The Collaborators:

Petra Kuppers

Petra Kuppers is Associate Professor in English, Theatre and Dance, Women's Studies at the University of Michigan, and Artistic Director of The Olimpias Performance Research Series.

She is the author of Disability and Contemporary Performance: Bodies on Edge (Routledge Press, 2003), The Scar of Visibility: Medical Performances and Contemporary Art (University of Minnesota Press, 2007), Community Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007). She is also the editor of Disability and Performance (Harwood Press, 2001) and Disability Culture (Disability Studies Quarterly, 1999), and co-editor (with Gwen Robertson) of Community Performance: A Reader (Routledge, 2007).

Petra works internationally as a Disability Culture Activist and Community Performance Leader. She has received many honors for her disability culture work in Europe, the US, New Zealand and Australia, including the Inaugural Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance, awarded by the University of Otago, New Zealand, 2005. Her award-winning work includes Earth Stories and Sleeping Giants, two videos created with mental health system survivors that use myth and local legends as starting points for a new vision of mental health difference, Geometries and Scar Tissue: A Body of Work, two dance/performance videos that focus on the interplay of human bodies and their environments, Tracks, a digital photography/creative writing exhibit and retake of landscape art through a disability perspective, and Coastal Mappings, an intercultural performance event with people focused around a New Zealand hospice. The UK National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, Chisenhale Dance Space, the UK Millennium Commission, the Lisa Ullmann Foundation, Ausdance and DANZ (the national dance organizations of Australia and New Zealand), the Rhode Island Foundation and the Rhode Island Council for the Arts are some of the institutions that have funded her research and practice. Her visual arts work has been displayed in galleries and museums in Germany, UK, US and New Zealand, and she had been supported through residencies from the Arts Council of Wales, New Pacific Studio, The Mesa Refuge, and many other arts organization and residency centers.

She builds infrastructure for community artists through the organization of professional development series and international conferences (Praxis and the Body, 2000; Community Performance, 2004; and Arts Culture Nature: Sedimentations, 2007), and is on the board of the Society for Disability Studies.

In 2006 Petra worked as a Fellow at the Institute of Medical Humanities, University of Texas Medical Branch, to begin her studies on Sims and the nexus of questions opened up by his practice, and this research that led to the creation of the Anarcha Project.

Anita Gonzalez

Anita Gonzalez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater Arts at the State University of New York New Paltz where she teaches Directing, African American Drama, and Race Gender and Performance. Her research interests are in African American performance, Latin American and Indigenous Theater, and popular culture. She has lectured in Europe, Latin America, and throughout the United States at universities, arts centers, community centers, and in the public schools.

Gonzalez is also a director, choreographer, and performer, and she was a founding member of the Urban Bush Women . Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times describes Ms. Gonzalez as a vibrant, powerful stage presence. Her work has appeared on PBS national television ( Conjure Women ) and at Lincoln Center Out-of Doors, Dance Theater Workshop, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and other national and international venues. Recent projects include directing two media performance projects written by Pamela Booker ( Dust and In Order/In Sight ) writing a new musical about female pirates called Maiden Head and revising her play Ybor City about Afro-Cuban cigar workers that was originally developed at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center in Italy. Gonzalez has choreographed for Ballet Hispanico, taught theater in Central America, given professional and educational workshops in Caribbean and African American dance and lectured about the process of developing new plays. The National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Association, and the FIDEOCOMISO for United States/ Mexico Arts exchange have all funded her work. She has received three Senior Scholar Fulbright grants, one for research in Mexico, one for teaching in Honduras, and one for Modern Dance pedagogy in Guatemala.

Gonzalez is a member of the Lincoln Center Director's Lab and is also an Associate Member in the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers programs. In 2003 Gonzalez founded the organization Art Boundaries Unlimited, Inc to promote international exchange of artists and art projects.

Dr. Gonzalez earned her Ph.D. in Theater/Performance Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997). She has written book reviews and articles about performance for Modern Drama , The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism , Dance Research Journal , and Women and Performance . Her book Jarocho's Soul: Cultural Identity and Afro-Mexican Dance is available at Rowan and Littlefield Press. She has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Dance History Scholars since 1998.


Carrie Sandahl

Carrie Sandahl is an Associate Professor at Florida State University's School of Theatre, where she teaches courses in contemporary critical theory, dramatic literature, and disability studies. Her research and creative activity focus on disability, race, and gender identities in live performance, including theatre, dance, and performance art. She has published numerous articles in journals, including Theatre Topics , Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism , Theatre Journal , Disability Studies Quarterly , Contemporary Theatre Review, Gay and Lesbian Quarterly , and the PMLA . An anthology Sandahl co-edited with Philip Auslander, entitled Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance (U. Michigan P, 2005) is the first-ever interdisciplinary, international collection that brings scholars in disability studies into dialogue with scholars in performance studies. She is currently drafting the manuscript of a book, entitled Americans With Disability Act: Disability Identity and Performance , that examines strategies used by performers with disabilities to challenge prevailing notions of disability and create disability culture in the United States. Dr. Sandahl's creative activity includes directing, dramaturgy, solo and collaborative performance art pieces, and video work that participates in the creation of disability culture, particularly from a feminist perspective. Her recent creative project, a short video parody of charity telethons for the disabled, entitled The Scary Lewis Yell-A-Thon , has been shown in film festivals internationally, garnering awards at Canada's Picture This! film festival, and Australia's Melbourne International Disability Film Festival . She has been active at both the local and national level in advocating for people with disabilities. She currently serves on the board of Ability 1st (North Florida's Center for Independent Living) and has served on the board of the international organization Society for Disability Studies (SDS). Along with Sharon Jensen of the Non-Traditional Casting Project, and Simi Linton of Disability Arts, she has worked with the Disability Theatre Initiative, a New York City advocacy group for the inclusion of disabled performers in theatre, television, and film. She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, VSA Arts, and Florida State University to support her research on disability arts. She is Co-Investigator with Dr. Carol Gill, Larry Voss, and Terri Thrower on a 3-year study of Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities from the National Endowment for the Arts. This study combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to gather information about the barriers and facilitators to arts careers for disabled people in the United States.


Tiye Giraud

Tiye is a vocalist/percussionist/composer, and she was commissioned in 2002 to compose for the House Blend Series at The Kitchen (NY) and Relache Ensemble in Philadelphia 2003. She performed her music in Cork , Ireland for choreographer Martha Bower's Safe Harbor . She performed in France at the Nantes Jazz Fest; in Paraguay at the 2nd Festival Internationall de Jazz and was featured in Germany , Paris , Amsterdam and Prague while touring with John Cale ( Velvet Underground) and David Soldier as well as on their numerous recordings. Tiye was commissioned by Diamond/Royals Productions in 1997 to compose the music soundtrack for the film "Conjure Women" aired nationwide on PBS and their adaptation of Mother Courage by Berthold Brecht. In January 1994, Tiye wrote, performed in and toured in her first performance art piece "Dirty Dishy Divine". "Sugar Tit!" , her second theater piece was performed at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), New York in February 1998 to packed houses and rave reviews. She is founder of "Hoss Hed Juju" , a trio which features cross-cultural and original music. An original member of Women of the Calabash and a founding member of LadyGourd Sangoma , Ms. Giraud has toured as guest artist and vocal coach with Urban Bush Women and was musical director for their Bessie award-winning piece "Praise House" . She was composer for Vasilevski-Zollar's "Song of Lawino" and Robbie McCauley's "A Tempest".

She was selected by Brooklyn Academy of Music to participate in their 1989 "New Music America !". Her recordings, "Hokumbe!" and CD , "Dirty Dishy Divine" were released by Ladyslipper Records as a 'top-pick' (1992/3). She has performed throughout the U.S. in her one-woman show, "Hokumbe" and with Performance Space 122's ( PS 122 ) 'Field Trips' in 1996 featuring original compositions and eclectic instrumentation. Her voice can be heard on Kurt Vonnegut's "Ice 9 Ballads" and she has performed and recorded with Odetta, Olu Dara, Bob Telson and Hassan Hakmoun . She was a contributing writer in 1998 for "Planet Musician", a book by Julie Lyon Lieberman.

Tiye has studied percussion with Montego Joe, Madeleine Nelson, John Amira and Nana Vasconcelos. She studied voice with Barbara Christopher, Ethiopian music with Yilma Ketema and blues harmonica with Olu Dara. Ms. Giraud studied the music, dance and history of Martinique in 1988 through grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Special Underwriting Research and Frontier Fund ( SURFF ). In 1997 she was awarded a grant from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation to create "Mojo For The Millennium" which was performed at The Painted Bride in January 1998. In 1993 Ms. Giraud collaborated with former Urban Bush Woman, Anita Gonzalez in a cultural exchange program in Jalapa , Mexico through a grant from the US-Mexico Fund for Culture which culminated in "Hymn to Demeter" performed at Tribeca Performing Arts . Other grants received by Ms. Giraud include New York State Council on the Arts and Meet the Composer . She has served as a panelist for National Endowment for the Arts ( NEA ), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Pyramid Arts Council.

She was an artist representative for three years for the National Performance Network ( NPN ) and served as a music curator for Dance Theater Workshop .

Visiting Artists:


Lisa Steichmann is a visual artist whose work is primarily in  hotography and book arts, ranging from miniatures to large installations of murals. Her technique of painting photo developer onto nontraditional surfaces interrupts the photographic multiple, stressing individual communication over distributive. She teaches at University of Michigan and at Washtenaw College. Her MFA is from Wayne State University.


Aimee Meredith Cox is an anthropologist and dancer. She has danced with the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble and has created outreach work with young women in Shelter situations. She is a Post-Doc at the University of Michigan Center for the Eductation of Women and works on her book on respectability, social mobility and performativity amongst marginalized young women.


Tabitha Chester is a senior double majoring in Theatre and History with a minor in African American Studies at The Florida State University. At FSU she is a member of Black Actors Guild, Omicron Delta Kappa and Student Alumni Association. She has also served on the Executive Boards of the Black Student Union, National Council of Negro Women and Service Corps. She has been actively involved in the arts since her enrollment at Middle School of the Arts and Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Her acting credits include Baby Steps at Florida Stage, The Big Game produced by Parallax Productions, and A Night of Monologues with Black Actors Guild. Tabitha has have private training in Dance, Voice and Acting.