Carl(os) Roa is a creator, writer, performer, organizer, juicy Colombian bear, and effusive Miami transplant. A proud alumni of the Headlong Performance Institute and Drexel University, (os)’ work explores the marginalized within the marginalized, and child-like revelry in performance.
They’ve worked with numerous artistic organizations in Philadelphia, including The Wilma Theater, Taller Puertorriqueño, First Person Arts, Philadelphia Artists’ Collective, The Painted Bride, and Swim Pony Performing Arts. They are currently the Education Programs Fellow for Philadelphia Young Playwrights, and a contributing writer for Artblog – two organizations that they are honored to be associated with.
Previous projects include From Beneath, It Lurks, a play they wrote alongside local directors Adrienne Mackey and Bradley Wrenn; and Andean Mountains, which was self-produced and the recipient of a residency provided by FringeArts and received its world premiere at Taller Puertorriqueño. Coming up next: Llegando, a dance-theatre piece produced alongside dance artist Belle Alvarez that is slated to premiere in 2019.
Cat Ramirez is a theatre director and performance producer born and raised in the Philly area. They have transformed bike shops into high schools where teenagers are first articulating disenfranchisement, office spaces into interactive mysteries investigating the connections between addiction and sexual assault, and studios into dystopian government agencies where you learn the tools for direct action. Cat’s work has been seen with Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival, Shakespeare in Clark Park, Director’s Gathering, and Philadelphia Young Playwrights (among others). They are the Creative Director for Philadelphia Asian Performing Artists (PAPA), the Events Producer for Asian Arts Initiative, and the Company Manager for Orbiter 3. Cat earned a B.A. from Vassar College in Drama. They are an alum of the National New Play Network Producer-In-Residence Program with InterAct Theatre Company and a two-time Bonaly Reviews’ Award Winner.
Ximena Violante is a Philly-based Mexican violinist, jarana player, singer, teacher, and organizer creating spaces for people to celebrate their roots, re-imagine their futures, and expand their communities. In 2015, Ximena co-founded Son Revoltura, a community workshop series of son jarocho, an afromestizo musical tradition from Mexico. Ximena is also the frontperson and songwriter for Interminable, a futuristic fusion project that brings together son jarocho, jazz, rock, funk, classical and electronic musics. Ximena spreads awareness of Mexican traditions with performance-based arts education group Mexico Beyond Mariachi, and has also been a featured guest musician with Las Cafeteras, Jarana Beat, Radio Jarocho, Elena & los Fulanos, and Moor Mother.
Leilani Chirino started dancing at the age of three at the Conservatorio de las Artes de Conchita Espinosa, a Cuban arts academy founded in Havana, Cuba. She later became principal dancer for the company of Ada Linares, specializing in flamenco, ballet, and modern dance. In college, she studied Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Cuban modern dance. While training in the classical dances at school, she was raised in Afro-Cuban religions at home, exposing her to the music and dances from an early age. Professionally, her goal has been to promote Afro-Cuban culture, dance, and music. Since moving to Philadelphia, she has performed at the Koresh Artist Showcase, the Koresh Come Together Dance Festival, the Painted Bride, World Café Live, Fringe Arts, the Museum of Art, and the Barnes Foundation. She has also taught and performed Cuban social dances at dance congresses in San Francisco, New York, and Atlanta. She is currently an instructor of Afro-Cuban modern dance, flamenco, and ballet at Sound Space studio in Philadelphia.
Sterling Duns is a West Philly based hip-hop artist, musician, educator, organizer, and Quaker. He holds a BA in English from Dickinson College and an MA in Poetry from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Sterling is the Coordinator of Equity and Justice Education at Friends' Central School and also serves on numerous boards throughout Philadelphia, in addition to speaking at colleges and conferences throughout the country. Sterling has performed throughout the world with numerous groups, such as Hardwork Movement, and has shared the stage with many different musical acts such as Talib Kweli, Redman and Method Man, Rhiannon Giddens, and many more. His passion for music stems from his desire to make sense of the events that make our lives unique and intertwined, all at once. Sterling has worked with youth from all different backgrounds, at summer camps and in classrooms, for the last 10+ years and truly believes that if we empower and inspire the youth of today, our future will be in great hands.
These humans are a glimpse into a broader ecosystem of artists, organizers, and cultural workers all cultivating communities with their gifts, experience, and wisdom.