PROFILES

Performers from Wesleyan University Facilities

Rob Burghoff is a groundskeeper at Wesleyan. He loves telling jokes.

Mike Berzenski has worked in Wesleyan University’s power plant as a Boiler Tender for the past 31 years. He enjoys fishing and blue-crabbing.

Dean Canalia has been with the plumbing department at Wesleyan for 22 years and in the plumbing business for a total of 35 years. He’s been working with Forklift Danceworks since 2014 and says he’s all in for the students.

Bryce Davis is a master mower who has been working at Wesleyan for the last seven months. He is the biggest San Francisco 49ers fan!

Sandra Estrada has been a custodian at Wesleyan for 22 years. She cleans the Center for the Arts and has seen improvement in the way students care for the campus and clean up after themselves in the last few years. She is from Columbia, and looks forward to returning to her home country upon retiring. 

José Edison Farez has been working in groundskeeping for over fifteen years. At Wesleyan he likes working outside with his colleagues. In his free time, he studies English and enjoys spending time outside with his partner, Anita. 

Yocasta Genao has worked as a custodian at Wesleyan for 20 years. She has two children, is a very fun person, and loves to cook!

Lloyd Jones is a custodian who has worked at Wesleyan for seven years. When he isn’t washing windows, he works as a DJ and loves listening to music.

Odrimelissa Marmol has worked as a custodian at Wesleyan for thirteen years. She has two daughters and a granddaughter who is three months old. She competes in bodybuilding and recently received her professional certificate in natural bodybuilding.

Pete McGurgan has worked at Wesleyan for 20 years. He is an HVAC Utility Mechanic and in his free time he enjoys driving his vintage cars and spending time with his dog and family. 

Elena Morales works as a custodian and cleans the Theater buildings and the Admissions office here at Wesleyan. She came to the United States from Mexico in 1991 and has lived in New York City, New York, and Connecticut. 

Kris Patterson works as a Material Handler for Wesleyan. He has been on this campus almost 30 years. He grew up coming to work with his dad who still works for Physical Plant as an electrician. Kris even played some of his high school football games on Andrus Field. 

Gloria Ramales has worked as a custodian at Wesleyan for nine years. She likes to cook and has four children and two grandchildren.

Camilo Ramirez, custodian, has been working in the cleaning industry for 20 years. At Wesleyan, he cleans the theaters at the Center for the Arts, which is perfect because he has always been a big fan of the performing arts. 

José Rodriguez has worked as a custodian at Wesleyan for eleven years. He is from Puerto Rico.

José Rodriguez is a groundskeeper at Wesleyan. He has a two terabyte collection of music that spans from the 1970s to the present.

Felix Rosario has worked at Wesleyan for 20 years as a custodian. He loves nature and has two children and two grandchildren.

Victor Ignacio Rosario has been working as a custodian at Wesleyan for twelve years and currently cleans the Science Library. He is proud to be the Union Steward for Union 32BJ, and is passionate about organizing on behalf of his fellow workers. During the weekends, he spends time outside camping and enjoying nature.

Andres Sarda is the Operations Project Coordinator. He’s been here working at Wesleyan for four years now. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family and dogs.

Roseann Sillasen has worked as an Associate Director/Project Manager at Wesleyan for 21 years. She grew up in Meriden and has touched almost every building on campus. She is also a registered nurse and has been doing contact tracing and volunteering at COVID vaccine clinics throughout the pandemic.

Alena Staron loves her job in customer service for Wesleyan University. She has a background in building and especially enjoys working with Donna and the guys in Physical Plant.

Donna Steinback has been working in Customer Service for Wesleyan for over seven years. She loves her job and never plans to leave! She has three beautiful daughters and many nieces and nephews who keep her busy on the weekends.

Jeff Sweet is the Associate Director of Facilities Management. He’s been at Wesleyan for 35 years. Outside of work, he loves to spend as much time with his grandson as possible.

Damien Thomas has been working at Wesleyan for two years and in plumbing for 22 years! He says plumbing is plumbing and appreciates the flexibility at Wesleyan. In his free time, he coaches little league and plays golf.

Mario Torres has worked as a Material Handler at Wesleyan for eight years. Originally from Queens, New York City, he also works as a professional DJ and has performed in music videos as a breakdancer.

Angela Wong has been an architect and Project Manager at Wesleyan for seven years. Born and raised in California, she enjoys kayaking and playing tennis. And, she adopted a mutt this year.

Nick Zinn has worked as an HVAC Mechanic at Wesleyan for two years. He loves how every day is different and exciting. He really takes pride in taking care of the kids so that they are safe, comfortable, and enjoy their college experience.

 

Artistic Team

Allison Orr, Founder and Artistic Director of Forklift Danceworks, creates award-winning choreography with the people whose work sustains our everyday lives. Inspired by the beauty and virtuosity in the movement of labor, and building on her background in anthropology and social work, Orr has honed a methodology of ethnographic choreography that engages community members as co-authors and performers in the creation of large-scale civic spectacles. Challenging audiences to expand notions of dance and performer, her dances have been performed for audiences of 60 to 6,000+. In recent years, Orr has been named a MacDowell Fellow, a Dance/USA Fellow in Social Change, and a Doris Duke United States Artist Fellow. Orr is currently a Distinguished Fellow in the College of Environment and a Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan University. 

Krissie Marty, Associate Artistic Director and Community Collaborations Director of Forklift Danceworks, engages working people in creating dances that ask audiences to reconsider their relationship to labor and laboring bodies. Marty directed RE Source, a collaboration with the employees of the Goodwill Resource Center, and she has co-directed Served, a dance for Williams College Dining Services staff; From the Ground Up, a dance for Wake Forest University Facilities and Campus Services; Givens Swims, Dove Springs Swims, Bartholomew Swims, PowerUP!, Play Ball Downs Field, Afoot: A Marching Band Extravaganza, and The Trees of Govalle. Her choreography has been performed at the Kennedy Center, Stratford Circus in London, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Marty has worked with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Big Art Group (New York City), Imagination Stage (Washington, D.C.), Jacob’s Pillow Curriculum in Motion, and Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts.

Gretchen LaMotte, Associate Choreographer and Programs Manager for Forklift Danceworks, is a community-based performance maker, facilitator, and arts administrator. Born and raised in New Jersey, she received a B.A. in Science in Society from Wesleyan University in 2018 with concentrations in Psychology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and a Certificate in Environmental Studies. At Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, LaMotte worked for the Creative Campus Initiative, the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery, and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance. With Forklift, she has collaborated on The Artist in the City (2016), My Park, My Pool, My City (2017-2019), Served at Williams College (2018), From the Ground Up (2019), and Take Me Out to Downs Field (2020).

Stephen Pruitt, Production and Lighting Designer, is a photographer, visual artist, and theater designer based in Austin, Texas. He is the resident designer for Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance and Tapestry Dance Company; a company member with Austin’s Rude Mechs, artistic director of Catastrophe Theory Arts, and has collaborated on more than a dozen productions with Forklift Danceworks since The Trash Project. His photography exhibit A Cartography of Solitude was presented at Prizer Gallery in the summer of 2021. For more information, please visit www.fluxiondesigns.com.

Graham Reynolds, Composer for Forklift Danceworks, performs and records music for film, theater, dance, rock clubs, and concert halls with collaborators ranging from Richard Linklater and Jack Black to DJ Spooky and Ballet Austin. Called “the quintessential modern composer” by The Independent (London), this is Reynolds’ tenth project with Forklift Danceworks. He received the Creative Capital Award for his opera “Pancho Villa From a Safe Distance,” which toured internationally.  He most recently scored the BBC comedy series “Out of Her Mind.” His piece "Pastaza," which reflects on the work of Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies Barry Chernoff's work, received it’s Connecticut premiere at Wesleyan University in January 2020 as part of Golden Hornet’s “The Sound of Science” featuring Jeffrey Zeigler in Memorial Chapel. For more information, please visit grahamreynolds.com

Jeremy Bruch, drums, spans a wide range of styles, from Latin big band (Grupo Fantasma) to indie rock (What Made Milwaukee Famous). He has held down the drum throne in Graham Reynolds’ Golden Arm Trio and countless other projects for over two decades. Raised on a hog farm in rural Iowa and trained at the University of North Texas College of Music, he spends his free time in Austin as a personal chef, video editor, and mangler of electronics. 

Tamara Rivera, Assistant Choreographer, is a recent Wesleyan University graduate from the class of 2021. She received a B.A. in Biology and Environmental studies with a minor in Dance. Rivera has collaborated with Forklift Danceworks for four years and was an artistic intern for the production of My Park, My Pool, My City (2019). She has also directed her own performance for her senior project with custodial operations, Sweep Off Your Feet (2021). Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rivera is currently living in Connecticut while she works with the Schmitz Lab at the Yale School of the Environment during her Post-Baccalaureate. 

Lilley Gallagher, Assistant to the Directors, is a senior in Wesleyan University’s class of 2022. She has been working with Physical Plant and Forklift Danceworks since 2018. In her free time, she loves to sing in her a cappella group Triple Major.


Project Partners

Forklift Danceworks
Austin-based Forklift Danceworks activates communities through a collaborative creative process. Since 2001, the company has presented over 25 community-based dance projects with a diverse array of partners including six City of Austin Departments—Fire, Power, Sanitation, Police, Forestry, and Aquatics. Through performance, the company seeks to create opportunities for deeper understanding of the jobs essential to urban life, more informed civic dialogue, and greater connection between citizens and across communities. Commissioned internationally, the company has created projects in Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, and Italy. The Trash Project, Forklift’s collaboration with Austin’s Sanitation Department, is documented in the award-winning film Trash Dance, available on iTunes and Amazon. On Campus: Dances with College Campus Employees is a touring project with partnering college campuses in Forklift’s collaborative art-making method. WesWorks is the third in the series, following Served – Williams College, a dance with Williams College Dining Services, and From the Ground Up, a dance with Wake Forest University Facilities and Campus Services. Learn more and join their e-mail list at www.forkliftdanceworks.org 

Center for the Arts
Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts exists to catalyze people’s creativity by engaging them in the dynamic work of diverse artists. Three inter-related activities enable the Center for the Arts to realize its purpose: supporting the research, public productions, and in-studio teaching needs of the departments of Art and Art History, Dance, Music, and Theater; leading inter-disciplinary collaborations and other initiatives that integrate artists into creative curricular and co-curricular initiatives; and organizing powerful encounters between visiting artists and diverse elements of the Wesleyan community, the greater Middletown community, statewide, and regional audiences. For more information please visit www.wesleyan.edu/cfa

 

PROGRAM

PROGRAM NOTES

CREDITS

PROFILES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

Free spring event reservations are available now online. The Wesleyan University Box Office opens for walk-up sales on Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 11am.

The general public is welcome to view exhibitions in both the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Gallery and the College of East Asian Studies Gallery at Mansfield Freeman Center. All patrons must adhere to and follow the University COVID-19 safety guidelines. Wesleyan requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated including booster shots. All visitors will need to provide proof of having been fully vaccinated. Masks are required in all University buildings regardless of vaccination status. Indoor performances as well as special events, including opening receptions in the galleries, will be open to Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff. Vaccinated visitors may attend outdoor events and outdoor activities unmasked. Patrons under the age of five are required to wear a mask at outdoor events. Due to current CDC age limits on vaccinations, individuals under the age of five will not be permitted at indoor exhibitions.
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