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The Team


Christina Sharpe

Language Developer / Author

Christina Sharpe is a Professor at York University, Toronto in the Department of Humanities. She is the author of two books: In the Wake: On Blackness and Being (2016) (named by the Guardian and The Walrus as one of the best books of 2016 and a nonfiction finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award) and Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects (2010), both published by Duke University Press. She is currently completing the critical introduction to the Collected Poems of Dionne Brand (1982-2010) to be published by Duke University Press. And she is working on a monograph: Black. Still. Life.


Orion Gordon

Technical Director /  Filmmaker / Underwater Photographer 

Orion Gordon is an award-winning performing artist and filmmaker based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Orion is the CEO of an independent media production company, Rah Productions LLC, which he started in 2007. His work as a director of photography has been featured on the PBS network, BET network, and the Emmy awards, and also includes documentaries, independent films and nationally syndicated commercials. In addition to his work as a director and cinematographer, he works as a location sound engineer and sound supervisor for film and television, and has a background in radio production. 


Benin Ford

Visual Artist / Installation Designer

Originally from Memphis, TN, Benin Ford is a painter and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. He was awarded the 2013 Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Painters and Sculptors Grant, and has exhibited at Exit Art, New York, NY, and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN. He has guest lectured at New York University and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He received an MFA/MS in Painting and Art History from Pratt Institute. His current painting projects continue to explore the political and visual unconscious of 70s and 80s commercial network television. His current writing projects include the political tract, The Ante-Niggerization Operations Manual, and an extended essay on J. M. W. Turner’s, Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On.


Jesse Philips-Fein

Rehearsal Assistant (On the ground)

Jesse Phillips-Fein began studying modern and post-modern dance as a young person at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange/BAX, and continued in African Diasporic forms with Nia Love, Yvonne Daniel, Baba Richard Gonzalez, Peniel Guerrier and Danys La Mora Perez. Jesse holds a B.A. in Dance & Cultural Anthropology from Smith College, a Diploma in Dance Studies from the Laban Centre in London, an M.A. from the Gallatin School/NYU and participated in the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics’ EMERGENYC program. Her choreography has been performed at venues in New York, New Jersey, Colorado and Maine, and her writing on dance is published in the Journal on Dance Education, Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction, Palgrave Handbook on Race and Education, Pedagogies in The Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Differences in Education, and Slingshot. She has presented on the intersections of dance and race at local and nationwide conferences, and currently teaches at Brooklyn Friends School.  


Makeda Roney

Online Media Manager + Website Designer

Makeda Roney is a professional Dancer and freelance online media manager + website designer. 

Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Makeda Nwabundozi Margurose Roney began her training with a scholarship at The Dance Theatre of Harlem School under the direction of Arthur Mitchell for many years and continued her dance training under scholarship at many different programs including Walnut Hill School of the arts,  The school of steps, The Ailey School, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Lines Ballet Summer Intensive. 

 In 2012, Makeda worked as a trainee with Dance Theatre of Harlem for two full seasons and had the opportunity to work and perform with BalletNext under the direction of Michele Wiles. Makeda’s just completed 2017-2018 season with Nimbus Dance Works and is currently freelancing in NYC, with the current opportunities of working and under Liz Lerman, Jennifer Nugent and Diverse Dance Collective NYC.

Makeda had the opportunity to go to Tanzania, Africa as the assistant choreographer to Nia Love, sponsored by the New York Live Arts 2013 Suit Case Fund as well as work as a teaching assistant to Nia Love at American Dance Festival Summer (2016 & 2017) and Winter Intensives (2014).

She studies under and is mentored by many pioneer dance artists such as Nia Love, Marjorie Liebert and Misty Copeland.


Veleda Rohel

Rehearsal Assistant (Underwater)

Veleda Roehl began formal training with Fernando Schaffenburg, of the original American Ballet Theater company, and received her B.A. from the Experimental Performance Institute at New College of California. Recent projects include dancing with Voices of Congo Square as a part of the Tricentennial celebration of the City of New Orleans. She studied and performed with Malia Connor, Tânia Santiago, Amara Tabor-Smith, and Adia T. Whitaker with whom she received the Isadora Duncan Dance Award as a member of ASE Dance Theatre Collective. She’s performed as principal dancer with choreographer Millicent Johnnie at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, with Hugh Masekela at Jazz at Lincoln Center, and in New York City Opera’s “Treemonisha” which she also choreographed. Her choreography was featured at Judson Church with Movement Research, The Harlem Stage E-Moves festival and she’s received the Harlem Stage Fund for New Work Award. She’s worked with NY based choreographer Jesse Phillips-Fein, the Love|Forte Collective, and currently assists the work of Professor Nia Love in New York and beyond.

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