Company Bios

Artistic Staff

(Artistic Director of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance) has been the Center’s artistic director since 2005. Her direction has focused on creating new forms of audience access to the Graham masterworks. These initiatives include designing contextual programming, educational and community partnerships, use of new media, commissions and creative events such as the Lamentation Variations and Prelude and Revolt. She has also remixed Graham choreography and created new staging in the Graham style for theater/dance productions of The Bacchae and Prometheus Bound. Earlier in her career, as a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company, Ms. Eilber worked closely with Martha Graham. She danced many of Graham’s greatest roles, had roles created for her by Graham, and was directed by Graham in most of the major roles of the repertoire. She soloed at the White House, was partnered by Rudolf Nureyev, starred in three segments of Dance in America, and has since taught, lectured, and directed Graham ballets internationally. Apart from her work with Graham, Eilber has performed in films, on television and on Broadway directed by such greats as Agnes deMille and Bob Fosse and has received four Lester Horton Awards for her reconstruction and performance of seminal American modern dance. She has served as Director of Arts Education for the Dana Foundation, guiding the Foundation’s support for Teaching Artist training and contributing regularly to its arts education publications. Eilber is a Trustee Emeritus of the Interlochen Center for the Arts. She is married to screenwriter/director John Warren, with whom she has two daughters, Madeline and Eva.

DENISE VALE (Senior Artistic Associate) joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1985, attaining the rank of principal dancer. Roles performed include the Pioneer Woman in Appalachian Spring, Woman in White in Diversion of Angels, Chorus Leader in Night Journey, Chorus in Cave of the Heart, the Attendant in Hérodiade, Leader in the 1980s reconstruction of “Steps in the Street”, and Night Chant, a ballet created for Ms. Vale by Martha Graham in 1989. Graham solos performed include LamentationFrontier, Satyric Festival Song, and Serenata Morisca.

Tadej BrdnikTADEJ BRDNIK (Principal) began his career in Slovenia, joining the Company in 1996. He has danced with Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Robert Wilson, Battery Dance Company, among others and in works by Maurice Béjart, Nacho Duato, Lucinda Childs, Yvonne Rainer, Susan Stroman, Anne Bogart, Doug Varone, Andonis Foniadakis, Larry Keigwin, and others. He teaches internationally, at the Graham School and for “Dancing to Connect.” He is a former director of Teens@Graham and Education Director for the Downtown Dance Festival. He is a Manager of Special Projects at the Martha Graham Company and owner of smARTconcierge. He is a recipient of The Benetton Dance Award and the Eugene Loring Award.

Katherine CrockettKATHERINE CROCKETT (Principal) joined the Company in 1993. Her favorite roles include Clytemnestra, Jocasta, and Phaedra. She is Cate Blanchett’s dancer double in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and starred with Baryshnikov in his White Oak Dance Project. Ms. Crockett represented the USA for UNICEF, performing in Kosovo with Vanessa Redgrave.  She worked with Robert Wilson, Lucinda Childs, Martha Clarke, Susan Stroman and Yvonne Rainer, performed in the Gala of the Stars, the Vogue Awards, and runways of Alexander McQueen. Ms. Crockett played Helen in SITI Company’s Trojan Women and is currently starring Off -Broadway as the Queen in Queen of the Night.
Maurizio NardiMAURIZIO NARDI (Principal) joined the Company in 2002 dancing many leading roles. A native of Florence, Italy, he came to New York with a scholarship to the Graham School in 1998 and became a member of Graham 2. Mr. Nardi has also danced with Pearl Lang Dance Theater, Mary Anthony Dance Theater, Battery Dance Company and worked with Carla Fracci, Nacho Duato, Doug Varone and many other artists. He has starred in galas throughout Europe and the US, is winner of the 2007 “Les Etoiles de Ballet2000,” and the artistic director of Key West Modern Dance.
Miki OriharaMIKI ORIHARA (Principal) joined the Company in 1987 and has performed almost every major role in the Graham repertory.She serves as a Graham regisseur, has performed with many companies and choreographers, including the Broadway Production of The King and I, Twyla Tharp, Robert Wilson, Stephen Pier, and Lotuslotus. She was a special guest artist for Japan’s New National Theater, and has premiered her works internationally and nationally. She teaches often in Japan, Amsterdam, Peridance, the Ailey School, NYU, among many others and works as an assistant for Yuriko. She  received a NY Dance and Performance BESSIE Award in 2010. She presented her first solo concert at LaMama on May 8-11, 2014.

PeiJu Chien-PottPEIJU CHIEN-POTT (Principal) joined the Company in 2011 and performs lead roles in Chronicle, Errand into the Maze, Diversion of Angels, Witch Dance, Depak Ine and Echo. Ms. Chien-Pott received a B.F.A. from Taipei National University of the Arts and was a Merce Cunningham Studio scholar. She has danced with Taipei Royal Ballet, Taipei Crossover Dance Company, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Korhan Basaran Artists, Nimbus Dance Works and Morphoses. This season, Ms. Chien-Pott was a featured performer in the world premieres by Nacho Duato and Andonis Foniadakis.

Blakeley White-McGuireBLAKELEY WHITE-MCGUIRE (Principal) joined the Company in 2002 and has performed the major roles of Graham’s iconic repertoire including Appalachian Spring, Cave of the Heart, Deep Song, Errand into the Maze, Frontier, The Rite of Spring and the re-imagining of Imperial Gesture. She has also performed in new choreographic works including those by Lar Lubovitch, Richard Move, Robert Wilson and SITI Company. Ms. White-McGuire has served on the faculties of the Graham School, The Ailey School and New School University. She holds an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College, is a choreographer and published writer.

Lloyd Knight
LLOYD KNIGHT (Soloist) joined the Company in 2005 and performs starring roles in Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Errand into the Maze and others. Born in England and reared in Miami, he trained at Miami Conservatory of Ballet and graduated from New World School of the Arts, under the direction of Daniel Lewis. There he worked with choreographers, Donald McKayle, Robert Battle, and Michael Uthoff. He received scholarships to the Alvin Ailey Center and Dance Theatre of Harlem. Dance Magazine named him one of the “Top 25 Dancers to Watch” in 2010.

Mariya Dashkina MadduxMARIYA DASHKINA MADDUX (Soloist) joined the Company in 2007 and dances lead roles in Appalachian Spring, Embattled Garden, Serenata Morisca, and Lamentation Variations. She was born and raised in Kiev, Ukraine, where she began her dance training. She continued her studies at Thomas Armour Youth Ballet in Miami, under the directorship of Ruth Wiesen. She then attended New World School of the Arts, under the directorship of Daniel Lewis, where she received a B.F.A. in 2006, graduating summa cum laude.

Ben SchultzBEN SCHULTZ (Soloist) joined the company in 2009 and has danced leading roles including King Hades in Clytemnestra and Jason in Cave of the Heart.  He premiered Martha Graham’s work in Russia performing Errand into The Maze with prima ballerina Diana Vishneva at the Mariinsky Theatre, Saint Petersburg.  Mr. Schultz attended Indiana University where he studied ballet, theatre and opera. Earlier dance credits include the Tony Award® winning Blast, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, and Hannah Kahn Contemporary Dance. Mr. Schultz has served as faculty and resident choreographer for the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.

Xiaochuan XieXIAOCHUAN XIE (Soloist) joined the Company in 2010 dancing many solo roles.  This season she will dance the “Chosen One” in the revival of Graham’s The Rite of Spring. Born in Nanjing, China, she trained in ballet and modern dance at Nanjing Secondary School for Dance Performance and danced for the Qianxian Art Theater in China for 6 years. She performed for the former President Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao and won the first prize for modern dance performance in the National Dance Competition in China in 2007.

Natasha Diamond-WalkerNATASHA DIAMOND-WALKER (Dancer) joined the Company in 2011 touring with the Italian production of Cercando Picasso and has performed lead roles in Appalachian SpringDiversion of Angels, and Cave of the Heart.  She holds a B.F.A. degree from Fordham University/ the Alvin Ailey School and has danced with the Francesca Harper Project, 360 Dance Theater, Buglisi Dance Theatre, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

Abdiel JacobsenABDIEL JACOBSEN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2011 performing several leading roles including partnering prima ballerina Diana Vishneva in Errand into the Maze. He is a Professional Champion Ballroom & Latin dancer/instructor. Born in the Ivory Coast, Mr. Jacobsen received a B.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts performing works by Roni Koresh, Scott Jovovich, Christine Cox and Louis Johnson and was a company member of the SLJ Arts Initiative, directed by Zane Booker.

Lloyd MayorLLOYD MAYOR (Dancer) joined the Company in 2012 and performs lead roles in Appalachian Spring, Diversion of Angels, and Echo. He trained at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London. With a gymnastic, hip hop and ballet background, he joined the Martha Graham School in 2011 and became a member of Graham 2. Last January, Mr. Mayor was honored with the Clive Barnes Award.
LAUREN NEWMAN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2008 and toured Italy with the Company in its special project Cercando Picasso. Ms. Newman began her training with Jacksonville Ballet Theater and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and received a B.F.A in Dance and a B.A. in Art History from Southern Methodist University where she performed lead roles in Diversion of Angels, “Steps in the Street”, and Acts of Light.  In 2007, she joined Graham 2.

LORENZO PAGANO (Dancer) joined the Company in 2012 and was chosen for featured roles in Echo, by Andonis Foniadakis and Depak Ine, by Nacho Duato. Mr Pagano has danced at Impulstanz Tanz Wochen in Vienna and the Doris Humphrey Foundation in Chicago.  He received scholarships to both the School at Jacob’s Pillow and the Martha Graham School. He was a member of Graham 2.
JORGE ANDRÉS VILLARINI (Dancer) was born in Puerto Rico. He is an alum of the JKO School at American Ballet Theatre and received a B.F.A. in dance from Marymount Manhattan College. Mr. Villarini danced for three seasons with BalletMet Columbus, Ohio performing works by George Balanchine, John Butler, James Kudelka, Edward Liang, Alwin Nikolais, Christopher Wheeldon, Shen Wei and many others. This is his first season with the Company.

Ying XinYING XIN (Dancer) joined the Company in 2011. She performs lead roles in Diversion of Angels and Maple Leaf Rag among others.  She received the 2008 China Dance Lotus Award, has been faculty at Mianyang Arts College and a guest teacher at the Beijing Dance Academy. She graduated at the Nanjing University of the Arts, was awarded a full scholarship to the Graham School, and was a member of Graham 2.

GILDAS LEMONNIER (New Dancer) joined the Company in 2013.  Originally from France, he began his dance training at the IFPRO in Paris and came to New York in 2012 with a scholarship to the Martha Graham School.  As a member of Graham 2, he performed roles in The Rite of SpringActs of Light, and Cortege of Eagles.

LUCY POSTELL (New Dancer) joined the Company in 2012. She graduated from Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School and attended Mount Holyoke College where she studied English Literature and Dance. She enrolled at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance as a scholarship student in 2011 and was chosen to be a member of Graham 2.

CAIN ALFONZA COLEMAN Jr. (Apprentice) started his dance training in high school with the City Dance Theatre of Richmond, VA, and continued at the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase. Prior to joining the Company, Mr. Coleman danced with with Philadanco. He has performed works by Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Talley Beatty, George Faison, among others.

CHARLOTTE LANDREAU (Apprentice) joined the Company in 2013.  A native of France, she began her studies with rhythmic gymnastics and studied dance at the Maurice Béjart School before moving to NYC to study at the Martha Graham School. Ms. Landreau danced with Graham 2, received the Pearl Lang Award, and currently dances the Princess in Cave of the Heart among other roles.