Hannah Cullen

founder and artistic director of cullen+them

Hannah Cullen is a New York based choreographer, writer and director. She holds a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and is the founder of cullen+them, an intergenerational performing arts organization making socially conscious work and building empathetic community. Hannah presides as artistic director of cullen+them, running the adult performing ensemble, the youth performing group Young Dance Collective, as well as the newest collaborative group, Young Them. In 2018, she wrote, directed and choreographed Mark it in Pencil, cullen+them’s first foray into creating intergenerational performance.

Hannah’s first evening length work, Us, Me, They, She, premiered in 2015, exploring the ways in which expectations associated with gender influence and affect our individual identity, as well as the role of women in our society. For three and a half years, Hannah had the pleasure of working for feminist author and activist Gloria Steinem. Through this work, she expanded her knowledge of what it means to be an organizer for a social justice movement, deepening her mission as an arts activist.

Before attending Tisch, Hannah studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in the pre-professional program and was a founding member of the collaborative, choreographic company Young Dance Collective. Hannah has had the opportunity to work and perform with choreographers including, Pascal Rioult, Johannes Weiland, Larry Kegwin, Rashaun Mitchell, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company and Gus Solomons Jr. Hannah is currently writing and devising a new choreo-play with cullen+them. With the working title Decadose, it will question the effects of isolated living on our capacity to foster genuine connection. Her work utilizes speaking and movement and oscillates between highly physical and highly pedestrian with the goal of bringing an honest human experience to the stage.

Kim Cullen

board president and founder of YDC

In 1995, Kim Cullen opened a movement education facility Art In Motion in North Carolina formally beginning her exploration of a movement-based live gathering space. In 2001, Cullen moved home to New York City and became Education Director for the Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, now Rioult. Concurrently, Cullen founded Young Dance Collective, now in its second generation, its mission to foster an intellectual, creative process driven by discussion and critical thinking among young people in a space where they create work while developing relationships.

Young Dance Collective was designed to create the energy of what Ray Oldenburg calls a “third place,” a setting for the creative exchange of ideas, grassroots politics and a community-gathering place outside of the realms of home and school (or work). Cullen believes that the opportunity for face-to-face dialogue, creative processing and spontaneity is incredibly important in our current cultural climate as is live gathering and live performance.

Cullen served as Education Director, General Manager and Producing Director at the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics and currently serves as Executive Director & CEO of New York Live Arts, home of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company.

Since 1989, starting out as a public school dance educator with a focus on dance and creative process as a medium to cross socio-economic, racial and gender barriers in NC, Kim has been committed to working with young people. To this day, she remains committed to the transformation that takes place individually and as a group as individuals of all ages delve deeply into their creative selves and the issues that surround them.

Board of Directors

  • Melanie Cohn
  • Hannah Cullen
  • Kim Cullen, President
  • Anne Lewison
  • Deborah Oster Pannell
  • Lev Ratnofsky, Treasurer
  • David Taylor, Secretary
  • Lisa West