City Dance Festival 

2023 Washington International Dance Festival


Allen Chunhui Xing

Production Director/Stage manager
Laurie Dodge

Evan Davis, Matt Hoffacker

Special thanks to atlas performing arts center production team.

2023 Washington International Dance Festival presented by Xing Dance Theater

 A Subject Under Consideration 
Choreographer: Julia Ramirez
Dancers: Juliana Martino, Megan Midgley, Ella Porr, Mikayla Russo, Molly Weidmaier
Music: Sound Score by Julia Ramirez with music by Kangding Ray
Costumes: Julia Ramirez 

Julia Ramirez – New Jersey

A Subject Under Consideration has been research into the physical and metaphysical manifestations of evolution in identity and perspective. The comparison of the removal of identity with a focus on the physicality of movement vessels to the humanistic experience of emotional tethers of physical contact between one and other. Her work incorporates complex patterns and visual shapes between the artists, lighting, and sound score. This portion of the work focuses on the isolation of intimacy and the brief moments of artificial and authentic relationships.
Julia Ramirez is an emerging artist based in Jersey City, NJ and is a candidate for a Master’s degree (Ed.M.) in Dance Education at Rutgers University. She graduated with her BFA in Dance Performance and was awarded the Margery J. Turner Choreography Award for a work of exceptional undergraduate student group choreography in 2022. She was featured as a finalist at the 2023 92NY Future Dance Festival in April 2023 alongside eight other artists. Her work has been featured in Kun-Yang Lin’s Performance Series, the Koresh Artist Showcase, 92Y Emerging Choreographers Festival, Uptown Rising Performance Series, and Rutgers University. She co-directed and choreographed Flux States with Cleo Mack at Middlesex Vocational High School In December of 2022 performed at New Brunswick Performing Arts Center.


Juliana Martino

Ella Porr

Mikayla Russo

Molly Weidmaider

“Man’s World”, excerpt from Shadows  
Choreographer:  Vincent E Thomas/VTDance
Company: VTDance II
Performers: Elias Brzezinski, Mikhail Gordon
Music: James Brown

Photo credit: Caleb Spencer

Photo credit: Lauren Castellana

Vincent E. Thomas

Vincent E. Thomas, dancer, choreographer and teacher, received his MFA in Dance from Florida State University and a BME in Music from the University of South Carolina. He has danced with Dance Repertory Theatre (FSU), Randy James Dance Works (NY/NJ), EDGEWORKS Dance Theater (DC), and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange (MD). His choreography has been presented at various national and international venues including DUMBO Festival (NY), Velocity Festival (DC), Modern Moves Festival (DC), Philly Fringe (PA), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (UK-Scotland), Barcelona and Madrid, Spain, Avignon, France, Athens, Greece, Bari, Italy, Copenhagen, Denmark, Shanghai, Taipei, and Singapore. He received rave reviews for his performance of “Come Change” (2012) and “iWitness” (2014) in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland). Theater credits: Movement Coach/Choreographer for Everyman Theater’s Brother’s Size by Tarell Alvin McCraney in Baltimore, MD (2012), Mosaic Theatre’s Unexplored Interior by Jay Sander in Washington, DC (2015), and Everyman Theater’s Los Otros by Ellen Fitzhugh in Baltimore, MD (2017), and Associate Choreographer/Movement Coach for Williamstown Theater Festival’s Most Happy in Concert in Williamstown, MA (2022) directed by Daniel Fish. He is the Artistic Director/Choreographer of the national touring What’s Going On project. Vincent was awarded the 2011-2012 Towson University Student Government Association Faculty Member of the Year, a 2014-2015 NextLook Artist for the University of Maryland College Park and Joe’s Movement Emporium, a 2012-13 American Dance Institute Incubator Artist (MD), 2016 Baker Artist Award finalists, the 2017 Pola Nirenska Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance (DC), the 2019 University System of Maryland Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship & Creative Activity, the 2020 MDEA Living Legacy Award, a 2021 William G. Baker, Jr. Memorial Fund Awardee, and a 2022 Baker Award Finalist. He is an Urban Bush Women BOLD Facilitator, faculty member for the UBW Summer Institutes (NY), and Professor of Dance at Towson University (MD). His multi-dimensional company VTDance builds on the use of contemporary dance, improvisation, text/ movement, a variety of sound sources, and collaborations with other artists, including dancers, musicians, poets, visual artists, and others [to be discovered]. These ideas coupled with witty, poignant, athletic and gestural movement are the rich palette for VTDance.

Elias Brzezinski is a native of Baltimore, MD. He began his dance training at age 3, starting in styles such as ballet, tap, and jazz, then later branched out to other styles such as hip-hop and modern dance as well. At age 14, Elias was accepted into the dance magnet program at G.W. Carver Center for the Arts and Technology where he attended all 4 years of high school, training with instructors Stephanie Powell and Maria Royals, focusing on modern and ballet techniques. Elias is currently training in the BFA program at Towson University as a Dance Performance and Choreography Major and has been appointed the rehearsal director for VTDance II.

Mikhail Gordon is a junior BFA Dance Performance & Choreography major at Towson University. He previously trained at C&C Dance Company, competing on their competition team for 3 years, winning multiple first overall awards. During his time at C&C, he specifically trained in acrobatics and contortion, eventually finding his love for contemporary, ballet, and modern during his time at Towson University. His goal after graduating is to continue to teach and choreograph for studios on the competition circuit and to open his own dance studio. He wants to be a role model for the younger generation of dancers, while keeping the positive influence of dance alive.

The Poem written at the Hill
Choreographer: Seyong Kim
Dancers: Sabrina Darnall, Olivia Gray, Caroline Zajac
Music: “Erbarme Dich”
Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

Seyong Kim

Inspired by J.S.Bach’s beautiful Aria “Erbarme Dich, main Gott” and the Gospel of Matthew, this piece is made as a contemporary ballet performed by 3 female artists. Using symbolic gestural movements and cultural theme, “The Poem written at the Hill” is presented within aesthetic atmosphere but with sadness. This piece can be diversely interpreted by points of view with trans-cultural perspective today in a globalized world beyond religious aspect.

Seyong Kim (CMA, RSDE), an Associate Professor of Dance at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI), holds an MA in Dance Education with ABT® Pedagogy from NYU Steinhardt and an MA in Dance from Sung-Kyun-Kwan University (Seoul, South Korea). Furthermore, he earned the Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University. Seyong has taught for Rutgers University, Kent State University, The University of Georgia, Randolph College, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Steps On Broadway, World Dance Alliance-America (WDAA), American College Dance Association (ACDA), Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Ballet 5:8, Grand Rapids Ballet, and Ballet Preljocaj. As a professional dancer, Seyong has danced with the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center, Albania National Ballet Theatre, Baltimore Ballet, Traverse City Dance Project, TAKE Dance, and Oakland Ballet Company. In addition, his choreographic works have been internationally invited at Landestheater Coburg in Germany, Florence Dance on Screen Festival in Italy, International Contemporary Dance Festival of Mexico City, Taiwan JueDai Taipei International Dance Festival, ProArteDanza in Canada, Seoul International Dance Festival in TANK, Battery Dance Festival, Palm Desert Choreography Festival, American Dance Guild Festival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Orlando Contemporary Dance Choreography Festival, CrossCurrent Asian-American Dance Festival, and Movement Research at the Judson Church. 


Sabrina Darnall

Olivia Gray

Caroline Zajac

Company: Triangle 
Choreographers: Suzuka Nakanishi, Naoya Sakata
Performers: Suzuka Nakanishi, Naoya Sakata
Music:  Jin Takemoto “original music”, Philip Grass “Mad Rush”

Suzuka Nakanishi & Naoya Sakata

We are influenced by the thoughts and actions of others, then come to sympathize and change. The influence is one-way and mutual. It doesn’t always last long when our existence resonates and amplifies. They may never meet as if the two crossed lines go in different direction the moment they overlap. Also, when there is a physical distance between the two, it is not always a psychological one, we can feel the memories and sign close to us.

“Triangle.” is a Tokyo-based contemporary dance unit consisting of Suzuka Nakanishi and Naoya Sakata. They have been working together since 2018, and have been presenting their works vigorously. They won the second prize in the creative dance division of Saitama National Dance Competition in 2019 and the Jury Prize at SAI2021 COMPETITION, and were invited by “Duo Dance Festival” in Seoul in 2022.

Choreographer: Lauren Blair Smith
Dancers: Aly Candland, Sophia Pielet, Lynda Senisi, Leah Suskind, Adianna Valentine 
Music Composition: Nik Parnell, “Inside Outside” by Air Max ‘97

Lauren Blair Smith


  1. n. a moment of awareness that someone you’ve known for years still has a private and mysterious inner life, and somewhere in the hallways of their personality is a door locked from the inside, a stairway leading to a wing of the house that you’ve never fully explored…*


“Intruder” explores this unknown inner life through the deconstruction of a whole individual into five different versions of their perceived personality, represented by the five dancers themselves. These complex versions create and combust, help and hinder, design and decimate, compliment and contrast; mechanically grinding their gears in hopes of unraveling this murky mystery.

*Koenig, John. “Gnossienne.” The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Lauren Smith, BFA from UNCSA, is the founder and Artistic Director of Lauren Blair Smith Dance Company in Singapore. She is a Kenan Fellow at Lincoln Center, an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher, and Vice-President of World Dance Alliance Singapore. She performed Hofesh Shechter’s work in the Broadway National Tour of “Fiddler on the Roof” in 400+ performances in 100 cities+ across the US/Canada. Lauren’s choreography received recognition from SHAPE Choreography Festival, International Online Dance Competition, Palm Springs International Dance Festival, The Artists Forum Choreography Competition, Virtual DUMBO Dance Festival, Palm Desert Choreography Festival, and Young Choreographer’s Festival. She was commissioned by Old Salem’s Hidden Town Initiative to create “Parapo”, a dance film, which was later screened at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

Lauren performed works by Anouk van Dijk, Larry Keigwin, Ming-Lung Yang, Bill T. Jones, Yoshito Sakuraba, Lauren Edson, Christina Chan, Grady McLeod Bowman, among others. She acted in Singapore Repertory Theatre’s “Ghostlight” (Dir. Dan Jenkins), collaborated/performed on “A Virtual Tour of Singapore” for the Strategy & Ops Team of Google, and choreographed/performed in “Vuja De”, a short film for Singapore’s Changi Airport Group. Lauren choreographed, performed, understudied, and taught at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre in Michigan and taught Song & Dance Lab for Interlochen Center for the Arts’ Online program with students in the United States and Japan. She is a frequent Guest Artist for Singapore American School as well as several studios in Singapore and the Philippines. Her choreography has been featured in the United States, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Australia. 

Upcoming: Lauren is sharing work in the Doug Varone Device’s Showcase and an excerpt of “Intruder” at the Journey Dance Awards in early August 2023. She is a featured choreographer at the T2 Dance Company ChoreoFest 2023 in Boulder, Colorado.

“Intruder” and Lauren Blair Smith Dance Company are proudly sponsored by World Dance Alliance Singapore. World Dance Alliance Singapore is an inclusive non-profit organization in Singapore dedicated to the advancement and advocacy of dance in all its forms and discourses.

Choreographer: Melissa Lineburg, Ballet Embody
Dancers: Erik Hoffman, Emily Jarrett, Melissa Lineburg
Music: Electric Counterpoint III (Fast) by Steve Reich

Melissa Lineburg
Washington, DC

Trinity is an exploration of circular and linear movements, of capacities of the body, and how both concepts can interact with each other and the music.

Melissa Lineburg, based in Washington, DC and originally from Charles Town, WV, is a freelance dancer who works and performs throughout the DMV. Her repertoire ranges from classical ballets to modern and contemporary works with independent choreographers. In 2019, Lineburg co-founded Ballet Embody, a professional contemporary ballet company based in Carroll County, MD. Melissa holds an MS in Nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and a BFA in Dance Performance, Classical Ballet Technique and a Business Administration minor from Radford University. In addition to dancing, Melissa is a nutritionist for dancers and performance athletes and teaches Adult Ballet classes at Maryland Youth Ballet.

Give me sirens who sing
Choreographer Name: Easton Nguyen
Dancers: Kirsten Gottlieb, Hannah Howell, Madison Mazovec, Abby Nguyen, Grace Robinson, Jules Shulman, Sara Thoreson
Music: Georgia Dahill-Fuchel (Beats per Movement)
Costumes: Courtesy of The Ailey School.

Easton Nguyen
New York

Give me sirens who sing., whose title comes from the book Things we Found When the Water Went Down by Tegan Nia Swanson, is based on the idea of femininity and symbolism, and how true femininity cannot exist while there are expectations on women to solely fit into its symbol. It plays with the ideas of observation, pulling from Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, with the exploration of how one acts when they are alone versus when they know they are being observed. By finding the power of choice within one’s expression of femininity, it breaks the traditional symbol of woman and the eternal feminine and gives space for femininity to be melded and fit to each well-rounded human, individually.

Easton Nguyen is a choreographer and dancer from Virginia who is currently based in New York City. She is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA program and has shared her works in the Young Choreographer’s Festival, the Artist After Hours Emerging Artist Showcase, and at the Ailey School and Arts on Site. As a dancer, she has performed works by Ethan Colangelo, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Sonia Dawkins, Janice Rosario, Martha Graham, and Jose Limon and recently attended the Impulstanz International Dance Festival as part of the ImPact program.

Choreographer: Yu Suzuki and Kana Mori
Dancers: Yu Suzuki and Kana Mori
Music: “Sunlight “by Max Richter and “Pale Blue Dot” by Roger Goula

Yu Suzuki & Kana Mori

“I want to go, but I don’t want to go” “I want it, but I don’t want it” “I like it, but I hate it”
We sometimes get messed up with our conflicting feelings. We might hide one expression inside without even realizing. However, what if we can accept our both feelings that born naturally? What If we can release ourselves? What if we listen to what comes out?

Yu Suzuki: Born in Chiba, Japan and started dancing at Aurora Ballet School in 2009. She moved to Vancouver continue her studies at Arts Umbrella under the direction of Artemis Gordon. After graduating, she joined as a full company member at Coastal City Ballet for the 2015-2017 season. After leaving Canada, she joined as a full company member at Noism Company Niigata under the direction of Jo Kanamori for the 2017 – 2019 season. In 2021, she was a dancer of dance scene of Tokyo Olympic Opening Ceremony. She is working as a freelance dancer and with Kana Mori as LOCUS which is a dance unit founded in 2022. She has performed works by Jo Kanamori, Umeda Hiroaki, Yuki Yamada, Yasutake Shimaji, Shintaro Hirahara, Yoshimitsu Kushida, Naoko Ikegami, Keigo Fukuda and Saori Hara.

Kana Mori: Born in 1996. She started dancing in 2002 in Japan. She studied at The Royal Swedish Ballet School in 2014 and moved to The Netherlands to be part of ODD Continent in 2016. She returned to Japan as a member of Noism for the season of 2017-2020. She joined Dance Marche for the season of 2020-2021. In 2021, she was a dancer of dance scene of Tokyo Olympic Closing Ceremony. She is working as a freelance dancer and with Yu Suzuki as LOCUS which is dance unit founded in 2022. She has performed works by Jo Kanamori, Yuki Yamada, Yasutake Shimaji, Shintaro Hirahara,Yoshimitsu Kushida, Naoko Ikegami, Keigo Fukuda and Yoko Ando.

Black Rain

Choreographer: Jameel M. Hendricks
Cast: Malika Ghilyard, Jameel Hendricks, Tunai Jones, Taheem Mack, Davon Smith
Photography: Shaquan Battle
Music: DMX, Max Ricther, Mista

Jameel Malik Hendricks

“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive. Never surrender.”
-Tupac Shakur

Jameel Malik Hendricks – Is a graduate of the Philadelphia High School for the Creative & Performing Arts (CAPA) where he received his early training as a dance major, and would later on be appointed the position of Dance Captain entering his senior year. Upon graduating from CAPA, Jameel was presented with the Dance/Humanitarian/Congeniality award presented by LaDeva Davis. Jameel attended “Eleone Dance Unlimited” as a scholarship student and was appointed the title of dance captain for the training company “Eleone Connections”. Jameel has also had the opportunity to attend “The Rock School for Ballet” as a full scholarship student & other local dance intensives such as “Dance Creates New Stars (DCNS)”, and Anthony Burrell’s “Breaking Barriers”. After graduating from CAPA, he then went on to continue his training at Rutgers University (Mason Gross School of the Arts), majoring in Dance Education. Following his duration at Rutgers University, Jameel went on to become a touring company member of “Eleone Dance Theater” in 2014. Shortly after his occupancy at Eleone Dance Theater, in the year of 2016 Jameel began his tenure as a company member of Philadanco. Throughout his tenure at Philadanco, Jameel has been able to work with a vast amount of choreographers, teach numerous masterclasses, speak on panel discussions, and even restage classic works such as Talley Beatty’s “A Rag, A Bone, and a Hank of Hair”. As a result of his years training extensively in various styles of dance, Jameel has been able to gain commercial dance experience such as choreographing for Philadelphia’s annual 6abc Thanksgiving Day Parade & the 2021 Made in America Music Festival. Aside from his professional endeavors, Jameel has extensive experience in collaborating with the School District of Philadelphia using dance as a way to contribute to the artistic & communal endeavors amongst the youth in the city. He is currently a member of WaheedWorks & teaches at several dance schools, working on furthering his artistic abilities as a freelance artist.



Malika Ghilyard

Tunai Jones

Taheem Mack

Davon Smith

If I were a tree would you hear me fall?
Choreographer: Mikayla McKee
Dancers: Thomas Downey, Amber Gardner, Bethany Jacob, Regina Maza, Ashley McCullough, Mikayla McKee, Stacey Smith, Madelyn Staley, Riley Taylor, Shelby Tucker
Music: “Woods” by Bon Iver & “End of an Era” by Zack Hemsey

Mikayla McKee

“If I were a tree would you hear me fall?” started as a conceptual concept where the choreographer, Mikayla McKee, uses the song “Woods” by Bon Iver to create an entrancing vibe with choreography that builds upon itself while the lyrics just continue to repeat. It became more than that as the storyline built with the choreography. It follows the concept of struggling with mental health and not realizing that others around you likely have similar thoughts/feelings.

Mikayla McKee graduated magna cum laude from George Mason University with a B.F.A in Dance in 2017. Since graduating, Mikayla has been a freelance choreographer mainly in the Washington D.C./Maryland/Virginia area (DMV) and has set work on dance companies including RawArts Dance and Ash and Elm Dance Co.This past February, 2023, she brought her piece “Numb it Down” to Philadelphia at the Koresh Artist Showcase. Her choreographic works include concepts based on relationships, mental health, and climate protection. Mikayla has danced and performed with Company Danzante (2017-2018), Metropolitan Ballet Ensemble (2017-2020), RawArts Dance (2017-2022), and Ash and Elm Dance Co (2019-present). Since 2017 she has also performed in many freelance projects, primarily in the DMV, including the Arte y Moda fashion show at the Kennedy Center. Mikayla also works full-time at RTR Pilates as a Pilates instructor and the Marketing Director.

XDT Education Youth  Summer Intensive – Student Work
Choreographer: James Thomas Esquilin, Jovannie Aranzamendi Nieves
Performers: Gisselle Xhal, Grace Li, Grace Yuan, Han Lin, Iris Ou, Sunny Zhang, Yoyo Yu, Victoria Wang, Victoria Zhang, Hedy Law

This piece is a dance choreography that beautifully captures the essence of XDT Education Summer Intensive. Set to a melodic music, this piece showcases the boundless energy of young dancers as they explore various movement styles. This performance is a reassurance to the transformative power of dance and artistic expression.

Intermission (15 minutes)

(Excerpt) 30 minutes
Company: Xing Dance Theater
Dancers: Allen Chunhui Xing
Performer: Jovannie Aranzamendi Nieves, James Thomas Esquilin, Abraham Texidor Aguilera, Allen Chunhui Xing
Music: Steve Mazzaro, Max Richter, Patrick Watson, Daheim

Allen Chunhui Xing

Allen Chunhui Xing is a dancer, choreographer and teaching artist based in Maryland. He holds a BFA in Dance from Shanxi Academy of Arts, a M.Ed. from Salisbury University, and a MFA in Dance from University of Maryland. He currently is the Artistic Director of Xing Dance Theater and City Dance Festival. He is a former member of Huajin Dance Drama Ensemble (China) and performed in the production Forbidden Fruit Under the Great Wall which internationally toured from 2007-2011.  A Man’s Requiem as soloist by Korea Busan Metropolitan Dance Company 2018. His work has been presented nationally and internationally including at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Battery Dance Festival, Dance Gallery Festival NYC, NextNow Festival, Peabody Spring Dance Showcase, Washington DC Global Perspectives Festival, Maryland Dance Festival, Beijing Dance Festival, On the Move at the Kennedy Center, Baltimore Dance Invitational, Richmond Dance Festival, Peabody Dance! Festival, Detroit Dance City Festival, SpectorDance’s Choreographers Showcase, Japan SAI International Dance Festival, Seoul Choreography International Festival, Asian Contemporary Ballet Festival, Mexico International Contemporary Dance Festival, Finland International Gala, Dance Place 2020 season production, the Clarice second season production, Men in Dance Festival, Washington DC Choreography Dance Festival, Booking Dance Festival, and St Petersburg Global Valve Festival Alexandrinsky Theater premiere . Xing is the Both 2020 Baltimore and Maryland State Independent Artist First Place Award awardee, 2021/2022 Baker Artist Award recipient, 2021 Baltimore Artist Relief Grant First Place Award, 2021 Singapore International Dance Festival Choreography Gold Award.

Standing on the street, watching people passing through. They look different, dress different, and speak different. The facial expressions show people happy, sad, cold, positive and stressed…each of them has a story of their own lives. As citizens of a society, country, we are facing many different challenges. Challenges from the living environment, political environment, work… and most impact ourselves.

As citizens of the society, we receive labels… labels of being a foreigner, immigrant, gay, white, black, Asian, poor, old, young, rich,……..people fight for the label they want, people fight for the label they don’t….

We fight for the opportunities, we fight to overcome diseases, we fight for our lives. But what matters? What are YOU fighting for? Standing on the stage, after we share our stories and expose our inner selves, you see skins, muscles, bones lines, movement, weight shitting, sharing, supporting, we are human bodies. What labels do you actually see?

The inspiration for creating Citizen is the personal experience of my life in the USA. I have used my own stories and inserted other performers’ stories. Four dancers on stage, we tell our stories and remove the labels; we are dancers, dancers with different colors. Dancers have the same human body structures. What labels can you still see? Does color still matter?

Singapore International Dance Festival Choreography and Performance Gold Award, 2021
DC Choreography Dance Festival, Washington,D.C. 2021
Spector Dance’s Choreographers Showcase, Carmel Valley, CA 2022
SAI International Dance Festival, Tokyo, Japan 2022
Orlando Contemporary Choreography Festival, FL 2022/2023
Battery Dance Festival, NYC 2022
International Contemporary Ballet of Asia, Seoul, South Korea 2022
Detroit Dance City Festival, MI 2022
Festival De Movimiento Puerto Rico, PR 2022
Finland International Dance Gala, Helsinki, Finland 2023
Booking Dance Festival, NYC 2023


Abraham Texidor Aguilera

James Thomas Esquilin

Jovannie Aranzamendi Nieves

Allen Chunhui Xing