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Conference presenters

If you want to learn more about the latest trends in the performing arts, or if you’re looking for ways to update your own performances and make them more contemporary, then IUGTE Conference “Performing Arts Between Tradition and Contemporaneity” is definitely worth checking out.

Sergei Ostrenko

“Movement for Actors / Acting For Dancers” 


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Sergei Ostrenko has over 40 years of professional experience as a Director, Choreographer and Performance Teacher. Sergei has directed dozens theatre productions and produced international projects for both the professional stage and for education in numerous countries, including Austria, Belarus, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Ostrenko has directed himself over 50 theatre productions, has been an artistic director in international joint art projects, has been a jury member at dance competitions for around 10 years, has been teaching at universities, has held hundreds of international educational workshops focusing on performance making, physical theatre, choreography, acting and directing. His approach in the international scene is known as the effective method of growing cohesion and the creation of live performances within limited rehearsal time. Students of Ostrenko, theatre workers from Ukraine, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia, have been using his creative method in their own performance and teaching practice.

Paula Gil Higa

"Holding the Center Still"

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Paula Higa is a Brazilian-born American choreographer and dancer who has created dance, taught, and performed for over 30 years between Brazil and the US. She is currently an Assistant Professor and Resident Choreographer at the University of Vermont - School of the Arts in the Theater and Dance Program. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering (Brazil). She holds a certification in PBT-Progressing Ballet Technique and Performing Arts Industry from NYU Tish. She is also the founder and artistic director of PHD – Paula Higa Dance, a contemporary dance company that blends dance, theater, and visual arts. As a performer, she has danced in the works of Mark Morris, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Larry Keigwin, Jennifer Monson, Tiffany Rhynard, Laurel Jenkins and Clare Byrne, among others. Her work has been featured in New York, Boston, Texas, Central US, and Brazil.

Dr. Dimple Kaur

"Applied Natya Therapy - The Ancient wisdom for Modern Mind"

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Dr. Dimple Kaur is a Clinical Psychotherapist and a Bharatanatyam Performing Artist of 20+ years. Her key therapeutic modality is Applied Natya Therapy, a pedagogy developed using movements from the Ancient Indian text- Natya Shastra, and psychology. Her therapy stems from using Natya to target a range of neuropsychiatric disorders.

D.P. Rohana Peiris

"Contemporary Creations from Traditional Sri Lankan Mask Dance"

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D.P. Rohana Peiris has mastered all forms of traditional Sri Lankan dances. It has a goal to preserve and promote these dance forms and preserve them for future generations. He was 12 years old when he began dancing with M. R. Dias, a Sri Lankan traditional veteran, Prof. Lionla Bentarage and Prof. Ariyaratna Kaluarachchi of the Sri Lanka University of Performing Arts. After passing the advanced D.P. Rohana Peiris has been producing and performing as a dancer in Sri Lanka's Samoa Ballet for about 6 years. He has also performed in concerts in Italy, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, India, Malaysia, Maldives, etc. D.P. Rohana Peiris graduated in Fine Arts from the Institute of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. Since 2006 he has been teaching at the Department of Dance and Drama at the University of Visual and Performing Arts, Sri Lanka. In 2012, he received his Master of Performing Arts from the same university.

Shelley Cooper

"Jenny Lind Presents P.T. Barnum: Responding to Vocational Crises"

(performance and talkback)


Shelley Cooper is an Off-Broadway award winning solo theatre performer, SDC director, and currently the Associate Professor of Musical Theatre at Augustana College in Illinois. Shelley Cooper is the winner of the 2022 Best One Woman Show at United Solofest Off-Broadway NYC, Orlando Fringe Critic’s choice award for best Individual Performance in a Drama, and Hollywood Fringe “Pick of the Fringe” (among many others) for her show La Divina: The Last Interview of Maria Callas. Shelley has performed and directed all over the world for a number of companies such as Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Fringe, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, The Whitefire Theatre, Theatre Row-Off Broadway, Hollywood Fringe Festival, Monroe Symphony, Chicago Summer Opera, Opera Quad Cities, Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Shawnee Summer Theatre, Redhouse Arts Center, Varna Opera Theatre, Quad City Symphony, Bangkok Theatre Festival, the Simbiose Produções (MOVE Studio) in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Venetian Macao in Macau, China. Most noted performances are “Johanna" in Sweeney Todd starring Tony- Award Winning Actress, Faith Prince, “Nellie” in South Pacific,“Cinderella” in Into the Woods, “Ariel” in The Little Mermaid, "Armida" in Rinaldo,“Edith” in Pirates of Penzance, and “Berta” Il barbiere di Siviglia. Shelley is also an accomplished Director/Choreographer specializing in Musical Theatre and Opera. Some of her favorite credits include Two Remain, The Threepenny Opera The Drowsy Chaperone, Big River, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Light in the Piazza, Company, Elegies for Angels Punks and Raging Queens and Beehive.

Jared Pierce

“Classical and Contemporary go HEAD-TO-HEAD”

(lecture / performance)


Jared Pierce is known as one of Utah’s rising generation of engaging, versatile, and entertaining pianists, composers, and teachers. Recent professional collaborations include internationally renowned artists Øystein Baadsvik, Jutta Puchhammer-Sédillot, Jason Hardink, and Stephen Beus. Dr. Pierce is currently the accompanist for the Utah Chamber Artists and the Utah Symphony Chorus. He has been the joint recipient of numerous prizes including the “Grand Prix de la Ville de Tours” of the Florilège Vocal de Tours 2014 & 2015 International Choir Competitions. Dr. Jared A. Pierce is coordinator of group piano studies and a member of the piano performance faculty at Brigham Young University. He received his Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Utah, a Master of Music in piano performance from BYU, and a Bachelor of Music from California State University, Stanislaus. His teachers include Susan Duehlmeier, Irene Peery-Fox, and Stephen Thomas.

Diane Thueson Reich

“Classical and Contemporary go HEAD-TO-HEAD”

(lecture / performance)


Diane Thueson Reich, soprano, is a Professor of Voice at Brigham Young University where she serves as the Director of the School of Music. She has earned doctoral and master’s degrees from Indiana University. She has appeared in major operatic roles such as Marguerite in Faust, Anne Trulove in The Rake’s Progress, the title role in Strauss’ Arabella, Nanetta in Falstaff, Rosina in The Ghosts of Versailles, Mimì in La Bohème, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Valenncienne in The Merry Widow, and Antonia in The Tales of Hoffman. Diane has performed with professional opera and theater companies, along with national and international orchestras and music festivals, including Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Company in Hanoi, St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic in Russia, and concerts throughout Vietnam and China. She has been an Artist-in- Residence at the Conservatorio Statale di Musica in Pescara, Italy, and the National University of Arts Education in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Manuel Simons

“Acting with Conscience: Theatre and Social Transformation” 



Dr. Simons is an actor, director, playwright, producer, and Assistant Professor of Acting and Performance in the School of Theatre and Dance at the University of Florida. Their areas of expertise are theatre for social change and culturally relevant theatre pedagogy. Directing credits include Suzan-Lori Parks’ El Silencio Grande at The Public Theater, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird for The American Place Theatre, Lysistrata at Nuyorican Poets Café, Unlikely Cowboys at The Provincetown Playhouse, and Still Life for The Living Theatre. Acting credits include national tours of Driving Miss Daisy, Murder at Café Noir, their original solo play Queer in the U.S.A., and international productions of Moliere’s Don Juan (Amsterdam) and Queer in the U.S.A. (London). Screen credits include Academy Award-winner Spike Lee’s She Hate Me (opposite Academy Award-winner Chiwetel Ejiofor), Law & Order, Sex and the City, and The Sopranos. Producing credits include Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Emmy-nominated PBS television series In the Life—devoted to accurate and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ+ community, and live theatricals for Disney, Marvel, and MGM. Dr. Simons is a member of Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) and Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). They completed undergraduate and graduate training at NYU and earned a PhD from Fordham University.

 Mr. Chong Pan

“Body language and Costume in the Contemporary Classical Dance in China.”

(Interactive presentation / performance)


Pan Chong is a PhD candidate in drama at the University of Malaya, Theatre Designer, and senior member of China Stage Art Society. Used to be the program director of the artistic design of drama, film, and television in a Chinese university.The research fields are drama design and theory, and drama, film, and television communication of traditional costume culture.; As a designer that participated in the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 14th National Games.Worked as a costume and makeup designer for several theatres and musical works.

Ross Osmun

“Motives, Minimalism and Movie Soundtracks: Where Have the Melodies Gone?.”

(Interactive presentation / conversation)


Originally from Windsor, Ontario Ross Osmun holds degrees from the University of Windsor, Royal Conservatory of Music, and the Eastman School of Music. His principal teachers were Dr. E. G. Butler (Windsor) and Professor Barry Snyder (Eastman). He is currently Professor of Piano and Theory at Bishop’s University in Sherbrooke Quebec, Canada.

Rafael Lopez-Barrantes
"Decolonizing the voice" 

(Interactive presentation)

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Unravelling the multi-octave human voice, its substance, grit and authenticity. Rafael Lopez-Barrantes theater performer, director, researcher and pedagogue. Faculty member since 2007 at the California Institute of the Arts and creator of the House of Voices, a yearly symposium in which ancestral voice practices are explored to create a dialogue between practitioners, students, faculty, artists, scholars, researchers and scientists, He is the founder of the Barrantes Voice System, and author of the book “Voice Made Visible” being published by Routledge this September 2023. Website:

John Bellomo

“Shakespeare’s Original Practices: Why Would You do That?”

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John Bellomo is a Director, Actor, Movement Specialist and Assistant Professor at West Chester University of PA. His areas of expertise are in “Original Practices” of Elizabethan theatre, commedia dell’arte, and stage combat. In 2022, John performed his award-winning Commedia dell’Arte solo show Chi È di Scene? (Places!), in Rome, Italy at Teatro Basilica. John is the former Artistic Director of The Maryland Shakespeare Festival and former Co-Artistic Director of Ombelico Mask Ensemble. He received an M.F.A. in Directing from Temple University, a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of the Arts and is a graduate of The International School for the Comic Actor in Reggio Emilia.

Kim Wildborne 

"Active & Idle Body in highly physical creation"

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An award winning Circus and Physical Theatre Director and performer, Kim has a 12 year history in choreography, direction and touring, founding the renowned highly physical theatre Company, RoguePlay Theatre. "I have a passion for the creation of innovative new work particularly experimenting with the combination of aerial and acrobatic movement and text in both horizontal and vertical space, to create work of female empowerment that borders contemporary theatre and circus practice." Kim has extensive experience working in education with young people and adults, teaches masterclasses across the UK in fabric and aerial theatre, and has worked with companies such as Gravity & Levity, Nofit State and Commonwealth Games. Kim is also the Producer of TILT Festival UK and Founder of West Midlands Creation Centre, Birmingham.

Serena Massimo

“The reinvention of tradition through the ‘transformative power’ of habits”

(Interactive presentation)

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After graduating in Philosophy at the University of Parma (2019), I obtained a PhD scholarship in Philosophy (Aesthetics) at the University of Rome “Tor Vergata” (2019). My PhD thesis is focused on the emergence of dance movements analysed from a neo-phenomenological and atmospherological perspective; the discussion of the thesis will take place on April 18, 2023. From November 2022, I am a research fellow at the University of Parma, where I am working on a project on "research-creation" in dance. Emergence, improvisation, performativity, the relationship between dance and the natural and urban environment are my main research-fields of interest.

Michelle Crouch

"Jenny Lind Presents P.T. Barnum: Responding to Vocational Crises"

(performance and talkback)

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Michelle Crouch, born and raised on the Canadian prairies, started studying music at a very young age, and pursued both piano and voice in college. She remembers explaining subjects like algebra and grammar to her classmates in middle school, and enjoying it, which was her first clue that she was wired like a teacher. Dr Crouch is a Professor of Voice at Augustana College in Illinois and has taught singing for fifteen years. Voice eventually came to dominate her professional music pursuits. She has sung in several award-winning vocal ensembles under some of the finest conductors in the world. She performs a wide range of solo and chamber vocal repertoire, from medieval music to music written yesterday, and loves the enormous diversity of vocal expression written for singers, a love she seeks to pass on to her students. Her primary research interest is musical literacy, particularly for singers, who tend to lag behind instrumentalists in general music education. Over the last 15 years as a singing teacher, she has observed a clear connection between literacy and advanced vocal skill, and her vocal pedagogy intentionally cultivates that connection. She is keen to help musicians to read more fluently, with less reliance on the piano, more immediate commitment to singing phrases, and more skill in singing the nuances of the poetry. With so much interesting and beautiful vocal music to sing, both as soloists and in ensembles, there is no time to lose in equipping people to sing it all. She received her doctorate from the University of Iowa. She also directs and music directs operas. Some of her directing credits include The Marriage of Figaro, The Pirates of Penzance, Riders of the Sea, The Magic Flute, and most recently, Don Giovanni.

Korianne Orton Johnson

“Classical and Contemporary go HEAD-TO-HEAD

(lecture / performance)


Korianne Orton Johnson has been seen all over the United States performing some of her favorite roles including: "Audrey" in Little Shop of Horrors; "Amneris" in Aida; "Mother" in Ragtime; "Lily" in The Secret Garden; "Frankie" in 110 in the Shade (starring Audra McDonald); "Adele" in Die Fledermaus; and "Babette" in Beauty and the Beast. Korianne is fulltime faculty in the school of music at BYU and the division coordinator over contemporary voice where she teaches group lessons, private lessons and music directs mainstage productions. Korianne has a BFA in Music Dance Theatre and a MM in Vocal Performance.

Kenn McLeod

"Clown Intensive focusing on elements of Pochinko-Style (Canadian) Clown Training" 


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Kenn McLeod (he/him) is an award-winning director, performer, educator, and Clown. He received his BFA in Acting at the University of Regina and his MFA in Directing from The University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Kenn has directed over 40 productions across North America and beyond. As a performer, he has worked most recently with Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre in The Fiancee and Toronto's Outside the March with The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries. He is a dramaturg, a clown consultant, and an Intimacy Director with training from Intimacy Directors and Coordinators. He is also sessional lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan Drama Department, the Executive Director of Saskatoon Summer Players, and Executive Leadership of On the Boards. Cheers.

 Dr. Farideh

“Body language and Costume in the Contemporary Classical Dance in China.”

(Interactive presentation / performance)

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Experienced Senior Lecturer with a demonstrated history of working in the Eclectic Theater, Neo-Traditional Drama, and multidisciplinary between Art & science. Skilled in Analytical Skills in Performing Arts, Lecturing in English and Persian. Strong education professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused on Art Theory from the University of Malaya.

Miss. Weiwei Qin

“Body language and Costume in the Contemporary Classical Dance in China.”

(Interactive presentation / performance)

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Weiwei Qin, from southern China, has been engaged in dance for more than 20 years. Her main research fields are dance education and choreography. Now studying PhD at the University of Malaya, research area in performing arts. Also being a dance teacher in the Dance Teaching Department of the Conservatory of Music of Zhaoqing College, mainly teaching Chinese classical dance skills and dance repertoire performances. During his two years of study in the UK, she has studied in the UK, she came into contact with dance politics and sociology. After graduation, she devoted myself to the interdisciplinary study of dance. Miss. Weiwei Qin created many dance works and won corresponding awards. The main works are "pedestrians" about the right to speak in dance. Chinese traditional dance "Yellow Water Ballad", and Guangdong characteristic dance "Miss Zongzi" and other dance works with Chinese characteristics.

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