The Directors

About the YDC Director


Alice Teirstein in performance 2006 with Stuart Hodes and Gus Solomons Jr. (photo by Steven Schreiber)

Alice Tierstein, MA, award-winning Founding Director, has been choreographing, performing, and teaching dance in New York since the early 1970’s. She received the 2012 “Bessie,” NY Dance and Performance Award, for distinguished service to the field of dance. She has an extensive background in nurturing creative work from teenagers. She designed, initiated and developed the dance curriculum for grades 7-12 at the Fieldston School, where she served on the faculty for over 3 decades, leading the dance program and directing its Touring Fieldston Dance Company. She initiated the dance program’s Dance Out Project, bringing her students into the city’s homeless shelters where they served as group leaders in dance workshops with homeless youngsters, for which she received an award from the city’s Human Resources Administration. She also brought the Dance Out Project to public schools in the South Bronx. She designed and directed the Fieldston Summer Performing Arts Institute, an intensive dance, theater and music program for teens, offered for ten summers. For three years she was Co-Director of the 92nd St. Y’s Young Masters Repertory Ensemble. For many years she was on the dance faculty of the Mid-Westchester Y, where she directed a teen dance ensemble. She has led workshops for dance teachers for the NYC Department of Education, the Dance Educators Lab, and many other organizations.

As a choreographer/dancer, she has created and performed in numerous works, produced at major concert dance venues in and out of New York City, including Jacobs Pillow, New York’s Dance Theater Workshop, Symphony Space, Joyce Soho, among others. She was a choreographer-in-residence for three years at The Yard, famed dance colony in Martha’s Vineyard, MA. Her choreography was presented annually in New York City parks as part of Midsummer Dances, a free summer concert series, which she co-founded in 1984 with, grant awards from NYSCA and DCA. She was a Co-Artistic Director of the former Nimbus Dance Theater Company. She serves as movement consultant for the Pearl Theatre Company, a N.Y. classical repertory acting company, choreographing a full range of classical theater over the past two decades. She has performed in the works of choreographers such as Stephan Koplowitz, Janis Brenner, Jody Oberfelder, Claire Porter, and Gus Solomons Jr. among others. In the past decade she and Stuart Hodes, noted Graham dancer and teacher, received highly enthusiastic press acclaim for duets they co-created and performed at major concert venues in and around New York.

In addition to the above-mentioned “Bessie” award, Alice Teirstein has been honored as a choreographer and educator, with awards from The Pearl Theatre, The Dance Library of Israel, The Bronx Arts Ensemble, and Gina Gibney’s “Women at Work”. Alice also received in 2015 the Lifetime Achievement Award from NYSDEA (New York State Dance Education Association) and the American

Dance Guild. In 2017, Alice received the Martha Hill Lifetime Achievement Award. She is currently serving as a Teaching Artist for the Dance Theater of Harlem’s outreach program, Dancing Through Barriers.

About the YDC Associate Director

(Jessica Gaynor with her company post-performance at Jacob’s Pillow.)

Jessica Gaynor is a choreographer, performer and teacher based in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to her role as Associate Director of Young Dancemakers Company, she is the Artistic Director of Jessica Gaynor Dance, a modern dance company founded in 2003. The company, hailed for its “risk-laden” (DIY Dancer) choreography and “sophisticated approach to pure dance,” (The New Yorker), performs Gaynor’s works that utilize kinetic physicality, intricate patterning, and formal structures in an exploration of the complexities of human experience. Over the last decade, Gaynor has created eighteen works, including seven evening length pieces and has performed at venues such as Danspace Project, The Skirball Center/NYU, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, The 92nd Street Y, The Kitchen, Peridance Capezio Center, Gowanus Art + Production, Hudson Guild Theater, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dixon Place, White Wave, Brown University, Built on Stilts Dance Festival on Martha’s Vineyard and has been presented by Triskelion Arts for eight sold-out seasons, including an encore performance in 2011. In 2017 Gaynor and her artistic partner Quentin Tolimieri completed a successful performance tour throughout Berlin, Germany. In the fall of 2017, she curated a two-week program at Triskelion Arts.

Gaynor’s repertory has been set on students at Brown University, Grand Canyon University, the Fieldston School, the Brearley School and Young Dancemakers Company. She has taught workshops at Peridance Capezio Center and Gibney Dance Center, and was a guest choreographer for Amalgamate Dance Companies Artist Showcase. Gaynor directed the K-12 dance program at the Brearley School from 2007-2014.

Gaynor holds a BA in American Studies from Brown University, where upon graduation she received the Weston Award for excellence in dance, and an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from California Institute of the Arts. Recent grants include a New Music/USA Commission, a Mertz Gilmore Late Stage Production Stipend and an Andrew W. Mellon Space Subsidy. JGD was a Gotham Arts Exchange Emerging Artist in 2010 and a member of Pentacle’s (DanceWorks, Inc.) Gallery Roster from 2013-2015.

About the YDC Music Director

Mr. William Catanzaro is an internationally renowned award winning composer, musician and educator. We are honored to have him as our Music Director. He brings his expertise as a musician and composer for choreographers and dancers to his vital work with our student choreographers. Since arriving from his native Buenos Aires in 1989 Mr. Catanzaro has composed musical scores for renowned choreographers such as Anna Sokolow, Steve Paxton, Viola Farber, Milton Myers and Sara Rudner. His work has been presented nationally and internationally with the New Danish Dance Theater, TanzFabrik Berlin, Amsterdam Theatreschool, Cyprus Festival, Teatro San Martin, Architanz Tokyo, The Alvin Ailey School, Philadanco, Player’s Project, Dallas Black Theater, Jacob’s Pillow and more. He has received recognition and funding from the NEA, The Samuel S. Feld Fund, New York State Council on The Arts, Harkness Foundation, NYU Humanities Council, NYU Service/ Learning Fund.

Mr. Catanzaro has worked as an accompanist and taught music for dancers at The Juilliard School, Marymount Manhattan College, Limon School, Martha Graham School, and New York University. Currently he is on faculty at The Alvin Ailey School, Sarah Lawrence College and Steps on Broadway and is the Music Director of the Young Dancemakers Company.

He has two recordings as band leader and three independent editions of his theater works. His most recent CDs “Percussion Works, compositions for the choreography of Milton Myers, “Evolution Suites” and “Percussion for the technique of Lester Horton Vol. I and Vol II” have been received with great acclaim.