Meet the Artists of Graduate Thesis Concert

09 November 2018 Published in News and Announcements

brooklynBrooklyn Draper

Brooklyn Draper is a performer, choreographer, educator, and researcher currently residing in Salt Lake City. She received her BA Cum Laude in Dance and a minor in Anthropology. In 2012 she received a Post-Graduate degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, UK. Brooklyn has had the honor to perform In the U.S., China, and the UK and to work with over 20 choreographers including Sonia Rafferty, Hagit Yakira, Gary Lambert, Eric Handman, Lesley Telford, and most recently Pamela Geber Handman. Companies that Brooklyn has performed with include Wasatch Contemporary Dance Company, Co.da, Porridge for Goldilocks, Triptych Figures, and various project-based works.

Brooklyn’s choreographic work has been shown nationally and internationally through Mudson, WCDC, Artist Interrupted, Beijing Dance Academy (China), Bonnie Bird Theater (U.K.), Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (UT), Flatlands Dance Theater (TX), Utah Metropolitan Ballet, and Utah Valley University. Her most recent works “For the Time Being” and “unaccustomed acquaintances,” premiered on Utah Valley University’s Repertory Ballet Ensemble and Wasatch Contemporary Dance Company.

Brooklyn was co-director and founder of Salt Lake City-based dance company, Triptych Figures, from 2014-2015, where she regularly choreographed, performed, and taught workshops for the company. Triptych Figures was dedicated to collaboration and activism within the Salt Lake Community. She also co-directed Speakers’ Corner SLC 2014-2015, to provide a space dedicated to the dialogue of the present by bringing citizens, politicians, scientists, activists, and artists together to work on solutions.

Currently, while attending the University of Utah’s MFA Dance Program with a Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Brooklyn completed a Certification as a Laban Movement Analyst through the Integrated Studies program under the mentorship of Peggy Hackney and Janice Meaden. While at the University of Utah, Brooklyn’s most recent research was a study under the mentorship of Tom Welsh, to determine the percentage of modern dance majors who have detectable Leg Length Discrepancies and correlations of self-reported orthopedic complications. Brooklyn was awarded the University Teaching Assistantship to design and teach her own course, "Collision Theory: The Essence of Collaboration" in Spring 2019. Brooklyn was also the recipient of the Sally Fitt Award Spring 2018 from the University of Utah.


brianBrian Gerke

Brian Gerke was born and raised in Missoula, Montana, and he received his initial dance training at the University of Montana. Brian joined Headwaters Dance Company (known as Mo-Trans at the time) in 2002, and in 2005, Brian relocated to NYC and began dancing with Hilary Easton + Co., Juliana May's MayDance, Sondra Loring and Dancers, and at the Trisha Brown Dance school where he was a scholarship student. In 2007, Brian immigrated to Reykjavik to continue a burgeoning artistic collaboration with Steinunn Ketilsdóttir and eventually form their own dance company called “Steinunn and Brian.” From 2007 to 2012, “Steinunn and Brian” created 5 original works that they performed in over 50 theater spaces throughout Europe and North America. Brian has served as the director of the Contemporary Dance Department at the National Ballet Academy of Iceland, as a guest professor at Iceland Arts University, and as a teacher at Kramhusid community world dance center. Brian joined the Iceland Dance Company in the Autumn of 2012 and became a featured and award-winning soloist throughout his tenure there until 2015, and he is the first American dancer to be bestowed with the Icelandic Griman award for Dance Performer of the Year since its inception in 2003. Brian’s work has been commission by Universities and professional dance companies in the US and abroad. In 2012, his work MEAT premiered in Salt Lake City at the American College Dance Festival and was selected to represent the northwest region of the United States at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Brian most recently created a new work entitled “Island” on students at California State University in San Marcos, and in 2017, he has been commission by the University of Montana to create new work. Brian is a graduate student in his second year at the University of Utah, and he is currently in the process of becoming a Certified Laban Barteneiff Movement Analyst (CLMA) in the Integrated Movement Studies Program (IMS).


samiSamijo Kougioulis

Samijo Kougioulis is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah where she has been involved for many years in the local dance community as a performer, choreographer and teacher. She is currently an MFA candidate and a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Modern Dance program at the University of Utah. She is working towards becoming a Certified Laban Movement Analysts incorporating Laban Notation and Bartenieff Fundamentals into her practice/pedagogy through a University scholarship in the Integrated Movement Studies program. Prior to entering the MFA program, Samijo taught Health and Dance at Hillcrest Junior High School which sparked her interest in continuing to research, educate and promote wellness and a healthy lifestyle with dance as the medium. Samijo graduated Magna Cum Laude at Southern Utah University, receiving a BS in Dance Performance. During her undergraduate degree, she discovered a love for Modern Dance during a study abroad at Fontys University for the Arts (Dance Academy) in Tilburg, The Netherlands. While she was there, she took technique classes with Scapino Ballet and travelled to many countries all over Europe with excitement and an openness to different ways of living. When she returned home to Utah, Samijo danced professionally for Odyssey Dance Theatre in the 2011 season of Thriller. Samijo has performed in works choreographed by local and international artists such as Stephen Koester, Pamela Geber Handman, Daniel Clifton, Raymond Esterhuizen (NL) and Johnny Lloyd (NL). She loves many different styles of dance and is trained in Modern, Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop and Dance Theater.


leoChang Liu

Chang Liu received his BA degree in Beijing Dance Academy majoring in Chinese Classical Dance in 2012. After graduating, he served in the Chinese People's Liberation Army as a professional dancer for Air Force Dance Company and worked for the Professional Art Academy of Hubei Province as the head of Department of Modern and Pop Dance until 2015.

876bf0d06d19e26d37c3ab00d016af7b LJames Wallace

James Wallace began his training at Friends University and continued training at Arizona State University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in dance performance and choreography. He has danced professionally for the San Diego Opera, Kim Robards Dance, David Taylor Dance Theatre, City Ballet of San Diego, and Company C Contemporary Ballet of San Francisco and has danced in works by Twyla Tharp, Lynn Taylor-Corbet, Tom Ruud, Charles Moulton, Patrick Corbin, Paul Taylor, and George Balanchine. While apprenticing at Colorado Ballet, James choreographed two major works. He has been Choreographer in Residence and Artistic Director for David Taylor Dance Theatre, and has created works for American National Ballet, Boulder Ballet, Ballet Nouveau Colorado (now Wonderbound), and Dawson|Wallace Dance Project, of which he was also Artistic Director. James received The Ballet Builders award for New Choreographers on Point. He has also worked with Boulder Ballet as a resident choreographer, company class teacher and coach and his television credits include the MTV series “Made”, where he was cast in the role of Artistic Director. Most recently, Mr. Wallace was a visiting instructor at Colorado Mesa University and at Colorado State University.