Michael Foley (Director, USF Dance in Paris Programs; Professor of Dance, University of South Florida) is an internationally recognized choreographer and dance teacher who has enjoyed a long creative and cultural association with France. He holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington and a BA from Bates College. Foley received a Fulbright Award for his work in Mexico, as well as the Ruth Page Visiting Artist Award at Harvard University. His own work has been commissioned by over 25 different dance companies in 8 countries, and he has worked with a diverse range of artists and institutions including Cirque du Soleil, Delfos Danza Contemporánea in Mexico, DanzAbierta in Havana, Trinity College in Dublin, la Compañia Nacional de Danza Contemporánea de la República Dominicana, Balettakademien in Stockholm, the Bates Dance Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, and Dance Theatre Workshop in NYC, among many others. He created the first USF Dance in Paris Program in 2007, and since then, has welcomed over 300 students from 25 different colleges and universities to study in Paris.
Maurice Causey (Choreography) is one of the most sought-after contemporary ballet choreographers and teachers today. His career spans some of the greatest contemporary ballet companies on the planet, including tenures with the Cleveland Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, William Forsythe/Ballet Frankfurt (1991 – 1999, Principal Dancer) and Gothenborg Ballet (1999 - 2002, Principal Dancer). He has also been Ballet Master for the Royal Swedish Ballet (2002 – 2003) and Nederlands Dans Theater (2004 – 2010), helping them to restage many classic works, as well as creating his own. Causey has received choreographic commissions for his own works from companies as diverse as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Company C/San Francisco, and New Dance Company/Amsterdam, among many other. Originally from Alabama, he is currently based in Amsterdam and continues to work internationally. Maurice has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Program since 2016.
Sherwood Chen (Body Weather / Contemporary Dance) is a performer who has worked with artists including Grisha Coleman, Yuko Kaseki, Amara Tabor-Smith, Anna Halprin, Min Tanaka, Xavier Le Roy, l’agence touriste, inkBoat / Ko Murobushi, Arcane Collective and Sara Shelton Mann. Sherwood leads workshops in studio and in natural and urban landscapes internationally, and has taught in spaces including Ménagerie de Verre, Oficina Cultural Oswald de Andrade, Independent Dance / Siobahn Davies Studios, K3 Tanzplan, SESC Mato Grosso, Chez Bushwick, ODC Dance Commons, Centro Nacional de las Artes, Dock 11, UC Berkeley, Arlequi and Earthdance. He has been an artist in residence in places including the Headlands Center for the Arts, ODC, Fazenda São João, École des Sables, Cap Quinze in Marseille, Cultural Exchange Station in Tábor (CESTA), Dans Les Parages / Cie Christophe Haleb and Point Éphémère. For over twenty years, he has contributed to Body Weather research initiated by Tanaka and his colleagues. This is Sherwood’s second time teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs. Sherwood has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2020.
Anna Chirescu (Ballet) trained in classical dance at the Conservatory of Paris before joining the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP) in contemporary dance. In 2005, she obtained her certificate, receiving high honors for her performance in the duet L’Eau Vive, choreographed by Christine Bastin. In the CNSMDP’s Junior Ballet, she toured in works by Paco Decina, Karin Waehner, Pedro Pauwels, and Hervé Robbe. A one-year stay at the University of California at Irvine allowed her to participate in Yvonne Rainer’s workshops. She subsequently worked with various contemporary choreographers, notably Jean-Claude Gallotta in Hamlet (Un Songe), at the Odéon Theater in Paris, and companies: Le Guetteur Luc Petton, Marie-Laure Agrapart, Le Nouveau Jour, Les Cavatines, Paul les Oiseaux, Dance Theater Luxembourg, and Bill Young Dance company in New York. She was a member of the CNDC Angers company directed by Robert Swinston from 2013 - 2020 with whom she danced in various repertory pieces by Merce Cunningham in France and the US. Anna started a collaboration with the visual artist Grégoire Schaller with whom she created site specific performances for museums and recently created her first evening length piece at Ménagerie de Verre festival les Inaccoutumés. At the same time, Anna graduated with a master’s degree in Modern Literature at Sorbonne University and in Public Affairs at Sciences Po Paris. Anna is also a dance writer and co-founder of CCCdanse. Anna has been teaching for the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.
Julien Desplantez (Contemporary) began dancing in his hometown of Lourdes, France at the age of six. After earning a master’s degree in law in Toulouse, concurrently with his studies in dance at National Choreographic Center of Grenoble, Desplantez eventually turned to dancing and choreographing full-time earning top honors at choreographic competitions around Europe. He has danced in the work of choreographers Jean-Claude Gulotta, Nathalie Pubellier, Caroline Bo and Corinne Lanselle. Desplantez has received choreographic commissions throughout Europe, as well as in Chile, Cuba, Russia and Canada, and is a well sought-after teacher who regularly conducts major workshops throughout Europe, including the headlining faculty member at the annual Festival de Danse à Lourdes. He formed his own company QUETEM in 2008. Desplantez has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2015.
Michelle Jacobi (Yoga) has been the owner and director of Le Centre de Yoga du Marais in Paris since its inception in 2001, Michelle has been practicing yoga since 1993. She received her initial through advanced teacher’s training from the Hatha Integral Yoga Institute founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Professionally trained in classical and contemporary dance, Michelle has danced and performed for over 30 years, teaching dance since 1987 and yoga since 2000. A student of anatomy and kinesiology at UCLA, upon graduation she continued her studies in New York. Michelle has also studied pre and postnatal child development and is a recent graduate in yoga therapy from l’Institut de Yoga Thérapie which is headed by Doctor Lionel Coudron. She teaches and travels abroad leading yoga retreats to beautiful locations. Influenced by her Vipassana meditation practice, Michelle’s Hatha yoga classes accentuate fluidity in movement and breath traversing traditional and dynamic styles of Hatha. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since the first program in 2007.
Wanjiru Kamuyu (Contemporary Dance technique, World Dance and Culture) is a native of Kenya and holds an M.F.A. in dance choreography and performance from Temple University. She began her dance training in Kenya, East Africa and later studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Dance Festival and Philadanco. As a performer, Kamuyu has toured nationally and internationally with world-renowned choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar/Urban Bush Women. She has also worked with choreographers Molissa Fenley, Sean Curran, Marlies Yearby, Nathan Trice/RITUALS, Tania Isaac, and Dean Moss. She was an original cast member in Julie Taymor’s Broadway musical, The Lion King at Théâtre Mogador, Paris for three years. Immediately followed by a successful run of Bill T. Jones’ FELA! at the Royal National Theater where she was an original cast member, Kamuyu served in the roles of Staff Choreographer, Dance Captain and Universal Swing. She is also the Artistic Director of WKcollective, where she creates and tours her own work at several well-respected venues for dance and theater throughout the world. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2015.
Aurélia Lefaucheux (Ballet) graduated with a degree in Ballet from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse in Paris. She danced for the Ballet Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence (Italy), the Grand Théâtre of Limoges (France) and as a soloist with Francois Mauduit's company. Since July 2011 she's been a freelance dancer and assistant choreographer with Company Mégalithe. Lefaucheux holds the French National degree in teaching classical ballet. She teaches at the W.A. Mozart Conservatory in Paris (CMA Centre) and the Regional Conservatory in Paris. She is also a coach for professional dancers and has received specialized training in functional anatomy and musculoskeletal pathology (Concept Corporis Fabrica®). She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.
Madison Mainwaring (Dance History) is currently completing a PhD in French at Yale University. Her work has been featured by The New York Times, Harper’s Magazine, The Atlantic, The Economist, The Baffler and The Paris Review Daily, among other publications. She has written about gender in ballet technique, Catherine Deneuve’s mystique, strippers’ labor rights in Las Vegas, Baudelaire’s favorite paintings, and the wardrobe of a famous duchess. Ms. Mainwaring’s academic research focuses on femininity, performance and the archive in nineteenth-century France. In her dissertation project, she interrogates the archetype of the ballerina as muse, asking how we can reclaim the silences of dance to find women’s perspectives that have been written out of the historical record. In 2018, Ms. Mainwaring won the Naomi Schor Memorial Award at the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Colloquium for the best essay by a graduate student. During the 2020-2021 academic year, her research was be supported by the Mary Isabel Sibley Fellowship of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. She is also working as a freelance French language consultant and translator for Harper’s Magazine. Ms. Mainwaring holds an MA in History from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris, an MFA from Warren Wilson College, and a BA from Middlebury College. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2022.
Nathalie Pubellier (Choreography and Technique) grew up studying dance throughout the south of France, eventually leading her to a career as a choreographer and a dancer in Paris and New York. She has danced in the companies of Anne Dreyfus, Jennifer Müller, Quentin Rouiller, Corinne Lanselle, among others, while at the same time pursuing a choreographic career that has garnered praise and prizes throughout France, including the Parisian Volinine International Prize in 1993 and the first prize at the Choreographic Festival Synodale of Sens. Pubellier established her own company, L'ESTAMPE, which has received significant project-funding and gone on to perform in major venues throughout France, including L'Étoile du Nord, Les Jalouses Festival in Paris. She is highly regarded teacher, who regularly teaches class at one of Paris’s premier dance studios (Harmonic), as well as her current faculty position at Le Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2016.
Vladimir Rodríguez (Piso Móvil – Floor Class) was born in Bogotá, Colombia and trained at the ASAB Academy of Arts in Bogotá. In 2003 he founded the contemporary dance company Cortocinesis where he developed his research and choreographic ideas, and at the same time created the "Mobile Floor" (Piso Móvil) technique. The Room, one of his pieces, was a finalist in 10 Masdanza Canary Islands in 2005. La Mesa received the Creation Grant in Contemporary Dance in Bogotá in 2006 and was invited by the UNAM (University of Mexico) to Mexico City. His company participated in 2007 at the Festival of New Dance in Lima, Peru, and he has been a guest choreographer for creating Graduation pieces for the Academy of Superior Arts of Bogota and the School of Contemporary Dance in Mazatlàn, Mexico and has created pieces for Delfos Danza Contemporánea. In 2008 he won the Fellowship in Contemporary Dance Creation in Bogotá for his work Papayanoquieroserpapaya which also received the 2010 National Dance Award from the Ministry of Culture. He has worked as a guest choreographer for Mexican companies as La Bruja, Tumak'at and Andanza. He has been Company dancer of Déjà Donné (Italy), Esther Aumatell Company, Compagnie des Anges and Compagnia Faizal Zeghoudi in France, Compagnia L'explose and Compañia Psoas in Colombia among others. He has been touring the project "ESCrito Absurdo" with Omar Carrum since 2018. Vladimir has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2013
Papson Sylla (West African Dance) is a native of Ivory Coast and has had a rich and diverse career as a performer, singer, dance maker and teacher. He has toured world-wide performing with the renowned Ivory Coast-based Ballet National Kotéba and Bouake; was the principle role, Ismaël, (singer/dancer) for the Royal National Theater production of choreographer Bill T. Jones’ Broadway musical, FELA!; was a select performing artist for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, USA; and at a private event by L’Oréal for the honorable Prince of Monaco, Albert II celebrating art from the continent of Africa. Sylla’s choreographic experience includes the Ivory Coast National Television Station (TCI); celebrated artists Amadou and Mariam, Césaria Evora, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Bocana Maiga and Oumaou Sangare and for the 2006 inauguration of the Museum Quai Branly (France). He was the assistant choreographer for George Momboye Dance Company (Paris, France) with whom he was also a performer. As a master teacher of Mali, Guinée and Ivory Coast traditional dances and contemporary Ivory Coast dance forms, Coupé Décalé, Sylla has taught extensively in France as well as Uruguay, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. Alongside his dance career, Sylla is also a musician with two albums of work, Ça Dépend and Aventurier. Sylla has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.
Sébastien Thill (Ballet) began his career as a professional dancer at the Paris Opera Ballet under the direction of Rudolf Noureyev and performed in all of Noureyev’s productions including Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda and Sleeping Beauty. He also worked with and performed in ballets by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Maurice Béjart, Carolyn Carlson, Roland Petit, John Neumeier and Ohad Naharin, among many others. He joined the Hamburg Ballet as a soloist under John Neumeier where he performed many of Neumeier’s ballets and toured internationally. He has also performed in new works by Patrick King, Redha Medjellekh and Adrianna Thompson in Europe, Asia and the United States. Mr. Thill is also a choreographer in his own right an as many of his works have been produced internationally. He is currently a celebrated GYROKINESIS® teacher where he has been leading major workshops for many years, as well as teaching ballet for the ACTS École de danse contemporaine in Paris.
Heidi Weiss (Choreography) was born in New Jersey and received her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts in 1992. She choreographed and performed in the USA with Group Motion, a Philadelphia based Company and from 1992-95 and with Karen Bamonte in 1996. In 1997 she moved to Germany and founded the Company "Zen in the Basement" with Jennifer Mann. They have created many works together which have been presented in theatres and festivals in Europe and abroad. Weiss has been teaching various modern techniques for many years. She has developed with Jennifer Mann the "Weissmann technique", which she continues to teach in workshops and Universities. Weiss was a Professor at Palucca Schule Dresden from 2004-07. She has been a guest artist in residence at Virginia Commonwealth University (USA), as well as at the Duncan Conservatory in Prague, London Contemporary (the place) in London, and SEAD in Salzburg. She has also given training to many companies such as Sasha Waltz and DV8 Physical Theatre. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.