MATHEW JAMES earned his MFA at Tisch School of the Arts in Performance & Choreography, as well as his Yoga teaching certification at The Perri Institute of Mind and Body. He received his BA at Loyola Marymount University, where he performed repertoire by Barak Marshall and Lillian Barbeito, Co-Artistic Director of BODYTRAFFIC. Mathew has performed works by Bill T. Jones, Shannon Gillen, Felipe Barrueto of Joe Good Performance Group, former NYC Ballet Soloist Nolan T’sani, Kevin Williamson, and Lauren Adams. He has performed professionally with Red Bucket Dance Theatre, NickersonRossi Dance, Los Angeles Movement Arts, and consistently worked in the commercial industry as a dancer and movement director with brands such as Diesel Jeans and Disney Channel. Mathew produced his first evening-length work, Hostage in Sovereignty, in 2013. In 2015, Mathew choreographed a work for the Jewish Community Center: Manhattan, worked with creative team, Sonya Tayeh, The Bengsons, and Joe Lampert on the development of the production, The Lucky Ones, and performed work by Mat Elder Dance in NYC, Baltimore, & Boston. Currently, Mathew is the Artistic Director and Choreographer for U R B A N / T R I B E. Mathew has presented work with U R B A N / T R I B E at Stub Theater in Los Angeles, The Jack Crystal Theater and Access Theater in NYC. U R B A N / T R I B E recently presented work at The Dance Theater Lab in Purchase, an evening length work at Green Space in January 2017,and premiered a new work at the Salvatore Capezio Theater in February 2017. Mathew is currently a Staff Member & Faculty Member at Peridance Capezio Center where he curates programming for pre-professional and professional dance training, leads a Performance Seminar Program, and teaches contemporary technique, performance skills, and improvisation.
Originally from South Florida, ALI CASTRO graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dance, a BA in Journalism, and a minor in Entertainment Law. Upon graduating, she was named one of 100 Students to Watch by Variety. Ali is represented commercially by Clear Talent Group, and currently dances for URBAN/TRIBE and toUch performance art. She has danced with and worked as a rehearsal director/associate choreographer for pop artists Oh Land and Kimbra, and has appeared on Nickelodeon. In her spare time, Ali writes for Dance Magazine, and travels with Billy Bell (SYTYCD and Cedar Lake alum) to teach and create work at studios, universities, and companies around the world.
MELANIE GONZALEZ, a Miami native, began her early dance training with the Dance Unlimited Ensemble and at New World School of the Arts where she currently sits on the Alumni Foundation Board. In 2015, she graduated from New York University with a B.F.A in Dance and a double major in Economics. At New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, Melanie had the pleasure of dancing in the works of Pamela Pietro, James Martin, and Shannon Gillen. She supplemented her training at summer programs learning Complexions and Batsheva repertoire. In addition to being a dancer, Melanie is a working finance professional and is extremely excited to be working with the artists of Urban Tribe!
ELISE PACICCO is from Charlotte, North Carolina, where she grew up dancing competitively. In 2013, she graduated magna cum laude from Wake Forest University where she received BAs in both history and communication and minored in dance. While studying at Wake, she was also a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Elise received her MFA in dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2015. She has performed in works by Bill T. Jones, Paul Taylor, Shannon Gillen, Helen Simoneau, James Martin, Juel D. Lane, and Christina Soriano. She currently works as a dance artist for the Indah Walsh Dance Company and the Live Arts Collaborative in NYC. She is also a certified yoga instructor.
HANNAH SEIDEN (Boulder, CO) is a graduate from the NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a B.F.A. in Dance. As a freelance dance artist in the city, she has performed most recently with MICHIYAYA, Urban/Tribe Dance, and Rovaco Dance Company. Hannah has performed works by Ohad Naharin, Shumpei Nemoto, Shannon Gillen, Merce Cunningham, Cora Bos-Kroese, Pamela Pietro, Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Stacey Tookey, Billy Bell, and many others. Along with live performance, Hannah has danced in music videos and ads for various artists and companies. Hannah choreographs and teaches various styles of dance and is also Pilates Mat certified. Hannah joined MICHIYAYA Dance in 2016.
ALISON LEHUANANI DEFRANCO
ALISON LEHUANANI DEFRANCO, originally from Great Falls, Virginia, began her early training at the Margaret A. Haddad Studio of Classical Ballet and The Washington School of Ballet. She graduated Cum Laude from Skidmore College with a B.A. double major in History and Dance. Upon graduating, she was also awarded Departmental Honors and the Margaret Pauling Award, recognizing outstanding student performance, choreography, and/or research in dance. She has had the pleasure of performing works by Merce Cunningham, Robert Battle, Brian Brooks, Sydney Skybetter, Cora Bos-Kroese, Rubén Graciani, Kay Cummings, and The Martha Graham Dance Company. She has also worked with the Ensemble ACJW and The New York City Ballet. Alison recently completed her M.F.A degree in dance at New York University at Tisch School of the Arts and was awarded the Music Graduate Work-Study Position in her final year.