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Brendan Drake (flex pronouns) is a Brooklyn based choreographer who uses theatricality and disparate movement forms to create hybrid performance spectacles. He was a 2017-2018 Fresh Tracks Artist at New York Live Arts (formerly Dance Theater Workshop) a 2015 CUNY Dance Initiative resident artist through Baruch College and the recipient of a 2020 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant. His work has been presented at Danspace Project, The Brick, HERE, La MaMa, New York Live Arts, Chez Bushwick, Gowanus Loft, Industry City Distillery, Joe’s Pub, Museum for the Moving Image, The Dance Complex (Boston) and Brooklyn Studios for Dance where he was a 2017 Artist in Residence. In addition to his work for the stage, Brendan choreographed the fall 2014 “Equality = Love” campaign for Adidas Originals/Pharrell Williams. He has also served as movement coordinator on editorial shoots for Vogue, Porter, V and Elle Magazines (photographer: Ryan McGinley, Liz Collins).  Last May, Brendan co-curated with Dance and Media Artist Kate Ladenheim the digital performance series “19 Acts of COVID-19 Bravery” which was an online exhibition of works, created in isolation, responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic. He has had the pleasure of guest teaching at Columbia University, University of Massachusetts, Muhlenberg College, Gibney, and Ball State University. He was also named a 2016 “Artist to Watch” in Dance Europe Magazine. This fall, he will begin his MFA studies in Choreographic Inquiry at UCLA. 


Artist Statement

I am a dance artist using theater, performance art, satire, and movement to interrogate issues surrounding sexuality, gender expression, homophobia and power dynamics. I knit together formal and conceptual ideas such as canons (a kind of melodic imitation or echoing), mirroring and delay, and choreographic underscoring. This choreographic practice reveals tension and overlap between deep embodiment and performative formalism, between the conceptual and the actual. I actively cross-reference these concepts while layering a range of emotional experiences, from the tragic to the comic. My hyper-physical approach to generating movement (influenced by my background in Jazz and Postmodern dance forms) is regularly juxtaposed with original text, ranging from hyperbolic prose, choral chants, and naturalistic dialogue. This blurring of genre and a deliberate predelication to tragicomedy allows for malleability in my work that is crucial to my creative process. This tension between fantasy and realism onstage also generates a level of trust between performers and audiences, allowing for both provocation and pleasure. My work is at once playful and serious—but above all it is political.

Photo: Whitney Browne


QUENTIN BURLEY (performer) is a dance artist based in Brooklyn. He has spent the past few years as a freelance videographer, capturing performances ranging from downtown dance to a one-man clown show.  He is the Artistic Director of Quentin Burley Dance Group which has presented work at The Red Bean Studios and Triskelion Arts. He has also had the pleasure of performing with Dante Brown | Warehouse Dance, Brendan Drake, The Moving Architects, and The Median Movement. He hails from Youngstown, Ohio and received a BFA in Dance and a BA in Philosophy from The Ohio State University in 2013.

Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk


Quentin Burley

Kate Ladenheim


Flannery Houston

SHANNON NASH (performer) grew up dancing in Illinois, and went on to further her studies at Northern Illinois University. Her additional education includes training and dancing with P.A.R.T.S, Henny Jurriëns Stichting, Maine Island Dance Festival, David Dorfman, and ABT. She is currently performing with Emily Craver and The Little Streams, Lisa Fagan Dance Problems, Brendan Drake Choreography, and The People Movers. Shannon is also a budding carpenter at Boxart, and aspires to someday design and build sculptural elements/scenery for future performative endeavors.

Photo: Whitney Browne

Collin Ranf

Calvin Tsang

LENA ENGELSTEIN (performer) is a Brooklyn based dancer and performance artist. She currently works with Lisa Fagan, Seymour::dancecollective, and Brendan Drake while creating in collaboration with Kimiko Tanabe. She also supports dance as the House Manager at Gibney Dance Center and as a Development Associate at the Center for Arts Education.  She holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Dance from Colorado College.  

Photo: Walter Wlodarczyk


CALVIN TSANG (performer) is a performer, dance-maker, and educator. A California native, Calvin first started dancing while performing with his high school show choir. Since jazz hands and box steps, Calvin has performed and choreographed all over NYC with companies including Naganuma Dance, Morgan Kate Creative, MMDC/Mari Meade, Beth Liebowitz and Artists, Brendan Drake Choreography, Chris Herde and Dancers, Tiny Trip, and Linked Dance Theatre. Calvin received his BA in Dance from UC San Diego and has trained at the California Ballet School and The Ailey School.

Photo: Whitney Browne


MATTHEW RICKETTS  (Composer)  is a Canadian composer currently based in New York City. His music moves from extremes of presence and absence, from clamor to quietude, at once reticent and flamboyant. Matthew’s music has been noted for its “effervescent and at times prickly sounds” and “hypnotically churning exploration of melody” (ICareIfYouListen) as well as its “tart harmonies and perky sputterings” (The New York Times). He is a 2020 Gaudeamus Finalist and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow.

His works have been performed internationally by JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Flux Quartet, the Fromm Players, Quatuor Bozzini, the Chiara String Quartet; vocalists Margot Rood, Ellen Wieser, Tony Arnold, Sharon Harms and Ekmeles; Yarn/Wire, Collage New Music, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM), Wet Ink, TAK, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, Ensemble Paramirabo, Argento Ensemble, Talea Ensemble, Jean-Willy Kunz, Sara Laimon and Julia Den Boer, the Aspen Philharmonic Orchestra (Robert Spano, cond.), Esprit Orchestra (Alex Pauk, cond.), the Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä, cond.), the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Kent Nagano, cond.) and the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg. Matthew was Composer-Collaborator-In-Residence at East Carolina University from 2016-2018.

In 2018 Ricketts’ multilingual opera Chaakapesh: The Trickster’s Quest (written in collaboration with renowned Cree playwright Tomson Highway) opened the Montreal Symphony’s 84th season to great critical acclaim and went on to tour Indigenous communities throughout Québec.

Matthew is the recipient of fellowships from Civitella Ranieri (2020/2021), MacDowell (2019), the Tanglewood Music Center (2018 Elliott Carter Memorial Fellowship) and the Aspen Music Festival (2017), in addition to the 2016 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize, the 2016 Jacob Druckman Prize (Aspen Music Festival), the 2016 Mivos/Kanter Prize, the 2015 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award, a 2013 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and eight prizes in the SOCAN Foundation’s Awards for Young Composers.