Joe Celej is a New York City based creative artist whose career spans nearly fifteen years of professional concert dance performance, choreographic investigation, and passionate instruction and mentoring of students. Joe graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in dance performance from SUNY Buffalo, where he was a performing and creative arts honors scholar, and supplemented his training with scholarships to Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, The Edge, and the Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. Joe is an honored recipient of a 2010 Presidential Scholar Teacher Recognition Award from the US Department of Education. Joe began his relationship with METdance, then called Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, as a dancer in 2001, and worked with artists such as Robert Battle, Kate Skarpetowska, Peter Chu, Mario Zambrano, and Eddy Ocampo. During this time, Joe served as Resident Choreographer of METdance, creating several works for the company including audience and critic favorite, What More? (2005). In the fall of 2005, Joe relocated to New York City and performed for over eight years with the internationally touring/acclaimed concert company Elisa Monte Dance. As a senior company member and soloist, Joe performed extensively throughout the US (including multiple Joyce seasons) and Europe with EMD, most notably meeting and performing for the Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg. Through the EMD choreographic initiative, Joe enjoyed creating six works for the company, and was honored to have his Joyce Theater choreographic premiere in 2011. During this time, Joe continued his relationship with METdance as a guest choreographer, creating new works including ForeverFleeting (2007) and primed (2014), guest faculty, and served on the company’s advisory board. Joe is incredibly honored to have been appointed Associate Director of METdance beginning during its 2015-16 20th Anniversary Season. Joe is a guest teacher/choreographer throughout the US and Europe at a variety of educational institutions including Steps on Broadway, Peridance Capezio Center, SUNY Buffalo, Rice University, Salve Regina University, the High School for Performing and Visual Arts Houston (HSPVA), Episcopal High School, St John's School, and the Hetrick-Martin Institute. Joe is proud to have been a teacher/mentor to dancers performing with LA Dance Project, Lar Lubovitch, Ballet Hispanico, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, the Radio City Rockettes, and Disney, as well as current students/graduates of the Juilliard School, Point Park University, NYU, SUNY Purchase, SUNY Buffalo, Chapman University, University of Arizona, SMU, and many other secondary educational institutions. As an independent artist, Joe has presented his choreography at numerous venues including the Reverb Dance Festival/APAP, the Dance Gallery, the Pink Ribbons Project, the Big Range Dance Festival, the Great Friends Dance festival, Zodiaque Dance Company, Extensions Dance Company, Dance Harlem, American Dance Guild, Vision of Sound, Dumbo Dance Festival, The Tank, Pushing Progress Showcase Series, Cool NY Dance Festival, and the Solar Powered Dance Series.