Directors

PaulGalando
Paul Galando, President & Chair of Education

Paul Galando is passionate about launching programs at the intersection of movement, film, and technology. He is devoted to creating opportunities for dancers and dance-makers. He is an innovator in digital film, technology and media development in arts communities, educational institutions, as well as leading corporate and non-profit organizations. Paul leads the Emerging Movement Council, an inter-university consortium of artists, scholars, teachers, and entrepreneurs interested in sharing ideas and resources addressing the emerging movement field. Through Paul’s educational and organizational collaborations he facilitates research and provides fellowships for dance students and digital artists to engage in groundbreaking practices. As the founding director of Dance and New Media at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Paul co-created a department-wide initiative including an MFA concentration designed to involve dance students in all areas of digital media. While leading Dance and New Media at NYU, Paul’s advanced curricula for academic and practical classes including: Dance and New Media, Dance for the Camera, Digital Production: Live-Filmmaking, VRDance, Live Streaming, Filming the Moving Body, Digital Portfolio, Fellowship and Internship Advisement.

 

Dedicated to facilitating collaboration, Paul has created educational and professional partnerships with numerous outstanding institutions including: New York City Ballet, The Merce Cunningham Trust, Lois Greenfield Studio, The Harkness Center for Dance at the 92Y, Martha Graham Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Center, Gibney Dance, and Dance Films Association / Lincoln Center Film Society.

 

As a producer, director, and editor; his works include films, commercials, music videos, and works for public broadcast. He is an expert in live filmmaking and streaming theatrical performances; he mentors his students in these processes as he works with them on actual performances. Paul is a graduate of NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film and Television and is a classically trained dancer.

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Anita Venkiteswaran, Treasurer

Anita Venkiteswaran is currently Vice President of Business Development and Relationship Management at Focus Financial Partners and has also worked as a private equity investment professional at CI Capital Partners in New York and at Audax Private Equity in Boston. She grew up in India where her love for dance started at the age of six, with lessons in Bharat Natyam, an Indian classical dance form in which she trained for ten years. She continued to perform and choreograph through high school in Kolkata, India and through college at I.I.T. Kharagpur in India. After graduating with a B. Tech in Biotechnology & Biochemical Engineering in 2006, she started her professional career in management consulting at McKinsey & Company, Inc., simultaneously studying Salsa, Merengue and Bachata. In 2012 Anita received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, during which time she choreographed the annual school musical as well as performing and choreographing for a number of other shows. Anita’s passion for dance led her to join the Board of Directors of Dance Films Association in December 2012.

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Nolini Barretto, Secretary

Nolini Barretto has long been part of the New York arts community. She worked at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance for thirteen years, the last few years as Administrative Director of the school. She was the Director of Marketing for Dance Theater Workshop in Chelsea, helping it transition into its new building, managing its rebranding efforts and launching its Inaugural season. Nolini was originally a classical dancer in India and received a Master’s degree in Arts Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University. A frequent panelist on site-specific performance, she has lectured widely on Public Art and continues to participate in Dance juries and grant evaluations. Nolini worked at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where she founded the site-specific performance series, Sitelines, which she curated and produced for six years. Nolini has served on the Bessies Committee (New York Dance and Performance Awards) from 2007 to the present.

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Nancy Allison

Nancy Allison is an independent dancer, choreographer and filmmaker. Her choreography has been presented by Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors Festival, American History Museum in New York, Athens Festival in Greece, House of Composers in Moscow, Blossom Music Festival in Cleveland and the Baltimore Museum of Art among others. She has taught on faculty at NYU, SUNY Purchase and the Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies (LIMS/NY) and as a guest artist throughout the U.S. and abroad including, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal and C’a Foscari (University of Venice), Laboratorio Danza Contemporanea and Centro Teatrale di Ricerca in Venice. She has received grants in support of her work from the NEA, NYSCA, Gladys Kriebel Delmas Foundation and Harkness Foundations for the Dance. Her first dance film, Hamadryad, co-produced and directed with filmmaker, Paul Allman, premiered at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s and Dance Films Association’s 2015 Dance on Camera Festival, screened at the Mykonos Biennale (Greece) and Philadelphia DanceScreen Festival (Philadelphia, PA) and won awards from Honolulu Film Awards (Honolulu,HI) and IndieFEST (LaJolla, CA). Most recently, Allison collaborated with choreographer Laura Boato on two site specific dances filmed in the marble quarries of Versilia, Italy. These films, co-produced with Fondazione Arkad (Seravezza, Italy) and INDACO (Venice, Italy), are currently in post-production. Nancy joined Dance Films Associations Board of Directors in 2016.

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Virginia Brooks

Virginia Brooks is Professor Emerita of Film at Brooklyn College/CUNY, where she taught film production for 26 years. She received an MFA in film directing and a PhD in Theater/Film from Columbia University. From 1978 to 1981, while coordinator of the Jerome Robbins Film Archive of the Dance Collection of The New York Public Library, she wrote her dissertation,The Art and Craft of Filming Dance as Documentary. Dr. Brooks is the author and the author of reviews and reports for Ballet Review, Dance Research Journal,Dance Magazine, the Millenium Film Journal, and IRIS. Since 1980 she has produced video archive material for the School of American Ballet, and since 1995 she has been video editor for the George Balanchine Foundations Interpreters Archive and Archive of Lost Choreography. She has directed several documentaries on dance subjects including, most recently, The Nutcracker Family – Behind the Magic(2006),and Felia Doubrovska Remembered (2008). She has been on the Board of Directors of Dance Films Association since 1978.

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Brian Christopher Cummings

Brian Christopher Cummings is a historian of American popular culture and recorded media. He is a certified Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) member of the Appraisers Association of America (AAA). His numerous research projects include serving as chief advisor to the estates and foundations of accomplished professionals in the performing arts and historic figures of diverse backgrounds.

 

After beginning his professional training at Sotheby’s auction house in 2000, Cummings served as consultant to the popular culture department at Christie’s auction house in New York. In November 2003, Christie’s published his research on the history and foundation of the motion picture industry.

 

In June 2005, he served as consulting East Coast Specialist for the sale of property from the estate of Marilyn Monroe in West Hollywood. In December 2012, he was credited as photograph researcher for Powerhouse Books “John Wayne: The Legend and the Man: An Exclusive Look Inside Duke’s Archive” by John Wayne Enterprises. In September 2013, his “Celebrity Material” connoisseurship and valuation chapter was published in “Appraising Art, The Definitive Guide to Appraising Fine and Decorative Art” published by the Appraisers Association of America. His documentary film screen credits include “Miss Hill Making Dance Matter” directed by Greg Vander Veer and “Gazelle The Love Issue” directed by Cesar Terranova. Cummings holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of Humanities and Social Science at North Carolina State University in Communications and Art Studies.

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Ron Honsa

Ron Honsa is Executive Director of Moving Pictures, a production company based in Manhattan. Since founding the company, he has overseen hundreds of television and film projects for its diverse clientele. Under his leadership, Moving Pictures has distinguished itself as a creative studio for original programming, documentaries, and commercial projects. Its work has been recognized through the years by a wide range of industry awards, including the prestigious Peabody Award, a DuPont Award for Broadcast Excellence, and Emmy Awards.

 

Throughout his career, Honsa has had a personal passion for directing performing arts for film and television. He produced and directed the award-winning documentary The Men Who Danced and his recent documentary Never Stand Still, narrated by Bill T. Jones, won Best Documentary at the Dance Camera West Film Festival in Los Angeles, as well as the San Francisco Dance Film Festival. Never Stand Still has been released theatrically, garnering critical acclaim and international press.

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Marta Renzi

Marta Renzi is a choreographer and dance filmmaker, and the recipient of 7 NEA Fellowships, a BESSIE, and the first Dancing in the Streets award as “a fearless explorer.” Her live and video works have been shown in the US and abroad, on PBS and in community centers. Renzi has served on the Board of Advisors for the New York Foundation for the Arts and as a consultant for the New England Foundation for the Arts’ program “Building Community Through Culture.” She joined the Board of Directors of DFA in September 2008.

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Donna Rubin

Donna Rubin graduated from Canada’s National Ballet School and began her professional dance career at the San Antonio Ballet Company. Soon after she joined the National Ballet of Canada under the directorship of Erik Bruhn. As a performer in musical theater, she performed the role of Meg Giry in the original Canadian production of Phantom of the Opera. Donna first came to New York for the Lincoln Center production of Carousel where she performed in the entire New York run, as well as the national tour. Most recently, capitalizing on the talented musical theater artists in the Bikram Yoga NYC community, Donna has produced cabaret shows as fund-raisers for various organizations, including Dance Films Association.

Donna is also the producer of Curtain Up: Growing up in Dance, a feature-length documentary currently in post-production, which illuminates the experience of dancers who leave their families to pursue rigorous professional training at an early age.

Donna is very excited to be active in the dance world again after 15 years as founder and co-owner of Bikram Yoga NYC, the first Bikram Yoga Studio in Manhattan. Having served on the Board Directors of Dance Films Association for 2 years, she was delighted to assume the role of Interim Executive Director of DFA as of October 2014.

Chihiro Shimizu
Chihiro Shimizu

Chihiro Shimizu is a NY based director, filmmaker, dancemaker, marketer and an executive director at Emerging Movement Council, where she supports educational and artistic collaboration in dance and emerging technology. With a passion for developing platforms for artists to come together, Chihiro has been involved in early stages of structuring new organizations and programs, such as Emerging Movement Council, Digital Technology Initiative at Gibney Dance Center, ARMATURE Projects, and inStream Japan. Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Chihiro moved to the U.S. for further education in dance at the age of fifteen. She attended high school at North Carolina School of the Arts and received a BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase College in 2009. After dancing professionally for two years, Chihiro attended NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where she cultivated her choreographic language and new media skills. While in grad school she founded CHIHIRO SHIMIZU and ARTISTS, created stage and video works with her fellow artists, and received creative residencies at MANA Contemporary and ACE Hotel NYC. Since 2013 Chihiro has been live broadcasting and documenting live performances in New York City’s dance scene, and she is on the Board of Directors of Dance Films Associations since 2017.

Curation and Programs

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Liz Wolff, Co-Curator, Dance on Camera Festival

Liz Wolff has over 20 years of professional experience in the performing arts, starting with a long performing career in dance. Originally from Boston, Liz moved to New York to train with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Paul Taylor Dance Company as a scholarship student. She became a founding member of Cortez & Company [Contemporary Ballet], and moved to Cleveland to be a founding member and principal dancer with Verb Ballets, performing works by Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, David Parsons and Heinz Poll. After retiring from performing she returned to New York and continued to work in the arts as Festival Coordinator and Administrative Director for White Wave / John Ryan Theater in DUMBO. She was in charge of festival planning and development including initial review and selection of artists, coordination of rehearsal and production schedules, and management of production staff for the organization’s three annual festivals. In 2007, Liz moved into the film business, first in domestic distribution at The Weinstein Company, and then in the position of Head of Theatrical Sales for Oscilloscope Laboratories. Moving to the exhibitor’s side of the film distribution business she currently works for Bow Tie Partners, parent company of Bow Tie Cinemas.

Liz became the co-curator for the Dance On Camera Festival at Lincoln Center in the summer 2012, and is also co-founded and producer the Cape Dance Festival, an altruistic concert dance event in Provincetown, MA.

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Mirela Amaral

Mirela Amaral is a teaching fellow and production lead at DFA.  Mirela is a choreographer, teacher, videographer and video editor, whose interest is in developing choreography and workshops mediated by digital technology.  Mimi uses tech as a way to support, generate and demonstrate self expression through dance. Her work is circular, suspended, kind, explorative, passionate, gentle, touching, technical, contemporary and personable. It contains movement manipulation, and sculptural design that overlap spatially, striving for an intriguing three-dimensionality in its design.

She works in partnership with companies to raise awareness on the importance of having dance & technology integrated in our dance classrooms, as well as making work collaboratively with a wide range of multidisciplinary artists.