University of South Florida

School of Theatre & Dance

College of the Arts


The faculty for the Summer 2024 Program will be announced in spring 2024, but the majority of the faculty below will be returning for 2024. 

Michael Foley (Director, USF Dance in Paris Programs; Professor, 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 B.A. from Bates College. Michael has received numerous recognitions for his work in the Arts including a William J. Fulbright scholarship from the United States government for his research and teaching in Mexico with Delfos Danza Contemporànea, a Kennedy Center/American Theater Festival Award, and he was the Ruth Page Visiting Artist at Harvard University. In 2019, he received the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters’ “Artistic Achievement Award.”  His own work has been commissioned by over 25 different dance companies in 10 countries, and he has worked with a diverse range of artists and institutions  including Cirque du Soleil, the Bates Dance Festival, DanzAbierta in Havana, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle Dance Theatre Workshop in NYC, Centro Danza Mimma Testa in Rome, Trinity College in Dublin, and Balettakademien in Stockholm, among many others. He created the first USF Dance in Paris Program in 2007, and since then, has welcomed over 300 students to study in Paris. 

Colleen Thomas (Co-Director, Dance in Paris Summer Program; Professor, Barnard College) is a New York based choreographer and performing artist.  She began her professional career with the Miami Ballet and went on to work with renowned contemporary choreographers such as The Kevin Wynn Collection, Nina Wiener Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group, Bebe Miller Dance Company, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company among others. In 1997 a creative collaboration with Bill Young evolved into a company focused on rigorous physicality and dynamic partnering. Their work has been seen throughout the U.S, Europe, Asia, and South America. Now interested in focusing on illuminating her vision of contemporary work, Colleen formed Colleen Thomas Dance and has presented her work in Hong Kong, Estonia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Russia and in New York at Joyce Soho, Danspace Project, DTW, Dance New Amsterdam, The Miller Theater, Danny K. Playhouse, and The Kumble Arts Center, as well as at Cal State Long Beach, East Carolina University, and Minneapolis at the Ritz Theater, Southern Theater, and The New Guthrie.  Colleen is the co-director and a co-curator of the LIT series at 100 Grand. LIT supports the presentation of innovative work in an up-close and personal setting.  The series showcases works by emerging artists who are bringing fresh ideas to the form, as well as established artists who are experimenting with new directions.  She received her MFA in Dance from University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Colleen has been teaching improvisation and co-directing the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2010.   

Sherwood Chen (Body Weather) 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.

Anna Chirescu (Ballet and Cunningham technique) 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 UC Irvine allowed her to participate in Yvonne Rainer’s workshops. She has worked with various contemporary choreographers, notably Jean-Claude Gallotta, Luc Petton, Marie-Laure Agrapart, Dance Theater Luxembourg, and Bill Young Dance Ccompany 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 has collaborated with visual artist Grégoire Schaller on site specific museum performances, and created her first evening length piece (Les Inaccoutumés) at the Ménagerie de Verre festival.  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 Masters 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. Julien 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.  Julien has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2015.  

Anna Ivacheff (Hip Hop) is a plural artist who connects different mediums to share her vision and passion for the arts. Her career as a dancer spans twenty years, evolving predominantly in the hip-hop culture, whereby she has developed and mastered her freestyling skills. Privileged to tour Europe, Asia, North America and Africa with renowned companies such Mourad Merzouki’s Cie. Kafig, François Berdeaux’s Cie. Déséquilibres; esteemed choreographers Régis Obadia, Bintou Dembelé, Ucka Ludovic Ilolo; major musicals productions like Les Dix Commandements, Roméo and Juliet and Cleopatra; as well as with singer Mariah Carey. For six  years Anna was as an athlete dance performer with Nike. In the Paris underground hip hop scene she has won several battles. She is a member of the artist collective Blue Note, with whom she creates new works, directs short films and performs in various hip hop festivals. Anna has also worked in theater and film; most recently, she starred in the feature film “Occidental” by director Neil Beloufa, which was selected and screened at the 2017 Berlinale Festival. She is a certified Intelligence Gesture Expert with O in Motion working with major European corporations such as Auchan, Airbus and Crédit Mutuel. Anna’s has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2019.  

Wanjiru Kamuyu (Contemporary) is a native of Kenya and an M.F.A. (dance choreography and performance) graduate of 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 esteemed 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 as 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.   

LaMichael Leonard, Jr. (Contemporary Jazz) is from Tallahassee, FL, but resides in Paris where he has been the lead dancer and Master of Ceremonies at the world-famous Lido Cabaret in Paris since 2014.  He began his professional dance career with Martha Graham Dance Company, where he was a soloist, and made his international debut in Athens, Greece soon after earning his BFA from New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL. LaMichael was a long-time company member with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 2007 – 2014 touring internationally and creating many signature roles with the company.  LaMichael has also choreographed for the NBA’s Miami Heat Dance Team and has performed with Buglisi Dance in  NYC and West Coast Theatre Project.  LaMichael has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2019. 

Clint Lutes (Improvisation-based Contemporary) received his BFA from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts, and has danced with the companies of Joy Kellman, Maya Carroll, Melanie Lane, Johannes Wieland, Yann Lheureux, Eun Me Ahn, Brian Brooks Moving Company, Cie Scalene, Cie Epiderme and Christoph Winkler. He has been based in Europe since 2002 and his choreographic work has been presented at the MoDaFe Festival in Seoul, the Rohkunstbau Festival Berlin, Tanzim August Berlin, Biennale de la Danse OFF Lyon, Cabaret Inestable Valencia, Format  Ardeche, Institut Francaise Alexandria Egypt, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Globalize Cologne, Theater Freiburg and at the Städtische Bühne Heidelberg. An in-demand teacher, Lutes has taught classes and workshops for DOCK11 Berlin, (artist in residence from 2005 to 2010), Marameo Berlin, CND Lyon, Le Pacifique CDC Grenoble, CCN Grenoble, CCN Rillieux-la-Pape, Tanzfabrik Berlin, Sasha Waltz & Guests Berlin, Australian Dance Theatre, Suwon University Seoul, Kookmin University Seoul, and the Seoul School of Performing Arts.  He has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2015.  

Madison Mainwaring (Historical Context and Perspectives) 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. Madison’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, Madison 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. Madison 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. 

Sybille Planques (Floor-barre technique) began her training at the Center Chorégraphique de Toulouse, and in Paris with Nina Dipla, Carolyn Carlson, and Joseph Nadj, among others. She has danced for various contemporary dance companies including Company Rodolphe VIaud, Wom Kim Comapny (Korea), Comapny L'Estampe, Collectif DeCalm, Comapny Eolipile, Acta Fabula, Israël Galvan (Seville), Comapny K622 Mié COQUEMPOT, and most recently with Anne Nguyen's Comapny Par terre.  She has been a dancer and assistant to choreographer Nathalie Pubellier for many years, and has taught many pieces of Pubellier's repertoire. Sibille created the Compagnie Les Nébuleuses in 2010.  She has also trained in AFCMD (Functional Analysis of the Body in Danced Movement) with Nathalie Schulmann as well as Handi-dance for people with Down syndrome and physical and motor disabilities.

Nathalie Pubellier (Choreography) 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. 

Sarah Silverblatt-Buser (Game-based Styles) is a movement artist, writer and cultural worker raised by New Mexican skies. She currently tours internationally with the acclaimed avant-garde cirque artist Yoann Bourgeois. She performs in reprises, collaborates on new works, and serves as his artistic assistant for Fugue Trampoline V.4 and Passants, the community-based project for 24 regional participants of all ages. She gives workshops based on the company’s artistic research around games as an entry point to performance and creation. Sarah recently choreographed and performed in motion capture in an Augmented Reality experience for the Musée d’Orsay, and is participating in the upcoming creation by la compagnie 47-49 François Veyrunes.  She has been commissioned by Pam Tanowitz Dance and wrote extensively for the Vail Dance Festival, where she also served as festival coordinator, and the Aspen Institute Arts Program, where she worked as special project associate. Sarah graduated from Barnard College with honors in sociology, minoring in Spanish and an emphasis on dance. Her dance training ranges from the Boston Ballet and LINES Ballet to professional intensives with Batsheva’s Ohad Naharin and the Merce Cunningham Trust.  An alum of the Dance in Paris Programs, this will be Sarah’s second time teaching with the program.

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.