Kara Robertson, Artistic Director
Kara creates work inspired by the emotions associated with life events and experiences. Her abstract work engulfs the space in which it lives through highly physical, athletic movement. She creates paying careful attention to timing and spacing to deliver the piece’s message.
Kara founded KARAR DANCE COMPANY in 2016 to continue creating and presenting work professionally. The modern and contemporary dance company is based in Richmond, Virginia and actively presents work to the community through both formal and informal performance. Since its inception, KARAR DANCE COMPANY has grown into a multi-faceted, collaborative conduit for artistic expression. The company has worked with musician, Savannah Hatcher to create music video The Glass Ceiling, New York City’s Harper Continuum Dance Theatre for The First Annual Artists’ Showcase at The Barns of Kanak in Prince George, Virginia, and Gallery Edit and musician Ryan Davis in Downtown Richmond for Sessions: Affected. Kara and KARAR produced their second production Across Disciplines in October 2018, where she premiered three new works in collaboration with artists from the community; Affected, The In-between, and dance film Where to from here?. Kara most recently presented Amid at the American Dance Guild Festival in New York City at the Ailey Citigroup Theater.
In April 2018, Kara initiated Homegrown Choreographers, an online community run by KARAR DANCE COMPANY, where choreographers share what they’re making and how they promote and present their work. This collective aids in the growth of dance across the country by supporting the dance makers themselves. You can find Homegrown Choreographers on Instagram and Facebook.
Kara graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2016 earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. She was the recipient of the VCU Dance Bobby Chandler Award in Honor of Chris Burnside. Shortly after graduating, she presented work at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and in New York City for Doug Varone and Dancers’ DEVICES Choreographic Mentorship and Intensive.
Kara has a big passion for travel and learning about other cultures. She enjoys giving back to her hometown of Richmond, lovingly known as RVA, through dance performance and education.
Corin Illsley, Associate Artistic Director & Dancer
Corin Illsley began her dance training with The Crossroads School of the Arts at the age of eight. She continued to concentrate in ballet at Vostrikov’s Academy of Ballet. From there she attended Shenandoah Conservatory Arts Academy in 2006 where she discovered her love for modern and contemporary dance. Two years later she was approached by Shenandoah University‘s dance department and was asked to attend during high school. Illsley has performed works by Doug Varone, Netta Yerushalmy, Jessica Taylor (DAMAGEDANCE), Christian von Howard, Judith Steel, and Maurice Fraga. She was apart of the Richmond Dance Festival in 2014 and 2016. Corin Illsley graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University where she earned a BFA in Dance and Choreography, May 2014. Corin joined KARAR DANCE COMPANY in October 2016 and has performed with the company for both the Inaugural Concert and Across Disciplines as well as the First Annual Artist’s Showcase and Sessions: Affected.
Meet the Dancers
David Alexander Deegan
David Alexander Deegan was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in King George, Virginia. In May 2015 he received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Dance and Choreography. During his time as an undergraduate student, he performed Democracy by Doug Varone in New York City alongside classmates from VCU DANCE. He acquired scholarships from the American Dance Festival in North Carolina. While attending the summer intensive David had the pleasure to perform Cark Flink’s work A Kindness to Ravens and Gregory Maqoma’s Dry Well. David was also given the opportunity to audition for Pilobolus and was considered in the top three for their Apprenticeship program. In 2016 he joined Clancy Works in Maryland and had the opportunity to perform at Dance Place with their Kitchen Sink Fest in Washington, D.C. and also performed in Brooklyn, NY with Left Side Labs’ Shared Ecologies. David most recently began working with Next Reflex Dance Company and Agora Dance Company performing Under the Lemon Tree and being apart of the 3 Minutes Max performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
David joined KARAR DANCE COMPANY in June 2018 and his since performed for Across Disciplines in Kara Robertson’s The In-between.
Besides dancing David can play different musical instruments and has training in MMA and Weapons Art as well as being certified in Thai Yoga Body Work.
Caroline Echevarria is a native of Richmond, VA, and has been dancing for over 20 years. She graduated from Elon University in 2016, having completed a B.F.A. in Dance
Performance & Choreography and a B.S. in Exercise Science. While a member of the Elon Dance Company, she had the privilege of working with choreographers such as Larry Kiegwin, Summations Dance Company, and Trent Williams. Her choreography has been featured in the short dance films Havoc (2014) and Busk (2014). Since graduating, Caroline has worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant on the Cardiothoracic Surgery Unit at VCU Medical Center, as well as a dance teacher at Ann Catherine Cross School of Dance in Mechanicsville, VA. She began working on her M.S. in Kinesiology at Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall of 2018.
Caroline joined KARAR DANCE COMPANY in October 2016 performing in Kaizen and Amid for the company’s Inaugural Concert. She has since performed with the company at the 2018 Richmond Dance Festival and for Across Disciplines in The In-between.
Emerald Holman, a native Washingtonian, grew up training at Northeast Performing Arts, Jones-Haywood School of Dance and Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. At the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, she was awarded the Legacy Award from the Creativity Foundation in 2012, presented by Mark Morris. Emerald, most recently earned a B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University. During her junior year at VCU, she took the amazing opportunity to study dance for a semester in Paris, France by way of the University of South Florida’s Dance in Paris Program. In her senior year, she was awarded the Black History in the Making Award from the Department of Dance in Choreography in partnership with the African American Studies Department at VCU. As a dance artist, Ms. Holman is interested in increasing dance training and performance accessibility in urban communities.
Emerald joined KDC in June 2016 and performed with the company in The In-between for Across Disciplines.
Briana Johnson is a Richmond native and has been dancing for 18 years. At Thomas Dale High School, she studied dance and choreography under the Specialty Center for the Arts Program. She recently graduated from George Mason University in 2017 where she earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance. During her time at Mason, Briana was very active as was cast in works by the admirable Robert Battle, Ulysess Dove, Kyle Abraham, Andrea Miller, Mark Morris, etc. She also had the pleasure to perform with Terre Dance Collective and RawArts Dance Company. Her choreographic works have been presented at Harris Stage at George Mason University and the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. Briana Johnson is currently working on new choreography, pursuing dance opportunities, and giving back to the community.
Briana joined KARAR in June 2016 for Across Disciplines.
Amy Perkinson received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration/International Business from Virginia Commonwealth University. She also spent time at the University of Virginia- Institute of Shipboard Education Study Abroad, as well as the Consorzio Universitario Mediterraneo Orientale A R.L in Siracusa, Italy. She had the privilege of continuing her education by attending the American Dance Festival Winter Intensive, Doug Varone and Dancers Winter Intensive, Joe Goode: Movement for Humans Workshop, and was a member of the Inaugural ODC Next Moves Summer Intensive in San Francisco, California. She performed at New York City’s Lincoln Center in Mark Dendy’s world premiere of “Ritual Cyclical.” Amy is currently a member of Harper Continuum Dance Theatre, where she recently performed with the company and the University of Las Vegas Nevada (UNLV) at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City. For the last year, she has lived in Williamsburg, VA and is the proud Co-Owner of Pure Barre Williamsburg!
Amy joined the company in October 2016 and has since performed Kaizen and Amid for performances at The Grace Street Theater and the 2018 Richmond Dance Festival.
Carol started her dance journey in Mechanicsville, Virginia at the Ann Catherine Cross School of Dance, where she studied dance for 11 years. She graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011 with a BS in Human Development and specialized in Professional Helping Skills. During that time she focused on developmental theories and principals of growth, development, and behavior of children from conception through adolescence. While at Virginia Tech, Carol was a member of the nationally ranked Virginia Tech dance team called the HighTechs. She also was an associate member of the Contemporary Dance Ensemble. Carol has performed in four shows at Kings Dominion. During the summer, Carol enjoys participating in and choreographing for the We Are Artists program. She has been teaching tap, jazz, ballet, contemporary, musical theatre, hip hop, and creative movement at The Ann Catherine Cross School of dance in Mechanicsville, Virginia and Tappahannock, Virginia. She also choreographs for their competition team. Carol has been teaching at the dance school since 2011.
Carol joined KDC in October 2016 and has since performed in Amid, Kaizen, and Affected.