Joanna Haigood
Artistic Director
Since 1980 Joanna has been creating work that uses natural, architectural and cultural environments as points of departure for movement exploration and narrative. Her stages have included grain terminals, a clock tower, the pope’s palace, military forts, and a mile of urban neighborhood streets in the South Bronx. Her work has been commissioned by many arts institutions, including Dancing in the Streets, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Walker Arts Center, the Exploratorium Museum, the National Black Arts Festival, and Festival d'Avignon. She has also been honored with the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the United States Artist Fellowship, and a New York Bessie Award. Haigood is also a recipient of the esteemed Doris Duke Artist Award. Joanna has had the privilege to mentor many extraordinary young artists internationally at the National École des Arts du Cirque in France, the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in England, Spelman College, the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, the San Francisco Circus Center and at Zaccho Studio.
Lisa Burger
Managing Director
A licensed attorney and life-long lover of the arts, Lisa has over 10 years experience in nonprofit operations and financial management. Lisa is also Board President and Executive Director for Independent Arts & Media, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides fiscal sponsorship and development support to non-commercial art and media-related projects. Since 2010, Ms. Burger has served on the Advisory Council for The Crucible, an Oakland nonprofit industrial arts education center. As an attorney with San Francisco public interest law firm the Lexington Law Group, Lisa's legal practice has been devoted exclusively to representing plaintiffs in environmental enforcement and consumer protection litigation.
Charlie Formenty
Marketing Coordinator
Charlie Formenty practically grew up on stage. Originally from Paris, France, she caught the theater bug very early in life: she began performing at the age of 3 and has not stopped since. Charline’s stories are cut-and-paste montages assembled from art history and literature, observations of daily life and politics, and the vivid imagery and mythos of her dreams. Drawing on her lifetime of experience, she founded her first company, Les Petites Portes, in 2000. She was the artistic director, writer and producer of the company, created 10 shows and a short movie over a period of 8 years. After graduating from university Paris III and IESA Paris (2008) with a double degree in Art History and Production Management, she worked for DCA - Philippe Decouflé and Le Cirque du Soleil. In 2009 she moved to San Francisco, started freelancing as a designer/photographer for companies like Theatre of Yugen, Cirque Noir, etc., founded her company Carte Blanche and created Ophelia at Fort Mason Center, le Garage and NOHspace (2013) and Femme Fatale at NOHspace, Ashby Stage and San Francisco International Arts Festival 2015. She currently works for SFJAZZ as a house manager, teaches dance-theater at the Lycée Français de San Francisco and is the Marketing Coordinator for Zaccho Dance Theatre.
Lizzy Spicuzza
Youth Performing Arts Program Manager & ZYC Production Manager
For more than 35 years Lizzy Spicuzza has been involved in the arts in San Francisco. First as a performer and them as a production manager, stage manager, lighting designer, producer, teacher and technical consultant. For the past 25 years Lizzy has worked with Zaccho Dance Theatre in many different capacities. Lizzy is also a long time member of Project Artaud and served on the Board of Directors for Theater Artaud Inc. for 18 years.
Becky Robinson-Leviton
Studio Manager
Becky Robinson-Leviton received her BA in Dance from CSULB, and has traveled nationally and internationally as a performer and teacher. She has had the privilege to perform with Lizz Roman & Dancers, Tim Rubel Human Shakes, and Berkeley Playhouse among many others. She is also the co-artistic director of The Phenomenal Anomalies, whose dance film Passerby was accepted into the Tiny Dance Film Festival and DanceBARN Screendance Festival in 2019. When she is not dancing or teaching, Becky works in arts admin and production, and has done so since 2011.
Brechin Flournoy
Grant Writer
Brechin Flournoy has been active in the Bay Area performing arts scene since the early 1990s. She came to San Francisco after graduating from Antioch College (Yellow Springs, OH) with a degree in Dance and Arts Administration. Brechin’s early career as a dancer and choreographer led to her forming the influential San Francisco Butoh Festival, an international dance festival that investigated the complexities of Butoh through symposia, performances, and classes. It was the first ongoing American dance festival dedicated to Butoh, for which Brechin was awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian GOLDIE Award/Dance, and a Sustained Achievement in the Arts by the IZZIEs. Brechin was the guest dance curator at Yerba Buena Gardens Festival for several years; and she worked as a publicist and fundraiser for all performing arts genres for many years. Brechin taught professional development workshops for non-profit organizations and funders, including the Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), and participated in panel discussions at Americans for the Arts and National Arts Marketing conferences. For the past few years, Brechin has been the Development Director of Flyaway Productions; a freelance grant writer for other non-profit organizations; and served on grants panels for the SFAC and Oakland Cultural Council. In her creative life, Brechin is a professional photographer specializing in portraits of preschoolers, street photography, and conceptual art and design.
Jo Kreiter
Teaching Artist
Jo Kreiter is a San Francisco-based choreographer with a background in political science. She thrives at the intersection of social justice and acrobatic spectacle. Through dance she engages imagination, physical innovation and the political conflicts we live within. She founded her company, Flyaway Productions, in 1996. Flyaway Productions is an apparatus-based dance company that advances social issues in the public realm and explores the range and power of female physicality. Under Kreiter’s artistic direction, Flyaway creates dances on both architectural and fabricated steel objects, which are typically off the ground, with dancers suspended anywhere from two feet to 100 feet above the ground. The company creates a sense of spectacle to make a lasting impression with an audience, striving for the right balance of awe, provocation, and daring. Kreiter’s tools include community collaboration, a masterful use of place, a feminist lens and a body-based push against the constraints of gravity.
Over the past 20 years, she has developed a nationally recognized expertise in creating and presenting site-specific performance work. Since 1996, the company has presented or co-presented numerous large scale works, including the award winning Niagara Falling (2012) and Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane (2014). Kreiter/Flyaway is a recipient of four Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, as well as awards from the Center for Cultural Innovation, New Music USA, the Artist Investigator Project of the California Shakespeare Company, CHIME, the NEA, CA Arts Council, Creative Work Fund, Meet the Composer, MAP, the Wattis, Rainin and Gerbode Foundations, the SF Arts Commission, and the SF Bay Guardian GOLDIE. Her articles have been published in Aerial Dance, Contact Quarterly, In Dance, STREET ART San Francisco, Site Dance — the first book written on contemporary site specific performance. In the 2015 book, “Moving Sites: Investigating Site-Specific Dance Performances”, Jo Kreiter’s work is highlighted in the chapter, “Civic Interventions: Accessing Community” using her work as an example of “the politically-driven work of the experienced and prolific site dance artists”. Kreiter is one of a few women worldwide to have gained expertise in the art of Chinese pole acrobatics.
Shakiri
Teaching Artist
Goldie and Izzie Award winner Shakiri has been a performer and choreographer in the San Francisco Bay Area for over thirty years. Her improvisational style developed by performing to live music and by working with the great Ed Mock helped her to become one of the Bay Area’s most exciting and energetic performers. 4’7 Shakiri learned her stature would not allow her to go the traditional route. As a result Shakiri, who has studied African Haitian, various styles of African, modern, and jazz has performed in all genres, and used her experience to develop work of her own. Shakiri has written, directed, and choreographed several dance and theater pieces including, With My Face On Their Face, Breathe, Barnstormin’, and And Their Children’s Children. Her work has a reputation for confronting difficult issues and has been listed twice on the “Best Ten” of the year by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Shakiri is a member of the internationally acclaimed Zaccho Dance Theater Company touring around the country and abroad since 1988. Shakiri has choreographed for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, danced and toured with Dance Brigade, Ellen Sebastian, Hassan Al Falak, and with her own company Shakiri/Rootworkers. She was a principle performer in famed Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie, and enjoyed dancing the part of Nutcracker for several years.
Shakiri is proud to be an arts educator and has taught kindergarten age children to adults at recreation centers schools, Colleges and Universities. She’s also a visual artist and has shown in local galleries, as a part of Art in Public Places, and taught at the Crocker Art Gallery this past summer. As a writer she has short stories published in Zica anthologies, and her latest novel 14 Years Later can be purchased from Amazon. She continues to work on her one woman show Lottie’s Ghosts premiered at Brava For Women in the Arts in San Francisco, and a piece dear to her heart titled Crazy Black Women addressing grief over murdered children. Shakiri is presently collaborating with Bay Area dance company NAKA on a project titled RACE, and an audio book in collaboration with singer composer Melanie Demore.
Azraa Muhammad
Teaching Artist
Azraa Muhammad is an emerging aerial artist, dancer and performer. She received her training from artistic director of Zaccho Dance Theatre, Joanna Haigood, and began flying with the Zaccho Youth Company at the age of 7. After 10 years of training she began apprenticing as a member of Zaccho Dance Theatre. A native of San Francisco, Azraa believes in drawing inspiration from current social and political issues, such as racial profiling, poverty, identity, and ancestry as a way of expression in her choreography. As a member of the Zaccho Youth Company, she has collaborated with and performed for Flyaway Productions, Baycat, Dance Vision Series Festival, California Youth Circus Center Festival, Circus for Arts in the Schools and much more. Her most recent projects include performing for the American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) 2016 New Strands Festival and being featured in a promotional video for the Golden State Warriors honoring Black History Month. Apart from creating and performing, Azraa also enjoys teaching at Zaccho for the Youth Program of Center for Dance and Aerial Arts with a class of Aerial Dance technique for beginners.
Jarrel Phillips
Teaching Artist
Jarrel Phillips is a Capoeira performer and instructor from San Francisco. Recently, he’s been featured in When We Move, a short film by San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and Picture Bayview Hunters Point, a production by choreographer Joanna Haigood. Phillips believes that through movement we embody, explore and share our stories; enriched with information, feelings and experiences.
Meche Perez
Teaching Artist
Meche is a native San Franciscan, singer-songwriter, music educator, aerialist, and aerial instructor. She feels fortunate to have been trained in aerial dance since she was 12 years old with Zaccho Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Joanna Haigood and is an alumna member of the Zaccho Youth Company. Since graduating from Berklee College of Music in 2018, Meche has also been a teaching assistant with Zaccho’s youth education programs. Meche has a multidisciplinary approach to her artistic work. As a performer, Meche has collaborated with and performed for Flyaway Productions, Youth Circus Center Festival, and BAYCAT. She is also co-founder of The Humxn Collective, a creative consulting company for queer and BIPOC musicians. Over the years, Meche has contributed her songwriting, singing, and acting talents to Zaccho performances. She especially loves working with Zaccho because of the social justice aspects of their work. Through dance, choreography, and music, Meche hopes to inspire youth to learn more about themselves and their communities.
Lydia Clinton
Teaching Artist
Lydia Clinton, a Bay Area native, went to Point Park University receiving a BA in Dance (Modern). During college, she attended the American Dance Festival on scholarship and San Francisco Conservatory of Dance’s summer program. Since returning home, she has worked with AXIS Dance Company, Garrett+Moulton Productions, Cali & Co, Capacitor, PUSH Dance Company, and Zaccho Dance Theatre.