StaffKeshet Dance & Center for the Arts
Adrian Moore Trask
Director of Strategic Development, Education Faculty
Adrian joined Keshet’s staff in 2016 with ten years of experience in strengthening arts & culture nonprofit organizations and advanced training in public humanities. Before moving to Albuquerque, Adrian worked as the development & communications manager at Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, leading fundraising and marketing efforts to support the state’s humanities community. Adrian maintains her connection with Rhode Island as a volunteer with Dance Legacy, supporting organizational systems and policies to effectively engage Dance Legacy’s dispersed network of volunteers and contractors. Early in her career, Adrian worked in the creative aging field as program director for Arts for the Aging and danced with Nancy Havlik Dance Performance Group in Washington, DC. Adrian has implemented projects that incorporate performance, fine arts, and history with American Dance Legacy Initiative, Everett: Company, Stage and School, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Y-Space (Hong Kong), the National Museum of American History, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Adrian has a bachelor’s degree in dance and anthropology from Wesleyan University and earned a master’s degree in Public Humanities from Brown University, focusing on community building and public engagement through arts and culture, specifically dance. Adrian came to Keshet in August 2016 and says, “with a personal mission to connect community through the arts and humanities and to support artists by providing business development support, Keshet is the perfect place for me! I’m very grateful to be part of this inspiring, creative community.”
Alana is a recent graduate of Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) who has studied numerous genres of dance for the past 11 years. She is currently a student at the University of New Mexico, majoring in Psychology and minoring in both Chemistry and Health, Medicine, & Human Values, in the hopes of one day pursuing a career in medicine. Dancing has played such an important role in her life and she is elated at the opportunity to teach and serve the community that provided so much for her!
Angel’s love for dance started at the age of 4 where she was a student at Fishback Studio’s, in Albuquerque, NM training in ballet, jazz and tap until the age of 14. Angel’s dream of becoming a professional dancer was altered due to a tragic automobile accident, which left her with a vertebral compression fracture in her spine. Due to her injury Angel found a new love at the age of 16, where she started as a Recreation Leader for the City of Albuquerque, Therapeutic Recreation Program, working with children and adults with and without disabilities.
In 2006, Angel took a full-time position with the City of Albuquerque, Therapeutic Recreation Programs, as a Therapeutic Recreation Coordinator, where she oversaw serval programs for mixed abilities, which included a popular adult dance called MerryMakers. In addition, she spent the next 10 years hiring and training City of Albuquerque employees on how to implement inclusive programming for people with and without disabilities. Her love for people turned in to a 23-year career with the City of Albuquerque, not only working with people with disabilities, but also managing several Community Centers, and just recently her last endeavor as the Program Director for AmeriCorps Seniors, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program.
Angel was introduced to Keshet Dance Company in 2008 when an instructor came to Loma Linda Community Center to teach a dance class to the children who were registered in the summer program. At that time, Angel had the love of dance spark back into her soul and decided to sign up for Keshet’s Nutcracker on the Rocks. After her participation in that show, Angel was determined to start dancing again and found a place of peace in a community which embraces ALL ABILITIES. The rest is history! She became a student of dance once again at the age of 26 after a 12-year absence. Angel began to heal from her past trauma both physically and emotionally which she says came from, the support, love, and friendships from this beautiful community, which is Keshet.
In 2012 Angel became a part time teaching faculty, teaching Creative Movement, Children’s Ballet, Contemporary and the Mixed Abilities classes. She continued dancing and teaching dance until the birth of her beautiful daughter, Avalynn, in 2018.
Angel is thrilled to join Keshet once again not only as a student of dance but also as a full-time employee in an organization which believes in kindness, mentorship, and love!
Database Systems Coordinator
Alija has worked across the social impact sector as a participatory researcher and creative technologist to advance equity. At Keshet, Alija engages the lived expertise of arts and justice communities to inform the collaborative design of data systems to be more transparent and accountable. As the Database Systems Coordinator, Alija approaches data management with an ethics lens to drive empowered decision-making to inform Keshet’s programs and mission. All while keeping the experience people have engaging with data systems at the forefront. From ensuring inclusive data collection processes with affirmative consent to privacy considerations in data storage and reporting. The vision is to shift the power dynamics between people and data to remove barriers for communities to access resources. Alija holds a B.A. Urban and Environmental Planning with certificates in Emerging Technology Ethics, Machine Learning Engineering, Data Science, and Digital Media. For their work, Alija has been honored with social innovation awards in technology, public policy, Diversity-Equity-Inclusion leadership, and participatory design.
Education and Engagement Coordinator
Alissa was born in West Virginia, but moved to New Mexico at a young age. She graduated from Manzano High School and got her nursing assistant certification at TVI. Alissa has been working with children and young adults with physical and developmental disabilities for the past 14 years. As the Community Relations Manager, Alissa is excited to contribute to Keshet’s community in a new way. Alissa has been part of Keshet’s community since 2011 when she enrolled her daughter into her first dance class, shortly after Alissa began taking classes and they both have been dancing ever since! Alissa and her husband are also Keshet volunteers. Alissa has been married to her husband, Mat for 13+ years, and together they have three children, Jordyn, Ryan and Devyn. When Alissa isn’t working, or dancing, she enjoys camping, hiking, swimming, going on road trips to visit family, watching her son play sports, shopping and cooking with her daughter, and checking out local breweries with her husband. What Alissa loves most about Keshet is how inclusive it is, any and all people are welcomed at Keshet, which is what has brought and kept her and her whole family as an active part of it.
Alyssa is a former member of LOUD, Leaders Organizing to Unite and Decriminalize, and is currently a local freelance DJ and musician. Lyssa states, “Because of my past experience with juvenile justice work, I am now a strong advocate for bettering the system for youth. Music and dance have personally helped me overcome battles and develop the strength I needed to get to where I am today. Keshet played a huge role in this journey and transformation. I have been involved with Keshet since 2015. As of January 2019, I am now employed through Keshet as a Youth Leader. Being a Youth Leader allows me to help make sure the youth have the same opportunity that I did.”
Ana Lopes Aréchiga
Director of Programming and Engagement, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
Ana was born in Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico, and began dancing at an early age. She has a BA in dance and psychology, having graduated with honors Summa Cum Laude in Psychology, Magna Cum Laude in Dance from the University of New Mexico. She apprenticed for the Keshet Dance Company in 2013, Kamea Dance Company in Israel in 2014, and then returned to New Mexico, re-joining Keshet as a Company Dancer in 2016, and has been dancing with Keshet ever since! She has also danced for the Santa Fe Opera, Jewell and Company, Blythe Eden Dance Company, J. Garcia Dance Company, lisa nevada dance, and Esteban Garza Dance Company. While she continues to dance for many of these companies, Ana additionally teaches some fantastic classes each week!
Danielle has an Accounting degree from Drexel University and has worked within the non-profit sector for over 14 years in various roles but mostly in an accounting and bookkeeping capacity. After working in payroll for a large human services organization in Boston from 2009-2011, she switched gears briefly and became a day program counselor working with adults with developmental disabilities in the Boulder, CO area. This experience is what drew her to Keshet and their Mixed Ability/Adaptive Dance Program. Danielle most recently worked as a Data Processor/Analyst within an Advancement Services team so she brings with her database and development experience. When not working, Danielle is out hiking, running and exploring the mountains with her dog!
Costumer, Education Faculty
Diana MacNeil is a choreographer and teacher dedicated to the movement arts. Her work over the last four decades has included initiating roles at the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts and the Lewitzky Dance Company. The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, The Cerritos Center for the Arts and the Yorke Dance Project, among others, have commissioned her choreography and her credits include educational projects from elementary to post-graduate levels at home and abroad. She founded the PostHouse Dance Group in Los Angeles which has performed to critical acclaim. In 2017 Diana relocated to Albuquerque to further her work with Keshet.
KCA Theater and Facilities Director
Edward Carrion is a stage manager, production manager, and general theater technician who finds joy in helping bring art to life. Being based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, allows Eddie to enjoy time with his family and friends while he works on festivals, music and dance shows, cabarets, and the occasional large-scale public event. After graduating from the University of New Mexico with a BA in Design for Performance in 2016, he spent time in Las Vegas as an Intern Stage Manager with Cirque du Soleil, followed by taking a handful of shows on small tours, performing in Taos and Las Vegas, NM; Tucson, AZ; and Vancouver, BC, Canada. Here at home, Eddie spent a few years as a member of Tricklock Company and served on the Board of Directors for the Albuquerque Theater Guild. He also freelances regularly with numerous performance companies across the city! Eddie is most excited to bring art to Albuquerque, and share magic with the world!
AJI Director, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
Elysia is a dance artist, educator, and administrator based in Albuquerque, NM. Elysia joined the Keshet Dance community in 2001 as a community dancer. She trained in the KP3 program from 2007-2011 and received a BA in Contemporary Dance from the University of New Mexico in 2016. She has danced in works created by Keshet Dance Company, the J. García Dance Company, lisa nevada and dancers, the SHIFT Dance Collective, Lawine Torrén, Navarasa Dance Theatre, and Yeztli Danza y Arte. Elysia has served Albuquerque nonprofit arts organizations for over a decade, teaching dance and working in development, fundraising, and marketing for the National Institute of Flamenco, the University of New Mexico’s Friends of Dance Association, and Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts. Elysia began teaching in Keshet’s M3 program in 2017 and served as the M3 Program Director in 2018. In 2019, Elysia moved to Washington, DC, where she designed virtual events and fundraisers for a progressive political nonprofit, People For the American Way. Elysia is thrilled to be back in her hometown and with her Keshet community, serving as the Director of Arts and Justice Initiatives (AJI).
Emani Brooks is currently a student at the University of New Mexico. She is the Co-Chair of Keshet’s Youth Leadership Council through Keshet’s Arts & Justice Initiatives which works to fight against the injustices within our government system. Emani says, “Being biracial I have seen the setbacks within the system and how it affects the people in my community. I want to work towards correcting those wrongs and creating an open and positive environment for our youth and elders to grow in. By incorporating the arts into our system, we allow our youth to rehabilitate and express themselves in a healthy way that not only heals but inspires.”
Technical Theater and Facilities Coordinator, Education Faculty
Evening Star Barron
Advancement and Communications Manager
Evening Star joined Keshet in 2022 after a decade of professional experience within the Albuquerque theatre and artistic community. Actor, burlesque performer, intimacy director, and stage combat artist, Evening Star contributes both as an Acting Company Member with Duke City Repertory Theatre, as well as freelances with several local companies including The Left Turn Stage Combat and Stunt Workshop, the New Mexico Shakespeare Festival, and FUSION. She brings a love of marketing and grant writing, most recently with Theatre 3 and Duke City Rep, to her position at Keshet and uses her experience with internet outreach to connect with the community. A queer woman who was raised by professional dance educators in rural New Mexico, Evening Star has studied dance with City in Motion in Kansas City, the United World College in Las Vegas, the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and Move West in Santa Fe. She is passionate about and dedicated to fostering consent-forward practices in all aspects of artistic work.
Youth Leader, Company Apprentice, Education Faculty
Juliana Gorena is a recent graduate of the Public Academy for Performing Arts and Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) where she studied various art forms over the years. She is currently a student at the University of New Mexico, majoring in dance and minoring in sociology, hoping to pursue her work of social justice through art. In addition to being a Youth Leader at Keshet, Juliana volunteers with the Democratic Party of New Mexico and is a member of the executive committee of Keshet’s Arts and Justice Youth Leadership Council.
DEI-ABJ Coordinator, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
Lara fell in love with using movement as a form of expression as a small child. This love has carried her on a journey that has embraced many dance styles, a professional performance career, educational pursuits, creative curiosities, and curated offerings. She still finds delight in exploring new ways of moving and is ever inspired to make dances with themes rooted in social justice, environmental consciousness, community engagement, joy and play. She holds an MFA with an emphasis in Site-Specific Choreography, wherein her passions for nature, movement and human connection meld and occasionally make magic. Lara is honored to serve as an Ambassador for National Water Dance and as Keshet teaching faculty, company dancer, staff liaison for Keshet’s Arts & Justice Youth Council and Keshet’s DEI-ABJ Coordinator (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility, Belonging, Justice).
Human Resources Advisor, Education Faculty
Lindsay began dancing at the age of 5 in Danville, CA. For 12 years, she studied Ballet, Jazz, and Modern dance techniques at the Ballet Conservatory in Aliso Viejo, CA under the direction of Alan and Rosemary McCarter and Marie Barnett. She spent several summers attending intensive dance camps, including the San Francisco Ballet School and Dance Aspen summer programs. As a dance scholarship recipient, Lindsay continued her dance training at the University of Arizona as well as the University of California at Irvine. She began her journey as a dance teacher in Tucson, AZ in 1999 and continued to teach in Orange County, CA and Dallas, TX. Lindsay has been teaching at Keshet since 2007 and became involved on the administrative side of Keshet in 2012 as Education Director. She then served as the Director of Human Resources from 2017-2021 and has now moved into the role of HR Advisor; helping to support the Human Resources Coordinator and Keshet’s Leadership Team.
Human Resources Coordinator, Education Faculty
Marissa was raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and initially started exploring the world of movement through gymnastics at a young age, eventually leading her to modern dance. Following her passion, she was able to study dance through college and graduated from the University of New Mexico with her B.A. in Contemporary Dance. Throughout her career she has had the honor of working with many incredible artists, dancers, and choreographers that have helped her develop her style, expand her technique and grow artistically. In 2013, Marissa became a Keshet Company member and performed nationally and internationally under Artistic Director, Shira Greenberg. Marissa then found a new passion for dance through teaching as Keshet’s M3 Director from 2014-2018, instructing and mentoring students within New Mexico’s Juvenile Prison System. From 2018-2021, Marissa took on a new adventure as Keshet’s Community Volunteer Manager – overseeing Keshet’s amazing Volunteer Program. Most recently, Marissa embraced a new position at Keshet as the HR Coordinator- serving Keshet and Keshet’s incredible staff as Keshet continues to thrive and embark on new endeavors.
Paul’s passion is to connect with people and to transform lives by being Love in Action. He delights in realizing this through creative expression. Whether it be the written word, the painted image, or expressions with light; the idea of connecting with others lies at the heart of Paul’s work. After a long and exciting career lighting and photographing film, stage and television productions all over the world, Paul came to Albuquerque seeking new modes of expression, and a more relaxed way of life. Serendipity led him to Keshet where he was reacquainted with his first artistic love, lighting for dance. Paul finds great joy in meeting the challenges of serving the warm and welcoming dance family that is Keshet.
Community Education Manager and Mixed Ability Program Coordinator, Education Faculty
Originally from Indiana, Sadie recently completed her Bachelors of Arts in Theatre and Dance as well as Educational Studies with an emphasis on Special Needs from Alma College. Her research on the benefits of dance for students with Cognitive Impairments allowed her to graduate with Honors in both fields Summa Cum Laude. Sadie has experience teaching dance in both studio and therapy settings. She has brought her dance experience to her previous positions as Behavior Technician at an Applied Behavior Analysis Autism Clinic; teacher at Live Laugh Dance, a summer camp for young adults with Down syndrome; student teacher in a variety of Special Education classrooms; and dance teacher for ages 5-15 at Academy of Performing Arts. Sadie is certified in Progressive Ballet Technique and has trained in ballet, jazz, modern, somatic methods, and Highland dance. After interning with Keshet as Outreach Assistant and Teaching Assistant in 2017, Sadie is thrilled to return to work at Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts.
Sarah Elizabeth Bennett
Data Fairy, Resident Concierge, Education Faculty
Sarah received her BFA in Dance from the University of the Arts (Philadelphia) and MFA in Dance at the State University of New York (Brockport). She has been a company dancer with Philadanco II, a soloist with Koresh Dance, and was an Americorps member and company director of the Buen Viaje Dancers with New Mexico’s VSArts Program. Sarah is a founding member of Keshet where she helped create the organization’s mixed ability dance program, co-facilitating Keshet’s first residency workshops with AXIS Dance Company in 1998. She has been working in the field of Mixed Ability Dance for the past 22 years. Fun facts: She is the original “Nutcracker on the Rocks” Rat Queen, and Keshet’s Studio 2 is named after her, honoring the critical role she played in building the foundation for Keshet.
Sarah Williams Gonzales
Pre-Professional Education Program Director, Education Faculty
Sarah Williams Gonzales is a “dancing historian,” a dance scholar, and a dance educator with a research focus on American dance history and dance pedagogy. A native of Indianapolis, Indiana, Sarah began her dance training at Jordan College Academy of Dance, the pre-professional program of Butler University. Sarah holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Performance/Choreography and French (Magna Cum Laude) from Hope College. In 2012, Sarah graduated with distinction from the University of New Mexico with a Master of Arts in Theatre and Dance with a concentration in Dance History and Criticism. Sarah is certified in ABT® National Training Curriculum from Pre-Primary through Level 5 and has trained in Vaganova, Cecchetti, and the French methods of Ballet. She is certified in Elementary Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau. Sarah is currently the Pre-Professional Education Director of Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts, in charge of the Keshet’s Pre-Professional Program (KP3) and JUMP programs. Sarah works to advance the field of dance through the daily teaching of technique classes, developing of dance curricula, and presenting research at conferences.
Sebrena was born in Colorado and was quickly whisked away to sunny California, where she learned to love the beach, art and reading. She has since lived in many places, including Texas, Louisiana, Washington and Mexico before landing in Albuquerque in 1999. She has a degree in Psychology from the University of New Orleans. Sebrena discovered Keshet 10 years ago when her daughter wanted to take ballet classes. She has had various roles at Keshet, but you can find her most often at the front desk checking in students or at the Box Office window, and helping out wherever she can.
Founder & Artistic Director, Education Faculty
Shira is the Founder and Artistic Director of Keshet, launching the organization in 1996 – utilizing dance as a catalyst for change. She has created over 60 original dance works for stage and film, including “Nutcracker on the Rocks” [“Any unmoved spectators had to be dead” – Arthur Alpert, Prime Time Magazine]; “Ani Ma’amin” [one of the most moving and beautifully designed dances this viewer has experienced…totally absorbing” – Jennifer Noyer, Albuquerque Journal]; and “A beast an angel and a madwoman” [“Transformative” – Matti Straub-Fisher, KaosPilots, Bern, Switzerland]. She has been recognized by multiple organizations and awards including the Martin Luther King, Jr Multicultural Council’s Keep the Dream Alive Award for “creating an environment where the medium of dance is used to build cross-cultural and social bridges to every aspect of society” and the former President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. Her honors include the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Outstanding New Mexico Women; New Mexico Business Weekly’s Top Performing CEO of a non-profit organization, the New Mexico Humanitarian Award, and the New Mexico Ethics in Business Award recognizing the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity and civic and social responsibility. She has been a guest speaker throughout the United States, Europe and Israel, sharing Keshet’s integrated approach of the arts in the areas of social justice and economic development. In 2013 with a $1,000,000 investment from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Shira led the organization in the creation of the Keshet Center for the Arts, a 30,000sf performing arts center in Midtown Albuquerque, and within it launched the Keshet Ideas and Innovation Community (KIIC), a business incubator and resource center for arts entrepreneurs, including choreographic residency programs. Shira is grateful to have the daily opportunity to follow her life’s passion intersecting dance, education, engagement, innovation, entrepreneurship along with the empowerment of multi-generational voices, and a dedicated pursuit of systems change with an eye towards justice, equity, accessibility, inclusion, and belonging. She is honored to continue to learn and grow with this incredible Keshet team.
IT Coordinator, Company Dancer, Education Faculty
Originally from Timisoara, Romania, Sonia has been a New Mexico resident since 2006. She has dedicated her life to dance since the age of 16, studying modern, contemporary, hip hop, ballet, Latin ballroom, and most recently, Mexican Folklorico. After graduating from UNM in 2013 with a B.A. in Contemporary Dance, Sonia joined Keshet as a company dancer and teacher. Sonia’s work as an educator includes teaching in Keshet’s Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis (M3) program and in Keshet’s Pre- Professional Program (KP3). As a company dancer, Sonia is involved in the creation and touring of new works created for and with Keshet Dance. Recently, she has become Keshet’s IT Coordinator and Video Archivist. In addition to her work with Keshet, Sonia is involved with Navarasa Dance Theater, a performance company based in Los Angeles and India that fuses dance, martial arts, theater, and storytelling. She is also part of Yeztli Danza y Arte, a Contemporary and Mexican Folklorico performance company based in Albuquerque. Considering the impact dance has had on her life, she believes that art can have a life-changing impact on anyone, whether they are a student in a class, a performer on stage, or a spectator in the audience.
AJI Support, Education Faculty
Sophia Phillips was born into a family of artists in California, and began her movement training in capoeira at the age of 7. She shifted her focus to aerial dance in 2006, and performed nationally and internationally as an aerial dancer for the associated company of the Santa Barbara Centre for Aerial Arts until 2015. Sophia received BAs in both Dance and Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2017, and during her schooling trained in house, hip hop, modern dance, West African dance, and improvisational forms. While in Colorado, Sophia trained in, performed, and taught African-Brazilian Dance with Samba Colorado Dance Company and School. In 2019, Sophia returned to the capoeira community through the United Capoeira Association. Sophia has participated in dance intensives around the world, and adores the universality of dance. She fiercely believes in the power dance has to connect us to our individual and collective humanity. Sophia began teaching in Keshet’s M3 Program in August of 2018, and has since had the pleasure of expanding her role at Keshet to include teaching community classes, KP3 classes, and working with Keshet’s Arts and Justice Initiatives. Sophia is honored to be a part of the Keshet community.