Peter Stathas fell forward into the choreographic process early and naively in his dance career. As a young dancer, Peter found himself not connecting with much of the work that was being produced. This led him to start creating his own work even though he didn’t know much about being a choreographer. Peter started out working with slim budgets, peers that were willing to take a chance and limited opportunities. Many workshops and showcases later, he began to gain some support for his work. A few commissions led to further confidence, less fear and more belief. But it wasn’t to be. New responsibilities happened in his life, derailing his artistic aspirations.
In 2016, at the age of 60, Peter found himself with a yearning to re-event the dance career he left behind. After conversations with trusted colleagues, Peter had the idea to form Peter Stathas Dance. The decision to form the company solidified when he was accepted into Doug Varone’s Devices choreography intensive in 2018. This set the stage for Peter to begin creating new work with the dancers that are now part of his company. In 2019, Peter Stathas Dance was selected by Danspace Community ACCESS program to perform his curated program “Leaving and Coming Back.” In February 2020, Peter Stathas Dance premiered a new work “In The Garden” as a part of the Gibney POP Series. In 2020-2021, Peter and company worked remotely to create “What We Have To Give,” a dance film consisting of six solos and one duet, which premiered in June of 2021. Later that year Peter founded “The Barn Project” residency in the rural town of Elkhorn, WI. It began as a way of creating a safe space to bring the company back together for the first time since February, 2020, and has transformed into a dance incubator for artists of the midwest to present work and connect artists from different communities. During the Barn Project 2022 residency we premiered four new works and engaged with invited choreographers Sara Hook, David Parker, Jeff Kazin, Dawn Springer and Amy Wilkinson. We also invited students from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Loyola University to take company class, observe our rehearsal process, and gain new perspectives by having a round table discussion with the company. The company traveled to Austin Texas in June of 2022 where we held our first ever summer workshop with a residency at First Street Studio. We are beginning our 2023 season with our first live New York City performance since the grip of the 2020 pandemic.
Peter’s choreographic inspiration comes from many places. He is an incredibly observant person and chooses to live life in the moment. His observation of life lies in the nuances of the background instead of what is obviously right there in front of him. His view of the world comes to him from all of his senses which keeps him grounded in the present. These are the traits that drive Peter’s creative process
The mission of Peter Stathas Dance is to give dancers a forum to unleash their creativity and individuality through a collaborative process. Through developing his work, Peter values the whole artist, connecting with their history and creating dances that reflect both himself and his collaborators. As part of valuing the whole artist, Peter Stathas Dance is committed to ensuring dancers are able to practice and perform their craft while earning a living wage. Peter aims to create artistic dialogues/exchanges between his home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and New York City, engaging and connecting with artists from different communities.
Inspire and empower dancers to reach their full potential
Share the experience, knowledge, and diversity gained in a career spanning over 35 years
Ensure that all artists get equal opportunities and earn a living wage
Engage with art and communities through our common humanity
Peter Stathas began his dance career at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and transferred to SUNY Purchase to finish his dance training. He moved to New York City to study with such dance luminaries as Gerri Houlihan, Lar Lubovitch, Mel Wong, Mark Morris and his mentor Maggie Black. He performed with the Jose Limon Dance Company and worked extensively with Bessie winning choreographer and filmmaker Marta Renzi.
For the past 30 years, Peter has worked as a Physical Therapist forming his own successful private practice, Freedom Physical Therapy Services, which has four locations in the greater Milwaukee area.
After a long hiatus, his love for dance inspired his decision to return to choreography. Peter returned to the stage in 2016 presenting his first work in over 30 years.
Mariah Gravelin (she/her) | Dancer
Mariah grew up and began her dance training in Southeastern Connecticut under the direction of Gloria Govrin, where she began her Limón training with Libby Nye at the age of 11. She continued her classical training and received her BFA from the Ailey/Fordham Program, where she performed works by Alvin Ailey, José Limón, Paul Taylor, and others. Mariah has been a dancer with the Limón Dance Company since January 2019 and joined Peter Stathas Dance in the summer of 2021. During her time in the Limón Company, she has performed both classical and contemporary works around the world. In addition to her performing career, Mariah also serves on the teaching faculty of the Limón Institute, is the Social Media Associate for the José Limón Dance Foundation, and is a freelance photographer @mariahgravelinphoto.
Ty Graynor (he/him) | Dancer
Ty, from Huntington, NY, received his BFA in Dance from The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. Throughout his training he has performed works by Martha Graham, José Limón, Doris Humphrey, Doug Varone, Bryan Arias, Adam Barruch, and Manuel Vignoulle. In 2018, he trained at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance as a Company Dancer with Graham 2. In 2019 he joined the Limón Dance Company as a performing and teaching artist. In 2022, he relocated to Austin, Texas and is focused on creating opportunities for the local community to use movement as a tool for expansion and expression.
Selina Shida Hack (she/her) | Dancer
Selina Shida Hack (Queens, New York) is a dance artist and choreographer based in New York, USA, and Berlin, Germany. Selina hopes to create works that connect authentic movement with other mediums to develop intricate & honest visuals. She has roots in Guyana and Japan: a wide-angle view of the world that fuels her joy for constantly exploring new visual techniques inspired by different cultures.
She has trained at The Alvin Ailey School, SUNY Purchase College, and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. Selina has had the privilege to perform works by Hivewild, Keigwin + Co., Peter Stathas Dance, Martha Graham, Sidra Bell, Kimberly Bartosik, Danae Dimitriadi & Dionysios Alamanos, Celia Rowlson-Hall, Nicole von Arx, and Megan Lawson.
As a choreographer, Selina has presented her work at La Spezia Festival (Italy), Kaatsbaan Summer Dance Festival, and The Historic Green-Wood Cemetery. Selina has starred in films, F L U X (2021), Shelter Island (2021), and Wait A Minute (2021). Through her commercial work, Selina has worked for musical artists, such as Madonna, Black Violin, Jukebox the Ghost, and Halestorm. To further spread her love for movement, Selina has taught at Tanzfabrik Berlin, Dance Theater of Harlem, and Dance Cork Firkin Crane.
Andrew McShea (he/him)| Dancer
Andrew McShea is from Virginia, USA. He began his training in ballet and jazz at the Loudoun School of Ballet. He proceeded to earn a BFA in Dance from Point Park University, under the direction and mentorship of Rubén Graciani. He has had the privilege to perform works by Andrea Miller, Robin Mineko Williams, Zack Winokur and Julia Eichten, Micaela Taylor and many more. In addition to working with Peter Stathas Dance, Andrew is currently working with Patrick O’Brien Dance Project, as well as White Wave Young Soon Kim Dance Company.
Paulina Meneses (she/they) | Dancer
Paulina Meneses is a Fil-Am freelance artist originally from Las Vegas, NV where she began her dance training at Inspire Dance Company and Las Vegas Academy of the Arts. In 2018, she graduated magna cum laude from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arts Management. During her time in college, she performed works by Shannon Gillen, Kimberly Bartosik, Xan Burley, Sue Bernhard, Alexandra Beller, and Trisha Brown. After moving to New York City upon graduation, Paulina had the pleasure of working with Doug Varone and Dancers, Dylan Crossman, A-Y/Dancers, and Hannah Garner’s 2nd Best Dance Company. She also assisted Kyle Abraham on his premiere New York City Ballet piece “The Runaway”. In addition to Peter Stathas Dance, Paulina currently collaborates and dances for MeenMoves, Jody Oberfelder, Julia Antinozzi, Periapsis Music & Dance, Marie Paspe, and Johnnie Cruise Mercer.
Lauren Twomley (she/her) | Dancer, Rehearsal Coordinator, Social Media Manager
Lauren Twomley, born in Brooklyn, New York, graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Arts Management. She began her professional training at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. During her Purchase career she has studied under a renowned faculty and has worked with a variety of choreographers including Doug Varone, Sidra Bell, Dylan Crossman, Kevin Wynn and Ana Maria Lucaciu. She has also performed in masterworks by choreographers Martha Graham, José Limón and Merce Cunningham. In fall of 2016, she was afforded the opportunity to study abroad in Rotterdam, Holland at Codarts Dans Acadamie where she explored the repertoire of Jiri Kylian and Joost Vrouenraets while performing in small projects around the city of Rotterdam. Companies she has danced for include Crossman Dan(s)ce, A-Y Dancers, and Obremski Works. Lauren currently works with Soluq Dance Theater, is a performing and teaching artist with the Limón Dance Company and acts as a dancer, rehearsal coordinator and social media manager for Peter Stathas Dance.