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Meet Our Urbanity NeXt Choreographers

Urbanity NeXt returns for its seventh year to showcase rising voices in choreography from Boston and beyond! This year, seven choreographers have been chosen to develop their work under the mentorship of established Boston choreographers. Throughout a 5 month residency, artists work with Urbanity's professional company and creative class dancers to push the bounds of contemporary dance and widen the voices in the Boston dance scene.

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. on March 8th and 9th, and 2:30 p.m. on March 10th, at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge.


Hollis Bartlett & Nattie Trogdon

Hollis Bartlett and Nattie Trogdon are partners and collaborators who have been creating duets together for the past 3 years. The pieces they create are embedded with the work they’ve put into their partnership- two separate minds and bodies that balance each other out; their process starts from a shared interest, and approach it from separate view points.  They thrive on opportunities to test the boundaries of the human body and create authentic movement that explores the relationship between athleticism and experienced catharsis.


They are Work Up 5.0 Artists at GIBNEY; and their work has been presented at Dixon Place, FIRST LOOK at Brooklyn Ballet, Mark Morris Dance Center, Triskelion Arts, Gibney Dance Center, Earthdance (MA), The Dance Complex (MA) and at universities including Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, Skidmore College, and The College at Brockport.  Collectively as performers, they’ve worked for Doug Varone, David Dorfman, Adam Barruch, Oliver and Terri Steele, Mark Dendy, Kensaku Shinohara, and Annie Kloppenberg.

What has inspired your piece for Urbanity NeXt?

This work will investigate the polarity of desire and denial; both inherent human reactions to our environment. Desires range from instinctual impulses to utopian aspirations; and denial is a defense mechanism to avoid dealing with painful traumas or the refusal to accept reality.


Carrie Kerstein

Carrie Kerstein is a speech-language pathologist and is a member of Urbanity Underground, a dance company comprised of working professionals and students.

What has inspired your piece for Urbanity NeXt?

This work is inspired by the dance home Urbanity is for me and so many others. Now in my 11th season with Urbanity, there is a rich history to draw upon. Many choreographic tribute "Easter eggs" are woven into this work!

How has the work changed since its conception if you've already started setting?

The raw material is drawn from a series of pieces I have choreographed on the Creative Class over the past few seasons. Having the opportunity to edit and adapt the work for a larger group has been very rewarding.

Have you faced any challenges in choreographing this piece?

I am very fortunate to work with an incredibly dedicated, smart, and talented group of dancers who have brought my ideas to life. Setting a work on a cast of this size (nine) is a new challenge for me, and the dancers have been helpful partners as I experiment with the intricate patterns I envision.


Dorothy Cherry

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Dorothy Cherry started her dance training in Atlanta, GA at a very young age with the Decatur School of Ballet. She continued her studies through Tri-Cities High School's magnet dance program and onto the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. She graduated in 2016 with a BFA in Dance and an emphasis in ballet. She is currently in her second season with the Urbanity Dance Professional Company.

What has inspired your piece for Urbanity NeXt?

My piece is inspired by the complexities of privilege and how at times it is pre-determined before we take our first breath. I made this piece in understanding that white privilege is something that disadvantages me daily, and that I too am privileged by being spared from what may disadvantage others. All of the brilliant artists in my work are pulling from their own stories to help me in telling one larger story of identity and social structure.

How has the work changed since its conception if you've already started setting?

Gratefully I am able to work with the full company which has helped me keep a lot of my original ideas, but each rehearsal I am inspired by the artists in the space which helps me deepen my work.


Styles Alexander

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Styles Alexander graduated from the Boston Conservatory in 2016, with a B.F.A in contemporary dance and an emphasis in Choreography. While attending the conservatory Styles presented his works (“Daddy issues: a reflection” and “Animism”) in multiple mainstage productions. This is Styles’s second year as a company member of Urbanity dance.

What has inspired your piece for Urbanity NeXt?

My work was inspired by proms and having never attended. In pop culture, proms represent; feelings of insecurity of your place in the world, coming into your body, transitions into adulthood. I am using prom as the visual environment that houses my personal exposition of my experience with romance, friendships, sex and a journey of self discovery. It’s a retrospective coming of age story.

How has the work changed since its conception if you've already started setting?

This work is deeply influenced by my personal experiences. As I have been able to explore those experiences transparently with my dancers, I have been able to challenge this process with a sense of nuance that has offered a sense of therapy and fulfillment in the process of creation.


Alexander Davis

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Alexander Davis is a graduate of Keene State College where he received a BA in English: Writing, and a BA in Theatre and Dance: Choreography and Performance under the mentorship of William Seigh. Alex has had the honor of performing at the Boston Opera House, in the basement of a CVS, at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts, and most memorably on a street corner in the South End. Alex has worked and performed with organizations across Boston including Ryan Landry’s Gold Dust Orphans (Best of Boston 2016), Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Children’s Chorus and Improv Asylum/Laugh Boston. Alex has worked with a variety of artists including Betsi Graves, Jessica Muise, Cynthia McLaughlin, Rebecca Stenn, Marcia Murdock, Jennifer Pollins, Dre Rawlings, Candice Salyers, Carl Flink, Marcus Schulkind, Andy Noble, Ryan Landry, and Monica Bill Barnes. Alex is also a passionate arts administrator, a published memoirist, an exhibited fiber artist, a sexual consent educator, and an okay comedian.

What has inspired your piece for Urbanity NeXt?

This new work is an exploration of the metrics that we use as an individuals to measure our personal and professional successes. It explores the imagery of marathons, dance auditions, and spelling bees to ask our audiences, "when are you absolutely sure that you have failed?"

How has the work changed since its conception if you've already started setting?

As the process has progressed, I have had the pleasure of taking into consideration the dancer’s personal experiences and perspectives on the topic at hand for the purpose of heightening the authenticity of the performances.

Have you faced any challenges in choreographing this piece?

Company schedule has presented challenges. We started making this work before we took a two week break for Christmas. There has also been three residency style guest choreographer rehearsal processes that have interrupted the process. This lack of intensive focus is not typically how I like to work.


Cayley Christoforou

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Cayley Christoforou is a New England based artist who is the Artistic Operations Manager at Urbanity Dance in Boston, Mass. As a choreographer and educator, Cayley has been an adjunct faculty member and choreographer for both the Salve Regina University and Providence College dance programs and has taught as a master teacher at several studios across New England. Her choreography has been presented at numerous festivals including the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival (2014, 2016, 2017, 2018), Salem Arts Festival (2018), and the Southern Vermont Dance Festival (2015).  Her choreography was selected as the faculty piece to represent Providence College at the American College Dance Association at Boston University. Cayley was also featured in the Dance Studio Life magazine contemporary and modern issue 2017.

Christoforou received her masters degree in business administration, as well as an undergraduate degree in English communications and dance from Salve Regina University. During her undergraduate experience, Cayley was an integral part of the Salve dance program. She was a dancer and choreographer for Extensions Dance Company, presented her work at two American College Dance Association's, and was the first student to direct the Student Choreography Showcase. Upon graduation, Cayley received the Salve Regina University Dance Award 2015.

What has inspired your piece for Urbanity NeXt?

I'm constantly told by those around me that I seem to always be "on top of it" and remain calm at all times. However, inside my brain is going a million miles a minute and I don't feel like I have it all together. This piece plays with the perceived notion that I have it all together when I feel like I actually don't.

How has the work changed since its conception if you've already started setting?

The movement has shaped into a more athletic and high energy piece of work than I originally thought.

Have you faced any challenges in choreographing this piece?

TIME. Due to a recent surgery and snow, I've just started having rehearsals, but my dancers are pushing through and are amazing :)