Updated: May 26
Posted by Victoria L. Awkward
Last summer I received the Boston Dancemakers Residency presented by Boston Dance Alliance and Boston Center for the Arts. Through this residency I've been working on a new show, IN THE SPACE BETWEEN, that hopes to be a space for the dance artists involved to look at their own unique and diverse identities and seek a route from their current reality through the space between and into their dreams. Since January I've been hard at work with the dancers, and I'm very excited to introduce the other creatives behind the show IN THE SPACE BETWEEN.
IYUN ASHANI HARRISON - dramaturg
Iyun Ashani Harrison is the founder and director of Ballet Ashani (formerly Ashani Dances). Harrison is a graduate of The Juilliard School, received his MFA from Hollins University, and is a doctoral candidate at Marymount University. He has danced with Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico of New York, Seattle Dance Project, and Ailey II.
Harrison’s choreography has been commissioned by the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Ailey School, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Collage Dance Collective, Men in Dance, American Dance Festival, Boost Dance Festival, University of Florida, Henderson State University, Pomona College, Jamaica School of Dance, and the University of the West Indies.
Harrison has held several academic positions, including professorships with Cornish College of the Arts, Goucher College, and Webster University. He has also taught on the faculties of Pacific Northwest Ballet School, The Ailey School, Peabody Conservatory, and Maryland Youth Ballet. For more information, visit balletashani.org, @iyunashani on FaceBook & Instagram; @balletashani on FaceBook & Instagram.
CAPELLA AURIGA - musician
Capella Auriga, a multifaceted creative and motivational muse based out of Roxbury. Has shared her energy and light in places like the MFA, Black Market, Dorchester Art Project, Artz Underground, Middle East, and more. She’s known for connecting to her crowd and making them feel all she has to deliver. Her latest single out is Wrong Planet and can be found on most platforms. Follow Capella at @capauriga
AARON BROWN - musician
Aaron Brown is an audiovisual artist, working out of Jamaica Plain Massachusetts. Since graduating from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in 2014, he has focused on his sound art project Baron, while releasing the work of his peers on his cassette label, Dead Pet Tapes. Any time not spent creating is usually consumed by record collecting, and houseplant maintenance, both of which he is very passionate about. Follow Aaron at @scapeshifter
MITZI EPPLEY - costume designer
Alongside her work as a freelancer and company dancer with VLA, Mitzi Eppley has been serving the arts community through costuming and wardrobe. Sewing began with her mother and continued into helping out at the BalletMet Costume Shop where she was training in the Dance Academy for 19 years. When she started school at The Boston Conservatory, Mitzi worked in the Costume Shop, was promoted to Dance Stock Manager in her sophomore year, and continued to work both positions through graduation. Then Mitzi worked as a freelance contractor in wardrobe, costuming, and consulting for Odyssey Opera, the ICA, Heather Stewart of Little House Dance Company, Cantankerous Creatures, Fukudance, Dance Currents Inc., and Boston Moving Arts Productions. She enjoys collaborating with artists to bring their vision to life through costuming and finds the communal knowledge and resources to be a great asset for innate creation. Follow Mitzi @tipsymitzi
NADAAA DESIGN FIRM - set design team
Arthur Chang, AIA is a Principal of NADAAA. He has been a key part of NADAAA and collaborator of Founding Principal, Nader Tehrani for over 16 years. Chang’s experience in planning and managing all aspects of design projects have led to his work receiving some of the most prestigious national and international awards. Chang has led a variety of institutional and public projects including the Melbourne School of Design, RISD’s Fleet Library, the Research + Design Center at Beaver Country Day School, a new MBTA Headhouse in Boston’s Seaport, and North Hall, a new hybrid CLT/Steel residence hall for the Rhode Island School of Design, and a public art installation on the MBTA Green Line Extension. Follow Arthur @ar.ch.an.g
Christian Borger is a designer and co-director of NADLAB at NADAAA. Christian's background in fabrication led to his involvement in various design, build, and fabrication projects at NADAAA, including large millwork installations in RISD's North Hall, a custom interior build-out for a residence in Connecticut, and full scale CLT mockups for the 2021 Venice Biennale. Follow Christian @see_borg
NADAAA is a Boston-based design firm that has evolved over three decades as a multi-disciplinary practice dedicated to bridging between design disciplines; from landscape to urbanism, architecture to interiors, and industrial design to furniture. The work of NADAAA demonstrates a commitment to new forms of knowledge through making. With an eye towards integrated thinking, NADAAA enters the discourse on technology, aesthetics, and building protocols as part of a holistic process. The firm has been able to build on a range of exemplary projects in collaboration with extraordinary clients, many of whom have the objective to maintain a standard of excellence that requires cross-disciplinary collaboration and flexibility for future modification. Learn more at www.nadaaa.com and follow @nadaaainc
ELMER MARTINEZ - technical director
Born and Raised in Lowell MA, Elmer Martinez (ElmStreet) has been getting funky since 1996- Growing up a choir singer/ percussionist, music was always around. Commencing his official dance training in 2011 at age 14, he went on to gain experience in a multitude of afrocentric movement forms as well as musical theater. His focus landed within the universe of Funk, House, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Street and Club/Social dances. While studying for his BFA in Theater Design/Studies with a minor in Dance at Emerson College (19") Elmer continued to develop his training background in Ballet, Modern, Improv, House, Breakin, Hip-Hop, Locking, Popping and Improvisational Latin Ballroom in class and the underground club parties of Boston and New York. Around this time he started DJing and diving deeper into music history. Elmer became the Production Manager at Green Street Studios during his senior year of undergrad where he designed, danced and produced work in Cambridge, MA. This, as well as producing Community events rooted in Hip-Hop culture from Open Mics- to Cyphers- to Battles, Large scale conventions and workshops. At Emerson, he Founded the Hip-Hop Society in 2019 an organization which continues to develop hip-hop programming and art projects on the Boston campus in order to preserve the integrity of black arts representation. Post Grad Elmer moved to New York City as a Professional Production Apprentice for Bill T. Jones' "New York Live Arts'' dance Theater. After his departure he continued to freelance as a Lighting Designer/Technician for dance Companies and festivals including 'The Yard," theaters and special events between New York and Massachusetts - until his last pre-covid assignment at “New York Theater Workshop” off-Broadway. Since moving home to Massachusetts, Elmer has taken to publishing his poetry, modeling, hosting his live podcast "Cultural Convos", training in dance, meditation, as well as producing and selling multimedia art projects. He has had the opportunity to teach lighting and dance workshops and programs through Brighter Boston, Harvard University and UMass Lowell during the pandemic among so many other art adventures.
Elmer is currently a part time faculty member at Urbanity teaching hip-hop and is excited to serve as the Technical Director and Lighting Designer for VLA DANCE. As a facilitator Elmer focuses on incorporating mindfulness, meditation and self empowerment in his sessions. He feels that as movers we are always in the pursuit of releasing the inner funk- and finding the permission within ourselves to get free while building an informed community. Elmer was dubbed ElmStreet by a mentor during his time in school, which serves as his street art alias. He is currently based in Somerville, MA and produces work out of his room, "The Nook" which he is curating into a group art show space this spring. Follow Elmer @daoriginal96