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Mission

Gaspard&Dancers is an inclusive and diverse dance company founded upon a shared passion for versatile movement that is physically inventive, emotionally dynamic, and inspiring to people of all ages and backgrounds. Through the creation of repertoire, performances, lecture demonstrations, workshops, short and long-term residencies within the North Carolina community and around the globe, our main purpose is to expand the perspectives and creative potential of all who see and share in our world.

History

Gaspard&Dancers was founded in 2009 by former Pilobolus dancer Gaspard Louis. The company produces an annual performance season at Duke University in Durham, NC and has recently been presented at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts in New York City, Cape Fear Stage in Wilmington, NC, Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, Bermuda, and across North Carolina as part of the NC Dance Festival.

Artistic Director

Gaspard Louis is the Founder and Artistic Director of Gaspard&Dancers (G&D). He received a BFA in Dance from Montclair State University and continued his dance studies on scholarship at Gus Giordano’s in Chicago and Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab in New York. Following his studies, he joined the New York based company called AllNations where he performed traditional dances from many parts of the world for US troupes across the globe. Subsequently, he performed and traveled worldwide with Pilobolus Dance Theater. He collaborated on the choreography of nine major dance works with the company and taught master dance classes both nationally and internationally. Gaspard received an MFA in Dance from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival Program and became the Director of ADF’s year-round creative movement outreach program which provides free dance classes to youth in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill community of North Carolina. His passion for dance has continued to lead him to work with local dancers and musicians. Additionally, Gaspard has been a guest teacher at Duke, Elon, and North Carolina Central Universities.

Dancers & Staff

Kevin Boateng began his dance training in Dallas, Texas. He attended the University of North Texas at Denton’s Dance and Theatre program. Since 2014, he has been affiliated with Movers Unlimited Dance Company under the direction of Dr. Kihyoung Choi. During his undergrad, Kevin taught hip hop and contemporary at Denton Dance Conservatory. In 2016, Kevin attended the American Dance Festival on a full scholarship where he met Beth Gill. In 2017, he began his first tour with Beth Gill and performed in venues such as The Walker, ICA Boston, The Yard, and Abrons Art Center among others. In 2018, Kevin made his first appearance at The Joyce Theater with Beth Gill and The BAM Harvey Theater with Phantom Limb. In April 2019, Kevin performed in Falling Out with Phantom Limb at the Kennedy Center. Kevin joined G&D and celebrated the company’s 10th anniversary in fall 2019. He looks forward to another season with the company this fall.

Laura Espitia was born in Colombia and raised in Florida, Laura Espitia is a New York based dance artist. While earning her Bachelors in Fine Arts from New World School of the Arts in 2019 she performed works by Robert Battle, Paul Taylor, Ohad Naharin, and Eduardo Vilaro to name a few. Upon graduating she has had the pleasure of working professionally with Rosie Herrera, Allison Cook Beatty, Laura Halzack, and has recently joined Gaspard and Dancers (directed by Gaspard Louis) for their 2022 season. Laura’s training has lead her to participate in American Dance Festival, Bates Festival, and the Paul Taylor intensives. Most recently she has received a scholarship from The Paul Taylor School for their year round program. Laura’s goal is to perform professionally for as long as she can and later intends on developing her artistic voice as a choreographer. 

Nelson Mejia is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Richmond, VA, in their final year at VCU in the Department of Dance and Choreography. Beginning at the age of 13, Nelson has surveyed and encompassed a variety of dance styles. He has performed works by The Urban Bush Women, Sinclair Emoghene, Eric Rivera, and more. He has worked closely with associate professor Emoghene in creative process, joining in for their Artist-in-Residency at The Kennedy Center in 2019. That same year, his first video work, “Headspace”, was showcased at VCU’s Spring Student Concert. In 2020, he served as videographer, director, and editor for the Freshman Repertory class’s “Fresh Rep” concert, a virtual screening of works by Trebien Pollard and Starrene Foster. A sound designer as well, his work has been commissioned for a number of projects at VCU. More recently, Nelson presented his solo, “rinse”, at VCU Dance NOW 2022. He has taken intensives with Arts Umbrella, Gagalab, Company E among others, and is looking forward to attending Springboard Danse Montreal this June. Nelson is excited to start his first season with G&D.

Taylor Jordan is a movement artist, teacher, and choreographer based in New York City. She is a native from Montgomery, Alabama where she studied ballet, modern and jazz at the Alabama Dance Theatre. Throughout her high school years she trained at companies including Nederlands Dans Theater, Boston Ballet, Houston Ballet, Charlotte Ballet, Portland Festival Ballet and Alabama Ballet.
After graduating high school, Taylor joined Charlotte Ballet II under the direction of Patricia McBride and Mark Diamond. In 2016 Taylor joined the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program. During that time, she performed original works by Shannon Gillen, Gioconda Barbuto, Alex Ketley, Maurya Kerr, Erik Wagner, Carmen Rozestraten, Angelo Dello Iacono, and Gregory Dawson. After graduating from the LINES Training Program in May of 2018, she joined dawsondancesf under the direction of Gregory Dawson. She has also performed with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Reyes Dance and xseed2020.This is Taylor’s second season with Gaspard & Dancers.

Garrett Parker is a Brooklyn based choreographer, videographer and advocated for people with disabilities. Garrett is a graduate of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His choreography has been shared at NYC venues including Judson Church, Baruch Performing Arts Center, LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, Sheen Center, Actors Arts Fund Theater, the International Human Rights Arts Festival, Dixon Place, Last Frontier, Create Art and Arts on Site. Garrett is excited to join Gaspard and Dancers for his fifth season with the company. Garrett is committed to sharing the healing qualities of dance with the world. 

Marsha Guirlande Pierre (Bronx, New York) is a Haitian-American freelance artist who began her dance training at Knecht Dance Academy (Levittown, Pennsylvania) under the direction of Elise Knecht. From Montclair State University, she graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in Dance Performance in May 2019. Throughout college, Ms. Pierre has performed works by Camille A. Brown, Bill T. Jones, Daniel Shapiro and Joanie Smith, and Alwin Nikolais. Outside of Montclair State repertory she has performed professional works with Earl Mosley’s Diversity of Dance, The Nathaniel Hunt Project, VOID: a female memory, Padierna Dance Project and The Lab by SGalberth. Since graduating, Ms. Pierre has worked with Gaspard & Dancers as well as Maxine Steinmein & Dancers. She joined Limón Dance Company as an apprentice during their 2019-2020 season. Ms. Pierre also interned for Sidra Bell Dance New York, and is a member of ARTS by the People, a non-profit organization where she coordinated educational art programs for groups ranging from after school programs to senior living activities. Early 2021, she debuted as a lead dancer for the music video “If you care” by the artist Q. Ms. Pierre is pleased and excited to join G&D this season. 

AJ Guevara (He/Him) is a performer, teaching artist, and choreographer hailing from California’s Central Coast. He earned his BFA in Dance & Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, with additional training from the Accademia dell’ Arte (Italy) and American Dance Festival as a scholarship recipient. He has had the privilege of performing the works of Jennifer Archibald, Bill T. Jones, Robert J Priore, Jodi Melnick, Rachel Erdos, Jamal Abrams, Joshua L. Peugh, Arthur Pita, and Thomas Noone, among others. His work with Company|E, in partnership with the US State Department, has allowed him to serve as an Artistic Diplomat for Cultural Exchange in Israel, Cuba, Dubai, the United Kingdom, Palestine, as well as multiple engagements at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. AJ’s advocacy work with GIBNEY, ETD Outreach, AXIS Dance Company, and Local Motion Project, strives to create equitable spaces, healing through movement and bringing awareness to disability within the arts. This work has allowed him to share with communities in The Netherlands, Switzerland, Mexico and domestic engagements across the US. AJ is grateful to be returning for another season with Gaspard & Dancers!

Shamila Issa is from Dallas, Texas. She began her dance training under the guidance of Dr. Kihyoung Choi and has been a leading member of Movers Unlimited Touring Dance Company since 2014. During her time in the company, she has had the opportunity to choreograph and present her work at various artistic junctions. In 2019, her dance choreography was chosen to be featured in the American College Dance Association’s gala performance. Later that year, she was selected to attend the Hubbard Street Dance summer intensive. In addition, her participation at the Palm Desert Choreography Festival received high praises. She is ecstatic to start her first season with G&D.

Elizabeth Pugh (G&D Administrator) is from Jacksonville, Florida. She danced at North Carolina Dance Theatre, under the direction of Salvatore Aiello, where she performed in the Nutcracker and toured with the company, which included performances at Spoleto Festival USA. While in high school, at The Bolles School, Elizabeth was honored to sing Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Mass in C Major, K. 317 (“Coronation Mass”) in Carnegie Hall. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she studied English and has had a successful career in Property Management and Real Estate Development. Elizabeth is excited to be working with G&D.

Board of Directors

CHAIR
     Steven Silverleaf
VICE CHAIR
     Katherine Aarnott-Maheu
TREASURER
     
Natalie Dunn
SECRETARY
     Wendy Vankleeck
MEMBERS
     Robin Gallant
     Art Waber
     Linda Wishart
     Tanika Martin
     Anne-Lyne McCalla
FOUNDER & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
     Gaspard Louis

Advisory Board

Jodee Nimerichter
Jim Finch
David Liu