Lynn Lesniak Needle A TEDMED Speaker, Choreographer and Performer earned her B.A. in Dance Cum Laude from Connecticut College where she was the recipient of the ACDFA Dance Magazine National Award for choreography, adjudicated by Murray Louis, Pauline Koner and Clay Taliafero. Her work COOL WAVE, featured in Dance Magazine was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and hailed as “a flash of what is happening now…Lesniak has a great theatrical sense…the choreographer is in touch with the times in which we live.” Lynn is a former soloist with the Nikolais Dance Theatre where she toured internationally, traveling to six out of seven continents and more than 40 United States. She has been influenced by many, including Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Luigi, Ann Reinking, and B.K.S. Iyengar, but studied intensely with her mentors Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis at the Nikolais/Louis Dance Lab in New York City. Nik created seminal works on Lynn during her tenure with the company and she began teaching and assisting Hanya Holm. While on tour she was later asked to direct the Nikolais and Louis Dance Lab, a professional studio school of dance in Soho where she arranged for dancers from around the world to study, choreograph, and perform. During this time, Lynn pioneered classes in Pilates-based exercises, training with therabands, trampolines, and fitness balls. Her students include many dancers who have gone on to perform with professional companies and tour throughout the world. A recipient of multiple grants and Lifetime Achievement Awards, Lynn has been featured in the PBS documentary Nik and Murray, been photographed by Lois Greenfield, and Tom Caravaglia and has enjoyed collaborating with lighting and costume designers, composers, and poets. She has choreographed work for MTV, corporate videos for Verizon, and premiered her work internationally at the Universidad de Colima, Boston Conservatory, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C, Jacob’s Pillow, the Westbeth Theater Center, the JOYCE SOHO, The Hatch, DNA, American Dance Guild, MMAC, the 92nd Street Y, as well as NYU, Hunter College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, NYC Earth Celebrations, College of Southern Nevada Dance in the Desert Festival, Rutgers University, Montclair State University, Ramapo College, Rider University, Bergen Community College, and for galas, festivals and commissioned premieres . In many of these venues, Lynn has created collaborative work, set on the Art of Motion Dance Theatre, a company established after she founded the nonprofit studio, Art of Motion, Inc, with Olivia Galgano, her Artistic Associate. Lynn has also worked as an artist in residence in the public schools as a staff developer, and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Modern Dance at Bergen Community College. She has dedicated her life to preserving the Nikolais legacy and training future generations of professional dancers. Her most recent collaborations with performance artist and costume designer Annie Hickman, lighting designer, Ruth Grauert, composers Dr. Dinu Ghezzo, John T. LaBarbera, and Steve Gorn and former Pilobolus Principal Dancer, Kent Lindemer have led to the creation of new work exploring body mechanics, the physics of partnering, sculptural shape and complex relationships. Lynn is an RYT 500 in Interdisciplinary Yoga with Yoga Alliance, an APAP, NDEO presenter, TEDMED Global Speaker and guest artist with ICIA. Her work was recently hailed by the Wall Street Journal as “Inspired”, by Out and About as “absolutely fantastic” and the fashion blog of Women’s Wear Daily as “spectacular”.