Artistic Director, Katy Pyle is a lesbian choreographer whose works explore her own conflicted and complicit relationship to the cis hetero patriarchal form of ballet.
Before founding the Ballez in 2011, she created evening length works: “Salute to Ex-Best Friends,”asubtout (Pyle & Eleanor Hullihan), Galapagos, 2005; “The Lady Centaur Show,” asubtout, PS 122, 2007; “THE WAY: You Make Me Feel,” Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, 2010; and “COVERS,” The Bushwick Starr, 2012.
She has co-created and performed works by Ivy Baldwin, Faye Driscoll, John Jasperse, Xavier Le Roy, Jennifer Monson, Anna Sperber, Katie Workum, and Young Jean Lee. She graduated summa cum laude from Hollins University with a BA in Multimedia Performance Art in ’02, and from the high school conservatory program at North Carolina School of the Arts in ’99, majoring in Ballet and Contemporary.
She was a 2013-2015 Artist in Residence at BAX, and has received additional residencies through Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, at Mount Tremper Arts, Rockbridge Artist’s Exchange, the Dragon’s Egg, Abrons Arts Center, and La Mama, ETC.
Pyle’s company, Ballez, is inserting the herstory and lineage of lesbian, queer and transgender people into the ballet canon, through the creation of large-scale story ballets, open classes, and public engagement. Major works include “The Firebird, a Ballez,” at Danspace Project in Spring (with a reprise in Fall) 2013, “Variations on Virtuosity, a Gala with the Stars of the Ballez” at American Realness at Abrons Arts Center in January 2015, and “Sleeping Beauty & the Beast,” at La Mama in Spring 2016. Pyle most recently choreographed “Slavic Goddesses,” at the Kitchen, January 26-28, 2017, which featured 6 solos for Ballez dancers, as a collaborative project with artist Paulina Olowska.
“Adult Ballez Class” has been ongoing at Brooklyn Arts Exchange since 2011, and Pyle has brought the class to Movement Research, Allied Media Conference (Detroit), CounterPULSE (San Francisco), University Musical Society (Ann Arbor), Irreverent Dance (London), Beyond Tolerance Youth Conference (NYC), Yale, New York University, Sarah Lawrence, and this past Fall at the New School and Beloit College (Wisconsin), where Pyle also began developing a new Ballez with students. The company has been supported by: the Jerome Foundation, Mertz Gilmore, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Brooklyn Arts Council, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and over 1000 individual donors.
Jules Skloot, Ballez co-teacher and collaborator, is a dancer, performance maker, and teacher based in Brooklyn, N.Y. Jules received a BA from Hampshire College and an MFA in dance from Sarah Lawrence College. Jules frequently collaborates and performs with Katy Pyle and others as assistant director of the Ballez, and has performed in the work of Sara Rudner, Peggy Gould, Emily Johnson/Catalyst Dance, Will Davis, niv Acosta, and Margot Bassett. Jules has presented his own work at BAX through the Space Grant program, Dixon Place, the University Settlement, Lava Studios, and at AUNTS events. Jules teaches dance and health at the Brooklyn Friends School, and is assistant director of an arts and social justice focused summer camp.
Eliana Dell’Anna was born in Italy and has been in the arts since she was a child, she was writing poems to imitate her dad and she has always loved painting and dancing. Her mom told her to try ballet but she was convinced that it would be boring!! At the age of 16 she met Erika Tiso, a graduated Ballet teacher with Marit Bach, and Franca Pagliassotto, a graduated modern-jazz teacher and assistant of Ismael Ivo. They changed her vision of dance and her life! A few years later she met her love that helped her realize her dream. She moved to New York in 2014, Graduated in May 2015 from Alvin Ailey dance school. Eliana’s now working with Momentum Dance company (choreography by Roberta Rothstein) in Washington DC, Bryce Company in New York and she’s more than excited to be a Ballez company member.
Chris DeVita is a Brooklyn based choreographer and dance artist from Pittsburgh, PA. He is a founding member and the choreographer of a queer identified interdisciplinary collective, I AM A BOYS CHOIR. His work has been presented at La Mama, Yale University Art Gallery, REDCAT, BAM, JACK, BRIC Arts (CATCH 68), The Wassaic Project, The Judson Church, and Dixon Place. Selected dance work: Tino Sehgal, Alonzo King, Bruno Isakovic, Amanda Miller, Sidra Bell, Maurya Kerr, Yannis Adoniou, and Brendan Fernandes. BA Emerson College, and a graduate of the LINES Ballet Training Program. 2015-2015 AIR at Chez Bushwick. www.chrisdevita.com
Charles Gowin is originally from Columbia, Missouri. He is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois and holds a BFA in Dance. Charles is honored to begin his career as a performer in New York City with Ballez.
Madison Krekel is a freelance performer, musician, and activist originally from Oakland, CA. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance and minor in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine, where she was a member of the renowned Donald McKayle’s Etude Ensemble, and performed works by Jodie Gates and Charles Moulton. Now living in Brooklyn since 2010, she currently performs with Third Rail Projects’ Bessie award-winning show, Then She Fell, Vanessa Walters, Mark Lamb Dance, and tours with Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company’s Untitled Feminist Show. You can also catch her under the moniker, Maddy MayHammhmm, performing with her punk band, Snatch Attack, around NYC—check us out here for more info: https://www.facebook.
Born and raised in California, Deborah Lohse is a choreographer/performer living and working in New York City. Her work has been presented in theaters, public spaces and festivals across the U.S. and Mexico including DANCE NOW Joe’s Pub, American Dance Festival, Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, La Mama Moves, Joyce SoHo and the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. She has received commissions from New Chamber Ballet, Women In Motion, Mantra Percussion, DANCE NOW and Island Moving Company as well as artist residencies from The Yard, Marble House Project, Acadia Summer Arts Program and SILO. As a performer, Lohse has worked with the Sacramento Ballet, San Diego Ballet, Michael Preston, Barbara Karger, Anne Kauffman, Suzanne Bocanegra, Monica Bill Barnes and currently dances with Doug Elkins and David Parker. Lohse has a BA in Dance as well as a BA in Theater from the University of California.
iele paloumpis is a trans/queer dance artist, choreographer and teacher. As a performer, iele has had the pleasure of dancing with niv Acosta, devynn emory, Jen McGinn, Emily Wexler and Nina Winthrop, among others. Their own work has been shown at The LOF/t (MD), The Painted Bride Art Center, FLUXspace, Studio 34, The Community Education Center, and the Philadelphia GLBT Arts Festival (PA), as well as Dance Conversations at the Flea, and through Movement Research in various settings – including Judson Church, Open Performance, and the 2012 Spring MR Festival as a part of Mix Tape (NY). In 2010, iele received an Art and Social Change Grant from The Leeway Foundation with co-facilitator niv Acosta to create gender < moving: queer bodies/home, an evening of performance by and for trans artists. As an educator of 9 years, iele has taught classes in movement improvisation and composition, as well as dance theory and critique. In 2011, they organized there’s nothing neutral about bodies, a discussion/workshop/group performance through CLASSCLASSCLASS with co-facilitators Lezlie Frye, HeJin Jang, Niall Jones, and Marýa Wethers. At the center of iele’s practice are ideas exploring body politics, lived experiences and artistic self-empowerment.
Lindsay Reuter is a dancer and dance-maker living in Brooklyn. Her current performance interests include repurposing/re-imagining function and what is queer embodiment. She loves performing with the BALLEZ. In addition, Lindsay works with Marissa Perel, organizes CLASSCLASSCLASS, and works as an ABA Therapist for people on the Autism Spectrum. Her most recent work, Good Evening, Strangers was performed in January 2015 at New York Live Arts as part of the Fresh Tracks Residency.
Janet Werther is a performer, scholar, and educator of dance, theater, and queer performance based in New York City. She teaches Social Issues Through Drama and Performance (aka Theatre 101) at Baruch College, and she believes in the radical humanity of live performance. Janet is happy to be in a long term relationship with the Brooklyn Arts Exchange and is grateful to Katy and the whole Ballez crew for community and dancing. Also thanks to Jen for everything. Love.
Mei Yamanaka is a dancer and choreographer from Tokyo, Japan. In 2008, She came to New York. She has been working with Mark Dendy, Tiffany Mills Company, Jennifer Archibald. She also has worked with Dai Jian, Palissimo, Oui Danse, Malcolm Low, Jenni Hong, Emily Berry and White Wave Dance Company and more. Her choreographic work had been presented at Fresh Tracks, Movement Research at Judson Church, Performance Mix Festival, New Steps, Dumbo Dance Festival, COLLABOFEST, GAP Presents | Shared Space, Take Root Series, and more in NYC. She was elected as an artist-in-residence at Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts) Fresh Tracks in 2010-2011 and also at Chez Bushwick in 2014. www.meiyamanaka.com
ASHLEY R.T. YERGENS, from Faribault, Minnesota, made their queerformance debut with their work Is this more ladylike? at the Walker Art Center’s 2014 Choreographers’ Evening. They are a byproduct of growing up on tater tots and WWE SmackDown, being queer in small town USA, and bonding with blue collars. Ashley is honored to be Ballez-ing with Ballez.
JD Samson is one third of the feminist punk performance and music project, Le Tigre, as well as a founding member of the friendship band New England Roses, and the feminist art collective, MEN. She has shown work all over the world in many different mediums including a two Calendar series collaboration with Cass Bird, as well as audio work in the form of records, remixes, performances, and installations.
Founded in July 2009, the Queer Urban Orchestra (QUO) is a musical organization dedicated to the promotion of fine arts in the New York City metropolitan area whose membership is open to all adult musicians regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. QUO strives to entertain and educate members and audiences alike through performances of classical and contemporary music, promoting equality, understanding, acceptance, and respect.