Shani Matoaka Bekt
Born in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn), Shani Matoaka Bekt (she/her) is a New York-based actor, dancer, choreographer/movement director (Intimacy Captain Certified), singer, and writer.
Shani has performed at Radio City Music Hall, Park Avenue Armory, Fortmakers Art Gallery/Studio, The New York International Fringe Festival, The Women in Theater Festival, NJPAC, and Alvin Ailey. She has appeared in the short films "Jenny Joined a Cult" and "Marcy Learns Something New", in addition to choreographing for Perfume Genius’ music video “Without You”. During Summer 2022, Shani performed in the New York tour of "Expanding the Table: A Pop-Apart Opera" sponsored by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and NYC Cultural Affairs. She just wrapped Third Law, an interactive play produced by What Will The Neighbors Say? at BRIC and MITU580 as a devisor, performer, and fight choreographer. Most recently, Shani completed the program, Theater of Change, with Broadway Advocacy Coalition and Columbia Law School, combining her love of activism, community engagement, and the arts with a focus on the rights of incarcerated folks. Following her "artivism" passion, she is now an Artist Ambassador for NYCLU and a board member of What Will The Neighbors Say? theater company.
Shani received her B.F.A. in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and studied in the Meisner, Experimental Theater Wing, and Stonestreet studios. In addition to her film, theater, and vocal training, she has had over 20 years of dance training including ballet, pointe, modern, improvisation, Williamson Technique, post-modern, Gaga, and trained with the Leimay Ludus ensemble.