/    /  LECTURERS
NINA BALL | Lecturer



Nina Ball

Lecturer, Set Design. Nina Ball (she/ her) is an award winning scenic designer whose work has been seen at American Conservatory Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theater, Shotgun Players, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre Company, Aurora Theatre Company, Center Repertory Theatre, UC Berkeley TDPS, TheatreFIRST, The Cutting Ball Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and Z Space, among many others. She has been a company member at Shotgun Players in Berkeley since 2009 as well as TheatreFIRST (also in Berkeley) since 2018.

Recent awards include a Theatre Bay Area award for The Nether at San Francisco Playhouse; San Francisco Bay Area Critic Circle awards for her designs of My Fair Lady at San Francisco Playhouse and Metamorphosis at the Aurora; a Shellie award for Mirandolina at Center REP; a Broadway World San Francisco Award for Care of Trees at Shotgun Players and an Arty Award for her design of Eurydice at Solano College Theatre. In addition to theatre, Ms. Ball is also a production designer and has worked on numerous film, TV and commercial productions locally and in LA. 

Ms. Ball holds a bachelor degree in biology with an emphasis in marine ecology from UC Santa Cruz and studied visual art and photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. She received her masters degree in scenic design with a costume design secondary from San Francisco State University.

She is also a lecturer at UC Berkeley where she teaches Design for Performance in the Theatre Dance and Performance Studies department. Ms. Ball is a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. ninaball.com

BECKY BODURTHA | Senior Lecturer



Becky Bordurtha

Senior Lecturer, Costume Design. Becky Bodurtha is a costume designer with regional, international and New York City credits. Recent credits include Felix Starro (Theatre Ma-Yi), Open (The Tank), 1000 Nights and One Day (Prospect Theatre Company), and Mr. Burns (NYU Gallatin). Other credits: Constellations (Wilma), The Strangest (East 4th Street), ACE (Margorie Deane), Among the Dead (Theatre Ma-Yi) Passover (Cherry Lane) The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra, Go! (Theatre Ma-Yi), Livin’ La Vida Imelda (Theatre Ma-Yi), and This Lingering Life (HERE Arts). International credits include Movement for Humanity and Africa’s Hope for the Ubumuntu Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. Becky is the resident costume designer for Vermont Shakespeare Festival where she recently designed Taming of the Shrew and Julius Caesar. She received her undergraduate degree from Waldorf College and her MFA from the University of Iowa. Please visit her website at: www.beckybodurtha.com 




David Bresenham

Lecturer, Media Production. Bresenham is a reality television showrunner with an MFA from USC Film School and a J from Harvard Law School. He has produced and directed dozens of television shows including Whale Wars, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, The Simple Life, and 90 Day Fiancé.




Matt Chapman

Lecturer, Movement. Matt Chapman (he/him/they) is a performer, director, and teacher of physical theatre, movement, and clown. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Under the Table, collaborating on each of the company’s 13 works produced since its founding in 2001. Based in Oakland, CA, Matt began working with TAPS as a lecturer in Winter 2017.

Matt’s performances, directing, and teaching have happened across the world — in South Africa, Denmark, Colombia, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, and England. Matt has worked on the Faculties of several programs at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco, and spent years on the Faculty at Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.

He has toured extensively to venues across North America – from Broadway’s Signature Theatre to a Senior’s Center in Saskatoon. His work in NYC has been seen at hERE Arts Center, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Williamsburg Art neXus, Under St. Marks, a hallway at City College, etc. He has collaborated with NYC’s Eavesdrop; Durban, South Africa’s African Dream Circus; Sweden’s Cirkus Cirkor; Denmark’s Filuren and Jomfru Ane Teatret; Blue Lake’s Dell’Arte Company; Philadelphia’s Hotel Obligado; Arcata, CA’s Pequeño Teatro DanceTheatre, and Clowns Without Borders. He also had the honor to work as Movement Consultant for Stanford’s The Good Person of Szechwan, directed by Mina Morita.

Matt writes music for and plays guitar in the Oakland punk band The Big Forgive, and is a graduate of Dell’Arte International and the University of Kansas. He was a recipient of Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations Future Leaders program.

DIANE FRANK | Lecturer



Diane Frank

Lecturer, Modern Dance, Merce Cunningham Technique, Choreography, Repertory. BFA in Theater; MA in Dance; Assistant Professor, Dance Department at the University of Maryland, founding member of the Maryland Dance Theater. Frank then moved to New York City to begin an 11-year career with Douglas Dunn and Dancers, touring nationally and internationally. She trained with Merce Cunningham throughout her time in NYC, and was a member of his teaching staff at the Merce Cunningham Dance Studio for eight years; at Cunningham’s request, she taught technique and repertory at the American Center’s Atelier Cunningham in Paris. A frequent guest teacher at the Paris Opera, she assisted Douglas Dunn in both the creation of new work for the Opera and the setting of established repertory. Frank has been the recipient of seven NEA Choreography Fellowships, as well as commissions from the Jerome Foundation, DTW, Dance Bay Area, and Meet the Composer, and Arts Silicon Valley. Her work has been performed both in the United States and abroad. 


At Stanford, Frank has taught contemporary dance technique, choreographed, and mentored graduate and undergraduate student dance projects. She has organized and advised Stanford’s student participation in the American College Dance Festival as well as other Divisional dance education and performance projects on- and off-campus. She has also organized numerous choreographic commissions by guest artists, frequently acting as Rehearsal Director, setting and maintaining works by choreographers as diverse as Elizabeth Streb, Holly Johnston, Brenda Way, Parijat Desai, Hope Mohr, Janice Garrett, among others. 


In 2005, she played a significant role in the development of Stanford Lively Arts’s campus-wide interdisciplinary arts event “Encounter: Merce,” organizing its “Music and Dance by Chance” commissions, as well as an IHUM lecture series on Cunningham’s video dances and concert repertory. She has twice taught Cunningham repertory in Stanford workshop classes. Frank has been instrumental in developing a number of residency projects and artistic collaborations for the TAPS. Highlights include: the repertory reconstruction project of Anna Halprin’s “Myths”; Elizabeth Streb’s “Crash” performed with Streb’s company on Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium stage; and “Cantor:Rewired,” site-specific outdoor iterations of Parijat Desai’s work fusing Southeast Asian classical Indian dance with post-Modern choreographic strategies. In 2011, she assisted in the reconstruction of Anna Sokolow’s signature masterpiece, “Rooms”. Frank also teaches “The Duets Project,” a performance class that builds partnering and ensemble skills through duet repertory. Strongly interested in site-specific performance, Frank has taught the theory course “Figure/Ground: Site-Specific Dance Performance in Outdoor Environments.” Complementing this course, she conceived and organized “Red Rover,” a series of commissioned site-specific dance performances traveling the grounds of Stanford campus. Recent site-specific projects include “Construction Site” and “Action SEQuence: Six Dances on the SEQ”. Frank also instituted the Firework Series, a quarterly informal showing of student work followed by discussion among artists and audience. She also founded and currently organizes the Bay Area Dance Exchange, a day-long intensive hosted by Stanford for Bay Area college and university dance programs; eleven schools gather to share studio practices, creative processes, and performances of works. Recent choreography includes the site-specific duet “Cleave,” from which she developed a video dance with filmmaker David Alvarado, as well as “Sea Change,” a series of duets, and “Escalating Overlap for Figure/Ground.” 


Her work “Twilight Composite” was selected for performance at the American College Dance Festival Gala at the Kennedy Center in March 2012. “Branch, Tendril, Vine” and six “Tendril” solos have been created and performed by solo artists in the Bay Area and nationally. “In a Winter Garden,” a contemplative performance collaboration for dance, sculpture, and music was created with composer Jaroslow Kapuscinski, sculptor Will Clift, and musician Ko Ishikawa. “Tools for Traveling Toward the Light,” involved collaborators Erik Flatmo (scenic design) and composer Hassan Eskhatrian (live electronic music score). Her most recent work, “Goat-trout-snake-lizard girl” investigated the intersection of the natural world and women’s core movement patterning in relation to it; composer Tim Russell created the sound score. In addition to her own work, Frank currently tours as a performer in “Doggie Hamlet” by the acclaimed choreographer/director Ann Carlson. Frank has twice served as Acting Director of the former Dance Division of Stanford Drama.

ALETA HAYES | Senior Lecturer; Dance Concentration Advisor



Aleta Hayes

Senior Lecturer, Contemporary Dance, Performance & Choreography; Dance Concentration Advisor. Aleta Hayes is a dancer, choreographer, performer, educator and lecturer. Hayes holds an M.F.A. (1993) in Dance and Choreography from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a B.A. (1991), with Departmental Honors, in Drama, with a concentration in Dance and the Visual Arts from Stanford University.


Hayes worked in New York City for fifteen years, choreographing solo and group dance pieces. Performances interpolated acting and singing with dance. She had leading roles in major productions such as Jane Comfort’s dance/opera Asphalt (book by Carl Hancock Rux, music and lyrics by Toshi Reagon) and Robert Wilson’s The Temptation of St Anthony (with music and libretto by Bernice Johnson Reagon). Hayes taught for eight years at Princeton University in the Program in Theater and Dance and the Program in African American Studies. While at Princeton, she developed pedagogically innovative courses that combined cultural history, theory, and performance.


In 2004, Hayes returned to Stanford on a Ford Foundation Resident Dialogues Fellowship through the Committee on Black Performing Arts. A Lecturer since 2006, Hayes’s contemporary dance classes are a hybrid of dance, drama and performance. Introduction to Contemporary Modern Dance: ‘Liquid Flow’ is the gateway, foundational dance and movement course for Contemporary Dance in TAPS. Other notable classes include, Dance Improvisation StratLab, Afro-Styles and Dance-Making and Musical Theater Dance. For the course Stanford Dance Community: Inter-Style Choreography Workshop, taught since 2018, guest instructors include leaders and choreographers from dance clubs on campus.


The Chocolate Heads Band started as a performance-making workshop created by Hayes to teach choreography, interdisciplinary research, and collaboration. An admixture of dance styles, genres, and contemporary performance, this class welcomes student artists from dance, music, visual and spoken word art, and design, as well as from non-art fields. Taught each Fall as a choreography workshop and performer training lab, Chocolate Heads becomes a ‘prototypical’ dance troupe that performs frequently around the campus.


Hayes also teaches at the d.school, (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design) and other arts entities and programs on campus. At Stanford, Hayes has had many leading roles as a dancer, singer and actor including, most notably: Suzan-Lori Park’s In the Blood, directed by Professor Harry J. Elam, Jr. (2005). In the spring of 2006, she choreographed, performed a multimedia solo piece, Deianeira (an adoption of Sophocles’ Women of Trachis) created for her and directed by Drama and Classics Professor Rush Rehm. She performed the role of ‘Mama’ in Raisin in the Sun (2019), directed by Elam. Hayes has choreographed musicals and plays in TAPS, including Everybody (2020), directed by Michael Rau, ReViVal: Remembering the Afro Now-One Nation Portal to the Future (2019) directed by Amara Tabor-Smith, Spring Awakening (2016) directed by Elam, and Helen/Hecuba (2018), directed by Rehm.




Stephanie HuntLecturer, Voice; Acting. Stephanie is an actor, director, and teacher of voice and acting. As a core member of the Bay Area theatre company, Word for Word, Stephanie has acted in numerous productions, including Tobias Wolff’s Sanity, Colm Tóibín’s Silence, Upton Sinclair’s Oil! and Susan Glaspell’s A Jury of her Peers. For Word for Word, she directed the productions of Bullet in the Brain and Lady’s Dream by Tobias Wolff, and All Aunt Hagar’s Children by Edward P. Jones, which played at the Z Space before touring France. She has acted with Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Campo Santo, Aurora Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Berkeley Shakespeare, the One Act Theater, and in New York at La Mama. For two years with Pulp Playhouse, Stephanie performed late-night comedy improv with O-Lan Jones and Mike McShane at the Eureka Theater. She has taught voice at ACT in the Summer Training Congress, and at the University of San Francisco, Chabot College, and Sonoma State University. She has directed a number of university productions, most recently at USF, where she directed Twelfth Night, and adapted and directed Alice Munro’s The View from Castle Rock. Her training includes an MFA from the American Conservatory Theater and certification as an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework. Stephanie is committed to creating and teaching ensemble-based theater with a focus on heightened language.

ALEX KETLEY | Lecturer

  AKETLEY@STANFORD.EDU    (650) 721-3890  ROBLE GYM ROOM 111


Alex KetleyAlex Ketley, Lecturer Ballet and Choreography. Alex Ketley is a choreographer, filmmaker, and the director of The Foundry. Formerly a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, he left the company to create The Foundry as a platform to explore his interests in alternative methods of devising performance. The company has allowed Ketley the freedom to pursue projects that would be difficult to realize within his commissioning career. A few examples of these are: Syntax, an hour long duet systemically using the mechanics of language as an organizing mechanism; Lost Line researched how the application of environment affects the generation of movement and studied in direct response to California’s diverse physical landscapes; Please Love Me jettisoned the structure of performing in a theater context and was developed with a curiosity about how people genuinely connect and experience artwork; and the No Hero Trilogy which was a multi-year project that explored what dance and performance means to the lives of people living throughout rural America. The Foundry’s diverse work has been enthusiastically received by audiences, the press, and funders.


For his independent work as a choreographer he has been commissioned extensively throughout the United States, as well as projects in Germany and Italy, and has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition, the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur, the Choo-San Goh Award, the Princess Grace Award for Choreography, four Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies, the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Award, the Eben Demarest Award, the National Choreographic Initiative Residency, a Kenneth Rainin Foundation New and Experimental Works Grant, three CHIME Fellowships, a Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation Grant, the Artistry Award from the Superfest International Disability Film Festival, and his work was featured on national television through an invitation from the show So You Think You Can Dance. His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards in the categories of; Outstanding Achievement by an Ensemble, Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, Outstanding Achievement by a Company, and nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.


As an educator he has taught throughout the world and is currently a Lecturer at Stanford University’s Theater and Performance Studies Department. He was the founding Resident Choreographer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance for fourteen years until its closure in 2018.


In 2020 he became a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, one of the most prestigious honors in the United States recognizing individuals “who have demonstrated exceptional creative ability in the arts.”

DAN KLEIN | Lecturer



Dan KleinLecturer, Improvisation. Dan Klein has returned to Stanford to teach Improvisational Theater and to direct the Stanford Improvisors. As an undergraduate at Stanford, he was a founding member of the SImps and perennial TA for Patricia Ryan Madson, his predecessor. After graduating, Klein joined the performing company BATS Improv in San Francisco, where he also coached and served as Dean of the BATS Improv School. As a renegade improv teacher, Klein has had appointments at the American Conservatory Theater, the Academy of Art University, the Berkeley Repertory Theater, Dominican University, Vector Conservatory, Menlo School, and has taught corporate workshops for clients like Visa, Cisco, Sun, Oracle, Schwab, Kaiser, Clorox, Cadence, Clif Bar, and others. He is also a member of the Kasper Hauser Comedy Group, authors of SkyMaul, the in-flight catalog parody.


  KAYKOST@STANFORD.EDU    (415) 810-4924 N/A


Kay KostopolousLecturer, Acting. Kay Kostopoulos directs and teaches acting, acting pedagogy, voice, speech, and Shakespeare in the Department of Theater and Continuing Studies Program at Stanford University. She teaches “Acting with Power” at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, and has coached for the Knight Fellows Journalism Program, the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, and the Department of English. Kay has created and directed training programs for Stanford’s School of Medicine and co-taught a class for Symbolic Systems in the development of facial recognition for the treatment of autism.


Kay has taught private seminars for live and on-line presentation for Apple, Twitter, Airbnb, Genentech, Cisco, Hitachi, Lippincott, Ernst and Young, First Republic, Stand and Deliver Consulting, The National Association of Speakers, Fripp & Associates, Stanford’s Executive Program for Women and Women in Entrepreneurship Program, eBay’s Global Women’s Conference and Women In Cable Telecommunications. Her work has been featured in “O” magazine. She has also been featured on NPR’s Philosophy Talk radio program for her work on understanding facial emotions in the treatment of Autism.


Kay served as Education Director at The California Shakespeare Festival. At Stanford, Kay performed multiple voices in “Encountering Homer’s Odyssey,” an online classics program through the Stanford/Princeton/Yale Alliance. She has directed and performed in educational and centennial projects for Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program, including the Emily Dickinson, William Saroyan, Charles Darwin, and Robert Frost centennials.


Kay is also a singer and actress who has performed in many Bay Area and regional theaters, including A.C.T., the Magic Theatre, the San Francisco and California Shakespeare Festivals, and Stanford Repertory Theatre. She has additional credits in voiceover, film, and television. Kay leads her own jazz ensemble, Black Olive Jazz. She draws from her acting background and her Mediterranean heritage to establish a unique sound in Jazz, bringing this vision to audiences all around the San Francisco Bay Area. Featuring Kay on vocals with master musicians from the local jazz scene, Kay performs songs from film and the Broadway stage to jazz standards, along with groundbreaking offerings from the “world music” genre.




Laxmi KumaranLecturer, Production Stage Management. Laxmi Kumaran has been working as a stage manager in the Bay Area since 2005 and is currently the Production Stage Manager at California Shakespeare Theater. Before moving to the Bay Area, Laxmi stage managed in Chicago for a variety of theaters, including the Goodman Theatre and the Court Theatre. Laxmi has taught in the theater departments at San Jose State, Northern Illinois and DePaul universities, and at the University of California Santa Cruz. She currently splits her time teaching at Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley.





Lecturer, Ballet. Anton Pankevich received his ballet training at Vaganova Ballet Academy in Russia and later on went to study at School of American Ballet and San Francisco Ballet School. Has danced with New York City Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, Royal Ballet of London, Pacific Northwest Ballet and Ballet San Jose. Has worked as a ballet master and a guest teachers with: English National Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, Wiesbaden Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Leipzig Ballet.


  VINTAGE@STANFORD.EDU     (650) 468-5862  ROBLE GYM ROOM 147


Richard PowersLecturer, Social Dance and Dance History. Over 7,000 Stanford students have discovered dance in Richard’s classes, and the waiting lists for Richard’s classes are consistently longer than the enrollment caps. Many of Richard’s social dance students have gone on to take other TAPS dance classes, and have continued a life in dance after Stanford. Richard also teaches workshops across the country and Canada, and has taught dance in Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Spoleto, Prague, Vienna, Geneva, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kirov, Tokyo and Kyoto, including 22 workshops in Russia, 25 in France, and 27 in Japan.


Powers was selected by the Centennial Issue of Stanford Magazine as one of Stanford University’s most notable graduates of its first century. In 1999 he was awarded the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for distinctive and exceptional contributions to education at Stanford University. Before leaving Cincinnati for Stanford, Richard was recognized as “Artist of the Year” in the Post-Corbett Awards, Cincinnati’s foremost arts recognition.


In addition to his TAPS courses, Richard has taught courses in period movement for theater for American Conservatory Theater San Francisco, period movement for opera for the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and period movement for opera for the College Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.


As a noted dance historian and choreographer, Richard choreographed Bill Irwin’s original production of Scapin (off Broadway), was the dance historian for the musical Titanic(Broadway), choreographed ragtime era dance for Faye Dunaway and Richard Widmark in Cold Sassy Tree, choreographed the 19th century ballroom dances for the Warner Bros. film North and South, trained the dancers in 19th century ballroom dances for the Tri-Star film Glory, and choreographed the Victorian ballroom dances for the public television film Mrs. Perkins’ Ball.


Richard’s numerous opera choreographies include the recent production of Alma Deutscher’s Cinderella for Opera San Jose, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Massenet’s Cendrillon, Monteverdi’s Madrigals of Love and War, Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedict and Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Theater choreographies include Shakespeare in Hollywood, My Antonia and Arcadiafor TheatreWorks, and Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and Shakespeare’s King Henry VIII for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.


Richard has directed performances of historic dance at the Smithsonian Institution, Henry Ford Museum, the National Governor’s Conference, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet Company, the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival, leading the Palace Hotel’s Valentines Ball, St. Moritz, Switzerland (featured on CBS “60 Minutes”); and a performance for Prince Mikasa of Japan. His workshops have been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities; The Fine Arts Fund; Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (New York City); Ohio Arts Council; American Studies Association; The Omega Institute; National Stephen Foster Conference; Goethe House New York; Lincoln Center, N.Y., Danses de Bon Ton, Paris; Arts et Mouvement, Paris; the City of Kharkiv, Ukraine; and the Beseda Dance Theatre in Prague. Publications includeWaltzing: A Manual for Dancing and Living, Redowa Press; Dancing Makes You Smarter, published in Australian Dance Review; and Guidelines for Dance Research, CDSS Journal.




Ronnie ReddickLecturer, Hip-Hop. Ronnie Reddick is one of the Bay Area’s most dynamic and multi-talented choreographers with an edge of what’s happening in the world of dance and fashion today. This multi-faceted San Francisco based Choreographer/Dancer made his mark by combining Hip Hop, Jazz, Fashion and Theatrics to create one of the most explosive and dynamic styles to hit the dance scene recently, making him one of the most sought after Hip Hop/Contemporary choreographers in the Bay Area and beyond. Along with his busy career, Reddick is also the Choreographer/Show Director at Asia SF. This unique restaurant/dining experience is taking the world by storm and features one of the most beautiful gender illusionists in the world.


In the entertainment world, Reddick has worked with such artists as Michael & Janet Jackson, Deborah Cox, Paula Abdul, Kristine W., Tony, Toni, Tone, Jody Watley, Santana, Kelly Price, RuPaul, Robin Thicke, Snoop Dogg, Overtone Band and M.C. Hammer along with many corporations like Sony, Sony PlayStation, Intuit, Prudential, Gap, Macy’s, MAC Cosmetics, Nordstrom, Starbucks, API, Apple Computer, Google, Yahoo, Xilinx, Sun Micro Systems, BEBE, Univision Television, E*Trade, Coca Cola, and Microsoft.


In addition to teaching at Stanford, Reddick teaches at Santa Clara University and has taught master classes around the world, including Princeton University, Japan, South Korea, Mexico and Canada. He continues to work with, train, and inspire dancers that are now dancing around the world. Reddick also teaches dancers about the business of dance and how to work in today’s world as a professional commercial dancer.


“Technique is only the beginning of what makes a memorable dancer, and we don’t start dancing to end up doing chorus,” says Reddick. “You have got to have that extra something.” It is through his experience and selfless devotion that Ronnie Reddick is inspiring a new generation of talent.




Lisa Rowland

Lecturer, Improv. Lisa Rowland is a San Francisco-based improviser, teacher and trainer. A mainstage company member at BATS Improv and a founding member of Improv Playhouse of San Francisco, she has performed and taught improvisation on stages throughout the Bay Area, and worldwide. She has headlined at improv festivals from Georgia to Germany, and has been a guest coach in improv communities as far away as Saudi Arabia and New Zealand.


Lisa graduated from Stanford in 2005 where she was a member of the Stanford Improvisors. She was lucky enough to study under professor emerita Patricia Ryan Madson, author of Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up (which Lisa highly recommends you procure and read right away). Lisa joyfully joined the Stanford faculty teaching TAPS 103 – Introduction to Improvisation – in 2014. 


In addition to teaching theatrical improvisation, she also leads improv-based trainings for professional teams focusing on communication, collaboration and creativity. She is a communication skills trainer with the SF-based company Speechskills, and is also the co-host of a podcast entitled Monster Baby: A Curious Romp Through The Worlds of Mindfulness and Improvisation.

RAISSA SIMPSON | Lecturer Fall '21



Raissa Simpson

Lecturer, Dance. Raissa Simpson is a scholar and artistic director of the San Francisco-based PUSH Dance Company. Her multidisciplinary dances are at the intersection of complex racial and cultural identities and centers around discourse on the complex experiences of racialized bodies. 

A graduate of SUNY Purchase with an MFA from UC Davis, Simpson had an extensive performance career with Robert Moses Kin and Joanna Haigood’s Zaccho Dance Theatre. Her choreography honors include Magrit Mondavi Award, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Foundation, California Arts Council, San Francisco Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and Grants for the Arts. 

Simpson has also taught for PUSH’s robust outreach program, which encompasses engaging youth with elements of dance and technology. She has held positions at UC Davis, San Francisco State University, Santa Clara University and as a visiting scholar for Sacramento State University. She is currently a lecturer at San Jose State University’s Communication Studies dept. teaching Race and Performance in addition to Contemporary Modern Dance at Stanford University (Autumn 2021). 

She has been presented by Joyce SoHo, Aspen Fringe Festival, Dance St. Louis, Ferst Center, Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival and Black Choreographers Festival. She has held creative residencies at Dance Initiative Carbondale, Bayview Opera House, Margaret Jenkins’ CHIME, African American Theater Alliance (AATAIN!) and CounterPulse. Her most recent writings on dance and technology were published in the Afrofuturistic anthology Critical Black Futures by Palgrave MacMillian.


MIKÉAH ERNEST JENNINGS | Mohr Visiting Artist Fall '21

  mejenn@stanford.edu MEMORIAL AUDITORIUM 107


Mikéah Jennings

It was onstage at Paramount Studios during the “Salute to the Winners” — an event celebrating the annual high school acting competition sponsored by the Drama Teachers Association of Southern California (DTASC) and hosted by Kevin Spacey — that a young Mikéah completely lost his mind and decided to turn his passion for acting and performance into a career.

Mikéah’s path as a performer has had its ups and downs much like the uneven dirt roads he grew up exploring. He graduated from the University of San Diego, California with a degree in Communications. He moved to New York in 2001 with a one-way plane ticket, and a month-long sublet, two suitcases and a teddy bear named Pepi.

Mikéah found New York to be more than a match for his indefatigable spirit, and a country boy’s hunger for experience. With his uninhibited approach to performance, fearless physicality, wild personal style, and unruly hair the work came quickly. Mikéah has been dividing his time building his commercial career with spots for Lipton Tea, and New Balance footwear; as well as touring the US, and Europe with a number of innovative writers and directors such as: Caden Manson/Big Art Group, Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and Jay Scheib. Mikéah is excited to continue building his film career having appeared in a number of independent film projects such as; Failing Better Now, Things That Go Bump In The Night and The Record Deal. He continues to pursue exciting new projects from contemporary playwrights and filmmakers; as well as performance art installations, site specific theater pieces, and music videos for some of NYC’s hottest recording artists.

Mikéah is 28% real, 10% recycled plastics, 42% imagined circumstances colliding with ubiquitous terrestrial matter and discarded tires. He enjoys watching horror movies in the afternoon, eating breakfast late at night, and enjoying the sunrise at dawn. http://mikeahjennings.com

AMANDA REID | Mellon Fellow in the Humanities



Amanda Reid

Mellon Fellow in the Humanities. Amanda Reid writes and teaches about dance, queer studies, transnational historical methodologies, post-colonial nationalisms, and Caribbean black radicalism. Her current manuscript project, “To Own Ourselves: Dance and Decolonization in the West Indies,” explores maximalist queer diaspora aesthetics in Jamaican concert dance to theorize Caribbean visions of blackness, bodily freedom, and cultural autonomy. Her research has been supported by the Mellon Mays Program, the Social Science Research Council, and the University of Michigan Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Amanda has curated exhibitions and performances at the FiveMyles Gallery and MoCADA Museum in Brooklyn. At The University of Michigan, she worked with the Daring Dances queer performance project. She received her PhD from the Department of History at The University of Michigan, and her BA from Williams College. 


PATRICIA RYAN MADSON | Senior Lecturer Emerita



Patricia Madson Ryan

Senior Lecturer Emerita, Improvisation. Patricia Ryan Madson was the 1998 winner of the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Outstanding Innovation in Undergraduate Education. She was on the faculty in the Drama Department at Stanford University from 1977 until 2005. She has served as the head of the Undergraduate Acting Program. Founder and coach of the Stanford Improvisors, she taught beginning and advanced level courses in improvisation for undergraduates as well as adults in Stanford’s Continuing Studies Program. In 1996 she founded the Creativity Initiative at Stanford, an interdisciplinary alliance of faculty who shared the belief that creativity can be taught.


Ryan Madson has taught “Design Improv” for the School of Engineering and was a Guest Lecturer for Engineering 145, Stanford Technology Ventures Program. She taught regularly for the Esalen Institute, and has given workshops for Sun Microsystems Japan Division, the California Institute for Integral Studies, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, the National Association of Drama Therapists, the Western Psychological Association, Duke University East Asian Studies Center, and the Meaningful Life Therapy Association in Japan. Ryan Madson combines her work in improvisation with work as a counselor using an Eastern approach to problem solving known as Constructive Living. Dr. David K. Reynolds certified her as a Constructive Living Instructor in 1987 at the Health Center Pacific on Maui. Additionally, she has been the American Coordinator of the Oomoto School of Traditional Japanese Arts in Kameoka, Japan. There she has studied tea ceremony and calligraphy.


Ryan Madson’s published writings include a chapter on constructive living in the 1995 anthology Mindfulness and Meaningful Work, edited by Claude Whitmyer (Parallex Press), as well as chapters in the SUNY Press books Plunging Through the Clouds and Flowing Bridges, Quiet Waters. Her first book, Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up was published by Random House (Bell Tower) in 2005, and named “One of the Best Spiritual Books of 2005” by Spirituality and Health. Improv Wisdom is also published as an Ebook and as an Audiobook read by the author. It has been translated and published into nine languages.

CONNIE STRAYER | Senior Lecturer Emerita



Connie Strayer

Connie Strayer is a Senior Lecturer Emerita at Stanford where she worked and taught in the areas of theatrical costume. In addition to courses in costume design, she also taught History of Fashion, Makeup Design, Textile Design and co-taught Introduction to Theatrical Design. In addition to teaching, she designed costumes for Main stage and Second stage productions for more than 30 years. Connie has also designed costumes for local companies such as Opera San Jose, TheatreWorks, Menlowe Ballet, Oakland Ballet, and her designs have traveled to New York, Atlanta, and Greece. She has also used her expertise as a textile designer in collaboration with other designers for companies such as San Francisco Ballet, American Conservatory Theatre, Alonzo King Lines Ballet, San Diego Opera and Guthrie Theatre. She has been working as a principal makeup artist at San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet and involved with other individual projects including a photo essay of HIV positive women of the Bay Area photographed by Annie Liebowitz. She has presented talks for the Textile Arts Council Lecture Series of the De Young Museums; PQ Scenofest at the Prague Quadrennial in Prague, Czech Republic; Scythia Textile Conference in Kerson, Ukraine; Izmir Economic University in Izmir Turkey, and for local costume related groups and organizations. Three of her publications appear in SURFACE, journal of the Surface Design Association. She was on the board of the Textile Arts Council from 2014-2018 and is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829, and Make up and Hair Stylists Union Local 706.