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Meet the Flash Team

.....And contact us! Like something we wrote? Don't like it? Have an event you think we should know about? An opinion? Let us know. The Dance Insider position of each person below follows his or her name. To find the biography of and any contact info for the person you want, just click on his or her name in the following list! Please click here to e-mail us about subscribing or advertising.

Paul Ben-Itzak, Editor, Publisher, and Advertising Director
Eileen Darby, Advertising Consultant
Robin Hoffman, Illustrator
Darrah Carr, Senior Artistic Advisor and Critic
Christine Chen, Guest Columnist
Alicia Mosier Chesser, Senior Critic
Peggy Cheng, Flash Reviewer
Alison D'Amato, Flash Reviewer
Beliz Demircioglu, Flash Reviewer
Chris Dohse, Senior Critic
Maura Nguyen Donohue, Senior Critic and Correspondent at Large
Lisa Kraus, Flash Reviewer
Josephine Leask, London Bureau Chief and Senior Critic
Tom Patrick, Senior Critic
Faith Pilger, Flash Reviewer and Cabaret Specialist
Anna Arias Rubio, Flamenco Editor
Philip W. Sandstrom, Contributing Editor
Chloe Smethurst, Melbourne Bureau Chief
Gus Solomons jr, Senior Critic
Aimee Ts'ao, Critic
Laurie Uprichard, Special Correspondent
Victoria Watts, Critic

PAUL BEN-ITZAK, Editor & Publisher. A foreign correspondent since 1978, Paul co-founded the Dance Insider & Arts Voyager in 1998 after previously writing for Reuters, the Village Voice when it was good, the New York Times, Newsday, Associated Press, Anchorage Daily News, Atlantic City Press, and many others. In 2000 Paul opened the Dance Insider's bureau in Paris, and since then has frequently travelled to the French capital as well as the Dordogne department of SW France, also travelling to 21 states in the U.S. in his search for the best in performing and fine arts. He added the Arts Voyager to the Dance Insider's portfolio in 2010, and launched Art Investment News in 2012. Paul made his New York stage debut in the lead role of Weston in Sam Shepard's "Curse of the Starving Class" at the Barrow Group Theater in 2011, worked as a stable boy and range chef in a horse farm on the Texas-Oklahoma border in 2012, and taught theater to children in New York and Fort Worth in 2012 and 2011. Paul is currently trying to get back to France, which he visited regularly from 2000 through 2010. To contact Paul with ideas for this as well as about advertising, sponsorship, writing, and investment opportunities with the Dance Insider & Arts Voyager and Art Investment News, click here.

ROBIN HOFFMAN, Co-Founder, danced with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, the Louisville Ballet, the Milwaukee Ballet, and the Joffrey II Dancers. A certified Labanotator, she has notated works by Paul Taylor and Bruce Marks, and reconstructed works by Doris Humphrey, Richard Englund, and Martha Graham. She recently completed a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. To see her portfolio of dance and other illustrations, click here. Contact Robin with invitations to New York City events by clicking here.

EILEEN DARBY, Advertising Consultant, is a longtime publishing and advertising professional. To e-mail Eileen, click here.

DARRAH CARR, Senior Artistic Advisor, holds an MFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Wesleyan. She is the artistic director of Darrah Carr Dance, which incorporates Irish culture into contemporary dance through music, step dance footwork, and spatial patterns. Irish America Magazine recently named Darrah one of its "Top 100 Irish Americans of the Year." Darrah Carr Dance has performed at the Harry de Jur Playhouse, the New York Fringe Festival, the Irish Arts Center, Dancenow/nyc, John Jay College, Lehman College, and the NYC Irish Dance Festival. The company has performed throughout upstate New York, at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the Yard in Martha's Vineyard, and Dublin's Bank of Ireland Arts Centre. Carr's choreography has also been presented in Japan, Canada, California, and Ohio. Darrah Carr Dance has received funding from numerous sources, including commissions from Trinity Irish Dance's Junior Company and the One World Foundation, a fellowship from Summer Stages Dance, and grants from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund and the Davenport Fund. Carr served as the assistant choreographer to Sean Curran for the TONY- award winning Broadway musical, "James Joyce's The Dead," and can be seen tapping away in "The Guru of Sex," a feature film starring Heather Graham. An adjunct professor at Hofstra University, Darrah has presented papers before the Congress on Research in Dance, and lectured at NYU's Ireland House, Wesleyan, Eastern Connecticut State University, St. John's University, and Kingsborough Community College, and teaches Irish Step Dance to adults and children throughout New York for the Niall O'Leary School of Irish Dance. She and O'Leary have performed their duet act in a variety of locations ranging from Disney World to the Osaka Festival Hall. She is also a frequent contributor to Dance Magazine. Contact Darrah about news and press conferences and with invitations to New York City events by clicking here.

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CHRISTINE CHEN, Guest Columnist, is managing director of American Repertory Ballet. Previously, she danced with Streb, a Brooklyn-based acrobatic dance company, and with San Francisco Bay Area companies Axis Dance, Flyaway Productions, Dandelion Dancetheater, Element Dance Theater, and Paufve Dance. Her performance highlights include a Cirque du Soleil production, the Late Show with David Letterman, the 2002 Salt Lake Cultural Olympiad, the Kennedy Center, and being suspended from a four-story building and an industrial crane in San Francisco. Christine holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University in Sociology, an MFA in Dance from the Ohio State University, and an MBA in Strategic Management from the University of California at Davis. She has been writing for the Dance Insider since 2000, previously serving as Senior Critic and San Francisco Correspondent, also reviewing the Paris Opera Ballet.

PEGGY CHENG, Flash Reviewer, is a founding member of Maura Nguyen Donohue / In Mixed Company, which she has worked with since 1993. Her own work has received support from a 1997 Van Lier Fellowship, Mabou Mines's Resident Artists Program. Peggy received a BA in English Literature from Vassar College and an MA in Dance Education from New York University, and is the Development Manager at Danspace Project in NYC. To contact Peggy, click here.

ALICIA MOSIER CHESSER, Senior Critic, received her ballet training from Moscelyne Larkin and Roman Jasinski, and danced with Tulsa Ballet in the early 1990s. After obtaining dual degrees in literature and philosophy from the University of Tulsa in 1998, she moved to New York City to work as a writer and magazine editor. Her writing on dance has appeared in the Village Voice, Pointe Magazine, and the Dance Insider, to which she has contributed since 2000. In 2003 she returned to Tulsa, where she is raising three children.

ALISON D'AMATO, Critic & Theater Editor, is a choreographer and performer of movement-based art. She holds an MA in Dance Theater Practice from the Laban Centre (2006) and a BA in Philosophy from Haverford College (2002). Between those two experiences she lived in Philadelphia, dancing for and learning from a number of extraordinary dance practitioners. In 2003, Alison co-founded Dead Genius Productions, a dance theater collective that created shows about old love letters, gravel, figurines and a distant future without animals. Alison has presented her solo choreography in Philadelphia, New York, London and Poland.

BELIZ DEMIRCIOGLU, Flash Reviewer, has danced for choreographers including Nacho Duato, Nicolo Fonte, Linda Tarnay, James Sutton, Candas Bas, Berrak Yedek, and Djamel Fellouche, among many others. She has also showcased her own choreography in New York and overseas. Currently Beliz choreographs and works in the area of video tracking, motion capturing and their applications in performance art. Beliz is pursuing a Master's degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at Tisch School of the Arts. More information on her work can be found by clicking here.

CHRIS DOHSE, Senior Critic, directed a dance company called Toothmother from 1988 to 1996. Based in Baltimore, the company performed extensively on the Mid-Atlantic basement and garage circuit. Since then, Chris has performed solo movement/text collages in NYC and Albuquerque and completed an MA in Performance Studies at NYU. He has danced in the work of many artists, including Lise Brenner, Marta Renzi, and Kathy Wildberger. His writing has also been published in Dance Magazine, New York Press, the Village Voice, Movement Research Performance Journal, and the New York Times. His most recent choreography was a trio, "rongwrong," commissioned and performed by Haphazard in 2003. Chris writes under the close supervision of a feline associate.To contact Chris, click here.

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MAURA NGUYEN DONOHUE, Critic and Correspondent at Large, is artistic director of Maura Nguyen Donohue / In Mixed Company, a NYC-based performance troupe. Her work has toured across the US and to Canada, Europe and Asia. She is artistic advisor for Dance Theater Workshop's Mekong Project and has collaborated with artists in and from Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. She has also served as Asian Bureau Chief for the Dance Insider. Maura has also written for American Theater Journal and the NY State Danceforce.

HARRIS GREEN, Senior Critic, Retired, has been observing and writing about dance, music and theater in New York City since 1957. He joined Dance Magazine in 1990, but refused to follow it to Oakland, the Dance Capital of the World. He is currently a floating copy editor of and occasional contributor to Macfadden Performing Arts Media publications.

LISA KRAUS, Flash Reviewer, is a veteran of New York's downtown dance scene and a committed dance educator who began writing to chronicle her teaching of Trisha Brown's "Glacial Decoy" to the Paris Opera Ballet. Her web log "Decoy Among the Swans" appeared in the Summer/Fall '04 Contact Quarterly. Her writing for that web log and for another, Writing My Dancing Life has led her to assignments for the Dance Insider, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Dance Magazine. Lisa's most recent choreographic work, "50 Moves," premiered in the '03 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, was seen at Movement Research at the Judson Church in New York, and was hailed for its "sheer joy in movement" in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Containing 50 all-time favorite moves from a lifetime of dancing, the piece spawned "Tracing Lineage," a lecture-demonstration currently being adapted for video. Lisa has created over 30 performance works, several with her former company featuring John Jasperse, Sasha Waltz and Meg Stuart. She has received Choreographers' Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts and her work has been presented throughout the US, Europe and Australia. Currently on the faculty of Swarthmore College, Ms. Kraus received a 2004 Rocky, Philadelphia's Dance and Performance Award, for her teaching in the Philadelphia dance community. She was on the faculty of the European Dance Development Center in Arnhem, the Netherlands, for a decade and has been a faculty member at New York University and the Naropa University. She enjoys teaching master classes and repertory as a guest artist and has been invited most recently by Bennington College, Bryn Mawr, Dickinson College, Franklin and Marshall, and the Trisha Brown Dance Company.

JOSEPHINE LEASK, European Bureau Chief and Senior Critic, has been writing about dance and art for nearly ten years and while focusing on the British and European dance scene, in 2001-2002 became acquainted with what was going on in New York, where she lived for 18 months and interned at the Village Voice. In addition to her work on the Dance Insider, she currently contributes to Dance Theatre Journal (London) and Ballet International (Berlin) and is also a lecturer in Cultural Studies on the BA (Hons) degree course at the London Studio Centre, University of the Arts, London. Her performance career includes a variety of collaborations with choreographers, poets and visual artists in London venues and two years dancing as an MJ (Movement Jockey) and staging performance events in clubs in Helsinki, London, Berlin and Salzburg. If you would like to know more about MJing or anything else please contact Josephine by clicking here.

TOM PATRICK, Senior Critic, was a valued member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1989 to 1999, dancing principal roles in numerous works such as "Company B" (the 'Bugle Boy') "Last Look," "Syzygy," "Speaking In Tongues," and "Musical Offering," among others. Currently Rehearsal Director for Taylor 2, Tom has taught in NYC and abroad for the Taylor school, and has conducted choreography and repertory workshops in Chile, Portugal, and the US. Mr. Patrick has represented the Taylor Company in guest appearances in Brazil, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and numerous New York venues. He appears in several dance films and videos, including Paul Taylor's Emmy-winning "Speaking In Tongues" and the Oscar-nominated documentary feature "Dancemaker." As a writer, Tom has contributed a few dozen Flash Reviews to the Dance Insider, including, before he resumed working for the Taylor organization, annual coverage of the Taylor New York seasons. An avid journal-writer for over two decades, he also has worked in the theatrical wardrobe and technical fields, and sporadically continues to develop discreet and functional kneepads for performers. Mr. Patrick's choreographies have been presented in New York, North Carolina, New Mexico, Portugal and Italy, and he is on the faculty of the Jillana School in Taos Ski Valley each summer. To contact Tom, click here.

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FAITH PILGER, Flash Reviewer and Cabaret Specialist, is a professional dancer, choreographer, producer and overall art-whore. She performs with various choreographers and creates her own work whenever possible. She also trains some wonderful clients at Crunch. Visit her at www.pilger.com/faith.

ANNA ARIAS RUBIO, Flamenco Editor, began her training in dance and music at age four. After training in ballet with Margarita DeSaa and John White at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet, she started studying modern dance in her early teens with Joan Kerr and Susan Hess. Anna moved to San Francisco in 1982, continuing her modern training with several teachers, including Lucas Hoving and Ed Mock, and commencing her flamenco studies with Rosa Montoya (of the important Montoya Gypsy clan) and with the late Maestro Cruz Luna. By 1986 she was a member of Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco under the direction of Miguel Santos and Adela Clara, performing throughout the Bay Area. In 1991 she returned to Philadelphia and became a member of the Flamenco Ole company under the direction of Julia Lopez and Carlos Rubio (no relation), performing, teaching and giving lecture demonstrations around the country. Anna and her husband, flamenco guitarist Tito Rubio, spent two years in Spain before returning to Philadelphia, where they now teach at the University of the Arts and perform throughout the area with their group Flamenco del Encuentro and their Flamenco and Middle-Eastern fusion group Herencia Arabe. Anna was awarded an Artistic Fellowship for the year 2001 from the Independence Foundation and a Leeway Grant for 2004, and Tito was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for 2004. They recently returned from a long summer in Spain, where Anna continued her studies with La Chiqui de Jerez, Javier Latorre, Juan Polvillo and Israel and Pastora Galvan.

PHILIP W. SANDSTROM, Contributing Editor, has been active in dance producing and design for dance in NYC since 1979. He has designed lighting for the performing arts, the visual arts, and architecture. Known as one of the most prolific designers of downtown dance, Sandstr?m has designed the lighting for hundreds of choreographic premieres in almost every dance venue in New York City. His extensive lighting work for dance, theater, and performance art has ranged from the novice to the emerging to the famous, covering the many genres of the Off and Off-Off Broadway scene. In creating original designs on the national and international touring circuits he has worn paths through Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Boston, Minneapolis, Washington, DC, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, and Russia. His work in television includes broadcasts by Dance in America and Metro Arts. He is the recipient of three New York Dance and Performance (a.k.a. Bessie) Awards for Lighting Design. As the director of operations and production at Dance Theater Workshop, he developed a gimlet eye for dance and honed his expertise at dance producing in thousands of productions. As a writer for Dance Insider, his contributions in the arena of criticism have evolved to include his unique experiences as a dance collaborator and a dance producer. His reviews often embody his background in design, assessing its reflection upon the dance as well as the prowess of the dance itself. He received his MFA in Lighting Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

CHLOE SMETHURST, Melbourne Bureau Chief, graduated with a Bachelor of Dance from the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. During college she performed in pieces by Becky Hilton, Anna Smith, Natalie Cursio and Byron Perry, as well in as the Green Room award-winning piece "Kwacko" by Brett Daffy. Since graduating, Chloe has freelanced on several independent projects in Melbourne, as well as working as an understudy and performer with Tasdance. Since 2003 Chloe has been studying towards a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management, while continuing to be involved with the dance world and reviewing performances for The Age and the Dance Insider. Contact Chloe at chloe@danceinsider.com.

GUS SOLOMONS JR, Senior Critic, Retired, dances (Nathan Trice/Rituals, Alan Danielson, Complexions, Johannes Wieland, others), makes dances (PARADIGM, Solomons Company/Dance), teaches dance (Associate Arts Professor at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts; VA Commonwealth Univ.; SEAD, Salzburg; Silesian Dance Festival, Poland; et al), writes about dance (in addition to the Dance Insider, for the New York Times, Dance Magazine, Gay City News, Chronicle for Higher Education, et al); loves pockets, puzzles, and buildings (Bach. of Architecture degree from M.I.T.); danced in the companies of Pearl Lang, Donald McKayle, Martha Graham, and Merce Cunningham; is a frequent arts council panelist (various U.S. state councils); bicycles everywhere; created the title role in Donald Byrd's "The Harlem Nutcracker," and currently directs the repertory trio PARADIGM: Carmen de Lavallade, Gus Solomons jr, and Dudley Williams in Concert. In 2000, Solomons won a Bessie (New York Dance and Performance Award) for Sustained Achievement in Choreography; in 2001, was awarded the first annual Robert A. Muh Award from his alma mater, M.I.T., as a distinguished artist alumnus; and in 2004 received the Balasraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beineke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, given by the American Dance Festival..

AIMEE TS'AO, West Coast Bureau Chief and Senior Critic, Retired, has been dancing since before she can even remember. Her mother claims that, much to her discomfort, pirouettes in utero were a daily occurrence. Since the age of three, Ts'ao hasn't stopped dancing, except to write about it. Besides being a Dance Insider stalwart since its inception, she has written articles for Dance Magazine and was the dance critic for the Bay Area Reporter from 1998-2000. As a dancer, she has performed the gamut, from "Swan Lake" to "HAIR," dancing with a variety of companies including Belgium's Ballet de Wallonie, the Ballet de la Cite in Paris, San Francisco Dance Spectrum, and San Francisco Opera Ballet. Prior to extensive training in the Vaganova method with teachers Heinz Mannigel, Larisa Sklyanskaya and Svetlana Afanasieva, Ts'ao was a student of Hector Zaraspe. She also studied Limon technique with Aaron Osborn and Butoh with Hiroko Tamano. She has been an artist-in-residence, teaching ballet at the San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) and has taught at several SF Bay Area studios. Ts'ao has choreographed a dozen pieces, but unless she wins big in the lottery, doubts that she will continue in that vein. She lives on Potrero Hill in San Francisco with her son and four cats and finds gardening to be the best therapy. Contact Aimee at aimee@danceinsider.com.

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LAURIE UPRICHARD, Special Correspondent, is currently associate producer at Quaternaire in Paris. She served as director of the Dublin Dance Festival from 2007 to 2011, overseeing its transition to an annual festival and expanding its audience and local outreach. From 1992 to 2007, Uprichard was executive director of Danspace Project in New York City. She served as managing director of Urban Bush Women in 1991-92 and as the company's producing director until January 1996. From 1984 to 1991, she was associated with Dance Theater Workshop, serving from 1988 as managing director and co-producer. She was a staff member in various programs at the New York State Council on the Arts between 1973 and 1981. In addition, she toured briefly as company manager with Meredith Monk/The House. A former dancer, she performed with Kei Takei's Moving Earth for five years, as well as with Irene Feigenheimer, Barbara Roan, and Wendy Woodson. Ms. Uprichard currently serves on the board of directors of Danspace Project; has twice served on the board of Dance/USA, chairing its presenters council from 2002 to 2004; and has served as a board member of Movement Research. She holds an M.B.A. with a concentration in Marketing from the American University and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Miami. She is a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in the French Ministry of Culture and received a 2008 New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award for her service to the field.

VICTORIA WATTS, London Correspondent and Critic, works in the Faculty of Education at the Royal Academy of Dance, and has previously taught at Ohio State University, and in the women's studies program at George Mason University. She received her MFA in Dance from Ohio State University as the recipient of a Fulbright Award, and recently received a fellowship from the Social Science Research Council, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation, for preliminary research on her doctoral dissertation in cultural studies. Throughout all her academic endeavours she has maintained her practice as a dance teacher, regularly contributing to the work of The Jackie Palmer Stage School.