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Meet the 2022/23 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with an internship working with dance, theater, and music ensembles in the forefront of their fields.

The 21st Century Artist Internship is a highly competitive program developed to prepare students for new demands that working artists face in the contemporary marketplace. In addition to generating outstanding creative work, today’s artists are also tasked with reaching potential audiences in innovative ways. This unique program provides real-world work experience and professional connections to help develop these skills within the context of UMS’s programming.

The 21st Century Artist Internship program is made possible in part by Tim and Sally Petersen.

This Year’s Interns

Stefania GonzalezStefania Gonzalez

Class of 2023
Major:
Theater Performance – Acting
Minor: Spanish Language & Literature
Internship Pairing: Mull Theatre

Stefania Gonzalez (she/her) is a senior from Saline, Michigan, majoring in acting performance with a minor in Spanish Language & Literature. She enjoys studying classical texts such as Shakespeare, as well as making new work that addresses inequality. She is passionate about making theater more accessible and championing diversity and difficult conversations to move the field forward.

Nya JohnsonNya Johnson

Class of 2023
Major:
Theater Arts with a concentration in Performing Arts Management
Minor: Business Administration
Internship Pairing: Shakespeare in Detroit

Nya Johnson, a senior BTA and Business Administration minor from Belleville, MI, is excited to join the UMS family. Thanks to her mother, the performing arts have been a part of Nya’s life for as long as she can remember. Dance was her first love – allowing her to see the beauty in storytelling and artistic expression. This eventually led to her interest in acting, singing, and technical theater, as well as her fascination with performing arts management and business administration.

During her time at Michigan, Nya has taken on unique opportunities in producing, dramaturgy, strategic planning, event management, creative direction, and marketing. Ultimately, she is dedicated to creating and leading unforgettable experiences that are done safely and ethically for all parties involved, including the audience. Nya cannot wait to take this next step in her performing arts journey!

Molly SchwallMolly Schwall

Class of 2023
Major:
Musicology
Minors: Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship and History
Internship Pairing: Wild Up

Molly Schwall is a senior from Hingham, Massachusetts majoring in Musicology with minors in Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship, and History. As a vocalist, Molly studies with George Shirley and performs in a variety of ensembles from UM’s Chamber Choir to the Bluenote Vocal Ensemble.

She currently works as a videographer for the Michigan Daily, is the treasurer and head of fundraising for the professional women’s music fraternity Sigma Alpha Iota, and researches and writes for the Handel & Haydn Society as a Musicology Intern. Next year, she will serve as president of the student-run organization Empty Mug Records, dedicated to promoting local artists and performance opportunities.

In her time away from film and music, she can be found hiking, longboarding, or playing volleyball. Molly is ecstatic to be a 21st Century Artist Intern this summer and is looking forward to an inside education on what it means to be an arts professional.

Brooke TaylorBrooke Taylor

Class of 2023
Major:
Dance
Minor: Education
Internship Pairing: Step Afrika!

Brooke Taylor is a Junior pursuing a major in Dance and a minor in Education. As a 17-year-trained dancer in ballet, modern, tap, and jazz, her passion is sharing her love for dance with young people and challenging them to find their own stories from within movement.

Brooke has planned two artistic protests, entitled “Drive In For Justice” and “Dance For Floyd” for The Black Lives Matter Movement. She has recently founded Black Scholars In Dance, an organization at Michigan dedicated to creating a community of African American dancers in the Dance Department. In 2021, she was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Spirit award in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In 2019, she was awarded the Coca-Cola college scholarship and was selected out of a field of 95,000 students from all over the country for her academic excellence, leadership, and community involvement.

She believes in Discipline, Accountability, Narrative, Creativity, and Excellence… DANCE! You can see Brooke dancing in an upcoming Netflix film, Tyler Perry’s A Jazzman’s Blues, choreographed by Debbie Allen!

Jenna YounessJenna Youness

Class of 2023
Majors:
Musical Arts and Business
Internship Pairing: Chineke! Orchestra

Jenna Youness is a dual degree student bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at the Ross School of Business and a bachelor’s degree in Musical Arts at the School of Music, Theater, and Dance. She specializes in marketing and jazz saxophone.

Growing up in Troy, Michigan, her music career began with classical piano lessons at age five. At age nine, she picked up drums, and at age ten, she started playing saxophone. After hearing Chris Potter perform at the Detroit Jazz Festival, she knew she wanted to study jazz beyond high school. She has won awards for her playing in Toronto, Orlando, Detroit, and San Antonio. Currently, Jenna is connecting music to her Syrian identity, learning the oud, and exploring Arab musical traditions.

Outside of the music world, Jenna enjoys painting, longboarding, and doing yoga. Her favorite visual art mediums to work with include spray paint, graphic design, and acrylic paint. She hopes to use her education at the University of Michigan to combine music and business into tools that foster global empathy and direct social change.

Meet the 2021/22 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with an internship working for a dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS will present in its season. This year students were also paired with artists and organizations with whom UMS has worked in the past or plans to present in the future.

The 21st Century Artist Internship is a highly competitive program developed to prepare students for new demands that working artists face in the contemporary marketplace. In addition to generating outstanding creative work, today’s artists are also tasked with reaching potential audiences in innovative ways. This unique program provides real-world work experience and professional connections to help develop these skills within the context of UMS’s programming.

The 21st Century Artist Internship program is made possible in part by Tim and Sally Petersen.

This Year’s Interns

Ruby PérezRuby Pérez

Class of 2022
Major: Theater Performance – Acting
Minors: Community Action & Social Change and Creative Writing
Internship Pairing: A.I.M by Kyle Abraham

Ruby Pérez, Bay Area native and daughter of Mexican-American immigrants, is among the first in her family to pursue a college degree. At a very young age, she fell in love with mariachi singing, ballet folklórico dancing, and the beauty and art in the culture of her family’s home country. This evolved into a desire to create positive Latinx representation in the media, television, and film.

At the heart of Ruby’s work is a passion for diverse storytelling and equitable access. She has prepared theatre workshops with incarcerated individuals through the Prison Creative Arts Project, performed in several UProd productions, and served as a co-director for Cabaréy, SMTD’s first-ever performance dedicated to empowering Latinx performance students at Michigan.

Ruby has been recognized for making her school’s programs and spaces more inclusive for BIPOC students. She recently organized and led a student strike, co-created a list of demands, and co-fostered Long-Term Accountability action plans and teams. She is a recipient of the 2021 North Campus Deans’ MLK Spirit Awards.

Ruby has been inspired by the We See You White American Theatre demands and continually refers to this work as a blueprint for creating inclusive art. She has served on the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion’s Student Advisory Board, as Basement Arts’ Diversity Officer, and will serve as Basement Arts’ Artistic Director in the fall.

Jenna Segal

Class of 2022
Majors: Dance and International Studies
Internship Pairing: Tania El Khoury

Jenna Segal, hailing from Millersville, Maryland, is a fourth-year student at the University of Michigan pursuing a BFA in Dance and a BA in International Studies. This past year, Jenna served as a producer for “Range of Reaction”, the 2020 iteration of Arts in Color’s annual showcase centering arts activism, social justice, and personal identity. Jenna has also spent time as an intern with Parsons Dance, working in the development, research, and touring sectors of an internationally renowned touring company. After two years of involvement with the Dance Student Assembly, she will begin the fall as the organization’s Vice President.

Throughout her time at U-M, Jenna has performed in original works choreographed by Joel Valentín-Martínez, Charli Brissey, and several Department of Dance Alumni. Jenna has also choreographed many of her own works, her most recent being a screen-dance created for and performed by the Department of Dance’s First-Year Touring Company.

Passionate about the intersections of art, diplomacy, and activism, Jenna is interested in interdisciplinary movement and scholarship. She is currently conducting her own research exploring the potential of art to substantially serve communities in ways similar to non-governmental humanitarian organizations. Jenna is elated to begin her work with Tania El Khoury and UMS as a whole this summer and is excited to discover new possibilities of all that art can be.

Annabella Vidrio

Class of 2023
Majors: Dance and Women’s & Gender Studies
Minors: Spanish
Internship Pairing: Milka Djordjevich

Originally from Norwalk, California, Annabella Vidrio is a rising junior at the University of Michigan. She is a Dual Degree student studying Dance and Women & Gender Studies, with an additional Spanish Minor. Annabella has been dancing since the age of four and has been professionally trained in both Western styles and Mexican/Spanish Folklore dancing.

As a Mexican-American woman, Annabella is an active member of the Latinx community on the U of M Ann Arbor campus and has involved herself in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. This past year she served as the SMTD Dean’s Liaison for the Office of DEI and will continue to work in the office this upcoming academic year. Throughout her time at U of M, she has worked with her peers to facilitate crucial conversations and create more inclusive environments.

Within the dance community, Annabella is a part of the Dance Student Association and has been a part of BFA and MFA choreographic processes. During the pandemic, she was fortunate to participate virtually in Charli Brissey’s 2021 Power Center piece. Annabella has ambitions of incorporating her three degrees to pursue a career in arts administration. She is passionate about bringing awareness to her multiple communities and intends to continue her endeavors post-graduation.

Meet the 2020/21 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with an internship working for a dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS will present in its season. In the 2020/21 Season, they will be working directly with UMS staff and Digital Residency Artists.

The 21st Century Artist Internship is a highly competitive program developed to prepare students for new demands that working artists face in the contemporary marketplace. In addition to generating outstanding creative work, today’s artists are also tasked with reaching potential audiences in innovative ways. This unique program provides real-world work experience and professional connections to help develop these skills within the context of UMS’s programming.

The 21st Century Artist Internship program is made possible in part by the Jay Ptashek and Karen Elizaga Family.

This Year’s Interns

Kristin HansonKristin Hanson

Class of 2022
Major: Dance
Minor: Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship
Focus of Internship: UMS Performance Playground

Kristin Hanson is currently a student at the University of Michigan pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. When she’s not in the studio, she also studies Performing Arts Management and History of Art. She is currently President of Dance Student Assembly and is producing a dance choreography showcase for Arts In Color, an organization focused on DEI within dance. As a dancer, Kristin has been fortunate enough to train with Marcat Dance in Spain, BAIRA MVMNT/PHLOSPHY in Detroit, and DanceWorks Chicago. She has performed in original works by Joshua Peugh, Joel Valentin-Martinez, Robin Wilson, and Kelly Hirina all over Ann Arbor and Chicago. Kristin has also presented her own choreography at the American College Dance Association conference and collaborated with Red Shoe Company for Claude Debussy’s Children’s Corner Ballet.

As an arts administrator, Kristin has worked for University Musical Society as an Education and Community Engagement student staff member and has interned in the offices of DanceWorks Chicago and the Detroit Dance City Festival. Kristin has even performed as a multitude of princesses for the Southeast Michigan company, Crowning Jewel Productions. She is passionate about interdisciplinary collaboration and loves supporting artists through arts administration.

Catherine MooreCatherine Moore

Class of 2022
Major: Choral Music Education
Minor: Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship
Focus of Internship: Marketing/Digital Artist Residencies

Catherine Moore, from Westfield, NJ, is a junior majoring in Choral Music Education, with a minor in Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship. She is a passionate advocate for diversity in the arts, and this is central to her work as a performer and educator. She currently works as a Communications and Program Assistant for the Arts Alliance, and as the Media Manager for Connecticut Summerfest. She loves to teach piano and voice lessons, run and practice yoga, and is a section leader at First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor. Catherine is excited to help bring virtual arts programming to a now global audience with the UMS Marketing Team.

Sammy SussmanSammy Sussman

Class of 2022 (currently on gap year)
Major: music composition
Minor: musical theater composition
Focus of Internship: Tarek Yamani and Spektral String Quartet

Sammy is a composer, bassist and investigative reporter from Bedford Hills, NY. Though currently on a gap year, Sammy plans on returning to U-M for his senior year in September 2021. As a composer, Sammy’s compositions have been recognized by the American Composers Forum, the Foundation for Modern Music and the National Association for Music Education. His music also received an honorable mention in the New York Philharmonic’s New World Composition Challenge. Recent composition projects include a full-length musical, “Diseducated,” with book, music & lyrics by Sammy Sussman and Allison Taylor.

As a reporter, Sammy has written for The Michigan Daily, Bridge Michigan and VAN. His investigative reporting has been featured in the Columbia Journalism Review and the Detroit Free Press‘ year-ending series “This journalism made us jealous in 2018.” Over the summer, Sammy began writing a book about his great-grandfather, an Austrian Jewish refugee who spent the year before the Anschluss reporting on the rise of Austrian Nazism for a Belgian newspaper under a Belgian pen name. Excerpts from this book will soon appear in The Detroit Jewish News and The Michigan Daily, among other outlets.

My Time at the Fringe

written by Isabel K. Olson, 2019/20 UMS 21st Century Artist Intern

Rich Kids production shot

Production of Javaad Alipoor’s Rich Kids at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

From its very origin, theater was designed to be political. In Ancient Greece, theater was used to tackle local issues onstage and influence the democracy and social tide. However, today, particularly in America, we are accustomed to thinking of theater as entertainment. We might even be a bit peeved if after our long work week we go to the theater and find the show provocative rather than fun and rejuvenating. Yet, at its core, theater is a form designed to activate a debate that might be more uncomfortable than enjoyable and might raise more questions than answers.

This season, No Safety Net 2.0 offers a diverse group of artists whose works use a variety of artistic mediums to tackle vastly different political topics. These unconventional shows risk a great deal in their creation, not only juggling sensitive subject matters but also using forms of art that are not all that common in mainstream American works. By the very definition of “no safety net,” these artists are not here to give us reassurance, security, or even entertainment. They are here to challenge our views.

Fringe Festival Pass

Through the UMS 21st Century Artist Internship, I had the life-altering opportunity to travel to the UK and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to work with No Safety Net artist and activist Javaad Alipoor on The Believers are But Brothers and Rich Kids: The History of Shopping Malls in Tehran. Alipoor is a bold artist who is unafraid to assume the audience’s highest intelligence when tackling a stream of political topics. Alipoor crafts his work by devising, a form of creating theater in a collaborative environment with no finalized script or preordained result.

For me, Alipoor’s rehearsal room was unlike any I’d experienced in America; it was a space for creative thinking and trial and error without the constraint of the “perfect outcome.” I’d grown accustomed to the “time is money” mindset of much American commercial work where the result is known before the collaborators walk in the door. However, in my experience working with Alipoor, I remembered that art is about creation — the literal act of molding and experimenting with endless possible consequences. And, it was a reminder that with certain limitations comes opportunity. No amount of money thrown at art will make it innovative or meaningful. Great political theater comes from bold artists willing to fail and try again, attempting to connect pathos to activism, making large-scale issues heartfelt, and forcing us to think.

With the backdrop of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, my life in Edinburgh resulted in seeing 56 productions that ranged from music to dance, circus to comedy, and street performance to pub theater. Over the course of the month, the world opened up to me as I saw art forms collide in ways I’d never seen before. Everything I’d known felt stale in comparison to these new risk-taking artists who were giving up everything to perform. Over the course of one month, I was reminded why I loved art in the first place and how art is absolutely a vehicle for political and social change.

If I had it my way, every single person would be given the opportunity to go to the Fringe. And though we can’t all go to Scotland, we can embrace how lucky we are to have an organization like UMS deliver bold work from around the world to our Ann Arbor doorstep. Political theater attempts to create a dialogue with new groups of people, and we are fortunate to have these works invite us to continue the dialogue.

My time at the Fringe taught me two very important lessons: first, that independent artists who take risks onstage, such as those that you will be seeing in No Safety Net, give themselves over to give you a show. You don’t have to like the show, but you owe it to the artist to consider their work and respect their risk. Second, there are no rules to art, and in my opinion, any art worth watching is the kind that redefines what we thought art could be or say.

I challenge you to embrace the uncomfortable and put your thoughts into words after the performance. Talk to those sitting next to you. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do. Continue the dialogue and continue to support the art that pushes boundaries.


Isabel Olson is a UMS 21st Century Artist Intern and a U-M senior majoring in theatre arts/directing and history.

Meet the 2019/20 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with a summer internship working for a dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS will present in its upcoming season.

The 21st Century Artist Internship is a highly competitive program developed to prepare students for new demands that working artists face in the contemporary marketplace. In addition to generating outstanding creative work, today’s artists are also tasked with reaching potential audiences in innovative ways. This unique program provides real-world work experience and professional connections to help develop these skills within the context of UMS’s programming.

Full Press Release (PDF)

The 21st Century Artist Internship program is made possible in part by the Jay Ptashek and Karen Elizaga Family.

This Year’s Interns

Victoria BrionesVictoria Briones

Class of 2020
Major
: Dance
UMS PresentationAmerican Ballet Theatre’s Swan Lake

Victoria Briones is a senior dance major, expected to graduate in May 2020. She was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, where she trained in ballet, jazz, and contemporary styles. She loves to choreograph, and, in doing so, strives to connect her passions of art and activism.

Briones will intern in artistic programming at the Joyce Theater (New York, NY), one of the nation’s premier venues for dance presentation. She will also participate in the intern professional development program at American Ballet Theatre and serve as an occasional intern for education.

Zion JacksonZion Jackson

Class of 2020
Major: Voice Performance
Minor: Performing Arts Management and Entrepreneurship
UMS Presentation: Stew & The Negro Problem

Zion Jackson, from Dewitt, MI, is studying Voice Performance with a minor in Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship. Zion is a member and the Business Manager of the Michigan Men’s Glee Club, a representative for the School of Music, Theatre, & Dance in Central Student Government, and is also an avid performer in student-run musical theater productions. He is very passionate about leadership, the arts, and non-profit organizations. In his free time, Zion enjoys traveling, cooking, and exploring new art. Zion is so excited to represent UMS as a 21st Century Artist Intern this summer, and is looking forward to learning more about what it means to be an arts professional.

Jackson will serve as the personal assistant to performer, composer, and writer Stew. Stew is the creator of the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange and front man of his eponymous band Stew & The Negro Problem (New York, NY).

Shannon NulfShannon Nulf

Class of 2021
Major: Dance
Minors: Movement Science and Performing Arts Management
UMS PresentationANTHEM

Shannon Nulf is a third-year University of Michigan Dance BFA with minors in Movement Science and Performing Arts Management from Hancock, MI. At U-M, she has participated in works by multiple BFA and MFA students, as well as two university productions, one of which included restaging Urban Bush Women’s work Shelter. She co-founded and serves on the board of a dance student organization called “Arts in Color” where she and her peers create and pursue DEI initiatives within the department, and will serve as President of the Dance Student Assembly for the 2019-2020 school year.

Nulf will assist choreographer Milka Djordjevich in the development of her new dance work CORPS during a residency at the prestigious Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University (Tallahassee). Following the residency, Nulf will support the presentation of Djordjevich’s ANTHEM in Philadelphia and Djordevich’s administrative activities in Los Angeles through LA Performance Practice.

Isabel OlsonIsabel Olson

Class of 2020
Major: Theatre Arts/Directing and History
UMS Presentation: The Believers Are But Brothers

Isabel K. Olson, from Atlanta, GA, is a dual degree student in History and Theatre Arts with a Directing concentration. Previous artistic projects include directing MUSKET’s Cabaret, serving as a Literary Intern for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and assisting as a Programming Intern for the New York Musical Festival. As an advocate for new theatrical works and theater for social change, Olson is excited to assist artist Javaad Alipoor in bringing The Believers Are But Brothers to the Arthur Miller Theater January 22-25 for UMS’s No Safety Net festival.

Olson will assist theater artist Javaad Alipoor on the presentation of his two original plays, Rich Kids and The Believers Are but Brothers, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK).

Karalyn SchubringKaralyn Schubring

Class of 2020
Major: Composition
UMS Presentation: Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Karalyn Schubring is a composer, pianist, and improviser from Gilbert, Arizona, who is dedicated to inspiring others to engage imaginatively with music. Since beginning her piano and composition studies at a young age, her music has received awards from several national organizations. An avid performer of new music, Karalyn is a founding member of Front Porch, a quartet of violin, bassoon, piano, and percussion that reimagines the classical concert as a shared experience of warmth and love. She will graduate in 2020 with her Bachelor of Music Degree in Composition, having studied piano with Matthew Bengtson and composition with Bright Sheng, Roshanne Etezady, Evan Chambers, and Kristin Kuster.

Schubring will intern in artistic programming and fundraising at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.


 

UMS and the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance extend our congratulations to the 2019/20 interns! Follow @umspresents on Instagram for “on the ground” updates from them throughout the Summer!

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