Envisioning a Bold Future for Dance's Digital Presence


Thursday, June 8 | 2pm – 3:15pm


Libby Smigel (Moderator)

Libby Smigel MFA PhD became the Library of Congress’s dance curator in August 2015. Previously, Libby was Executive Director at Dance Heritage Coalition (DHC), where she initiated programs and archival assistance directed specifically to the dance field’s practitioners and performers: Artist-driven archiving, the Artist’s Legacy Toolkit, and outreach to artists to digitize obsolete format videos to national preservation and access standards. She has advised organizations and artists on how to find funding or assistance in managing their legacy records, and co-authored with IP attorney Peter Jaszi a booklet on copyright and fair use to help navigate rights issues.



Rebecca Salzer (Speaker)

Rebecca Salzer is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary art-maker. Her recent work for the stage has been seen at Links Hall Chicago, Highways Performance Space and Gallery in Los Angeles, and The La Jolla Playhouse. Her award-winning films and videos have been featured nationally and internationally, including at the San Francisco International Film Festival, Cinequest, The International Festival of Screendance, and on PBS-TV affiliates KQED, KPBS, and WTTW. Rebecca Salzer Dance Theatre produced live work and films in San Francisco from 1992-2006. Rebecca is a Jacob K. Javits Fellow. She holds a B.A. in Humanities from Yale University and an M.F.A. in Dance Theatre from the University of California, San Diego. She joined the University of Alabama faculty as Assistant Professor of Dance in 2014.



Nel Shelby (Speaker)

Nel Shelby is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of dance through excellent documentation of live performances, the creation of smart and engaging marketing videos, and the making of original documentaries and films covering a variety of topics in the field.

Her New York City-based video production company, Nel Shelby Productions, has grown to encompass a diverse list of dance clients. The entire team has training in movement – so they understand dance from both sides of the lens. Nel produced and directed New York Emmy-nominated PS DANCE!, an hour-long documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools, created with Jody Gottfried Arnhold and Joan Finkelstein and narrated by veteran television journalist Paula Zahn. PS DANCE! had its premiere broadcast on THIRTEEN/WNET in May 2015 and has since aired on public television networks across the country. PS DANCE! has also screened at a variety of educational and cultural panels for Dance/NYC, Teachers College at Columbia University, the University of Maryland, National Dance Educators Organization, Rutgers University, New-York Historical Society, Dance on Camera at Lincoln Center and more.

Nel’s half-hour dance documentary Where Women Don’t Dance featuring Nejla Y. Yatkin has had screenings at Links Hall in Chicago, Reston Center Stage in Virginia, Dance Place in Washington DC, the Yonkers Film Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance. Nel has also created four short films for Wendy Whelan's Restless Creature, and she collaborated with Adam Barruch Dance on a short film titled "Folie a Deux," which was selected and screened at the Dance on Camera Festival in New York City and San Francisco Dance Film Festival.

Since 2004, Nel has served as Video Producer for the internationally celebrated Jacob's Pillow Dance in the Berkshires. Each season at the Pillow, Nel's responsibilities include documenting aspects of festival culture in addition to its 20 mainstage dance performances, filming and overseeing documentation of more than 100 free performances and events, managing two dance videography interns and an apprentice, and educating students about the technical and philosophical aspects of filming dance.

She also serves as Video Producer at Vail International Dance Festival where she creates short dance documentary films and marketing videos about the festival in addition to documenting performances. Her longer-form, half-hour documentary on Vail's festival, The Altitude of Dance, debuted on Rocky Mountain PBS in May 2013.

Nel is currently co-directing No Dominion: The Ian Horvath Story with Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer Margaret Mullin.

Nel has a long personal history with movement – she has a B.F.A. in dance and is a certified Pilates instructor. In addition to her dance degree, Nel holds a B.S. in broadcast video. She lives in New York City with her husband, dance photographer Christopher Duggan, and their kids Gracie and Jack.



Jaamil Olawale Kosoko (Speaker)

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, originally from Detroit, MI, is a Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist. He is a 2017 Princeton Arts Fellow and Lecturer in the Lewis Center for the Arts, a 2017 Jerome Artists in Residence at Abrons Arts Center, a 2017 APAP Leadership Fellow, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow.

He has held producing and curatorial positions at New York Live Arts, 651 Arts, and The Watermill Center among others. Kosoko is a 2016 Gibney Dance boo-koo resident artist and a recipient of a 2016 USArtists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. His work has been presented throughout Europe and the United States. He has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater, among others.

Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays can be found published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal (PHL), the Broad Street Review (PHL), Movement Research Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He continues to guest teach, speak, lecture, and perform internationally. His piece #negrophobia is currently touring throughout Europe and received a 2016 Bessie Award nomination.



Julia Rhoads (Speaker)

Julia Rhoads is the founding artistic director of Lucky Plush Productions, a Chicago-based dance-theater company recognized for its layered choreography, surprising humor, palpable liveness, and socially relevant storytelling. Her work for Lucky Plush has been presented in over 40 international cities, and has been commissioned by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD), Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (IL), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), The Yard (MA), and Links Hall Chicago. She has also choreographed for Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, River North Chicago Dance Company, and Redmoon, among others.

Under Rhoads’s leadership, Lucky Plush became the first and only dance-based company to receive the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, recognizing the company’s exceptional creativity and impact. Her work for the company has also been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, National Performance Network, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, and Illinois Arts Council. Rhoads is the recipient of the 2013 Alpert Award in Dance, and she received a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for spearheading Creative Partners, a shared fundraising model between Lucky Plush, Eighth Blackbird, and Blair Thomas & Co.

Rhoads is a former member of the San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University, her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, and she is currently a Lecturer and Dance Advisor in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago.