Melissa Riker is Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre. She is a New York City dancer and choreographer who emerged as a strong performance and creative voice as the NYC dance and circus worlds combined during the 90’s. Riker’s dances and aesthetic layer her training as a classical dancer, martial artist, theatre choreographer and aerial performer. She creates dances on site - and in context. Riker invents large-scale out-door performances and spontaneous moments of dance for individuals and corporate clients. Audiences and critics have called Riker’s work “a Marx Brothers’ routine with soul,” “A movable feast.” And from The New York Times, her choreography is: “comically acrobatic, gracefully classical, visually arresting.” Her work has been seen and supported nationally, San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Vermont, Florida and in New York City at such venerable venues as Danspace Project, Judson Church, Joyce Soho, The Minskoff Theatre, The Cunningham Studio, West End Theatre and Dixon Place. The company dances outside in sculpture gardens, universities, and annually since 2006 in Battery Park’s Bosque Gardens and The Cloisters Lawn as well as hosting over 30 surprise performances all over New York City and the tri-state area as an element of the company’s earned income and outreach programming with volunteer populated flashmobs. Residencies include: Earthdance 2006, Omi International Arts Center 2008, Kaatsbaan International Dance Center 2011, TheaterLab 2014, Adelphi University 2014. Ms. Riker is a 2016 and 2017 CDI Residency Fellow, 2015 LMCC Community Arts Fund grantee and was commissioned by The Brooklyn Botanic Garden for a surprise large-scale work. Performances of the Company’s work Secrets and Seawalls were seen at Omi International Arts Center, LongHouse Reserve, Gateway National Park in partnership with Rockaways Artist Alliance and The South Street Seaport Museum. Ms. Riker has received commissions from Carson Fox and the Ephemeral Festival in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 for large-scale outdoor events, NYU in 1998, for an outdoor work long before “flashmob” was coined, 2006 and 2008 grants from the Puffin Foundation for her work Community Movements, a dance work with community volunteers, Fellowships from the Dodge Foundation, Space Grant Residencies from 92nd St Y, The New 42nd St Studio, Gibney Dance Center, and The Joyce Theatre Foundation, and grants from The Bowick Family Trust and John C. Robinson to support the continued work of Kinesis Project dance theatre. Kinesis Project’s home studio is part of the Nord Anglia International School NY 5th Floor Artist in Residence program on Second Street in the East Village.
Zoe Allocco (Dancer/Collaborator) never knows how to answer the question “where are you from?” She moved around growing up and feels that everywhere she lived played a special part in who she is. This brings her to SUNY Purchase College where she graduated in 2013 with a BFA in dance. She has had the pleasure of performing with David Dorfman Dance for the opening day of The Met Breuer Museum. She is currently performing with Renee Gerardo Dances, Erick Montes Danceable Projects, and Kinesis Project. Zoe has been dancing with Kinesis Project since June 2016.
Cassandra Cotta (Dancer/Collaborator/Company Class Coordinator) is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She holds a BFA in modern dance performance from Temple University in Philadelphia and is a certified Pilates trainer out of Sal Anthony’s Movement Salon in NYC. As a performer, Cassandra has had the opportunity to work with many companies, including Chrismastersdance, Malcolm Low/Formal Structure, Bittersuite, Human Architecture, and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers. Currently, she performs with Erick Montes Danceable Projects and Kinesis Project. Cassandra has danced with Kinesis Project since June 2016.
Michael Greenberg (Dancer/Collaborator/Social Media Manager) is from New York City where he began his training at the Ailey School. He went on to study dance at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and worked with many choreographers, mentors and teachers including Gregory Sinacori, Pedro Ruiz and Bryan Arias. Michael received his BFA from NYU Tisch in 2017 and has worked with choreographers including Sean Curran, Crystal Pite, Larry Keigwin, Loni Landon, Ron K Brown, Stephanie Batten Bland, and Karole Armitage. Michael also attended NYU's study abroad program at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance(SEAD) as well as other summer programs with The Ailey School, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Gaga Tel Aviv. Michael is currently dancing for Loni Landon Dance Projects and Cherylyn Lavagnino Dance. He is also very excited to be dancing on the roof with Kinesis Project Dance Theatre.
Michelle Amara Micca (Dancer/Collaborator/Company Manager) is a Queens based movement artist originally from Winchester, CT. She began her dance training under her mother at Valley Ballet and later received a BFA from Elon University. As a choreographer Micca has presented work at the IRT Theatre, Queensboro Dance Festival, Greenspace Blooms, Elon University, Young Choreographers Festival, and many other venues over the past 5 years in NYC. Micca has been with Kinesis since January of 2014.
Therese Ronco (Dancer/Collaborator) is a Brooklyn-based dance artist. She is originally from Massachusetts where she found her passion for the art form learning from Frances Kotelly and Richard Colton. Therese graduated with a BA in dance from Goucher College where she had the privilege of performing works choreographed by renowned artists such as Doug Elkins, Doris Humphrey, Jon Lehrer, Andrea Miller, Pascal Rioult, and Gwen Welliver. She brings with her experience garnered at the Accademia dell'Arte in Italy. Therese has previously performed with 5th Digit Dance and JKing Dance in addition to freelance projects. She is thrilled to be performing with Kinesis Project.
Marion Spencer (Dancer/Collaborator) is a New York- based performer, maker and educator. Since moving to New York, Marion has had the pleasure of collaborating and performing with Stephan Koplowitz, Annie Kloppenberg, Shandoah Goldman/Carte Blanche Performance, Shaun Irons & Lauren Petty, Vanessa Justice Dance, Michiyaya Dance, Hollis Bartlett, and apprenticing and performing with David Dorfman Dance. She has been a company member with Kinesis Project dance theatre since March 2016. Marion also makes and performs her own work around New York. Her work has been presented by Gibney Dance Center (Work UP 4.0, March 2018), Triskelion Arts (Split Bill Series, April 2018), and Movement Research (MR at Judson Church, May 2018). Marion graduated with honors from Vassar College in 2009, where she studied Geography-Anthropology and was a member of the Vassar Repertory Dance Theatre. To learn more about Marion, please visit www.marion-spencer.com. Headshot photo credit: Jason River.