Dance: Western Contemporary
Coleen Lorenz founded NewGround Theatre Dance Company in 2009 and operates as Artistic Director and principal choreographer of the San Mateo based contemporary company.
She is also Founder/President of the ArtsUnityMovement (AUM) Wellness Center in San Mateo, providing “art that awakens and heals” through classes, workshops, performances, and events.
Coleen holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from UCLA in Dance Choreography/Performance and in the field of Clinical Psychology/Dance-Movement Therapy. She is currently on Faculty at Canada College and Notre Dame High School teaching courses in dance and psychology. Coleen was Associate Professor and Director of Dance at Notre Dame de Namur Dance University in the Department of Theater Dance from 2003-2017.
(Dance: Western Contemporary)
Music: Spanish Guitar
A flamenco guitarist and composer, David McLean’s musical wanderings finally converged in Granada, Spain, where he studied for several years under renowned guitarists Rafaelin Habichuela, Emilio Maya and Ramon del Paso. He later moved to Jerez de la Frontera, where he focused on the art of traditional vocal and dance accompaniment, studying under Pascual de Lorca, Jose Galvez and others. Since moving back from Spain, David has performed in hundreds of traditional and contemporary flamenco productions, from local venues to stages throughout the United States and Europe.
David is lead guitarist for the Bay-Area based flamenco company, AguaClara Flamenco. In 2007, he released his debut CD called “Found in Spain”, a series of original pieces rooted in traditional flamenco forms, produced by Jason McGuire and recorded at the studio of rock legend and flamenco enthusiast, Jackson Browne. The San Francisco Chronicle calls his music “subtly driving” and “sinuous”, and Just Jazz Guitar Magazine writes of his music: “a unique sculpture of chord color, raw guts, and effusive linear tapestries.
(Music: Spanish Guitar)
Hip Hop, Poet
Demone Carter has played many roles within the Silicon Valley arts, education, and entertainment circles for over two decades, including being co-host of the Dad Bod Rap Pod Podcast and a freelance writer for Content Magazine and Silicon Valley De Bug. Performing under the name DEM ONE, he has toured internationally, released several albums, and collaborated with notable hip-hop artists like D-Styles, Motion Man, Chali Tuna, and Bambu. In 2004 Demone co-founded Unity Care’s Hip Hop 360 after-school program, which provided over 1,000 youth the opportunity to express themselves. Demone then started FutureArtsNow! a for-profit social entrepreneurship venture that has received recognition from San Jose Job Corps ( 2013 Service to Youth Award) and the City of San Jose (2016 State of The City Honoree).
Recipient of the 2014 Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist award from San Jose Rotary Club, from 2016 to 2019, Demone led The Multicultural Leadership Institute and Mayferia, a hyperlocal creative placemaking project funded by the Knight and Irvine Foundations while at The School of Arts and Culture, San Jose. Currently, Demone is the Director of Community Engagement for Sacred Heart Community Service.
(Music: Hip Hop, Poet)
Fanny Ara is an internationally-sought after and award-winning choreographer, performer and instructor.
Her most dedicated worldwide fans especially credit her as one of the driving forces of flamenco today; an artist excelling in the full spectrum of flamenco, from the most traditional to the avant-garde. Fanny has been an invited artist in national and international festivals and has toured extensively in Canada, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and throughout Europe. Recognitions include nominations from the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards in the categories of Most Outstanding Individual Dancer, Most Outstanding Music, Ensemble, and Individual Performance for her project, Juncal Street; Best Ensemble for her work with the San Francisco Opera in La Traviata; and the finalist prize for “Creative Promise in Dance” in 2012 from New York’s Vilcek Foundation.
Fanny’s versatility in the art form of flamenco is manifested in her many artistic works. Philip Gardner said of her performance at the Joyce Theater in New York City “…the captivating expressive qualities of Fanny’s upper body mesmerized us while her footwork dazzled both the eye and the ear…she soared into the upper most echelon of dance artists I have witnessed over the years.”
Jimmy Biala is a music educator, music performing and recording artist. Currently he teaches specialized programs of Cuban and Brazilian percussion to almost 400 young students weekly in 3 elementary schools in the south bay area. Jimmy was honored as an SV Creates Silicon Valley Artist Laureate 2017/2018. Jimmy believes in the vital, essential role of the Arts in community and the building of cultural bridges through the discipline of music and dance culture.
Jimmy is the founder and artistic director of the group Bloco do Sol San José, an ensemble dedicated to the focused study and performance of samba music and dance from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Music: Oud, Guitar
Lee Dynes is a guitarist, oudist, composer and educator living in the San Francisco Bay Area. For the majority of his career, Dynes has dedicated himself to the study of jazz music and is steeped in the language and traditions of the American art form. Lee earned his Bachelors of Music from Berklee College of Music in Boston. Currently Lee is involved in a number of projects that reflect his eclectic and varied tastes. He plays oud regularly with Arabic music group, Aswat Ensemble, and with artists such as Van Ahn Vo and Nurdan Civis Alaturca Connection.
Lee is the founder and guitarist of the self-titled Lee Dynes Trio and lead guitarist in the Amanda Addleman Band. In addition to a busy performance schedule, he maintains a full teaching schedule including private lessons in guitar, mandolin, bass, oud, ukulele and more at the Marin Music Center in Novato. He also gives Skype lessons to students all over the world in jazz improvisation and performance.
(Music: Oud, Guitar)
Leon Beauchman is multi-talented performer in African drumming and dance, spoken word, and jazz and blues vocals. He most recently was a member of Akoma Arts, an African drumming and dance ensemble. Leon is involved with several educational and community programs targeting African American and under-served students. He is most interested in artistic expression as a means to promote health and well-being within and between communities. Leon is currently completing work on his first book of poetry and narration entitled The Great Overcoming: An African American Search for Meaning.
(African Drumming & Dance, Spoken Word)
Poet and recovering engineer Lisa Rosenberg works from shared territory in arts and sciences. She holds degrees in physics and creative writing, and was a Wallace Steger Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. Her debut collection, A Different Physics, received the Red Mountain Poetry Prize, released in 2018. Lisa worked as an engineer in the space program, was active in aviation as a private pilot, and later founded a technology marketing consulting practice. In 2017/2018, she served as Poet Laureate of San Mateo County, California.
Widely published and anthologized, Lisa’s poems explore natural and cultural landscapes, the art of making, and the drive to question inherited models. She is creating a series of poly-disciplinary engagements for industry, arts, and education, bringing tools of poetry and science to the urgent discourse on our modes of inquiry and enterprise. She looks forward to continuing this work in a 2020 Djerassi Residency for Scientists and Artists.
Dance: Ballet, Contemporary
Maria Basile is co-artistic director/choreographer/performer for sjDANCEco. Recipient of several awards including 2010 Arts Council Silicon Valley Artist Fellowship for Performance, 2009 “Isadora Duncan Award” nominee for Best Performance, and 2014 LiveBlessay award for Best Dancer/Actress from BayAreaDanceWatch, she has choreographed for Cabillo Music Festival, Opera San Jose, Midsummer Mozart Festival, SJSU Opera Theater, Mission Dance Company, among others. She has performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Cabo San Lucas Mexico, San Francisco, Taiwan, Los Angeles, Pebble Beach CA and danced with SpectorDance and MoveSpeakSpin, ODC, Ann Bluethenthal & Dancers, Limon West Dance Project, and World 50th Anniversary Tour with the Limon Company.
Maria teaches dance at SJSU, De Anza College, San Jose City College, Mission College, West Valley College and holds a BS in Dance from University of Oregon.
(Dance: Ballet, Contemporary)
A whirling vortex of energy and grace, accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer, Navia Natarajan, who splits her time between US and India. Neither hybrid nor experimental, Navia’s dance is rooted in classicism. She stays true to the rigors of classical technique, but injects her dancing with a creativity and vision that is uniquely her. She was trained under Guru Padmini Ramachandran (Bangalore].. She is currently being mentored by Gurus A.Lakshmanaswamy and Bragha.G.Bessel, Chennai. Navia has performed at venues and festivals in the US, UK and India. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards in India and US and is among the most sought after dancer-choreographers. Navia trains a select few students through Navia Dance Academy.
Navia holds a Masters Degree in Microbiology and worked as a Research Assistant at the Vittal Mallaya Scientific Research Foundation in Bangalore, before she decided to exclusively pursue her passion for Bharatanatyam.
Niharika Mohanty resides in the Bay Area and is a leading Odissi dancer in the U.S. A prominent disciple of Odissi legendary maestro, Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Niharika has performed extensively as a soloist since a young age and continues to be invited to several festivals/programs locally, throughout North America, and in India, including a special invitation as the only soloist in the 25th anniversary of the prestigious Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra Award Festival in 2019.
As the Founder-Director of Guru Shradha, a premier Odissi institution, Niharika is committed to excellence in training dancers in Guru Kelucharan’s dance tradition. She also holds an MA in Dance and has received several grants and awards for training, performance, and choreography.
Poet & Musician
PC Muñoz is a recording artist, producer, and writer based in San Francisco. “Dark, sexual, sensual, confessional, and confrontational–all at the same time” (Performing Songwriter), Muñoz’s singular music-making aesthetic bridges the gap between pop songcraft, free jazz, musique concréte, and the insistent rhythms of funk and hip-hop. An artist with a “deep social conscience…who uses music to connect cultures and communities together” (Anil Prasad, Innerviews), his body of work includes GRAMMY®-nominated contemporary classical music with composer/cellist Joan Jeanrenaud as well as projects with rock legend Jackson Browne, Emmy-winning virtuoso Van-Anh Vo, Dr. Fink of Prince and the Revolution, poet/chanteuse Ingrid Chavez, and countless others.
PC was a 2015 Dresher Ensemble artist-in-residence in Oakland, a 2014 Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center grantee in San Francisco, a 2013 Loft Literary Center Equilibrium Fellow in Minneapolis, and a Board Governor for the San Francisco Chapter of the Recording Academy from 2015-2018.
(Poet & Musician)
Prasad Bhandarkar started learning Hindustani music when he was 8 years old. He was initiated into classical music by his mother. Helater trained under world-renowned Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasia. In recent years, Prasad has been learning music from the noted Sitar player of Maihar Gharana, Pandit Partha Chatterjee, a prominent disciple of the late Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. Pandit Chatterjee perfectly combines the gayaki (vocal) and tantrakari (string instrumental) styles in his music and Prasad finds this approach very attractive and replicable in Bansuri.
An engineer with an MBA, Prasad works at Facebook. He pursues his passion for music by performing both in solo Bansuri classical concerts and in light music concerts as accompanist. Prasad also offers Bansuri flute lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hailed as “The Rockstar of the Flute” (Informador de Guadalajara) and “The protégé of the great flutist, Carol Wincenc [Professor of Flute at The Juilliard School].” (San Jose Mercury News) and an officiated cultural ambassador to the U.S., Ray Furuta has been a featured artist for the Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, United Nations and the Mainly Mozart, Okayama, Yellow Barn, and Banff Music Festivals to name only a few.
Ray is the Artistic Director of Chamber Music Silicon Valley and has collaborated with renowned artists including Jon Nakamatsu and members of the Kronos, Avalon, Juilliard, Mendelssohn, and Emerson String Quartets. He is Professor of Flute at Santa Clara University and has also taught at Stanford University, New York University and Lebanese American University of Beirut, among others. Honored as a distinguished alumnus in 2016, Furuta earned is Doctor of Musical Arts Degree from Stony Brook University.
A native of Atlanta, GA, Robert began studying cello at age 12. A graduate of Rice University and San Francisco Conservatory of Music, he has performed at festivals such as Tanglewood, Spoleto, Verbier, Accademia Chigiana, and Sandor Vegh Academy in Prague. Robert won first prize in the Rome Festival Competition and has received grants from the Maggini and Virtu Foundations. Robert has performed at Festival Internacional de Musica in Costa Rica, Festival de Guadarama in Spain, and Mostly Mozart series in Lincoln Center. He has performed with American Bach Soloists, New Century Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Baroque, and the San Francisco Symphony. A regular guest on many Bay Area chamber music series, he has also made concerto appearances with BARS Orchestra and Stanford Symphony, and toured in Kenya.
Robert has coached at San Francisco Conservatory, Stanford University, and San Jose State University. and is currently music director of SF Civic Strings.
Award-winning pipa virtuoso Shenshen Zhang has been recognized in Asia and America for her exquisite tonal qualities and delicate lyric interpretations. Perhaps best known for performing many of the traditional Chinese pipa repertoires, Shenshen has also participated in landmark premieres of works and recordings by the modern generation of world composers like Tan Dun and Chen Yi, among others.
Since making her home in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, ShenShen has been honored to perform with many exceptional international artists, including Houston Grand Opera, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and Symphony Silicon Valley. She also has been privileged to record the Pipa sound for Apple’s GarageBand app (released in 2016). Shenshen has merged her wide-ranging performance career and her expressive musical abilities, preserving the heritage of China while also exploring the musical legacies of other world cultures.
Shikha Malaviya is a South Asian poet & writer; her book of poems is called “Geography of Tongues.” She is co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, a mentorship model press publishing powerful voices from India & the Indian diaspora.
Shikha’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and featured in PLUME, Prairie Schooner & other fine journals. She was a featured TEDx speaker in 2013, where she gave a talk on poetry in daily life. She is a four-time AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Writer to Writer Mentor, Shikha was selected as Poet Laureate of San Ramon, California, 2016. She currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area and is the 2020 poetry judge of AWP’s Kurt Brown Prize.
Dance: Indian Folk
Trained in Bharatanatyam and Folk Dances of India, Srividya founded Xpressions in 2003 with an idea to promote the beautiful traditions of Indian Folk Dances and train a new generation of dancers.
She is known for her unique and creative choreography that blends tradition with innovation to help connect with diverse audiences. In addition to Folk Dances, Srividya also trains her students in Semi-Classical, Bollywood and Fusion Dance styles.
Led by Srividya, Xpressions dancers have won multiple awards at local dance competitions, supported art through lessons and performances at schools and community events, developed cross-cultural presentations and helped raise funds for many causes. They’ve been invited to perform at various events at the San Jose Museum of Art, Asian Art Museum, multiple times at the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival. Xpressions co-produced and co-presented FolkSi (Silicon Valley Folk Dance Festival) with Mosaic Silicon Valley in 2018.
(Dance: Indian Folk)
Vân-Ánh Vanessa Vo is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist specializing in Vietnamese traditional music. She has devoted her life-long passion and mastery of the dan tranh zither to the creation of distinctive music blended with a cultural essence. Among her accomplishments are the 2009 Emmy® Award-winning soundtrack for the documentary “Bolinao 52”, and the soundtrack for the Sundance best documentary and 2003 Academy Awards® nominee “Daughter from Danang”. Van-Anh also co-composed and recorded for the recent documentary “A Village Called Versailles”, winner of the New Orleans Film Festival Audience Award.
In addition to touring internationally, Vân-Ánh has presented her music at Carnegie Hall, Zellerbach Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and as a composer and guest artist for the Kronos Quartet at the Olympic Games 2012 Music Festival. She also performs as soloist on the monochord (dan bau), the 36-string hammered dulcimer (dan tam thap luc), the bamboo xylophone (dan t’rung), the k’longput, traditional drums (trong), and Chinese guzheng. She lives and teaches dan tranh and other Vietnamese traditional instruments in Fremont, California.
(Music: Vietnamese Zither)
Venus Jones earned her MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College in 2014, and she was one of the honored commencement speakers that same year. She’s worked for two television networks including HSN and MTV, and she’s opened for Def Poetry on Broadway. Venus Jones is a former radio personality, actress, model, poet and the author of nine creative projects including a mobile app for Kwanzaa and the book “She Rose.” She’s been a leader in the Shero movement, a TEDx presenter and a poetry slam finalist at the Austin International Poetry Festival.
Venus’ one-woman show, “Poetic Soldier” earned her “Most Inspiring Solo Performance at the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival.” Her short play “Race and War” was featured at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. Most of her work promotes inner peace, diversity, her principles, and the empowerment of marginalized people.
Yaelisa (Artistic Director/ Choreographer of Caminos Flamencos) is internationally recognized as a master teacher, dancer and choreographer. Her immersion in flamenco culture began with her mother, the renowned singer/dancer Isa Mura. Yaelisa’s unique improvisational knowledge and history lend an authority to her workshops and classes, and many of her students and dancers have gone on to study and perform in Spain and the U.S. She has performed alongside many of Spain’s greatest flamenco artists, both in Spain and in her work as artistic director and choreographer for her renowned company Caminos Flamencos and as co-founder of the New World Flamenco Festival. Her company has been nominated for 4 Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, and she is the recipient of an Emmy Award for Choreography and an Izzie Award.
Her body of work in both traditional and contemporary flamenco has set a standard nationally and includes movies, video, opera, television and theater. Critics have recognized her abilities by saying “It might hard to stand out among such luminaries, but not for Yaelisa, who has a finely controlled, hyper-mobile style, like a kind of liquid obsidian.
Another jewel in the flamenco crown.”, from the LA Times, and The Village Voice, when she collaborated with a modern dance production stating that “Amazing is the powerful presence of flamenco dancer Yaelisa, who also contributed to the choreography, her heelwork providing an inflamed pulse that the others echo.” She continues to be a driving force in American flamenco along with her husband, guitarist and composer Jason McGuire “El Rubio”.
(Dance: Chinese Classical)
Yangyang is currently Artistic Director and Choreographer, International Performing Arts of America. Having trained at the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy in Chinese Classical dance, she started her dancing career in 1997 as the Principal Dancer in Opera Turandot performed in Italy. Since then, she’s had an exciting career with leading positions at the Chinese Opera and Theatre and the Chinese Performing Art of America. Iconic performances include Lan Hua Hua, The Heavenly Butterfly, The Ultimate Ten Classical Dance Performance of China, and Nostalgia of Youth.
Yanyang has toured Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, Spain, France, and other countries; and received awards at international dance competitions in Spain and the Netherlands.
(Dance: Chinese Classical)
Yei Tochtli Mitlalpilli
Yei Tochtli Mitlalpilli was born and raised in San Jose CA. He joined the Aztec Dance community in 1993 and has been active ever since. In 1995, he co-founded the Aztec Dance group Atlaxinoli and in 1997 Calpulli Huitizilopochtli.
In 2004 Mitlalpili co-founded Calpulli Tonalehqueh and has been the Executive Director since its founding. Mitlalpilli also has over 20 years experience in Silicon Valley’s Tech industry holding various positions from Expeditor, Planner, Buyer, Master Scheduler and Program Manager. He has merged these experiences and skills to lead the volunteer team that has created the largest gathering of Aztec dancers in the county, Mexica New Year, which is hosted every March in San Jose.
Yuko Tamura Biala
Originally from Japan, Yuko currently lives in San José, California. She has been teaching Brazilian dance since 2011, and is the dance director of Bloco Do Sol San José, an ensemble dedicated to the development and performance of samba percussion and dance. The ensemble is based in the School of Arts & Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. Yuko has lived in Salvador, Brazil, and has regularly attended Silvestre Technique dance intensive training at the Cultural Foundation of State of Bahia (FUNCEB). She has also been a student of Capoeira Angola since 2001, a martial art that is deeply connected to the elements of African diaspora in Brazilian culture. Through discovering the possibilities of movements and rhythms, Yuko’s vision is to share the feeling of connection between individuals and the community, nurturing harmony with our body and mind as the base of creative expression and interaction.
(Dance: Samba )