Jeremy McQueen (Artistic Director & Choreographer of The Black Iris Project), is an award-winning choreographer, dedicated to story-telling rooted in experience and social engagement. His work aims to create spaces of comfort, solace, and connection through reflection—a sharing of observations of what is going on around him. 

Born and raised in San Diego, California, McQueen is a graduate of The Ailey School/Fordham University, B.F.A. in dance program. At the age of eight McQueen saw a production of The Phantom of the Opera and was immediately drawn to the arts. That same year he began studying music and theater. At the age of 11 he started his training in dance at the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. McQueen has also trained as a scholarship recipient in the schools of American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. 

McQueen was a 2013 recipient of the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago’s Choreographers of Color Award and two-time finalist of the Capezio Award for Choreographic Excellence. His work has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, SummerStage in Central Park, Jacob’s Pillow Dance’s Inside/Out series, Dancers Responding to AIDS’ Fire Island Dance Festival, and more. As a performer, McQueen appeared in the Broadway national tours of Wickedand The Color Purple in addition to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall and Metropolitan Opera’s productions of Die FledermausAidaLes Contes d’Hoffmann, and Don Giovanni

McQueen cites two influential instructors as a source for his work and creative energy, Donald Robinson and Kazuko Hirabayashi. From Mr. Robinson, McQueen learned his guiding principle of discipline, doing what you know you’re supposed to do even when no one is there to make sure you do it. At a time when McQueen was in a struggle trying to make his way as a dancer, Ms. Hirabayashi told him to choreograph about it. It is in the craft of story- telling and making a way for yourself through discipline and focus that McQueen was led to start The Black Iris Project, a creation of space for other like-minded artists to reflect their experiences.

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Savon Bartley is an international spoken word poet, award winning writer, and a teaching artist with a passion for storytelling. He has performed at The Apollo Theater, MTV UK, NYC Town Hall; worked with The Wu Tang Clan, The Black Panthers, Russell Simmons; has been featured in The New York Times, Slate Magazine, The Odyssey, AFROPUNK; has been a featured performer/speaker at The United Nations, Yale University, New York University' has been awarded Social Impact Media Award (Nominated), CTLPDX International Environmental Film Festival (Best In Festival), Climate Action Film Fest (First Place). Savin was born an only child in North Chicago, IL and is currently based in NYC teaching poetry and creative writing. He is co host of Subjectivity UK.


Montana is a theatre designer from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His grandmother, a lampshade artisan, inspired an early fascination with fabric, color, and beauty. Montana is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (B.M. Oboe Performance), Oberlin College (B.A. History), Brown University (M.A. Public Humanities), and the Yale School of Drama (M.F.A. Design). Prior to attending Yale, he was the Robert L. Tobin Curatorial Fellow at the McNayArt Museum in San Antonio, Texas. Montana designed the world premiere of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' WAR, The Visit, The Winter's Tale, Kate Tarker'sTHUNDERBODIES, and a number of shows at the Yale Cabaret. He is the inaugural recipient of the Fellowship for the Study of the Public History of Slavery (Brown), the Presidential Public Service Fellowship (Yale), and the Donald & Zorka Oenslager Scholarship for Stage Design.


Angelica Chéri is a playwright, musical theatre bookwriter/lyricist, screenwriter and poet. She is currently an I AM SOUL Playwright Fellow at the National Black Theatre, developing Crowndation; I Will Not Lie to David, Part Three of The Prophet’s Cycle. The Sting of White Roses, Part Two of the Prophet’s Cycle, was produced at the North Carolina Black Repertory Company for a limited run and encored in the 2017 National Black Theatre Festival. Part One of the Prophet’s Cycle, The Seeds of Abraham, was produced at the Billie Holiday Theatre and workshopped at the Pershing Square Signature Center, under the mentorship of playwright Lynn Nottage. Other works include Berta, Berta, a full-length play—Finalist for the 2017 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; Staged readings at the National Black Theatre, the hERD Podcast Series at Elephant Run District and Rough Readings Series at Playwrights Foundation. Slow Gin Fits, a short play—Produced in the Fire This Time Festival. Gun & Powder, a musical (music by collaborator Ross Baum)—Chosen out of 170 submissions to participate in the Sigworks Lab at the Signature Theatre in Arlington Virginia this summer; Featured in Lincoln Center’s Broadway Future Songbook concert series; Inaugural workshop production of the NYU Center for New Musicals. The Yin and The Yang—Columbia University workshop production. A Letter to Auntie Rosa, a short children’s play (also with Baum)—Commissioned by Diverging Elements Theatre Company. Angelica has had residencies at Goodspeed Opera and Two River Theater, written for the Obie Award- winning 48 Hours in Harlem Festival and appointed Master Playwright for the Frank Silvera Writer’s Workshop Inaugural 3in3 Playwright Festival. She and collaborator Ross Baum were commissioned to write and compose the official anthem of the National Children’s Theater of South Africa. Commissioned by Peppercorn Theatre at Kaleideum, Angelica is also currently developing a new children’s play inspired by the life of Dr. Maya Angelou. Angelica’s original TV pilot Derailed was a semi-finalist for the Showtime Tony Cox Episodic Screenplay Competition for the 2017 Nantucket Film Festival. Angelica received her BA in Theatre from UCLA, MFA in Playwriting from Columbia University and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from NYU.


Lauren is a San Francisco born, New York-based philanthropist, dancer, instructor and choreographer.  As founder and director of Humans Collective, a dance, philanthropy & art company, Lauren has partnered with the New York dance community to help support the higher education of children from the Rock Orphanage in Hyderabad, India.  Dance Spirit Magazine refers to Humans Collective as "Dance Philanthropy at its Finest". Lauren started her dance career at the age of 7, competing nationally as a Rhythmic Gymnast and since then has studied and performed in Hip-Hop, Street Jazz, Ballet, Jazz/Contemporary, Samba/Afro-Brazilian, Haitian Cultural Dances and Improvisation.  She has appeared on The View, Saturday Night Live, America's Got Talent and performed with Pharrell, Alicia Keys, Joey Yung (Hong Kong) and many more. Her choreography has been showcased in venues around New York such as Ailey Citigroup Theater, Symphony Space, Broadway Dance Center, Joffrey Ballet School, Funkbox NYC and Broadway Underground at BB Kings in Times Square. With a strong family background, Lauren strives to be a positive influence to the world around her by bringing people together and to experience fully the gifts she has been blessed with.


Sophia Dawson, 30, is a Brooklyn based visual artist who has dedicated her life’s work to exposing the stories and experiences of individuals who are striving to overcome the injustices they face both individually and collectively.  By raising awareness of these individuals she aims to humanize social justice issues and to prevent such experiences from being repeated in the future.  She holds a bachelors degree in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts and a masters degree in visual arts administration from New York University.  Her work has recently been exhibited in Rush Arts Gallery and the Bronx Museum for the Arts.  She is currently a participant of the Whitney Museum's Independent Studio program.  Some of the subjects of her work include mothers who have lost their children to police brutality both past and present, the Central Park 5, and political prisoners from the Black Liberation movement that are still incarcerated within the United States.


Melika Dez (Photographer) is a young photographer based in Montreal, Canada. She specializes in movement photography, specifically in ballet and circus. Gymnast and professional dancer of training, she pursued her studies in photography at Cégep du Vieux Montreal and discovered her true passion. For several years, she had devoted herself to fashion photography and portraiture, working with major brands such as ELLE Québec, H & M Canada and several American urban dance companies. It is only in 2016 that she decided to dedicates herself entirely to dance photography. Her work leads her to travel around the world. Her body of work is often photographed in the heart of the largest cities in the world, among others, New York, Rome and Paris. Behind the lens, she captures the movements of internationally renowned dancers working for prestigious companies such as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, National Ballet, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Cirque du Soleil.


Pianist, Aaron Diehl, is one of the most sought after jazz virtuosos, consistently playing with what The New York Times describes as "melodic precision, harmonic erudition, and elegant restraint." Diehl's meticulously thought-out performances, collaborations, and compositions are a leading force in today's generation of jazz contemporaries, spearheading a distinct union of traditional and fresh artistry. Diehl's new album on Mack Avenue Records, Space, Time, Continuum, emphasizes the artistic collaborations between generations. Establishing the jazz language as a continuum uniting artists, the album includes performances by NEA Jazz Master Benny Golson (tenor saxophone) and Duke Ellington Orchestra alumnus Joe Temperley (baritone saxophone), alongside Diehl's other established trio—Quincy Davis (drums) and David Wong (bass). The majority of the album consists of Diehl's original compositions. The title track, featuring vocalist Charenee Wade, was co-written by Cécile McLorinSalvant.

Aaron Diehl is a graduate of the Juilliard School, where he studied with Kenny Barron, Eric Reed, and OxanaYablonskaya. Residing in Harlem, he enjoys spending time in the sky when he isn't on tour or recording.


Alan is based in New York and has had the pleasure of casting light on, and in some cases creating the environment for, the following shows: Regional: Stagger Lee [world premiere], The Mountaintop (Dallas Theatre Center); Fingersmith [world premiere] (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Deathtrap, The Mystery of Irma Vep (Berkshire Theatre Group); The Piano Lesson, A Delicate Balance (Yale Rep); Acis & Galatea (Madison Opera); Carmen (Tri-Cities Opera); Suor Angelica & Curlew River (Simpson Opera). Off & Off-Off-Broadway: Bones in the Basket (Araca Project); Son of a Gun (Theatre Row); The King's Whore (Walkerspace); Holding It Down (Harlem Stage); lllmatic (Urban Stages); Carnaval (National Black Theatre); The Tempest, Dutchman (Classical Theatre of Harlem). He received his MFA in design from the Yale School of Drama in 2011 and had the wonderful opportunity to work as the associate to Jennifer Tipton on The Testament of Mary on Broadway in 2013.

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Ms. Genn is currently on the ballet faculty of the Juilliard School. She also instructs professional ballet company classes at The Metropolitan Opera, Dance Theater of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jessica Lang Dance and Ballet Hispanico, In addition she taught at Cedar Lake Contemporary Dance since its inception. Ms. Genn coaches professional ballet dancers, which include dancers from the San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater, The Dutch National Ballet, Berlin Ballet, The Washington Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, and Dance Theater of Harlem. Ms. Genn is also a Dance Rehabilitation Specialist who works one on one with professional ballet dancers recovering from injuries and surgery.



As an Artist and Athlete Moody uses his abilities to provoke thought while aiming to break the myth that one is either an athlete or artist. Through artistic expression he bring awareness to social, economical and worldly issues. Jon Moody's goal is to inspire not only other athletes, but everyone to become global ambassadors for change.




Born in Lorain, Ohio and growing up in nearby Elyria, Carman Moore earned his Bachelor of Music Degree at Ohio State University before moving to New York City, where he studied composition privately with Hall Overton and at the Juilliard School with Luciano Berio and Vincent Persichetti where he earned his Masters Degree with distinction. Moore then began composing for symphony and chamber ensembles while writing lyrics for pop songs, gradually adding opera, theatre, dance and film scores to his body of work. Carman Moore has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Well-known as a composer for dance, Carman Moore served from 1986-1995 as Master Composer and Co-director of the American Dance Festival's Young Choreographers and Composers Residency Program.  Among his scores for dance are Goddess of the Waters, choreographed by Alvin Ailey for the Ballet Company of La Scala;  Memories for Anna Sokolow ; Salon for Garth Fagan; and Lunar Transformations for Cleo Parker Robinson, among others.

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Mondo Morales, a graduate of Marymount Manhattan College, has spent his post collegiate years shaping and shifting the costume design field. His background in both dance and styling is apparent in his work; His costumes move effortlessly with their wearer and embody New York City’s style, merging urban fashion with contemporary dance-wear. He has costumed for artists such as The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Marymount Manhattan College, The Steps Ensemble, Jennifer Archibald, The Fosse Foundation, Hope Boykin, Earl Mosley, Sonya Tayeh, Pascal Rioult and Jeremy McQueen, among others. Mondo acted as The Alvin Ailey School’s Costume Coordinator/Wardrobe Supervisor from 2012-2015 and is currently on faculty at Marymount Manhattan College as their Costume Coordinator. In addition, Mondo works as a photo stylist and art director, collaborating with dance artists such as Sidra Bell, Jeremy McQueen, and Christian Von Howard, and photographers such as Jaqi Medlock, Jubal Battisti and Matthew Murphy. Mondo’s most recent solo work, “Skinetic Moments”, was presented at G Lounge and ALOFT Hotel Harlem and showcased a series of images exploring color and paint as dancers’ apparel. In Feb of 2018, Mondo will release his first collection named ONYX. This collection is featured in a short film by Angelo Soriano and choreographer Angelica Stiskin.


Jermaine Terry (Washington, DC) began his dance training in Kissimmee at James Dance Center. He graduated cum laude with a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from the University of South Florida, where he received scholarships for excellence in performance and choreography. Mr. Terry was a scholarship student at The Ailey School and a member of Ailey II, and he has performed with Buglisi Dance Theatre, Arch Dance, Dance Iquail!, and Philadanco!. Mr. Terry joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 2010. Based out of NY for the past decade, Mr. Terry is an emerging costume and special occasions designer. He has designed and built costumes for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Philadanco!, Jessica Lang Dance, Dance Iquail!, Waheed Works and Eleone Dance Theater to name a few. His evening wear designs have been featured in The New York Times style section.