Aviva Geismar (artistic director/choreographer) is a choreographer, dancer, dance teacher and the artistic director of Drastic Action. Geismar’s expressionistic dances stem from complex emotional and psychological impulses and from her fascination with the nuances and paradoxes of human behavior.
Geismar’s dances have been performed at many national venues including Inside/Out at Jacob’s Pillow, Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Space, Danspace Project, Dance Theater Workshop, Dance New Amsterdam, The 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, Dance Place (DC), The Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center, Dance Works (Milwaukee) and The Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Her site-specific quartet, “Snare Tide” was presented at Wave Hill by Dancing in the Streets, and she has been an artist in residence at HERE Art Center and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. She has received support from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, Jody and John Arnhold, The Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, The Puffin Foundation, The PSC-CUNY Research Foundation and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.
Geismar has long maintained an interest in reaching underserved communities and has implemented community outreach projects with ESL students, public school students and community college students in NYC. These activities create bridges of understanding across lines of difference and offer opportunities for individual expression and empowerment. Between 2006 and 2010, she led “Dances for the Blue House” and “Dancing to Connect”, international performance and education programs, developed in partnership with the Battery Dance Company. The two dance companies performed and taught intensive, creative dance workshops that focused on the history of the Holocaust and issues of tolerance throughout Germany. These projects were sponsored by the US Department of State, Citibank Germany, the Koeber Foundation and many other public and private German organizations.
Geismar holds a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is an Assistant Professor in the dance program at Queensborough Community College and has been a guest or adjunct at many colleges and Universities including the University of Maryland, Rutgers University, James Madison University, Marymount Manhattan and Ursinus College. Geismar’s dances have been commissioned by the Gotham Group, Trammel and Thompson and Fernando Maneca.
Nickemil Concepcion (performer) comes from New York City, where he received his early training at Broadway Dance and the New Ballet School. At age 13, he began his professional career performing in a Broadway production of Cinderella. He went on to be featured in the 1993 film Avenue X and George C Wolfe's 1996 Off Broadway production of On The Town. Concepcion was a member of Ballet Tech, for seven years and toured the world as a member of Cedar Lake Dance Company for twelve years.
Dancer, choreographer and “Dancing Activist”, Kaoru Ikeda, (performer) originally from Japan, graduated from Nihon University College of Art, (BA) and New York University Tisch School of the Arts, (MFA). She has trained, performed, choreographed, and taught dance ranging from classical Ballet to Butoh to modern dance. Her work has taken her to the U.S., Japan, South Korea, and Mexico where she had an artist residency in 2012. In 2016 she toured with 25th Soliloquios y Diálogos Bailados in Mexico City, and with 18th Muestra Internacional de Danza Oaxaca in Oaxaca. Her choreographic works have been reviewed as “perfectly realized dance" (offoffoffdance) and “moving poetry" (Eyes on Arts). Her international experiences have taught her that dance can cross any border and break through cultural barriers to speak to all people, no matter how different we think we are. She founded MoustacheCat Dance in 2015 to fight against prejudice through dance. Ikeda has been working with Drastic Action since 2014.
Hyunjin Kim (performer) is originally from Seoul, South Korea. In the US she has pursued her dancestudies at Queensborough Community College and currently at Mason Gross School of Arts, Rutgers University. She has worked with various dance artists including Michelle Oliva, Malcolm Low, Emily Berry, Aviva Geismar, Paul Ocampo, and Keith Thompson.
Alessandra L. Larson (curriculum consultant/performer) is a freelance performer, producer, and educator in New York City's dance community. Currently, she works as Movement Curriculum Director at The Mead School in Stamford, CT, working with students, age three to thirteen, on integrated, multicultural dance curricula with a social justice mission. She also serves as Adjunct Instructor/Program Coordinator for Florida State University's "FSU in NYC" program, an immersive, "gateway" study program for undergraduate and graduate dance students in NYC. She has worked with Drastic Action since 2005 as a performer and teaching artist in "Dancing to Connect" (2007-2010), a creative choreography-based cultural diplomacy program.
Recently, Alessandra appeared at New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) as Virginia Poe in Thaddeus Phillips' "Red-Eye to Havre de Grace," a devised musical-theater production, and conducted pre- and post-show workshops for New York City high school students with NYTW's Director of Education. Producing projects include: "Breaking Ground: A Dance Charrette," a site-based dance project at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, NY; and "Check Your Body at the Door," a documentary film about House dancers in NYC in the 1990s, translated into ten languages. She graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University in St. Louis, with a dual-bachelors in Psychology and Dance, and holds a masters degree from Teachers College/Columbia University in International Education Development, with a concentration in Peace Education and Conflict Resolution.
Menying Lin (performer), originally from China, is currently a student at Queensborough Community College. She performed with Drastic Action in Fort Tryon Park in June 2016. She also performed with B3W Performance Group/Emily Berry at Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Forgiveness in May 2016.
Sameena Mitta (performer) is the artistic director of MeenMoves and has presented work in North America, India, Japan and Europe. Her program MadHops brings dance education to underrepresented groups and individuals. As a freelance modern dancer she has performed for numerous choreographers and taught in schools in North America and abroad. Mitta completed an MA in Dance Creation at UQAM focusing on movement intervention for survivors of domestic violence. She is a graduate of the School of Dance in Canada and an Associate Member of the Cecchetti Society. Mitta is on faculty at the Limón Institute and the Harkness Dance Center.
Darla Stanley (performer) is a dance maker, performer, and teacher whose work has been presented in venues and dance festivals internationally. She performed with Philadelphia companies from 1989 to 2005, and has also been featured in the work of Chris Burnside, and in London choreographer, Siobhan Davies’ Philadelphia Bank Project. Darla currently dances with David Appel, Emily Berry/B3W Performance Group, Aviva Geismar/Drastic Action, Jenni Hong, and Keith Thompson/danceTactics in NY. Darla is an adjunct Professor at Queensborough Community College and has taught dance at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and at Temple, Drexel, and Wesleyan universities. Darla holds an MFA from Temple University and a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University.