JULY 29 - AUGUST 4, 2024


NEW MEXICO'S FESTIVAL OF Performance & Choreography

'Threat' performed by Zeitgeist Dance Theatre Second Company at the 2023 New Century Dance Project, choreographed by Yusha Marie Sorzano, captured by Audrey Derrell

Choreography Submissions
Are Due March 15, 2024

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Our mission is to advance excellence in artistic expression, choreographic process, and performance by nurturing high school and collegiate preprofessional dancers as well as early-career dancemakers. Festival components include a choreography intensive for dancers ages 15 - 24, a choreography competition, concert performances, and community outreach events.

New Century Dance Project is

Nurturing Performance Artists And Choreographers Who Are Fearless And Unapologetically Authentic

Credit: Yuniel Betencourt dances his own award winning choreography, ‘FREYR!’ at the 2023 New Century Dance Project.

Yuniel was the 2023 Critics Choice Award recipient in the High School Division

Music Credits:  Freyr! - performed by Peter Broderick -  Written By Peter Ray Broderick and Steven Broderick

Supporting Team


Francisco Gella

Founding Artistic Director

Co-Artistic Director, Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

Francisco Gella’s distinguished career as a professional dancer, choreographer, artistic director and dance educator in the genres of ballet, modern and contemporary dance, spans more than twenty years since he took his first ballet class at the University of Washington during his freshman year. As an educator, Francisco believes that the key to excellence in dance arts moving forward is inspiring dance makers and performing artists to see what is possible through honoring historical foundations of technique and artistry, appreciating the diversity of style and genre in contemporary dance, realizing the body-mind-spirit connection in creating powerful movement, and experiencing transformative opportunities to be mentored by professional dancers who model what it takes to be successful in finding their own voice and to acquire the essential tools for success.

Festival Managing Director: Jeffrey Hoffman

Festival Operations Coordinator: Tara Debevec

Resident Dance Company: Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

Through my time at NCDP, I had the opportunity to connect with various dancers, dance-makers, and artists alike, all of which held the kindest hearts and the most honest artistic approaches, allowing care, vulnerability, and passion for the art of dance in its purest form. Presenting work alongside such an amazing group of creatives and choreographers, I left NCDP feeling heavily inspired, fulfilled, and understood in my artistry. Overall, I gained a larger trust for the uncertainty of creation and appreciating the value an idea has from its beginning, to its wavering process of workshopping, until its final resolution.

Brenan Gonzalez

2023 NCDP Critics Choice Award recipient in the undergraduate category
USC Kaufman Junior pursuing a BFA in Dance



Each year, the New Century Dance Project Artistic Director selects venerable, award-winning artists to share their extensive knowledge, experience and wisdom with festival intensive participants. You can find out more about them and our resident artists by visiting our teaching faculty page.

Jim Vincent
Jim Vincent
Dance & Creative Consultant,
Director, and Educator
Courtney Henry
Interdisciplinary Creator, Writer, and Educator
Zak Ryan Schlegel 
Choreographer, Artistic Director, and Educator


NCDP offers outstanding opportunities for Emerging Professional, Undergraduate, and High School Choreographers to showcase their work on a professional stage at the festival.


Two culminating concerts of the festival weekend bring together a diverse group of emerging professional, and student choreographers from across North America who have been selected from a talented pool who submitted their work for consideration. These artists selected as NCDP finalists represent some of the best of our collective dance future. The work of these choreographers is presented on stage and adjudicated. Winning work awarded cash prizes.


TBD (sometime between August 1 and 3)


  • $3,000 to 1st Place Critics Choice Awardee in the Emerging Professional Category
  • $2,000 to 1st Place Critics Choice Awardee in the Undergraduate College Student Category
  • $1,000 to 1st Place Critics Choice Awardee in the High School Student Category

An additional $300.00 “Audience Choice” award will be presented to one choreographer in each category!


All choreographer finalists whose work is selected to be presented at the festival will receive:

  • A video of their performance
  • Still images of their performance
  • Critiques from an expert panel of adjudicators
  • A Feedback Forum with the adjudicators following the New Voices Concert

'Monologue' choreographed by Lu Wang, (California State University Long Beach, BFA, New York University, MFA) 2023 Critics Choice winner in the Emerging Professional category. Performed by Lu Wang and Yuxi Liu. Captured by Audrey Durell.

2023 Choreographer Finalists

The following lists represent the past year’s choreographer finalists and festival concerts. The 2024 choreographers will be selected by April 15 and will be listed here at that time.

New Voices Concert

Presented on Friday, August 4, 2023

The High School Finalists

Yuniel Betancourt

Hialeah, FL

New World School of the Arts
*Grand Prize Recipient

Sophie Biderman

Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico School for the Arts and NDI New Mexico

Lillian Smith

Tyler, TX

Dance Town

Alexis Stus

Dallas, TX

Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
*People's Choice Award Winner

Helena Merlino and Audry Gonzalez-Rutt

Santa Fe, NM

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet School, New Mexico School for the Arts and National Dance Institute of New Mexico

Orlando Paz

Los Angeles , CA

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

Jordan Plange

Los Angeles, CA 

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

The Undergraduate Finalists

Bianca Calderone

Pittsburgh, PA 

Point Park University, BFA in Dance

Brenan Gonzalez

Los Angeles, CA

USC Kauffman, BFA in Dance
*Grand Prize Recipient

Amber Lew
and Lucia Taylor

Boston, MA

Boston Conservatory at Berklee, BFA in Dance

Anastasia Miller

Spring, TX

University of Arizona, BFA in Dance
*People's Choice Award Winner

Katie Tuchi

Phoenix, AZ

Loyola Marymount University, BA in Dance

New Voices Concert

Thursday, August 4th

The Presenting Undergraduate Choreographers

Meredith Brown

Asheville, NC 

Fordham University and

The Ailey School

Grace Coleman

Centennial, CO

New York University

Marissa Furfaro

Pittsburgh, PA

Purchase College State University of New York -

Conservatory of Dance

Ekko Greenbaum

West Palm Beach, FL

The Boston Conservatory

Tulia Marshall

New Paltz, NY

Purchase College State University of New York -

Conservatory of Dance

Anastasia Miller

The Woodlands, TX

University of Arizona

The Woodlands, TX

University of Arizona

Alicia Pak

San Jose, CA

California Institute of the Arts

Binyamin Salzano

Fort Collins, CO

Colorado State University

The Presenting High School Choreographers

Zoe Baber

Agoura Hills, CA

Elite Dance and Performing Arts Center

Sophie Biderman

Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico School for the Arts and

National Dance Institute New Mexico

Lorena Daily

Winter Park, FL

Skyra Studios

Bijou Douglas

Torrance, CA

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts

Avery Gay

Scottsdale, AZ

Club Dance

Addison Rey Hill

Valencia, CA

Los Angeles High School for the Arts and Shooting Stars Dance Studio

Lucia Rosen

Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico School for the Arts and

National Dance Institute New Mexico

Avery Trammell

Aurora, CO

Mpact Dance Project

Joey Vice

Westerville, OH

Generations Performing Arts Center

Shana Winer

Miami, FL

Miami Dance Collective

The Emerging Professional Finalists

Deanna Stanton

Little Rock, AR 

University of Cincinnati, BFA in Ballet

Beth Twigs

Seattle, WA

Colorado State University Global Campus, BS Marketing, University of Washington, MFA Candidate

Rebecca Wright

Los Angeles, CA

University of the Arts, BFA
*People's Choice Award Winner

Lu Wang 

Long Island City, NY

California State University Long Beach, BFA 
New York University, MFA
*Grand Prize Recipient

The Amplified Concert

Friday, August 5

The Presenting Emerging / Professional Choreographers

Arturo Garcia

El Paso, TX

NGL by J2k Dance Studio

Claude “CJ” Johnson

Brooklyn, NY

AIM by Kyle Abraham

Glen R. Lewis

Portsmouth, VA

Iswel Dance Theater

Sophia Oddi

Los Angeles, CA


Zak Ryan Schlegel

El Prado, NM

Shen Wei Dance Arts

An Evening of World Premieres with Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

Presented on Saturday, August 5, 2023

Presenting Choreographers:

Barak Marshall

Los Angeles, CA

Artistic Director, Barak Marshall Dance Theatre

Francisco Gella

Santa Fe, NM

Co-Artistic Director, Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

Yusha-Marie Sorzano

Los Angeles, CA

Co-Artistic Director, Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

An Evening of World Premieres w/ Zeitgeist Dance Theatre and the NCDP Choreography Awards Ceremony

Saturday, August 6

Presenting Choreographers:

Lauren Edson

Boise, ID

Artistic Director, LED Boise

Francisco Gella

Santa Fe, NM

Co-Artistic Director, Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

Yusha-Marie Sorzano

Los Angeles, CA

Co-Artistic Director, Zeitgeist Dance Theatre

A Reputation for Educational & artistic Excellence


The Festival Intensive is for preprofessional dancers ages 15-24 and features master classes, workshops, choreography,  and concerts for the seven-day event. You can either start by learning about the schedule, workshops, and more or, if you are ready to register for NCDP 2024, you can go ahead and enroll today. Registration for the Intensive means that you will receive access to all of the festival concerts too!

Register by March 15, 2024 to receive the Early Bird Discount!

Please message us in the chatbox below or contact us if you have any questions about New Century Dance Project.