Education Faculty

Our faculty are professional generative artists as well as trained arts educators, and we celebrate the ways in which their artistic and teaching practices are each shaped by the other. BAX faculty are dedicated to educating the whole child, to creating community and building equity through artistic processes, and to learning continually from the exchange they have with young people. BAX selects faculty for their deep understanding in the development of children and how that translates into the training of a young artist in today’s world. BAX faculty are provided with ongoing professional development to hone their skills, share their experiences, and ensure continuity of the BAX educational experience.

Amanda Koppe

Amanda Koppe

BAX Teaching Artist

Amanda is an actor, writer, teaching artist, production manager and activist from Los Angeles. Amanda believes that creativity is a birthright and everyone should have access to the opportunity to create, be heard, and tell their own story. Amanda first studied acting in her youth at South Coast Repertory and later earned her BFA in Acting at AMDA College & Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Los Angeles. Inspired by the intrinsic healing qualities of the arts, she has been certified as a facilitator for Social Emotional Arts by UCLArts & Healing. She is currently earning her master’s in Arts Management & Entrepreneurship with a minor in Creative Community Development at The New School in New York. As an actor, she seeks out challenging characters that examine the entire emotional spectrum of humanities’ core. As a writer, she is inspired by the dichotomy of the joys and pitfalls of life that often happen simultaneously. As a teaching artist, Amanda has worked with underserved youth creating and presenting original topical theatre in Los Angeles through P.S. Art’s award winning Inside Out Community Arts program. Passionate about decolonizing the classroom, Amanda is committed to combining restorative justice practices with the theatre arts and is dedicated to creating a space that fosters artistic self-expression and discovery.

Amy Mitchell (she/her)

Amy Mitchell (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Amy Mitchell is a captivating dancer originating from Stamford, CT, who now proudly calls Brooklyn her home. After graduating from Cornell University and relocating to the city to pursue a career in finance, Amy’s life took a transformative turn when she enrolled in her first hip-hop class, igniting a profound passion that would alter her future.

Driven by her interest in the art, Amy sought training at reputable dance institutions like Alvin Ailey, Steps on Broadway, Peridance Capezio Center, Broadway Dance Center, and more. This extensive training has allowed her to continually refine her skills and explore a variety of dance styles. Her talent and dedication have earned her opportunities to perform in notable live performances and productions, including Broadway Bares: XXX, Good Morning America, BET’s Soul Train Weekend, Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, among others. Amy’s experience extends beyond the stage as she has also made her mark on camera, lending her talents to various music and concept videos, collaborating with artists to bring their visions to life.

Amy is also a well-regarded dance instructor, sharing her expertise at prominent institutions such as Steps on Broadway and Alvin Ailey, teaching adult beginner hip-hop and street styles. Amy also imparts her knowledge and passion to aspiring young dancers as a current faculty member at Brooklyn Arts Exchange and formerly holding teaching positions at Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, Ifetayo Cultural Arts, and other youth programs, inspiring young dancers with her expertise.

Through dance, Amy strives to create a safe and empowering space for self-expression, encouraging growth and personal development in those she dances with.

Ana Evans (she/her)

Ana Evans (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Ana Evans is a theatre maker, actor, and teaching artist originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated from University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) with a BFA in Acting and has since pursued the places where her love of performing, teaching, and making new work for young audiences, all co-exist together. Ana’s directing credits include an adaptation of The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and an original adaptation of Peter Pan titled The Very Lost Boys Present, both of which toured to several elementary schools around North Carolina. She was most recently a Kenan Fellow at Lincoln Center Education where she continued to develop her voice as a teacher and theatre maker. Ana believes in the importance of bringing young audiences stories that respect and empower their minds, bodies, and spirits (and she loves a good pint of pistachio ice cream).

Anna Vomaçka

Anna Vomaçka

BAX Teaching Artist, DPW I/II Director

Anna Vomacka is a dance/movement/yoga explorer/maker/performer/teacher. Anna is driven by her curiosities and cravings for community, connection, and spaces of shared learning / (un)learning. Anna’s work explores: collective realities, shared intimacy, idiosyncratic differences, physical manifestations of self & socially imposed labels, identity, emergence of community, and recycling of movements, dancers, ideas, waste. As a performer Anna has worked with Brennan Gerard & Ryan Kelly, Mei Yamanaka, Nami Yamamoto, Treeline Dance Works, & Sondra Loring among others. As a host of the Brooklyn Contact Improvisation (CI) jam, Anna, in collaboration with the other hosts, is committed to a practice of anti-racism & queering of the CI spaces by explicitly naming and disrupting normative harmful structures. Anna teaches dance & movement forms to kiddos ages 3-15 through the YMCA, Together in Dance, & Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX). She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from The Ohio State University (OSU), and completed her 200-hour Certified Yoga Teacher Training with Sondra Loring of Sadhana Yoga, Hudson, NY. Please visit annavomacka.com for more info!

Ashley Renee Thaxton-Stevenson

Ashley Renee Thaxton-Stevenson

BAX Teaching Artist, YouthWorks Co-Director

Ashley is a theatre maker, educator, and facilitator originally from Southern California, with Black, white, and Korean ancestors. She is passionate about the work of antiracism and accessibility in art-making and art-training spaces. As an educator and facilitator, Ashley’s work supports youth, emerging theater artists, and arts organizations to deepen their creative practices through artistic training, collaboration, and a spirit of generosity. Ashley is the co-director of YouthWorks at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, an Adjunct Faculty Member with NYU’s Program in Educational Theatre (recipient of a Spring 2021 USG Departmental Award), Curriculum Advisor and Faculty Member with Fiasco Theater, and a Core Ensemble Member of the Verbatim Performance Lab. As a director/dramaturg and performer, Ashley specializes in collaborative new play development, theater for young audiences, and contemporary applications of Shakespeare. She holds an BA from NYU Gallatin’s School of Individualized Study and an MFA in Acting from Brooklyn College.

Aviya Hernstadt

Aviya Hernstadt

BAX Teaching Artist

Aviya is a multimedia performance artist, dancer, educator, and proud New York Jew. She has taught dance with Wingspan Arts and teaches Creative Judaism with The School for Creative Judaism. Her approach to teaching is grounded in the curiosity and silliness that children exude, and she centers her student’s voices in these creative spaces. Through working with children, she has learned to hold the bountiful harmony between seriousness and play. She brings this into her performance work, where she uses movement, autobiography, comedy, and sculpture to explore ritual and tradition in a contemporary context. Aviya is excited to join the BAX Faculty and expand her relationship with the community!

Billy Schultz

Billy Schultz

BAX Teaching Artist

Billy Schultz is a producer and educator with a background in clown, dance theater, and circus arts. He is the creator and producer of comedy dance game show Dancify That and has performed in venues ranging from backyard circuses to the Guggenheim Museum. 

His training includes intensives at Dell Arte International School of Physical Theater, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Michael Howard Studios, International School of the Comedic Actor (with Antonio Fava), Movement Theater Studios, Movement Research, Magnet Theater, People’s Improv Theater, and more. He’s taken masterclasses in clown, physical theater and dance with Aitor Basuri, Avner the Eccentric, Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Jeff Wirth, Michelle Matlock, Miguel Gutierrez, Norman Taylor, Orlando Pabotoy, Scott Heron, Virginia Scott, and more. He spent over a decade working for entertainment companies in New York and New Orleans specializing in audience animation and public engagement. He currently works at BAX, The New Victory Theater and as an executive functioning coach for Maia Education. 

https://www.billyschultz.com/

https://www.dancifythat.com/

Crystal-Marie Alberson (she/her)

Crystal-Marie Alberson (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Crystal-Marie (she/hers) is a theatre artist working primarily in ensemble theatre. Crystal-Marie creates in many areas: Improvisation, Devising, Acting, and Directing. She also works as a teaching artist with Irondale Ensemble Project, Curated Care, and now Brooklyn Arts Exchange! She is thrilled to inspire creativity and imagination within the community!

Dani Criss (she/her)

Dani Criss (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Affectionately known as Dani Criss The Artist; a dancer, actress, activist, creator, and writer, Dani Criss seeks to explore the individuality in humanity, the concept of self liberation, and the use of ourselves and our work as catalyst for social change. She is heavily influenced by the African diaspora, her heritage, and the history we stand on as she implements thorough research elements and processes through her artistry. Trained extensively in the dances of the African Diaspora, predominantly in West African and Congolese techniques, various stylings of modern, jazz, musical theatre, hip hop, and liturgical dances. Dani is a graduate of High Point University with a B.A. in Theatre Performance and Dance. As an actress, she studies authentic storytelling and uses techniques such as Meisner to connect to true places of empathy. From comedic relief, to the undeniable underdog, and the powerhouse, Dani grasps the essence of character work as if it’s her story; having worked in her collegiate theatre company, performing in outdoor theatre projects, collaborative theatre, and writing works of her own. She has trained with Collage Dance Company (Durham, NC), the American Dance Festival and their faculty (Durham, NC), Otesha Cultural Arts Ensemble (Winston Salem, NC), Urban Bush Women and the Summer Leadership Institute(New Orleans, LA & Brooklyn, NY), UBW’s The Generative Dancer, The Honorable Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble (Durham, NC), Bloodline Dance Theatre (Brooklyn, NY), Ase Dance Theatre (Brooklyn, NY) as well as numerous other professional artist around the country. Her work has been seen at High Point University (High Point, NC), the American College Dance Association (Tennessee and Mississippi), Mark Morris Dance Center (Brooklyn, NY), Headlong Theatre (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), The Durham Arts Council (Durham, NC), The Black Spectrum Theatre (Queens, NY), 2018 Upstart Space Grant Recipient at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (Brooklyn, NY), NYC Public & Charter Schools, and other various festivals, schools, and venues in NC and NYC. Dani strives to create and display authentic work that will ultimately touch, inspire, and change lives. She is a native of Durham, NC and currently works, trains, teaches and performs as a teaching and freelance artist in Brooklyn, NY.

Diana Crum (she/her)

Diana Crum (she/her)

2023/24 Performance Workshop Level I Director

Diana Crum currently serves as the Dance Teacher at German School Brooklyn and a Teaching Artist with organizations such as ArtsConnection and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She has served as Adjunct Faculty/Visiting Artist at Washington & Lee University, University of the Arts, and Hollins University. From 2010-21, she worked at Movement Research, where she found her tribe of dancers and developed Dance Makers in the Schools, a collaboration with 11 NYC public and charter school communities. Her choreography has been presented in New York, Atlanta, Mexico, Germany, France and Austria. She studied dance at Columbia University (B.A.) and Hollins University (M.F.A.) and is a current doctoral student at Teachers College.

Diane Tomasi (she/her)

Diane Tomasi (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist, AcroBAX Director

Diane is a queer cis white woman who performs on the ground and in the air, as a dancer and aerialist. She began as a gymnast at the young age of 2, later began to dance, and then was introduced to aerial through an inclusive, abled/disabled body workshop with Blue-Eyed Soul Dance Company in the UK. Diane has performed at Galapagos, Slipper Room, Jacob’s Pillow, The Wild Project, Dance New Amsterdam, The Muse Brooklyn among other places and with Phaedra’s Cabaret, Ko-Ryo Dance Theater as well as in her own work. Diane currently facilitates tumbling/acrobatics, aerial, and dance classes and is the director of AcroBAX 1 at BAX|Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Diane is interested in the ways in which these movement styles weave in and around each other and is constantly finding ways to fuse them together. Diane has been teaching since 2001 and is particularly interested in exploring the presence of fear and vulnerability in learning as well as the deep need for trust and community while moving through that fear. She is interested in the immense confidence and joy that can be attained through vulnerability and learning as well as the ability to move the body in new and exciting ways. Diane teaches all ages throughout NYC solely teaching ‘Open Level’ classes as she is interested in breaking-down the hierarchy of ‘talent’ vs learning ability and community. Diane’s classes are upbeat and welcoming of all ability, body-type, race, gender, and sexual-orientation.

www.dianetomasi.com www.thisbodylives.com

Donna Costello (she/her)

Donna Costello (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist, Performance Workshop Advisor

Donna Costello is a dance artist working in the field of dance, theater and performance. She is drawn to investigative processes that asks questions, allows space for new discoveries and provides opportunities to share work within and for a community. Her practice and passion for the art form continues to deepen with the exchange she has cultivated over the past 15 years as a performer, creator and educator in dance. She has had the privilege to perform with Vicky Shick, jill sigman / thinkdance, Shannon Hummel/Cora Dance (founding member), Carrie Ahern, Jimena Paz and Mollie O’Brien. Additional projects that have shaped her as an artist include works by Stephan Koplowitz, Juliette Mapp, Naomi Goldberg Haas, Pele Bauch, Kelly Bartnik, Barbara Mahler, the human company, director Jennifer Sargent and collaborating with composer Anne Hege. In 2010, she taught and performed throughout Germany with the program Dancing to Connect for Aviva Geismar’s Drastic Action alongside Battery Dance Company. Her own work has been presented in New York by Movement Research at Judson Church, Dance Conversations at the flea theater, Green Space, Wow Café, Dixon Place, DanceNow/NYC, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, SWEAT dance series and at Performatica in Mexico. She was a space grant recipient at BAX in 2011. As a teaching artist, Donna dances with young people of all ages and ability in a multitude of settings. She has been on faculty at Poly Prep Middle School , Greenwich House Music School and Queensborough Community College. She currently creates and facilitates workshops for Lincoln Center Education and the Park Avenue Armory. She has taught at BAX since 1999 and very much considers this her artistic home.

* photo credit : Ann Billingsley

Ella Wasserman-Smith (she/her)

Ella Wasserman-Smith (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Ella is a dancer and choreographer, originally from Athens, GA. Her choreographic work has been presented at many venues around New York under the name Dancews, including Spoke the Hub, Triskelion Arts, and University Settlement, where she was a Performance Project Fellow and a Guest Artist. Her early dance and performance background includes musical theatre, tap, jazz, and ballet, but her first formal training was in competitive gymnastics. She has always loved being upside down. Her teaching practice incorporates the rigor of her gymnastics background with the experimentation, somatic knowledge, and play of her dance and theatre training. As an instructor, she hopes to connect with children’s inherent excitement for movement and give it the space to develop into a lifelong love.

Emily Batsford (she/her)

Emily Batsford (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Emily is a theater artist with a particular love for new work. Her art is inspired by physical theater, puppetry, inclusion practices, and ensemble-based collaboration. Emily’s recent endeavors include productions at The Tank, SoHo Playhouse, Cherry Lane, 59e59, and regional theaters all over the country. She is also a Teaching Artist at CO/LAB Theater Group, providing a creative and social outlet through theater to individuals with developmental disabilities. Emily produces and hosts The Power Up Podcast, where she interviews guests about their super powers! Emily holds a BFA in Acting from Syracuse University. …all this aside, Emily most strongly identifies as ‘proud dog mom.’

Enya-Kalia Jordan (she/her)

Enya-Kalia Jordan (she/her)

BAX 2023/24 Performance Workshop Technique & Choreography Guest Artist

Enya-Kalia Jordan is a choreographer, researcher, scholar, and teaching artist from Brooklyn, New York.  She received a BA in Arts & Letters Dance from Buffalo State University and MFA from Temple University in choreography and performance. She also is working on a Ph.D. in dance studies from Texas Woman’s University.  Enya-Kalia has been a teaching artist with Dancewave, Amanda Selwyn’s Notes in Motion Outreach Theatre, Abron’s Center for the Arts, Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Dance Africa program, Bates Dance Festival’s Youth Arts Program, Youth, and Cora Dance. She has also been a professor at the University of Virginia and SUNY Erie, as well as a guest lecturer at Rider University, SUNY Buffalo State, and Temple University.  Currently, she is the Manager of Dancer Development & Diversity at Madison Square Garden Entertainment, implementing diversity initiatives and dance education programming for the Radio City Rockettes. She is thrilled to join BAX as guest artist faculty of Dance Performance Workshop III. 



Fanny Pérez (she/her)

Fanny Pérez (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Fanny is a visual and movement artist, arts development assistant, a teacher and a student of the mystical path. For the past 4 years, she has been delving deeply into different mechanisms of trance and ecstasy. She is a trained community host/facilitator of Ritual Body Postures by the Cuyamungue Institute and is currently studying Yarsan Sufism and mysticism with Master Sufi dancer Farima Berenji and Pir Seyeed Salman Hosseini. 

She currently dances with Dance to the People, and has been invited to perform and be part of collaborative projects with local and international artists and organizations such as Stanley Love Performance Group, Harlem Dance Club, Nancy Azara, Katie Cercone, Colectivo Tarantula, El Otro Mono, among others. She has danced for small film projects with artists like Busra Coduruglu, and with musicians such as The Brooklyn Nomads. 

She has been teaching movement to children since 2010, and continues to do so with great joy. She not only finds it necessary and refreshing to listen to children’s perspectives, but she also is happy to be able to empower them by giving them tools to express themselves and heal. 

Through her work, she seeks to share experiences of transcendence lived through the alignment of the body, as well as demystify important aspects of life that we’ve been conditioned to undermine.

Helen Styring Tocci (she/her)

Helen Styring Tocci (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist, Performance Workshop Advisor

is passionate about creating space for people of all ages to explore their unique creativity and discover the innate strength and wisdom that lives in every body. With over 20 years of experience as a professional dancer, vocalist and movement teacher in NYC, Helen is the co-founder of Varoom Group Dance Collective and her multi-disciplinary performance works with collaborator Calia Marshall have been presented at venues throughout the city and beyond including BAX, Joyce Soho, Judson Church and DTW. Helen has received artist grants from the Field and the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and was recently awarded BAX’s Dani Nikas Excellence in Teaching Award for her work with New York City youth. Helen is a certified yoga instructor and teaches privately throughout the city. She is also trained in CircusYoga and travels nationally teaching workshops and sharing this innovative and playful new practice, most recently presenting at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. She is a dynamic facilitator and is well-loved for her joyful approach to community building and art-making. Helen is a founding member of the Mantra Music band, Kirtan Soul Revival and has lead group singing experiences all over the country. She was a teaching artist at the Brooklyn Friends School from 2001-2020, and it has been one of the great joys of her life to create and explore with the BAX community for the past 20 years.

Jessica Lee (she/her)

Jessica Lee (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Jessica is a dance artist, educator, and arts administrator who has been a part of the BAX community since interning for the Youth Education Department in Fall 2013. After many years with the littlest BAXers – ages 18 months to 6 years – in teaching Creative Movement, Move and Groove, and as a Group Leader for the School Breaks Arts Program, this year Jessica is working with elementary and middle school students in both modern dance classes at BAX and a partnership with The League School. Her teaching practice is influenced by trauma-informed education, fueled by the joy of movement, and dedicated to inclusive community building. Jessica is a Creative Partner with Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Managing Partner for Paloma McGregor | Angela’s Pulse, and an Organizer for PURPOSE Productions. Jessica is also the Co-Director of The Sable Project, an alternative off-grid summer artist residency in Vermont. (www.thesableproject.org). She holds a BA in Dance and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College.

 

Johnnie Cruise Mercer (he/him)

Johnnie Cruise Mercer (he/him)

BAX Teaching Artist, 2023/24 DPW III Director

Johnnie Cruise Mercer (he/him), a 2022 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Award Recipient, and a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipient (Choreography), is a queer-black think-maker; a choreographer, an educator, and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. A native of Richmond, VA, Johnnie holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

As an educator, Johnnie has taught and facilitated up and down the east coast. He has written curriculum and worked in partnership with  The Leadership Program, Movement Research’s Dance Maker’s Program, and The Louis Armstrong House’s  Jazz/Justice Program. He is currently the co-creator/writer/teaching artist for the developing American Document Program designed for public schools through the Martha Graham School. Mercer has also been a  teaching faculty/a guest educator at The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, PRATT Institute, NYU Tisch, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSalesUniversity, Muhlenberg College, The University of Texas at Austin, Goucher College, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Maryland, Harlem School of the Arts, and The Dance Institute of Washington.

Johnnie’s choreographic work has been seen and/or shared by 92Y Harkness Dance Center, The Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, BAAD!, Abrons Arts Center, La Mama Experimental Theater, La Mama Experimental Theater, The Clarice Performing Arts Center’s The BlackLight Summit, and at The American Dance Festival. Most recently, Johnnie has had the honor of being a 2019-2021 Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, a 2020-2021 Ping Chong and Company Creative Fellow, a 2020-2021 AIR through New Dance Alliance’s Black Artists Space to Create Residency, and a 2022 Artist in Residence at Center for Performance Research. 

Johnnie is the founding producer, and director of TheREDprojectNYC (TRPNYC), a multidisciplinary ensemble of artists dedicated to movement philosophy, and its use towards building communal spaces for black/other process, documentation, and investigation. 

Johnnie is extremely excited to be on staff at BAX, a place he has called home since his arrival to NYC. 

José Joaquín García

José Joaquín García

BAX Teaching Artist

José, director, composer, actor, singer, writer, is the Artistic Director of Rubí Theater Company. “Mi Rey”, a song he wrote and performed with members of Rubí, was featured on acclaimed recording artist Dan Zanes’ CD “Family Dance” on Festival Five records. Rubí’s production of Martín Espada’s IMAGINE THE ANGELS OF BREAD has been performed at sold-out runs at New WORLD Theater in Amherst, Massachusetts as well as the 2nd NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival. Other plays he has directed for Rubí have been performed at the Northeast Conference of Teachers of Foreign Languages in Manhattan; the Hispanic Leadership Conference in Lorain, Ohio; INTAR; Dixon Place; Hunter College and many other locations. Mr. García was a member of Pregones Theater Company for six years and has also performed with The New Group; Repertorio Español; Joseph Papp Public Theater’s Latino Playwrights Workshop, among others. He appeared in and understudied Rubén Blades on Broadway in Paul Simon’s THE CAPEMAN. Mr. García teaches acting, collective creation and empowerment through theater for young people with the arts organizations Brooklyn Arts Exchange, City Lore and Henry Street Settlement’s Youth Employment Program at various schools in New York City. He has been a resident teaching artist at Brooklyn Arts Exchange since 1993.

Kelindah Schuster (they/them)

Kelindah Schuster (they/them)

BAX Teaching Artist, YouthWorks Co-Director

Kelindah is a nonbinary educator and drag performance artist known as “Theydy Bedbug” who grew up in Singapore and Indonesia. They studied Drama and Gender studies at Vassar College and have been teaching, technical directing, and creating art at BAX since 2015. As their performance persona, they have performed and produced in venues such as Pioneer Works, Gibney Dance, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, Coney Island USA, The Stonewall Inn, UCB, Chelsea Music Hall, The Tank, BAM, VICE Headquarters, Columbia University, National Sawdust, and The Knockdown Center. They are the current reigning Mx. Brooklyn and since the pandemic have been co-producing a monthly online drag show which raises funds for a range of Black trans centered grassroots orgs and artists.Their teaching makes space for problem-solving societal dilemmas, imagining new possibilities, and expressing differences with joyful authenticity. They believe that access to spaces of genderful play in performance and creation is a step toward collective liberation. www.kelindahbee.art/radical-educator

Maira Duarte (she/her)

Maira Duarte (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Maira Duarte is a Mexican New York artist, educator, and organizer. She directs Dance to the People, a collective that creates dance works and organizes donation-based classes and workshops, environmental dance research, community forums, and performance parties to address social and environmental injustice. In 2019, DTTP focused most of its work on public and participatory practices called Trash Outings, where participants picked up trash and then performed with it. Since then, members of the collective have used trash to produce elaborate costumes, props, and use them in choreographed performances in multiple public spaces. Other DTTP work includes The Tampon Piece, a cabaret-like feminist dance piece on how to use tampons, and Papalotl Muyus, a protest dance film in solidarity with migrant families at the US-Mexico border, made in collaboration with Semillas Collective and Mayday Space. Maira is faculty at Brooklyn Arts Exchange since 2014 and has taught for over 10 years in innumerable public schools in NYC and New Jersey, through BAX, The New Victory Theater and Dance Theater of Harlem. She was also a dance professor at the University of The Americas Puebla, Mexico in 2013. She is a contributor to the online publication Dancer Citizen and holds an M.A. in Dance Education from New York University.

Makenna Finch (She/Her/They/Them)

Makenna Finch (She/Her/They/Them)

BAX Teaching Artist

Makenna Finch is a multimedia dance artist and educator with six years of training in Mettler based dance. They believe that dance is a basic human right and need. She facilitates young ones, 18 months to 6-year-olds, in full body expression and creative world building through movement. Makenna graduated from Hampshire College with a BA in dance and video creating an underwater dance installation. She creates queer screendance with her collaborator, Eleanor Crawford. Their most recent piece uses golf as a lens to critique social and ecological erosion.

They both have screened their work through freeskewl, Nobudge Film Festival, Northampton Open Media, and Hampshire College.

Max Vaupen  (he/him)

Max Vaupen (he/him)

BAX Teaching Artist

Max is an actor and musician who recently graduated from NYU Tisch with a BFA in Drama. He worked with BAX last year for the Summer Arts Program as well as this past Spring Break as a lead counselor. He also worked as an assistant Teaching Artist this past spring term, assisting classes in theatre and dance for kindergarten through 5th grade at PS39.

Rachael Feldman  (they/them)

Rachael Feldman (they/them)

BAX Teaching Artist

Rachael (they/them) is a teaching artist and facilitator local to Brooklyn, NY. They hold a BFA in Acting from Adelphi University, as well as an MA in Applied Theatre from CUNY School of Professional Studies, where they focused on facilitating social education through a theatrical lens, as well as devised theatre and playbuilding. They have a specific passion for working with topics including gender, sexuality, consent, and bodily autonomy. 

Rachael’s teaching artist experience includes working with New York City Children’s Theatre, CUNY Creative Arts Team, and Broadway Bound Kids. 

Seasonally, Rachael serves as the Assistant Director of New Country Pride Camp, which can be seen showcased on NBC news. 

Rachael co-owns and facilitates GenderWise Trainings, an organization that offers gender diversity workshops and consultations for educators, theatre spaces, employers and caregivers.

www.beGenderWise.com 

Skye Montante (she/her)

Skye Montante (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Skye Montante began studying ballet at Petaluma School of Ballet at the age of 8. In later years as she was introduced to other forms of dance; she found her true calling with Hip-Hop and Contemporary styles. She continued her dance through college and graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Dance. While in school in San Francisco, she taught youth and adult classes at ODC School of Dance, City Dance Studios and after school programs and summer camps. She studied abroad in Argentina at IUNA University furthering her studies in Ballet and Modern dance. While studying in Buenos Aires, she began to work at PeiMei Studios, teaching Contemporary Fusion dance. Currently she is teaching youth and adult classes in multiple studios/schools including Brooklyn Arts Exchange, SassClass and Steps on Broadway-as well as being a guest artist at Frank Sinatra High. Skye’s focus as a teacher and creator is to help her dancers find their own individual voice and establish a safe space to move. She continues to work as a freelance choreographer, creating personal projects and looks forward to her continued growth as a part of the New York City Dance community.

Tamika Charles-Sims (she/her)

Tamika Charles-Sims (she/her)

BAX Teaching Artist

Tamika has instructed and coached gymnastics for the over 20 years in New York City. She has taught gymnastics and sports at the 92nd St Y. She coached competitive and recreational gymnastics at NYC Elite and worked for the non-profit Wendy Hilliard Gymnastics Foundation teaching gymnastics to all ages – 18 months to adult. Along with teaching artistic gymnastics, which includes vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise, she has taught many apparatus in rhythmic gymnastics as well as trampoline and tumbling. She studied and has a strong background in various types of dance-ballet, modern, jazz, tap and African. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics Education and minored in music. Over the years, Tamika has developed a teaching philosophy that anyone can learn gymnastics as long as they believe they can and are willing to work hard. She is very happy to be a part of BAX!