Author: jessilliams

Grant writer by day and dancepreneur by night.


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In this episode, our new co-host Michael joined the mic with Clara to interview choreographer, Tiffany Mills ahead of the world premiere of her new work,
Not then, not yet. Tiffany shared how she drew inspiration for this evening-length work from Mary Shelley’s life and writings.  The motif of liminality became a powerful, generative force behind the work to explore movement, emotion, and character in between contrasting states of being. Having come from a diverse background of tap, gymnastics, and modern dance, Tiffany revealed how she eventually became interested in choreographing dance from a theatrical and dramaturgical perspective. 

Tiffany Mills Company returns to The Flea Theater this November 13–16 with the world premiere of Not then, not yet, an evening-length work that explores states of transition and transformation. Not then, not yet was created in collaboration with Puerto Rican composer Angélica Negrón and French vocalist/composer Muriel Louveau. It examines states of transition, drawing inspiration from the liminal space between endings and new beginnings. Weaving movement, an electronic score, and live vocals, the artists map internal landscapes, as well as external ones as they consider the often surreal space one dwells in between past/future, young/old, and even life/death. Chairs are used as objects of comfort, support, options, and obstacles. In addition to Mills, Negron and Louveau, Not then, not yet features dramaturgy by Mills’s longtime collaborator Kay Cummings, lighting design by Chris Hudacs, and costumes by Pei-Chi Su.

Tiffany Mills is choreographer and artistic director of the New York City-based Tiffany Mills Company, which she founded in 2000. Recent New York City seasons include The Flea Theater (Resident Artist, 2018), La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival (2016), and BAM/Kennedy Center’s Professional Development Program, which culminated in a NYC season at BAM Fisher (2013). Mills holds an annual Summer Intensive in New York City (2006–present), has taught at Trisha Brown Studios, Dance New Amsterdam, Gibney Dance Center, Peridance, The Playground, ACDA, as well as at universities and festivals nationally and internationally. Some recent awards and residencies include NYU’s Tisch Summer Dance Festival, CUNY Dance Initiative, The Joyce Theater’s Mellon Anchor Tenant Program, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and LMCC Swing Space.

Please join us, listeners, in welcoming Michael Mahany as a co-host on Pod de Deux! More soon!

The Stakes are High: Jenn Freeman



Jessica and Clara talked to Jenn Freeman, a choreographer, artistic director of Freemove Dance, and prolific teacher of contemporary dance. Jenn shared how she developed her theatrical and highly physical style of dance while traversing multiple dance worlds from modern dance in academia to contemporary style in the dance convention circuit. She talked about how it all started with a chance encounter with Mia Michaels and led to more exciting opportunities and connections. She also shared her insider view on how the convention dance world has changed over time and how it has been positively impacting enrollment in academic dance programs.

Jenn Freeman’s company Freemove Dance presents the comeback run of …it’s time… – a piece performed last year as part of 14th Street Y’s inaugural curated season. The evening-length production, co -presented by the Theater at the 14th Street Y, played to sold-out houses in 2018. Its main theme is the intricacies of human relationship to time; it is choreographed by Jenn Freeman, with an original score by renowned percussionist Dani Markham (Tune-Yards, Childish Gambino). The work will be presented September 19-22, 2019 at the venue’s theater, located at 344 East 14th Street (near First Avenue), New York, NY 10003. The tickets ($20 online; $25 at the door) can be purchased online at

Jenn Freeman (Choreographer) is the founder and the Artistic Director of Freemove Dance. Her appearances in the modern dance pieces by top contemporary choreographers include leads in the works by Sonya Tayeh and Kyle Abraham | She has worked as assistant and associate choreographer on major commercial productions for TV (including Fox’s The X-Factor US with Florence and The Machine and So You Think You Can Dance), theater (Iphigenia in Aulis at the Second Stage Company, dir. Rachel Chavkin and The Wild Party at the City Center, dir. Leigh Silverman), and concert tours (Madonna and Cirque du Soleil.) As a performer, she was featured in The MTV Video Music Awards, The Jimmy Fallon Show, Comedy Central’s The Comedy Awards, and in The Rolling Stones’ 50th Anniversary Tour. Freeman is an internationally recognized educator who has been teaching across the U.S. at Revive Dance Convention, The national Dance Honors, Contemporary Now, and Axis Connect. She has made work at New York’s Marymount Manhattan College; Wayne State University, MI; BYU, UT; UT Austin, TX. She also frequently appears as a guest/master teacher at Steps on Broadway in NYC. Visit to learn more.




In this episode of Pod de Deux podcast, Clara and Jessica sat down with dancer, curator and Bollywood choreographer, Pooja Uberoi. Pooja shared how Bollywood has changed over recent years to incorporate a range of styles including Indian classical dance, jazz, and hip-hop. She is organizing this year’s New York City Dance Week, a 10-day dance festival that partners with studios across NYC to give back to the community. Pooja also curates Funkar (Urdu for “artist within you”), a performance night of diverse contemporary and traditional dance that takes place every month at Dixon place. Pooja talked about her passion for helping artists find a platform, which led her to start Artists East West in 2018 to represent Indian artists abroad. Jessica and Clara also asked her about the dance form she developed, BollyJazz, which combines Bollywood and Jazz. You can find Pooja and Bollyjazz at multiple studios throughout NYC. Finally, Pooja talked about IkiGAI – USA, a multifaceted company that works with artists to help them monetize and make money from various crafts.

Pooja Uberoi is the Producer for NYC Dance Week and founder of Funkar, an initiative that is part of NYC Dance Week. She has more than 13 Years of experience as a dancer and teacher in Jazz schools, the Bollywood industry in Mumbai, India and New York City. She was a Board member and Head of The Dance Works, one of the biggest dance schools of Western dance in India before moving to NYC. Pooja has performed her choreographies and taught at the prestigious CBS this morning, Dance USA Dance and in schools in India, New York City, California, Canada, Puerto Rico, Israel and Mexico. Pooja also owns a dance company in New York named IkIGAI – USA. She is also a consultant for a music school and runs an international artist management company called Artists East West.

CUNY Dance Initiative: Alyssa Alpine & Gabrielle Lamb



In honor of CDI’s upcoming 5th anniversary performances, Jessica and Clara interviewed the Director of CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI), Alyssa Alpine, and Choreographer, Gabrielle Lamb of Pigeonwing Dance.

Alyssa talked about how CDI started as a pilot initiative and grew to become a successful private/public partnership model of support for artists in NYC. She shared how she works with various CUNY campuses to provide rehearsal and performance spaces for artists, and creative ways in which artists have connected with students.

Gabrielle talked about how CDI helped her produce her first full-length evening performance, launching her trajectory to present more evening-length work. She also shared her artistic process for her world premiere for CDI’s 5th Year Fest, in March.

Alyssa and Gabrielle talked about some of the many challenges artists face today, like supporting emerging and mid-career artists, getting audiences to come to shows, finding entry-points for artistic work, and the competitive dance landscape.

CUNY Dance Initiative will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a series of performances by past CDI artist recipients, called 5th Year Fest, from March 20–23, 2019, at Baruch Performing Arts Center, in Manhattan. Tickets range from $11 to $36, and can be purchased online at

5th Year Fest performing artists include Heidi Latsky Dance; Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernandez; Andrew Nemr; Miki Orihara; Loni Landon; Urban Bush Women; Kinesis Project dance theatre, Gabrielle Lamb; Parijat Desai; MBDance; and Ephrat Asherie Dance.

More about the CUNY Dance Initiative (CDI):

CDI is an unprecedented model for collaboration between the City University of New York (CUNY) and the New York City dance field. A residency program that opens the doors of CUNY campuses to professional choreographers and dance companies, CDI supports local artists, enhances the cultural life and education of college students, and builds new dance audiences at CUNY performing arts centers.

Since its official launch in 2014, CDI has subsidized more than 100 residencies for emerging and established NYC choreographers on 13 CUNY campuses in all five boroughs. Created directly in response to the shortage of affordable rehearsal and theater space, CDI has granted over 5,800 hours of studio and stage time to artists, and attracted 11,500 New Yorkers to performances, open rehearsals, and workshops. CDI’s unique model, which pairs the resources of the City’s vast urban university system with private funding, now awards 22 to 25 artists a year with residency space and fees.

More about our guests:

Alyssa Alpine, Director of CDI

Alyssa Alpine is an arts producer, curator, and administrator with twenty years of experience in New York’s non-profit arts world. Since graduating from Columbia University, she’s held positions at organizations large and small, like Lincoln Center, New York Live Arts, and Mexico Now. She recently started New Jersey City University’s Center for the Arts, a new umbrella for the University’s arts programming. Now directing the CUNY Dance Initiative, she brings a deep personal commitment to the performing arts community as well as in-depth understanding of how it functions.

Gabrielle Lamb, Dancer/Choreographer, Pigeonwing Dance

Gabrielle Lamb was born in Savannah, Georgia, and trained at the Boston Ballet School. In the year 2000, she joined Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, and in 2003 she was promoted to soloist. At the invitation of choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, she moved to New York City in 2009 to join his company Morphoses. Ms. Lamb began choreographing in 2005 and has won many choreography awards since then, including a Princess Grace Award for Choreography in 2014. She was a CDI resident in both 2015 and 2016. Her movement style and theatricality have been profoundly influenced by the choreographers whose work she danced during her performing career, including George Balanchine, Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, and Shen Wei. In addition, Ms. Lamb is a self-taught video artist and animator. Her choreography and dance films have been presented by many venues and festivals around the world.



Jessica interviewed choreographer Tere O’Connor leading up to his NYC premiere of Long Run at NYU Skirball (10/12 & 10/13).  They talked about how Tere’s fascination with structure led to the multi-layered aesthetic he has become known for. Tere revealed some of the processes he uses to convolute movement phrases, focusing on rhythm, the mixing of dance techniques, density, and invalid structures. (Learn more about all of these in the interview!) Tere related his choreographic processes to the nature of the mind itself, which remains in and out of a constant episodic flow of consciousness. (more…)



Jessica and Clara interviewed Tiler Peck leading up to the premier of her new documentary, BalletNow, which will be available for streaming on Hulu on Friday, July 20th.  The film, directed by Steven Cantor (who directed Sergei Polunin’s DANCER) and produced by Elisabeth Moss, shows Tiler assume many roles as curator, artistic director, rehearsal director and dancer in preparation for a performance at the Music Center in Los Angeles last July. In the interview, Tiler revealed what it was like rising to the greatest challenge of her life in preparing for a production that included 15 ballets in three programs, all while dancing in eight pieces. Tiler spoke about her curatorial rationale for the performance, which featured choreographers Justin Peck, Christopher Wheeldon, Michelle Dorrance, Bill Irwin, and more. Beyond BalletNow, we talked about Tiler’s enthusiasm for stepping into a new role as choreographer this summer at Vail Dance Festival, how leadership at City Ballet is developing after the departure of Peter Martins, and how she has become known as “the ballerina who stops time.” (more…)



In this episode, Jessica and Clara interviewed dancer Paul Hamilton about his experience collaborating with a diverse range of choreographers including Alonzo King, Elizabeth Streb, Reggie Wilson, Ralph Lemon and Keely Garfield.  He shared a bit about each choreographer’s style and process and talked about his own journey of discovering and re-discovering dance as his passion and joy.  He also let us in on some of the fascinating dramaturgical processes behind Reggie Wilson / Fist and Heel Performance Group’s production of Moses(es), and Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room (from which the above image derived).

Soul Train was one of the influences behind Paul’s Bessie-nominated performance of Scaffold Room.  Enjoy this video homage to Soul Train! (more…)