LAUREN CLAIRE BASCO (Dancer) is originally from West Palm Beach, Florida where she began her dance training with Peggy Brown and Ballet Florida. She holds a B.F.A. in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Lauren enjoys performing with various NYU alum and friends and has made several guest appearances with Dance Anonymous. She would like to thank her parents for their love and support always. Lauren joined NLD in 2003.
MONSTAH BLACK (Composer, Guest Performer) is a self-shaped Messiah of the Funk, bringing his Virginia roots and worldly explorations to bear on everything from class-consciousness to gender politics. His wildly multidimensional, multi-genre works employ musical compositions, choreography, and theater in seamless harmony. Monstah has garnered support and received awards from a variety of progressive arts organizations over the years, including Blackout Arts Collective, The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, The District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Career Transitions for Dancers, Topaz Arts Center, The Field, and Dance Theater Workshop. Most recently, Monstah has been commissioned to compose soundtracks for Jane Franklin Dance in Washington D.C., Rowan University Dance Company in New Jersey under the direction of Paul Turner, and Muse Dance directed by Christopher Morgan, while in residence with the company in Ireland. Channeling legacies as divers as Prince, Sylvester, and Fela Kuti, merging the forms of new-funk, modern movement, and visual design to form his own genre of art-pop, Monstah Black is a 21st century renaissance man and a force to be reckoned with.
ERIK C. BRUCE (Technical Direction/Lighting Design) has been collaborating with NLD since 1998.
WENDELL COOPER (Dancer, Additional Choreography and Sound) is an artist and energy-bodywork practitioner currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Pittsburgh, he is a graduate of the George Washington University where he focused on the synthesis of contemporary dance, urban dance, new media, and religious studies. Cooper was recently in residence at the GoDown Center in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Cultural Envoy with the Maida Withers Dance Construction Company. He has taught urban dance workshops at Northeast Normal University (Chang Chun, China), American Dance Festival (NC), and at the Isadora Festival (Krasnoyarsk, Russia). Wendell joined NLD in 2006. [www.complexstability.com]
AARON DRAPER (Dancer) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. While completing a BA in Spanish at University of California at Davis he danced with Bonnie Simoa and Nexus Modern Dance Collective. Aaron received an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Draper danced for two years with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, and moved to New York in the fall of 2000. Since arriving, Aaron has performed with Randy James Dance works, Rhombus Dance, and Hilary Easton, as well as in his own works. Aaron joined the company in 2001.
STEPHANIE LIAPIS (Dancer) grew up in Dayton, Ohio and graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 1998 as the recipient of the Helbien Scholarship. She has had the pleasure of working with Doug Varone and Dancers, the MET ballet, Nancy Bannon, Nicholas Leichter Dance, and as a guest artist with Susan Marshall and Company. She is currently on faculty at Dance New Amsterdam and the 92nd Street Y, and served as adjunct faculty at Hunter College and Purchase College. Stephanie teaches master classes at various universities and festivals throughout the U.S. She teaches Pilates, and has dabbled in costume design and theater. Stephanie would like to thank her family and Jay for their love and support!
DAWN ROBINSON (Dancer) is originally from Dallas, Texas where she studied at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She holds a BFA from the University of Utah in Modern Dance. In 1996 she moved to San Francisco and had the pleasure of performing with Della Davidson Dance, Dance Repertory San Francisco, Liss Fain Dance, Company Chaddick and the hip hop dance company SoulForce. Since moving to New York in 2003, she has performed with Nia Love’s Blacksmith’s Daughter. Dawn joined NLD in 2005. Read Dawn’s Newsletter
LAURIE M. TAYLOR (Dancer) is a dancer/choreographer based in New York City. She has performed in a variety of repertory and choreographic projects by master artists such as Milton Myers of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Helen Jones of the Toronto Dance Theater, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women. She holds a B.A. in Journalism from Howard University and a Certificate of Dance Training and Development from the Ballet Creole School of Performing Arts in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She also performs with The Walk/Francine Ott, Shani Collins/Eternal Works, and Darin Atwater’s “Soulful Symphony.” She is thrilled to be working with NLD. Follow Laurie on Tumblr or Twitter @lauriemtaylor
KEON CLAUDE THOULOUIS (Dancer) born and raised in Brooklyn, began his dance training as a part of a small neighborhood dance ensemble called “Honey Plus One”, where the girls were the honey and Thoulouis was the plus one, under the direction of Velda Honeywell. He attended the La Guardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts, The Ailey School and The Juilliard School. Keon has also worked with well known teachers and choreographers such as Aubrey Lynch, Brian Thomas, Bridget Moore, Camille A. Brown, Denise Jefferson, Earl Mosley, Jermaine Brown, Kevin Wynn, Linda Kent, Mathew Rushing, Ronald K. Brown, and Sylvia Waters, among others. He also had the opportunity of performing with recording artist Tamia and was in the televised Michael Jackson 30th anniversary special and danced with the King of Pop himself. He performed around the world for several years as a member of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, which he left in 2008. Keon joined NLD in 2010. Last but not least Keon would like to thank his mom Janet Cynthia Thoulouis and his entire family for being such a strong support in this life of dance. I Love You.