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
Tyler Curry is unfathomably happy to have found ChristinaNoel & The Creature(s). He is consistently inspired by his fellow creatures to love, to create, and to discover the world around him. Tyler began his exploration of the performing arts in his hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. He received training at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and furthered his training at Point Park University in Pittsburgh where he studied dance. There he was able to work alongside various educators and choreographers such as Troy Powell, Jason McDole, Douglas Bentz and Christopher Huggins. Now residing in New York City, Tyler hopes to continue to explore himself and the world of experimental art.
Natalie Deryn Johnson
Natalie Deryn Johnson is a multi-media and improvisational dance artist and writer. Based in New York City, she performs as a solo artist and collaborates with filmmakers, photographers, musicians, writers, and movers on a range of projects. Natalie moved to NYC to intern with Lois Greenfield, which lead to appearing in Greenfield's newest book, Moving Still. She has choreographed for Brooklyn-based musicians Reed Kackley and Jean-Ann Dara. Natalie originated and performed the role of Eve for playwright Albert A Garcia's Triptych throughout 2016 and is the choreographer and performer of his newest work Where The Sea Pours Into The Stars, which has been staged at BAM and Dixon Place. Natalie was a Regent Scholar, graduating Cum Laude with honors in Choreography at UCI. She has earned a Scholastic National Gold Key in Photography. Her most recent endeavor is her novelty store, whimsy(nest)®, featuring tote bags and doodlebirds® greeting cards. She eats excessive amounts of sunflower spread and drinks matcha like it is going out of style.
Holly Ledbetter, a native of Seattle, Washington, began her training at Westlake Dance Center under Kirsten Cooper. She continued her training at Alonzo King Lines Ballet, The Northwest Dance Intensive, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company Winter Intensive. In 2015, Holly completed her BFA at NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she had the pleasure of performing works by Bill T. Jones, Cora Bos-Kroese, Deborah Jowitt, and Patrick Corbin, as well as showing her own choreographic work. Since graduating she has performed works by Hannah Cullen, Nicholas Grubbs, and joined Rovaco Dance Company as a founding member. Holly is excited to continue her movement journey as a Creature!
Jonathan Matthews hails from Memphis, Tennessee, where he was subjected to an eclectic arts education of tap, musical theatre, choral music, Vaganova, and Irish step dance. With The Creature, he revels in having a space that encourages drawing from all these resources (and more) at once. A graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a minor in music from NYU Steinhardt, 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, and Toscana Dance Hub, where he studied accompaniment with Robert Boston. This summer he is returning to Florence with Allyson Green and a group of NYU students and alums to create a site-specific multimedia installation. He additionally performs with such disparate groups as mishiDance, Darrah Carr Dance, and Valerie Green/Dance Entropy. Jonathan made his choreographic debut in a bathtub for This is Not a Theatre Company’s Versailles 2015, and continues to contribute movement for the company. A collaborative musician, he now accompanies technique class at Tisch Dance and has composed for Giada Ferrone, Rashaun Mitchell, and Patrick Corbin, among others. You can read his criticism at Eye On Dance and the Arts, The Dance Enthusiast, and The Journal of Dance Education. A yoga teacher licensed through the Perri Institute for Mind and Body’s 300-hour Pedagogy Course, Jonathan is passionate about seeking, maintaining, integrating, and sharing a wide range of interdisciplinary study through physical practice.
Cameron Mizell, Brooklyn-based guitarist and composer, has been part of the diverse New York City music scene for the past decade-plus, performing with rock bands, singer-songwriters, bluegrass acts, Latin groups, Broadway musicals, and dance companies. He also works on the industry side, consulting for record labels such as Verve, Decca, Motema, and is currently managing operations for Destiny Records. As an artist and bandleader, Mizell has released five albums ranging from jazz-funk to Americana to avant-garde experimentalism. He released Negative Spaces in 2016 with his trio, described by DownBeat as “a program of painterly originals that uses sparseness and absence in artful, melodic ways.” Prior to that, Mizell released his first solo guitar recording, The Edge of Visibility in 2015, of which DownBeat called “splendid… striking… separating this guitarist from the pack.” A follow up solo album, Memory/Imagination, will be released in 2017. To hear his music and learn more, visit http://cameronmizell.com.
Phoebe Rose Sandford
Phoebe Rose Sandford is a modern dancer, choreographer, singer, and teaching artist. She received her BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, dancing in works by notable choreographers such as Trisha Brown, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Deborah Jowitt, and Gus Solomons Jr. 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, MoveWorks, Jonathan Matthews, The Charles Weidman Foundation, and AMS Project. Theatre credits include Where Have All the Glaciers Gone? with Erin Mee, Versailles 2015 with This Is Not a Theatre Company, Far Away at the Schapiro Theater, and The Bride Project (reading) with Lonesome George. Phoebe has presented her own work at La MaMa, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts, NYU's Jack Crystal Theater, Gibney Dance Center, and Cameo Gallery 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 works as an Editorial Assistant at TDR (The Drama Review) and as the Management Assistant for Yin Mei Dance. Phoebe is the director of Copy That Dance, a modern dance company formed in 2016. She is also a certified yoga teacher, fantasy book–lover, and mediocre ukulele player.
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.
Stacie Brensilver Berman
Ephyras Company Manager
Stacie Brensilver Berman spent her childhood dancing and performing in regional theater productions in the New York area, instilling a love for and a belief in the power of theater and performance for young people. As a high school social studies teacher Stacie taught her students about diversity, tolerance, and culture, values inherent to Creature and Ephyras productions. She also advised students involved in Sing!, an annual student-run and -produced musical theater competition featuring one act plays focused on friendship, cooperation, acceptance, and mutual understanding. Over the course of a ten year career, Stacie worked with young adults developing their identities, figuring out how to express themselves, and learning their place in the world--values and lessons embraced by the Ephyras and evident in their work. Currently, Stacie is pursuing a PhD in social studies education and writing her dissertation entitled, "Behind the Times: The Struggle to Include LGBTQ History in High School US History Classes." Stacie is also the author of the Colortown skits performed by the Ephyras, based on a series of stories that she tells her daughter.
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.