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Barriskill Studio Company

The Barriskill Studio Company includes Conservatory-level students who are interested in a more dedicated study of dance. The Company is a pre-professional program which gives students opportunities to work with guest choreographers from around the country to gain real audition, choreographic and performance experience. Company members commit to an intensive rehearsal and performance schedule in addition to their dance classes throughout the year. While it is not a competition team, Company does train dancers to work collaboratively and provides a supportive collective for young people interested in exploring dance and its many avenues.


The Company has performed at festivals and community events around the Triangle, including Wake Forest Dance Festival, SPARKcon Festival, Carrboro Arts Festival, and the American Tobacco Tower Lighting.


For more information or to inquire about a choreography or performance opportunity, please contact Mari O'Donnell, company director.


2022-2023 Guest Choreographers 

Janice Lancaster

Janice Lancaster is inspired by dance’s power to reveal performative perceptual modes and ecologies. From 2005-2019, she performed with Shen Wei Dance Arts. She has also worked with the San Francisco Symphony, Danielle Russo Performance Project, Aynsley Vandenbroucke Movement Group, Satoshi Haga binbinfactory, and Abby Chan-Can-Dance-Theatre. She has collaborated on improvisational work with Lance Gries, Ray Schwartz, and Miguel Gutierrez’s foi2008 project. As a choreographer, she has been selected for the NC Dance Festival, Asheville Fringe Arts Festival, Omi International Dance Residency, Watermill Center, Hubbard St 2 National Choreographic Competition, Joyce Soho Presents Choreography Competition, Bessie Schönberg Choreographers Residency, and as an alternate for New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks. She has taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Hollins University, Teacher-Scholar Postgraduate Fellow at Wake Forest University, and adjunct instructor at the University of the NC School of the Arts.

Alyssa Noble

Alyssa Noble is a dance artist, writer, and community organizer based in Durham, NC. She earned her BFA in Dance and MS in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and 2011. Since then, Alyssa has performed in works by Anna Barker/, Bill T. Jones Dance Company, Joanna Kotze, Monet Noelle Marshall, Meg Stein, and Leah Wilks/VECTOR, and she co-organized Durham Independent Dance Artists (DIDA) from 2016-2020. Alyssa co-directs A+A Dance Company with her collaborator Allie Pfeffer, and together they have self-produced and performed two evening-length shows - What You Want (2017) and Don’t Get Any Ideas, Little Lady (2019) - in addition to other short works. Alyssa is currently co-producing a multidisciplinary variety show series called RECITAL with her friend and colleague Chris Strauss, in partnership with Mettlesome and Barriskill Dance Theatre School. Follow Alyssa on Instagram @ascho3 and learn more about her work at

Randall Anthony Smith

RANDALL ANTHONY SMITH is currently an Associate Professor of Dance at Muhlenberg College (Allentown, PA). Whilst teaching, Smith has balanced and informed his creativity and scholarship from his performance career in acclaimed national dance companies: Armitage Gone! Dance (NYC) and Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre (NYC), and working freelance for various artists in Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley area.  He currently serves as a répétiteur and assistant to choreographer Donald McKayle, having performed for McKayle’s Etude Ensemble for four years. Smith earned his MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine. He maintains a practice of performing, restaging, and interpreting McKayle’s repertory, creating his own dance works, and teaching dance nationally. He performed with acclaimed ballerina and choreographer Jodie Gates in “Mein Zimmer” (2012). Other recent performances include works by Bulareyaung Pagarlava, Shen Wei, and zoe|juniper, as well as WOW (2014), an experimental opera created by Joe Diebes, Christian Hawkey, and Adam Levin. Smith’s recent credits include a restaging of McKayle’s “The Fight” (from the musical Golden Boy, starring Sammy Davis, Jr.) for the American Dance Machine of the 21st Century (2015). Smith performed in Philip Glass’s opera "Witches of Venice," commissioned by Opera Saratoga in Saratoga Springs, New York. On May 12, 2016, Smith received a Distinguished Alumni Award at the 46th Annual Lauds and Laurels Awards Ceremony at the University of California, Irvine. Smith was also observed performing for Jeffrey Peterson Dance in Rochester, NY for the Somatics Dance Conference and the Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis as a guest company dancer and soloist.  He currently builds creative partnerships in the Lehigh Valley, PA with community festivals, high schools, dance companies and other academic institutions. Randall Anthony Smith recently earned his Pilates Method Certification, under the direction of Diane Diefenderfer, Master Pilates instructor for the Pilates Method and Ron Fletcher Work. In the summer of 2020 he taught, remotely, at Seoul, Korea's, International Dance Festival in Tank (SIDFIT). Smith recently (summer, ’22) conducted research with Dr. Leticia Robles-Moreno, at Tremenda Espacio Cultural (Lima, Perú). During Smith’s free time you can catch him Olympic weightlifting and coaching as an L-1 certified coach along with CrossFit.

Chris Strauss

Chris grew up in Oklahoma, and after spending every waking moment in a tutu, started dance classes at the age of 5. There, he studied and performed with the Norman Ballet Company, and continued education in ballet and modern dance with Tulsa Ballet, the University of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. Chris attended the University of Oklahoma where he received a BS in Psychology and Mathematics, while performing and touring with Hartel Dance Group. Upon graduation, Chris relocated to North Carolina to pursue a PhD in Quantitative Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since then, he has performed repertory by Merce Cunningham, performed on the main stage at the American Dance Festival with COMPANY, and collaborated with numerous local dance artists. His work has been presented with Tobacco Road Dance Productions, Shadowbox performance series, and more recently, in RECITAL: A Multildisciplinary Variety Show co-directed by Chris. Choreographically, he is interested in researching the intersection of movement practice, LGBT community and experiences, and statistical principles underlying the study of human behavior and experience.

Past Guest Choreographers:

Levi Philip Marsman

Zoe Rabinowitz 

Christian von Howard

Leah Wilks 

Elizabeth Burke 

Sean Carmon

Katie Dearman 

Kristina Vensko 

Allie Mobley

Courtney Sauls

David Ingram 

Kristin Clotfelter

Chalvar Monteiro

Justin Tornow

Antuan Byers

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