Co-Founder 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!
Yariana Baralt Torres
Co-Founder 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.
Out of gallery
Ashley Rockwood (she/her) is a Chicago-based dance artist, entrepreneur, educator, and mother. She has performed with several opera houses, Beyonce and toured internationally with Giordano Dance Chicago. In 2018 she founded Free Mvmt Shop, a movement based fitness studio and community. Partnerships with local and national organizations include Boxed Water, Clif Bar, Outdoor Voices, Free People, and Lululemon. Her commitment to community and diversity led her to create the Yoga for Breonna Memorial Scholarship, a dedication to the life of Breonna Taylor that provides financial assistance to women of color pursuing their yoga certification in the hopes of cultivating a more inclusive community of yoga professionals. Free Mvmt Shop has since expanded into Virtual Mvmt, an on demand platform for movement and BASH xyz, programming designed for movement and creative learning for kids.
Amy Wilkinson & Matt Pryor
Matthew Pryor (he/him) is Amy’s proud husband and together they have two awesome boys, August (8) and Eli (6). Professionally, Matt is a lawyer and represents two federal Court-appointed Monitors in the long-running Shakman v. Cook County, et al. matter. As Counsel, Matt manages the day-to-day Court oversight of the Cook County Assessor and Cook County Clerk’s efforts to comply with prohibitions against unlawful political discrimination in governmental employment. Prior to his current role, Matt was an Associate in the Litigation Department at Latham & Watkins LLP in Chicago where he had a healthy pro bono practice representing asylum applicants and women seeking orders of protection against abusive partners. Matt received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and a Bachelor’s in Comparative Religion from Wake Forest University. In addition to serving on the Board of Loud Bodies, Matt’s previous public service activities have focused on immigration issues (with the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR – Chicago)), mediation (with the Center for Conflict Resolution), education (as a Board Member of the Parent Advisory Council for his eldest son’s elementary school) and the arts (serving on the Board of Pivot Arts Group). Through his work with CAIR-Chicago responding to former President Trump’s anti-Muslim immigration policies, Matt shared in winning various awards including the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s 2017 Pro Bono Award, the Chicago-Kent Law School’s 2017 Pro Bono Service Award, and was recognized as one of Chicago Magazine’s Chicagoans of the Year in 2017.
Sharidan Rickmon (she/her) graduated from Loyola University in 2018. Since graduating, Sharidan has danced with the Mandala Arts Company under Pranita Nayar and Ashwaty Chennat. She has also danced in projects throughout Chicago including the Breaking Grounds Performance at Links Hall, Simantikos Dance Chicago, the “For You For Me” immersive dance project, “On Being Well,” curated by Jordan Kunkel, and "Speak!". Sharidan has choreographed pieces alongside Alexandia Ditoro, Jordan Kunkel, and Ashwaty Chennat. Sharidan is also a 6th grade math teacher at Catalyst Maria and is currently working on creating dance opportunities after school for middle school scholars.
Mags Bouffard (they/them) is a development and administrative professional with experience working in a variety of service areas. In 2021, Mags was the recipient of the Dean F. Eitel award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration. Mags holds a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Nonprofit Management from the University of Illinois at Chicago.