LOUD VOICES’ CAST and COLLABORATORs
Ysaÿe Alma (she/her) is a professional dancer, choreographer and teaching artist from Chicago. Her work is influenced by her studies of dances of the African Diaspora, Polynesian dance, Modern dance and devised theater. This January, 2021, Ysaÿe completed her Yoga Teacher training and Mind-Body Wellness and Social-Emotional Learning Teacher training with Breathe for Change. She is also a 3rd year Dunham Technique Instructor candidate, an apprentice with Viver Brasil and studying Tahitian dance and culture at Nonosina Polynesia. Ysaÿe creates with the intention to heal self and community while honoring tradition and cultural differences.
Keeley Morris (she/her) graduated from Columbia College Chicago, with a background in hip-hop and contemporary dance. She has since collaborated with various local ensembles such as Jiggnation, Manadala Arts, Chicago Dance Crash, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with artists such as Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, Foxy Shazam, and Nikki Lynette. In 2012, Keeley began her work in TV & film, where she was able to work closely with choreographer Fatima Robinson, landing a role alongside Goapele in the remake of the movie "Sparkle". Additionally, she has worked in films including Dhoom 3 and Aaron Sorkins’ The Trial of the Chicago 7. Keeley continues to develop her artistry in areas such as teaching, telling stories through her own movement, and encouraging others to do the same.
yariana baralt torres
Yariana Baralt Torres (she/her) is a Puerto Rican dancer, choreographer and activist who obtained her BA in dance and sociology from Loyola University Chicago. She has had the privilege of performing with Mandala Dance Company in Italy, Hedwig Dances in Chicago, as well as for several freelance choreographers in Chicago. In 2018, she co-founded LOUD BODIES, a dance company that uses dance as a platform for social activism. Her works have been presented at Collaboraction, Synapse Arts, NEWDances, Links Hall, New Trier High School, Momenta Dance Company. Yariana also choreographed “In the Heights” for Vision Latino Theater Company in 2019, co-produced LOUD BODIES' Legalize Menstruation show in 2020 and currently teaches at Free Mvmt Shop and The Brass Ring. She currently co-producing LOUD BODIES Summer 2021 show: LOUD VOICES.
Abby Darrow (she/her) is from Gilberts, IL. In the past four years, Abagail has completed her undergraduate studies at Loyola University Chicago – with a BA in Dance and a BBA in Marketing, and is currently working towards her Masters of Business Administration. Abby is the former recipient of Loyola’s 2017 and 2018 Undergraduate Research Provost Fellowship for her work in Rome, Italy, and Pivot Arts Festival in Chicago, IL. Her most recent collaboration includes the premiering of her choreographic work, Eventide 12:31 at Momenta Dance Company’s ‘Night Vision’ show in the of Spring 2020, proceeded by her choreographic work Menswear (2019) at the Loyola Dance Theater’s Annual Dance Concert in the fall of 2019. She has participated in the American College Dance Association’s Gala Concert, Emergence Dance Festival in Chicago, and Going Dutch Festival in Elgin, IL. Abby’s practice revolves around the nourishment of mind, body, and soul through social-driven movement and concepts.
Katlin Bourgeois (they/he/she) is a Chicago based dance artist whose mission is to disrupt the status quo of the concert dance world, create non harmful spaces for dancers to train, empower dancers to use their voices to enact change in our communities, and highlight LGBTQ+ stories on stage. Katlin’s work is about the physical expression of the soul and emphasizes individuality, while capturing the magic of movement / energy of the body.
Maria Blanco (she/her) is a dancer, choreographer, educator, and sociologist from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Maria received her B.A in Dance and Sociology from Loyola University Chicago May of 2018. In collaboration with Yariana Baralt Torres, she co-founded LOUD BODIES, a dance company that combines dance and activism to provoke change and bring a voice to oppressed topics or communities. LOUD BODIES presented their first show this past March to bring awareness to period poverty at the Preston Bradley Center in collaboration with the Chicago Period Project. Maria has presented her works at the American College Dance Association, Loyola University Chicago, the Greenhouse Theatre, Links Hall, the Athenaeum Theatre, the Hamlin Park Fieldhouse in collaboration with Synapse Arts, and Collaboraction’s Peacebook festival. She has performed with Erin Kilmurray’s cast of SEARCH PARTY at the 2019 Pivot Arts Festival, as Grafitti Pete in Visión Lation Theatre Company and Jedlicka Performing Art's production of In the Heights, as well as the Prop Thtr's 2020 Rhinofest. Maria works as a teaching artist with Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and Chicago Public schools, the Old Town School of Folk Music, and Free Mvmt Shop. This past fall, she was nominated for "Dancer of the Decade" by Broadway World for her role as Grafitti Pete in, In the Heights. She is currently co-producing LOUD BODIES’ second show, LOUD VOICES, and she couldn’t be more ecstatic!
Diamond Gant (she/her) is 24 years old and born and raised in Chicago, IL. She has danced since she could crawl but officially began her training at the age of 4. Dance has always been a way for her to fully express herself. Diamond has taken lessons in styles such as tap, ballet, modern and jazz but her favorite style of dance is hip-hop. While attending college, she minored in dance and was involved in various dance organizations such as a hip-hop dance group, Scorch, an African dance team, Afro Descent, and the Korean Pop dance team, KO/OP. Kpop (or Korean pop music) was a new found interest of mine that began in college and only grew stronger once I graduated. I am currently the co-director of one of Chicago’s most diverse Korean Pop Dance Cover Team’s called MINT.
Jada Rose Cunningham
Jada Rose Cunningham (she/her) is a Chicago born and raised dancer, performer and educator. She received her master’s degree in Dance Education under the direction of Barbara Bashaw in May of 2016. Before earning her master’s degree, Ms. Cunningham received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Mason Gross School of The Arts. Throughout her five years of immersion with New York City artists, she had the opportunity of performing works by Steffanie Batten Bland, Manuel Vignouelle, Doug Elkins, and Sidra Bell. She has performed in two American College Dance Festival Gala performances in the Northeastern Conference, as well nationally at the American College Dance Festival Gala at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C in 2014. Preceding graduation, Ms. Cunningham partnered with After School Matters to create and instruct an original dance program, “Soul Du Ballet,” which offers apprenticeships for Chicago Public School students. In 2017, Ms. Cunningham joined Hubbard Street’s education, youth, and community programs as a teaching Artist. After a two year performance apprenticeship with professional, jazz dance company Inaside Chicago Dance, Ms. Cunningham became the full-time dance teacher at Michelle Obama School of Technology and Performing Arts in Park Forest, Illinois. Ms. Cunningham is currently serving her third year on staff at Michelle Obama School of Technology and Performing Arts.
Kait Dessoffy (they/them) is a freelance dancer and choreographer. They have danced with VADCO, Synapse Arts and Meadow's Dance Collective. Kait was most recently seen in LOUD BODIES' Legalize Menstruation, and is psyched to continue working with this incredible company. They've shown work at Delve, Alive and Well, and various collaborative concerts throughout Chicago. Kait spent the pandemic unionizing their day job and cannot wait to pour all that energy into this piece.
Born and raised in Davao City, Philippines, Dee Alaba (she/her) is a dance artist and a transfemme person of color who graduated with a BFA from The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago in 2017. Since graduating, Dee has navigated through the industry as a trans artist and has expanded her network and collaborated with companies and independent artists such as The Cambrians, LOUD BODIES, and Thodos Dance Chicago. Dee has worked with dance artist Erin Kilmurray, collaborating in her work Search Party Dances ‘18 and as a member of the Honey Cast for The Fly Honey Show X. Aside from performing, she has also created choreography for The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Dance Program. Dee is currently dancing with The Seldoms and is very excited to be collaborating with Loud Bodies again.
Aaliyah Christina (she/her) curates and makes dances that center mental health and healing of the Black American femme. She often incorporates her cultures coming from both the South (Louisiana) and East coast (Maryland). She founded Catalyst Movmnt (2017) to share spaces with artists and audiences as they negotiate and acknowledge their vulnerabilities as they perform and witness, respectively. She has worked with mentors + artists like Onye Ozuzu, Kristina Isabelle, Darrell Jones, and Darling Shear. Her work has been featured in j e l l o, Links Hall’s CoMISSION Festival of New Works, and Project Tool in SET FREE. Aaliyah has co-curated Elevate Chicago Dance 2018, La Femme Dance Festival 2019, and The Fly Honey Show X. Her writing has also been featured in The Dance Center of Columbia College Blog and Performance Response Journal. She desires to continue bridging the gap between performers and witnesses by focusing on acts of understanding, self-love, and communal care.
Kaleigh Dent (she/her) is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She has been a part of works created by choreographers like Endalyn Taylor, Linda Lehovac, Olga Žitluhina, and Jennifer Monson. Her recent performance experience includes dancing in Intensity. Transcendency. by Ginny Ching-Yin Lo (2020) and in her own work Surfin' for Inaside Dance Chicago Virtual Choreography Competition. She has been teaching dance for the past 4 years at various studios in Illinois and continues to create and perform as the opportunity arises. Kaleigh is very excited to dance and perform with LOUD BODIES this season!
Maddy McCarthy (she/they) recently graduated from Indiana University with a BFA in contemporary dance and a minor in exercise science. While studying at IU she practiced modern dance techniques such as Graham, Limón, and Horton as well as contemporary somatic/release practices and several forms of West African. In addition, she served as director/treasurer/choreographer of an on-campus dance group as well as organized, choreographed, and danced in several student-run showcases. In IU productions she was cast in pieces by Bill T. Jones and Stephanie Batten-Bland, and danced the role of Twyla Tharp in the first ever re-staging of Deuce Coupe. She hopes to work professionally as a dancer and choreographer throughout her twenties and then pursue a Master’s degree in contemporary dance, dance pedagogy, choreography, and/or dance movement therapy.
Marceia L. Scruggs
Marceia L. Scruggs (she/her) is a Chicago based dancemaker, creator, and collaborator. She is a 2019 Links Hall Co-Mission artist and Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) Greenhouse recipient. As a creative, Marceia values writing, performance, and storytelling highly driven by her inquiry in womxn’s/gender studies and rooted in high energy movement practice. Her recent work will be presented at Holding Common Ground: Pathways to Cultural Exchange in Vietnam 2021 (Virtual). Her previous works have also been presented at RAD Fest (Kalamazoo, MI), Old Town School of Folk Music, La Femme Dance Festival, Links Hall (Chicago), Black Coffee & Raw Sugar Series, and The Edge Theatre (Chicago). Additionally, this is Marceia's fourth season as a company member with Red Clay Dance Company.