Meet the MDM Artists Alumni
Destiny Diaz // Miami Light Project
"After graduating college and lacking motivation to create, Miami Dancemakers has shown me to humble, honor, and trust myself as an artist.”
Destiny Diaz is a Dominican-American Dance Artist originally from the Bronx, New York. She relocated to South Florida at the age of 12 where she discovered Hip Hop, Belly Dance, and eventually attended the Academy of Arts & Minds in Miami to further her dance training. In 2022, Destiny graduated with a BFA in Dance from New World School of the Arts College where she performed works by Robert Battle, Ohad Naharrin, and Mark Morris. Diaz was a Rehearsal Assistant for professional choreographers including Adele Myers and Sandra Portal and has performed with Herman Payne, Jennifer Archibald, and Peter London. She is currently a freelance Dance Artist in Miami and a member of the Gloria Eve Dance Company in New York City.
Stephanie Franco // Live Arts Miami
“As 2022 Miami DanceMakers, we plant an artistic seed and follow its process as it unravels. We dive deep into artistic development and beyond.”
Stephanie Franco is a Miami based choreographer, educator, and movement artist. She trained with Michelle Kickasola, John Culberston, Cookie Ramos, Michelle-Grant Murray, Erica Sobol, Tilman O'Donnell, and Medhi Walerski. From 2017-2020, Stephanie lived in Los Angeles, deepening her craft through Erica Sobol's "Lobos Art Collective"(The Gypsy Project LA), and worked with and assisted world-renowned choreographer, Mia Michaels. Since returning to Miami in 2021, Stephanie has been fortunate to be part of the Miami Movement Collective, Dale Andre’s 2022 National Water Dance Project, Pioneer Winter's 2022 Grass Stains initiative, while also furthering her research with mentor Michelle-Grant Murray. She is currently a Contemporary Dance Technique Instructor at Dance Attack. As a movement artist, Stephanie is deeply rooted in cultural recognition through her artistry which is influenced by her Cuban heritage. As a creator and educator, she is a compassionate catalyst for diving into spiritual connections through raw embodiment.
Arielle Francois // YoungArts
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of the 2022 Miami DanceMakers’ season. I must emphasize the importance of access, especially for queer Black artists in South Florida. There is a division of opportunity in Miami, and Miami DanceMakers is one of the few programs that helps make these big art institutions accessible for our community. These past 6 months have reinvigorated my artistic process and gave me the confidence to push the boundaries of what is possible in my practice as an artist.”
Arielle Francois is a choreographer, dancer, and model with a wide and varied background in film and performance. Some of her favorite collaborations include: Carlotta Guerreo X Desiguals Love Different and award winning film Every Step is a Prayer by Miccosukee Tribe and NOWNESS. As a first-generation Haitian and Florida native, Arielle’s mission as an artist is to cultivate a culture that reinforces black bodies in art. Arielle has her BFA in Dance Performance from the New World School of the Arts and is a proud member of the 2022 Miami DanceMakers cohort.
Jenni Ima // Armour Dance Theater
"Miami DanceMakers gave me the opportunity to step into the version of myself that is confident, passionate, and brave. I am forever grateful that I was able to participate in a program early in my career that restored faith in my creative process and to trust my decision making.”
Jenni Ima is a first generation Cuban-American artist currently residing in Miami, FL. She is a dancer, choreographer, and a filmmaker. Jenni earned a BFA in Dance from New World School of the Arts/UF where she performed new works by Darshan Singh Bhuller and a Bollywood dance by Geeta Dias. She has performed works showcased at the Pérez Art Museum including Luina by Enrique Villacreses and as part of the 2021 Miami DanceMakers in Natalia Marie Rocamonde work Kaleidoscopic Reverie. Ima’s commercial experience includes live performances on Latin award shows and television with J.Balvin, Leslie Grace, and Olga Tañon under the direction of Susie Garcia. Jenni also creates dance films including La Balsa and You Can't Force the Art out of an Artist in collaboration with Ariel Silva.
Chachi Perez // Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
“Participating in Miami DanceMakers uncovered parts of my artistic practice that I longed for by offering time and space for my work to develop a deeper connection to the roots I planted here in Miami. The artistic tools and experiences we shared as the 2022 cohort are ones that I will carry with me forever.”
Rooted in Miami, FL, Chachi Perez is a queer Cuban American artist who was born into a family where dancing in kitchens became a nightly after dinner event. Chachi attended Miami Dade College under the direction of Michelle Grant Murray. They then moved to Philadelphia, PA and attended The University of The Arts under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield where she received her B.F.A in Dance. She has had the opportunity to perform and collaborate in works by Bobbi Jean Smith, Marguerite Hemmings, Katie Swords-Thurman, Curt Haworth, and Emily Wexler along with artist such as Valeria Gonzalez of VALLETO, Pioneer Winter Collective for Miami Art Week and the South Florida Jazz Festival, and most recently Humble Materials for the production of MEDEA.
Jennifer Rivera // The Moss Center
“Having the opportunity to be a Miami DanceMaker this season opened new opportunities for me to invest in my artistry and professionalism. The incredible artists that I met and collaborated with are connections I will have for a lifetime.”
Born and raised in the vivacious city of Miami, FL, Jennifer Rivera is a movement artist who explores and honors her identity as a Cuban-American woman through her choreographic process and performance. Jennifer studied dance at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus under the direction of Michelle Grant-Murray and received an Associate in Arts degree in Dance (2019). She continued her studies in Philadelphia, PA, at University of the Arts under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance (2021). Jennifer will be partnered with the Moss Center (formerly South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center) for her choreographic process as a Miami DanceMaker 2022 cohort.
Danielle Davis // Miami Light Project
“I gained exposure and invaluable knowledge about what it means to be a professional dance artist.”
Originally from Toronto, Canada, Danielle moved to Miami to study her BFA in Dance at New World School of the Arts and graduated in April of 2021. During her studies, she had opportunities to perform choreographic works by Ohad Naharin, Paul Taylor, Robert Battle, Ronald K. Brown and Jennifer Archibald. Danielle has received additional training from summer studies with Batsheva Dance Company, PreMIP, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, ArchCore40 and Conteur. She has had the pleasure of performing for Walt Disney World, TEDxToronto, Miss Universe Canada, and the Mississauga Arts Awards. Danielle recently joined Adele Myers and Dancers as a 2021 Guest Artist and Rehearsal Assistant.
Taylor Heap // Miami Light Project
“Miami DanceMakers is an electrifying experience that nurtures freedom of expression, guided independence, and networking for future project possibilities.”
Taylor was born in Coconut Creek, Florida. She graduated in April of 2021 with a BFA in Dance from New World School of the Arts (NWSA). During her studies at NWSA Taylor performed repertory by Paul Taylor, Jennifer Archibald, Peter London, Jeffrey Smith, and Robert Battle. She also attended summer intensives with Hubbard Street Dance Company in Chicago and ArchCore40 in New York City.
Nicole Pedraza // The Moss Center
“Miami DanceMakers inspired me to take the next step as a professional dance artist.”
Nicole was born and raised in Miami and started her dance training at South Florida Ballet. She graduated from the New World School of the Arts (NWSA) high school dance program in 2018 and has graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts from NWSA College/University of Florida in April 2021. In college, Nicole performed works by Ohad Naharin, Jennifer Archibald, Robert Battle, Paul Taylor and Ronald K. Brown. She also learned from Alice Klock and Florian Lochner in their FLOCK Online Summer Intensive last summer and attended the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 2019 Repertoire Summer Intensive. Nicole is currently teaching ballet, contemporary and jazz at South Florida Ballet and is planning to continue choreographing and creating dance films with colleagues here in Miami.
Scarlett G. Quinto // YoungArts
“I am eternally grateful for this opportunity. I am now more confident as an artist.”
Scarlett is from Miami, Florida where she started dancing at a young age in the styles of Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Tap, and Flamenco, as well as being trained in Modeling and Acting. She has attended the American Dance Festival, Joffrey Ballet School in New York, and Ailey Camp in Miami. Scarlett was a student at South Miami K-8 and South Miami Middle Community School in the dance program. She graduated high school at New World School of The Arts and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Florida and New World School of the Arts (NWSA) in April 2021. Scarlett is currently a dance teacher at Armour Dance Theatre in the Outreach Program. While at NWSA, Scarlett performed repertory by Batsheva Dance Company, Robert Battle, Peter London, Yara Travieso, Rebbeca Cannan, Jennifer Archibald, Paul Taylor, Ron K.Brown and Mark Morris.
Natalia Marie Rocamonde // Live Arts Miami
“Miami DanceMakers is an incubator for possibility.”
Natalia is a Cuban American Miami native dance artist and choreographer. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from New World School of the Arts in April 2021 where she studied classical ballet, modern, and Afro-Caribbean dance and performed works by Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, Paul Taylor, Ronald K. Brown, Merce Cunningham, Robert Battle, Jeffrey Lloyd Smith, and Lara Murphy. Natalia is also a graduate of Ballet Etudes School of South Florida under the direction of Susana Prieto and instruction by Dagmar Moradillos and Peter La Fox, from whom she learned and performed several full-length classical ballets. Natalia has had the opportunity to perform in festivals such as the Mauro Youth Arts Festival in Puerto Rico and the Merce Cunningham Centennial in New York City. She has choreographed for Ballet Etudes, Kirova Ballet Academy, and NWSA’s Dancemakers: New Works, Black History Month, and Hispanic Heritage Month showcases. Natalia’s extensive movement education and distinct life experiences have led her to embody a developing, unique, and progressive body vocabulary.