Artistic Director, Nicole Dagesse
Nicole Dagesse is a Vermont native whose rural upbringing in the forests and fields is a direct inspiration for her movement style and choreographic desires. Combining her training in Modern Dance, Contact Improvisation, and Aerial Dance, Nicole approaches each new site with inquisitive play and rigorous movement research. Nicole earned her BFA in Dance and BS in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she was immersed in the creativity of the local dance scene. Nicole cites Wire Monkey Dance as a major influence in her work. It was while playing on the scaffolding that her 3-dimensional movement patterns began to develop, and her love of partnering work took flight. After several years dancing in the Boston area, Nicole felt it was time to continue her dance education as an artist and teacher, and moved to Boulder, Co. to pursue an MFA in Site Dance and Somatic Practices. The rugged terrain and the endless blue skies provided the perfect opportunity to hone her voice as a site artist. The grounding and balancing study of the Alexander Technique was a necessary complement to her physically demanding work, and Nicole was increasingly interested in the parallels between body and earth. Since earning her Masters of Fine Arts, Nicole has been teaching and choreographing in North Carolina, where she lives with her incredible husband and darling son. Nicole is also a Yoga Teacher specializing in Vinyasa Flow and Pre/Postnatal Yoga. Learn more about her yoga teaching at worldtreeyoga.org.
Birthing Bodies Collaborators
Danielle Brestel began her movement training as a gymnast and moved on to modern dance while in college. Her experience at American Dance Festival in 1998 was the springboard for her modern dance addiction. While studying structural engineering in college and graduate school, she performed and choreographed and produced several dance concerts. From 2010-2014, Danielle managed and was a member of Brazos Dance Collective in Bryan, TX. Danielle currently spends her time as a structural engineer, dancer and mother to her precocious and feisty six-year-old daughter who will give you a talking to if you refer to her as either little or cute.
Zoia Cisneros is a dancer, teaching artist, mother, nurse and traveler originally from Caracas, Venezuela whose dance training includes traditional Venezuelan dances, Flamenco, Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Belly dance, West African, Afro-Cuban, Capoeira, Salsa and Modern Dance. She is delighted to be part of Birthing Bodies. This is her first participation in site specific work. Because part of her life plans include becoming a midwife, she hopes to be inspired here even more to carry it on!
Nicole Dagesse is a mother and a mover. As Artistic Director of Murmurations Dance, Nicole explores Site Performance through inquisitive play and rigorous movement research. Drawn especially to layered natural spaces, the pregnant body is her latest fascination. Exploring the creative act of mothering through the lens of choreography has been an exciting way to approach the rapidly shifting transformation space of the mother/body. Contemporary dance, contact improvisation, yoga, and aerial dance all influence her movement and teaching styles.
As a movement artist, Rebecca Drake has been teaching, choreographing, and dancing locally for many years. Her captivation with movement as an opportunity for deep connection began at an early age. Rebecca has had the privilege to foster this passion by learning from and dancing with many seasoned teachers and dancers. Through Birthing Bodies, Rebecca explores the layers of transformation that occurred in her life after becoming a mother to twin boys and the variety of relationships it has inspired. Qualities of yoga, aerial dance, and improvisation, contemporary, and authentic movement are expressed in her work. Additionally, Rebecca is in school for nutritional therapy and herbal medicine.
Elizabeth G. Motyka, MD is a board certified obstetrician gynecologist, who has been practicing in the Triangle area since 1990. She has extensive experience with the birth process, having delivered over 5000 babies and backed up many home births. She has made holistic medicine an integral part of her private practice, For Women, PA. Dr. Motyka earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia and completed her Residency at UNC Hospitals. She resides in Chapel Hill with her husband Tom and daughter Jolan. Her dance background includes a love of and informal study of a variety of dance forms: ballet, modern, tap, and aerial.
She has been studying, choreographing, and performing aerial dance at Triangle Yoga for the last 9 years. She is happy to have the opportunity to combine her love of authentic movement and her understanding of the birth process as a mother and physician in this work.
Allie Mullin is a candid photographer who’s a bit unconventional and can’t resist a great portrait. Her privilege is to document the happiness in your life so you can stay fully in the present. You’ll have hard proof that those magical moments happened, and you’ll be able to share these experiences for years to come. In this workshop, Allie will not only be documenting the creative process, but she'll also be sharing writing/journaling/poetry exercises to help crystalize memory. As the photographer for Birthing Bodies, Allie has been kinesthetically connected to the creative and performance process and offers a unique view of the work.
Kamara Thomas is a songspeller and musical storyteller based in Durham, NC. She performs regularly with her band The Nightdrivers. Her songs have been described as "channeling dusty Americana and rootsy folk that spin hazy narrative paeans to America's epic landscape and mythic past." In her musical storytelling works, Kamara explores the mythological assumptions underlying American belief systems and then creates musical rituals to invent and embed life-affirming symbols. In this workshop she will lead participants in Circle Singing -- practicing easy group vocal techniques, generating words in relation to "Birthing Bodies", then exploring ways to experience their collective vocal power.
Jaki Shelton Green is a poet and writer whose recent accomplishments include the 2016 Lenoir-Rhyne University Writer-in-Residence, the 2014 NC Literary Hall of Fame, and the 2014 Pushcart Prize.
Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications such as The Crucible, Pete and Shirley: The Great Carolina Novel, The African-American Review, Obsidian, Poets for Peace, Immigration Emigration and Diversity, Ms. Magazine, Essence Magazine, KAKALAK, Callaloo, Cave Canem African American Writers Anthology, The Pedestal Magazine, 27 Views of Hillsborough, Solo Press Anthology, The Sound of Poets Cooking Anthology, What Matters Anthology, Home is Where: An Anthology of African American Poetry from the Carolinas, When Women Waken (Women Writers, Women Books) NC Literary Trails of North Carolina, Corners of the Mouth: Anthology of the San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival, Idodine Poetry Journal, Heron Clan III, Black Gold: An Anthology of Black Poetry, Puerto del Sol Black Voices Series, North Carolina Women, Jacar Press Intimacy Anthology.
Publications: (Carolina Wren Press) Dead on Arrival, Dead on Arrival and New Poems, Masks, Conjure Blues, singing a tree into dance, breath of the song, Blue Opal, a play and Feeding the Light (published by Jacar Press). She is the co-editor of two anthologies: Poets for Peace, Immigration Emigration and Diversity published by Chapel Hill Press, Inc.
Jaki Shelton Green lecturer, key note speaker and consultant for groups such as NC Humanities Council Roads Scholar Program, North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teachers, NC Writers Conference, Paul Green Foundation, UNC-Chapel Hill Law School. She has taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes extensively at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations such as the NC Writer’s Network, NC Poetry Society, Bates College Multicultural Studies Program, and Bahia, Brazil Department of Cultural Resources and the NC Turkish Association. As a creativity coach, she facilitates workshops and trainings throughout the U.S, Europe, the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America. In 2006 she was awarded a residency at The Taller Portobelo Artist Colony in historic Portobelo, Panama and addressed the Congress of Diaspora Conference at the University of Panama.2013 featured commentator and creative advisor for GRITS Anthology (Girls Raised in the South) and final judge for the distinguished Lucille Clifton Poetry Award.
Her poetry has been widely choreographed by numerous dance companies including Danca Nova at Colorado Naropa Institute for the Arts, The Chuck Davis African-American Dance Company at the Kennedy Center, Miami City Ballet, Two Near the Edge, and Choreo Dance. Jaki is excited about her latest choreo-collaboration with Murmurations Dance for Birthing Bodies.