Principium Omnium   

Tabula Rasa Dance Theater was founded in 2018 by artistic director Felipe Escalante with a diverse group of dancers from 9 different countries. The company is concerned with the pressing social justice issues of our times, and with the historical precedents for them.  

 

Because Escalante believes choreography must elicit powerful and sometimes difficult emotional responses, TRDT’s pieces have explored the inhumanity of mass incarceration, the brutal practice of conversion therapy, the devastation of gender-based violence, the invisible disabilities caused by the insidious omnipresence of social media, the psychological distress induced by pandemic lockdowns, the plight of refugees, and more. 

 

 We are in a constant process of learning and searching, questioning what is meaningful in our art and our lives. Our work motivates audiences to examine their values and help repair our damaged society, with the aim of creating a better environment for future generations. 

 Escalante’s dancers are trained to become masters of their physical bodies, and to express ideas and feelings clearly, with pristine technique. To find truth in movement, we observe gestures found in everyday life, study the locomotion of animals, and explore dance forms from multiple cultures and periods.  

 

As Escalante’s approach to dance-making is experimental and nonformulaic, he and his performers take many risks, both artistically and physically.

 

 
Felipe Escalante

Born in México

Felipe Escalante, Artistic Director of Tabula Rasa Dance Theater, began his career at 6, performing the folk dances of his birthplace, Querétaro, México. A protégé of Guillermina Bravo, he graduated from Mexico’s National Center of Contemporary Dance.

Escalante choreographed his first piece at 16, and has since developed a repertoire of more than 20 works. Commissioned in 2015 to participate in the International Festival of Young Choreographers in México, Escalante received the Choreography Award in 2017 for his piece “Animula, vagula, blandula” at the Series IV festival in Manhattan.

In 2018, Escalante received a grant from the Ford Foundation to create “Ex umbra in solem,” addressing the global refugee crisis. The following year, with further support from the Ford Foundation, Escalante premiered “Inside Our Skins”, calling attention to mass incarceration.

During the 2020 pandemic, he presented “Liquidus,” a virtual piece about the psychological toll of shelter-in-place. Then, in the summer of 2021 , he brought “One of Four,” a work examining gender-based violence, to four boroughs of NYC.  The program was made possible by support from the Ford Foundation, and a grant from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
 

Founding Dancers

Sevin
Ceviker

Born in Turkey

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Zoe
McNeil

Born in the United States

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Noriko
Naraoka

Born in Japan

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Shannon
Maynor

Born in the United States

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Charlotte
Hagström

Born in Sweden 

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Jonatan Lujan

Born in Argentina

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Anica
Bottom

Born in the United States

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Jose
Losada

Born in Cuba

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Simon Kazantsev

Born in Russia

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Rawinan Asawakanjanakit

Born in Thailand

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TABULA RASA DANCE THEATER 
2022 Season 

Dancers

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Cristian Laverde

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Genaro Freire

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Corinna Nicholson

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Sierra French

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Robert M. Valdez, JR

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Lauryn Hayes

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Rachel Heinkel

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Freeda Electra

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Cristian Laverde

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Genaro Freire

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Jonathan Colafrancesco

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Sierra French

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Apprentices 

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Madison Dickson

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Javal Lewis

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Amy Bernardo

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Gisela Quinteros

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Board of Directors

Yvette Kantrow              Director and Treasurer

     Amy Fine Collins           Director and Secretary

           Felipe Escalante            Director and President

Leadership Members

Noriko Naraoka                                     Associated Artist

    Jose Carlos Losada                               Associated Artist 

      Ana Gabriela Escalante                          Adviser

          Sergio Perez Morales                             Art and Costumes Officer

             Felix Huerta                                             Composer

               Gabriela Estrada                                       Company Advisor 

                   Maria del Carmen Morquecho                Associated Artist