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Founder/Artistic Director/Curator

CAROL NOLTE/DANCE COLLECTIVE (Artistic Director) founded WestFest 14 years ago as a response to the financial strain of the recession, offering choreographers free or low-cost performance opportunities at the Westbeth Artisits’ Residence, her home for the last 35 years.  She has also created over 50 dances for her award-winning company Dance Collective. Recently, her work has been seen at Merce Cunningham Studio, The Kitchen, Joyce SoHo, The 92nd Street Y Fridays at Noon.  She has also co-founded and produced three dance festivals, DanceBLITZ, Taos Dance 2000, and, currently, WestFest. 

She graduated from Brown University with honors in American Civilization and took an advanced degree in dance at The New School.

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DYLAN BAKER is a New York City based dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist, Dylan is originally from the boondocks of Wisconsin where he acquired a BFA in Dance at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Along with works by BOiNK! Dance & Film, Dylan can be found dancing with David Parker & The Bang Group and Matthew Westerby Company. Behind the scenes for once, he is proud to be a producer for the annually held WestFest dance festival at Westbeth Artist Housing and Center for the Arts.


When Mr. Baker is not performing or producing, he wears his teaching hat at The Steffi Nossen School of Dance in White Plains, NY and Rivertown Dance Academy in Tarrytown, NY.



RACHAEL LIEBLEIN-JURBALA (she/her) is a New York City-based dancer and choreographer. She serves as Program Manager for the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at the 92nd Street Y, NY, and sits on the board of the Sasamani Foundation - an organization dedicated to increasing access to education and employment opportunities for women and girls in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. 

In her capacity as choreographer, Rachael's work investigates sociological questions and aims to provoke conversation, in hopes that she, the performer, and the viewer may all find deeper self-awareness and subsequent potential for radical empathy.  


Rachael holds a bachelor's degree in Dance and Sociology with a certificate in Community Action and Public Policy from Connecticut College. 


Producer/President, Westbeth Artists Residents Council

ERIN QUINN PURCELL has worked as an actor/director/writer in New York City for over 25 years. She serves as President of the Westbeth Artists Residents Council. She is currently working with Jay Reiss (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) on a new musical, Iceboy! (music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann) at the Pasadena Playhouse starring Megan Mullally, Nick Offerman, Adam Devine and Laura Bell Bundy. You can watch 4 numbers from the musical on their website:


2024 Top Floor Guest Curators


2024 Top Floor Guest Curator

PETER CHENG is a Taiwanese-American dancer, choreographer, and art model who hails from San Francisco, CA. Holding a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of California at Santa Barbara, his early training began under the direction of Christopher Pilafian (Jennifer Muller/The Works), Nancy Colahan (Lar Lubovitch Dance Company), Tonia Shimin (Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble). 


Peter continued on to pursue professional training with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, ODC/Dance, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Post:Ballet, Sidra Bell Dance NY, Visceral Dance Chicago and attended intensives at Springboard Danse Montréal, Northwest Dance Project, YYDC, and NVA & Guests. 


He currently freelances in New York City and has performed with konverjdans, Thomas/Ortiz Dance, LaneCoArts, Project44 Dance, and CreArtBox, amongst others. 

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2024 Top Floor Guest Curator

JAMAL JACKSON was born in Brooklyn, New York and began his formal studies of movement with the Harlem based Batoto Yetu Dance Company. His pursuit of dance led him to Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he received the Weston Award for his contribution to the Fusion Dance Company and New Works/ World Traditions African Dance Company from 1996-2000. Jamal studied with Michelle Bach-Coulibaly, Seydou Coulibaly, and Fred Benjamin and worked under M’ba Coulibaly, Salimata Soumare from Kelete Dance Theatre, and Ba Issa Diallo, director of Troupe District du Bamako in Mali, West Africa. Jamal choreographed for the New York Arts Festival and Inaya Day in 2002, marking the beginning of his African based, modern technique. Jamal performed with Ballet International Africans for two seasons as a principal dancer and in 2004 he founded the Jamal Jackson Dance Company. The company’s work has been presented at venues including: Mark Morris Dance Center, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, NYC Summerstage Concert Series, Dance Now Festival, Triskelion Arts, Battery Downtown Dance Festival, Brown University, the Brooklyn Museum, Equality Now’s 20th Anniversary, Big Range Festival in Austin, TX, The Yard in Martha’s Vineyard, MA, Performance Spaces for the 21st Century in Chatham, NY, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, Pitt., GSUSA National Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, Abundance Festival in Karlstad, Sweden, 92nd street Y, and Jazz at Lincoln Center.


2024 Top Floor Guest Curator

ELLIE KUSNER is a teacher, Bessie Award-winning performer, and a passionate advocate for dancer health and wellbeing.

She began performing as a student of The Boston Ballet School, where she danced with the company in many large-scale productions. Realizing that a career in pointe shoes was not her destiny, Ellie went on to earn her BA from Barnard College before embarking on a freelance dance career, working with numerous choreographers including Mark Morris, Pam Tanowitz, Ellen Cornfield, Nilas Martins, and Patricia Hoffbauer, in venues ranging from warehouse rooftops to The Metropolitan Opera.


Ellie is a faculty member of the Dance Department at The Juilliard School. She holds an MSc in Dance Science from Trinity Laban, London, UK and enjoys exploring and implementing evidence-based teaching practices to enhance the learning, health, and performance of dancers. She has also taught at Hofstra University, American Ballet Theater’s JKO School, Boston Ballet, Barnard College, Slippery Rock University, Mark Morris Dance Center, Gallim, and Trinity Laban.


Ellie is a member of the Dance Educators’ Committee of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science. She is the co-founder of DanceWell Podcast, an acclaimed resource dedicated to exploring 360 degrees of health and wellness for dancers. She has contributed articles to Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher and Pointe.

2024 All Over Guest Curator

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2024 All Over Guest Curator

ASHLEY MCQUEEN, Founder/Artistic Director of Smashworks Dance, is a New York City-based performer, choreographer, and teaching artist. She holds a BFA in Dance from Webster University and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. She directs Smashworks Dance, a non-profit dance company advocating for women’s empowerment through performance and education outreach. She previously taught as an Adjunct Professor of Dance at Manhattanville College, and her collaboration credits include partnering with Rebel Girls Productions to write movement activities for their chapter book, “Alicia Alonso Takes The Stage.” Recently, she was promoted to Assistant to the Artistic Director and Studio Manager for Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, in addition to performing as a Company Artist. 

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