Gabrielle Nomura Gainor (Season 6 Artistic Director) is a multicultural artist and arts leader. As a professional dancer, she's performed in Seattle, Bellingham, and Eugene with groups including Bellingham Repertory Dance, the critically-acclaimed holiday show, Buttcracker, and currently with Hailey Burt / Inlay Dance. As a choreographer, she's collaborated with Seattle Kokon Taiko, presented her work at Wing Luke Museum and Seattle International Dance Festival's Sanity Cafe; and has additionally been awarded a SmArt Ventures grant from the City of Seattle's Office of Arts & Culture. In the past, she's also worked with The Cabiri, The Heavenly Spies, and with drag queen Miss Saigon Brown. The 2010 graduate of Western Washington University received her early training in ballet and classical modern techniques from Dance Fremont! Gabrielle's passions include mentoring emerging artists, building community, and creating racial equity in the arts, which she also actively works toward in her role as Media Relations Manager with Seattle Opera.
Tess Wendel (Season 6 Co-Producer) grew up dancing in Seattle at Dance Fremont before heading to the east coast to attend Skidmore College. At Skidmore, she studied dance under Ruben Graciani and Mary Harney and began working as a technician in the dance theater. In New York, at both SUNY Brockport and Skidmore College, she studied with members of the Limón Company and artistic director Carla Maxwell, performing in Limon's There is a Time and Psalm, as well as Maxwell's Etude. Outside her involvement in the dance world, Tess is an avid hiker and climber. She works full time for The Mountaineers getting people outside, learning new skills and building community in the woods and in the city.
Austin Sexton has a diverse background in dance, music, and also works full-time as an instructor at Momentum Dance Academy. She has choreographed for all five Relay Dance Collective season’s, drawing from contemporary ballet, hip-hop, modern dance, and jazz. As a performer, Austin apprenticed and was promoted to company member in Xaviera Vandermay's company, 3rd Shift Dance, where she performed in Sam Remix and the International Dance Festival. Austin's choreography has been commissioned by Intrepidus Dance, Seattle International Dance Festival’s Sanity Cafe, and Seattle Children’s Theatre Summer camps, to name a few. Her work, Pour lâcher, was praised by SeattleDances as "a beautiful character study on imagination, memory, and loss." She holds a degree in classical vocal performance from Shoreline Community College.
Season 6 Dancers
Jerene Aldinger earned her degree in nursing from Washington D.C. where she worked with the Georgetown University Dance Company and volunteered for Lombardi Moves at Georgetown University Hospital, sharing the healing power of dance to cancer patients and their caregivers. She was awarded with Georgetown University Department of Performing Art’s Exceptional Choreographer and Excellence in Choreography for her piece Snag, which she later set on Joy of Motion’s Classical Repertory Dance Theatre. Her works have been featured in various emerging choreographer’s showcases, including The Dance Project in DC, SpectorDance in California, and currently Evoke Productions in Seattle. Jerene is a former company member of 3rd Shift Dance. She has choreographed for RDC's Prime, and for Showcase -- where the work she created was also performed at Frye Museum as part of an annual conference on dementia and the arts.
Hailey Burt graduated from the University of Washington in June 2015 with a BA, double majoring in dance and art history. As a dancer, choreographer, and rehearsal assistant, she has had the opportunity to work with Jennifer Salk, Rachael Lincoln, Wilson Mendieta, Bruce McCormick, Wade Madsen and Anna Krupp among others. The Portland, OR native most recently choreographed for Evoke Productions' Full Tilt Festival, and Relay's 2016 choreographic showcase. She is one of the Artistic Directors and creators of Inlay Dance, which will have its premiere performance in September, 2017 at Velocity Dance Center. This is her third season performing with the collective.
Stella Kutz was born and raised in South Seattle and studied at Spectrum Dance Theater under Dale A. Merrill. Stella received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Choreography from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has performed internationally at the Edinburgh and Montreal Fringe Festivals. Upon graduation, Stella furthered her training with a Pilates Certification. She has since completed a teacher training study program in yoga under Richard Freeman in Boulder, Colorado. Stella has performed with notable artists, such as: Relay Dance Collective, Pat Graney, Gail Gilbert, Kristina Dillard, Paula Peters, Rhonda Cinotto, Dance Contemporary, Jerboa Dance, and many more. Currently, Stella is pursuing her passion for performance by creating an interactive performance and rehearsal space for like minded artists. She is also working towards a certification in Barre training.
Christopher Engelbrecht was born in Heilbronn, Germany, and recently completed his B.A. in Dance and B.S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington. An experienced performer, Christopher opened for the American Dance Guild Festival in NYC, Men in Dance Festival, and recently performed in Alice Gosti's durational experience "Bodies of Water" and the Seattle International Dance Festival Contemporary Ballet Spotlight. Christopher has worked with several notable choreographers, such as Colin Connors (Artistic Director of Limón), Alice Gosti, and Jason Ohlberg. Christopher first started dancing in college, and has since engaged in researching imagery for rich, dynamic movement, world-building, and character development. This is Christopher’s third season with Relay Dance Collective.
Katherine Freeman grew up in Northern California, and began her multidisciplinary dance training at an early age. In 2014, she graduated from Western Washington University with a bachelor of fine arts in dance. While at Western, Katherine had the extraordinary opportunity to perform in Martha Graham’s Steps in the Street, which was part of a residency program endorsed by the National Endowment for the Arts. She also had the honor of dancing in works by Hannah Kahn, Penny Hutchinson, Nolan Dennett, Richard Merrill, and Pam Kuntz. Since moving to Seattle, Katherine has performed with Karin Stevens Dance in collaboration with the Sam Boshnack Quintet, appearing in works by Penny Hutchinson and Jurg Koch. She is thrilled to be dancing with RDC this season.
Amber Jackson grew up in Minnesota where she began her dance training. She graduated in 2015 from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a Bachelor’s in Dance and Creative Writing. There she performed and choreographed many original works at the American College Dance Festival (ACDA)’s Gala Concert. About a year ago she drove all the way out to Washington to start her professional dance career. Since arriving in Seattle she has had the pleasure of working with artists such as Wade Madsen, Angelica DeLashmette, and Jerene Aldinger. She is overjoyed to be dancing with RDC for her third season.
Elizabeth Sugawara grew up in southern California as a gymnast, and transitioned into dance in high school. She graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in History of Art and Visual Culture and a minor in Dance. She actively participated as a performer and choreographer throughout her undergraduate career, training under Rena Cochlin, Lisa Norris, and Tandy Beal. She got the opportunity to be apart of Tandy Beal’s show Mixed Nutz, and performed in shows with the 418 project. She continued studying dance at Copenhagen Contemporary Dance School in Denmark, and got the opportunity to dance at CCC: Pre-Selection with Neves Contemporary Dance Theatre. Since moving to Seattle in March, she has performed in Angelica Delashmette’s project “Being” and Converge Dance Festival.
Fiona Vigdor began studying dance at the age of 4, in her home of Santa Fe, NM. In 1996, Fiona attended the Boston Conservatory and studied a mix of modern and ballet under Jennifer Scanlon, Yasuko Tokunaga, Donna Silva, Anamarie Sarazin and Elaine Bauer, among others. Fiona also studied with Marcus Schulkind while living in Boston. In 2001, after graduating with a BFA in dance, Fiona moved to New York City. Here, she trained with Christine Wright, Marjorie Mussman, Jocelyn Lorenz, Zvi Gotheiner and Graciela Kozak, and danced with Alan Good Dance, performing in such venues as St. Mark's Church, The Construction Company, La Mama, and even the famous boxing gym, Gleason's gym. From 2009-2010, Fiona performed with Debra Wanner. In the fall of 2010, Fiona and her husband made the move across country from New York to Seattle. In the five years, she has been in Seattle, Fiona has danced with and choreographed for Bellingham Repertory Dance and Relay Dance Collective. Fiona is the proud mother and wife to her 4 year old son Stronner and husband Alex.