Master Classes

NYTW Master Classes offer training opportunities for both professional artists and the public. These classes provide the opportunity to gain insight into the exciting process of creating high-caliber work in a thriving Off-Broadway theatre.

DAC MASTERCLASS SERIES:

TOOLS FOR AN ARTIST IN PROCESS

From L to R: Josefina Baez, Cindy De La Cruz, Merlixse Ventura, Elvis Nolasco, Gabriela Ortega , Yasser Tejeda, Eunice Levis 

 

Tools for An Artist in Process is an action-oriented masterclass series curated specifically for artists who are interested in the process of telling their own cultural story. Artists who are interested in creating their own work, not for capitalist consumption, but because their being, their spirit and their ancestors are calling on them to do so. The masterclass series is taught by prominent Dominican artists who are working in today’s industry in order to exalt their own cultural stories.

Created by Dominican Artists Collective. Produced in partnership with Oye Group and New York Theatre Workshop.

The classes take place over three Sundays between June 5th – June 26th, 2022. 

DAY 1 – June 5th 

  • Writing, Storytelling & Nurturing an Idea with Josefina Baez – 12-2pm 
  • Producing the Artist with Cindy De La Cruz and Merlixse Ventura – 3-5pm 

DAY 2 – June 12th  

  • How to Tell a Compelling Story (Acting) with Elvis Nolasco – 12-2pm 
  • Guerilla Filmmaking & Multimedia Storytelling with Gabriela Ortega – 3-5pm 

DAY 3 – June 26th  

  • Storytelling through Music & Composition with Yasser Tejeda – 12-2pm 
  • Directing (How to Set Up Your Vision) with Eunice Levis – 3-5pm 

All applicants must show proof of full vaccination prior to participating in the masterclasses. Please consider this requirement before submitting an application. For more information on NYTW COVID Protocols, visit https://www.nytw.org/covid.   

All sessions will take place in NYTW’s 3rd Floor Rehearsal Room, located at 83 E. 4th Street, New York, NY between Bowery and 2nd Avenue. Please note that the building has no elevator access and there are three flights of stairs to get to reach the rehearsal room. 

If you have questions, please contact us at TFAAIP@DominicanArtistsCollective.org. 

APPLY HERE BY FRIDAY MAY 20TH

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS:

Writing, Storytelling & Nurturing an Idea

Instructor: Josefina Baez 

Sunday, June 5th, 12-2pm (Virtual Instructor with In-Person Participants) 

In this class, participants will be guided through the process of how to nurture their ideas into fully developed stories. The class will be taught by a Dominican artist who is an expert at their craft, culminating in a Q&A segment, and a short resource list for the participants to take their teachings into their own hands. 

Josefina Baez (Dominican Republic/USA) Storyteller, ArteSana, performer, writer, theatre director, educator, celebrant, devotee. Founder and director of Latinarte/Ay Ombe Theatre (April 1986). Alchemist of artistic/creative life process, Performance Autology© (creative process/live creating/creative life based on the autobiography of the doer in conscience; In life phases -youth, elderhood, illness and death). Joy is the vital element present in her narrative, practice and teachings.  

 

Producing the Artist 

Instructors: Cindy De La Cruz and Merlixse Ventura 

Sunday, June 5th, 3-5pm (In-Person) 

In this class, participants will be guided through the process of how to produce any artistic endeavor with the resources they have at their disposal.  The class will be taught by two Dominican artists who are experts in their craft. Culminating in a Q&A segment, and a short resource list for the participants to take their teachings into their own hands. 

Cindy De La Cruz is a Bronx bred and Harlem based first generation Dominican American artist and producer. She’s most interested in raising the visibility of Black Latinxs and dismantling the anti-Black rhetoric in the Latinx community. She is an artistic producer of The Dominican Artists Collective, a company of Dominican storytellers based in New York City, the collective currently has a residency with the New York Theatre Workshop. Recent producing credits include: Sharing Sessions a free virtual program where artists can participate in a Q&A with industry professionals as well as share and develop new work.  Latinidad is not a monolith: a call to action video that garnered 5K views on Instagram and TikTok that called out the entertainment  industries lack of diversity and centering of Black Latinx people both here and in Latin America. Aqui ‘Tamos a night of new works from members of the collective presented by The Tank NYC. Corito Sano co-produced with Merlixse Venutra and Dominirican Productions, an afternoon for poetry and community. Most recently she was a top 12 finalist for the Nosotros Organization Ya Tu Sabes Monologue Slam presented by NBC. A proud graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School (The Fame School).  She has been seen on stages all across the U.S. as well as on TV and Film. Most recently she opened Williamstown Theatre Festivals 2021 season in Robert O’Hara’s curated series Celebrating The Black Radical Imagination: 9 solo plays’. She is featured in Kevin Smith’s highly anticipated movie “Kilroy Was Here” which will be the first film in history to be sold as an NFT. Selected credits:  Off Broadway: The Siblings Play (Rattlestick); Sheroes Journey or … (Atlantic Theatre Mixfest) ; DreamHou$e ( ArsNova); Storm Still (Sheen Center) . Regional:  The Niceties ( Geva); Our Town ( Olney Theater Center); Stupid Fucking Bird (Adren Theater, Urbanite Theater). TV: Blue Bloods (CBS); The Village (NBC); Blindspot (NBC). Film: Ro & The Stardust (Netflix+NALIP); What Doesn’t Float (Gummy Films). She will be attending Yale School of Drama Fall 2022. DominicanArtistsCollective.com 

Merlixse Ventura is an Afro-Dominican artist born and raised in Washington Heights. This past year she wrote, directed and produced her poetry cycle Vessel of a Woman (The Tank: ‘CyberFest’). Merlixse is an Artistic Producer for Dominican Artists Collective (DAC) where she served as one of the directors and producers for DAC’s The Cooking Project (NYTW). Merlixse is a recent graduate of Columbia University’s MFA Acting program. Acting credits include Citizen directed by Whitney White (SUNY Purchase) and Moscow Moscow Moscow directed by Claire Karpen (Columbia University). 

 

How to Tell a Compelling Story (Acting) 

Instructor: Elvis Nolasco 

Sunday, June 12th, 12-2pm (In-Person) 

In this class, participants will be guided through the process of how to tell compelling stories through embodiment of characters. The class will be taught by a Dominican artist who is an expert at their craft, culminating in a Q&A segment, and a short resource list for the participants to take their teachings into their own hands. 

Elvis Nolasco is a New York born Dominican-American actor most known for his roles on the critically-acclaimed, award-winning ABC anthology series AMERICAN CRIME from John Ridley. Elvis was lauded for his performances: in Season 1 taking on the part of “Carter Nix,” a lost soul suffering from mental illness and drug addiction; in Season 2 playing “Chris Dixon,” a passionate high school principal. Elvis made his film debut when cast by Spike Lee in CLOCKERS with Mekhi Phifer and Delroy Lindo, and began building an impressive resume including his critically acclaimed role in the film IN SEARCH OF A DREAM, still one of the highest grossing independent Latino films. Elvis had roles in Spike Lee’s features THE SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS and OLD BOY and was seen in 2018 alongside Mahershala Ali in the Forest Whitaker and Pharrell-produced Netflix feature ROXANNE ROXANNE from director Michael Larnell (2017 Sundance Premiere).  Elvis recurred in the Spike Lee series MIRACLE BOYS, shot a series regular role in Spike Lee HBO pilot DA BRICK (executive produced and written by John Ridley) and shot a lead role in the Kathryn Bigelow/Carolyn Strauss produced HBO pilot MOGADISHU, MN. He also memorably recurred in the Netflix/Spike Lee series SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT (basedon the film of the same name) where he plays “Papa da Mayor.”  Elvis more recently recurred on TNT’s CLAWS, in Tarell McCraney’s OWN series DAVID MAKES MAN, in the Greg Berlanti CW series ALL-AMERICAN, in USA’s QUEEN OF THE SOUTH, and opposite Forest Whitaker in Epix series GODFATHER OF HARLEM. Elvis wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the award-winning short film TIME 2 SURRENDER which was executive produced by Spike Lee. 

 

Filmmaking & Multimedia Storytelling 

Instructor: Gabriela Ortega  

Sunday, June 12th, 3-5pm (Virtual Instructor with In-Person Participants) 

In this class, participants will be guided through the process of how to film their own stories with everyday resources. The class will be taught by a Dominican artist who is an expert at their craft, culminating in a Q&A segment, and a short resource list for the participants to take their teachings into their own hands. 

Gabriela Ortega is an award-winning writer/director and actor born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s BFA in acting program, a 2021-2022 Sundance Institute “Art of Practice” fellow and is currently based in Los Angeles. Gabriela was selected as one of the ten writer/directors of the 2021 Rising Voices fellowship created in partnership by Lena Waithe’s Hillman Grad productions and Indeed. The companies produced Gabriela’s short film HUELLA which was an official selection of 2022 Sundance film festival and is being turned into a feature film. The feature version of Huella also won development funds in the inaugural NewNarratives grant cycle created by WarnerMedia OneFifty and NewFilmmakers LA. ​She is a Sundance Lab, Nalip Latino Media Market, HBO Tomorrow’s filmmakers today and and IAMA under30 lab alum. She was also awarded Best Director of a live-action short at the 2021 LALIFF for her short film In Case I’m Next. Currently, she is a director-in-residence at Indeed/Hillman Grad for their new 2022 Development Lab. As a screenwriter, she’s been hired by Sony Pictures International to write a Spanish language script and was a staff writer for the second season Netflix’s sketch show “Go Off with Jess and Julissa”. Most recently, she’s been hired to write on the highly anticipated Bioshock 4 game produced by 2K. Gabriela is also developing a Dominican narrative feature, Piratas. The film won development funds in the Dominican Republic with the annual FONPROCINE contest and was part of the 2021 Latino Media Market. ​Gabriela’s work lives within the intersection of fiction and poetry. She writes flawed people with larger-than-life ambitions, driven women with sour senses of humor and families living between opposing cultures. She aims to draw cultural bridges that lead to the Caribbean and tell stories that represent the people she grew up with, authentically. ​She is proud to say that Papi, the first short film she made (on her phone in the Dominican Republic) about her overlanding travels with her father, has been acquired by and is set to premiere on HBO in 2022 after a successful festival run. 

 

Storytelling through Music & Composition 

Instructor: Yasser Tejeda 

Sunday, June 26th, 12-2pm (In-Person) 

In this class, participants will be guided through the process of how to not only tell their stories lyrically but also how to elevate a story with music. The class will be taught by a Dominican musician who is an expert at their craft. Culminating in a Q&A segment, and a short resource list for the participants to take their teachings into their own hands. 

Yasser Tejeda is an award-wining Dominican composer, guitarist, vocalist, and producer. According to Billboard, Yasser is giving traditional folkloric music a new spin with jazz, rock and Caribbean rhythms in “a frezied celebration of ancestral union” while Juan Luis Guerra, the most influential Dominican artist in the world, praised his mission calling it the “marvelous example of what’s happening with Dominican music.” Tejeda has released two commercial albums, Kimjobo (2019) and Mezclansa (2009), with his group Palotré. Mezclansa was dubbed one of hte “100 essential recordings of Dominican music” by the Dominican National Association of Art Writers (acroarte) and his second album Kijombo received six awards from Dominican Republic’s Premios Indie, including Best Album. In 2021, he surprised his followers by releasing his first solo EP called Interior, where he features some of his most acclaimed compositions in a somewhat raw, intimate setting. His new single “El Sol de la Madrugada” is also included in this record. When it comes to his music, Yasser’s hope is it to incite an awakening so new generations will be inspired to explore, promote and uplift their Afro-Domincan roots as well. 

 

Directing (How to Set Up Your Vision) 

Instructor: Eunice Levis 

Sunday, June 26th, 3-5pm (In-Person) 

 In this class, participants will be guided through the process of how to set up their vision from paper to camera. Students will gain knowledge from a director/writer who understands the importance of matching the written word to a visual final product. The class will be taught by a Dominican artist who is an expert at their craft, culminating in a Q&A segment, and a short resource list for the participants to take their teachings into their own hands. 

Eunice Levis is a first-generation Dominican-American, born and raised in The Bronx, New York. She is currently developing several projects that combine her love of horror, sci-fi, thriller, and fantasy, many through a diasporic lens. She recently wrote and directed InVade, a sci-fi short film, which made the second round of the 2020 Sundance Episodic Lab with its pilot script. Her urban gothic horror feature script Keep also made the second-round consideration for the 2021 Sundance Feature Development program. Eunice’s latest work, a folklore horror micro short titled Fell Ends was an extraordinary selection at NYX’s 13 minutes of horror film festival and streamed on Shudder. Her upcoming film, an urban fantasy titled Ro and the Stardust, was selected for inclusion in the 2021 NALIP Latino Lens Women of Color Short Film Incubator, sponsored by Netflix. In addition to writing and directing, she cohosts Café Negro con Genre (with fellow filmmaker Les Rivera), a monthly podcast that promotes Latine/o/x creatives working in the genre space. 

 

Previous Master Classes have included:

  • Get Up and Dance! with Timmy Gage (Spring 2021)
  • Solo Performance  with marcus d. harvey (Spring 2021)
  • Shadow Puppetry with Jaime Roach (Spring 2021)
  • Chreating a Character with Nana Dakin (Spring 2021)
  • Finding Character in a Musical with Virginia Jimenez (Spring 2021)
  • Who Is a Director? with Tatiana Pandiani (Winter 2020)
  • Acting From The Soul with Anthony Michael Martinez (Winter 2020)
  • Kick Off Your Play with Rachel Aileen Abraham (Winter 2020)
  • Introduction to Theatre of the Oppressed with Alexander Santiago-Jirau (Summer 2019)
  • Playwriting 102: Beginning and Intermediate Writers with Kate Moira Ryan (Fall 2016-2018)
  • Playwriting 101: The First Draft with Kate Moira Ryan (Fall 2015)
  • The Art of Adaptation with Kate Moira Ryan (Spring and Fall 2014)
  • Sense Memory: Finding Inspiration and Writing for Performance with Jackie Sibblies Drury (Spring 2013)
  • New Work Development with Elevator Repair Service (Spring and Summer 2013)
  • Playwriting “Bootcamp” with Paula Vogel (November 2012)
  • Choreography + Text: Translating Source Material Into Performance with Elevator Repair Service (January and November 2012)