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Guest Artists

Christian von Howard

Christian von Howard is the Artistic Director of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, a contemporary dance company based in New York City. As an international artist, he has worked with many dance artists such as Fred Benjamin, Fernando Bujones, and Daniel Gwirtzman, and his choreography has been produced in venues across the globe including Europe, South America, Asia, and throughout the US. Christian is an Associate Professor at Montclair State University, on faculty at the Alvin Ailey School, and serves as the Northeast Regional Director of the American College Dance Association. He holds advanced degrees from the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University and Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

Abby Zbikowski

Juried Bessie award winning choreographer Abby Zbikowski created her company Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012. Abby Z and the New Utility have been presented by the Gibney Dance Center, Movement Research at Danspace Project, the Abrons Arts Center, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in upstate New York, and the FuseBox Festival in Austin, Texas, with upcoming shows at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Zbikowski is an Assistant Professor of dance at the University of Illinois and on faculty at the American Dance Festival. She is an inaugural Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence at the Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University(2017-2019) and has been in residence at Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, and S.L.A.M.(Streb Lab for Action Mechanics). She has taught at the Academy of Culture in Riga, Latvia as part of Movement Research’s Global Practice Sharing. Abby has studied intensively at Germaine Acogny’s L’École de Sables in Senegal, holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and an MFA in dance from Ohio State University, where she worked closely with mentors Bebe Miller and Vickie Blaine. As a performer she has worked with Charles O. Anderson/Dance theater X, Vincent Mantsoe, and the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project.

Francisco Aviña

Francisco’s training started at Orange County High School of the Performing Arts and continued at Alvin Ailey.  He worked as a dancer in such projects as: Celine Dion’s A New Day at Caesars Palace,  Newsies-the Movie , Batman and Robin, Michael Jackson’s Sisterella, Fame L.A the TV series,The World Billboard Music Awards. He danced for Elton John, Bette Midler, Janet Jackson, and numerous corporate industrials such as Adidas, Canon, Nike, Reebok, Asics, Nintendo and Aveda. Moving to Chicago he began his company career with Hubbard Street 2 for 1 year, moving to River North  for 1 year, and subsequently into Hubbard Street for 3 seasons. He has also worked with  Lucky Push Production’s under the artistic of Julia Rhoads. His choreography credits include Giannai Versace fashion show in Singapore, 10th Annual American Choreography Awards in Los Angeles, Nickolodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards with Justin Timberlake, three pieces for Hubbard Street 2 in which one he won a national choreography competition.

Working in Mexico City he choreographed  for TV Azteca Disney’s High School Musical La Seleccion  and Yo Mexico which was a multi media production celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of Mexico’s independence and the centennial anniversary of its revolution with more than 350 artists including dancers, aerialists and musicians. It was performed in the Zocalo at the foot of the National Palace and viewed by over 1.5 million people. He completed the first piece set on Danceworks Chicago entitled “Track 4” under the artistic direction of Julie Nakagawa. He has choreographed for Chicago dance companies such as Luna Negra, Thodos Dance, Ron de Jesus Dance and the Joffery’s second company. Francisco received the “Outstanding Choreography Award” at the Youth America Grand Prix competition.  Francisco is also the resident choreographer for “Digital 9″ in Shibuya Tokyo where he periodically sets new works for a cast of over 60 artists. Currently Francisco is the Artistic Director of Danza Tres in Mexico City, were he over see’s the artistic direction of large mass live event’s as well as television and theatre projects.

Summer Lee Rhatigan

Danced professionally with London Festival Ballet, Oakland Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and San Francisco Opera. Rhatigan has worked with renowned choreographers including Sir Frederick Ashton, Agnes de Mille, Kurt Jooss, Alonzo King, Eugene Loring, Kenneth MacMillan, Léonide Massine, and Rudolf Nureyev among many others. She is the founding director of San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and Alonzo King LINES Ballet School and Pre-Professional Program and has been a guest teacher for numerous companies and schools across the US and internationally.




Jennifer Archibald

Photo by Anders J Larsson

Jennifer Archibald is the founder and Artistic Director of the Arch Dance Company and Program Director of ArchCore40 Dance Intensives.  She is a graduate of the Alvin Ailey School and the Maggie FlaniganActing Conservatory where she studied the Meisner Technique.  Archibald has choreographed for the Atlanta Ballet, Ailey II, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Kansas City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet II, Ballet Nashville, Grand Rapids Ballet and Amy Seiwert’s Imagery.  She was recently appointed as the first female Resident Choreographer in Cincinnati Ballet’s 40-year history.  Jennifer is currently an Acting Lecturer at the Yale School of Drama.  In 2015, she was appointed as Guest Faculty Lecturer to develop the Hip Hop dance curriculum at Columbia/Bernard College.


Susan Dromisky

Born in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada, Susan Dromisky is a graduate of the National Ballet School of Canada and began her professional career shortly after graduation. She became a soloist in 1985 and was also a soloist dancer with the English National Ballet in 1985 – 1986. Some of her leading roles included Sugar Plum and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, Swanhilda in Erik Bruhn’s Coppelia, Teresina in Peter Schaufuss’ Napoli and Olga in John Cranko’s Onegin. Susan has worked directly with Rudolph Nureyev, Erik Bruhn, Sir Frederick Ashton, Kenneth MacMillan, James Kudelka, Peter Schaufuss, Glen Tetley, Natalia Makarova, Brian MacDonald, David Allen, John Alleyne, Michael Clark and John McFall. Ms. Dromisky was a recipient of the Peter Dwyer Scholarship for High Excellence in Dance in 1978. She was also awarded a Canada Council Grant for the Arts in 1979. Upon retiring from the stage, she was a full-time artistic faculty member with the National Ballet School of Canada before coming to BalletMet in 1998. She was the director of the Trainee Program and the Senior Performance Ensemble.



Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie is a dancemaker, educator, and collaborator in Washington, DC, and is an Associate Artistic Director of Dance Exchange.  His artistic research cultivates processes and experiences that are participatory and intergenerational, move through known and unknown, and bring a poetic lens to a specifically queer experience.  He has been commissioned by places like Dance Place, Bates Dance Festival, the Kennedy Center, and Harvard University, as well as the New York City Roundtable Arts in Education conference and the LGBT Health and Art Making conference, among others.  He has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the Arcus Foundation, and the Somerville Arts Council.  He holds an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University.