Gender Identities in Dance


Saturday, June 10 | 8:45am – 10am


Sean Dorsey (Moderator)

Sean Dorsey is a San Francisco-based choreographer, dancer, writer and community activist. As the nation’s first acclaimed transgender contemporary dance choreographer, Dorsey has been awarded four Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and the Goldie Award for Performance. His work has toured to 26 cities. Dorsey was named in Dance Magazine’s 25 To Watch and as “San Francisco’s Best Dance Company” (SF Weekly). Sean Dorsey Dance’s (SDD) works are a fusion of full-throttle dance, luscious partnering, intimate storytelling and theater. Highly physical, accessible, rooted in story, and danced with precision and guts and deep humanity, Dorsey’s work has been called “exquisite…poignant and important” (BalletTanz), “trailblazing” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “evocative, compelling, elegant” (LA Weekly).

Dorsey has been awarded support from the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, National Performance Network, California Arts Council, Creative Work Fund, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, and James Irvine Foundation. His works have been commissioned by Bates Dance Festival, Dance Place (DC), Queer Cultural Center (San Francisco), The Theater Offensive (Boston), 7 Stages (Atlanta), Maui Arts & Cultural Center (Maui), Links Hall (Chicago), and Highways Performance Space (Los Angeles).

Dorsey’s newest work THE MISSING GENERATION gives voice to LGBTQ longtime survivors of the early AIDS epidemic. The work was created by traveling the US to record oral history interviews with longtime survivors; these survivors’ voices and remarkable real-life stories are featured in the show’s award-winning soundscore. THE MISSING GENERATION is currently on a 20-city US tour, and is available for tour bookings in 2017 and 2018.

Dorsey is also the Founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Meat Productions, the nation’s first nonprofit to create, present, and tour year-round transgender arts programs. Fresh Meat’s programs include the annual Fresh Meat Festival of transgender and queer performance, Sean Dorsey Dance’s local and touring performances, SDD’s Generations Positive community residency program, and internships for trans youth.



Lilly Valore (Speaker)

Lilly Valore was born in Boston, MA and started her formal dance training at the age of 8 and studied at The Boston Ballet School. Growing up, Lilly starred in mainstage roles in their production of The Nutcracker, including Big Mouse, Snow Flake Corp and Party Girl. She was also featured in Boston Ballet’s annual Spring showcase. Years later Lilly furthered her training at The Boston Arts Academy, Boston's only performing arts high school. There she trained with Billy Mclaughlin, Tatiana Obeso, Sheryl Pollard¬ Thomas, Christopher Ramsey, and Cristobal Marquez. At The Boston Arts Academy Lilly was introduced to many different dance styles such as Modern, Jazz, African, Contemporary, Improvisation, Contact Skills and much more. This created a more versatile foundation for her to continue her career in dance. Lilly was also debuted in many of the dance department’s productions from sophomore year forward. The productions that she was included in were Winterfest, Senior Dance Project and Springfest. She was also given the opportunity to choreograph her senior piece that was a huge hit in the dance department. She was asked to perform her solo in many different events such as Green Street dance company's performance night and he was asked to perform at graduation to represent the dance department. Lilly has also attended many summer intensives and has been exposed to many different choreographers / teachers. She attended the Boston Ballet, Earl Mosley's Institute of The arts, Joffrey Ballet Summer Intensive, Burklyn Ballet, Boston Arts Academy Summer Intensive, and The Boston Conservatory summer dance intensive and musical theater/dance intensive. She has also worked with world renowned choreographers such as Michelle Chasse, Earl Mosley, Desmond Richardson, Dwight Rhoden of Complexions, Heidi Cruz Austin, Meghan Mccaffrey, Gianni Di Marco, Ebony Williams, Brian Brooks, Zoe Scofield, Adriana Suarez, Mikko Nissan, Margaret Tracey, Tommie Waheed Evans, Keith Thomson, Diane Arvanites, Brett Bell and many more. Lilly devoted her summers to making connections and furthering his dance training. Lilly mainly teaches in the Boston area. She has taught several master classes at 4 Star dance studio, Boston Ballet, The Dance Company of Wilmington and hosted choreography workshops in Rochester, NY and North Carolina. She specializes in Contemporary, Ballet, Contemporary Ballet, Modern, Point, Creative Process/Improvisational Work. Lilly now attends The Boston Conservatory where she is currently working on getting her BFA in Contemporary dance. She is a sophmore at the time. She hopes one day to dance with a contemporary ballet company such as Complexions, Lines Ballet , Ballet Hispanico and Dancespora. Lilly is actively living a healthy stable life through dance.



Leesha Zieber (Speaker)

Leesha Zieber is a trans* dance artist based in San Francisco. They grew up dancing in Santa Cruz, CA, and moved to the Bay Area to attend San Francisco State University. They graduated summa cum laude with degrees in dance and mathematics. Leesha is currently in rehearsals for projects with KAMBARA+DANCERS, Robert Moses’ Kin, and Ayana Yonesaka. They have also danced with Dance Brigade and as a guest artist with ODC. Leesha was also featured in a farewell video for Saint Harridan, an Oakland based clothing company that catered to the masculine of center community. They are excited to be part of this important conversation on gender in the hopes that more people can dance as their authentic selves.



Cathy Young (Speaker)

Cathy Young received her B.A in So¬ciology and Women’s Studies from Harvard University and her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Illinois. She is currently Dean of Dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she leads a dance division of 140 students and 30 faculty. During her six years at BCB, she has overseen the implementation of a forward- thinking, comprehensive curriculum designed to prepare dance artists for 21st century entrepreneurial dance careers; developed partnerships with leading international dance organizations including The Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in London and the Central Academy in Beijing, China; and focused her efforts on building and supporting diversity within the dance division curriculum, artistic programming, and student/faculty population. Prior to Boston Conservatory she was Associate Professor of Dance and Chair of the Theater and Dance Department at Ursinus College in PA, where she co-created the dance program, including a dance minor and major. Young is nationally recognized as a master teacher of jazzdance and has conducted residencies at more than 30 colleges around the country, as well as at the Bates Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival and the International Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Rus¬sia. Her choreography has been commissioned by numerous professional com¬panies and presenters, and supported by grants from the McK¬night Foundation, Jerome Foun¬dation, Target Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board, among others. She is honored to be a participant in the Dance/USA conference.