A Collective Effort: Establishing and Strengthening Healthy Relationships Between Dancers and Directors


Saturday, June 10 | 10:15am – 11:30am


Gina Gibney (Moderator)

Gina Gibney, Artistic Director and CEO of Gibney Dance, is a choreographer, director, teacher and entrepreneur. She founded Gibney Dance in 1991 as a performing and social action dance company, and today the organization has rapidly emerged as a cultural leader that operates through three fields of action: Company, Community and Center, a two-facility performing arts center in New York City.

Described as a “poet of modern dance” by the New York Times, Gibney is also dedicated to bringing the power of dance – both in performance and in practice – to new audiences and communities. Through recent Global Community Action Residencies, Gibney’s work has traveled to Istanbul, Turkey; Cape Town, South Africa; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Stockholm, Sweden; and Yerevan, Armenia.

Gibney has been featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Observer, Dance Magazine and in 2008, she was named to the Vanity Fair Hall of Fame for "making art and taking action." Gibney has received recognition and support from prestigious organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Jerome Robbins Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, New York Community Trust/Lila Acheson Wallace Theater Fund and many others. She is a frequent panelist and speaker on the topics of dance, social action and entrepreneurship. She holds a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Fine Arts from Case Western Reserve University where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. A native of Ohio, Gibney currently resides in New York City.



Jawole Jo Willa Zollar (Moderator)

From Kansas City, Missouri, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham. After earning her B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, she received her M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University. In 1980 Zollar moved to New York City to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion.

In 1984, Zollar founded Urban Bush Women (UBW) as a performance ensemble dedicated to exploring the use of cultural expression as a catalyst for social change. In addition to 34 works for UBW, she has created works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco, University of Maryland, Virginia Commonwealth University and others; and with collaborators including Compagnie JantBi from Senegal and Nora Chipaumire. In 2006 Zollar received a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for her work as choreographer/creator of Walking With Pearl…Southern Diaries . Featured in the PBS documentary, Free to Dance, which chronicles the African American influence on modern dance, Zollar was designated a Master of Choreography by the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center in 2005. Her company has toured five continents and has performed at venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and The Kennedy Center. UBW was selected as one of three U.S. dance companies to inaugurate a cultural diplomacy program for the U.S. Department of State in 2010. In 2011 Zollar choreographed visible with Chipaumire, a theatrical dance piece that explores immigration and migration. In 2012 Zollar was a featured artist in the film Restaging Shelter, produced and directed by Bruce Berryhill and Martha Curtis, and currently available to PBS stations.

Zollar developed a unique approach to enable artists to strengthen effective involvement in cultural organizing and civic engagement, which evolved into UBW’s acclaimed Summer Leadership Institute. She serves as director of the Institute, founder/visioning partner of UBW and currently holds the position of the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor of Dance and Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor at Florida State University. A former board member of Dance/USA, Zollar received a 2008 United States Artists Wynn fellowship and a 2009 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial. Still dancing, she recently toured in a soldout national tour presented by 651 ARTS as a leading influential dancer/choreographer on a program that included her early mentor Dianne McIntyre, her collaborator Germaine Acogny, Carmen de Lavallade and Bebe Miller. As an artist whose work is geared towards building equity and diversity in the arts Zollar was awarded the 2013 Arthur L. Johnson Memorial award by Sphinx Music at their inaugural conference on diversity in the arts. In 2013, Zollar received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and recently received honorary degrees from Tufts University and Rutgers University.



Amy Miller (Speaker)

Amy Miller (Associate Artistic Director of Gibney Dance Company) is a dancer, choreographer, educator and advocate. Interested in finding ways to foster both artistic excellence and social engagement in all of her work, Miller strives to prioritize both components in equal measure. In addition to performing, rehearsal directing and company management responsibilities for the Company, Miller also focuses on Gibney Dance's Community Action programming through facilitating movement workshops with survivors of trauma, conducting both local and international trainings for artists interested in engaging in social action, implementing healthy relationship workshops for young people, and raising awareness about the role of the arts in violence prevention. Miller has conducted Gibney Dance Global Community Action Residencies at Mimar Sinan University and Koc University (Istanbul), University of Cape Town (South Africa), DOCH: School of Dance and Circus (Stockholm), MUDA Africa (Tanzania) and with the Amahoro Dance Project in Gisenyi, Rwanda.

A former principal with the Ohio Ballet, Miller spent a decade performing masterworks by such choreographers as Anthony Tudor, José Limon, Kurt Jooss, and Paul Taylor, as well as Lucinda Childs, Laura Dean, and Alonzo King among many others. She was a founding member of Cleveland-based GroundWorks DanceTheater, where she collaborated on new work with such dance-makers as David Shimotakahara, Dianne McIntyre, Alex Ketley, Keely Garfield, David Parker and Gina Gibney. As Artistic Associate of GroundWorks, Miller choreographed seven works on the company and remains a guest artist. Such composers as the genre-defying Ryan Lott (aka Son Lux), and Oberlin Conservatory of Music professor and composer Peter Swendsen have worked with Miller on a wide range of musical scoring for dance. Miller and Swendsen’s ongoing collaboration has produced numerous projects for GroundWorks, as well as solo works, and a recent premiere with Gibney Dance Company. Her solo work has been seen in New York City at Judson Church, Mark Morris Dance Center, and Scandinavia House and has been produced at Spoke the Hub, West Fest Dance Festival, the West End Theater’s Soaking WET series. Prioritizing esthetic versatility, Miller teaches both Professional Level Ballet and Contemporary Forms classes at Gibney Dance Center and has fostered numerous collegiate teaching residencies including Cleveland State University, Oberlin College and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Miller holds a BFA in Dance and is also the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for her choreography. In 2015, Miller was honored to receive a Arts & Artists in Progress "Pay it Forward" Award from Brooklyn Arts Exchange.



Marc Brew (Speaker)

Acclaimed International choreographer and AXIS Artistic Director Marc Brew has been working in the UK and Internationally for the past 20 years as a director, choreographer, dancer, teacher and speaker; with the Australian Ballet Company, State Theatre Ballet Company of South Africa, Infinity Dance Theatre, CandoCo Dance Company and as Associate Director with Scottish Dance Theatre. Early in his career he trained as a professional dancer at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School. Since 2008 Marc has been dedicating time to his own choreography with Marc Brew Company and is currently Associate Artistic Director with Ballet Cymru in Wales and was Associate Artist in 2015 at Tramway Theatre in Glasgow, Scotland where he has been based. Recent choreographic commissions include Scottish Ballet, Ballet Cymru, AXIS Dance Company (USA), Candoco Dance Company (UK), Touch Compass (NZ), Amy Seiwert’s Imagery (USA), GDance, Scottish Dance Theatre, Greewnwich & Docklands International Festival and City of London Festival (UK). Marc was featured by Time Out Magazine as the best of the new breed of London’s Rising Dance Talent and was presented with a Centenary Medal for Outstanding Contribution as a dancer and choreographer. His work Remember When was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Performance (individual) and his recent solo work For Now, I am… was listed in the Guardians Top 10 Dance Shows for 2016. For more information visit www.marcbrew.com and www.axisdance.org.