Tammy L. Bormann

Since 1996, Tammy Bormann and the TLB Collective have researched, designed and facilitated dialogue-based organizational change processes that gather and analyze the insights and experiences of those who work in the organization; provide targeted learning experiences to disseminate knowledge about historic and contemporary systems of inequity and discrimination; build the capacity of leaders and staff at all levels to recognize and analyze how systems of inequity and exclusion show up in their own organizations; and enable organizational visioning and planning to replace inequitable and exclusive policies, practices, behaviors and norms with strategies that increase diversity, embody inclusion and dismantle inequity.

Over 33 years, Tammy has worked with a wide variety of clients nationally and internationally including private foundations, not-for-profit organizations, for-profit companies, arts institutions, museums, healthcare organizations, universities and colleges, faith-based organizations; state and federal agencies, and NGOs. Some of her clients include: New York City Ballet, Loretto Senior Healthcare, The State of New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, the Bosque Redondo Memorial, Goucher College, PointMade Films, the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools, The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, Houston Ballet, The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History, among many others.

Tammy has chaired the Board of Directors of the dance company Urban Bush Women (UBW) since 2006. In this capacity, she has prepared UBW dancers to employ dialogue processes in their performance work and social justice community engagement programs, as they pursue the UBW vision to use “movement to build a movement.” She has twice served as a mentor with the Dance/USA Institute for Leadership Training and facilitated a National Voices panel on Race in Dance for the annual Dance/NYC symposium in 2015.

Tammy is one of four women on the Design and Facilitation Team for THE EQUITY PROJECT: Increasing the Presence of Blacks in Ballet, a three-year initiative sponsored by Dance Theatre of Harlem, The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD), and Dance/USA and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Launched in 2018, THE EQUITY PROJECT seeks to create a learning community that ignites field-wide change among artistic and executive leaders from 21 professional ballet organizations. We provide education, coaching and strategies for increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly for Black professionals, across the ballet industry.

Tammy works extensively in the museum field, having served as a member of the design team for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati and, since 2008, as a dialogue consultant with the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, the only global network of historic sites, museums and memory initiatives that connect past struggles to today’s movements for human rights. With the Coalition, she has trained more than 50 national and international museums to design and lead meaningful public dialogue programs around human rights and social justice issues. In 2016-2017, she served as the dialogue consultant for the Coalition’s national initiative, Brown v. Board to Ferguson: Fostering Dialogue on Education, Incarceration and Civil Rights. In 2017, she designed and facilitated a Coalition conference in Entebbe, Uganda to prepare South Sudanese civil society leaders to facilitate community based dialogue for transitional justice across South Sudan.

Tammy earned her BA in French and Communication Studies from Muhlenberg College and an Ed.M. from Harvard University. She chairs the boards of Urban Bush Women and Arts Horizons, an arts-in-education organization, and serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of Muhlenberg College. She is a former chair of the Myhelan Cultural Art Center, a community center dedicated to using the visual and performing arts to build cross-cultural understanding nationally and internationally. Tammy is a member of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation and a recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award from the New Jersey Boy Scouts of America.

Jennifer B. Lee

Jennifer B. Lee is Curator of Performing Arts Collections at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University where she has been on the staff since 1999. She majored in English Literature at the University of Rochester, while taking flute and chamber music lessons at the Eastman School of Music, holds an MA in English from the University of Virginia, and the MLS from the former School of Library Science at Columbia. Prior positions were with the Library Company of Philadelphia, the John Hay Library at Brown University, and the then combined Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at The New York Public Library.

Melanie Person

Melanie Person began her early dance training in Jackson, Mississippi at age 6. Upon moving to Columbia, South Carolina a few years later, she continued her dance training at the Calvert-Brodie School of Dance while performing with the Columbia City Ballet. In the winter of 1976, by recommendation of her teacher Ann Brodie, Ms. Person auditioned for the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) Summer Intensive and was offered a full scholarship. Upon completion of that summer program, she became an apprentice to the professional company and, in 1979, became a full member after graduating from Professional Children’s School. For 12 years, Ms. Person performed with DTH, traveling around the world performing a diverse repertoire. She later went on to earn her B.A. from SUNY Empire State College. In 1999, Denise Jefferson invited her to join the PPAS ballet faculty at The Ailey School and in 2000 Ms. Jefferson appointed her as the Co-Director of the Junior Division alongside Tracy Inman. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Person was made Chair of the ballet department and President of the Emergency Fund for Student Dancers. Ms. Person has served as a judge for Seoul International Dance competition and Japan’s Grand Prix. In 2009, she was named Associate Director of The Ailey School and in 2010, Co-Director with Tracy Inman after Ms. Jefferson’s passing.

Marcia Sells

Marcia Lynn Sells, joined Harvard Law School in 2015 as Associate Dean & Dean of Students. Prior to arriving at HLS, she served as an administrator at Columbia University where she had the dual title of Associate Dean in the School of the Arts for Outreach & Education and Associate Vice President, Program Development and Initiatives, within the office of Government and Community Affairs. Dean Sells has held a variety of progressively responsible positions in the private and public sector including: Educational Consultant for Dance Theatre of Harlem, Vice President of Employee and Organizational Development for Reuters America, Vice President of Organizational Development & Human Resources, and Vice President Player Education and Development for the National Basketball Association, Dean of Students at Columbia University School of Law, and Assistant District Attorney trying rape and child abuse cases for the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Marcia earned her Juris Doctorate from Columbia University School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts from Barnard College.

Kathleen Leary

Kathleen Leary is the Dance Education Coordinator at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. Her professional passions include educational equity and accessibility. She loves creating dynamic tours, interactive games, and thoughtful discussions so that audiences share in her excitement for the subject matter. When she is not empowering students through
an arts-based curriculum, she loves working with textiles, reading biographies, and exploring historic homes.

Joselli Audain Deans

Joselli Audain Deans, originally from Brooklyn, joined the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1979 after receiving most of her training at the company’s school. During her career with DTH she danced numerous roles, including “the accused as a child” in Agnes de Mille’s Fall River Legend, the Bride in Geoffrey Holder’s Dougla, and demi-soloist roles in Swan Lake and George Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments. A scholar and an artist, she holds a Doctorate in Dance Education from Temple University. Her dissertation focuses on Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson and analyzes the racial and cultural politics that operated during their careers. She has taught at Philadanco and several academic institutions; presented her work at scholarly conferences, including at the International Association of Blacks in Dance, the Society of Dance History Scholars and Corps de Ballet International; and has had her work published including on Columbia University’s Library website. She has served as a consultant for several institutions and projects including  DTH, ABT, Pennsylvania Ballet, the Dance Oral History Project for NYPL, the documentary Black Ballerina, and is a design and facilitation team member for the Equity Project: Increasing the Presence of Blacks.

Stefanie Batten Bland

Jerome Robbins awardee Stefanie Batten Bland is an interdisciplinary global artist who interrogates contemporary and historical culture, which situates her work at the intersection of dance-theatre and installation. A 2019 fellow for New York University’s Center for the Ballet Arts, Batten Bland was also named an inaugural choreographer for American Ballet Theatre’s Women’s Movement Initiative. 

She created her Company SBB in Paris in 2008 and established it in New York City in 2011, when she was in residency at Baryshnikov Arts Center she began her current residence at University Settlement in 2017. 

Regularly produced by LaMama Experimental Theater, she premiered her latest work “Look Who’s Coming To Dinner” at LaMama in fall 2019 for FIAF’s Crossing the Line Festival.  More recently she created a virtual global performance for EU Day and a physical performance installation related to climate change, both for the United Nations. Known for her unique visual and movement aesthetic, she served as movement director for “Eve’s Song” at the Public Theater (Forbes 2018 Best Theatre List) and also directs dance cinema films and is commissioned by global fashion and lifestyle companies including Louis Vuitton, VanCleef & Arpels and Hermes. 

Recent commissions include: Works in Process Guggenheim, Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, American Center for Art & Culture France, Ailey II, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Gina Gibney Dance, The Juilliard School, Singapore Frontier Danceland and Spoleto Festival Italy. 

Featured in The New York Times, Dance Europe, Brooklyn Rail, Marie Claire, TV 5 Monde and Dance Teacher Magazine among others, she will celebrate Company SBB’s 10th U.S. anniversary in the 2021-2022 season with historic and new works. She received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College and lives in SoHo with her family.

Harriet Clark

Harriet Clark received her professional training at the School of American Ballet.  While a student, she was chosen to perform with “Makarova and Company” on Broadway, and danced as a soloist in ballets with Cynthia Gregory, Anthony Dowell, Fernando Bujones, as well as Natalya Makarova, the Artistic Director. She was invited to join American Ballet Theater later that year, the first under the directorship of Mikhail Baryshnikov. At ABT she danced a rich array of classical and contemporary repertoire and worked with renowned choreographers including Kenneth Macmillan, Anthony Tudor, Twyla Tharp and Agnes DeMille. Clark went on to dance as a soloist in The Pacific Northwest Ballet where she performed works by George Balanchine, Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham and Jose Limon. For sixteen years Clark was the Dance Captain and Swing of the Broadway Production of The Phantom of the Opera and had the opportunity to work with both Dame Gillian Lynn, the choreographer, and Harold Prince, the Tony award winning director. As Dance Captain her responsibilities included teaching, rehearsing, and maintaining all choreography and musical staging as well as covering and performing all female ensemble roles.

Clark is currently on the faculty of the ABT Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School and is the Principal Teacher of the Children’s Division. She is certified in all levels of the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and serves on the ABT National Training Curriculum Board of Examiners. She teaches the training curriculum throughout the country and in the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development Masters Degree Program in ABT Pedagogy where this year she will be the Acting Artistic Director. Clark is an adjunct professor of Dance at both Marymount College and at Pace University. For several years she was a teaching artist for the National Dance Institute and worked extensively in the New York City Public School system helping introduce children to the discipline and joy of dance through performance. She has choreographed for students at the ABT JKO School in both the Children’s and Pre-Professional Divisions and for Marymount Manhattan College. As Children’s Ballet Mistress, Clark has been responsible for staging the children for several productions of the ABT main Company, and most recently worked closely with choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and the children of the ABT JKO School in his new American Ballet Theatre production of Harlequinade.

Elena Comendador

Ms. Comendador began her professional dance career at age 16, performing with Dayton Ballet, Hartford Ballet, The Feld Ballet, Joyce Trisler Danscompany, and Connecticut Ballet, Alabama Ballet/Ballet South. 

In 1995, she was appointed Co-Director of the Junior Division Program of The Ailey School remaining in this position until 2002.  Alongside Denise Jefferson, Director, she assisted in curriculum development, administering the High School Fellowship Program and serving as faculty advisor for the Professional Division students. For her commitment to teaching high school students, she received several Teacher Recognition Awards from the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts.  In 1998, she joined the adjunct ballet faculty of Marymount Manhattan College. By 2010, she served as an Assistant Professor, subsequently promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.  Currently, she continues to serve in both institutions as well as joining the faculty of Restoration Dance Arts under the direction of Ronald K. Brown.  

Ms. Comendador received her BA degree in Women’s Studies at Columbia University and her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.

Robert Garland

Robert Garland was a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem Company achieving the rank of principal dancer. After creating a work for the DTH School Ensemble, Arthur Mitchell invited Robert Garland to create a work for The Dance Theatre of Harlem Company and appointed him the organization’s first Resident Choreographer. He was also Director of the Professional Training Program of the DTH school, and the organization’s webmaster. In addition to choreographing several ballets for DTH, Mr. Garland has also created works for New York City Ballet, Britain’s Royal Ballet, Oakland Ballet and many others. His commercial work has included music videos, commercials and short films, including the children’s television show Sesame Street, a Nike commercial featuring New York Yankee Derek Jeter, the NAACP Image Awards, a short film for designer Donna Karan, and the “Charmin Cha-Cha” for Proctor and Gamble. Mr. Garland holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Juilliard School in New York City. Mr. Garland is currently the Dance Theatre of Harlem School Director.