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Choreographer, Director, Writer: Alireza Keymanesh

(b. 1985, Iran) is an independent artist currently living in Toronto, Canada. He is adventuring in the world of art as a filmmaker, actor, choreographer, lecturer as well as contemporary dance and acting teacher focused on body-mind techniques. Alireza earned a BA in acting from Tehran University of Arts in 2009 and likewise carried out a dance theater research project, entitled “The Society’s Influence on the Human Body” in the context of partaking in dance, choreography, and DAI (Dutch Art Institute) courses at ArtEZ University in the Netherlands in 2013. Currently, he is studying at York University's MFA in Film Program. Alireza had been a main member of “84 Theater Group” from 2007 to 2017. Furthermore, he is one of the co-founders of “33Projects”, an underground multidisciplinary art company in Tehran besides being the co-founder of “33School”, an underground dance school, which was located in Tehran. Additionally, he has been introducing and developing the Ideokinesis method in Iran by holding numerous workshops, and lectures as well as translating the Ideokinesis book written by André Bernard into the Persian language. Keymanesh, as a filmmaker, has succeeded in being given several international awards from various festivals around the world. On the other hand, as an actor, he has been known and awarded twice as one of the Best Actors of the year in the Annual Iranian Theater Ceremony in addition to receiving the International Jury’s Laudatory Acting Prize at the 35th Fajr International Theater Festival. In 2022, he was nominated as one of the best actors on the Iranian theater scene between the years 2019-2022 at the Hafez Awards.

He has appeared in distinct styles of theater such as classical and realistic scripts modern and contemporary plays, absurd theater, comedy genera, puppet theater, physical and dance theater as well as acting in cinema and movies. Currently, Alireza's main intention is to take the most advantage of his knowledge and skills in theater, dance, cinema, and creative writing to express his perspective in his personal artistic way.

Dancer, Visual artist: Nava Messas-Waxman

Nava Messas-Waxman is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher working with performance, choreography, moving image, screendance, drawing, and immersive installation. Her praxis engages identity, memory, and the body. Born into a Moroccan, Judeo-Amazigh immigrant family has shaped her interest in themes of movement, diaspora, and archive while delving into the transitory nature of gestures, often embedded within complex artistic, cultural, and personal registers. Nava Messas Waxman is a Ph.D. student at York University Visual Arts department. Her current research, "The Diasporic Gesture," examines the significance of new media technologies and embodiment in archival art practices.

Dancer: Clara Chemtov

Clara Chemtov is an emerging artist from Montreal. A graduate in Dance at Cégep de Saint-Laurent, they are now completing a bachelor’s degree in Dance at York University. Clara has been fortunate to work with several notable choreographers including Kyra Jean Green, Virginie Brunelle, and Simon Ampleman. They also danced in the official “Finally Home” music video for Arcade Fire’s Richard Parry. Passionate about multimedia collaboration, Clara is the co-artistic director of Projet Ambidanse. Through dance, music, and film, their collective aims to address social issues in their community. They also love to write and frequently contribute articles about eating disorders and mental health to print and online magazines. Throughout university, Clara looks forward to further developing their creative identity. They embrace challenges and welcome opportunities to collaborate and grow as an artist. 

Musician: Stuart Brignell

Stuart Brignell is an up and coming saxophonist and record producer in the Toronto music scene. His work as a sideman in various jazz, rnb and pop groups has taken him on tours and performances across Europe, the UK, The United States and Canada (associated acts include ART the Band, Sage Harris, Vandelux, ColdJack, After Funk, THE HONEST GUY among others). As a producer he is constantly in the studio with underground and breaking RnB, Afrobeat artists and Rappers in and around the Toronto and UK music scenes. In 2022 he contributed saxophone and flutre arrangements on "Baby Mother" by THEHONESTGUY, which featured guitar work from Kevin Kofo (Wizkid, John Legend) that reached over 100,000 streams on Spotify to date. In 2021, his saxophone dubs and woodwind arrangements on "Back to Life" by Cassa Manzi charted #3 on the radio in Rwanda, Kenya and Uganda for the month of July of 2021.

Projection: Haoran Chang

Haoran Chang is a Ph.D. student at York University Cinema and Media Studies. He is also a multimedia artist and researcher focusing on the liminal relationship between the virtual and reality. He has exhibited works in various locations virtually and physically, including the CICA museum in South Korea, Walter Otero Contemporary Art in Puerto Rico, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, Hunan Museum of Art in China, and many more. He published papers in peer-reviewed journals like Refract and Virtual Creativity. He is also the founder of the Mixed Reality collective Chameleon 

Shamim Besharat was born in Yazd, Iran, began her journey in music during high school, where she showcased her musical prowess with the daff and santour, traditional Iranian instruments. Her academic pursuits led her to industrial engineering, but the melody of the santoor continued to resonate in her life.

Following university, she ventured into the realm of engineering in a factory, yet artistic inclinations beckoned. Shamim embarked on a remarkable journey, immersing herself in contemporary dance for a year and later embracing the elegance and challenge of high heels dancing for two more. Today, she harmonizes engineering precision with the artistry of dance, a testament to her passion and dedication.

Assistant Director: Jianna Neufeld

Jianna Neufeld (she/her) is a Tkaronto-based dance and theatre artist who was born and raised at Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway. She is a graduate of the Victoria Academy of Ballet (2017) and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2020), where she was honored co-valedictorian and the two-time recipient of the Walker Wood Bursary. She is currently completing her BFA Hons. in Choreography/Performance at York University. Neufeld has had the joy of performing works by several acclaimed choreographers, including Peggy Baker, Marc Boivin, Newton Moraes, David Norsworthy, and María Isabel Salgado. Curious, growth-oriented, and fueled by her passion of all things creative, collaborative and beautiful, Neufeld has also worked in several other avenues of the professional arts sector, including lighting design, textile arts, choreography, and education. She is the founder of the Dawson Creek Art Gallery’s “Young Northern Artists’ Collective” (Dawson Creek, BC), which provides subsidized interdisciplinary artistic experiences for youth in the North, and is an apprentice community arts facilitator with tiger princess dance projects.

Consultant: Erika Batdorf

Erika Batdorf is an international artist lives in Toronto and has been performing, directing, animating art openings and creating award-winning performance work for over 30 years shared in 14 countries and 14 US states. She works in a number of mediums, mostly performance... though for many years primarily a

solo performer and theatre director/devisor, lately she has been developing large site specific immersive projects. She also created the performance training technique called The Batdorf Technique, and runs the Batdorf Spring Intensive annually in Toronto. Batdorf teaches at York University in Toronto where she received the Faculty of Fine Arts Dean’s Senior Teaching Award (2010) and in 1996 was voted Most

Outstanding Faculty at The Boston Conservatory where she taught for 12 years. She has been a guest teacher at universities internationally and is listed in the Who’s Who of American Teachers. She ran The Batdorf School for Movement Theatre in Boston for several years and currently runs the Batdorf Intensive annually in Toronto.

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