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Aura CuriAtlas presents S. L. Feemster's ConFront(ed)

S. L. Feemster’s ConFront(ed) is an evocative and multi-layered digital performance collaboration between Aura CuriAtlas Physical Theatre and S. L. Feemster.  Framed by a trip-hop soundscape from Feemster and producer E.J. “dxmingo” Markland, we reimagine physical theatre storytelling with nine performers conveying their experiences through a digital theatre landscape.

Premiere: June 2021

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Creative Team:


S. L. Feemster (conceptual storyteller, co-director, performer) is a NYC based performer, singer, and published poet. Feemster has enjoyed a career as an actor, physical theatre artist, and teaching artist, appearing regionally, Off-Broadway, and on film. Feemster's debut collection of stories, soundtracks and scripts, titled Up.W(o/a)rds, was published in 2018 and is available for purchase. Selections from Up.W(o/a)rds provide the soundtrack to the new film LENS-MUSE, a collaboration with filmmaker Adam Holoubek. Feemster is also the singer/songwriter for the new alternative soul band JYL, who will be releasing their debut EP later this year.  Up.W(o/a)rds by S. L. Feemster

Joan Gavaler

Joan Gavaler (co-director, performer) is a Virginia choreographer who has created over 65 works and been a driving force behind four professional companies. She relishes collaborative discovery and has worked with poets,  visual artists, composers, musicians, actors, directors, acrobats, and physicists on dance and theatre projects.  She has been invited by over 70 organizations to present and teach in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including presentations on the Alexander Technique in Lugano, Switzerland, a dance residency at Beijing Normal University, performances for American Dance Guild showcases in New York City, and movement consulting for the Virginia Shakespeare Festival.  Joan is a Professor of Dance at the College of William & Mary. WM dance: Joan Gavaler

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Grace Helmick (video editor) is a cinematographer, video editor, and creative enthusiast hailing from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She has grown up surrounded by the performing arts and is passionate about bringing them to a digital stage. She has produced several short films, including “Dear Dad,” which placed as a finalist in the 2018 VHSL Annual Short Film Festival, as well as having more recently dived into video production for dance and movement pieces at the College of William & Mary. She is excited to be able to work with people from all over the country to create S. L. Feemster's ConFront(ed)

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Kelsey McAlister (video editor) is an up-and-coming video producer, director, and editor from Princeton, NJ, who can often be found reading about government or all things sociology-related. She first discovered her love for visual storytelling when she joined and later became a board member of L10,  America's largest all-student-run high school news broadcast out of The Lawrenceville School. For her first few years as a video enthusiast, Kelsey was strictly a documentary storyteller. Working at STLI during her freshman year at William & Mary allowed her to branch out and pour her juices into more creative work such as blogging and dance videos. She is excited to have this opportunity to advance her editing skillset through S. L. Feemster's ConFront(ed)


E.J. Markland (composer) is a production sound mixer and sound editor based in Queens, NYC. E.J. produces music under the alias dxmingo. To hear more, please visit dxmingo.


April Josephine (performer) lives on the great island of Manhattan, New York, and is thrilled to be a part of this creative process.  April has an extensive career in the performing arts, and has had the joy of doing professional theater with companies on the west  coast, to Texas, to New York City, two National Tours, as well as choreography, in regional houses, and in academia. Last seen as Anita in ‘West Side Story’ at A.D. Players at the George Theater, in Houston Texas, as well as a workshop in New York City of ‘Bayard, The Musical’. Most recent work was to become a certified Pilates mat instructor, in person, and virtually, so as to help others, as well as herself, return to live art safely, and with renewed mental and physical strength in a post Covid world.

Mickey Lonsdale

Mickey Lonsdale (performer) is a freelance teacher and performer based in Stamford, Connecticut.  He has studied and performed in the U.S. and Europe with Alabama Dance Theatre, FLIC Circus School, Familie Floz, Divaldo Continuo, Accademia dell'Arte, and Red Dot Theatre Company.  Mickey earned his M.F.A. in Physical Theatre at the Accademia dell’Arte in Italy. After receiving his M.F.A., Mickey moved to the NYC area where has starred in several independent films, commercials, TV shows, and works as a free-lance dancer/choreographer. He is also a founding member of Aura Curiatlas Physical Theatre. Mickey co-founded Circus Splendiferous LLC with his wife, Jesse, in March of 2020. Learn more about Circus Splendiferous.


Forty Nguyen (performer) first started performing in the Urban Dance Festival at the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) cultural center in 2004. He continued performing for the Jazz Festival (2005), Usine C (2005) and TOHU (2006). In 2006, he was part of the cast of "Demain", a piece by choreographer Paula de Vasconcelos of Pigeon International, with whom he performed in Montreal and toured in Columbia. Forty’s style is a mixture of bboying, ballet technique, acrobatics and hip hop. After obtaining his BFA from Concordia’s Contemporary Dance Department, Forty has worked as an interpreter for companies such as Destins Croisés, Cirque Éloize, and Cirque du Soleil.

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Dan Plehal (performer) is a director, performer, and teacher in Chicago and co-founder of Aura CuriAtlas Physical Theatre with Joan Gavaler.  He specializes in blending acrobatics and theatre, drawing on his work with theatre and dance companies and acrobatic training centers in Europe and the U.S.  He has performed in and directed professional productions ranging from musical theatre to mime to Shakespeare, with companies such as the Walnut Street Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Pig Iron, Gravity Optional, Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, Familie Flöz, Red Dot Theatre, The Home For Wayward Artists, Lifeline Theatre, BoHo Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre.


LaWanda Raines (performer) is a lover of all dance and investigates cultural intersections through dance. She received her BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her MFA from St. Marys’ college of California. She has worked as dance teaching artist, performer, choreographer and costume designer in the Richmond, VA area since 1998. The breadth of her dance training includes ballet, jazz, hip hop, Modern, Somatic dance practices, dance for special needs, hula, gymnastics, Salsa, merengue, Cha Cha, Flamenco, West African, and Afro Caribbean, and public speaking.  She has performed with African American Repertory Theater, Claves Unidos, Fred Ho, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Ujima Dance Theater, Chris Burnside, Latin Ballet of Virginia. Some of her dance instructors include West African with Faye Walker, Flamenco with Antonio Hlldalgo Paz, and Miguel Vargas, Ballet with Carol Crawford Smith, Orisha with Ife Michel and Rumba with Alberto Limonta Perez. As a university dance instructor at Virginia State University and William and Mary University, she challenges her students to be fully embodied. Mrs. Raines works to create a safe space of learning and healing through dance that facilitates lifelong movement. Her personal choreography utilizes the intersections of culture through dance while engaging the audience in journeys that explore mental health issues, toxic relationships, disability, marriage, poverty, and racism. Her dance experience has led her to create Virginia Black Dance Festival to support artist of color in connecting to each other, present work, and provide mentorship opportunities. 


Tamii Sakurai (performer) is a tap dancer based in New York City. She is an Artist in Residence at the American Tap Dance Foundation, and she has had the privilege of working with numerous leading tap companies such as Brenda Bufalino’s “New”American Tap Dance Orchestra and Michelle Dorrance’s Dorrance Dance. She studied Mathematics and Dance at Hunter College, where she has developed her style of teaching tap dance incorporating numbers and visuals. In 2016, she has made her debut on Off Broadway on STOMP. For Tamii’s new works and teaching/performing schedule, please visit

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Demetrius Shields (performer) is a Detroit native, who began dancing at the age of 6. He has received his formal training from The Ailey School and The University of the Arts. Demetrius has had the chance to dance in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in NYC and has had a multitude of commercial theatre, film, and interdisciplinary opportunities. Currently, Demetrius is on dance faculty at the Detroit School of Arts.  Check out his website to learn more:

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S. L. Feemster's ConFront(ed) is made possible by:

Williamsburg Area Arts Commission

Roy Petersen

Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation

Give Local 757


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