mia susan amir (she/her/hers) is queer, Crip+Mad Jew of mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardic ascent. She lives as an uninvited settler on the unceded and occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh Nations, Vancouver, BC.
mia works at the intersection of creative and community practice as an educator, cultural organizer, curator, and theatre artist whose practice spans writing, sound design, dramaturgy, direction, and performance. mia creates works for the stage and for unconventional settings. She sees materials and place as collaborators, and is interested in the ways in which live performance offers a prefigurative space to: investigate the conditions shaping our world; challenge and expand perception; unearth relationship; and engage in democratic narrative production, starting from the site of physical sensation.
She has taught and presented her research, solo and collaborative performance works widely, both nationally and internationally.
mia is a founding member of the transdisciplinary performance collective Subjects of History, and the Convener of the Unsettling Dramaturgy Colloquium. She was a recipient of the 2018 LMDA Bly Creative Fellowship, and a 2019 Arts Club Theatre Bill Millerd Artist Fund Award. She is a member of LMDA, PGC, and the CATR Disability, Pedagogy and Performance Working Group. mia holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Mills College, traditional Ohlone Territory, Oakland, CA.
Salina Dewar is a community dancer who came to ABDP in 2017. She has attended many community dances and performed several times with other community dancers. Outside of dance, Salina loves to sing and is passionate about social justice. She previously practiced law and currently works in the non-profit sector, as an advocate for people with disabilities. She identifies as a person with a disability.
Hilary Maxwell is a dance artist and arts administrator based in Vancouver, BC. She holds a BA and MFA in Dance from the University of Calgary. Since 2011, she has worked as the Member Services Coordinator at The Dance Centre in Vancouver, where she handles member engagement and outreach coordination with students and seniors.
From 2007 – 2011, Hilary was a sessional instructor in the Department of Dance at the University of Calgary and the Artistic Associate at Dancers' Studio West in Calgary. As a dance artist, Hilary has worked for notable artists and companies such as Danse Carpe Diem / Emmanuel Jouthe, Les Productions Figlio and Company 605 (Canada), W&M Physical Theatre (Canada/Poland), and German Jauregui (Belgium). She sits on the board of directors of the Training Society of Vancouver and All Bodies Dance Project. Hilary is also a contributing writer with Dance International Magazine.
Carmen Papalia is an artist who uses organizing strategies and improvisation to address his access to public space, the art institution, and visual culture. His work, which takes forms ranging from collaborative performance to public intervention, is an effort to unlearn visual primacy and resist support options that promote ableist concepts of normalcy. Papalia’s work has been featured at: The Solomon R. Guggenheim museum, New York; the Tate Liverpool, Liverpool; the Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana; the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, Banff; and Gallery Gachet, Vancouver; among others. Papalia was a 2019 Sobey long list recipient. He has received the 2014 Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary and the 2013 Wynn Newhouse Award. He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and a Master of Fine Arts with a focus in Art & Social Practice from Portland State University.
Laura June Albert loves dancing, researching about dance, and organizing in community. She has been coordinating and designing work at intersections of art and social justice since 2007. Her work is driven by questions about representation, access, and inclusion in the arts. When not sitting on the board at ABDP, she keeps herself busy working as Grants and Community Initiatives Manager at Indian Summer Arts Society, and teaching body positive dance classes in East Vancouver. She holds an MA in Contemporary Arts Studies at SFU, and has worked in the arts as a performer, instructor, and lecturer in over ten cities on Turtle Island and abroad. As an uninvited settler, Laura June holds tremendous respect for the MST Host Nations for their leadership and land stewardship despite unjust and ongoing colonial occupation. She aims for her work to always be in solidarity with the keepers of these lands and waters.
Sowmya Bhaskar is a storyteller and a Human Resource executive with global experience across Asia and Canada. As a disabled person, she champions for the causes related to diversity and inclusion – both in corporate and social spaces. She loves various art forms – instrumental music, classical dance and storytelling and leverages these mediums to drive a positive change. Through her storytelling sessions, she engages people of all ages to rekindle their childhood memories. She has delivered keynote and motivational speeches at TEDx, technology industry consortium events, British High Commission, and volunteers as a ‘Knowledge philanthropist’ at Vantage Point. In the past she has worked for large corporate houses in the areas of organizational culture, change Initiatives, leadership and succession planning and E-Learning development and has managed grant funds as part of her CSR leadership role. When she is not busy with storytelling and volunteering, she consults for companies in Vancouver, BC in the HR space.
Leela Chinniah loves dance in all its forms. She began dancing with the All Bodies Dance Project in 2014 and the experience had a profound impact on her connection to dance and community engagement. Leela has decades of experience working in non-profit organizations committed to providing spaces for underrepresented voices, perspectives and stories, including 15 years as the Director of Programming Administration for Vancouver Co-op Radio. She has sat on various Boards of Directors over the years and feels privileged to serve the All Bodies Dance Project in this capacity at such an exciting time of growth. On most weekdays, Leela puts her MA in Conflict Analysis and Management to use as a family mediator assisting people navigate major life transitions with as much clarity, creativity and open-hearted communication as possible.