Yo-El Cassell -- A recipient of the Lotte Kaliski Award for Gifted Artists, was formerly Resident Choreographer of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company and is currently Head of Movement/Assistant Professor of Movement for Boston University’s College of Fine Arts School of Theatre. His previous teaching experience includes Harvard University, the NY Acting School for Film and Television, Boston University, New England Conservatory, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Sunshine Cottage School For Deaf Children, Commonwealth Shakespeare Apprentice Academy, Boston Ballet, Dance Complex, and Skidmore College where he served as a guest teaching artist/choreographer in residence for three years.
Cassell has choreographed and directed movement for Comedy of Errors, All’s Well That Ends Well, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Coriolanus, King Lear, Love Labours Lost, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night and Othello for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company (CSC); Lilly’s Revenge for The American Repertory Theatre; The Understudy and Mr. Burn’s, A Post- Electric Play for the Lyric Stage Company of Boston; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime for SpeakEasy Stage Company; Sound of Music for the Nantucket Dreamland Theatre; Kiss Me Kate (Featuring Kerry O’Malley and Marc Kudisch), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Boys from Syracuse, Symphonic Shakespeare, Footloose and Fancy Free (Movement Director/ Curator), and Urban Sprawl for Boston Landmark Orchestra/ CSC; Sunlight Interior, Sweet and Sour, and The Distance Between for The Walnut Hill School of The Arts; Little Night Music, Alicina, and Orpheus in the Underworld for The Boston Opera Collaborative; Sunlight Interior for The San Antonio Repertory Ballet; Full-Noon Trill and Gravitate for Skidmore College; Die Fledermaus for New England Conservatory, and The Me I Didn’t Know for Across the Ages Dance. He has also produced, choreographed and directed the acclaimed Off-Broadway original production of Moonlight Interior at the Sande Shurin Theatre in NYC featuring the music of singer songwriter Jann Klose. Additional experiences include choreography and movement direction for the films Cultivating Stillness and What Alice Found (Miramax). He was also the artistic director and choreographer of YC Movement Theatre in NYC. Currently, he is the artistic director and founder of Ensemble 360, a movement theatre ensemble comprised of male actors, dancers, and musicians whose mission is to highlight the importance of storytelling through movement. Their work has been produced by Celebrity Series of Boston and Boston LandMarks Orchestra. He has also created devised work for male urban youth for a program he founded, entitledBoys in Motion, for Boston Ballet’s community engagement performance at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester, Massachusetts (Three, Esfera, Chairs in Motion). This Spring, he will initiate a new movement series at Boston University, entitled Inmotion Theatre, that will highlight storytelling through the lens of physical theatre.
As a performer, Cassell has appeared in Shining Time Station with Ringo Starr (PBS, Debut Episode), Anatomy of a Ballet (Independent Film), A Christmas Carol at the McCarter Theatre (Scott Ellis, Director/Rob Marshall, Choreographer), La Fille Mal Gardee, Orfeo ed Euridice (Virgina Opera/Darko Tresnjak, Director) Ahab’s Wife, and The Urban Nutcracker. He was also a member of The American Mime Theatre, The Pearl Lang Dance Company, Spencer/Colton Dance, Heidi Latsky Dance, Chen and Dancers, DanceCompass, and Palissimo Dance Theatre in which he was featured in their acclaimed Off-Broadway production of Blind Spot at PS122 in NYC. His training includes the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, Paul Taylor School, American Repertory Ballet, Connecticut Ballet, Summerstages Dance at Concord Academy, Alvin Ailey School, The University of the Arts, and Mercer County High School of Performing Arts from which he is an alumnus. He was also an apprentice at the American Mime Theatre.
Cassell was Program Manager for Boston Ballet’s nationally acclaimed Citydance program which provides free access of movement education to over 3,000 public school children in Boston and the North Shore. He also served as curriculum development/teaching specialist for their Taking Steps and community engagement programs. Cassell was Assistant Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer for The Shadowbox Theater in NYC, as well as Student Engagement Manager and creative producer for ArtsEmerson at Emerson College (Office of the Arts). This management position focused on creating innovative experiences in providing student accessibility to world class theatre programming.
Cassell is a graduate of The Boston Conservatory at Berklee and the recipient of The Kennedy Center Thought Leadership Fellowship, Silo Guest Artist Residency Fellowship, SummerStages Dance Fellowship, The Jan Even Scholarship as well as a member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society and the Association of of Theatre Movement Educators.
For more insight into Yo-el’s thought process, please read “An Artist’s Take on Mentoring” or “Dream Big and Make the Move.”