Spring 2016 Project: Gaga/Dada


Yale Dance Theater’s spring 2016 project will investigate the creation of new work using Gaga as the language for the process. Led by artists Saar Harari and Lee Sher, the project will culminate in an open rehearsal on April 2nd and a public performance on April 3rd at the Yale University Art Gallery.


Developed over many years by choreographer Ohad Naharin, Gaga has become highly influential in international contemporary dance and performance. Gaga “…deepens dancers’ awareness of physical sensations, expands their palette of available movement options, enhances their ability to modulate their energy and engage their explosive power, and enriches their movement quality with a wide range of textures.”[1]


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Saar Harari was born on a farm in Israel to an artistic family and danced until the age of 18.  At that age, he joined the Israeli Army and served as a commanding officer in the special forces for 6 years. At the age of 24, he left the Army and returned to the dance world, dancing with few israelis choreographers. After 2 years he created his first work as an independent choreographer for a dance festival at Suzann Dalal Center in Tel Aviv. In 2000, he established LeeSaar The Company with  Lee Sher. In February 2004, Saar moved to New York City with LeeSaar the Company and received an American green card for extraordinary achievement in the art of dance. A Six Point Fellow 2007-09, Guggenheim Fellow 2008, and NYFA Fellow 2008, Saar is a Gaga teacher and also manages the Gaga activities in the US.


Lee Sher began her acting career at the age of seven, performing on Israeli television.  At the age of 15, she was accepted to the High School of Arts in Tel Aviv.  Lee joined the Israeli Army at 18, and served in the parachuters unit.  Following her Army service, Lee studied at the three-year acting studio of Nisan Native in Tel Aviv. She received scholarships from the American-Israeli Foundation with excellence between the years 1998-2000. In 2000, Lee established LeeSaar The Company with Saar Harari. The Company received a scholarship from the Mosman Art Gallery in Sydney, Australia, where she wrote and directed the play, “Ester.”  The play was selected to open the spring season of the City Hall Theater of Tel Aviv and was performed there for two years. Lee moved to New York City with LeeSaar the Company, and received the American green card for extraordinary achievement in the performing arts. A NYFA fellow in choreography, Lee worked as physical director on the Miracle worker revival on Broadway. She is also a Gaga teacher.



The Company:

Liam Appelson is from Mt. Tremper, NY and is currently a Freshman in Silliman College. He has been dancing for ten years, training mainly in Horton technique. This is his first experience with Gaga.

Eva Albalghiti is a junior in Davenport majoring in Environmental Engineering. She grew up in the DC area and received several years of ballet training before coming to Yale. This is her third year dancing with Yale Dance Theater, and she is very grateful for this extraordinary opportunity to expand her understanding of what dance can do. She is also a proud member of A Different Drum Dance Company.

Olivia Facini is a freshman at Yale but likes to consider herself a veteran in the dance world, since she has been dancing from the precocious age of two. Passionate about the liberal, performing, and visual arts, she is super excited to be able to combine her many loves as part of such an exciting project for YDT!

Nicole Feng began her dance training in classical ballet and has since dabbled in a variety of dance forms. In 2015, she had the opportunity to study at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, conducting independent research on the Gaga movement language. At Yale, she is a senior studying the History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health and has danced with Rhythmic Blue and Yaledancers.

Mary Chandler Gwin is a sophomore in Saybrook majoring in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry.  She began training in ballet but has primarily studied modern, specifically Hawkins and Bartenieff technique. On campus, Mary Chandler is Business Manager for A Different Drum Dance Company. This is her first time exploring Gaga, and she is ecstatic to engage in her second project with YDT!

Nailah Harper-Malveaux

Elizabeth Quander ’16 has participated in Yale Dance Theater projects throughout her time as an undergraduate at Yale, performing works by Merce Cunningham, Reggie Wilson, Akram Khan, and Alvin Ailey. Elizabeth expects to graduate this spring with a B.A. in Philosophy. She is grateful for the ongoing support she receives from her teachers, her friends, and her family.

Mariel Pettee is a PhD candidate in Physics at Yale specializing in high-energy particle physics. As a choreographer and performer, she also uses theatre and dance work to investigate the intersection of art and science. Following her experience working with Arts@CERN, the artist residency program at the world’s largest particle accelerator, Mariel developed Symmetry Breaking, a multimedia performance installation exploring concepts in particle physics that premiered at Harvard in 2014. She was a choreographer-in-residence at Harvard University’s Dance Center in 2014. As a performer, Mariel was awarded the Judge’s Award for Acting at the 2012 International Student Drama Festival (Sheffield, UK). AB, Harvard; MA, University of Cambridge.

Zoe Reich-Aviles is honored to participate in her third YDT project. She is a senior studying Religion and Ecology, but dance is her real area of study (shhh). Having fallen in love with Gaga this past summer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, she couldn’t think of a better send off for her last semester at Yale!

Naomi Roselaar (coordinator, TD ’17) grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin where she danced with the Makaroff Youth Ballet. On campus Naomi dances with A Different Drum Dance Company and studies Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She is the director of research for the Hypertension Awareness and Prevention Program at Yale (HAPPY), and works at the Yale Stem Cell Center.  This is her third project with Yale Dance Theater and her second year as student coordinator.

Brittany Stollar (MC ’17, YSPH ’18) is an Anthropology major from New York City. A life-long lover of dance, she is very happy to have found in Yale Dance Theater a place to explore different techniques and movement styles. On campus, Brittany is involved with the Yale Global Health Fellows, the Racial and Ethnic Openness Club, the Heritage Theater Ensemble, and the Morse College Junior Class Coordinators. This is her second year with YDT.

Holly Taylor (coordinator, DC ’17) is an American Studies major with a concentration in performance culture. She began her training with JUMP! Dance company, focusing on choreography and site-specific performance, in her hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. On campus, Holly is the Artistic Director for A Different Drum Dance Company, a student-run modern dance group. This is her third project with Yale Dance Theater, and her second year as student coordinator. She is thrilled to be a part of YDT’s collaborative investigation again this spring.

Kathleen Voight, from Miami, Florida, is a freshman in Jonathan Edwards. She is planning to major in art and potentially Mathematics & Philosophy. She danced from a young age, primarily ballet, but had to stop before entering high school. She is excited to be back in the dance community, exploring new styles of dance.


Guest Artists from Elm City Dance Collective:

Lindsey Bauer is a dancer artist, teacher and choreographer. She is a co-founder and Programming Director of Elm City Dance Collective, a non-profit dance organization in New Haven.  Lindsey is also a member of the dance department faculty at Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School.

Kellie Lynch is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Elm City Dance Collective in New Haven and has been choreographing, teaching and developing a vision for the organization since it’s inception in 2008. She is a New Haven-based dancer who has been dancing and touring nationally with Adele Myers and Dancers since 2008 and Doug Elkins Choreography, Etc. since 2010. With both companies, she has toured across the US and abroad, making stops at venues such as American Dance Festival, Jacob’s Pillow, The Joyce Theater, WhiteBird Dance, Bates Dance Festival and many more. Kellie has received artist fellowships in choreography from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, and her work has been commissioned, produced and performed throughout New England. In the last several years, she has received recognition awards from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven, Rhode Island College, Smith College and Bates Dance Festival. In addition to performing and making work, Kellie also teaches dance and has served on the faculty of Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Springfield College, Connecticut College and Wesleyan University. Kellie holds a Bachelor of Arts in dance performance from Rhode Island College and a Master of Fine Arts in dance performance and choreography from Smith College. When Kellie is not dancing, she can be found teaching Pilates at Aldrich Pilates in downtown, New Haven.

Samantha B. Russell attended Purchase College, State University of New York as a undergraduate student of their dance conservatory program (‘07-‘08) and continued her education at Appalachian State University (’08-’11) where she obtained a Bachelors of Fine Art in Dance Studies and a Bachelors of Science in Technical Photography. During her final year at Appalachian State Samantha became a certified, third generation, Classical Pilates instructor and now teaches at Aldrich Pilates in New Haven, CT.  Samantha is a founding member of the non-profit Defero Dance Collective, located in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina with whom she still performs with today.  She has been dancing with the local non-profit Elm City Dance Collective (ECDC) since her move to New Haven in June of 2014.  Samantha has taught for Yale’s dance company A Different Drum (three semesters) and is currently teaching community dance classes for Elm City Dance Collective.  She is in the midst of completing her Gyrokinesis Level 1 certification which she plans to complete Summer of 2016.

Millie VandenBroek has performed with ECDC since 2008. Prior to that she danced with BosmaDance in Washington DC and also holds two certifications in yoga instruction. When not dancing or spending time with her husband and two young sons, Millie is the Howard Udell Fellow at the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, where she represents low-income Veterans in their disability rights matters. Millie did not start dancing seriously until after becoming a lawyer, when she found that each made her better at the other, and dancing made her happier in all things. Millie is a resident of New Haven and loves this awesome small city.