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Artistic Statement

This is a modern dance company that strives for raw-physicality, pushing the emotional boundaries and inspiring new generations to fight to keep alive their real source of light. Through our studies and creative teachings we always try to explore the vulnerability found in movement. We search for self-awareness by tapping into our innate potentiality and sharing our divine spark. And we aspire for uniqueness in the land of contrasts: the inspiring land of Italy.

Artistic Vision 

As an artist, my work is full of raw physicality feeling and I seek to embody human emotions in movement. Dance creates a sense of vulnerability, allowing performers to offer and viewers to receive. I want to bring self-awareness and push boundaries, depicting messages of love, hope and courage through my work. By allowing this sense of openness in my choreographic process, I am able to create a sense of communication with audiences by celebrating life onstage. Although language barriers may exist between nations, the power of emotion and movement are both universal. Because these two human experience are universal, I also seek to express and cultivate my Italian heritage in the United States through my work.


About Caterina Rago’s Dance Company

It is Caterina Rago’s approach of surrendering her body to powerful emotion that inspires her intense and unique choreography. Rago, originally from San Lucido, Italy, felt the desire to share her life as a new Italian in NYC. She officially founded the Caterina Rago Dance Company (CRDC) in 2007. While working on founding her company, Caterina danced in various productions with the Martha Graham Dance Company. Caterina presented her original work in the Graham II 2008 season , and in many festivals and showcases throughout New York City and Italy. In 2010, two sold-out performances at MMAC marked CRDC’s debut season. The company’s work was selected for White Wave Rising Series Festival, Kat Wildish’s NYC Showcase at the Ailey Citigroup Theater, NYC Dance Week at Dixon Place, choreographed at Jazz at Lincoln Center in the opera, La Nave, with I Giullari di Piazza, IDACO Italian Dance Connection, Emerging Choreographer Series, Take Root and Fertile Ground at Green Space, Steps Beyond Foundation, Hatch Jennifer Muller the Works and Dance Gallery Festival. CRDC presented in 2013 the premiere of their evening-length work, Fall in Autumn, at MMAC. Caterina has received two Company Commissions from Steffi Nossen Dance Foundation and the Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome, Italy. CRDC recently premiered “Labir Into” at New York Live Arts in collaboration with renown set designer, Pier Paolo Bisleri. The CRDC Gala was recently performed at the Martha Graham Studio Theater on April 19th, 2018. The Company was invited to perform at NEXT@GRAHAM, the latest addition to the dynamic Martha Graham Studio Series, showcase the work of the extended Graham Family and for the 37th Annual Battery Dance Festival, 2018.




Sarita Apel was born in Wiesbaden, Germany. She received her Bachelor of Dance in 2011 at Codarts, Rotterdam Dance Academy. From 2011-2014 she has been a scholarship student at The Ailey School in NYC. In New York she has danced with Graham 2 and performed with Dansgroep Amsterdam, Bodystories/Teresa Fellion Dance, Buglisi Dance Theatre, Creative Time/Nick Cave, Awaken Dance Theater, with Norbert De La Cruz III and Omar Roman de Jesus amongst others. Since 2014 she also dances with Arim Dance. Sarita is excited to be part of Caterina Rago Dance Company who she has revently joined.








Giulia D’Antoni grew up in Italy RET_MG_3144and begun her ballet training at the school of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, where she had the opportunity to dance with the company of La Scala in Nutcracker. At age sixteen, she moved to Vienna, Austria, and graduated from the Vienna State Opera Ballet Academy in 2012.Upon graduation, Giulia moved to New York to attend the Martha Graham School and completed the Professional Training Program in 2014 and the Teacher Training Program in 2015. Giulia has been dancing with Graham II, Rachael Kosch Dance Company, Zest Collective, Curet Performance Project among others. Giulia is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary – Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.





RET_MG_3122Raphaëlle Kessedjian is a native from France and received her dance training at the Centre choregraphique Veronique Thery, The Rick Odums Institute in France and at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance on a full scholarship in New York. Raphaëlle has been a member of Graham II, Nu Dance Theater, Caliince Dance, and was a guest artist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for their Italian Production “Cercando Picasso”. She has performed work from Robert Battle, Pearl Lang, Stuart Hodes, Peggy Lyman and Virginie Mécene. She joined Adele Myers and Dancers in 2012 and is currently touring and teaching with the company. She is a certified Pilates and Gyrotonic® Instructor, and currently teaches Graham technique at Peridance Capezio Center. Raphaëlle joined the Caterina Rago Dance Company in September 2015 and is thrilled to start this journey with the company. 





RET_MG_3129Andrea Murillo is a creator, performer, designer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Shortly after graduating from New World School of the Arts she began touring with the Martha Graham Dance Company in International and National Tours. During that time she performed solo roles such as Lamentation (1930), Serenata Morisca (1916), Embattled Garden (1958), and Steps in the Street (1936). Later in 2012 Andrea transitioned to New York’s “Sleep No More” and played numerous leading roles, including Lady Macbeth. Since then, Andrea has worked in collaboration Rosie Herrera, Miki Orihara, and Caterina Rago. She has also performed with the
Instituto Nazionale Dramma Antico in Sicily for their productions of Le Baccanti and Prometeo. These works inspired her to continue her investigation of dramatic movement, immersive theatre, and architecture. Andrea has had the pleasure of collaborating and creating theatrical events for companies such as Espolon, Dos Equis, The Knickerbocker Hotel, and Lululemon Lab @ The New Museum. She is a recent Master Interdisciplinary Arts Teacher with the National Young Arts Foundation and is studying towards her Gyrotonic Expansion System Teacher Training. To further her knowledge in production-design Andrea works with event designer Anthony Taccetta on large scale parties and events. Currently, Andrea is currently in pre-production for her dance film “Conduit for a Dream” 




RET_MG_3148Jaclyn Rea is a freelance artist in New York City currently performing with Ariel Rivka Dance Company, Caterina Rago Dance Company, Heidi Latsky Dance and Randy James’ 10 Hairy Legs. She is a dance faculty member at AMDA College. Ms. Rea earned her B.F.A. from SUNY Purchase in 2012. While attending school, she danced works by Mark Morris, Stephen Petronio, Nelly Van Bommel, and Ethel Winter. She studied at London Contemporary Dance School in 2010, performing at the Robin Howard Dance Theatre on exchange. Following graduation, Jaclyn joined Graham 2, 360º Dance Company, and performed projects directed by Kun Yang Lin, Darshan Bhuller, Jacqulyn Buglisi, Suzzanne Ponomarenko, Annie Wang, The Hoover Dam Collective, Sean McLeod, Jennifer Conley, and Joyce King Dance Company, whom she has performed with internationally.





Natalia Roberts is a born and raised detroiter who first began dancing at the age of 20 while studying Architecture and Anthropology at Washington Universiy in St. Louis. After being discovered during a production of MidSummer Night’s Dream she was asked to join the University’s resident dance company, Slaughter Project. Upon graduating she decided to pursue dancing full-time. She moved to New York City and completed the Peridance Capezio Center 2-year training program in Ballet and Contemporary dance the summer of 2015. In addition to working with Catarina, Natalia is also a company member of Natalie Johnson Dance and a an instructor at 305 Fitness.







Lissa Smith was born and raised in Miami, Florida and attended New World School of the Arts for high school. She attended The Boston Conservatory where she was the recipient of the Dance Conservatory Scholarship and Jan Veen Dance Scholarship. Lissa danced with Hubbard Street 2 for three years and performed nationally and internationally with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Lissa is an indoor cycling instructor for Flywheel Sports.  She has trained at the prestigious Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Juilliard School, Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet, The Martha Graham School, The Joffrey Ballet School, and The Joffrey Midwest Workshop. Lissa has performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and inside galleries at the Art Institute of Chicago. She received the “Modern Dance Award” and the “Dean’s Dance Award” upon her graduation from New World School of the Arts High School in June 2009. She also won the prestigious “Arts For Life!” dance scholarship in 2009, presented by Former First Lady Columba Bush. In 2012, Lissa was awarded the Young Professional Award from the Martha Hill Dance Foundation and The School at Jacob’s Pillow. In the spring of 2014, she was a dancer for Walt Disney Imagineering in Los Angeles, CA. Lissa currently dances in DIRT, un duex with Grace Whitworth, and so happy to join Caterina Rago Dance Company.


The Team

Pier Paolo Bisleri – Set and Costume designer

FOTO 1Pier Paolo Bisleri is a set and costume designer, graduate at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts. From 1970 to 1980 he directed the Visual Art Department at La Cappella Underground in Trieste and was involved in several expressions of the contemporary art. In the same period he was in contact and cooperated with Joseph Beuys, Arnulf Reiner, Christo and Andy Warhol. In 1978 he organized the first Azionismo Viennese Exhibition in Italy, introducing artists as Gunther Brus, Rudolf Schwarzkogler, Heinz Cibulka, Otto Muhel and Hermann Nitsch, producing his Action n° 62.

In his set designer career, he was always influenced by contemporary arts, taking interest in the figurative abstraction and searching for an emotional space where to isolate and better study the characters, the dramatic situations and the music, in their full meaning. Essential were the influences of the great English director and set designer Edward Gordon Craig together with the Adolphe Appia theories of the light.Since 1978 he cooperated with Teatro Stabile di Prosa del Friuli-Venezia Giulia as Technical Director, and later with Piccolo Teatro di Milano Teatro d’Europa under the direction of Luca Ronconi and with Fondazione Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi di Trieste, contributing to the realisation of more than 200 theatrical plays and operas. He teached “History and Technique of Set Design” at University in Udine and in Trieste.   

He created, as a stage designer, more than fifty new drama productions. The latest are, in 2015: Euripide’s Ifigenia in Aulide, at Siracusa’s Greek Theater for the 51° Cycle of Classical Plays, achieving a considerable audience and critic success and the drama Rose is a Rose is a Rose by Ivana Sajko that debuted this past October in Rome.

Although his career had begun in drama theatres, from the early 90’ he started collaborating with prestigious Opera theaters such as Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Regio in Turin, Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Teatro Verdi in Triest, Teatro Massimo Bellini in Catania, Opéra de Monte-Carlo, Opéra National de Montpellier, National Greek Opera in Athens, Opéra Theater in Bilbao, the Maestranza in Siviglia, Opera Theater in Baltimore and Seattle, Bunkamura in Tokyo and Centre of Performing Arts in Osaka and Seoul (South Corea), SNG Opera in Ljubljana, Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik in Innsbruck and the New Israeli Opera in Tel-Aviv.

Currently he’s working on Norma and two new opera productions: Madama Butterfly and Il Turco in Italia. Next June 2016, Simon Boccanegra with Placido Domingo and conducted by Daniel Barenboim will be resumed at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, before the tour in Brisbane (Australia).


As ballet stage designer he realized the settings for:

The Magic Mountain freely adapted from Thomas Mann’s novel, produced by Compagnia del Maggio Danza del Teatro Comunale in Florence. Director: Elisabetta Terabust; choreographer: Massimo Morricone.Tetraktys freely adapted from La Dispute by Pierre Carnet de Chamblain de Marivaux. Music by Georg Friedrich Händel. Choreographer and director: Cristina Deda Colonna (specialist in Medieval and Baroque Dance). Cercando Picasso adapted from Il desiderio preso per la coda by Pablo Picasso and Euripide‘s Baccanti at Siracusa’s Greek Theater for the 48° Cycle of Classical Plays. Both productions produced by Teatro di Prosa in Triest and Martha Graham Dance Company. Original choreography by Martha Graham and Janet Eilber. Salomè based on La Tragédie de Salomé by Florent Schmitt, produced by Teatro Lirico Giuseppe Verdi in Triest. Choreographer: Emil Faski; dancers: Mariinskij Theatre in Saint Petersburg.

Davide Di Donato – Sculptor


Born in Trieste on 4/19/1965, where I live and work.  After many experiences in Italy and abroad (Japan, USA, China, Russia and throughout  Europe) I have refined a particular professional skill especially in the realization of theatrical and cinematic scenography, life-size reconstructions and miniature models of prehistoric animals and endangered species, hominids and humans, spectacular, environment dioramas, intended mostly for Museums of Natural History and thematic museums around the world. Sculptures in life  size and also magnified human beings, famous characters, busts, monuments in all materials, casted both  in precious metals( such as bronze , brass…ecc)  and any type of resin. I conceptualize and realize sculptures of masters  not only for to the most important toys’ Companies in the world,  but also for  authorized and official merchandising, action figures, prototypes of sports champions models, film and music,  fine arts ,  fantasy  and scientific genre. (Mc Farlane USA, Illy Caffè , Fanatico Figurines Switzerland, 3D Stars Netherlands, Favorite Collections Japan, Romeo Models, Gaspez Arts Italy…are amongst my customers)

 Environmental and geographical scale models, sculptures in all materials, furniture and backdrops for both indoor (interior design,  shops, restaurants, signs), and outdoor (public events, festivals.)

Deep knowledge of all materials used in set design. Metals, resins, silicones, polyurethanes, putties, colors of every kind. Welding iron, carpentry, airbrushing.

I was  student of Dick Smith, Oscar Award for makeup visual effects in the movie “Amadeus.” (As well as “the Godfather” – “The Exorcist”, to name a few)

In 2002 I attended a course – seminar held in Hollywood and Pasadena by Rick Baker – master of special effects American (Star Wars – American Werewolf in London – Michael Jackson’s Thriller – Man in Black I and II, The Grinch, X-Men as well as winner of winner of six Oscars.) Here in the US I learned superior sculpting techniques and have further deepened my knowledge technical knowledge also about materials, realization and design technologies.