PHOTOS BY BRIAN GUILLIAUX
Akilah Brooks, a Baltimore native, began her dance training at the Baltimore School of the Arts, where she graduated with honors. She is a graduate of Point Park University with a Bachelor of Arts with a concentration in modern dance. Brooks has worked with noted choreographers such as Christopher L. Huggins, Troy Powell, Mark Morris, Sidra Bell, and Garfield Lemonius. She has most recently danced with Dallas Black Dance Theater II under the direction of Nycole Ray. Within the past year she also has been featured as a dancer in the Dallas Opera’s production of ShowBoat. Brooks is thrilled for her second season dancing with Bruce Wood Dance Project. She would like to thank her family and close friends for their support and encouragement.
Jillyn Bryant is a Dallas native. She grew up training under Kathy Willsey and Megan Willsey-Buckland. She graduated in 2016 from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with a BA in Dance and a Minor in Business Management. Bryant has extended her dance studies with summer programs such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Conservatory, and The Juilliard School. She is grateful to have performed works by George Balanchine, Lar Lubovitch, Ohad Naharin, Christopher Huggins, Garfield Lemonius, Bret Easterling, and David Morse. She is thrilled to be a part of BWDP, dancing alongside such kind and talented people. She gives all glory to God for His hand in her dance journey, as well as family and friends who have all supported her throughout the years.
EMILY DRAKE is a native of Nashville, Tennessee. Drake began studying modern, ballet, and jazz at an early age and attended summer programs at The Rock School of Ballet. She graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance from SMU Meadows School of the Arts in 2014. At SMU she had the pleasure of performing in works by such renowned choreographers as Martha Graham; Adam Hougland; Jessica Lang; Billy Siegenfeld; Bill T. Jones; and Bruce Wood. In
April 2016, Drake was one of a trio of BWDP dancers who performed the world premiere of Gol-e-dodi commissioned by Le Train Bleu and choreographed by Katarzyna Skarpetowska for a performance at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York. This is her fifth season with BWDP.
David Escoto is a South Florida native living in Dallas. He graduated from Marymount Manhattan College in NYC in 2014 with a BFA in dance under the direction of Katie Langan. At Marymount, he had the privilege of performing works choreographed by Dwight Rhoden, Twyla Tharp, Emery LeCrone, Lar Lubovitch, and Chase Brock. In December 2013, Escoto was a dancer with Nikolais Dance Theater and performed at the First Yang Li Ping International Dance Festival in Kunming and Beijing, China. In the fall of 2014, apprentice with Parsons Dance in New York. Escoto is thrilled to be in Dallas performing in his fourth season with BWDP. He would love to thank his friends and family, and especially everyone here in Dallas who has made his experience with BWDP so memorable.
NÉSTOR LEONARDO PÉREZ is a native of the southern tropical area of Mexico. In 2009, Pérez began studying dance at the Texas Women’s University in Denton where he was introduced to a wide variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern, and contact improvisation. Pérez was a member of TWU’s DanceWorks, DanceLAB, and International Dance Company. He went on to perform and collaborate with Big Rig Dance Collective and Grid Dance Theater. He studies flamenco with Jesús Muñoz and Latin ballroom with Gocha and Shorena Chertkoev. In summer 2013, Pérez attended the American Dance Festival, where he performed and participated in the restaging of choreographer Bill T. Jones’ Love Redefined. Pérez currently is an apprentice in his third season with BWDP and he is thankful for the opportunity to study with the company.
Olivia REHRMAN grew up in Dallas, Texas and began her training at the Academy of Dance Arts. She graduated from The University of Arizona in 2012 and received a BFA in dance. In 2009, Rehrman was a featured dancer in the HBO series Masterclass with Emmy-nominated choreographer Bill T. Jones. She also received the Charles Andrew Kulp Scholarship from the Dance Council of North Texas upon graduating high school. Rehrman was the recipient of the prestigious National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts Award for jazz and dance, and was Dance Spirit Magazine’s March 2011 featured “Dancer to Watch.” She most recently danced with world-renowned jazz company, River North Dance Chicago, for four seasons. She is excited to start her second season with Bruce Wood Dance Project and would like to thank her mentors for the knowledge they have shared with her. Rehrman also thanks her family for their endless support.
Gabriel Speiller is a native New Yorker, raised in Queens. He is a graduate of Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. Speiller received his BFA in Dance at Belhaven University. He has performed works choreographed by dancers from Doug Varone and Dancers, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Houston Ballet, Joffrey Contemporary, José Limón Dance Company, Martha Graham Dance Company, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Battleworks. He previously danced with Ad Deum Dance Company, Paul Taylor 2, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Dance Company, Katherine Maxwell, NOW Dance Project, Jessica Gaynor Dance Company, and Robert Mark Dance Company. He is also passionate about teaching and choreographing. Speiller is excited about his second season with BWDP, and would like to thank everyone who has supported him throughout his dance journey.
Austin Sora is originally from Toronto, Canada and began her professional training at Canada’s National Ballet School. She earned a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arts Management from Marymount Manhattan College. Following graduation, she was the recipient of Marymount’s Gold Key Award for excellence in dance. Sora has spent her summers studying on scholarship at The Ailey School, Complexions, and with Twyla Tharp. Austin has performed with Buglisi Dance Theatre in New York and Nikolais Dance Theatre in China. In April 2016, Sora was one of a trio of BWDP dancers who performed the world premiere of Gol-e-dodi commissioned by Le Train Bleu and choreographed by Katarzyna Skarpetowska for a performance at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York. Sora is grateful to everyone at BWDP and would like to thank her family and friends for their love and support.
The mission of Bruce Wood Dance is to present high-caliber, original, contemporary choreography that
harnesses the power of dance as a tool for entertainment, enrichment, and healing. Fortified by Bruce Wood®’s
aesthetic, BWD produces and maintains his repertoire, commissions new work by resident choreographers and
guest dance-makers, and contributes to the quality of life in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, and across the nation.
Bruce Wood Dance Company is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization. We are grateful for the support of our sponsors.
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