The Art of Inclusion

Saturday, June 10 | 10:15am – 11:30am

Denise Saunders Thompson (Moderator)

Denise Saunders Thompson is the President & CEO of D.d.Saunders & Associates, Inc., a comprehensive fine arts advisory firm; co-founder of PlayRight Performing Arts Center, Inc., a non-profit arts organization in Atlanta, GA; former business manager for The Malone Group, Inc., a non-profit arts organization in Washington, D.C. that co-produced "Black Nativity" at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts from 1994-1999, and currently serves as the Chairperson/Executive Director for The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD). She is also a Professorial Lecturer at American University for the Graduate Arts Management Program. Thompson recently concluded 17 years of service at Howard University in the capacities of Professor and Manager. Freelancing in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and across the nation in production, Thompson has held positions at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Lincoln Theatre, Alliance Theatre Company, National Black Arts Festival, 1996 Olympic Arts Festival, 1996 Olympics, Several Dancers Core, the Atlanta Dance Initiative, the Mark Taper Forum, the Shakespeare Theatre at the Folger, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Harrah’s Marina Hotel Casino as well as other numerous positions. In addition, she is a grant recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, St. Paul Companies, and the DC Arts and Humanities Commission. Thompson holds an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles and a BFA from Howard University.

Glenn McCoy (Speaker)

Glenn McCoy’s career in the performing arts spans more than 30 years of operations management and marketing in ballet and opera. He first joined San Francisco Ballet in 1987, and during his 25-year tenure he has held the positions of company manager, general manager, and managing director. He was elected to the position of executive director in April 2002.

McCoy has overseen the production of more than 50 new repertory and full-length ballets for San Francisco Ballet and more than 40 domestic and international tours, including engagements at the Palais Garnier in Paris; London’s Royal Opera House; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.; and the New York State Theater. McCoy supervised San Francisco Ballet’s operations for the critically acclaimed international dance festival, UNited We Dance in 1995, San Francisco Ballet’s 75th Anniversary Season in 2008 and the tapings of Lar Lubovitch’s Othello, Helgi Tomasson’s Nutcracker, and John Neumeier’s The Little Mermaid, which have been broadcast on PBS by Thirteen/WNET New York’s performing arts series Great Performances.

Prior to joining San Francisco Ballet, McCoy held marketing positions at the San Francisco Opera and at The Metropolitan Opera in New York City, where as advertising manager he was responsible for promoting The Met seasons of American Ballet Theatre, as well as other international dance companies including Paris Opéra Ballet, The Royal Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, and Japan’s Grand Kabuki.

McCoy has served on the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. A native of New Bern, North Carolina, McCoy earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in theater and communication arts from Appalachian State University in North Carolina.

Esailama Diouf (Speaker)

Esailama Artry-Diouf, Ph.D. is the Founding Director of Bisemi Inc., supporting African-derived cultural artists rooted in and making positive impacts within underserved communities. Dr. Artry-Diouf's efforts come after 20 years of her work as a professional dancer with Diamano Coura West African Dance Company, researcher and arts administrator. She serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), the Silicon Valley African Film Festival and is the Director of Communications for Danny Glover, actor and Ambassador for the United Nations International Decade for People of African Descent. As a scholar she has lectured in the United States and conducted long–term residencies in India, South Africa, Barbados and Trinidad-Tobago. Dr. Artry-Diouf is also the co-editor of a forthcoming book entitled African Dance in America: Agents of Change, excavating the current roles and contributions of African-derived dance to American culture and society.

Ana Maria Alvarez (Speaker)

Ana Maria Alvarez is the founding artistic director and choreographer of acclaimed Urban Latin Dance Theater, CONTRA-TIEMPO. Alvarez received a BA in Dance and Politics from Oberlin College and a MFA in Choreography from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures. There her thesis work explored the abstraction of “Latin Dance”, specifically Salsa, as a way to express social resistance within the US immigration battle and became the impetus for founding the company in 2005. Alvarez is a two time grantee of NEFA National Dance Project (2014, 2016), six time grantee of National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, five time grantee of the Center for Creative Innovation and two time recipient of the Engaging Dance Audiences Grant administered by Dance/USA. Her choreographic works have been presented in theaters all over the country and world, including UCLA's Center for the Art of Performance (2016), The Music Center (Moves after Dark 2015), The Ordway (2010, 2014), The Adrienne Arsht Center (2015), Dance Place (2008, 2010, 2016), Lincoln Center (2009) among others. Alvarez and CONTRA-TIEMPO were also invited to represent the best of American Contemporary Dance Abroad through DanceMotionUSA, a program of BAM and the US Department of the State.

Celine Schein Das (Speaker)

Celine Schein Das is the Executive Director of the newly founded Chitresh Das Institute, an organization committed to carrying forward and evolving the legacy of Pandit Chitresh Das by developing education, community building and presenting programs that will make it the nerve center of Indian classical arts in the West. Schein Das also consults traditional arts organizations through Grassroots to Global Consulting. For 20 years she served as Executive Director of the Chitresh Das Dance Company & Chhandam School of Kathak (CDDC/Chhandam), where, in partnership with and inspired by her late husband, Founder and Artistic Director Pandit Chitresh Das, Celine Schein Das built the organization’s national and international reputation, growing it from a budget of under $100,000 in 1996 to over $1.1M in 2014. Schein Das built the programming, fundraising, marketing, and community outreach to achieve a vision of an organization that was grounded in the community and simultaneously had global recognition. This was so successful, in part, because she passionately believed in incorporating Pandit Chitresh Das’ advocacy of traditional arts and insistence that traditional artists and art forms and artists of color, should be supported equitably along-side Western-based art forms. She increased touring by 500%, and under her leadership, the school grew from 50 to over 500 students. She raised millions of dollars from local, regional, and national government and foundation funders, raised over $500,000 through the individual donor program she established, and developed a successful corporate sponsorship program.

Schein Das served as Executive Director and Producer of two of the largest Indian classical dance festivals to have taken place outside of India: Kathak at the Crossroads in 2006 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) in San Francisco and Traditions Engaged in 2010 at YBCA and REDCAT in the Walt Disney Hall, Los Angeles, CA. These festivals gained national and international recognition from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Dance Magazine, the Hindu, among others, as well as a special Isadora Duncan Dance Award. Schein Das produced performances in India as well as managing artistic exchange programs between the U.S. and India. She produced, India Jazz Suites, Pandit Das’ iconic collaboration with Tap star Jason Samuels Smith, that went on to become an international phenomenon, touring throughout the world and resulting in a documentary that was screened internationally and aired nationally in the U.S. on PBS. Schein Das also currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Dance/USA, the national service organization for dance, where she is honored to serve on the Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity and Programming Committees.