ChristinaNoel Reaves is a multidisciplinary performing artist, choreographer, and educator. She has received a BA in Music: Voice Performance from Georgia State University and an MFA in Dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. While at NYU Reaves began developing a unique blend of dance and voice performance, combining her technical proficiencies with creative and organic improvisations reflecting the world around her. “The intensity of both opera and dance are closely related,” she explains, “moving the body can help produce sound, and vice versa.” Inspired by the pioneering work of Meredith Monk, Reaves felt empowered to use the full scope of her talents, “I always needed both together to express the totality of my imagination.”
In 2011 Reaves founded her company, ChristinaNoel & The Creature, allowing her to further explore the possibilities of her imagination by creating cohesive works through her own compositional crafting which draw on the unique talents of her performers. In May of 2013, The Creature held its inaugural independent concert, of which The Dance Enthusiast noted, "Reaves has created her own distinct brand of dance theater, and she’s on to something.”
One hallmark of Reaves's work is the sports-like athleticism in her choreography. The emphasis on physicality in her pieces requires her Creatures to be highly trained dancers. She then strengthens their voices through classical technique, later creating vocal abstractions paired with their movements. “I’m interested in how individuals work together in a space,” Reaves describes her process, “and how I can use their physicality and sound to enliven and color the work.”
Reaves has presented original work at the Flamboyán Theater at The Clemente, Peridance Capezio Center, The Irondale Center, Judson Memorial Church, Teatro LaTEA, Triskelion Arts, Dance Theatre of Ireland, Shawbrook School Ireland, the Bessie Workshop, the DanceNOW Dancemopolitan Festival Joe’s PUB, LaMama, The Tank, Legros Women in Dance Studio Series, Fete de L’Hurricaine Festival, DanceNOW Raw Festival, Dixon Placeʼs Crossing Boundaries Festivals, and The Hoover Dam Collective Performances. She originated “Rapture Of The Heroine (guurrrl)” on Zoetic Dance Ensemble of Atlanta in 2012 & 2013.
As a performer Reaves has worked with Danielle Russo Dance Co, Patricia Noworol Dance, Collectivodoszeta, Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects, Doug Elkins, Ellis Wood, David Dorfman, Ivy Baldwin, Nathan Trice/Rituals, Monstah Black, Zoetic Dance Ensemble, expanDANCE, and the Collective Opera Co.
Reaves has been a teacher and choreographer for Dancewave of Brooklyn and The Dalton School. She has led master classes and workshops for Irelandʼs Shawbrook School, Scotlandʼs Aberdeen International Youth Festival and Zoetic Dance Ensemble of Atlanta. Reaves is the Resident Movement Instructor for The Harrower Professional Opera Workshop held annually in Atlanta.
In 2016 Reaves formed her own children’s performing company, The Ephyras, which derives its name from the youthful stage of a jellyfish lifecycle. Appropriately, the young performers might be considered Creature cubs who explore their own identities through movement and voice. Her process for Ephyras is to first focus on the children’s imaginations by employing exercises in creativity. Then she develops their technique. “Kids are typically more open to experiment with their performance,” she explains, “they imagine anything is possible, and I want to help them connect emotions through their voice, through their dance, and teach them to creatively express themselves through performance.” For Reaves, the interconnectedness of voice and dance parallel that of choreography and education. “One sweetens the dish of the other,” she notes. While describing her motivations, the essence of her work is summed up with a simple desire: "I want to help make people feel."
Aeric Meredith-Goujon was raised in southern Indiana but has been a New Yorker for the past decade and a half. In 1999 he received an MFA from Pratt Institute and his photographic interests revolve around bodies in states of extreme activity. Music, erotic portraiture, dance and fashion are among the subjects he pursues. Aeric lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children. http://aericmg.com
Nico Gonzales, originally from Colorado, began his training at Denver School of the Arts and under Brian Young and Tami Bing. He holds his BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he had the opportunity to dance in work by Pamela Pietro, Merce Cunningham, and Bill T. Jones. Since graduating, he has collaborated on and performed in work by Bryn Cohn + Artists, Nicholas Grubbs, Sarah Esser, and Hannah Cullen. In addition to the Creature, Nico currently performs with Heidi Latsky Dance and Rovaco Dance Company, as well as in Gwendolyn & Guests’ site-specific and immersive Nourishment shows. He is also on scholarship pursuing his certification as a Pilates instructor from the Kane School of Core Integration.
Tai is consistently inspired by her fellow Creatures to love, to create, and to discover the world around her. She began her exploration of the performing arts in her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Tai received training at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and furthered her training at Point Park University in Pittsburgh where she studied dance. There, Tai was able to work alongside various educators and choreographers such as Troy Powell, Jason McDole, Douglas Bentz, and Christopher Huggins.
Natalie Deryn Johnson
Natalie Deryn Johnson is a multi-media and improvisational dancer, writer, and voice over artist. Natalie moved to NYC to intern with Lois Greenfield and appeared in Greenfield's book, Moving Still. Her most recent endeavor is a movement memoire, Patient History, a story exploring chronic illness and elevation. Natalie originated and performed the role of Eve for playwright Albert A Garcia's Triptych at venues such as Wild Project, Bowery Poetry Club, and Dixon Place. Natalie graduated Cum Laude with honors in Choreography as a Regent Scholar at UCI, studying under Sheron Wray, Jodie Gates, Lisa Naugle, Tong Wang, and Loretta Livingston. While at ADF she choreographically assisted and performed work by Adele Meyers and danced for Jesse Zaritt. She has earned a Scholastic National Gold Key in Photography and is the creator of an online novelty store, whimsy(nest)®, featuring tote bags and doodlebirds® greeting cards.
Liana Kleinman is a dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker from Los Angeles. In addition to dancing with ChristinaNoel & The Creature, Liana is a company member with The Movement Playground and is a founding member of ECHOensemble. Liana has performed works by Andrea Miller, Helder Seabra, Ronald K. Brown, and Ari Mayzak. She received her BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College with minors in Biology and Chemistry in 2018. As a filmmaker, Liana was honored to work as the video documentation intern at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival 2016, filming works for companies such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, ARIAS Company, and Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.
Originally from Seattle, WA, Holly Ledbetter moved to NYC in 2012 to pursue a BFA in Dance at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she performed works by Bill T. Jones, Cora Bos-Kroese, Deborah Jowitt, and Patrick Corbin, as well as showing her own choreographic work. She continued her training at Alonzo King Lines Ballet, The Northwest Dance Intensive, and the Trisha Brown Dance, Company Winter Intensive. She now spends most of her time teaching yoga to different populations, including people with Parkinson’s Disease and at-risk youth. In addition to performing with The Creature, she enjoy long-distance, self-supported bike touring and is currently fond of doing things she is not good at, like surfing and playing the drums.
Jonathan Matthews is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a minor in music from NYU Steinhardt. While at Tisch, Jonathan studied with Gus Solomons, Jr., Phyllis Lamhut, and Stephen Petronio, and contributed to the processes of original works by Pamela Pietro, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, Kendra Portier, and Deborah Jowitt. His studies have taken him abroad to Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Springboard Danse Montreal, the International Theatre Festival of Kerala, and Toscana Dance Hub, where he studied accompaniment for dance with Robert Boston. Along with having performed with the Creature since 2015, he also dances with mishiDance, Darrah Carr Dance, The Little Streams, and This is Not a Theatre Company, for which he is also the company’s choreographer. Jonathan is additionally the co-founder/artistic director of BREAKTIME alongside Holly Sass. A collaborative musician, he accompanies at Tisch Dance, mentors the students of Tisch’s pedagogy program on musical collaboration, has composed for Giada Ferrone, Patrick Corbin, Gaspard Louis, and Rashaun Mitchell, music directs for Medicine Show Theatre and Queens Shakespeare, Inc., and sings tenor with the Cecilia Chorus of New York. His writing has been published by Eye on Dance and the Arts, The Dance Enthusiast, Time Out NY, The Journal of Dance Education, and Dance Magazine. An avid teacher of children, trained in yoga pedagogy through Perri Institute for Mind and BodyTM, Jonathan seeks to share multidisciplinary study through physical practice. He is the Associate Director of The Ephyras, and The Creature's Rehearsal Director.
Cameron Mizell, Brooklyn-based guitarist and composer, has been part of the diverse New York City music scene for the past decade-plus, performing in a wide variety of genres from experimental improvisation to bluegrass musicals. He also works on the industry side, currently managing operations for Destiny Records. As an artist, Mizell has released six albums ranging from jazz-funk to Americana to avant-garde experimentalism. His latest, an improvised solo guitar album titled Memory/Imagination, “stands out as an eclectic collection of songs, reflecting on Cameron’s penchant for melody, while exploring his most forward-thinking aspirations” (No Depression). To hear his music and learn more, visit http://cameronmizell.com.
Phoebe Rose Sandford
Phoebe Rose Sandford is a modern dancer, choreographer, singer, arts administrator, and teaching artist, and she has a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Phoebe was a founding member of RedCurrant Collective, and in addition to co-managing, dancing, and choreographing for the collective, she has performed with Anne Zuerner, mishiDance, Sarah Foster/MoveWorks, Alice Gosti, Jonathan Matthews, The Charles Weidman Foundation, and AMS Project. Phoebe has presented her own work at La MaMa, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, Green Space, Gibney Dance Center, and Cameo Gallery. She was the choreographer of Rebel Playhouse’s Loudmouth at The Tank, and was the choreographer and co-director of A Presentation by the People of Lake Victory for Our Leader at The Gym at Judson. She is the director of dance theatre company Copy That Dance, and she is also Development Associate for Mare Nostrum Elements, an Assistant Editor at TDR/The Drama Review, a certified yoga teacher, and a fantasy/sci-fi reader. www.copythatdance.com
Dalia Sevilla is a graduate of the Vocal Performance program at NYU Steinhardt, 2016. She is a director, performer, and lighting designer. Her lighting design credits include Arts for All’s production of Jack vs Rapunzel, New Student Cabaret 2016-17, Players Club's production of A Little Night Music, Classical Voice Club’s production of Le Mariage aux Lanternes, Daphnis et Chloè, Riders to the Sea, and Hänsel und Gretel. She has also assisted in many productions around NYC including The New York Pops concerts at Carnegie Hall, Blueprint Specials, Fairytale Christmas, and The Dudleys!. She is the founder of the NYU Classical Voice Club through which she produced and directed four operas: Bastien und Bastienne, Hänsel und Gretel, The Portrait of Manon and Riders to the Sea. She has also assistant directed The Dialogue of the Carmelites, and has directed five opera scenes at the Harrower Music Festival. Her performance credits include Cavalerria Rusticana, A Body in the Allegheny Valley (Lana) Twelfth Night (Malvolio), 4@15, First Stages, Pulsing and Shaking, and New Student Cabaret. Other credits include Carmina Burana at Charles University in Prague.
Anastasia Meredith-Goujon was born and raised in Brooklyn where she met ChristinaNoel and became a part of the Creature family. Anastasia is very excited to start her fashion design career with such an exceptional group of artists.
Casey Loomis hails from upstate New York and is a performer, visual artist, and Pilates instructor based in Brooklyn. Since graduating from Skidmore College in 2008 she has been grateful to work with a wide variety of choreographers and companies including the Metropolitan Opera, Compagnie Julie Bour, Faye Driscoll, Netta Yerushalmy, Buglisi Dance Theater, Brian Brooks Moving Company, KEIGWIN + Company, and ChristinaNoel & The Creature among others. She also satisfies her appetite for levity in dance performing in the weekly Floating Kabarette with Jenny Rocha & Her Painted Ladies. In 2010, The New York Times wrote in reference to her work with Julie Bour: “Ms. Loomis…lends a luminous presence to the stage.” As a visual artist, Casey makes color-driven, abstract paintings and dabbles in costume design, photography, and other mediums. Casey began working with Doug Varone and Dancers in 2014.
Abigail Hoke-Brady is a New York-based lighting designer and member of The Lonely Painter Project. Recent projects include This Takes Place Close By at the Knockdown Center with ThingNY; Avalanche 19 with Gregory Dolbashian; but, love with ChristinaNoel and the Creature; NY Times Critic's Pick Bears in Space at 59e59 with Collapsing Horse; and associate design for New York City Opera’s Angels in America. Current and upcoming projects include The Wolves at Williams College, Glory Denied at Tri-Cities Opera, and To Be Sung with Centre for Contemporary Opera. Recent recipient of Opera America’s Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Grant. MFA NYU ’16.
Michelle Zassenhaus is an independent photographer and digital product designer in Brooklyn, NY. After earning a BFA in Art Photography from Syracuse University, Michelle went on to shoot architecture, spaces, and emotional landscapes for both Getty Images (where she is currently a contributor) and as a fine artist. Michelle exhibits her large-scale photographic work throughout the Northeast. She also independently consults on digital product design for startups in the NYC area. Michelle takes still images for The Creature, and considers the photography work an artistic collaboration with the company. Learn more about her work at www.michellezassenhaus.com.
Thank you for the memories and magic, Creatures Past: Madeline Irmen, Michele Lee, Audrey Rachelle, Liz Beres, MK Hartung, Catie Cuan, Courtney Baron, Mark Willis, Tara Nicolas, Rami Shafi, Jeremy ‘Jae’ Neal, Mondo Morales, Gautam Nima, Joey Kipp, Yeman Brown, Clare Cook, Brendan Duggan, Tiffani Harris, Casey Loomis, Lonnie Poupard Jr, Dana Thomas, Ben Wolk, Greg Goff, Jasmin Simmons, Jasmine Davey, Amadi Washington, Joanna Futral, and Kareem Woods.