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I believe dance is uniquely positioned to help people slow down in order to: connect with self, acknowledge others and appreciate our environment. For this reason I aim to make work that asks people to check in and reflect on their actions socially, environmentally and internally. I also hope to emphasize the interpersonal experience that emerges when audience and performers are close in proximity and blurring the fourth wall. As a leader in dance, I strive to empower those I work with by reinforcing ethically sound formalities.

Originally from Massachusetts Victoria L. Awkward trained at Impulse Dance Center by LuAnn Pagella and worked with Boston-based artists such as Karen Krolak. She graduated from Goucher College with honors in Dance, Visual Art and Education. While there she danced for the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble and performed in works by Sidra Bell, Christian Von Howard, Helen Simoneau, Iyun Ashani Harrison, Iquail Shaheed and others.

Along with directing VLA DANCE she is also a freelance artist, who most recently worked with Shura Baryshnikov and Levi Marsman at Boston Lyric Opera, with Ashani Dances, Attn: Dance, The Davis Sisters, Heather Stewart, Jenna Pollack and Ruckus Dance. 

 

Newly appointed Youth Coordinator at the West End House, Victoria's passion for education spans beyond the dance classroom. She has been a guest teacher at Salem State University and Middlesex School in Concord. She continually deepens her teaching practices through her work as a mentee with Cambridge-based Midday Movement Series and United Kingdom-based Alleyne Dance.

 

Victoria started VLA DANCE as the company she wish her younger self can look up to. Through her work with VLA she recently received the Boston Dancemakers Residency with Boston Center for the Arts and the Boston Foundation's Live Arts Boston Grant.

Based in Boston, MA, Michayla Kelly (she/her) is an artist and analyst, navigating her twenties and the arts field with a lens of social justice. Alongside being the Company Manger and an artist with VLA DANCE Michayla is also the Research & Special Projects Lead for Dance Data Project®, a non profit organization which uses metrics-based analysis to advocate for gender equity in the dance field.

 

As a performer, Michayla has worked with companies and artists including Boston Lyric Opera, José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Odyssey Opera, Pantos Project Dance, Pat Catterson, and VLA DANCE.

 

As an educator, Michayla has taught both dance and mathematics, teaching at Franklin School for the Performing Arts, Reaching Heart School of Ballet, and Hibernian Hall with VLA DANCE, and serving as the Interim Center Director at Mathnasium of Dedham.​

She has also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education as an independently contracted data analyst.

Michayla holds a BA in Dance and Mathematics from Goucher College, where she graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with honors in each major. While at Goucher, she spent a semester studying dance at Accademia dell’Arte in Arezzo, Italy, and performed works by esteemed dance artists including Elizabeth Lowe Ahearn, Diane Coburn Bruning, Iyun Ashani Harrison, Adam Hougland, Ronen Koresh, Gabrielle Lamb, Jessica Lang, Meredith Rainey, Iquail Shaheed, Ken Skresz, and more. She was the recipient of The Friends of Goucher Dance Prize for Outstanding Achievement in the Major, The Fine and Performing Arts Scholarship for Dance, The Ruth Baird Prize for Scholarship, Sportsmanship and Athleticism, The Marian M. Torrey Prize in Mathematics, The Pearl Davis Leavitt Award for Mathematics, and The Margaret Guccione Prize for her paper "The Fundamental Shared Essence of Dance and Mathematics.

 

She is passionate about delving deeply into projects, being involved with works that promote ethical arts practices, patterns, puzzles, and finding specificity in the most abstract of thoughts.

Victoria L. Awkward, Director

Michayla Kelly, Company Manager