VICTORIA LYNN AWKWARD
Director & Dancer
"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."
Most recently, Victoria was awarded the 2020 - 2021 Boston DanceMaker Residency with the Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance, the Art for Racial Justice Grant from Cambridge Arts, and is a part of the 2021 Mass MoCa Assets for Artists Program.
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.
Costume Manager & Dancer
Vivacious and passionate, Mitzi can be found engaged in any manner of anatomical discussions, political discu-rage, researching global events, relearning/unlearning American history, activism/artivism, and daily habit changes to save Mother Earth (like a dozen ways to reuse coffee grounds & eliminating single-use anything)! Now in her second season with VLA, Mitzi is excited to be using her time, energy, and research to provide masks for people to work safely and reduce the presence of single-use face masks, now the #1 PPE littering the oceans. The favorite choreographers she has worked professionally are Pat Catterson, Heather Stewart with little house dance, Yin Yue, Dean Vollick; and educationally Brian Brooks, and Keith Thompson.
Tabitha Hanay-Reaves is an artist of articulation and detail oriented practices. Their career started at Dean College where Tabitha had received the opportunity to perform in a multitude of projects and shows. After their time at Dean College, they performed in the Boston Contemporary Arts Festival in Boston and continued on, to understudy works by Yin Yue, Sidra Bell and Itzik Galili. Tabitha has been dancing with Victoria Awkward and VLA DANCE as of recent years. 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 along the way, such as Black Love performed with Victoria Awkward, in collaboration with Castle of Our Skins in 2020. Tabitha works with VLA DANCE and on projects alike, celebrating uniqueness within each individual and empowering those in and out of the studio.
Company Manager & Dancer
Michayla Kelly is an artist, administrator, and educator in the Boston area. She is originally from Cape Cod and holds a BA from Goucher College in Dance and Mathematics. Michayla has performed professionally with José Mateo Ballet Theatre, Odyssey Opera, Pantos Project Dance, Pat Catterson, and VLA DANCE, and currently works with children teaching both ballet and math. 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. Now in Boston, Sarah is incredibly excited to be working with VLA
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.
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.
Adam was born and raised in Boston and has been dancing since he was six years old. Inspired by his grandfather to tap dance, Adam has trained in Jazz, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop. Adam grew up dancing at Mass Motion Dance (Boston, MA) and is now on faculty and also teaches at The Block Collaborative (Portsmouth, NH), Lefton Dance (Bedford, NH), and Grace Preparatory Academy (Needham, MA). The pandemic has not stopped his desire to move but has allowed him to pursue his passion more intensely. Adam is thrilled to join VLA's Residency program to broaden his experience and continue his dance education. Adam plans to return to UMass Lowell in the fall to finish his degree in Exercise Science.
Past Members Jojo Boykins, Jess Chang, Dorothy Adasia Cherry, Kate Dube, Maggie Foster, Key'Aira Lockett, Asia Pyron and Jessy Zizzo