Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie
Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie, a 2016 Bessie Award Winner for Innovative Achievement in Dance, is a New York City based B-girl, dancer and choreographer. As artistic director of Ephrat Asherie Dance (EAD) she has presented work at the Apollo Theater, FiraTarrega, Jacob’s Pillow, New York Live Arts, Summerstage, and the Yard, among others. Ephrat has received numerous awards to support her work including a Kevin Spacey Artist of Choice Award, a Mondo Cane! commission from Dixon Place, a Creative Development Residency from Jacob's Pillow, Workspace and Extended Life Residencies from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, a Travel and Study Grant from the Jerome Foundation and two residencies through the CUNY Dance Initiative. Her first evening length work, A Single Ride, received two Bessie nominations in 2012 for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Outstanding Sound Design by Marty Beller. Most recently Ephrat received a National Dance Project award to support the development and touring of her newest work, Odeon. Set to premiere in the summer of 2018, the creation of Odeon was also made possible by Jacob's Pillow Dance, Mass MoCA, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, and the Jacob's Pillow Fellowship at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts at LIU Post. Ephrat is a regular guest artist with Dorrance Dance and has worked and collaborated with Doug Elkins, Rennie Harris, Bill Irwin, David Parsons, Gus Solomons Jr and Buddha Stretch, among others.
Ephrat has been on faculty at Wesleyan University and set pieces for students at Smith College, SUNY Brockport, Alvin Ailey Dance Center, University of Texas Rio Grande and Texas Tech University. Ephrat teaches at Broadway Dance Center and is a founding member of the all-female house dance collective, MAWU. She earned her BA from Barnard College, Columbia University in Italian and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she researched the vernacular jazz dance roots of contemporary street and club dances.
Manon Bal is a versatile professional dancer born in Marseille, France. After 11 years of training, at La maison de Réjane diriged by Réjane Losno, Manon started her professional training at the Institut de Formation Professionelle de Danse Jazz Rick Odums in Paris. During her years of training in ballet, jazz and modern at the Institute, her close teachers and mentors included Rick Odums (former member of the Houston Ballet Company ; choreographer of National Broadway Touring of Guys and Dolls) , Geraldine Armstrong (former soloist of Paris Line ; director of Armstrong Jazz Ballet and Bruce Taylor (member of the Elisa Monte Dance Company and Agnes DeMille Heritage Dance Theatre). She performed as a soloist in Les Jeunes Ballet Jazz de Rick Odums (season 2013/2014 and 2014/2015), and was invited to assist Rick Odums in workshops (Tanzfestival Bielefeld 2015 and 2016) and auditions. After a rigorous audition process of hundreds of participants in Paris, Manon was accepted at the prestigious The Ailey School. She trained in The Independent Study Program for one year.
Teena Marie Custer
Teena Marie Custer is an urban dance artist based in Pittsburgh, PA. She has won battles and awards in the underground street dance scene over the past 15 years, and has performed nationally and internationally with her crews, Venus Fly, as well as her local Pittsburgh crew, Get Down Gang. Her hip hop dance theater work has been presented at the Sadler's Wells Theater in London, The American Dance Festival, Kelly-Strayhorn and New Hazlett Theaters in Pittsburgh, Ford Amphitheater in LA, and the American College Dance Festival Gala Concerts across the country. She has created hip hop dance theater works for over 25 university dance departments around the U.S., and in addition to touring her solo show, “My Good Side,” she also dances with Bessie award winning Ephrat Asherie Dance in NYC as well as Bill “Crutchmaster” Shannon. Teena is on faculty at Slippery Rock University and the American Dance Festival, and has an M.F.A. in Contemporary Dance Performance from The Ohio State University.
Val "Ms. Vee" Ho
Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Ms Vee started making her mark in the NYC dance scene in 2003. She’s had the pleasure of working with such distinguished choreographers as Buddha Stretch, Rennie Harris, Luam, Maria Torres, Bradley Rapier, and Ephrat Asherie. Amongst her numerous TV, film, and stage credits, highlights include: ‘Hideaway’ Video by Kiesza, VH1 Dear Mama TV special, Step Up 3D, Rennie Harris’ Legends of Hip Hop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Sadler’s Wells Breaking Convention and Lincoln Center Out of Doors. Along with her performing career, Ms Vee is also a celebrated teacher, and is on faculty at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center, and Pace University’s Commercial Dance BFA Program.
Linda "LaNaija" Madueme
Originally from Nigeria and known for her fluidity, her strength and her sensual musicality, Linda “LaNaija” Madueme has developed a unique movement style that blends house dance as well as African and contemporary dance styles. Linda draws a huge amount of inspiration from the work of Ronald K. Brown, and her current training includes afro-Cuban, salsa, and tango. In the past she has received training from notable choreographers Funmilayo Chesney, Courtney Ffrench, Aleta Hayes, Adia Whitaker, Dyane Harvey-Salaam, Bill T. Jones, Camille A. Brown, Shani Collins and Juel Lane. Appearing in music videos and documentaries, she has worked with house music artists such as Grammy award-winning producer Little Louie Vega, Mr. V, Barbara Tucker and Wunmi, and has been blessed to work with and perform on the same stage with dance pioneers like Archie Burnett, Javier Ninja, Future Ninja, the late Marjory Smarth, Caleaf Sellars, Sekou, Michael “U4RIA” Clarke, Tone McGregor and James “Cricket” Colter. Linda has won several competitions, and both taught and judged at international events in New York, Houston, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Rome, Sorrento, and Playa Del Carmen. Linda graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Anthropology and is a co-founder and active member of MAWU.
Ousmane "Omari Mizrahi" Wiles
Born in Senegal West Africa, Ousmane started training in the traditional West African dance styles of Djembe, Kutiro and Sabar at the age of seven. Until the age of sixteen, he performed with his family’s dance company, The Maimouna Keita School of African Dance. Growing up in a family of dancers and musicians, his drive to discover different styles of music and dance was infinite. In his later teenage year, Ousmane discovered his love for house, hip hop and vogue and soon became a part of the legendary House of Mizrahi and was deemed Omari Mizrahi. Now Emperor of the House of Mizrahi, Omari is an internationally celebrated and sought after performer, choreographer and teacher. He has worked with many artists including Jidenna, Raashad Newsome and Wummi. Omari was featured as one of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2017. Omari is on faculty at Broadway Dancer Center and teaches at Peridance Capezio Dance Center and the Maimouna Keita School of African Dance.
Matthew "Megawatt" West
Matthew “Megawatt” West started dancing at the age of 16 in Queens, New York. Growing up, his fascination with animals was undeniable and directly influenced his smooth, fluid, and animal like movement style. Although the majority of Mega Watts' training is in bboying, he is also an avid listener of house music and a dedicated student of the dance style itself. He has attended numerous practice sessions held by renowned NYC house dancers, Conrad Rochester, James "Cricket" Colter and the Ladies of Mawu. Mega Watts is an active part of NYC's house dance community and teaches youth classes throughout the five boroughs. He can be seen in Baz Lurhman’s recent Netflix series The Get Down and performing and battling with his crew, the Mellow Animals.
Ehud Asherie, "a master of swing and stride" (The New Yorker), is a jazz pianist who integrates the venerable New York piano tradition into his inventive style. Born in Israel in 1979, Asherie lived in Italy for six years before his family moved to New York. Though he began playing piano as a child, his passion for jazz came later—with a Thelonious Monk cassette tape—and his first visit to Smalls Jazz club in Greenwich Village. Largely self-taught, or rather, “old-schooled,” Asherie learned the ropes at Smalls, spending the wee small hours of his early teens becoming a fixture of the late-night jam sessions. Mentored by the late Frank Hewitt, Asherie began to develop “his virtuosity and his ear for clean, crisp lines“ (The Star-Ledger). From Smalls to the Rainbow Room, from Lincoln Center to The Village Vanguard, Asherie has since worked with a broad range of musicians including: Eric Alexander, Roy Ayers, Peter Bernstein, Jesse Davis, Bobby Durham, Vince Giordano, Wycliffe Gordon, Scott Hamilton, Catherine Russell, Ken Peplowski and Clark Terry. Beyond his dedication to jazz music, Ehud Asherie has also developed a passion for traditional Brazilian music. His appreciation and profound knowledge of the music, language and culture are the foundation of Asherie’s project entitled Bina & Ehud, a duo formed in 2003, with Brazilian guitarist, Bina Coquet. Asherie has toured clubs and festivals around the world, including South America, Europe and Asia. Asherie’s playing can be heard on countless recordings, including the 2010 Grammy Award winning soundtrack of HBO’s ‘Boardwalk Empire’. He recently released his twelfth album as leader entitled Shuffle Along (Blue Heron Records), a solo piano performance of Eubie Blake songs from the musical Shuffle Along.