Meet Our Collaborators

Company Background: Aura CuriAtlas was founded to explore a collaborative model for creating new performance work. We began with artists from the East Coast and Midwest who contributed dance, theatre, and acrobatic backgrounds to develop our DREAM LOGIC stories. Next we collaborated with composer Sophia Serghi to create two more shows – A Life With No Limits (inspired by Stephen Hawking) and The Fool and The World (inspired by the Tarot deck). Aura CuriAtlas keeps expanding into additional forms of theatrical and digital storytelling including a new play, The Zombie Life, with Firehouse Theatre and a digital work, S. L. Feemster’s ConFront(ed)

The company continues to teach our method and create stories using movement, text, videography, and the energy and ideas of wonderful collaborators. We keep the qualities of lightness (Aura), strength (Atlas), and play (Curiosity) at the center.  We value a relationship with our audiences that is based on community and an open exchange of ideas. Our wholeheartedness,  athleticism, and use of physical storytelling make our stories relatable, and our curiosity keeps us asking questions and moving in new directions.

Joan Gavaler
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Mickey Lonsdale
Sophia Serghi
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Joan Gavaler (Artistic Director) 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.

S. L. Feemster (Co-director and soundscape creator, S. L. Feemster's ConFront(ed)) 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

Ada Xiaoyu Hao 郝晓宇(b. 1993. Shandong, China) is a performance artist-researcher who works with performance-situtated ontology, fictioning-as-method, body as archive, available technology and instruments to attend time, space and places where she attempts to collapse the desired futures into potential realities. Her multifaceted interdisciplinary exercises playfully negotiate with the subjectivity of the performing body and the mimesis with the fabulation of the Other. Ada has a BA in Theatre from College of William and Mary, US, and an MA in Contemporary Art Practice from Royal College of Art, UK. She has been the director of PAPRIKA, a situational performance collective since 2015, and the board member for Center for Digital Media Cultures, at University of Brighton since 2019. Her recent peer-reviewed paper titled ‘Make this tango viral: Touching toward the untouchable in tele-synaesthesia performance’ (2021) has been published by The International Journal of Creative Media Research’s Issue 5, Digital Ecologies: Fiction Machines, the Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art 2021’s Special Issue: ‘The World, Two Meters Away’, and Artnodes Journal’s No. 28 (2021): In the limits of what is possible: art, science and technology. She is currently completing a practice-based PhD, titled ‘Being a body and becoming somebody: Embodying Subjectivity Through Performance and Fictioning’, at the School of Art and Media, University of Brighton. In August 2022, Ada will be teaching a series of creative art courses that focuses on the use of multidisciplinary practice and research for children and young people at School of Creative Art, University of Hertfordshire.

Chris Gavaler (playwright, The Zombie Life) has published two novels and six books of scholarship, including mostly recently The Comics Form: The Art of Sequence Images (Bloomsbury 2022). He is a four-time winner of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, which has featured nine of his one-acts. His full-length play The Zombie Life premiered at the Firehouse Theatre in Richmond, Virginia in August 2021. He is an associate professor of English at W&L University, where he teaches creative writing and serves as comics editor of Shenandoah magazine.

Mickey Lonsdale (Founding Member) 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. Mickey co-founded Circus Splendiferous with his wife, Jesse in March 2020. 

Sophia Serghi (Composer, A Life With No Limits and The Fool and The World) is a Cypriot composer and pianist whose works have been presented internationally including New York City, London, Greece, and Amsterdam. Her music has been performed by Flux Quartet, Oxford Philomusica, Camerata Europaea, Ardelia Trio, Orchestra of Colors, American Composers Orchestra, Moravian Philharmonic, Manhattan Piano Trio, Relache, Aurelia Saxophone Quartet, Chilingirian String Quartet, and Cyprus Symphony Orchestra.  She has been a Visiting Professor at Amsterdam University College and at Cambridge University and is currently a Professor of Music at the College of William and Mary and founder and CEO of the Multi-Arts Crossings: MAX LLC in Cyprus.

Dan Plehal (Co-Found, Co-Artistic Director: 2013-2022) is a director, performer, and teacher in Chicago.  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.