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RIWCP returned on June 26st, 2021. This year’s digital production featured six short dance films by up-and-coming women choreographers from New England and beyond. Inspired works were filmed in settings such as mountains, sand dunes, a city apartment, and more. Each of our dance creators also had the opportunity to connect with a personal mentor to deepen her creative process this year.

Download a program of the show below, and scroll to read about our choreographers and mentors.



Shura Baryshnikov 
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Shura Baryshnikov (she/her/hers)  is a multimodal artist who works broadly as a dancer/actor/improviser, somatic movement educator, and a choreographer for projects across dance, theatre, and opera.  Shura has co-founded a number of dance projects, including the Contact Improvisation research and performance ensemble Set Go with dancers Paul Singh, Sarah Konner, Aaron Brandes, and Bradley Teal Ellis, and has recently collaborated with dancemakers Gabriel Forestieri, Heidi Henderson, and Betsy Miller as

well as Danielle Davidson in the creation of the contemporary dance project, Doppelgänger Dance Collective. Shura is Head of Physical Theatre for the Brown/Trinity Rep MFA Program in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies at Brown University and, in non-pandemic times, maintains an active international teaching practice at festivals and training institutions. Ultimately interested in applications of practice in pedagogy, process, and performance, she employs work in the Viewpoints Technique, Safety Release Technique, Action Theater, and Contact Improvisation to create deeply-sensitized, collaborative spaces.

Lia Cirio

Lia Cirio began her training at Swarthmore Ballet Theatre and went on to train at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.  At the age of 16, she won the National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts award in Ballet, and she was invited by Mikko Nissinen to join Boston Ballet II. She was Boston Ballet’s Princess Grace nominee for 2004. Cirio was promoted to the corps de ballet in 2004, to Second Soloist in 2006, and to Soloist in 2007.  From 2008-2009, Cirio toured with Trey McIntyre Project, performing throughout the United States and worldwide. She returned to Boston Ballet in 2009 and was promoted to Principal Dancer in 2010. Cirio has danced numerous classical, neo-classical, and contemporary roles for Boston Ballet, and has been hailed as “one of the most accomplished actress-dancers in the company” by The Patriot Ledger.  She has performed in galas and as a guest artist around the world. Cirio was


named in Dance Magazine’s first “On the Rise” feature article, and has been featured in additional articles in Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit Magazine, NBC Asian America, and on the cover of Pointe Magazine, among others. She and her brother, Jeffrey, formed Cirio Collective in 2015, and she serves as the Assistant Artistic Director and Public Relations Manager for the company. Cirio began her choreographic career with her piece, “Sta(i)r(e)s” for Boston Ballet’s ChoreograpHER Project. She went on to choreograph two more works for Boston Ballet School and ChoreograHER, as well as a work for Ballet Academy East in NYC. 

Julia Feldman
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Born in Davis, California, Julia Feldman received her training under Pamela Hayes of Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet.  She began her professional career as a dancer with the Sacramento Ballet in 2011, and is a current Company Artist.  During her time with the Sacramento Ballet, she has danced principal and featured roles in works choreographed by George Balanchine, Val Caniparoli, Ma Cong, Ron Cunningham, Jodie Gates, Adam Hougland, Gabrielle Lamb, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Penny Saunders, Amy Seiwert, and Septime Webre, among others. Highlights have included performing the central couple in Jodie Gates’ Keep Me Wishing in the Dark, ‘1st pas’ in Ma Cong’s Bloodrush, the Pas de Deux from George Balanchine’s Agon, Adam Hougland’s Cigarettes, and the role of Ophelia in Stephen Mills’ Hamlet.

Julia developed her passion for choreography through the Sacramento Ballet’s choreography showcase Beer and Ballet, and has created a new work for the program annually since 2012. She has choreographed for the School of the Sacramento Ballet, in addition to teaching for the School’s Summer Intensive program, and has enjoyed teaching master classes throughout the broader Sacramento region.

In 2015, Julia co-founded Capital Dance Project (CDP), a collective of professional dancers based in Sacramento for which she has created six premieres to date.  As a founding member she has played an integral role in the development of the organization’s mission and creative management, as well as the collaborative vision behind CDP’s annual Behind the Barre production and most recent CDP Digital Series: Made in Sacramento.  Julia is inspired by the Sacramento arts community, and takes pride in her work with the CDP team to provide a unique creative platform and employment for local artists, musicians and dancers.  Her works for the project have included collaborations with classical composer Andy Tan in 2016, rap artist Paul Willis in 2017, visual artists Franceska Gamez & Matt Brown in 2018, sculptor Daniel Tran in 2019, and filmmaker Brandon Manning. 

During the summers of 2015-2017, Julia was one of 16 selected dancers for the National Choreographer’s Initiative in Irvine, Ca under the direction of Molly Lynch.  In 2019, Julia was honored to be invited back to the Initiative as one of four selected choreographers.  Julia received her first full work commission for the Sacramento Ballet under the direction of Amy Seiwert, originally scheduled for the 2020-21 season, now postponed due to covid-19.

Tara Lee

Tara Lee is an American-born Chinese ballet dancer, choreographer, and actress. She received her dance training from Donna Bonasera of Connecticut Dance Theatre, and received a full scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School. After dancing with Joffrey II in New York City, she met John McFall who invited her to join Atlanta Ballet; where she was a principal artist with the company for 21 years. Tara has also been a member of Ballet British Columbia and a guest artist with New Orleans Ballet Theatre and Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre in Houston. Her repertoire includes work by celebrated choreographers such as Jorma Elo, Christopher Hampson, James Kudelka, Jiri Kylian, Douglas Lee, Wayne MacGregor, Ohad Naharin, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, Gina Patterson, Helen Pickett, Michael Pink, Crystal Pite, Yuri Possokhov, Alexei Ramantsky, Liam Scarlett, Lauri Stallings,

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Ben Stevenson, Twyla Tharp, and Stanton Welch. Principal roles include Odette in Swan Lake, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, Ophelia in Hamlet, Mina in Dracula, and the title roles in Madame Butterfly, Cinderella, and Firebird. Tara has taught company class for Atlanta Ballet and the pre-professional level of Atlanta Ballet Center for Dance Education, as well as master classes for several schools and universities in Georgia including Emory and Brenau Universities. She has choreographed five original works for Atlanta Ballet. She has also created/restaged several ballets for Wabi Sabi, New Orleans Ballet Theatre, and Emory Dance Company; and has a new work for Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami to debut the summer of 2018 at NYC’s Joyce Theatre. Tara is an actress represented by J. Pervis Talent, and has co-starred in television series such as TNT’s Good Behavior and NBC’s Game of Silence.

Mariana Oliveira
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Originally from Brazil, Mariana Oliveira studied at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, and was a trainee dancer at the National Dance Company of Wales. At the age of 19 she was invited to perform with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami. In 2009 she founded The Union Project Dance Company.

She has been commissioned to create new works for the New York City Ballet Choreographic Institute, Nashville Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Carolina Ballet, BalletX, Dayton Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, Joffrey Ballet Academy, Madison Ballet, National Choreographers Initiative, Ballet Arkansas, American Midwest Ballet, Chicago Repertory Ballet, among others. Mariana is a recipient of the NYU Center for Ballet and the Arts Fellowship, as well the Kansas City University Choreographic Fellowship. Her works have also been

presented at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and for 2 consecutive years she has been a finalist of the McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival. Mariana taught at the Bolshoi Ballet School in Brazil (the only Bolshoi School outside Russia) for the dancers of the Youth Company.

Funding provided in part by a grant from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, through an appropriation by the Rhode Island General Assembly, a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and private funders.

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