Artistic Director + Choreographer
Shannon Gillen is the founder and artistic director of VIM VIGOR - one of the first physical dance theater companies in the USA. Through a prolific body of work that galvanizes the body’s potential to express intellectual and emotional concepts, Gillen has pioneered a recognizable artistic language that possesses heroic physicality, electric emotional life, and cinematic imagery that illuminates and heightens the narrative imagination. She was championed by Deborah Jowitt as 'vastly gifted' and VOGUE Magazine called her work 'mesmerizing'.
Prior to founding VIM VIGOR, Gillen was a full-time company member for esteemed choreographer Johannes Wieland at the Staatstheater Kassel, Germany. She danced in 56 international performances and was singled out in the press for being 'in top form, a feat of strength' (HNA, German News). While dancing in Germany, Gillen burst into the choreographic scene receiving 3rd Prize at the International Solo-Tanz Competition in Stuttgart and commissions at the Mainfranken Theater Würzburg and the TIF Theater in Kassel. She was also selected as a THINK BIG choreographer in residence with the Staatsoper in Hannover, creating a piece that premiered at the TANZ Theater International Festival. In Fall 2014 she returned to the United States to found VIM VIGOR and has since toured the world with the company.
An insatiable creator, Gillen has choreographed over 40 works with notable commissions with L.A. Dance Project, b12 Festival in Berlin, Hubbard Street’s International Commissioning Competition, the Lobero Theatre/DANCEworks, PRISMA Festival in Panama, Ruvuelo in Concepcion, Chile, Treffpunkt- Rotebuehlplatz, Springboard Danse Festival, New York Live Arts, Dance New Amsterdam, Judson Church, PULSE Art Fair as part of Art Basel, NYC’s River to River Festival, Bryant Park Presents, HERE Arts Center, Festival Oltre Passo in Italy, The Gibney Dance Company, Power Center in Michigan, and with Steps Repertory Company for the The Joyce Theater and Jacob’s Pillow. In 2018 Gillen was named a choreographer in residence at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and in 2021 was commissioned by dance.films to choreograph an original work for Nigerian dance company MUD Art; this film was presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in NYC.
Gillen’s awards and honors include:
* UMOR Grant while in residence at The University of Michigan (2020/21)
* Jacob's Pillow Hicks Choreographer Mentor (2021)
* choreographer in residence at Princeton University (2018/19)
* commissioned to create a new work for L.A. Dance Project (2018)
* commissioned to create a new work for the b12 Festival in Berlin (2018)
* selected to perform in Chile with the Ruvuelo International Workshops and Festival (2017)
* invited to return to teach at the b12 workshops in Berlin (2016/2017/2018/2019)
* selected with VIM as the artist in residence at the Lobero Theatre with DANCEworks in Santa Barbara (2016)
* selected with VIM to tour to the PRISMA Festival in Panama (2016)
* selected by Hubbard Street’s International Commissioning Competition (2015/2016)
* selected as a Principal Company to the prestigious Springboard Danse Festival in Montreal (2015/2016/2017/2018)
* the THINK BIG residency fellowship in Hannover (2014)
* 3rd Prize in dance at the Solo-Tanz Festival in Stuttgart with Germany tour (2014)
* special mention as a choreographer of note in The Brooklyn Rail (2014)
* recognition as one of the top 20 artists in Brooklyn Magazine (2013)
* Residency with Random Collision/Grand Theater in Groningen, NL (2013)
* awarded the Dean’s Fellowship at Tisch School of the Arts/NYU (2012/2013)
* the first emerging artist selected by Christopher Wheeldon for the Steps Repertory Company (2012/2013)
* commissions for PULSE Art Fair in NYC and Miami as part of Art Basel (2011/2012)
* Artist in Residence with The Stella Adler School of Acting (2011)
* Swing Space Artist with the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2010)
* Finalist in the A.W.A.R.D.S. Show! at Joyce SoHo (2010)
* Artist in Residence at LMCC’s Swing Space (2009)
* Artist in Residence at Dance New Amsterdam (2009)
* Fresh Tracks Artist with Dance Theater Workshop (2009)
Gillen graduated from The Juilliard School with her BFA (2003) and from Tisch School of the Arts/NYU (2013), where she was awarded a full fellowship to obtain her MFA (2013). Gillen is an Associate Professor of Dance at The University of Michigan. Dedicated to inspiring and training the next wave of interdisciplinary artists, she has also established VIM VIGOR as the source for physical dance theater / Tanztheater education, with ongoing contemporary classes, workshops, week-long intensives and the company’s immersive summer program. Gillen also teaches internationally at the b12 workshops in Berlin.
CO-CHOREOGRAPHER / REHEARSAL DIRECTOR
Jason Reese C. is a Psycho-Physical Theatre Artist whose research is grounded in Floorwork, Partnering and Physicl Theatre Methodology. He is a co-choreographer with VIM VIGOR and an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan. After receiving his BFA at SUNY Purchase Jason returned to the school to teach as an Adjunct Professor. Through VIM he has taught at various institutions including The Juilliard School, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the University of Michigan, Barnard College and Columbia University. Additionally he has collaborated with Shannon Gillen on creations for LA Dance Project, Gibney Dance Company, Boston Dance Theater and Springboard Danse Montreal. Jason previously was a Performer and Rehearsal Director with Sleep No More NYC.
Co-Choreographer / Rehearsal Director
Barbara Samuels (lighting designer): is a New York based lighting designer and producer. With Vim Vigor: Future Perfect (DANCEWorks, world premiere) and Separati (GKA, world premiere). Also with Shannon Gillen: Deep Sequencing (NYU, world premiere). Recent new play designs include Christopher Chen’s Caught (Play Company), Casey Llewellyn’s O, Earth (The Foundry Theatre), Kate Benson’s OBIE Award-winning A Beautiful Day in November on the Greatest of the Great Lakes (New Georges/ Women’s Project), Julia Jarcho’s OBIE Award-winning Grimly Handsome. Ongoing collaborations with Lee Sunday Evans, Jordan Fein, Melissa Kievman, Portia Krieger, Brian Mertes, Katie Pearl, Dustin Wills, and many more dance and theater artists around the country. Upcoming projects include The Rape of Lucretia (The Curtis Institute), Orange Julius (P73/Rattlestick), and a new work by Daniel Fish.
Barbara served as Associate Lighting Supervisor at Williamstown Theater Festival in 2012 and 2013, and was the General Manager of OBIE Award-winning 13P. Barbara is currently the Producing Director of the satirical multimedia company Morgan Gould & Friends. She is also a 2016 Fellow in the Target Margin Institute for Collaborative Theater Making. In September 2016 The Interval named Barbara a Woman to Watch.
Barbara holds a B.A. from Fordham University and an M.F.A in Lighting Design from NYU. Proud member of USA Local 829.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, migrated to New York City in 2010. Past design credits include SONS+DAUGHTERS (NYU Tisch 2nd Ave Dance Compnay), Blood on the Tracks (Bailout Theatre), A Free Man of Color, Girl on Girl (NYU Tisch), Cloven Tongues (The Wild Project) Swing State and A Letter To Harvey Milk (New York Musical Theatre Festival), Un Plugged In (Theatre Row), Heathens (Theatre for a New City), Platonov, The Hothouse (Columbia University). Regional credits include The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Altar Boyz, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Papermill Theatre), The Cradle Will Rock, I Love You Because, and The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines (Missouri Stare University). B.F.A. Missouri State University, M.F.A. NYU-Tisch School of the Arts.
COLLABORATORS / PERFORMERS
Marija Obradovic grew up in Belgrade, Serbia. She began her dance training with the guidance of Svetlana Djurovic, the director and choreographer of Perpetuum Dance company, with whom she worked for seven years. The company performed nationally, and internationally on festivals in Jordan and Philippines. In 2015 Marija relocated to New York, where she had worked with JinJu Song Begin Da -On Dance and Soluq Dance Theater. She is also alumni of dance program Springboard Danse Montreal where she had performed work by Maxine Doyle and Michael Getman. Additionally, Marija holds a BA in Psychology from University of Belgrade. Marija joined VIM VIGOR in 2018 and has since supported Gillen's commissions at Barnard College, The Juilliard School, for New Dialect in Nashville and at the b12 Festival in Berlin. This past year she originated a role in VIM's FOREVER.
Natalie Border, a Utah native, trained and worked professionally as a dancer in Salt Lake City. She holds a B.F.A. from the University of Utah where she was a part of the honor society, Orchesis. Natalie performed as a guest artist with Rire-Woodbury and with the Performing Dance Company in works by Andrea Miller of Gallim and Sharee Lane. She has also worked with other gifted artists such as Loni Landon, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Scott Wells, and LajaMartin among others. Upon graduating, she was invited to dance in Northwest Dance Project’s Launch program, guested in Repertory Dance Theater’s Emerge show, and produced her own show, Nomad. Natalie was recently a company member of SALT Contemporary Dance and performed works by Dan Higgins, Satu Hummasti and Daniel Clifton, and Penny Saunders. Natalie joined VIM VIGOR in 2019.
Jessica Smith, a native of New Orleans, is a graduate of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College. Growing up, Jessica trained as a competitive gymnast as well as attending the performing arts high school, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. In her third year at Purchase College, she studied abroad at London Contemporary Dance School. Jessica is now entering her second season with ZviDance and her first season with both Kizuna Dance and Vim Vigor. She continues to research and show her own work throughout New York City while collaborating with many people she's met along the way.
Originally from Virginia, Dava moved to New York City and began her serious dance training at Fiorello LaGuardia Arts High School. In 2015 she graduated Salutatorian of the Dance Department and won the “Desire Keras Dancer from the Heart” award. While in high school, Dava was also apart of the Peridance Youth Ensemble, and had the opportunity to work with distinguished choreographers such as: Manuel Vignoulle, The Limon company, Sidra Bell, Stefanie Batten Bland, Igal Perry, etc. Dava graduated Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance in 2019. At SUNY Purchase she performed works by Rena Butler, Hannah Gardner, and Sidra Bell. Additionally, Dava has performed works abroad. In 2017, she worked with Maxine Doyle in Berlin, Germany, performing “Bric Brac a Baby” at Dock 11. Summer of 2018 and 2019, she was accepted into Springboard Danse Montreal and performed works by VIM VIGOR, MAZE dance company, Johannes Weiland, and Vanessa Goodman. Post graduation, Dava was invited to perform works by Stacyee Pearl Dance Company in Pittsburgh. Dava is now an apprentice at VIM VIGOR.
Kiley Dolaway was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. She studied ballet and modern dance at Philadelphia Dance Theatre then attended high school and studied dance at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts under the direction of Susan Jaffe. She recently graduated in May of 2018 from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College with a BFA in dance performance. During her time at Purchase, she performed repertory by Shannon Gillen, Kevin Wynn, Manuel Vignoulle, Sidra Bell, and Merce Cunningham. Additionally, she was invited to dance at Springboard Danse Montreal in the summers of 2017 and 2018 where she performed in the restaging of 'Paper Cuts in an Empty Bag' by Peter Chu and ‘Neither Here|There’ a new creation by Johannes Wieland. In 2018, Kiley also premiered in Shannon Gillen's 'SUPERBLOOM' at the 92nd Street before joining VIM VIGOR as a company member. Since then she has assisted Gillen at The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, NYU Tisch, and Fordham Ailey. She has supported Shannon Gillen's creations at L.A. Dance Project, b12 festival in Berlin, Princeton University, Boston Dance Theater, and Booker T. Washington School for the Arts. In 2019, she will debut in VIM’s latest creation FOREVER in NYC, before traveling with Gillen to teach and create at LINK 2019 in Salt Lake City, Perry Mansfield's Summer Program, Springboard Danse Montreal, Springboard X, and VIM VIGOR's Summer Program in NYC.
Brandon Coleman is a NYC based performer from Katy, TX and is a graduate of the University of Arizona, where he received his BFA in Dance and BA in Communication with a minor in Arts Administration. While in school, Brandon received the prestigious Undergraduate Creative Achievement Award for performance and choreography. He attended Springboard Danse Montréal in 2016 and 2017 and received additional training from River North Dance Chicago and KEIGWIN + COMPANY.
Coleman toured throughout China with Art.If.Act Dance Project, assisted Sam Watson at the Tanz Bozen- Bolzano Danza International dance festival in Bolzano, Italy, and performed as a guest artist with Zikr Dance Ensemble in Denver, CO. Formerly a member of Visceral Dance Chicago , Coleman has also worked with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as a guest artist for their 2017 Summer Series. Since moving to NYC in 2017, Brandon has danced with KEIGWIN + COMPANY, the Metropolitan Opera ballet, and is currently a performer at SLEEP NO MORE. Brandon joined VIM VIGOR in 2019.
Laja Field, a Salt Lake City, UT native, graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance from the University of Utah in 2012. She performed pieces by Eric Handman, Satu Hummasti, Abby Fiat, Juan Carlos Claudio, guest artist Johannes Wieland and Kendra Portier, among others. In those years she also had the pleasure of performing in two productions with the company RawMoves. Upon graduation, Laja relocated to Germany to work with Johannes Wieland at the Staatstheater Kassel, where she also had the opportunity to work with guest artist Chris Haring in the piece “Lego Love” which was performed again that summer at ImpulsTanz in Vienna. In 2013, Laja became a full-time company member with Johannes Wieland and relished in the making and performing of pieces such as “Ich Bin Du”, “100,000 Superstars” and “Science!Fiction!Now!”. Highlights of those years also include working with guest choreographer Stella Zannou and re-staging Hofesh Schechter’s “DOG” under the direction of Sita Ostheimer.
I am a choreographer and a teacher. My work in both spheres is based on sharing and collaboration. I like to take things apart and look at them—for their absurdity, as well as for their sensory possibilities. I focus on the heightened dramatic and physical state and how that can reveal a deeper understanding of our individual and collective realities.
I was a dancer with the José Limón company and Johannes Wieland at the Staatstheater Kassel, where I also served as rehearsal director. A graduate of CalArts, I am currently based in Munich, Germany.
- guest -
Rebecca Diab, born in Toronto, ON, received her BA in dance from Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in Los Angeles, CA. While at LMU, she had the opportunity to perform work by Barak Marshall, Sidra Bell, Lauren Adams, and Mike Esperanza. During her final year, Rebecca worked closely with Lillian Barbeito, performing a comedic solo piece for Axiom Dance Theatre’s Benefit Concert at The Sweat Spot. After graduation, she relocated to the east coast where she was part of the TOES for Dance 2015 tour, performing at The Ailey Studios in NYC and many Toronto theatres including The National Ballet School’s Betty Oliphant Theatre. Most recently, Rebecca attended Springboard Danse Montreal, rehearsing with and performing the work of Victor Quijada’s RUBBERBANDance Group and Chuck Wilt’s UNA Projects.
Martin Durov, teacher, performer was born in the small town Velky Kritis, Slovakia. A push from his grandmother started him into ballroom dance at the age of six. Several years later he met a friend that encouraged him to venture into a Slovak Folklore group where he eventually became a soloist. This then led him to study dance at the Conservatory J.L Bella Banska Bystricia (Slovakia) for six years. In school he was a member of the dance company directed by Tomas Nepsinsky that toured pieces to festivals in Slovakia, Belgium and Spain. As a student he also collaborated with Studio Tanca, the professional dance company in Banska Bystricia. In the final year of school Martin took over the role of director for the school’s company and choreographed his own graduation concert. In 2013, Martin graduated with a DiS. art. (certified artist) and went on join Johannes Wieland’s company in Staatstheater Kassel for two years. In that time he had the experience of collaborating with many dancers, teachers, and creating pieces by Helge Letonja and re-staging Hofesh Shechter’s DOG with the help of rehearsal director Sita Ostheimer. Martin is an emerging comissioned sound producer creating under pen name, S.O.M production.
Lavinia Vago is a dance artist from Italy, based between NYC and Seattle. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornish College of the Arts, under the mentorship of Pat Hon, Wade Madsen and Tonya Lockyer. She has worked with Zoe Scofield, Kt Niehoff, Anna Conner & Co, Sidra Bell Dance New York and Korhan Basaran and Dancers. She creates and performs the work of Loni Landon Projects and is assistant to the choreographer in commissions. She currently performs & tours internationally with Montréal based Rubberbandance Group, and co-directs, collaborates and performs with Kate Wallich / THE YC. In June 2015 she was a creative resident at Velocity Dance Center, where she was able to delve and explore her solo work, which will premiere...when ready.
Lavinia was an original performer in VIM VIGOR's SEPARATI.
vania doutel vaz
- guest -
Born in Lisbon, Vaz trained with Royal Academy of Dance and The National Conservatory School in Portugal. She has had an extensive career dancing for Nederlands Dans Theater, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Sleep No More. During this time she performed original works by Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite, Hofesh Schechter, Alexander Ekman and Emanuel Gat among others. Recently Vaz has been traveling to collaborate and perform with Trajal Harrell, Uri Aran, Richard Siegal, Jo Strømgren and Tânia Carvalho. In 2018 she is joining VIM VIGOR to support a new creation by Shannon Gillen.
I'm a female
I'm in my 30's
I come from Finland
I like my coffee strong
I love early mornings in silence
I fear that only few are in power
I'm intrigued by the complexity of our bodies and minds
With my art I am searching for connection and communication
be it through a physical, intellectual or spiritual experience to inspire a space for further dialogue within ourselves as creators, performers and voyeurs.
I have been privileged to work with artists like Johannes Wieland, Rootless Root, Shannon Gillen, Helder Seabra, Valtteri Raekallio, among many others, including my beautiful colleagues around the world.
isaies santamaria perez
- guest -
Born in France, Isaies started studying dance in Paris at Latin and Tropical Dance School and at Rick Odums School of Ballet Jazz. After that, he has been part of the top16 in "YCD" the French television version of SYTYCD . Then he moved to NYC and He graduated from Peridance Capezio Center in 2014 and performed work by Manuel Vignoulle,Bryan Arias, Marlena Wolf, Igal Perry, Enzo Celli and Ephrat Asherie.
As a freelancer , He is been working and touring nationally with Gregory Dolbashian (The Dash ensemble) ,Manuel Vignoulle (M/Motions), Enzo Celli (Vivo Ballet) , Bryn Cohn (BCA+Artists) , Zvi Gotheiner (Zvi Dance), Sonya Tayeh (Sonya Tayeh Dance) and Bobbi Jene Smith.
He is been performing in venues as Jacob’s Pillow Doris Duke Theater, Massmoca , Catskill Moutain, Monterrey International Ballet Gala, ADI, Bam Fisher, Kaatzbaan, Bryan Park Festival, Lincoln Center, Fire Island, Brooklyn Dance Festival..
He is Teaching Floorwork contemporary at Gibney Dance Center as a faculty member.
Emma Whiteley, a native of Pennsylvania, graduated with a BFA in Dance from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. While in school, she performed works by Shannon Gillen, Alex Ketley, Michael Clark and Mark Morris among many more. Additional training includes the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Intensives, and Springboard Danse Montreal. Since graduation, she has had the pleasure of working with Chihiro Shimizu and Artists, Chuck Wilt's UNA Projects, and Chris Masters Dance, among others. Beyond dance, Emma is also a commissioned visual artist.
Company and website photos courtesy of Vladan Sibinovic, Arnaud Falchier, Lady Deryn