"I believe the arts are uniquely positioned to help people slow down, connect with self, with others and with the world around us. For this reason I aim to make work that asks people to check in and reflect on their actions socially, environmentally and intrinsically. I primarily create work in non-traditional spaces; emphasizing 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 a degree in Dance, Visual Art and Education.
Victoria recently became a 2021-2022 Live Arts Boston Grantee. She has received additional support from the Cambridge Arts Council, The Boston Cultural Council in partnership with the Mayor’s office of Arts and Culture, The Croft Residency, the Boston Center for the Arts in partnership with the Boston Dance Alliance, Cambridge Community Foundation, and Mass MOCA through their Assets 4 Artists program. She is currently a Midday Mentored teacher, where she works with Midday Movement Series Director Marissa Moilnar on deepening her articulated values around dance.
Vivacious and passionate, Mitzi Eppley can be found engaged in any manner of anatomical discussions, political discu-rage, researching global events, relearning/unlearning American history, activism/artivism, and practicing daily habit changes for our Earth (did you know Cambridge provides free 24/7 composting?). Now in her second season with VLA, Mitzi is excited to be using her time and energy to develop the costuming capabilities of VLA for the long-term. So far her favorite choreographers to work with professionally are Victoria Awkward, Pat Catterson, Heather Stewart with little house dance, Yin Yue, Dean Vollick; and educationally Brian Brooks, and Keith Thompson. She is full of wanderlust and grateful for the ability to travel and explore the world, meet new people and hear their stories.
Cassie Wang is a multidisciplinary artist from LA and Kansas City. She graduated with a B.A. in Computer Science from Pomona College and minors in Dance and Digital Media. She has trained with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, BODYTRAFFIC, Gaga, and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, and had the opportunity to perform works by Derion Loman, Ohad Naharin, Shahar Binyamini, and John Pennington. She was a company member with Tristian Griffin Dance Company in Kansas City before moving to Boston. Currently, Cassie is an Apprentice with KAIROS Dance Theater and is very excited to join VLA DANCE this year. Working to combine her backgrounds in dance, digital art, animation, sculpture, and tech, Cassie is intrigued by the creative possibilities that lie at the intersection of art and technology.
Michayla Kelly is a Boston-based artist who has been with VLA DANCE since its beginnings and has also performed with companies including José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Boston Lyric Opera, Odyssey Opera, Pat Catterson, and Pantos Project Dance. She is originally from Cape Cod and attended Goucher College, where she majored in Dance and Mathematics and graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa. While in college, Michayla also spent a semester studying dance at Accademia dell'Arte in Arezzo, Italy. She is currently the Research and Special Projects Lead for Dance Data Project®, a non profit which advocates for gender equity in the dance field. As the Company Manager and an artist with VLA DANCE, she is proud to help bring Victoria's visions and mission to life.
Sarah Pacheco, originally from Southern California, graduated with a B.A. in Dance and Business Administration with a Concentration in Arts Administration from Goucher College, where she danced for the Goucher Repertory Dance Ensemble and interned with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Upon graduating, Sarah moved to New York City where she performed with several freelance groups, including Kins Dance Theater and BIRDHOUSE New York. She also worked as a Community Actionist for Gibney Dance’s Hands Are For Holding Program and became a certified GYROTONIC® Apprentice Teacher. She now resides in Boston and serves as the Experiential Lead at Lululemon Newbury Street and is the rehearsal director for IN THE SPACE BETWEEN with VLA DANCE.
THE VLA TEAM
Victoria | Director
Michayla | Manager
Mitzi | Costumes
Cassie | Artist
Fred | Artist
Frederick Moss is an organic chemist, dancer, and educator currently based in Boston, MA. He has had the pleasure of performing with various organizations/artists such as: Urbanity Dance, Connections Dance Theater, Jenna Pollack, The Davis Sisters (Joy and Alexander Davis), and Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion. In addition to exploring his passion for movement and performance, Frederick is pursuing a PhD in chemistry at Harvard University where he studies and conducts research in synthetic organic chemistry. Ultimately, he intends to use dance and performance as a medium for science education.
Olivia | Artist
Olivia Moon is a Boston-based, multidisciplinary artist with specific passions in photography, film, and dance. Her work, in all mediums, is greatly centered around her self-identity. As a queer, female-identifying, Asian-American woman, Olivia uses her artistic platform to highlight voices in her communities that, in day to day life, are suppressed.
Sarah | Artist
Sasha | Artist
Sasha Peterson currently lives and grew up dancing in the Boston area. In 2016, she completed a dance major at Connecticut College, through which she had the privilege of learning from and performing works by dance faculty as well as guests Kyle Abraham, Ronald K. Brown, Wendell Cooper, Nina Flagg of Rennie Harris Puremovement, Molly Lieber/Eleanor Smith, Kendra Portier, and Doug Varone. In addition to joining VLA DANCE for their upcoming season, Sasha has danced at Ali Kenner Brodsky & Co., Betsy Miller Dance Projects, Jessy Zizzo & Dancers, and with Lisa Race, apprenticed at David Dorfman Dance, and is a company member at Grant Jacoby & Dancers and Ruckus Dance. She is also a licensed massage therapist.
Tabitha | Artist
Tabitha is an artist based in Boston. They started their journey at Dean College, and after completing two semesters they were ready to dance in projects included in the Boston Contemporary Arts Festival and understudied work by Sidra Bell, Yin Yue and Itzik Galili. Tabitha has been dancing with Victoria Awkward and VLA Dance since 2019. They performed at Fountain Street Art Gallery in Sand an Evening Length Installation in 2018 with VLA DANCE and have continued their movement research with the company in years thereafter. They also take on freelance and collaborative projects such as Black Love performed with Victoria Awkward, in collaboration with Castle of Our Skins as well as working with Melissa Shaak on her art installations and video projects. Tabitha works on projects and with people who continue to celebrate uniqueness and move freely and honestly through their passions.
Theophile Victoria (Theo for short) is a performing artist born and raised in Brockton, MA. He studied at Salem State University and graduated with a BA in Dance with a theatre minor and Hip-Hop concentration. Theo is a company member in Kenzie Finn's Project31 and teaches dance at Center Stage Dance Academy. He curated a work in-progress showcase for performers at Canton Community Theater and loves participating in creating performances any way he can. In addition, Theo enjoys ensemble work like the recent production of American Idiot at The Company Theater which he performed in or Ragtime at SSU which he assisted in choreographing. Overall, Theophile Victoria's diverse skill set supports his artistic explorations and leads to provocative art.
Theo | Artist
Aliza Franz (She/Her/Hers) is a dancer, collaborator, and arts manager. She graduated from Skidmore College in 2020, where she earned a double major in Dance: Performance and Choreography and Psychology, with a minor in Gender Studies. During her collegiate career, Aliza had the opportunity to perform works by Stephen Petronio, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (restaged by Channon Judson and Du’Bois A’Keen), Colby Damon, Jason Ohlberg, Erika Pujic, and Gabe Katz. Post-graduation, she has worked with Eliza Malecki Dance and is currently dancing with Lorraine Chapman the Company. While dance and performance art are her primary mediums, she is also passionate about photography, collage art, embroidery, and henna art. In addition to dancing, Aliza works as an arts manager for Boston-based photographer, Fehmida Chipty. Aliza is excited to continue exploring her identity through art, and advocate for diversity in creative spaces with VLA during this upcoming season.