Dance Faculty



Wally CardonaWally Cardona

Guest Artist, Dance

WALLY CARDONA is a choreographer/dancer/teacher living in Brooklyn. His work has been presented in the Americas, Europe and Asia, and commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Joyce Theater, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, The Kitchen, EMPAC and others. 


For several years, Cardona created large works that demanded highly controlled working conditions in order to be made. In 2009, he began to cultivate a practice of undoing by initiating intimate yet crowded collaborative conditions for his practice to mutate in proximity to others.  Works coming out of this practice include THE SET UP: ISLAND GHOST SLEEP PRINCESS TIME STORY SHOW, co-created over the span of six years with Jennifer Lacey and seven master artists who have dedicated their lives to their respective dance traditions: I Nyoman Catra (Balinese Topeng), Proeung Chhieng (Cambodian), Junko Fisher (Okinawan), Saya Lei (Mandalay-style, classical Burmese), Jean-Christophe Paré (French baroque), Kapila Venu (Indian Kutiyattam) and Heni Winahyuningsih (Javanese refined); TOOL IS LOOT, resulting from games of aesthetic disorientation, made with Lacey and composer Jonathan Bepler; Interventions 1-7, a series of encounters in which Cardona voluntarily subjected himself to the requests and opinions of “outsiders”, including a sommelier, astrophysicist, architect, social activist, and group of acousticians; Really Real, a "people piece" for 100 individuals; Revival, for 30 dancers in the abandoned upper balcony of the old Metropolitan Opera House in Philadelphia; and A Light Conversation, a physical dialogue on aesthetics vs. ethics, love, commitment and sacrifice, made with Swiss/British choreographer Rahel Vonmoos.


Awards include an inaugural Doris Duke Performing Artist Award; Asian Cultural Council Fellowship; John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship; NYFA Fellowship; Creative Capital; and a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award.  Recent residencies include Krannert Center’s Reflection Time Residency; LMCC’s Extended Life Dance Development, Robert Rauschenberg/Danspace Project’s Captiva Residency; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Creative Exchange Lab; and Vermont Performance Lab.

Nai-Ni Chen Nai Ni Headshot

Guest Artist, Dance

Nai-Ni Chen is the founder, choreographer and Artistic Director of the Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company.  Comes from a rich dance tradition she was a renowned traditional dancer in Taiwan where she was born and served on several ambassadorial culture missions to nineteen countries around the world.  An early member of the Cloud Gate Dance Theater in Taiwan, she graduated from the Chinese Cultural University in 1982 and came to America to seek her own voice in the world of contemporary dance.  Since the inception of her Company in 1988, Ms. Chen has created a wide-ranging repertory, from dances that originated thousands of years ago to highly abstract, modern works.  Touring over 20 years around the United State, her company is the premiere resource for immigrant Chinese American cross-cultural dance works for presenters across the country.

In addition to domestic touring, her company has also visited international festivals in Mexico, Canada, BVI, Guatemala, Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania, South Korea and China with support from Fund for Mutual Understanding, The President’s Committee for the Arts, Arts International and the State Department of the United States.  Ms. Chen has received Choreographer’s Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and from New Jersey State Council on the Arts.  Her work has also been commissioned by the Joyce Theater Foundation, the Lincoln Center Institute, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dancing in the Streets, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation and New Jersey Performing Art Center. 

Besides creating dances for her own Company, she has choreographed the opera Turandot for several productions and was commissioned to create work for New Jersey Ballet, Dancing Wheels Company and Ballet Met in Ohio.   She has taught master classes at colleges and universities throughout the United States and at dance festivals in Russia, Poland, Taiwan, China and Mongolia. She was invited to set her work on students in professional schools and colleges including the Ailey School in New York and Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and Long Island University in New York.  Her other teaching credit also include Mary Anthony Dance Studio, Peridance, Rutgers University, New York University and New Jersey City University.  She has been a principal affiliate artist of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center since its inception.  On television, Ms. Chen is an often-featured artist on PBS/NJN’s “State of the Arts.”  For her contribution to the community, she has won numerous awards as “Culture Ambassador” from New Jersey International Institute, NJ Organization of Chinese American and NJ Chinese American Chamber of Commerce, etc. 


Alenka Cizmesija

Adjunct Professor, Dance

Founder and Artistic Director of Art Deconstructed Dance Company, Alenka is a native of Zagreb, Croatia, where she started dancing at the Laban School for Dance at the age of 8 and continued to train and dance at the Zagreb Youth Theater. She was a guest artist with Osijek Opera House and performed with Zagreb Dance Theater. Her love of dance and pursuit of artistic voice led her to Brugge, Belgium where she graduated at the top of her class from Vlaamse Dans Academie. Upon her experience performing in venues across Belgium, Holland and Germany, she was invited to attend the Ailey School.

She has danced with numerous dance choreographers and companies including Errol Grimmes , Heidi Latsky, Carl Paris, Brian Brooks, Fred Benjamin, Matthew Rushing, Darrell Moultrie. Currently Alenka dances with Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, she is a principal dancer and rehearsal director with Earl Mosley`s Diversity of Dance, a guest artist with Nathan Trice`s Rituals and part of the Kevin Wynn Collection dance company. Her teaching assignments have included Ballet Hispanico, STEPS on Broadway, Dance New Amsterdam, and The Ailey School, Alabama Jazz Fest, company class for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

She has taught BFA students, professional dancers, actors, junior division and Ailey’s Arts in Education public school programs. She was chosen to be one of the handful selected facilitators for the national and international tour of “Revelations” the Interdisciplinary approach that brings the art of dance to communities of children that do not have the opportunity to experience dance ( London, Paris, USA). She has been on faculty at Ailey Camp NYC and Ailey Camp ATL for 5 years.

As a part of founding faculty for the Earl Mosley`s institute of the Arts in Kent, CT she teaches modern, ballet, modern partnering, yoga and is an adviser for student choreography. She has served as a rehearsal director for KHDT, and assistant to Earl Mosley with setting the work on AAADT and mentors student choreographers from Ailey school and LIU. Ms Cizmesija is also on faculty at Harlem School of the Arts . Her work has been presented at Brooklyn College and Brooklyn Youth Festival, Alabama Jazz Festival, Lab at STEPS, DUMBO Dance Festival, DNA works in progress, Benefit performances at Joyce Soho, Kent CT, Dance Gallery Festival 2011 and 2013, COOL NY Festival, DanceWave, Reverb Dance festival (2013),APAP 2013, Kumble Theater, Wassaic Art Festival. Commissions include Long Island University ,The Ailey School, Brooklyn College, Earl Mosley`s Institute for the Arts.

Ori Flomin

Ori Flomin

Guest Artist, Dance

Ori Flomin’s choreography has been presented in NYC at Gibney Dance, Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, Movement Research at Judson Church, DanceMopolitan at Joe’s Pub as well as internationally at venues in Austria, Japan, Germany , Norway, and Israel.  He created commissioned work for Zenon dance Company (Minneapolis ) SADC Tisch , NYU (NYC), LIU (NYC), The Place (London), Purchase Dance Company, The Barnard Project at Dance Theater Workshop, The New School and The Dance School of Norway.

In January 2015 he premiered a collaborative duet With Swedish Choreographer Helena Franzen at Dansmuseet, Stockholm which has been touring internationally since then. Ori was the assistant to Artistic Director of Stephen Petronio Dance Company, for which he also danced from 1991-1999.

He also danced with Neil Greenberg, Molissa Fenley, Maria Hassabi, Kevin Wynn and Michael Clark.

Ori currently teaches at NYU, Rutgers University and LIU and is on faculty at Movement Research and Gibney Dance Center. He has been a guest faculty for Princeton University, The New School, SUNY Purchase and Barnard College in the USA and internationally for many companies and schools such as ImpulsTanz( Vienna ), P.A.R.T.S.(Brussels), Sasha Waltz Company(Berlin), Culberg Ballet(Stockholm), SEAD (Salzburg ),  London Contemporary School of Dance(London) and many more. In addition Ori is a certified Yoga teacher and Shiatsu therapist. He has been working with giving bodywork treatments for dance company's and dancers to maintain the well being of dancers and injury preventative approach to dance. For more info:

Stephanie Guiland

Stephanie Guiland

Adjunct Professor, Dance

Stephanie Guiland studied at the Joffrey Ballet School, the LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts, the Dance Theater of Harlem, with Madame Gabriela Taub-Darvash, and with the legendary jazz teacher, Frank Hatchett. Ms. Guiland’s career is impressively diverse, with appearances on national television in Star Search, and in music videos by Salt n’ Pepa, Lisa Stansfield, and Monie Love. She has also toured with Monie Love and PM Dawn. Ms. Guiland has appeared on Broadway in The Lion King and Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple, as well as its national tour where she worked as the Dance Captain, and Associate Choreographer. She is also an original company member of Complexions.

In 1992, Stephanie joined the renowned dance company Donald Byrd/The Group, beginning an extensive, long-term artistic relationship with the artist and current Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater, Donald Byrd. Along with performing Mr. Byrd’s work, Ms. Guiland has been a crucial element to perpetuating Donald Byrd’s artistic legacy: both as a teacher and as a stager of his works throughout the United States. She has been named one of three members for Mr. Byrd’s legacy team and is in the process of developing his Byrd Contemporary Technique Teaching syllabus.

Ms. Guiland is a dance educator and personal trainer. She holds certifications through ACE, Zumba, TRX, The Dance Theater of Harlem, and the American Ballet Theater Training Curriculum. Her extensive teaching credits include Long Island University, Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center, Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, and the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive. She is the founder/creator of KMABootcamp/KMABodyBallet.


Natiya Kezevadze 

Adjunct Professor, Ballet

Natiya was born in Tbilisi, the Republic of Georgia, where she began her professional ballet training at V. Chabukiani State Ballet School. At age thirteen, she was afforded the privilege of being accepted to the Vaganova Academy of Russian Ballet on full scholarship and moved to St. Petersburg, Russia. Ms.Kezevadze graduated under the supervision of a professor T. Udalenkova, receiving a B.F.A. Consequently, she was invited to join Boris Eifman Dance Company. Later, she joined Ballet Classic St. Petersburg Ballet Company as a soloist and in 2004 Natiya moved to NYC to further pursue her performing career. While in NYC, she continued her training with many notable dance masters including Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Willy Burman, Milton Myers, Donald Byrd, Nathan Trice, Elisa Monte, Max Stone, Val Suarez and numerous others. As a guest artist, Natiya appeared in New York International Festival’s production “Icarus”, Ballet Builder’s “Passing Thru”, Eglevsky Ballet “Nutcracker”, Rebecca Davis “Antigone”, and Nathan Trice “Rituals”. In 2005 Natiya joined Forces of Nature Dance Theater Company under the direction of Abdel Salaam where she continues to perform as guest artist. In 2007 Natiya became became a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet (CCB) and toured extensively performing works by Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson, Igal Perry and Jae Man Joo. Today Natiya continues her relationship with CCB as an artist-in-residence performing with the company as well as conducting company classes and rehearsals. Additionally, Natiya has the pleasure of teaching both classical and contemporary ballet and her teaching experience include Complexions Summer and Winter Intensives, CCB Pre-Professional Programs, the Joffrey Experience and the Joffrey Ballet School, NYU’s Tisch, Broadway Dance Center, and STEPS on Broadway. She has also acted as an assistant to the choreographer with New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute and for Dwight Rhoden’s international production of the Great Gatsby Ballet.

Laura Peterson

Adjunct Professor, Dance 

Laura Peterson is a NYC-based dance artist and Artistic Director of Laura Peterson Choreography. The company has had residencies and commissions at the HERE Arts Center, Temple University, Queens Museum of Art, Dance New Amsterdam, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space and received two Mondo Cane! Commissions at Dixon Place. Her work, Forever was recently performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. Laura is a recipient of a choreographic fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation in Italy to create her work “The Futurist” in November and December of 2014.

Laura’s dances have been presented in NYC at venues including Dance Theater Workshop (family matters and dancenowNYC), PS 122, Danspace Project (draftworks), Symphony Space and many others. Laura’s choreography has been produced internationally in Argentina, Germany, Poland and throughout the US. Laura’s piece Everyone, a dance for 28 performers in two locations, was created for Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s (LMCC) Sitelines 2010. Her work has been performed at Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out, Philadelphia’s NEW Festival, Goose Route Dance Festival and the International Contemporary Dance Festival in Bytom, Poland. Laura has been commissioned by Pennsylvania Ballet, Hartford Ballet, DROP Dance in Boise, ID. and has made dances for Princeton University, Hunter College, NYU’s Tisch Dance Department and Lehman College.

Laura Peterson has received support from the Greenwall Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, the Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Puffin Foundation, and a Pennsylvania Arts Council Choreography Fellowship. She was a member of the HERE Artist-in-Residence Program (HARP) for the development of her work Wooden which premiered in 2011 in New York City.

Her performance credits include Julie Taymor’s film, Across The Universe, choreographed by Daniel Ezralow. She has performed with Poppo & the GoGo Boys, Risa Jaroslow & Dancers, Paule Turner’s court (Philadelphia), Group Motion Dance Co  (Philadelphia), Asimina Chremos (Chicago, Philadelphia), Eun Jung Choi (NYC), and many others.

Laura has taught dance technique, improvisation and composition at Princeton University, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Marymount Manhattan, CUNY Lehman College, Rowan University and Western Connecticut State University. She is a returning faculty member at the Balance Dance Company, a pre-professional dance company in Boise, Idaho. Laura has taught dance in NYC at Mark Morris Dance Center, Dance New Amsterdam and 100 Grand.

Laura holds an MFA in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she received a Fellowship in Dance History and a BFA with honors in Modern Dance from University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Wendy White-Sasser

Adjunct Professor, Dance

Wendy White Sasser began her dance training with the Alabama Dance Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama. She was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and was a scholarship student at the Joffrey Ballet School and a fellowship student at The Ailey School before becoming a member of Ailey II. She then went on to perform with Donald Byrd/The Group and Complexions Contemporary Ballet, under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, before joining the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. During her seven years with Ailey, she performed throughout the US, Europe and Asia in roles by many leading choreographers including Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Dwight Rhoden, Twyla Tharp, Ulysses Dove and Alonzo King. Wendy rejoined Complexions in 2008 and remained a member until 2011. Since then, Wendy has enjoyed teaching for Complexions Contemporary Ballet, the Joffrey Experience and the Gelsey Kirkland Academy as well as guesting at the French Academie of Ballet, Broadway Dance Center and with the Alabama Dance Theatre.


School of Arts and Communication