During the summer of 2009, Sylvana Christopher approached Betsy Loikow with the desire to form a dance collective with young contemporary dancers and choreographers in the D.C. metro area.
Inspired by a project at Dance Educators Institute, Sylvana wanted Glade to be a unique call to choreographers to make dances that subverted the inherent hierarchies and environmental restraints of choreographic processes she had experienced.
Drawing on Betsy's strengths as a social and political advocate, the founded Glade Dance Collective to create dances that had social relevance; that could give voice to those without one; and that could educate and spur discussion.
Glade committed to dance about real issues that people care about and that would meet the audience where they are, so that people beyond the arts world might begin to understand how dance can be part of their lives.
Sylvana Christopher is a D.C. native, performer, choreographer and teaching artist. She is committed to bringing dance into people's lives as a means for expressing the inner self through physical motion. Her choreographic work has graced several spaces including The National Museum of African Arts, Museum of the Americas, The Phillips Collection, Jack Guidone Theater, The Atlas Performing Arts Center, Gallaudet University, Howard Community College and The Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. With several choreographers and musicians, she presented 5 by 5 in 2016 at St. Columba’s Church.
Christopher believes in building community through dancemaking and used that belief to co-found Glade Dance Collective in 2009 with dance advocate Betsy Loikow as well as Dancing Rogues with Sara Herrera and Hayley Cutler. A graduate of The Washington School of Ballet, Christopher earned a BFA in Dance Performance & Choreography from The Ohio State University in 2002 and her diaspora research extends to the Caribbean, France and Senegal. She has performed with Open Circle Theater, In Series and danced works by Michelle Ava, Meisha Bosma, Holly Bass, Lucy Bowen McCauley, Rita Jean Kelly Burns, Nancy Havlik, Kate Jordan, Kelly King, Assane Konte, Sarah Ewing, Gesel Mason, Natty McCube, Erica Rebollar, Juan Carlos Rincones, Melissa Saint Amour, Samantha Sobash, Erin Tunbridge and Cynthia Word.
SylviDances recently premiered 3 dances at Baltimore Theater Project in 2018: ash, a response to her fear of nuclear winter, Charades with DancEthos about volleys between dominant world leaders, and Who by Joan Nicholas-Walker reflecting on the many roles a woman plays in her lifetime. Then She Fell, created by Maggie Lockhart and Christopher for 5 by 5, was reset on Howard Community College Dance Company and selected for Dance Place’s New Releases Choreographic Showcase.
You can catch Sylvana teaching for Joy of Motion Dance Center Atlas, The Washington Ballet @THEARC, Word Dance Theater at Dance Loft on 14, and Rainbow Dance with Inner City, Inner Child. She has also taught for Wolf Trap, City Dance, Washington Performing Arts, Dance Place and Sitar Arts Center.
Betsy Loikow is a native Washingtonian who began studying dance as a child at the Washington School of Ballet and as a member of Rima Faber's Primary Movers. She graduated with a B.A. in film and political science from Vassar College (NY) in 2008. She completed her Certification in Movement Analysis through the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in 2015.
Betsy currently works at the National Dance Education Organization in Silver Spring, Md., and has worked on both local and national electoral campaigns in the U.S and abroad. She is always looking for new ways to combine art and activism.
A co-founder of Glade Dance Collective and NACHMO DC, she is thrilled to be dancing, choreographing, and collaborating with the D.C. arts community.
Her choreography with Glade includes Brunch (with Sarah Raker), Spontaneous Emergence (with Shannon Dooling-Cain), Home, a collaboration with playwright Emily Schwend, and The Wall. She was a collaborator on Am I There Yet?, Mine/Field, Connections, District. Defined?, and Health/Care.