NC Dance Festival Announces 2022-23 Season

The annoucenement showcases two dancers wearing white on a dark stage. Text reads: Dance Project: NC Dance Festival

The NC Dance Festival (NCDF) announces artists and activities for the 2022-23 Season, with performances beginning in September.

Each year, the NC Dance Festival, a program coordinated by Greensboro-based Dance Project, brings professional modern and contemporary dance choreography from NC artists to audiences across the state. The Festival provides up-close and personal experiences with dance through performances, classes, conversations, and more.


Creative Collaboration Exchange + Performance
September 24, 7:30pm
Goodyear Arts, Charlotte

4 artists, working in dance, mixed media, and music, will create a collaborative performance in just one day. Featuring Audrey Baran, Zachary Gossett, Jasmine Powell, and Tiffany Santeiro, the performance, co-presented with Goodyear Arts, will be followed by a conversation with the audience. TwinNation (Sanwone & Santae Benjamin) and Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs will also perform recent work in the performance. 

“Assembly” at Greensboro Project Space
October 6-7, 7:00pm
Greensboro Project Space, Greensboro

NCDF Trailblazer Awardee Tommy Noonan of Culture Mill presents the US premiere of “Assembly.” “Assembly” derives from Noonan’s work with NC-based artists, activists and Restorative Justice specialists, and exists in ongoing conversation with 5 other socially engaged dance artists from 5 other countries around the world, all tied together by a single performance score from Norwegian/Israeli Artist/Activist Mia Habib. As a hybrid installation, performance and social practice, “Assembly” invites audiences to consider the land where they gather: all that is not named in the past, all that might come to pass in the future, and all the ways in which distributive power exists differently in each present moment when bodies assemble. “Assembly” is a production of Culture Mill with support from Mia Habib Productions and Dance Project, also supported by The Norwegian Arts Council and Nordic Culture Fund – Globus Opstart.

Greensboro Mainstage Performance
October 8, 7:30pm
Van Dyke Performance Space, Greensboro

5 professional NC choreographers present new or recent dance work. Amelia Byrd’s (Greensboro) Womanifesto explores the struggle, freedom, and acceptance of a woman emerging into her adult life. Nicole Vaughn-Diaz’s (Asheville) duet, A Portrait of Them traces the impact of grief – its connections and distances –on a relationship. The mesmerizing movement patterns and sound design of Halidom, created and performed by Joy Davis and Eric Mullis (Charlotte), draw influence from their study of Japanese Butoh. Iridescence, a solo by Jasmine Powell (Hillsborough) was created in the context of the protests for racial justice in 2020, responding to the waves of sorrow, community, guilt, support, promise, and action. Coming Home, by Tamara Williams (Charlotte), is a section of a larger work, Morning Honeysuckle, Sunday’s Greed. Bringing in hip hop, Southern Baptist Church rhythms and southeastern Drumline, the dance explores the physical resistance of oppression in the United States and the celebration of perseverance by African Americans.

The season will feature other ongoing projects and events, including:

  • In-person and virtual Monthly Dancer Chats
    • NCDF’s monthly informal network-building events will continue, with in-person gatherings interspersed with virtual meetings. The first Dancer Chat of the season will be on August 27, 5-7 pm in person at Goodyear Arts in Charlotte. Additional dates and locations will be announced as the season continues.
  • Artist in Residence
    • The NC Dance Festival welcomed 8 Artists in Residence into the studio for the 22-23 season. This initiative nurtures North Carolina choreographers and supports the development of high-quality dance work. This program provides space, peer support, and professional development for both the seasoned choreographer and those newly emerging who are looking to create new work, explore new territory, develop an artistic practice, and/or gain additional experience developing their craft. Informal, public showings will be held in December 2022 and May 2023. Current artists are: Casey Avaunt, Rae Cozart, Jiwon Ha, Janice Lancaster, Carrie Plew, Caitlyn Schrader, Jurne Smith, and Alexandra Joye Warren.

In 2019, the NC Dance Festival initiated two new awards. The Jan Van Dyke Legacy Award honors an individual who makes NC a great place to dance. In the spirit of Dance Project founder Jan Van Dyke, this individual sees a need in the community and works to fill it, generating ideas and laying a foundation that others can build upon, making a difference that will reverberate throughout the community. Nominations for the 2022 Legacy award are due September 4, 2022. The nomination form can be found on the Dance Project website. The NCDF Trailblazer Award, which honors an NC choreographer that has achieved clear excellence in dance and whose work embodies innovative ways of thinking/working and represents a unique and relevant perspective on art and culture, will be suspended for this year.

The NC Dance Festival is supported in part by the NC Arts Council, Lincoln Financial Group, and individual donors and sponsors.

Featured Dancers

Audrey Ipapo Baran

Dancer Audrey Baran standing in a dance studio wearing a red blouseAudrey Ipapo Baran is a Filipina-American dance maker, performer, educator, and researcher based in Charlotte, North Carolina. She holds an MFA in Dance from Hollins University and a BA in Dance from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she is the Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance and pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Anti-Racism in Urban Education. As the founder and artistic director of the contemporary dance company Baran Dance, Baran is dedicated to broadening definitions and accessibility of contemporary dance throughout the Southeast by presenting collaborative, multimedia productions in a variety of venues. Through every creative and pedagogical process, Audrey insists on horizontal dynamics among diverse bodies in motion and values the voices and histories of all collaborators.

Amelia Renee Byrd

Amelia Renee Byrd holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre/Dance and a Bachelor of Professional Studies alongside teaching licensure in K-12 Dance Education from the University of Memphis. Amelia was the Dance Educator at Colonial Middle School for the Creative and Performing Arts and a member of Project: Motion Dance Collective in Memphis, TN. Amelia has presented work with Project: Motion, the University of Memphis Theatre and Dance Department, the UNC-Greensboro School of Dance, Playhouse on the Square’s Summer Youth Theatre Conservatory and the Greensboro Fringe Festival. Amelia is a 2014 graduate of UNC-Greensboro, receiving a MFA in Dance/Choreography and is currently working as the Dance Educator at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts in High Point, NC and she also serves as co-lead Dance Educator for Guilford County Schools. Amelia is formerly a member of JOYEMOVEMENT, a dance company in Greensboro, NC having performed for four seasons. Amelia is also a board member for the North Carolina Dance Education Organization (NCDEO) serving in the position of Dance Advocacy. Amelia was recently in the 2021 cohort of the North Carolina Dance Festival’s Artists-In-Residence program.

Joy Davis

Joy Davis is a dance artist, advocate, educator and performer. She is a Senior Countertechnique® Teacher and Associate Professor of Dance at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she also serves as Dance Liaison to Career Services and Alumni Affairs. Joy founded joyproject in 2005 as a platform for creation, collaboration and production, having created numerous independent works, commissions for colleges and dance companies all around the US, and currently developing a residency program to support dance makers. She is a co-founder of the dynamic duo, The Davis Sisters, alongside multi-disciplinary artist Alexander Davis. Joy received an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College and has taught worldwide, including as a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University, as a Guest Teacher at The Juilliard School, and at festivals including One Body One Career Countertechnique® Intensive, American Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival. Joy splits her time between Boston and Charlotte, where she lives and collaborates with artist-scholar husband, Dr. Eric Mullis and their giant pomeranian, Baby Sir Isaac Newton.

Zachary Gossett

Zachary Gossett is a composer, pianist, and improvising musician who cultivates a diverse palate across genres. As a sideman or accompanist, Zach has performed jazz standards, originals, big band music, old school salsa, chamber music, solo classical piano, liturgical music, contemporary classical, wedding music, and even played in touring pop acts. Zach was also the Musician Apprentice for the 2019 American Dance Festival in Durham, NC. As a composer, Zach has arranged for the UNC and NCCU Big Bands, as well as maintaining his own small group collective. He is a recent recipient of the 2020 Durham Arts Council Artist Support Grant, using the grant to fund his first recording.

Taryn Griggs and Chris Yon

Taryn Griggs and Chris Yon create original dance works that are deadpan slapstick, understated melodrama, autobiographical science fiction, cubist vaudeville, asymmetrically consonant explorations of magic and virtuosity in everyday movement. They met at the Bessie Schönberg Artist Residency at The Yard in 2002 and have been working together ever since. They were participants in the dance communities of New York City, Minneapolis, and Iowa City, before moving to Winston-Salem. Chris and Taryn’s choreographies have been presented across the US, Canada, Ireland, and France. In New York, in addition to the presentation of their work at La MaMa, Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, The Kitchen, and Danspace Project, they appeared together in the work of David Neumann, Yoshiko Chuma, Karinne Keithley Syers, and Sara Rudner. During their years in the Twin Cities, they were both McKnight Fellows, co-curators for Choreographer’s Evening at the Walker Art Center, and their work was presented as part of the Walker’s Momentum Dance Series at The Southern, Red Eye Theater’s Isolated Acts, Jaime Carrera’s Outlet Performance Festival, and 9×22 at the Bryant Lake Bowl. Since moving to Winston-Salem, their work has been commissioned by the North Carolina Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, and finds residency/workshop support through their ongoing project, Interstitial: A site specific dance during the changeovers between art exhibits at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art. Griggs teaches at UNCSA, Yon at Appalachian State University.

Eric Mullis

Eric Mullis received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of South Carolina in 2005 with a dissertation that examines the intersection of the philosophy of embodiment and John Dewey’s philosophy of art. In 2017, he completed an MFA in Dance at the University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee) and his choreography has been presented at the North Carolina Dance Festival, the Midwest Alternative Dance Festival, the Richmond Dance Festival, Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, the Fact/SF Summer Dance Festival, UrBANGUILD Kyoto, and at the Performance Philosophy colloquium at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of Pragmatist Philosophy and Dance: Interdisciplinary Research in the American South (Palgrave MacMillan 2019), and continues his investigations of philosophy and contemporary movement-based performance by developing The Land of Nod, a dance theater piece supported in part by a John S. and James L. Knight foundation grant as well as by developing a new book project on costuming, ethics, and embodiment. Eric received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach interdisciplinary dance courses in the dance program at Taipei National University of the Arts in Taiwan. He is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and the Chair of Philosophy and Religion at Queens University of Charlotte.

Tommy Noonan

Tommy Noonan is a director, choreographer and performer currently based in Saxapahaw, NC, and co-founder of Culture Mill. His work has been presented extensively throughout Germany, France, Portugal, Poland, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and Mexico. Tommy has written texts for publication in Revisita Obscena (Portugal) and Freies Theater Journal (Austria) and the Performance Journal (New York City). His conversations on performance and public space have appeared in the acclaimed: “Guidebook of Alternative Nows”. He directed “The Engagement” for the Maxim Gorki Theater’s Heinrich von Kleist festival in Berlin and continues to tour his works such as “Wilderness”, “What Doesn’t Work”, and “Brother Brother”. Tommy regularly teaches classes and workshops both internationally as well as locally in North Carolina (the American Dance Festival Studios, Carolina Friends School, University of North Carolina graduate program in Theater Studies, Elon University).

Jasmine Powell

Jasmine Powell is a creative expressionist from Hillsborough, NC, who grew up in the Durham dance community. Following her BA from Oberlin College, and MFA from Hollins University in collaboration with Frankfurt University for Music and Performing Arts, she further investigates the interrelationship of embodied opposites in dance. Through her teaching, Jasmine joyfully brings cultural history, technique, and the creative process to the dance curriculum as a Performing Arts Professor at Elon University. Outside of academia, her passions have led her to dance with Philadanco, become Horton technique certified by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and work with notable choreographers: Dianne McIntyre, Milton Myers, Ronald K. Brown, Okwui Okpokwasili, Justin Tornow, Kristin Taylor Duncan and Culture Mill. Performing locally, Jasmine stays connected to her NC home by sharing the stage with COMPANY and KT Dance Collective. With her artistry, she supports various arts organizations such as NC Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, Wake Forest Dance Festival, Carolina Performing Arts, Culture Mill, Living Arts Collective, and Hillsborough Independent Dance Artists.

Tiffany Santeiro

Tiffany Santeiro began her professional dance career with the Genesis Dance Company and worked for the Genesis Foundation for the Arts teaching outreach programs throughout Brooklyn, The Bronx, Manhattan and Connecticut. She then went on to perform at the Metropolitan Opera with such artists as Sean Curran, Doug Varone and Julie Taymor. After receiving her MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University, she collaborated with artists from the US, Israel, Austria, Iceland, France and South Africa to create works for stage and film. Tiffany’s works have been screened nationally and internationally. Tiffany won best experimental film at the 2012 Portland Film festival for a film she created in Skagastrond, Iceland and Honorable Mention at the Movies by Movers Festival for (Be)longing, a film commissioned by JDT in 2012. In May of 2014 a dance – film collaboration, with Yaacov Bergman and Peter de Grasse, was premiered with the Portland Chamber Orchestra. Tiffany served as the Creative Director, choreographer and performer with Jacksonville Dance Theatre, Director of the Jacksonville Dance Film Festival and was an adjunct faculty member at Jacksonville University. She relocated in 2020 to Brevard, NC where she is currently teaching creative movement, music and dance technique.


Twin brothers Sanwone and Santae Benjamin started dancing in local talent shows in middle school and persisted through the years. They were recently featured on “America’s Got Talent,” as well as Charlotte’s 2015, 2016, and 2017 Breakin’ Conventions. Their TwinNation Dance Company incorporates all styles of dance and helps book talent. They have plans to go on tour with notable artists including Beyonce, Demi Lovato, Chris Brown and more. A documentary about the twins titled “From The Steets To The Stage,” premiered April 20 in 2019 at Spirit Square where they shared their story and victories on their quest to change the world through dance. In 2021 the twins performed with The Weeknd at Superbowl 55. They currently offer Hip Hop dance classes in Charlotte, NC every Friday for kids and adults, beginner through advanced.

Nicole Vaughan-Diaz

Nicole Vaughan-Diaz is a choreographer and performer, newly based in Asheville, NC, and is a current member of Kate Weare Company (2013-); performing originating roles as part of the companies Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) and Joyce Theater seasons, among many others. Additionally, she has performed works by Sasha Waltz, Kate Hilliard, Luke Murphy, and ODC Theater of San Francisco. In 2013, Vaughan-Diaz graduated cum laude from the University of South Florida, receiving a BFA in dance performance, where she was awarded the BRAVO and Hope Rietschlin scholarship awards for exceptional artistry and performance. Vaughan-Diaz is now devoting time to explore her emergence as a choreographer and filmmaker under the title NVD Project. Her work has premiered at venues, including: Judson Memorial Church (NY), The Public Theater (NY), Arts on Site (NY), and Kauffman Concert Hall at 92NY (NY). In 2019, Vaughan-Diaz was awarded the Challenge Winner Award of the 24th Annual DanceNOW Festival at The Public Theater in New York City, and the development of her work has been supported by Connecticut-based residency The Dragon’s Egg and DanceNOW of NYC.

Tamara Williams

Tamara Williams is a native of Augusta, GA. She earned her BFA in Dance from Florida State University and is a certified GYROTONIC(R) Trainer, Reiki Practitioner and Capoeirista. She received her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in collaboration with The American Dance Festival, The Forsythe Company, and Frankfurt University in Frankfurt, Germany. Tamara’s choreography has been performed nationally and internationally in Belgrade, Serbia; Basel, Switzerland; Trinidad & Tobago; Salvador, Brazil; Kingston, Jamaica; and Puebla, Mexico. Tamara has trained intensely in Bahia, Brazil in Silvestre Technique, samba roots and African-Brazilian dance. Tamara has taught master classes in New York City, San Diego, San Antonio, Atlanta, Tallahassee, Charlotte, Altoona, Trinidad, Mexico and Jamaica. She offers free master classes to the general public through Moving Spirits, Inc. She has worked as a Program Director for the Arts and Literacy Program in Brooklyn and is dedicated to continuous work in underprivileged communities. Tamara is an Assistant Professor of Dance at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

About NC Dance Festival

The NC Dance Festival, a production of the Dance Project, is an annual touring showcase of modern and contemporary choreography by NC artists. Dance Project, Inc., founded by Jan Van Dyke and now directed by Anne Morris and Lauren Joyner, is a non-profit organization that has been operating in North Carolina since 1989, coordinating the NC Dance Festival, running a community studio, the School at City Arts, and managing the Van Dyke Dance Group.  The Festival establishes a network of venues for professional regional choreography and performance, expanding accessibility of dance throughout the state while raising the profile of North Carolina’s own artists. Our vision is to create a stronger community through dance. The North Carolina Dance Festival has been supported by state and local arts councils as well as local and national foundations and individual donations. For more information, please visit our website (

For More Information

Anne Morris, Executive Director
Dance Project, Inc.
(336) 370-6776


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