation, creation and performance and works to share these experiences with others through presentations, workshops and residencies.
Council’s choreography was described as “…uncommonly honest and expressive” by the Washington Post and has received support from the Queens Council on the Arts, The Puffin Foundation, The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Arts and Science Council and the North Carolina arts Council.  Council’s work has been presented in numerous venues in NYC and along the east coast region.