Contributing Artistes

We at Mudra are thrilled to welcome the following renowned artistes and their students to participate in this event. Their contribution to the program and our cause is much appreciated. Thank You!

Sol y Sombra : Maria Loreta

Besides Spanish dance of which she is an accomplished professional, Maria has studied Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, Near Eastern Dance and Bharatanatyam (Classical Indian Dance).

She has studied in Spain with such outstanding professionals as Paco Romero, Paco Fernandez, Tomas de Madrid, La Tati, Azorin, Jose Antonio, Carmen Cortes, Merce Esmeralda & Carmela Greco.

In addition to numerous guest artist appearances and solo concerts throughout the U.S., she has danced as a company member with Estrella Morena’s Ballet de Madrid, The American Spanish Dance Theatre and Jose Molina’s Bailes Espanoles with which she toured for many years throughout the U.S. and abroad.

She has made appearances in such well known venues as the U.N., Lincoln Centers Out-of-Doors, Town Hall, the Applecore & Tri-plex theaters in NYC, Washington DC’s  Armory Arts Center, the Kravis Performing Arts Center & Four Arts Theater in Palm Beach, Florida, NYC’s Channel 11 WBLX and Staller & Tilles Centers for the Arts as guest artist with the LI Symphony, University of Georgia’s Arts & Humanities Center, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival & PBS Channel 21.

Maria Loreta has taught Spanish Dance for numerous schools and institutions throughout the New York Metropolitan area including the Connecticut Ballet& the Ballet of PuertoRico, as well as master classes for Suffolk Community College’s Master Artists Program, the Brookhaven Dance Guild, Bridgeport University’s Regional Center for the Arts, Dowling College and UGA’ s Department of Dance.

In recognition of its unique contribution to the arts, Sol y Sombra, the company founded by Maria Loreta has been the recipient of numerous grants from the NY State Council on the Arts, Suffolk & Nassau Counties’ Offices of Cultural affairs, Suffolk County Legislator’s Community Service Initiate Grants, JP Morgan Chase and a NY State Legislature Initiative Grant.

 Maria has been the subject of articles in the NY Times and Newsday and was interviewed by National Public Radio. She recently was awarded a Distinguished Lectureship at the University of Georgia’s Arts & Humanities Center.

Currently, she is on the faculty of SUNY at Stony Brook University Center for Dance, Movement & Somatic Learning.

Junko Fisher Okinawan Dance Company :Junko Fisher

Born on the main island of Okinawa, Japan, Junko began practicing Ryukyu Dance at the age of five when her mother, also a dancer, introduced her to dance school. Starting with her first performance at the age of seven at the Yomitan Village Town Hall, Junko performed extensively in Okinawa, including recitals of the dance school.

Moving to Tokyo to attend college, Junko studied Japanese traditional dance at the GojoRyu School and attained a certificate of Natori, GojoMiyano. Her first performance in that style was at the National Theater in Tokyo in 1985.

Junko presently resides in New York City and performs at cultural events in the New York metropolitan area, upstate New York, and Connecticut. Well known for her choreography, Junko performed her original dance in the cast of “Hana, A Chamber Opera in One Act” in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2011. She also performed in the Harlem Dance Caravan Summer Stage program in 2014.

She performs on the sanshin, a stringed instrument that accompanies traditional Okinawan dance and sings Okinawan folk songs.

Junko has been offering her original 90-minute one-woman show at 15 branches of the Queens Library since 2009, as part of the adult educational program. The program includes demonstrations of dance and music, background on Ryukyuan history, and a very popular dance workshop. She also offers a one-hour music concert program, singing Japanese and Okinawan traditional folk songs.

Kathak Academy: Syed AsgharTirmizi

Syed Asghar Tirmizi had his early training in Kathak, a North Indian dance style, at the Institute of Music and Fine Arts, Srinagar, Kashmir. Later he was awarded a scholarship to learn choreography at the Natya Institute of choreography New Delhi, India. He later received another scholarship by the Ministry of Education,Govt of India at Kathak Kendra in New Delhi.

Syed Asghar Tirmizi had his Kathak training from late Guru Mrs Maya Rao, late Guru Kundan Lal Gangani of Jaipur gharana as well as Guru Munna Lal Shukla of Lucknow ghanana. Trained under various gurus of different gharanas he portrays both Lucknow and Jaipur styles of Kathak dance with equal facility. He has widely traveled and performed across the globe. To mention a few he performed in South America, South East Asia,Australia, Africa and several Island countries on the Pacific ocean.

Syed Asghar Tirmizi has also worked in leading dance and drama organizations like Natya Ballet Center and Delhi Art theatre in India.

He taught at the Indian Cultural Center, Suva, Fiji Island(1985 to 1988) and at the Indian Cultural Center, Georgetown, Guyana,South America(1993 to 1996).

Presently he teaches at Kathak Academy at St James and at Jericho on long island .

The Ballet Center: Norma Hoffman

Norma Hoffman, the owner and director of The Ballet Center has been teaching classical ballet technique for over 30 years. She received her professional training at the Robert Joffrey American Ballet Center School in New York City. Her practical training was supplemented with study of the history and development of ballet as an art form and the theory and principles of ballet pedagogy.

Norma holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Adelphi University and has continuously worked to further her understanding and practice of her profession with classes and courses taught by teachers well noted for their pedagogical skills. Her teaching methods adhere to the fundamental elements of classical training and her approach proceeds from years of experience and ongoing study.

Norma’s respect for the history, the traditions, and the protocols of the ballet classroom, is at the heart of her teaching philosophy and is reflected in the enthusiasm and love she holds for her profession.