JAMES SAMSON is a native of Jefferson City, Missouri where he began his dance training at age eight, and later became a competitive gymnast. He decided to continue his studies in dance at Missouri State University where he earned a B.F.A. along with a minor in business. He went on to study as a scholarship student with the David Parsons New Arts Festival, the Pilobolus Intensive Workshop, and the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive. Mr. Samson’s professional career has included Charleston Ballet Theatre, New England Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Take Dance and the Amy Marshall Dance Company. He has also set his own choreography on regional dance companies; being performed at the American College Dance Festival and Regional Dance America. Mr. Samson recently retired from the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City after 17 years.
MICHAEL BISHOP trained in the Vaganova based ballet technique as well as modern dance (Graham based). Upon graduation Michael moved to New York and began training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT). After studying at AAADT he performed and toured nationally with the David Gordon Pick Up Performance Company, performed with Deeply Rooted Productions in Chicago, taught at Edge School Of The Arts (ESOTA) in Queens, NY and went on to tour for two years with the International European Tour of West Side Story 2012-2014. He presented his choreography in the Fertile Grounds workshop in New York, performed with Anthony Williams as a member of LOVING BLACK in the original cast and revised production and is performing as the lead male dancer/poet/ puppeteer and ensemble member for The Dance of Life as apart of the Fringe Festival New York 2016. Michael is a member of the AGMA Union and is SAG-AFTRA Eligible.
Maria Vittoria Villa
A native of Italy, MARIA VITTORIA VILLA began her studies with Ballet and modern dance at “Centro Studi Coreografici Teatro Carcano”, Milano, where she graduated in 2013. She then was awarded with a scholarship at The Ailey School, where she performed with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in a work by Matthew Rushing. In 2014 she became a scholarship student at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance where she graduated in June 2016 after joining Graham 2, the junior company. In August 2016 she became a company member of Vanessa Long Dance Company and Smashwork.
CASSANDRA OREFICE is a dancer from Vancouver, WA. She holds an Associates of Art degree from Clark College. She has been studying dance sincethe age of three starting with CecchettiBallet, then at sixteen she discovered the joys of Contemporary, Jazz, Theater, and Aerial Silks. Cassandra has also held two titles in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant and one title in the Miss Universe Pageant. Since moving to New York she has danced for New York Couture Fashion Week, Toys-R-Us Children’s Fund Gala, opened up a private personal training facility with her partner and ate a lot of really really good food. Cassandra is honored to be a part of ACPW and to get the chance to perform with these beautiful dancers.
JAMES JOHNSON attended The Juilliard School and graduated with his BFA in dance in 2012. James has enjoyed the process and time with ACPW on “The Impossible Love” and “Just Joy.” He is also working with Young Soon Kim’s White Wave Dance Company, and prior to that he has worked with Alessandro Pellicani on a pre-production of “7 Doors, The Journey Within.” James has also worked in NYC with The Breton Follies, a show choreographed by Breton Tyner-Bryan and in a Nightmare: Horror Show production entitled “Broken” choreographed by Anthony Giorgio. Earlier engagements include performing in Boston for Touch Performance Art in a show called “AcousticaElectronica.” James has also worked with Attack Theatre Dance Company where he performed multiple productions and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company where he was able to perform multiple productions on tour in the USA and Canada.
BRIAN CASTILLO grew up in Northern Jersey and now lives in NYC where he has been performing for the last seven years. He has recently concluded his performances with Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More. Brian began dancing after graduating from Penn State, where he studied film. He has been a principal member of Touch Performance Art’s Acoustica Electronica since 2012. Some of Brian's greatest moments have been dancing in works by his mentors Brice Mousset and Mike Esperanza. He has also had the pleasure of performing with Mary John Frank, The People Movers, Schoen Movement Company, Rox Republic, E|N|Z|A, and director Derrick Belcham. Brian has trained at Springboard Danse Montreal and taken to the stage in works by Johannes Wieland, Spenser Theberge, and Elia Mrak. He greatly enjoys working in print and film and has been seen on ABC's The View and in the pages of Schön Magazine. He is overjoyed to be on this journey doing what he loves.
MELISSA ANDERSON, a Dallas, TX native, began dancing at the age of five at The Ballet Academy of Texas under the direction of Lisa Slagle. She has proudly received The Cochran and Jerry Calloway Scholarship (2014), The Buster Cooper Jazz Scholarship (2013), and The Texie Waterman Memorial Scholarship (2012) from the Dance Council of North Texas. She continued her dance studies at The Juilliard School under Artistic Director Lawrence Rhodes in New York City. Throughout her Juilliard career, Melissa has had the honor of performing world premiers and repertoire of Sharon Eyal, Aszure Barton, Jiří Kylián, Crystal Pite, Pam Tanowitz, Gustavo Sansano, Alexandra Damiani and Richard Alston. After graduating in May 2018 with a BFA in Dance, Melissa continued her career in The Metropolitan Opera’s production of “Samson et Dalila”. She has also recently danced in Austin McCormick’s Company XIV in their production of “Nutcracker Rouge”.
A native of Brooklyn, New York, PARRIS MONE’T LEWIS began her years of performance and study at Ronald Edmonds Learning Center, Talent Unlimited High School for the Performing Arts and performed with the Songs of Solomon Inspirational Ensemble. Later she earned a Bachelor’s of Music Education K-12 from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida. Miss Lewis has had opportunities to perform with organizations such as The Public Theatre, The Bronx Opera, The Martina Arroyo Foundation, Carnegie Hall, The Grady- Rayam Foundation, The American Heart Association, The National Endowment of the Arts, The United Negro College Fund, the Mayor’s Office of the City of Orlando, New York Fashion Week and for audiences as far as Colombia, South America and Cuba. While exploring songwriting and poetry, Ms. Lewis currently performs with The New York Choral Society, ColemanCollective and works as a Teaching Artist for The Leadership Program and the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall.