The MIDDAY Staff
MARISSA MOLINAR (she/her) (Director/Founder)
MARISSA MOLINAR is a contemporary dancer, arts administrative activist, and Founder/Director of Midday Movement Series, a grassroots initiative cultivating a new generation of dance leaders. She holds a Bachelors in Environmental Science from Brown University with a focus in Urban Conservation and Environmental Justice, and she holds a certificate in Contemporary Dance from the Professional Training Program at Gibney Dance in NYC. A late-comer to contemporary dance, Marissa's administrative work focuses on creating artistic sustainability by empowering artists in their fierce individuality while building fierce community.
She is passionate about centering artists and administrators of color at all levels of the arts ecosystem. Marissa was the first Coordinator for the Network for Arts Administrators of Color at ArtsBoston, and she has worked as a consultant with Urbanity Dance, Next Steps for Boston Dance, and others. She is currently a Create The Vote Fellow with arts advocacy organization MassCreative. As an artist, Marissa is a self-described "professional class-taker," dedicated to taking every MIDDAY class and as many classes in the Greater Boston dance scene as possible. Marissa is a performer with Nathan Trice / RITUALS Dance Theater in Brooklyn NY and is a proud founding member of Ruckus Dance directed by Michael Figueroa.
ASIA PYRON (she/her)
Asia Pyron is a freelance choreographer and the director of PYDANCE. Asia is originally from Atlanta, GA but received most of her early training at Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan. After graduating highschool, Asia attended the Boston Conservatory at Berklee where she received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Performance and Composition in 2020. During her time in Boston, she formed her dance collective, PYDANCE, and performed in local dance festivals such as the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Onstage360, and the Boston Conservatory WinterWorks concerts. Asia has been commissioned as a guest artist at institutions and companies such as the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, URBANITY Dance, DanceLab NY, and VLA Dance.
Asia has also been awarded various grant and residency opportunities such as the Metro Arts THRIVE Grant, South Arts Cross Sector Impact Grant in partnership with Creative Parks Nashville, and the Mare Nostrum Elements: Emerging Choreographers Series. Asia is the Marketing Associate for MIDDAY after her year long internship working with Marissa Molinar during her senior year of college. Asia currently resides in Nashville, TN, where she continues to create work for PYDANCE and other dance organizations throughout the country.
SARAH PACHECO (she/her)
Sarah Pacheco, originally from Southern California, is a freelance artist, administrator, and educator living in Boston, MA. She graduated with a B.A. in Dance and Business Administration with a Concentration in Arts Administration from Goucher College. She has had the opportunity to work with VLA DANCE, Eliza Malecki Dance, the Izizwe Collective, the Slutcracker, and Shura Baryshnikov through the Boston Lyric Opera. Sarah is also a certified GYROTONIC® Instructor and an arts administrator with local organizations including Midday Movement Series and the Urbano Project.
MIDDAY Shuffle Teachers
Andrea Muñiz (she/they)
Andrea Muñiz(she/they) is a movement artist and educator, based in Boston, MA. Andrea grew up in the heart of San Juan, learning from her family and from her time as a student at Andanza. They obtained a BFA in Contemporary Dance Performance from The Boston Conservatory. They’ve performed with El Taller Juvenil de Andanza, The Robin Aren Company, Danza Organica, The Gold Dust Orphans, and Abilities Dance Boston. She’s a 2021 NEFA New England Dance Fund recipient, a Mass Cultural Council Creative Youth Development Program fellow and a 2022 Bates Dance Festival YDW Mentor. Her style is influenced by modern and contemporary forms with a pedestrian and vernacular twist. Her work explores play, spontaneity, and pleasure. She is joyful to connect with people through movement with Midday Movement Series.
MIDDAY Short Series Teachers
Claire Lane is a dance artist, educator, and choreographer. She graduated summa cum laude in 2020 from Smith College with a B.A. in Dance and French Studies with the distinction of highest honors. A recipient of the Five College Dance Department Virginia K. Wagner Scholarship and the Smith College Excellence in Dance Studies award, she performed in works by Doug Varone, Bebe Miller, Ephrat Asherie, Angie Hauser, Chris Aiken, and Rodger Blum. During her undergraduate studies, Claire pursued training internationally at P.A.R.T.S under the direction of Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker in Belgium, and at Trinity Laban Conservatory in London.
Claire Lane (she/her)
Currently, she is a company member with Kairos Dance Theater and Abilities Dance Boston, and has freelanced with Holly Stone/StoneWorks Productions, Chavi Bansal, Haley Andrews/Andrews Movement, and Eliza Malecki Dance at esteemed venues including the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston and L.A. Dance Project. She is the co-founder and Artistic Visionary of detritus dance alongside collaborator Caroline Bradbury, a multidisciplinary collective centering feminist story-telling through contemporary dance, collage, and text. Their work has been presented throughout Greater Boston at The Dance Complex and the Somerville Armory with funding from the Somerville Arts Council and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Outside of her performance career, Claire serves as Administrative Assistant for VLA Dance and teaches Contemporary and Ballet to all levels of students from toddlers to adults. She is apart of MIDDAY's Outreach Team and Short Series Cohort.
Dara Capley (she/her)
Dara is a dancer and choreographer who seeks to make innovative and explorative work. Dara has grown from performing works by Christopher Huggins, Mary Ellen Beaudreau, José Limón, Gina Patterson, Dominic Walsh, Ty Parmenter, Katherine Bickford, Holly Stone, Ellice Patterson, Yury Yanowsky, and Jessi Stegall. Dara’s choreography, which focuses on texture and initiation points of movement, has been presented by RI Women’s Choreography Project, WaterFire Arts, The Dance Complex, Revolve Dance Project, and Dance Canvas.
MIDDAY Ongoing Teachers
Sasha Peterson currently lives and grew up dancing in the Boston area. In 2016, she completed a dance major at Connecticut College, through which she had the privilege of learning from and performing works by renowned dance faculty and guest artists. Sasha has worked with Ali Kenner Brodsky & Co., Audrey Maclean, Betsy Miller Dance Projects, Boston Lyric Opera, Grant Jacoby & Dancers, Jessy Zizzo & Dancers, Laila Franklin, Lisa Race, Shura Baryshnikov, and apprenticed at David Dorfman Dance. She is a company member at Ruckus Dance and VLA DANCE, and is also in process with Continuum Dance Project. She currently teaches at Midday Movement Series and is also a licensed massage therapist.
Sasha Peterson (she/her)
MIDDAY Mentored Teachers
Victoria Awkward (She/her)
Victoria Lynn Awkward is a multi-hyphenate creator, administrator, educator and the Director of VLA DANCE. Through her work she aims to inspire people to pause and reflect on their actions towards themselves, their community and their environment. She pursued her multiple interests at Goucher College and graduated with high honors in Dance, Visual Art and Education. Alongside directing VLA DANCE, Victoria is a freelance artist, who most recently choreographed The Boy Who Kissed the Sky with Company One Theatre, Bluebeard’s Castle and Romeo and Juliet with Boston Lyric Opera and Commonwealth Shakespeare Company. Victoria is also an educator having worked at Salem State University, Brown University, West End House, Middlesex School, and Urbanity Dance.
She continues to deepen her teaching practices as a mentee with the Midday Movement Series. Ultimately, she utilizes creative practices to claim joy and love of her existence as a Queer Black Woman, and inspires others to thoughtfully own their respective identities. Victoria is currently a Brother Thomas Fellow, and recipient of the Next Steps for Boston Grant Program as well as a recipient the Queer (Re)public Theater Offensive Residency.
Caitlin Canty is a dancer, choreographer, and educator based in Somerville, MA. She is the Director of Eventual Dance Company, where she makes dances that explore the humorous and the horrible for the stage and screen. She has had the pleasure of dancing with ZoeDance, Luminarium Dance Company, BalletsRuses, Jenna Pollack and Projects, Ruckus Dance, Attn:Dance, and others, and her own work has been presented at ArtAssembled at the Armory, W.I.P. at the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, Cambridge Community Television, The Dance Complex, Third Life Studio, and The Yard. Alongside teaching for MIDDAY Movement Series, she also teaches at West Concord Dance Academy in Concord, MA.
Caitlin Canty (she/her)
Laila J. Franklin (she/her)
(MIDDAY Social Justice Team)
Laila J. Franklin is a dance artist from the DMV. She is an Iowa Arts Fellow and Dance MFA candidate at the University of Iowa, and holds a BFA in Contemporary Dance with a composition emphasis from The Boston Conservatory. She’s performed work by Aszure Barton, Keith Thompson, Zoe Scofield, and Gabe Anderson, and has collaborated with Ruckus Dance, Christopher-Rasheem McMillan, Jennifer Kayle, Melinda Jean Meyers, and Kate Vincek. She is a co-founder and member of Dance Farm Collective.
Noli Rosen (she/her)
(MIDDAY Social Justice Team)
Noli Rosen is a contemporary dancer, a radical birthkeeper, a nanny, and the youngest sister. Her parents, both Jews, raised her in the Boston Area, on music and community organizing, showing her that art and justice were no different from life. She choose to dance because it soaks her in joy, an unconscious and unstoppable flood, and makes Noli feel her power. In Noli's dance work, she pursues physical rigor, beauty, and human relationship. She is a teacher and part of the Social Justice Team here at Midday, and proud of the Decentering Whiteness curriculum that our team developed for teachers and facilitators of dance. Noli performs with Eventual Dance Company, as well as in her own work. She believes strongly that dance and movement are human NEEDS, and we need to remember how to trust our bodies.