About Us

We are Taryn Kaschock Russell and Kirsten Kaschock. We are sisters. Artists. Citizens. Educators. 

 
 Photo: Tina Y. Lee

Photo: Tina Y. Lee

Taryn Kaschock Russell

I am currently the Acting Director of the Dance Division at the Juilliard School. 

Prior to this position, I directed Hubbard Street 2 for five years after a twelve-year performing career that began with the Joffrey Ballet and continued with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC).

As Director of HS2, I designed and conducted over a dozen residencies in conjunction with universities across the United States. In addition, I have taught improvisation and ballet at SUNY Purchase and master classes for Aspen Sante Fe Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Met, Ballet Hispanico, The Trey McIntyre Project, Ballet BC, Jessica Lang Dance and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. 

As a choreographer, I am fascinated by collaborative artistic exchange, and what can be achieved when including cross-disciplinary elements within a performance. I created over a dozen site-specific installations inside the Art Institute of Chicago. I conferred with curators and docents and researched the collections to respond intelligently and kinesthetically to artwork ranging from Picasso and Chagall to Steve McQueen. In May of 2009, I created an installation for the opening of Andy Warhol’s Silver Cloud exhibition at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and in March of 2012, as part of a three-way partnership with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, I created a 30-minute work in response to an exhibition of rare fifteenth-century drawings. Whenever possible, I worked with musicians who provided live music for these installations.

I am also a dedicated advocate for educational arts programming. Under my direction, Hubbard Street 2 created its first full-length children’s program Harold and the Purple Crayon: A Dance Adventure, which premiered at the Kennedy Center to a sold-out house. As an educator, I urge the artists I encounter to reach beyond themselves. I am passionate about what I do, and my work does not end when I leave the studio or when a dancer leaves my company or mentorship. The art, and the relationships, continue.

 Photo: Katie Zeller

Photo: Katie Zeller

Kirsten Kaschock

I am a poet, a novelist, an editor, and a professor at Drexel University.

My poetry books include: Unfathoms (Slope Editions 2004), A Beautiful Name for a Girl (Ahsahta Press 2011), WindowBoxing (Bloof Books 2012), The Dottery (University of Pittsburgh Press 2014), and Confessional Science-fiction: A Primer (Subito Press 2017). 

My novel Sleight was published by Coffee House Press. This speculative novel interrogates ideas of performance, gender, and family while asking the question: what is the role of art in the face of atrocity?

I am also an editor for thINKing DANCE, a consortium of dance writers in Philadelphia. The only one of its kind, this organization—created in 2011 in response to dwindling dance criticism nationally—has published over 700 reviews and articles chronicling the rich contributions of the movement arts to Philadelphia communities. Exposure to discourse about the arts is an integral part of making sense of the world around us. During my two-year term as Editor-in-Chief, I helped guide the growth and encourage the diversity of voices on the site. 

Through Drexel, I work with Writers Room, an inclusive literary arts program housed in West Philadelphia that brings together students, staff, faculty and community members to write a shared story. I am learning and re-learning every day how crucial it is to listen deeply, and how to read and create in new ways that honor such listening.

This past September I attended the Vermont Studio Center and was blown away by the potentials that arise when makers of all kinds come together to work and to share work. I want to extend that magic beyond time spent in a theater or gallery or residency... I want to see if we can't shine a little of that light out into the internet. To see if talking about those things and encounters we think are beyond language -  as honestly as we can and with as much heart as we can - if that might not change how we see each other. I think it might. I think that's what art does... aimed true.