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xyz nyc: January Edition


About the Show

xyz nyc is a new approach to dance-making in New York City. A cross between a choreographic laboratory and a reality tv game show, every month dancers and choreographers are randomly grouped together, and within a week create new dances that are performed before an audience. A guest judge gives feedback to each of the choreographers, and the audience votes on their favorite dance. A winner is crowned at the end of the show, winning fame and glory and the chance of developing their new dance into a 2 night run at the Tank.

January's show is the most ambitious xyz nyc to date: the choreographic "challenge" is to collaborate with artists of a completely different medium: storytelling. With the tongue-in-cheek theme "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong," this show brings together disciplines often assumed at-odds with one another, and celebrates the glorious result of fast-paced, quick and dirty performance-making. The artists are both Tank regulars and newcomers, featuring choreographer McKenna Birmingham (winner of a Fresh Fruit Festival choreography award 2013) with storyteller Sam Dingman (The Tank's Dingmatics), choreographer Mary Suk (xyz nyc Guest Judge, March 2014) and storyteller Nelson Lugo (Upcoming Gathering the Magic at the Tank), choreographer Emma Kimball (The Evil Dead: The Musical) with storyteller Tim Manley (author of Alice in Tumblr-land), and choreographer Mary Sofianos (Artistic Director, Chance Meeting Collective) and storyteller Lori Baird (two-time Moth StorySlam winner). Dancers Shauna Sorensen, Genna Carey, Juliana Garber, Kathleen Dycaico, Emma Fitzsimmons, Katey Kephart, Juan Michael Porter II, and Andre Campbell round out the cast. 

About the Choreographers

McKenna Birmingham is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. Dancing since the old age of 2, McKenna grew up in her mother’s dance studio, Dance Continuum. McKenna trained in many competitive forms of dance as well as acting and singing. As a child, she performed with The Radio City Rockettes, and Mejia Ballet. McKenna was exposed to the concert dance world at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. There, she danced works by Robert Battle and Dwight Rhoden and performed numerous times at The Dallas Museum of Art. McKenna moved to New York City to attend The Juilliard School. Under the direction of Lawrence Rhodes, she had the privilege of performing works by dance legends such as Jose Limon, Eliot Feld, and Ohad Naharin. She graduated in May of 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Since graduating, McKenna has worked professionally with White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company, L.A. Dance Project, and as a freelance artist throughout the northeast. She continues to teach and choreograph all over the country. She received choreographic awards from The National High School Dance Festival in 2008 and The Fresh Fruit Festival in 2013.

Mary Sofianos is an emerging multidisciplinary artist intrigued by the human condition. Mary creates deeply driven emotional works that combine elements of classical and modern techniques as well as free form dance improvisation. As a dancer, Mary has participated in Fresh at Lehman College, the STREB Remote Project and BioActiveBridging in Yorktown Heights. Her choreographic works have been presented at the Talking Arts Foundation in collaboration with Skin Against Metal and The Bronx Academy of Art and Dance directed by Arthur Aviles. Mary graduated magna cum laude from CUNY Lehman College with a B.A in Dance and Art and was the recipient of the Joan Miller Legacy award. Mary is the founder and artistic director of the Bronx-based Chance Meeting Collective and dances with Hip Hop Theory The Company.

Emma S. Kimball is a multifaceted Dance and Theater artist focused on the collaborative process and blending movement and text in her work. Emma studied Dance, Theatrical Design & Production and International Studies at Colorado State University before becoming the first ever Production Assistant for the Dance Division there. Recent directing/choreography credits include: The Evil Dead: The Musical with Walt Jones (University Theater), Orestes 2.0with Sanaz Ghajarrajimi (Studio Theater), Searching For in collaboration with poet Noah Kaplan, and a world premier staged reading of Honey Whiskey by Amelia Parenteau (Blue Gene’s Pub). Work in sound design and audio editing includes: Comic Potential (Studio Theater), Doctor by Seth Klusmire (Community Creative Center), and Red Wednesday (LPAC). She also worked at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center as a Sound Fellow from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Emma is thrilled to begin work as the new Associate Development Director for Brooklyn-based theater company Built for Collapse.

About the Storytellers

Tim Manley is a writer, illustrator, and storyteller. He was a raconteur on the Unchained Tour and his stories have been featured on the Moth podcast. His first book is Alice in Tumblr-land: And Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation, out now from Penguin and currently being optioned for TV by Twentieth Century Fox.

Nelson Lugo is a Magician, storyteller Sideshow Artist, and Batman enthusiast. He was featured by TimeOut NY as a New York Entertainer to watch and co-hosts a podcast called "The EPIC PIEcast" for He's been a guest speaker for The Sunday Assembly NYC, a guest singer for the BTK Band, a storyteller at Adam Wade's Whatever Happened to the Nerds, and was featured on the Story Collider podcast twice. On top of everything else, he's also writing a series of Steampunk inspired children's books. His solo show - Gathering The Magic, which combines slice-of-life storytelling with sophisticated stage magic - can be seen at The Tank Theater From Jan 30th thru Feb 15th. Visit for more details.

Sam Dingman is an actor, podcaster, writer, and dope rhyme-sayer in Brooklyn, NY. He performs improv and sketch comedy at the People’s Improv Theater and makes radio shows in his living room, where he also watches Baltimore Orioles games through gritted teeth while drinking tawny port. He is a winner of the Moth GrandSLAM and a 2013 MLB Fan Cave finalist, and his work has been featured on RISK!, SplitSider, UCB’s "A Funny Thing," TBTL, The Billfold, the First Person Arts Festival, The Los Angeles Comedy Festival, Seattle Sketchfest, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, and beyond. 

Lori Baird is a New York City-based writer, editor, and storyteller. A two-time Moth StorySlam winner, she hosts Talk Therapy Stories + Open Mic, a monthly storytelling show about mental health, at QEDAstoria. Lori has appeared in lots of shows around the City including Bad Feelings, RISK!, Split Personality, Sunday Night Sex Talks, and Tell It: Brooklyn.Her stories have been featured on podcasts including The Moth, Heart, and RISK!

About our Guest Judge

"Tiffany Rea dances like a lit fuse. Energy radiates from her powerful legs and muscular arms. Sparks seem to fly from the funky curls atop her head." – Emily Macel, Dance

TIFFANY REA‐FISHER is in her tenth year with the New York City based internationally acclaimed modern dance company Elisa Monte Dance and currently holds the positions of Associate Artistic Director and Director of Operations. Tiffany joined Elisa Monte Dance in 2004 where she was principal dancer until 2010, performing lead roles in such classic works as Treading, Pigs and Fishes, Shattered and Volkmann Suite. She was named Dance Magazine’s “On the Rise” person for their 2007 August issue based on her performance during the company’s 2006 season at the Joyce Theater. As a choreographer Tiffany has had the pleasure of creating seven pieces for the company most notably meeting and having her work performed for the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Her most recent work “Persona Umbra” was described as a “...a force of excellence...” by Eye on Dance. Before accepting the position with Elisa Monte Dance Tiffany danced for Compania de Dance in Burgos Spain ,, The Kevin Wynn Collection, Dance Anonymous, and The Brett Howard Dance Company. While dancing with these companies Tiffany also became theresident choreographer for the Fresno Ballet School and continued in that capacity until 2009. Teaching is a big part of Tiffany’s position and she has since taught master classes and workshops at The Ailey School, City Center, Dance New Amsterdam, Dancewave, Dickinson State University, George Mason University, Juilliard, NYU Tisch, Peridance, Steffi Nossen, SUNY Purchase, and Wells College . Currently she is on faculty at the Joffrey School of Ballet and a substitute teacher at Steps on Broadway. Tiffany Rea‐Fisher received her BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College SUNY. While at Purchase she co‐founded ForArts, the school’s first interdisciplinary presenting organization, which provided opportunities for students from different conservatories to create collaborative works. In 2004 Tiffany created, directed, and curated Dance at the Tank at the interdisciplinary arts organization the Tank and is the Artistic Director of Inception to Exhibition a fiscally sponsored art service organization she co‐founded with her husband in 2009.

Earlier Event: January 25
Birdbrain: A Work-in-Progress Showing
Later Event: January 29
Bleeding Hearts Comedy