School of Theatre & Dance
Dance in Paris

Dance in Paris Semester Program Faculty

Michael Foley (Director, USF Dance in Paris Programs; Professor, University of South Florida) is an internationally recognized choreographer and dance teacher who has enjoyed a long creative and cultural association with France.  He holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Washington.  Foley received a Fulbright Award for his work in Mexico in 2009, as well as the Ruth Page Visiting Artist Award at Harvard University in 2007.  His own work has been commissioned by over 25 different dance companies in 8 countries, and he has worked with a diverse range of artists and institutions including Cirque du Soleil, the Bates Dance Festival, DanzAbierta in Havana, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, Dance Theatre Workshop in NYC, Trinity College in Dublin, and Balettakademien in Stockholm, among many others. He created the first USF Dance in Paris Program in 2007, and since then, has welcomed over 150 students to study in Paris.  In addition to overseeing the directorial aspects of the Paris Semester Program, he also teaches Dance History and the occasional modern dance technique classes during the Program. 

Maurice Causey (Choreography) is one of the most sought after contemporary ballet choreographers and teachers today.  His career spans some of the greatest contemporary ballet companies on the planet, including tenures with the Cleveland Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, William Forsythe/Ballet Frankfurt (1991 – 1999, Principal Dancer) and Gothenborg Ballet (1999 - 2002, Principal Dancer).  He has also been Ballet Master for the Royal Swedish Ballet (2002 – 2003) and Nederlands Dans Theater (2004 – 2010), helping them to restage many classic works, as well as creating his own.  Causey has received choreographic commissions for his own works from companies as diverse as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Company C/San Francisco, and New Dance Company/Amsterdam, among many other.  Originally from Alabama, he is currently based in Amsterdam and continues to work internationally.  Maurice has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Program since 2016.

Anna Chirescu (Ballet) trained in classical dance at the Conservatory of Paris before joining the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris (CNSMDP) in contemporary dance.  In 2005, she obtained her certificate, receiving high honors for her performance in the duet L’Eau Vive, choreographed by Christine Bastin. In the CNSMDP’s Junior Ballet, she toured in works by Paco Decina, Karin Waehner, Pedro Pauwels, and Hervé Robbe. A one-year stay at UC Irvine allowed her to participate in Yvonne Rainer’s workshops. She subsequently worked with various contemporary choreographers, notably Jean-Claude Gallotta in Hamlet (Un Songe), at the Odéon Theater in Paris, and companies: Le Guetteur Luc Petton, Marie-Laure Agrapart, Le Nouveau Jour, Les Cavatines, Paul les Oiseaux, Dance Theater Luxembourg, and more recently Bill Young Dance company in New York.  She is a member of the CNDC Angers company directed by Robert Swinston since 2013 with whom she danced in various repertory pieces by Merce Cunningham in France and the US. Anna started a collaboration with the visual artist Grégoire Schaller with whom she created site specific performances for Museums and recently created her first evening length piece at ménagerie de Verre festival les Inaccoutumés. At the same time, Anna graduated with a Master’s degree in Modern Literature at Sorbonne University and in Public Affairs at Sciences Po Paris.  Anna is also a dance writer and co-founder of the website  Anna has been teaching for the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.

Julien Desplantez (Modern) began dancing in his hometown of Lourdes, France at the age of six. After earning a Masters degree in Law in Toulouse, concurrently with his studies in dance at National Choreographic Center of Grenoble, Desplantez eventually turned to dancing and choreographing full-time earning top honors at choreographic competitions around Europe. He has danced in the work of choreographers Jean-Claude Gulotta, Nathalie Pubellier, Caroline Bo and Corinne Lanselle. Desplantez has received choreographic commissions throughout Europe, as well as in Chile, Cuba, Russia and Canada, and is a well-sought after teacher who regular conducts major workshops throughout Europe, including the headlining faculty member at the annual Festival de Danse à Lourdes.  He formed his own company QUETEM in 2008.  Desplantez has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2015.

Michelle Jacobi (Yoga) has been the owner and director of Le Centre de Yoga du Marais in Paris since its inception in 2001, Michelle has been practicing yoga since 1993. She received her initial through advanced teacher’s training from the Hatha Integral Yoga Institute founded by Sri Swami Satchidananda. Professionally trained in classical and contemporary dance, Michelle has danced and performed for over 30 years, teaching dance since 1987 and yoga since 2000.  A student of anatomy and kinesiology at UCLA, upon graduation she continued her studies in New York.  Michelle has also studied pre and postnatal child development and is a recent graduate in yoga therapy from l’Institut de Yoga Thérapie which is headed by Doctor Lionel Coudron. She teaches and travels abroad leading yoga retreats to beautiful locations. Influenced by her Vipassana meditation practice, Michelle’s Hatha yoga classes accentuate fluidity in movement and breath traversing traditional and dynamic styles of Hatha. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2007.

Wanjiru Kamuyu (Modern Dance technique, World Dance and Culture) is a native of Kenya and an M.F.A. (dance choreography and performance) graduate of Temple University. She began her dance training in Kenya, East Africa and later studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Dance Festival and Philadanco. As a performer, Kamuyu has toured nationally and internationally with world-renowned choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar/Urban Bush Women. She has also worked with esteemed choreographers Molissa Fenley, Sean Curran, Marlies Yearby, Nathan Trice/RITUALS, Tania Isaac, and Dean Moss. She was an original cast member in Julie Taymor’s Broadway musical, The Lion King at Théâtre Mogador, Paris for three years. Immediately followed by a successful run of Bill T. Jones’ FELA! at the Royal National Theater where as an original cast member, Kamuyu served in the roles of Staff Choreographer, Dance Captain and Universal Swing.  She is also the Artistic Director of WKcollective, where she creates and tours her own work at several well-respected venues for dance and theater throughout the world. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2015.

Nathalie Pubellier (Choreography and Technique) grew up studying dance throughout the south of France, eventually leading her to a career as a choreographer and a dancer in Paris and New York. She has danced in the companies of Anne Dreyfus, Jennifer Müller, Quentin Rouiller, Corinne Lanselle, among others, while at the same time pursuing a choreographic career that has garnered praise and prizes throughout France, including the Parisian Volinine International Prize in 1993 and the first prize at the Choreographic Festival Synodale of Sens. Pubellier established her own company, L'ESTAMPE, which has received significant project-funding and gone on to perform in major venues throughout France, including L'Étoile du Nord, Les Jalouses Festival in Paris.  She is highly regarded teacher, who regularly teaches class at one of Paris’s premier dance studios (Harmonic), as well as her current faculty position at Le Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2016.

Kévin Quinaou (Ballet) received his initial training at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris and Centre National de la Danse.  His professional career credits include the companies of Teatro alla Scala (2004 – 2005), l’Opera National de Lyon (2005 – 2011), Nederlands Dans Theater (2011 – 2013), Sasha Waltz, and Richard Siegel.  He has performed the repertory of some of the greatest choreographers of our time, including Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Mats Ek, Crystal Pite, Angelin Preljocaj, Maguy Marin, Hans van Manen and Merce Cunningham, among others. Kévin is also a prolific master teacher, most recently with a stint as a semester-long guest artist/teacher at Barnard College in New York City.  He has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2013.

Papson Sylla (West African Dance) is a native of Ivory Coast and has had a rich and diverse career as a performer, singer, dance maker and teacher. He has toured world-wide performing with the renowned Ivory Coast based Ballet National Kotéba and Bouake; was the principle role, Ismaël, (singer/dancer) for the Royal National Theater production of choreographer Bill T. Jones’ Broadway musical, FELA!; was a select performing artist for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, USA; and at a private event by L’Oréal for the honorable Prince of Monaco, Albert II celebrating art from the continent of Africa. Sylla’s choreographic experience includes the Ivory Coast National Television Station (TCI); celebrated artists Amadou and Mariam, Césaria Evora, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Bocana Maiga and Oumaou Sangare and for the 2006 inauguration of the Museum Quai Branly (France). He was the assistant choreographer for George Momboye Dance Company (Paris, France) with whom he was also a performer. As a master teacher of Mali, Guinée and Ivory Coast traditional dances and contemporary Ivory Coast dance forms, Coupé Décalé, Sylla has taught extensively in France as well as Uruguay, Chile, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Burkina Faso and the Ivory Coast. Alongside his dance career, Sylla is also a musician with two albums of work, Ça Dépend and Aventurier. Sylla has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.

Heidi Weiss (Choreography) was born in New Jersey, and received her BFA in Modern Dance from the University of the Arts in 1992. She choreographed and performed in the USA with Group Motion, a Philadelphia based Company and from 1992-95 and with Karen Bamonte in 1996. In 1997 she moved to Germany and founded the Company "Zen in the Basement" with Jennifer Mann. They have created many works together which have been presented in theatres and festivals in Europe and abroad. Weiss has been teaching various modern techniques for many years. She has developed with Jennifer Mann the "Weissmann technique", which she continues to teach in workshops and Universities. Weiss was a Professor at Palucca Schule Dresden from 2004-07. She has been a guest artist in residence at Virginia Commonwealth University (USA), as well as at the Duncan Conservatory in Prague, London Contemporary (the place) in London, and SEAD in Salzburg. She has also given training to many companies such as Sasha Waltz and DV8 Physical Theatre. She has been teaching with the USF Dance in Paris Programs since 2017.

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