2016 Alembic Resident Artists

We are happy to introduce PWNW’s 2016 Alembic Resident Artists:
claire barrera, Noelle Stiles & Katie Scherman.
Find out all about them below!

We thank the 2016 panel, all of whom approached the difficult decision-making process with thoughtfulness and generosity: Roya Amirsoleymani, Suzanne Chi, Seth Nehil, Jerry Tischleder, Stacy Tran, and Leah Wilmoth.

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claire barrera is a movement artist, writer, educator and mother based in Portland, Oregon. As a young person, she trained in ballet and modern. She received her BA in 2004 from Reed College, and has since studied somatics, post-modern dance, improvisation and performance art extensively. In recent years claire has presented work at Performance Works Northwest, FLOCK and Holocene, among other venues.

In addition to her work as a performer and artist, claire frequently interacts with art and punk communities as a writer and activist. She was recently published in the anthology Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines. Since 2008 she has co-edited the zine When Language Runs Dry, which will be published as an anthology by Mend My Dress Press in 2016. Her other passions include sad music, homeschooling, brujeria and karaoke.

I hope to use my time at the Alembic residency to continue exploring my body as an interpretation of my history and my ancestry, and as a place where experience is continuously given language(s). Currently, I am playing with the concept of homeopathy as a tool to confront my own dis/ease with my body as the site of translation.


Katie Scherman began her training at Anaheim Ballet with additional studies at Ballet Pacifica, San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Houston Ballet. At 15, she joined Houston Ballet II for two seasons, in addition to performing in Houston Ballet productions.  She performed works by Ben Stevenson, George Balanchine, Stanton Welch, and Brian Enos.  In 2004, Ms. Scherman joined The Washington Ballet Studio Company, where she spent two seasons performing works by Trey McIntyre, Septime Webre, and George Balanchine.  In 2010, Ms. Scherman graduated Magna Cum Laude from Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet/Dominican University with a BFA in Dance. Scherman has also performed with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Central California Ballet, and Terpsicorps Dance Theatre.  Ms. Scherman is a founding member of Zhukov Dance Theatre, where she performed in the 2008 and 2009 summer seasons. She was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award in 2008. In 2009, she was honored with a Princess Grace Award in Dance. Ms. Scherman was a member of Hubbard Street 2, where she performed all over the US and in Europe.  While at Hubbard, Scherman performed works by Alejandro Cerrudo, Edgar Zendejas, Dominic Walsh, Gabrielle Lamb, Ohad Naharin, Samar Haddad King, Robin-Mineko Williams, Terry Marling, and Taryn Kaschock Russell.  

In 2013, her choreography was presented at the Hult Center and the University of Oregon. Ms. Scherman has been featured as a choreographer and teacher for the 2013 and 2014 Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet Summer Program. She is also a guest teacher and choreographer for Laguna Dance Theatre where she has taught since 2009. In 2014, her work was presented at the (A)merging Dance Festival in Portland, OR and at the American College Dance Festival in Montana.  In March 2015, Ms. Scherman’s piece “Assez” was selected for the Gala performance at ACDA 2015 in Greeley, Colorado.  Ms. Scherman graduated with her MFA in Dance from the University of Oregon in June 2015, where she spent three years as a graduate teaching fellow. She is the recipient of the 2015 UO Graduate Student Emerging Artist Award.  

Scherman is currently a company dancer with BodyVox and teaches at BodyVox and NW Dance Project.  For the 2015-2016 season, Scherman will hold guest residencies at Pacific University, University of Utah, UDC company, JAG program/Bodyvox, Dominican University/LINES Ballet BFA program, as well as holding masterclasses and workshops on the west coast.  Ms. Scherman currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she teaches, performs, and choreographs.

To have studio space, support, to acquire movers and thinkers, and to build a cathartic experience for movers and observers, is what I yearn for.  My work comes from a place of curiosity; whether that be personal or through a greater scope.  I am actively creating work to elicit questions and considerations regarding time: memories, future hope, present self-talk(dialogue), juxtaposition of musical/rhythmic choices, and the ever fleeting moment and how this transformation occurs.  I often use vulnerability as a gateway for movement inspiration.  I find the uncomfortable to be a way in, a way out, and a way to shed what is not needed.  With my background in both classical and contemporary dance, I notice a theme of molding in and out of the two, and how they exist together. I hope to continue this investigation through the creation of stories to bring about connection, empathy, and empowerment.


Noelle Stiles is a dance artist based in Portland, OR. Her commitment to dance and experimental performance is expressed through a range of professional practice. She has performed and presented work at venues such as the Time-Based Art Festival, On The Boards, PWNW, Dance Truck, and Dance New Amsterdam. Stiles’ interest in teaching has taken her to The Ohio State University, the Governor’s School of North Carolina, Dance/USA’s “Engaging Dance Audiences” program, and she co-founded the community-focused dance class series Heavy Rotation with Kathleen Keogh. Her work has been supported by Caldera’s Artists in Residence program, Precipice Fund, the Regional Arts and Culture Council, and she was selected by the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art/National Dance Project to attend the Dublin Dance Festival as part of a pilot international exchange program for choreographers. In 2010, she merged her work as a graphic designer with her work in dance to co-instigate the dance publication, FRONT with Tahni Holt, Danielle Ross, and Robert Tyree. Noelle also works in the field as an arts administrator and holds a BFA and MFA in dance.

As a dance artist, I am interested in how and where experience is held in the body. This interest provides a framework for extracting the corporeal language that both intimately connects and individuates us. The anchor of the body as the site of investigation allows for conversations between a multitude of disciplines within my work.

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