Zaccho Dance Theatre Collaborators
Joanna Haigood
Choreographer/ Artistic Director
Since 1979 Joanna has been creating work that uses natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, the Exploratorium Museum, the National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d'Avignon. She has also been honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Cal/Alpert Award in Dance, the US Artist Fellowship, and a New York Bessie Award. Most recently, Haigood was a recipient of the esteemed Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, the San Francisco Circus Center and at Zaccho Studio.
Alex Allan
Performing Artist
Alex Allan is an aerialist and dancer from Sydney, Australia. In 2008 he completed a BA in Communications (Theatre/Media) with a focus in physical theatre creation. 6 months later Alex was accepted into the Professional Aerial Program at the San Francisco Circus Center where he specialized in Aerial Rope. Alex has performed and taught workshops in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. He currently resides in Seattle, WA. Alex combines his background of Theatre, Dance and Circus to create unique and original work. Whether in coaching or onstage, Alex utilizes directionality and momentum-based movement to create choreography that is both fluid and dynamic. Alex is also a LMP and Certified SOMA Practitioner.
Anthony Brown
Anthony Brown has played a seminal role in contemporary California creative music from his pioneering work with the Asian American jazz movement in the early 1980s to his current leadership of the GRAMMY nominated Asian American Orchestra. Under his direction, the Orchestra has recorded six critically acclaimed CDs, including homages to American composers Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk, George Gershwin and John Coltrane. His composition Rhymes (For Children) served as the theme music for KQED's Pacific Time, a Public Radio International syndicated weekly newsmagazine.
Dr. Brown holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in music (Ethnomusicology) from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Master of Music from Rutgers University, and is the recipient of numerous grants and commissions from organizations such as Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Arts International, and Asian Heritage Council. A Smithsonian Associate Scholar, Guggenheim and Ford Fellow, Dr. Brown has served as Curator of American Musical Culture at the Smithsonian Institution and as a Visiting Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley.
Wayne Campbell
Scenic Designer
Wayne Campbell has provided scenic design, props and aerial rigging for Zaccho Dance Theatre since 1998, participating in such projects as Invisible Wings, (1998) at Jacobs’ Pillow; Departure and Arrival (2007) at San Francisco International Airport; Dances around the House (2005), at the San Francisco Exploratorium; Ghost Architecture (2004) at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Al Pozzo Di Sogno (2011) at Oliver Ranch among many others. He spends most of his time in his studio in West Marin making furniture and art.
Tristan Cunningham
Performing Artist
Tristan Cunningham started performing when she was ten with Vermont’s Circus Smirkus. After touring for eight years, she changed her focus to acting and graduated with a B.F.A from S.U.N.Y Purchase Acting Conservatory. Her Bay Area credits include A Winter’s Tale, The Comedy of Errors, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with California Shakespeare Theater, The Arsonists with Aurora Theater and Tree with the San Francisco Playhouse. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and a TBA and BATCC Award winner for her work in The Taming at Marin Shakespeare Theater. She is honored to be working with Zaccho for the second time. Up next: Around the World in 80 Days at Theaterworks.
José Joaquín García
José Joaquín García began his professional acting career in 1986 with Pregones Theatre Company, located in the poorest congressional district in the United States, the South Bronx. He has continued to work extensively with Pregones, and has performed in New York with The Public Theater, The New Group and worked on Paul Simon’s The Capeman on Broadway. As a director, Garcia has worked extensively to bring the New York Latino voice to the stage, namely through Rubí Theater Company, which he co-founded in 2001. He directed Martín Espada's Imagine the Angels of Bread (New York Hip Hop Theater Festival, New World Theater, University of Massachusetts/Amherst) and has appeared as a tenor soloist in Handel’s Messiah, Mozart’s Requiem, and Schumann’s Dichterliebe, among other pieces. He is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and has pursued advanced studies at the Westminster Choir College and the International New Theatre School at Essen, Germany. Recording credits include Tanga Sweet by Mario Bauzá, and the Grammy winning album Catch That Train by Dan Zanes.
Kaitlin Guerin
Performing Artist
Born and raised in New Orleans, LA, Kaitlin began her formal dance training at Skidmore College in Saratoga, NY, where she received her double Bachelor of Science in Dance and Health and Exercise Sciences. In addition to dance faculty, she has performed guest artist works by Kevin Wynn, Dušan Týnek, Sydney Skybetter, and an original solo choreographed by Sidra Bell. Kaitlin resides in Oakland, CA. Since her time in the Bay, she has worked and performed with Embodiment Project, Zaccho Dance Theatre, and STEAMROLLER, as well as other small work. She is currently working on a series of short dance films.
Robert Henry Johnson
Performing Artist
Robert Henry Johnson a San Francisco native, is a member of Francisco School of the Arts, and studied ballet on full scholarship at the San Francisco Ballet. He has danced with Oakland Ballet, ODC/San Francisco, appeared on Levi’s jean commercial and an appearance with award winning recording artists En Vogue on the Soul Train Music Awards Cer# emony. In 1993, he founded the Robert Henry Johnson Dance Company and has choreographed for various companies such as Bayersiches Staatsballet (Munich, Germany), Ballet British Columbia (Vancouver, British Columbia), and Oakland Ballet. He is the Artistic Director of 60 Million Plus Theater, a company that provides staged reading opportunities for play# wrights who use experimental forms. Robert Henry Johnson has danced for Zaccho Dance Theatre as Master Juba in Invisible Wings.
Antoine Hunter
Performing Artist
A Bay Area native, Antoine Hunter is an award-winning African-American Deaf and Hard of Hearing choreographer, dancer, dance instructor, actor, poet and Deaf advocate. The founder and artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance, Hunter has performed with Savage Jazz Dance Company, Nuba Dance Theater, Alayo Dance Company, Robert Moses’ KIN, Man Dance, Sins Invalid, Amara Tabor-Smith, Kim Epifano, Push Dance Company, Flyaway Productions, Joanna Haigood and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater. He has performed throughout the Bay Area and the world including Cuba, Rome and Paris. Hunter is a faculty member at East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, Shawl-Anderson, Youth in Arts and Dance-A-Vision. He is the founder of Iron Tri-Angel Urban Ballet in Richmond, was an instructor and rehearsal director for the Ross Dance Company, and dance captain for commercials.

Awards include the 2011 National Dance Week Dancer's Choice Award, Margaret Jenkin's CHIME award, the 2009 VRS Award (the international organization on arts and disabilities), and the 2000 Bay Area Star Award. He has been featured in Dance Spirit Magazine and Dance Magazine, and is the former president of the Bay Area Black Deaf Advocate and Director-at-Large for the Northern California chapter of the California Association of the Deaf. He has been featured in Oakland North and is a representative for Purple Technologies, which sells Deaf services and products. Mr. Hunter is an active supporter of DeafHope, an organization whose mission is to end domestic and sexual violence in Deaf communities through empowerment, education, and services. He teaches dance and ASL in both Hearing and Deaf communities and is the founder and artistic director of Urban Jazz Dance Company and has been producing the Bay Area Deaf Dance Festival since 2013. His projects have been awarded funding by both CA$H Theater Bay Area and the Zellerbach Family Foundation.
Calvin Kai Ku
Performing Artist
As a performer of many talents, Calvin Ku has entertained audiences in all varieties of stages from International Festivals to large production shows in theaters and theme parks, and even performs at private events. Using elements of magic, circus, and theater, he creates unique performances in all of his shows. You can also find him performing in hospitals for CPMC, Kaiser, On Lok, and Laguna Honda through the Medical Clown Project, a San Francisco Bay Area organization founded by a former Cirque Du Soleil artist.
Jetta Martin
Performing Artist
After graduating cum laude from Harvard University, Jetta Martin performed professionally with Ronn Guidi’s Oakland Ballet, the Mark Foehringer Dance Project, Push Dance Company, Liberation Dance Theater, David Herrera Performance Company, and the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble, among others. Performance credits include Joyce Soho, ODC, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and the Egyptian Modern Dance Festival in Cairo. Her choreography has been featured on both coasts and has been commissioned by the Black Choreographer’s Festival, Dance Mission Theater, Museum of the African Diaspora, and Stapleton School of Ballet. Jetta is currently on faculty at Brisbane Dance Workshop, East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, and The Ballet Studio. She is the adminis# trator for Western Sky Studio in Berkeley and a writer and editor for Conscious Dancer magazine.
Rashad Pridgen
Performing Artist
Is performance artist, creative director and artistic director of The Global Street Dance Project & Masquerade. His independent works explore site specific commissions and art institute activiations which span dance, theater, music, fashion, video & film. Performance works include: (dance) The Global Street Dance Masquerade Bay Area tour: presented at Somarts, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Dance Mission Theater (performer) Dying While Black and Brown at Harvard Law School and UMass Amherst 2013-2014 season choreographed by Joanna Haigood/Zaccho Dance Theater (choreographer/performer) Superheros with Cutting Ball theater, Babylon Is Burning Directed by Sean San Jose / Campo Santo. (Performer) Keith Haring: The Political Line; opening for Fab 5 Freddy & closing exhibition with the De Young Museum. (performer) in “He Moved Swiftly But Gently…” The Ed Mock Project conceptualized by Amara Tabor Smith (Choreographer) for Zakiya Harris & Elephantine “Higher” STAND! Tribute to Sly and the Family Stone presented on KQEDarts at the Oakland Fox Theater. Rashad is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Francisco where he teaches Global Street Dance and Hip-Hop dance. Connect with him at
Adonis Damian Martin Quiñones
Performing Artist
Adonis Damian Martin Quiñones was born in Contramaestre, a province of Santiago de Cuba. He is a graduate from Jose Maria Heredia Heredia Dance Academy with a degree in Modern Dance. He was a soloist for The Danza del Caribe for 2 years. In the Bay Area, he has danced with Kim Epiphano, Dance Brigade, Berkeley Ballet Theater, Joanna Haigood and Alayo Dance Company.
Jeff Raz
Associate Director for The View from Here 2017
Jeff Raz has directed dozens of circus, puppet, and theater productions (The Bright River with Traveling Jewish Theater, Snake in the Basement with Lunitique Fantastique, Singing for Freedom with The Rose Ensemble) and performed nationally and internationally for decades, starring in circuses (Cirque du Soleil, Pickle Family Circus, and more) and plays, including Comedy of Errors on Broadway. He is a graduate of Dell’Arte International, has written 17 plays and recently launched his first book, “The Secret Life of Clowns” at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Jeff cofounded Vaudeville Nouveau in 1982, the S.F. New Vaudeville Festival in 1985, the Clown Conservatory in 2000 and the Medical Clown Project in 2010. He continues to direct, write, perform, and teach as well as work globally as a communications consultant.
Sean Riley
Master Rigger
Sean Riley is a master rigger, engineering enthusiast and set designer with an expertise in suspension and load transfer involving large masses and difficult access. He has risen to the height of his field through creating functional and architecturally sound installations. Riley is the founder and principal rigging designer for Gravity Design Inc., a company based in San Francisco, CA, that provides innovative rigging and force management solutions for a wide variety of clients all over the world — from circus acts to industrial installations. He is always hands-on (welding, constructing, wiring), and though he is no stranger to high-risk responsibility, he has a flawless safety record. His passion for mechanics is matched only by his passion for extreme adventure. He drives heavy machinery, jumps off bridges, rock climbs and is a back-country solo survivalist. Riley studied theatre arts at University of California Santa Cruz and has taught college-level theatrical design.
Travis Santell Rowland
Performing Artist
Travis Santell Rowland is an American interdisciplinary performing artist who holds BA degrees in both Drama (Popular Theatre) and Dance (Performance & Choreography) from San Francisco State University. His solo performance and choreography of Residual Sugar (2006) was featured in the American College Dance Festival Association's (ACDFA) Southwest Regional Conference Gala Awards Concert in January 2007. He has performed for Paco Gomes & Dancers, Della Davidson’s Sideshow Physical Theatre, Emily Keeler, Printz Dance Project, TalisMANIC Physical Theatre, Aura Fischbeck Dance, Natalie Greene, Fauxnique/Monique Jenkinson, the Tim Carr Project, Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble, Cathleen McCarthy & Dancers, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Kevin Clarke/Falsetta Knockers, Raissa Simpson’s Push Dance Company, requisitedance, Jetta Martin, Funsch Dance Experience, Amie Dowling, trixxie carr, Crowded Fire Theater, Urban Opera, and in Taylor Mac’s The Lily’s Revenge at Magic Theatre. Presently, he enjoys performing as a creative collaborator with the Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, the House of Glitter, Erling Wold's Fabrications, California Shakespeare Theater, Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre, and Peter Griggs’ Burning Monk Collective.
Danielle Sandia Sexton
Performing Artist
Danielle Sandia Sexton is a San Francisco based aerial artist and instructor. An alumnus of the Circus Center’s Professional Aerial Program, Sandia uses her conservatory training as a foundation for exploring acrobatic and aerial techniques in immersive theater and traditional vaudeville performance, and as a platform for social commentary. Sandia choreographs solo performance as well as collaborates with Bay Area innovators of aerial dance, walking the line between stuntwoman, fine artist, and circus performer. She has performed for Zaccho Dance Theatre, Vau De Vire Society, Flyaway Productions, Treat Social Club, Cielo Vertical Arts, Capacitor Dance, Extra Action Marching Band as well as in festivals and supper clubs locally and internationally.
Marcus Anthony Shelby
Marcus Anthony Shelby is an accomplished teacher, composer, arranger, and bassist. From 1990-1996, Shelby was bandleader of Columbia Records and GRP Impulse! Recording Artists Black/Note and is currently the Artistic Director and leader of The Marcus Shelby Orchestra, The Marcus Shelby Hot 7, and The Marcus Shelby Trio. Shelby was awarded a Black Metropolis Research Consortium Fellowship in Chicago and a Fellow in the Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford University. Shelby also has had the honor of arranging for and conducting the Count Basie Orchestra featuring Ledisi, performing and recording with Tom Waits, and receiving the City Flight Magazine 2005 award as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area”. As the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship, Shelby’s studies include work under the tutelage of composer James Newton and legendary bassist Charlie Haden.
Raissa Simpson
Performing Artist
Born of a Filipina mother and an African American father, Raissa Simpson brings a unique perspective to her work, continually seeking to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges attributed to mixed heritage. Raissa began her dance training at Dance Art Studio in San Jose, CA and continued her studies at San Jose Dance Theatre, Cleveland Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and the Paul Taylor School in New York. After receiving her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase, Ms. Simpson moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she performed with Robert Moses’ Kin and Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre. She currently teaches dance at the University of California, Davis and is a frequent guest choreographer and artistic collaborator in the Bay Area. She founded PUSH Dance Company in 2005
Sonya Smith
Performing Artist
Sonya Smith is the first to complete the Aerial Track of the MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder. A scientific artist, Smith has accumulated somatic information from Alexander Technique, Kinesiology, and athletic training as well as a certificate in Pilates and a Gyrokinesis Apprenticeship. Smith’s curiosity about the body and effective training methods for aerial and ground-based dancing is insatiable. Performing in San Francisco and producing work in multiple cities, she combines a passion for highly physical dancing and a quirky theatricality both on the ground and in the air, weaving together Contact Improvisation, bungee and harnesses, lyra, and a variety of invented aerial apparatus. Smith spent a decade studying and dancing in with Joanna Haigood/Zaccho Dance Theatre, Project Bandaloop, Jo Kreiter/Flyaway Productions, Sara Shelton Mann, Eat Cake Productions, and Terry Sendgraff before returning to academia where she has continued to earn residencies and produce work around the country.
Amara Tabor Smith
Performing Artist
Amara Tabor Smith is a San Francisco native and Oakland resident whose dance theater work can best be described as Afro futurist conjure art. She is the Artistic Director of Deep Waters Dance Theater and co artistic director of Headmistress, an ongoing performing collaboration with movement artist Sherwood Chen. Tabor-Smith has performed in the works of Ed Mock, Joanna Haigood, Pearl Ubungen, Ronald K. Brown, Faustin Linyekula, Adia Tamar Whitaker, Marc Bamuthi Joseph and is the former Associate Artistic Director and dancer with Urban Bush Women. She has also performed in the works of theater artists such as, Anna Deveare Smith, Aya de Leon, Herbert Siquenza, and The San Francisco Mime Troupe.
Amara choreographed and appeared in Shakti Butler’s documentary film, “Making Whiteness Visible”. She has performed with her companies, DWDT and Headmistress in Salvador, Bahia, The Republic of the Congo, Judson Church/Movement Research and many venues throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area and United States.
Tabor-Smith has taught her version of contemporary dance which she calls Roots Modern Experience technique, and Capoeira at Naropa University in Boulder, CO; University of Omaha, NE; SUNY Pottsdam; Columbia College in Chicago; The Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM; San Francisco State University; Mills College in Oakland, Ca. Amara is currently on faculty in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.
Natalie Wagner
Performing Artist
Natalie Wagner began her dance training at the age of 7 at the Swiss Ballet School in Zurich. She continued her training in Paris, Israel and Germany and in 2011 completed her Masters of Advanced Studies in Dance Pedagogy at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste. Her wide range of styles has allowed her to choreograph for many different types of productions, such as theater (The Merry Widow), musicals (Chicago, Flash Dance) and corporate events for Porsche, Hugo Boss, Siemens, Opel and Thyssen Krupp. Natalie has also performed in works by many choreographers, including Lior Lev (Israel, Germany), Charlotta Öfverholm (Sweden), Manu Accard (France/ CH), Katja Grässli (Netherlands) and Jérôme Bel (France). Since 2001 she has been teaching in professional dance schools in Lisbon (Portugal), Warszaw (Poland), Rimini (Italy), Bogota (Colombia), Boston (USA) and throughout Germany. In 2015 she received a 6-month artist scholarship at ODC in San Francisco, sponsored by the City of Zurich.
Matthew Wickett
Performing Artist
Matthew Wickett was born and raised in Oakland, Ca. After high school he began his dance training in Hip Hop and Jazz at Dance-A-Vision’s School of Dance under the direction of Carla Service. In the few years of training he has performed in numerous events held locally in his home base. Events such as: Oakland’s Art & Soul Festival and San Francisco’s Jewels on the Square. He later began dancing with Raissa Simpson of Push Dance Company and Joanna Haigood of Zaccho Dance Theatre. As he continues to dance he is also developing his Choreographic skills and has showcased some of his work in Dance-A-Vision Entertainment’s Annual Concerts, and Mark Foehringer’s Dancing in the Park SF.
Helen Wicks
Performing Artist
Helen Wicks is a dance artist and teacher based in the Bay Area. She’s been training in gymnastics, acrobatics, modern dance, and ballet since early childhood. As a dancer, she’s worked with Cielo Vertical Arts, Abby Crain, Leah Cox, and Paul Matteson. Helen currently performs with Zaccho Dance Theatre and El Circo Dia. She received a BA in Dance and Psychology from Bard College, where she had the opportunity to perform works by Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Merce Cunningham. Her own choreographic work has been presented at OMNI Commons, Eighth Street Studios, SAFEhouse Arts, and ODC. She teaches creative movement, acrobatics and circus arts in the Young Creative Program at ODC, Zaccho Center for Dance & Aerial Arts, and East Bay Center for Performing Arts.
Allen Willner
Lighting Designer
Allen Willner (Lighting Designer) is an award winning lighting designer for theater, dance and music. Awards and nominations include: 3 Isadora Duncan Dance Awards for the lighting design of inkBoat’s “Line Between”, “Heaven’s Radio” and Deborah Slater's " Private Life". Nominations for Isadora Duncan Dance Awards for the Visual Designs of Erika Chong Shuch’s “51802” and inkBoat’s “Cockroach”. 2013 TBA Award Lighting Design Nomination for Theater of Yugen's "This Lingering Life". Bay Area Critics Circle Lighting Design Nomination for The Shotgun Players "Eurydice" and “God’s Ear", 2012 Broadway World Lighting and Set Design Nomination for Symmetry Theater’s “Patience Worth”. Lighting Artists in Dance Awards for inkBoat’s “Line Between” , Erika Chong Shuch’s “Sitting in a Circle”, Laura Arrington and Jesse Hewitt’s “Adult." And Scott Wells, Amy Seiwert and Shinichi Iova-Koga's "Take this Dance and Shove it!".