About the Artists

Check out the incredible LGBTQ+ artists who have participated in Dancing with Pride!

Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi

Dubbed the Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa, Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi is a Nigerian, Cuban, Indigenous, American Performance Artist. She is a Helen Hayes nominated actress, choreographer and playwright, and the first Trans woman of color to be nominated for these awards. She is an educator, speech writer, and author, and the first Trans woman of color in DC to publish a work of fiction. Lady Dane is a founding member of Force Collision and the founder of The Inanna D Initiatives, which curates, produces and cultivates events and initiatives designed to center and celebrate the work of Trans-Gender-Non-Conforming Artsts of Color. She is the first Trans Woman of Color playwright to receive a DC mainstage world premiere of a play and has received numerous awards, including: an Emerging Leader award for her work with the DC Trans Community, the GLBT History Project’s Mujeres en al Moviemento Arts Award, and Trans Latinx DMV’s Community Artist Award. You can find her work on stages, podcasts, online and on web series, and in print. www.LadyDaneFE.com

Elizabeth Johnson Levine

 Elizabeth Johnson Levine, or EJ, is a choreographer, dancer, and educator with a focus in socially-engaged dance practices, and is currently the Associate Artistic Director and Director of Partnerships for Dance Exchange. EJ connects communities through choreography, creating dance that promotes civic dialogue, and designing participatory experiences that apply artistic practices in multiple contexts. She has a particular interest in working with youth and elders, developing embodied structures for science learning, and promoting leadership development through the arts. EJ has taught and performed internationally, and was the Associate Artistic Director of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange for over a decade. For five years she was the Coordinator of Socially-Engaged Practice at Arizona State University, working with an interdisciplinary team to create new curricula focused on training artists to work in, and engage with, diverse communities. She also spent two years immersed in arts-integration while in Chicago, working with Hubbard Street Dance’s Community Programs and with the Arts Integration Mentorship project at Columbia College Chicago. More recently, EJ worked with Liz Lerman at Arizona State University as the Co-Director, with Nik Zaleski, of CounterAct, a multiyear campus wide Arts-Based initiative for Sexual Violence prevention. www.ejengagethroughdance.com

Check out some of EJ’s work

a body, home, is a live performance and film that happens in and around a moving truck. Co-directed with Nik Zaleski, a body, home integrates movement, text, and projection to engage audiences in conversation and action about sexual violence prevention. This was created with support from Arizona State University and Dance Exchange.

Gabriel Mata

Gabriel Mata is a Mexican American dance choreographer, educator and performer, and a graduate student at the University of Maryland-College Park. He navigates the world as queer, Latinx, immigrant, and as a recent permanent resident to the United States. The Star Tribune has called him, “sly, subtle and totally virtuosic,” and that he, “holds the stage with expressive movement and witty words.” Gabriel founded Gabriel Mata Movement, a DC project-based company, in 2015; the ‘movement’ is a double entendre, referencing both the physicality and the act of exposing the human condition through talking dances. His work has been performed in Minnesota, California, New York, North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in other venues in Washington, DC. His dances have been commissioned and performed by sjDANCEco, the Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers, the Luna Dance Institute, Joy of Motion, Dance Place, and the Carolina Calouche Dance Co/Charlotte Dance Festival. Recently, Gabriel was awarded the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship Grant and the UMD Board of Visitors Research Award. www.gabrielmatamovement.com

Check out some of Gabriel’s work

 This work examines generalized notions of gender and sexuality in performance. The performance shifts into revealing a rehearsal setting where a conversation between the performers unfolds. It was commissioned by sjDANCEco, musically accompanied by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, and performed at the California Theater. Keep dreaming.

Andy Torres

A current resident of Mt. Rainier, Andy Torres has a long history in the performing arts. Throughout his extensive performance career, he has toured throughout the US and Europe. He performed in the original casts of The Wiz and Guys and Dolls on Broadway. He was featured in Your Arm Too Short to Box with God, Purlie, and Indians on Broadway, and in the South Pacific performance at Arena Stage in 2000. Andy was featured on The Ed Sullivan Show, the Miss America Pageant, and Hollywood Palace. He has taught at studios and schools across the country, including the BalletMet in Columbus, OH. He has danced with the Talley Beatty Dance Company and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and currently collaborates with Matthew Cumbie and publishes his own short stories.

Check out some of Andy’s work