Dance in the Districts 2023

2023 Dance in the Districts Awardees (Council Districts 2 and 3)

DCA’s Performing Arts Division announced the awardees for the 2nd annual Dance in the
Districts initiative in Council Districts 2 and 3. This commission project engages dance artists to
create a 2.5- to 3.5-minute site specific digital video dance performance to be presented at a
screening event and in an online exhibition. DCA’s Performing Arts Division, in partnership with
the Los Angeles Dance Workers Coalition, designed Dance in the Districts in 2022 as a pilot
program to provide economic relief to Los Angeles dancers who experienced dramatic loss of
livelihood due to COVID-19. The Dance in the Districts program continues with a theme of
Resilience and Resurgence. Recorded performances will take place in the Council District the
artist is affiliated with, and should highlight a place within that district that holds value to the
dancer. The awardees for Council District 2 are: Shiv Nadkarni, Liliana Frias, Caitlin Javech,
Katisha Blaze Adams, and Celeste Lanuza. The awardees for Council District 3 are Ceylon
, Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., Marissa Brown, and Kirthika Alwar.

Artist Bios

Shiv Nadkarni | Council District 2

Shiv is a South Asian performing artist (dancer, actor, singer, and model) based in LA.  His background in Indian music, Kathak dance, and anthropology drives his choreographic work. In 2019, he received a Fulbright Award to earn his MA in dance anthropology from the University of Roehampton in London, where his dissertation arguing for an inherent gender fluidity in Kathak dance won the Best Dissertation prize. His choreographic work explores the topics of gender, diasporic identity, religion, imagination, and interpretive storytelling.  With over twenty years of training in dance, he has showcased his work through performances in NJ, NYC, Philadelphia, Toronto, Berlin, and London. As a passionate proponent of Kathak dance and with a professional background in mental health and dance therapy, Shiv prioritizes exploring the importance of movement in various societal spaces (the museum, the hospital, the corporate space, etc.), and he continues performing dance and leading movement workshops in both the LA metropolitan area and the tri-state area. You can find his work on his Instagram @shivnadkarni and his website

Liliana Frias | Council District 2

Lily is a Mexican queer dancer and choreographer now based in Los Angeles, CA. With more than 15 years of experience in dance and training in both classical and street style dance forms, she specializes in the Popping and Whacking, dance forms birthed in California in the 1970s.  She is dedicated to educating, battling, and performing in both the entertainment industry as well as the underground street dance community.

Caitlin Javech | Council District 2

A native of Miami, FL, Caitlin Javech holds a BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School and an MFA in Choreography from California Institute of the Arts.  As a choreographer, Javech’s artistic work has been recognized with a Juilliard Career Advancement Award and an honorable mention in Orlando Ballet Dance Accelerator.  Javech has most recently worked as a dancer and company manager for Tabula Rasa Dance Theater and currently dances with ZviDance while producing and performing her own choreography.  Javech is also a fully-certified Pilates instructor who runs her own business JavechMovement Pilates training, and is special faculty at CalArts teaching Pilates for dancers and expanding the departments health and wellness offerings.  Javech is currently based in Los Angeles, where she is creating multidisciplinary choreographic and performance work and expanding her holistic teaching practices in dance and somatics. Most recently, Javech’s choreographic work has been commissioned by Heidi Duckler’s ‘Ebb & Flow Festival’ at Baldwin Scenic Overlook, Stomping Ground LA’s VOICES: Latinx & Indigenous Artists showcase, CalArts Happenings 50th Anniversary Performances, and Emotions Physical Theater ‘Evening of Contemporary Dance’. In 2023, Javech was awarded a Creative Residency Fellowship at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences and an invitation to be an artist-in-residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs.

Katisha Blaze Adams | Council District 2

Katisha is Founder and Artistic  Director for “Excellence in Arts” award winning dance company, KPA Fusion Dance Repertoire. Currently, as a Choreographer and Co-Director for Disney’s California Adventures, Frozen Fun, “Freeze The Night” and “Mad T Party”, she also has formerly been a part of the Disney’s Company as a performer in “The Lion King” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, as well as Universal Studios equity show, “The Crew”.  Originally from Washington D.C., Katisha has continuously performed and toured as a Director, Choreographer, Staging Consultant, Dancer and Singer for over 18 years. Dance Company principal credits include, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Jazzantiqua Dance Ensemble and touring collaborations with Philadanco Dance Company, Cleo Parker Robinson as IABD(International Association for Blacks in Dance). She has been Assistant Director and Choreographer alongside Directors, Tim Story, Danny Esralow and Otis Salid and Choreographers, Richard Jackson (Lady Gaga), Wade Robson, Tony Michaels (Britney Spears, J-Lo and Nsync) and Claude Thompson (Jazz Dance LA). Mrs. Adams has staged and choreographed for Artists such as Christina Aguilera, Omarion, Before Dark (RCA Records) and Isyss (Arista Records). As former Artistic Director for El Camino College, Katisha continues to teach for Disney Performing Arts, several schools, colleges, universities and is a NASM certfied personal fitness trainer and is the head hip hop choreographer for Team ADBA’s competitive dance team. Embarking on the competition world since 2018, has been a whole different dance world and journey.

Celeste Lanuza | Council District 2

Celeste Lanuza is a Latiné female creative and performing artist based in Los Angeles who composes her own music and records her voice to accompany her choreographic work for performances and dance film premieres in the city.  Lanuza teaches flamenco and jazz at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and has performed with Lula Washington Dance Theater as well as danced at festivals for the LA Commons non-profit organization.  Celeste is a dance artist because she believes in the power of movement as tool to embody confidence, healing, and community. Her educational journey has carried her through attaining an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine where she was under a full tuition scholarship and was mentored by Donald McKayle then later restaged his  works being noted in Dance Teacher Magazine. She also holds a BFA in Dance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she was under an Artist Grant. Having presented her dance film and live choreography at the LA Dance Festival this year, presented for other Brockus Project Studios productions, having her dance film present at the Southgate Museum Pinto Flores exhibit, Celeste is energized to create a work for the Dance in the Districts grant coming up.  

Ceylon Harris | Council District 3

Ceylon Harris, a recent recipient of a BFA in dance from California State University Long Beach, began her dance journey as a competitive gymnast before transitioning into training and performing in circus arts and then later dance. In circus arts Ceylon specializes in partner acrobatics, acrobatics, and handbalancing. She has performed with Kinetic Theory Circus Arts, San Francisco Circus Center’s festivals, and at private events throughout the Los Angeles and Culver City area. She now runs the acrobatics for dancer’s training program for all ages at OTE Dance Studio in Culver City, and for Artists Collective nonprofit organization at public schools in the Los Angeles area and surrounding counties. As a concert dancer, Ceylon has studied Horton technique, Cunningham technique, jazz, and contemporary ballet under the mentorship of Robert Gilliam and Kim Borgaro. As a scholarship student, she has attended training programs at the Ailey School, Diavolo, Northwest Dance Project, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Dawson Dance SF.Ceylon has performed choreography by William Grinton (“PG”) and Anthony Jackson, in addition to performing with Eliezer Rabelo’s company, 11th Hour Dance Project Inc, and with Michael Tomlin III’s company ReVrBT3. At CSULB she has studied with distinguished dance educators Keith Johnson, Andrew Vaca, and Rebecca Lemme. During her years at CSULB, Ceylon completed the BASI Pilates certification with an additional specialization in dance, under Karen Clippinger. She is currently teaching Pilates mat and reformer private/semi private lessons. In the future, Ceylon intends to perform with dance or circus companies where she can incorporate both her circus arts and codified modern training. 

Ricardo “Boogie Frantick” Rodriquez Jr. | Council District 3

Ricardo “Boogie Frantick” Rodriquez Jr. is the Los Angeles based dancer recognised worldwide as a master of the street dance style known as “popping.” His path started in local dance battles at underground clubs in the San Fernando Valley and has taken him to some of the biggest stages in the world, including the 2010 Academy Awards, a role in the film Step Up 3D, and electrifying performances with Queen of Krump Miss Prissy’s company, The Underground, at USC, Cal State Long Beach, and the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. He has taught workshops, performed his distinctive solos, and inspired young street dancers in Paris, Bondi, France, London, New Dehli, India, Warsaw, Poland, Singapore, Bankstown, Sydney Australia, Seoul Korea, Beijing, Hong Kong, JiangMen, Chengdu, Zhongshan, Fuzhou, China, Bolivia, Japan, Moscow, Rostov, Russia, and Taipei, Taiwan. He has been a featured dancer on So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With the Stars, The Queen Latifah Show (with Snoop Dogg and LA artist Dam Funk), Chris Brown, Funk Freaks, Pentatonix Christmas Specials, Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris, Late Night With Conan O’Brien, Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, and in the web series The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers (The LXD); in commercials and events for Microsoft, Google, Red Bull and Seth MacFarlane; as a judge, participant, and champion in major dance competitions around the globe; and as Assistant Creative Choreographer for Christopher Scott, Lindsey B and LXD. 

Marissa Brown | Council District 3

Marissa Brown is a contemporary choreographer, dancer, creative director, and filmmaker based out of Los Angeles, CA. Brown offers uninhibited physical movements connected to personal truths. She has her BFA in performance and choreography from University of California Irvine and MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

Her work has been shown with NAVEL, MOCA Geffen, REDCAT, CURRENT SESSIONS, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Triskelion Arts, BAX Upstart Festival, IDACO Festival, MNE Emerging Choreographer Series, RAD Fest, and Aesthetica Short Film Festival. She has received residencies from Keshet Dance and Center for the Arts and White Leaves both in New Mexico, Gallim X Create: ART in New York, and with LA Dance Project: 2245 Choreographic Residency in California. Her work has been commissioned for ODC Theater State of Play Festival, dance companies The Assembly and Oquirrh West Project, and for brand American Apparel. She is an artist in residence at Art Share L.A. and recently showed work publicly with the city of Los Angeles as part of the Collective Memory Installation.

Brown currently performs with Dimitri Chamblas. In the past she was a dancer with LA Dance Project Benjamin Millipied’s company and before that she performed in Ivo Van Hove’s rendition of West Side Story Broadway. She has had the pleasure to work with choreographers and companies such as Donald Mckayle, Benjamin Levy, Brice Mousset, Randy James, Sharp & Fine, The Park Avenue Armory, Phantom Limb Company, Alexandra Pirici, Patricia Norowol Dance Theatre, and Xu Zhen at MOCA, Los Angeles.

For all inquiries: @lonekingprojects

KIRTHIKA ALWAR | Council District 3

Kirthika Alwar is a bharathanatyam dancer and an upcoming choreographer in Los Angeles. She has received training in Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music under Guru Sushma Mohan since 2011. As a member of Soorya Foundation ensemble, Kirthika has performed at major dance festivals and events in Los Angeles, Utah, and CA. She was chosen to perform at the LA INDIAN DANCE AND MUSIC FEST as a solo artist. Her other performances include performances at LOTUS fest, Lankershim Arts Center, UTAH festival of dances, San Pedro Dance festival, Thousand Oaks arts festival, Santa Barbara Indian fest, LA Made 2018 library performances, LA City sponsored dance event AAPAHA dance production, etc.  She was a team member of Soorya Ensemble for the DITD Dance in the district pilot project under Guru Sushma Mohan.

Kirthika performed her ARANGETRAM in India in July 2023.  She is a freshman at California State University Fullerton studying public health, with a goal in pursuing a career as a Physician’s Assistant. She trains students at Soorya Los Angeles and has worked as an assistant choreographer under Guru Sushma Mohan.

Be in the Loop!

Receive notes about art, culture, and creativity in LA!

By submitting this form, you consent to receive marketing emails from See Change Institute. You can opt-out at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link found at the bottom of every email.