CounterPulse Staff

Julie Phelps. Photo by Robbie SweenyJulie E. Phelps
Artistic Director & Interim Executive Director

Julie joined the CounterPulse staff in 2008 after receiving a BA in psychology from Macalester College (St. Paul) and working as an independent producer and curator.  As the director of this multi-faceted organization Julie preserves an intentional imprecision and multi-missioned agenda in her work as a producer/curator/programmer/community activist.  As part of her work at CounterPulse Julie has led the design and implementation of numerous innovative programs and initiatives including moving from a rental house to all curated programming, launching community engagement programming with low income populations, and instigating international and national exchange projects and presentations. In addition to her work at CounterPulse, she has toured extensively nationally and internationally as a performer with Keith Hennessy, Meg Stewart, and Jesse Hewit/Strong Behavior.



Shamsher Virk Photo by Robbie SweenyShamsher Virk
Communications and Engagement Director

Shamsher Virk comes to CounterPulse with a dedication to performance as a language and tool for collaborative community-based arts. As our Communications & Engagement Director, he connects CounterPulse to our neighbors, our city, our media, and our wider community in cyberspace. Prior to CounterPulse, Shamsher worked with Joanna Haigood’s site-specific performance company, Zaccho Dance Theatre. Shamsher graduated from College of the Atlantic in 2007 with a B.A. in Human Ecology, a course of study that immersed him in interdisciplinary communication arts and social research methodology. Shamsher’s experience in the non-profit world includes documentary video production work with Interlock Media in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and administrative work with the Centre for Performance Research in Aberystwyth, Wales.



Zoe Klein Photo by Robbie Sweeny Zoë Klein
Producing Director

Zoë Klein is an international performer, teacher, acrobat, event planner, and lighting designer from Brooklyn, NY.  In NYC she has been Tech Director of Brooklyn Arts Exchange and Danspace Project Inc. and has toured as lighting designer or company manager for Eva Dean Dance, Wally Cardona, and Bebe Miller. Zoë has been Space Manager for Theatre of Yugen at NOHspace, a Master Electrician at ODC Theater, and CounterPulse Technical Director.  She has worked for SF Local 16 Stagehand Union, and  Production Stage Manager for Amy Seiwert & Robert Moses at Oakland Ballet. Zoë has toured 28 countries over 6 continents co-directing acrobatic dance company Paradizo Dance.  Paradizo won multiple 1st place awards in Cabaret competitions, was seen on So You Think You Can Dance, and was a top Finalist on America’s Got Talent.  Zoë currently dances for Epiphany Dance Productions and Ramon Alayo Company while booking circus acts for private events with her company ZoeKleinProductions.

Jeanne Pfeffer Photo by Robbie SweenyJeanne Pfeffer
Development Manager

Jeanne Pfeffer joined the CounterPulse staff in June 2014, after five years of independent performing arts management, producing, and fundraising work in San Francisco. She has worked primarily towards sustainable support for, and professional production of, emerging and mid-career performing artists and their work. In addition to her work at CounterPulse, Jeanne serves on the board of directors for FACT/SF. Previously, she worked as Operations Manager for FACT/SF, Program Director for Jess Curtis/Gravity, House Manager for CounterPulse, and a Fellow with the Emerging Arts Professionals – SF Bay Area. Jeanne has also worked with Quinn Associates, Kate Mitchell, Eye Zen Productions, DRP Dance (MN), Zenon Dance Center (MN), and The American Dance Festival (NC). She graduated with honors from Beloit College with a B.A. in both Sociology and Theater Arts.

Lily Sufi Nikzad. Photo by Robbie Sweeny Lily Sufi Nikzad
Operations Manager

Lily Nikzad joined CounterPulse in October of 2014. She began studying music and performing in theatre at a young age and continues to engage with the arts as a spectator, student, and performer. Lily earned a double Bachelor of Arts degree with High Honors in French Language and Global & International Studies. Her studies at UCSB and the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lyon were focused on post-colonial identity and literary narrative, with an emphasis on former French colonies in the Caribbean. Her creative and academic interests explore cultural identity, living in diaspora, and multiplicity. She brings diverse work experience in tech sales, marketing, and non-profit fundraising to managing operations at CP.



Erica Dixon Photo by Robbie Sweeny

Erica Dixon
Communications Manager

Erica is thrilled to have joined the CounterPulse team in October 2014. She synthesizes her experience in communication design for nonprofits and experimental art event production to serve as the Communications Manager. Erica received her BA in Interdisciplinary Arts and Technology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2012. Prior to working with CounterPulse Erica worked for a variety of arts organizations committed to producing immersive, cutting-edge art events across the Front Range of Colorado. Erica’s personal creative practice falls in the lines of socially intersecting installation and sculpture mediums and has done multiple artist residencies and participated in several intervention based gallery showings.