Toscana Dance hub 2020:

The oak tree project


nico monaco



Nicola started his training in contemporary and ballet at the age of nineteen in Italy. In 2001, he attended the professional course of Aterballetto under the direction of Mauro Bigonzetti and at the end of his training he joined the dance company Artemis Danza directed by Monica Casadei. In 2003, Nicola had the opportunity to work for esteemed Dutch dance company Emio Greco/PC with whom he toured worldwide until 2008. From there, he moved to London and had the chance to work and collaborate with Akram Khan, as well as other choreographers and companies such as: Gregory Maquoma, Tom Dale, The Featherstonehaughs and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. It was during this time that Nicola started his own choreographic research, performing at the Arcola Theatre and the Place Theatre in London. In 2012, he began working for the University of Malta as a guest teacher and as a rehearsal director for the Mavin Khoo Dance Company. 

In 2013, Nicola joined Akram Khan Company touring with the productions iTMOi and Kaash and continues to work with the company by facilitating international workshops.

In 2016, he was appointed rehearsal director for the national company of Malta Zfin Malta Dance Ensemble directed by Mavin Khoo, was commissioned to create a piece for the Fontys Dance Academy in Tilburg and started his master’s degree in performing arts (Dance) at the University of Malta. Nicola is currently touring worldwide as rehearsal director for Akram’s final full-length solo, XENOS.

molissa Fenley



Molissa Fenley founded Molissa Fenley and Company in 1977 and has since created over 85 dance works during her continuing career.  She grew up in Ibadan, Nigeria traveling there with her family in 1961, completing all of her early education there in International Schools and her last two years of high school in Spain. She returned to the US in 1971 to study dance at Mills College in Oakland, California. Upon graduation in 1975, she moved to New York. With her company, Molissa Fenley and Company, and as a soloist working in collaboration with visual artists and composers, she has performed throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.  Her work has been commissioned by the American Dance Festival, the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, the Dia Art Foundation, Jacob’s Pillow, the Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, the New National Theater of Tokyo, The National Institute of Performing Arts in Seoul, The Kitchen, and Dance Theater Workshop/New York Live Arts. Both Cenotaph and State of Darkness were awarded a Bessie for Choreography in 1985 and 1988 respectively. 

Molissa has also set many works on ballet and contemporary dance companies, most recently for the Oakland Ballet (Redwood Park), Pacific Northwest Ballet, (State of Darkness), Repertory Dance Theatre (Energizer), Barnard/Columbia (Amdo), Robert Moses' Kin (The Vessel Stories), and the Seattle Dance Project, (Planes in Air). She is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, has enjoyed residencies at Yaddo, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Baryshnikov Art Center, Djerassi and is a twice recipient of awards from the Asian Cultural Council to visit Japan. Molissa is Professor of Dance at Mills College, in residence in the spring semesters, and often teaches choreographic and repertory workshops at other universities, most recently at Bennington, Barnard/Columbia and Hunter. Seagull Press/University of Chicago recently published Rhythm Field: The Dance of Molissa Fenley.

Piero Leccese

Agropoli, Italy


From 2005 to 2007 he worked with the actress and director Maria Maglietta in a dance and theater project on behalf of AMREF Italy/Kenya for the rehabilitation of “chocora” (garbage guys) of Nairobi. Together they held several contemporary dance and contact improvisation workshops for a group of local dancers organized by the Italian Institute of Culture in Nairobi.


In 2015 he became the artistic director of Dance Exorto, a new space for the performing arts in Agropoli (Salerno, Italy).


His work is mostly based on release technique, floor work, and partnering. Paralling his studies in architecture, he emphasizes concepts such as space/direction, structure/shape, full/empty, and inside/outside.


He holds regular courses in contemporary dance and contact improvisation at both public and private school in Florence and leads workshops in Italy and abroad.

Piero Leccese, in parallel to higher education, began studying contemporary dance, ballet, and improvisation. He has studied contact improvisation with Alexander Certini, Charlotte Zerbey, Alessandra Palma Cesnola, and has attended seminars with Julyen Hamilton, Nancy Stark Smith, Kirstie Simson, and many others. He deepened his training at the Contemporary Dance School and the Laban Center in London, as well as in Paris and Bruxelles. He atteneded drama workshops with Danio Manfredini, Renata Palminiello, Remondi and Caporossi, and Marco Baliani. He has also collaborated with Italian companies of contemporary dance and physical theater such as Compagnia Aldes-Roberto Castello, Company Blue, Baldanza, Versilia Dance, Ersilia Danza, Secondo Taglio, Rem & Cap, Agar-Paola Bianchi, Florence Dance Company, and Gabriella Maiorino Dance Company.


He regularly collaborates with the company Teatro di Piazza o di Occasione of Prato as a performer in shows for children. He also helps with the organization and implementation of theater workshops and movement for students and teachers. The company also runs workshops in expressive theater and dance programs targeting the disables, drug addicts, and young people from the slums.

Giada Matteini 

New York, NY

Founder & Artistic Director, Ballet Teacher

Matteini's choreography has been presented at Saint Mark’s Church, Purchase, the Construction Company, Theatre of the Riverside Church, Hofstra University, Rose Theatre at Lincoln Center, the Manhattan Movement Arts Center, the Aldous Theater, the Ailey Citigroup Theater, NYU's Jack Crystal Theatre, the Florence Dance Festival, and the Mugello Dance Experience. She created, choreographed and directed The Nutcracker NYC, which performs every Christmas season and voted one of the top six Nutcrackers to see by CBS news. ( In 2015 she launched The Nutcracker NYC Gives Back,  an outreach program dedicated to eradicate unjust policies of educational discrimination in the US and focused on vulnerable neighboorhoods and populations.


Matteini produces dance and music performances in both the US and Europe and proudly supports the growth and development of performing artists as ambassadors of peace through art.

Matteini has taught ballet and partnering at NYU Tisch School of The Arts since 2008. She has been a full-time member of the Faculty at NYU since 2013 and is currently serving as Tisch’s Second Avenue Dance Company Co-Director and Director of Dance Accompanists.

Giada Matteini graduated cum laude with a BA in Dance from Suny Empire State College, is one of the first professional dancers to graduate from Marga Nativo’s training program at the Florence Dance Center in Italy and was one of the founding members of the Florence Dance Company. Her professional debut was with the company first ever performance in 1988, at the age of 14. Matteini believes in cultural exchange, artistic expression and dance as essential tools in the health of adults and the development of children.


Matteini has worked as a performer, educator, choreographer, curator and producer in New York City since 1998. She was Assistant Professor of Dance at Hofstra University where she taught ballet technique for seven years. She has worked for the notable Eliot Feld Public School for Dance and Ballet Tech, teaching company class and technique for students 6th through 12th grade. Matteini created a curriculum-based ballet program for children ages 8 through 18, which she ran at the Peridance Center for over 10 years. The majority of her students continue their dance education in prestigious North American institutions and universities such as ABT, Purchase University, Marymount Manhattan College, NYU, Harvard, and Columbia and are performing in contemporary and commercial dance companies across the globe. An international master teacher with an extensive background as ballet mistress, she guest teaches in festivals and universities across Europe and Asia: most recently at Balettakademien in Sweden, SEAD in Austria, NYU in Germany, Academy of Drama in China and has worked as a judge at the ABAP Ballet Competition in the Philippines.

TDH International is sponsored with Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community. Contributions to The Field earmarked for Iron Jade Productions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. 

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