Kybele Dance Theater is dedicated to using contemporary dance to build bridges between cultures and genders. Turkish-born Seda Aybay draws upon her heritage to create innovative works that showcase the power of storytelling and stretch the boundaries of modern dance.
Spotlight Talk - Post-show conversations with the choreographer facilitated by Cihtli Ocampo. Learn more here.
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Born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, Seda Aybay founded Kybele Dance Theater's (KDT) in Los Angeles in 2003, and as the Artistic Director and Choreographer, she has produced, choreographed and performed multiple works. Her choreography has received the following awards: 2018 Outstanding Choreographer Youth America Grand Prix -- Las Vegas, 2017 Outstanding Choreographer Youth America Grand Prix – Las Vegas, 2016 Second Place McCallum Choreography Festival, 2016 First Place Front and Main Dance Festival, 2016 Outstanding Choreographer from Youth America Grand Prix – Los Angeles, 2015 Elite Original Choreography Award, Dance Under the Stars Festival, MAD BAD Festival and RAW 2011 Los Angeles Performing Artist Award. Seda’s works have been toured and presented in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Long Beach, Fresno, Concord, San Jose, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, New York, Temecula and Istanbul, Turkey. In 2018, Seda was invited to be in residency at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and was a recipient of the Marcus Residency at Washington University in St. Louis. Seda has choreographed and taught for Le Lyceé Français, Temecula Presents, Cal State Fresno (Residency), Santa Monica Collage, Front and Main Festival, LA Dance Festival, Cerritos College, Pierce College, Spectrum, Why Dance, Praxis Project, and LACSA. She has choreographed/performed at the Staples Center four times and for commercial and music videos in both the US and Turkey. Seda was featured on KTLA channel 9, Univision Kmex34, and twice on Fox 11 News. In addition to choreographing for KDT, Seda teaches modern classes at SMC as an Adjunct Professor, Yuri Grigoriev School of Ballet, and Danceline LA. Additionally, she prepares young students for Spotlight, Youth America Grand Prix and Elite dance competitions as well as college dance auditions with both training and original choreography.
Alan L. Perez was born in Lancaster, California and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. He received his BFA in Dance at Cal Arts and attended the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company International Dance Journey. He has performed with the Santa Clarita Ballet as well as performed works of Andres Tyson, Meryl Murman, WangYuanYuan, Lindsy Zapata, Pasadena Dance Theatre and Kira Blazek. Alan has done extensive commercial work for the Volleyball World Series, the City of Pasadena and Amazon to name just a few.
Alejandro Perez, a first generation Mexican American from Santa Monica, started as a street dancer but then took his first formal dance training as a sophomore at Hamilton High School. He has since studied and performed various disciplines with Karen McDonald, Andre Tyson, Desmond Richardson, Jackie Lopez, Breeze Leigh, Latreece Douglass, Sean Greene, Deniese Leitner, Jae Lee, Angela Jordan, Keelan Whitmore, Jermaine Spivey and more. He is currently on full scholarship at Alonzo King's Lines Ballet.
Christian Espinel, a native from Los Angeles, began his training with the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, learning various styles from ballet, jazz, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, tissue, character and Dunham among other techniques. He has performed in many of Debbie Allen’s original productions and, through DADA, joined Unity Dance Ensemble, a company founded by So You Think You Can Dance choreographer Tessandra Chavez. He has since worked with Rosero McCoy dancing on Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up,” as well as on BET in Debbie Allen’s “Hot Chocolate Nutcracker.” Christian then became a member of Utah’s ‘Best Of State’ company, Odyssey Dance Theatre, touring nationally as well as in Istanbul and throughout Germany. Christian also dances with JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble, Invertigo Dance Theatre and Pony Box Dance Theatre. Throughout this dance journey he has had the privilege to share the stage with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Raven-Simone, Jaleel White, Tichina Arnold, ELEW and many others.
David Matthew Rodriguez hails from Kansas by way of New Jersey. Rodriguez graduated from University of Kansas with a B.F.A in Dance and has studied jazz, modern, ballet as well as lyrical and hip hop. He has taught at local arts centers and dance studios across Northeast Kansas, most notably teaching and choreographing for the Kansas City based studio, Byrd's Dance and Gymnastics before moving to Los Angeles. He was a member of Achinta S. McDaniel's: Blue13 Contemporary Indian Dance Company before joining Kybele.
Genevieve Zander is a true Angelino who attended The Performing Arts Center in Van Nuys under Louise Mandel and Joseph Malone, training in their full-time apprentice program studying jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, voice, and acting. Genevieve attended the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UC Irvine and the World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department at UCLA. She has danced with Dominic Walsh in Houston and attended programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Spellbound Contemporary Ballet in Rome and Sidra Bell Dance New York. Genevieve has danced with LA Opera, Disney, Clairobscur Dance Company, Lucent Dossier Experience, Sarah Elgart/Arrogant Elbow and Ubuntu Dance Project.
Jessie Lee Thorne is from Los Angeles, California. Her dance training began at The Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and continued at The Boston Conservatory, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Creative Performance. Upon graduation, Jessie moved to Italy to join the Imperfect Dancers Company, where she resided for two years. She has traveled through America, Europe, Russia and Israel, performing works by Walter Matteini, Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Lester Horton, Doug Varone, Robert Moses Kin’ and Adam Barruch. She has premiered her own choreography at The Boston Conservatory and The American College Dance Festival.
Rachel Walton began her dance training in Leesburg, VA studying ballet, jazz, and contemporary from a young age. After high school, she was accepted into the inaugural class of BFA dance students at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. While in Los Angeles, she has enjoyed studying under the prestigious faculty, artists in residence and guest faculty at USC as well as adding hip-hop to her training. Entering into her senior year, she has performed in works by William Forsythe, Jiri Kylian, Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, and Aszure Barton. Rachel has enhanced her training through a variety of summer programs, including Springboard Danse Montreal, BalletX, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
Sy Lucas recently completed the Certificate Program at The Ailey School in New York City. He has received rave reviews in DanceNow Festival Encore and appeared on BET, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, the Emmy Awards and on the cover of O Magazine. Sy has performed works by a variety of well-known choreographers including Alvin Ailey, Debbie Allen, Mia Michaels, Tyce Diorio, Otis Sallid and Karen McDonald. Sy began his dance training in ballet at Santa Monica College and continued his training at Debbie Allen Dance Academy after receiving a full scholarship. He performed with Kybele in its early years and we are glad to welcome Sy back!