Associate Director for Community Collaboration, Francisco Gella Dance Works
Teaching Artist: Ballet, Modern, Contemporary
Yusha-Marie Sorzano is an Afro-Caribbean immigrant hailing from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. She is a relentless, dynamic performing artist, choreographer, director, and educator who has worked in concert dance, theater, opera, television, and film.
Ms. Sorzano is an alumna of Armour Dance Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and New World School of the Arts, and she is a Winner in Dance from YoungArts. She graduated from the Ailey/Fordham BFA program, and in her junior year she joined Ailey II on invitation. To date, Ms. Sorzano has performed in 8 renowned dance companies, including Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, TU Dance, Morphoses, BODYTRAFFIC, and LA Dance Project. She is currently a member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers, having been an original cast member of both the Bessie-nominated Black Girl: Linguistic Play, and Ink, the 2nd and 3rd installments of Brown’s acclaimed trilogy.
In 2020, Judith Jamison, Artistic Director Emeritus of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, recommended Ms. Sorzano join the choreographic team to create a new work celebrating the 60th Anniversary of Alvin Ailey’s seminal work, Revelations. Spearheaded by Ailey Associate Artistic Director Matthew Rushing, Testament premiered as one of the Ailey company’s first digital works. Ms. Sorzano integrated the use of American Sign Language in the work as a means of continuing Alvin Ailey’s legacy of lifting up minorities, specifically the African American peoples. Hard of hearing herself, Ms. Sorzano wanted audiences to acknowledge the often intersectional experience of being a minority.
In addition to Testament, Ms. Sorzano has created works for Ballet Idaho, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, California Institute of the Arts, The Ailey School, and Zeitgeist Dance Theatre, where she serves as a founding Co-Artistic Director. She has been the recipient of a New Directions Choreography Lab with the Alvin Ailey Organization (2018), a YoungArts Artist Fellowship (2019), a Dance Lab New York Nexus Residency (2020), a Watermill Center Fellowship (2021), and a New York Public Library Dance Research Fellowship in the Jerome Robbins Dance Division (2020-2021). Most recently, she was nominated by a panel of female leaders in the concert dance world, including Virginia Johnson, the Artistic Director of the Dance Theater of Harlem, and Lourdes Lopez, the Artistic Director of Miami City Ballet, as one of four “Female Choreographers of Color in Ballet” to participate in a cohort/residency program in partnership with Dance Lab New York and The Joyce Foundation.
Ms. Sorzano is currently co-leading and choreographing a new musical titled We Won’t Sleep, and she is special faculty and a mentor at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in the School of Dance. She will rejoin CalArts in Fall 2022 as Director of the BFA Program in the School of Dance.