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2023 Dance in the Districts: Resilience and Resurgence

Council District
City Council District 2


DCA and the Los Angeles Dance Workers Coalition (LADWC), will premiere works by the nine winners ofDance in the Districts 2023commissionsat a culmination reception celebrating the artist awardees on Saturday, October 7, 2023 at 6:30 p.m., at theLankershim Arts Center. The culmination will also include live youth performances of four works byDance in the Districtsawardees: Katisha Blaze Adams, Celeste Lanuza, Ceylon Harris, and Kirthika Alwar.

This year’s theme isResilience and Resurgence in 2023,as the initiative continues to provide stimulus for each Council District on a rotating basis in support for emerging dance artists who live or work in the City of Los Angeles. DCA introduced theDance in the Districtspilot program with partner the LADWC in 2022 to provide economic relief to Los Angeles dancers who experienced dramatic loss of livelihood due to COVID-19.

The nine dancers/choreographers commission winners are: Shiv Nadkarni, Liliana Frias, Caitlin Javech, Katisha Blaza Adams, and Celeste Lanuza for Second District; and Ceylon Harris, Ricardo Rodriguez Jr., Marissa Brown, and Kirthika Alwar for the Third District.Find out more about our commission winners below.

The Dance in the Districts event this year also offers a Sneak Peak Screening of the short dance film, Metanoia of a Releve Directed by Andrea Figueroa Chavez and Produced by Andrea Figueroa Chavez and Roy Shellef. It was filmed at the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park.Find out more about this film below ABOUT DANCE IN THE DISTRICT ARTISTS.

This event is free, family friendly, and open to the public. However, due to limited space, reservations are highly recommended.



Funding is sourced through the Madrid Theatre Cultural Hub (MaTCH), and the Lankershim Program Fund (LPF), initiatives of DCA’s Performing Arts Division. The $2,000 commission awards are intended for career development. Recorded 2.5 to 3.5 minute dance performances must take place in the council district the artist is affiliated with and should highlight a place within that district that holds value to the dancer.

Nine Premiere Dance on Film Screenings


Shiv Nadkarni|Council District 2:

Shiv is a South Asian performing artist (dancer, actor, singer, and model) based in LA. His background in Indian music, Kathak dance, and anthropology drives his choreographic work. In 2019, he received a Fulbright Award to earn his MA in dance anthropology from the University of Roehampton in London, where his dissertation arguing for an inherent gender fluidity in Kathak dance won the Best Dissertation prize. His choreographic work explores the topics of gender, diasporic identity, religion, imagination, and interpretive storytelling. With over twenty years of training in dance, he has showcased his work through performances in NJ, NYC, Philadelphia, Toronto, Berlin, and London. As a passionate proponent of Kathak dance and with a professional background in mental health and dance therapy, Shiv prioritizes exploring the importance of movement in various societal spaces (the museum, the hospital, the corporate space, etc.), and he continues performing dance and leading movement workshops in both the LA metropolitan area and the tri-state area. You can find his work on his Instagram @shivnadkarni and his website www.shiv-nadkarni.com.

Liliana Frias|Council District 2:

Lily is a Mexican queer dancer and choreographer now based in Los Angeles, CA. With more than 15 years of experience in dance and training in both classical and street style dance forms, she specializes in the Popping and Whacking, dance forms birthed in California in the 1970s. She is dedicated to educating, battling, and performing in both the entertainment industry as well as the underground street dance community.

Caitlin Javech|Council District 2:

A native of Miami, FL, Caitlin Javech holds a BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School and an MFA in Choreography from California Institute of the Arts. As a choreographer, Javech’s artistic work has been recognized with a Juilliard Career Advancement Award and an honorable mention in Orlando Ballet Dance Accelerator. Javech has most recently worked as a dancer and company manager for Tabula Rasa Dance Theater and currently dances with ZviDance while producing and performing her own choreography. Javech is also a fully-certified Pilates instructor who runs her own business JavechMovement Pilates training, and is special faculty at CalArts teaching Pilates for dancers and expanding the departments health and wellness offerings. Javech is currently based in Los Angeles, where she is creating multidisciplinary choreographic and performance work and expanding her holistic teaching practices in dance and somatics. Most recently, Javechs choreographic work has been commissioned by Heidi Ducklers Ebb & Flow Festival at Baldwin Scenic Overlook, Stomping Ground LAs VOICES: Latinx & Indigenous Artists showcase, CalArts Happenings 50th Anniversary Performances, and Emotions Physical Theater Evening of Contemporary Dance. In 2023, Javech was awarded a Creative Residency Fellowship at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences and an invitation to be an artist-in-residence at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs.

Katisha Blaze Adams|Council District 2:

Katisha is Founder and Artistic Director for “Excellence in Arts” award winning dance company, KPA Fusion Dance Repertoire. Currently, as a Choreographer and Co-Director for Disney’s California Adventures, Frozen Fun, “Freeze The Night” and “Mad T Party”, she also has formerly been a part of the Disney’s Company as a performer in “The Lion King” and “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, as well as Universal Studios equity show, “The Crew”. Originally from Washington D.C., Katisha has continuously performed and toured as a Director, Choreographer, Staging Consultant, Dancer and Singer for over 18 years. Dance Company principal credits include, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Jazzantiqua Dance Ensemble and touring collaborations with Philadanco Dance Company, Cleo Parker Robinson as IABD(International Association for Blacks in Dance). She has been Assistant Director and Choreographer alongside Directors, Tim Story, Danny Esralow and Otis Salid and Choreographers, Richard Jackson (Lady Gaga), Wade Robson, Tony Michaels (Britney Spears, J-Lo and Nsync) and Claude Thompson (Jazz Dance LA). Mrs. Adams has staged and choreographed for Artists such as Christina Aguilera, Omarion, Before Dark (RCA Records) and Isyss (Arista Records). As former Artistic Director for El Camino College, Katisha continues to teach for Disney Performing Arts, several schools, colleges, universities and is a NASM certified personal fitness trainer and is the head hip hop choreographer for Team ADBAs competitive dance team. Embarking on the competition world since 2018, has been a whole different dance world and journey.

Celeste Lanuza|Council District 2:

Celeste Lanuza is a Latin female creative and performing artist based in Los Angeles who composes her own music and records her voice to accompany her choreographic work for performances and dance film premieres in the city. Lanuza teaches flamenco and jazz at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and has performed with Lula Washington Dance Theater as well as danced at festivals for the LA Commons non-profit organization. Celeste is a dance artist because she believes in the power of movement as tool to embody confidence, healing, and community. Her educational journey has carried her through attaining an MFA in Dance from UC Irvine where she was under a full tuition scholarship and was mentored by Donald McKayle then later restaged his works being noted in Dance Teacher Magazine. She also holds a BFA in Dance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia where she was under an Artist Grant. Having presented her dance film and live choreography at the LA Dance Festival this year, presented for other Brockus Project Studios productions, having her dance film present at the Southgate Museum Pinto Flores exhibit, Celeste is energized to create a work for the Dance in the Districts grant coming up.

Ceylon Harris|Council District 3:

A recent recipient of a BFA in dance from California State University Long Beach, Ceylon Harris began her dance journey training and performing in circus arts and then later dance. In circus arts Ceylon specializes in partner acrobatics, acrobatics, and handbalancing. She has performed with Kinetic Theory Circus Arts, San Francisco Circus Centers festivals, and at private events throughout the Los Angeles and Culver City area. She now runs the acrobatics for dancers training program for all ages at OTE Dance Studio in Culver City, and for Artists Collective nonprofit organization at public schools in the Los Angeles area and surrounding counties. As a concert dancer, Ceylon has studied Horton technique, Cunningham technique, jazz, and contemporary ballet under the mentorship of Robert Gilliam and Kim Borgaro. As a scholarship student, she has attended training programs at the Ailey School, Diavolo, Northwest Dance Project, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Dawson Dance SF. Ceylon has performed choreography by William Grinton (PG) and Anthony Jackson, in addition to performing with Eliezer Rabelos company, 11th Hour Dance Project Inc., and with Michael Tomlin IIIs company ReVrBT3. At CSULB she has studied with distinguished dance educators Keith Johnson, Andrew Vaca, and Rebecca Lemme. During her years at CSULB, Ceylon completed the BASI Pilates certification with an additional specialization in dance, under Karen Clippinger. She is currently teaching Pilates mat and reformer private/semi private lessons. In the future, Ceylon intends to perform with dance or circus companies where she can incorporate both her circus arts and codified modern training.

Ricardo Rodriguez Jr.|Council District 3:

Ricardo “Boogie Frantick” Rodriquez Jr. is a Los Angeles dancer known worldwide for his mastery of “popping,” a street dance style. His journey began in local dance battles at underground clubs in the San Fernando Valley and has led him to prominent stages like the 2010 Academy Awards, the film Step Up 3D, and captivating performances with Miss Prissy’s company, The Underground. He has taught workshops, performed unique solos, and motivated young street dancers in various cities across the globe. Boogie Frantick has appeared on popular TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing with the Stars, and The Queen Latifah Show, as well as in commercials and events for notable brands. He has also served as a judge, participant, and champion in major dance competitions worldwide. Born in the San Fernando Valley, Boogie Frantick found solace in popping, miming, and animation as a defense against the negative aspects of street life. With extensive experience in street dance and a deep knowledge of Hip Hop culture, he has been part of influential dance crews such as MZK, Academy of Villains, and The LXD. Boogie Frantick is actively involved in the community, using dance as a means of expression and inspiration for the next generation of artists.

Marissa Brown|Council District 3:

Marissa Brown is a biracial, Black and Portuguese, Multidisciplinary artist. Her primary language comes from movement of the body and translates into works of live performance, film, installation, photography, and publication. She has her BFA in Performance and Choreography from University of California, Irvine and MFA from California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been shown extensively in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles. Under the name Lone King Projects, she creates and shares intimate moments of expression.

Kirthika Alwar|Council District 3:

Kirthika Alwar is a Bharathanatyam dancer and an upcoming choreographer in Los Angeles. She has received training in Bharatanatyam and Carnatic music under Guru Sushma Mohan since 2011. As a member of Soorya Foundation ensemble, Kirthika has performed at major dance festivals and events in Los Angeles, Utah, and California. She was chosen to perform at the LA INDIAN DANCE AND MUSIC FEST 2018 as a solo artist. Her other performances include performances at LOTUS Fest, Lankershim Arts Center, UTAH Festival of Dances, San Pedro Dance Festival, Thousand Oaks arts festival, Santa Barbara Indian Fest, LA Made 2018 library performances, LA City-sponsored dance event AAPAHA dance production, etc. She was a team member of the Soorya Ensemble for the DITD Dance in the district pilot project under Guru Sushma Mohan. Kirthika is preparing for her dance graduation ceremony called ARANGETRAM in India in July 2023. She is a freshman at California State University Fullerton studying public health, with a goal of pursuing a career as a Physician’s Assistant. She has volunteered at Valley Presbyterian Hospital for 3 years, with over 350 hours volunteering hours. Kirthika trains students at Soorya Los Angeles and has worked as an assistant choreographer under Guru Sushma Mohan on all the dance productions of Soorya since 2019.


Renee, a young ballerina is dancing in her apartment. The frustration of her failure and the lack of self-love does not allow her to dance with the passion that she used to have before. One of her cameras takes a photo of her and captures her inside of it. The darkness of it will be lit up by the memories she needs to release to become who she truly is.

Andrea Figueroa Chvez is a Mexicanmulti-lingual Hollywood Director and production designer. She builds and creates the imaginable, everything that is written in paper and more.She graduated from the Prestigious New York Film Academy in 2023 and she was chosen to be part of the Academy Gold Rising Program (A.M.P.A.S.) in the Production Designers Track.



The Los Angeles Dance Worker Coalition (LADWC) is a goal-oriented effort by an alliance of dance professionals invested in collective action and advocacy for dance in Los Angeles. The LADWC, a volunteer based coalition, aims to provide equitable support to the diverse tapestry of individual dance workers who contribute to the vibrant culture of Los Angeles. For more information on LADWC, please visitLos Angeles Dance Worker Coalition.



Lankershim Arts Center
5108 Lankershim Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 90601 United States
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City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs
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