ARENA DANCES – Minneapolis’ Premier Contemporary Dance Company
ARENA DANCES is an internationally-renowned contemporary dance company founded in 1995 by artistic director and choreographer Mathew Janczewski in Minneapolis. Over the past 20 years, Janczewski has created over 30 works for ARENA performed nationally and internationally to critical acclaim. ARENA has toured extensively throughout the US including presentations at the Skirball Theater of NYU, City Center, and the Joyce SoHo in New York, The Repertory Project of Cleveland, and the SCUBA network in Philadelphia among others. Internationally, the company has twice been presented by Open Look International Summer Dance Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia as well as the 3rd TOUCH Festival in Arkanghelsk, Russia, and the L1 Dance Festival in Budapest, Hungary.
ARENA has been commissioned by numerous colleges and arts institutions such as The Walker Art Center, and been presented at top Twin Cities venues such as The Cowles Center, The Southern Theater, and The Fitzgerald Theater. Janczewski’s work has been recognized for excellence with a Sage Award for “Outstanding Performance”, as Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”, and received support from The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, McKnight Foundation, Target Foundation, Archie D. & Bertha H. Walker Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, The Spanish Embassy of American Universities, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Janczewski is an ArtSage trainer and through ARENA’s Intergenerational Residency Program and Main Street Project (originally developed with the prestigious support of the New England Foundation for the Arts and National Dance Project), they continue to expand both performance and outreach programs – bridging the gap between youth and the elderly, and creating a dialogue about universal topics such as home, community, and connection.
Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES exists to create and perform original contemporary dance choreography which promotes community engagement, dialogue and impact.
OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES
Because dance cannot survive without new audiences and a deepened appreciation of the art form, we strive to engage individuals and communities:
- To celebrate the depth and breadth of Twin Cities’ dance artists, and their contributions to the evolution and advancement of dance as an art form
- To facilitate the development of Minneapolis a destination for dance artists and audiences
- To serve the community through providing unique and meaningful arts programs that engage and deepen the public’s appreciation and support of dance.
- To build, inspire, entertain and nurture audiences for dance while bringing together the diverse communities, perspectives and aesthetics of the Twin Cities’ rich palette of arts and culture.
- To create a collaborative and inclusive environment that actively promotes respect for diversity in all areas of the organization.
Sarah Baumert is a dance artist, native to Nebraska, with a BFA in dance from the University of Minnesota. She has performed with Xavier LeRoy (Germany), Sean Feldman (UK), Willi Dorner (Australia), Sarah Smith, Daniel McCusker, and Nell Breyer (Boston), Lisa Krauss and Gabi Revlock (Philadelphia), Emily Johnson, Zenon Dance Company, Justin Jones, Maggie Bergeron, Chris Yon, Hannah Kramer and Mathew Janczewski. Sarah’s work has most recently been presented through Dance Advance Philadelphia, through support from the Somerville Arts Council, Massachusetts, and the MIT program for Art and Culture and Technology. Sarah teaches yoga across the country and to the students at the St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts.
Rachel Clark grew up in the Pacific Northwest and graduated from Carleton College in 2015. During her time in school, she performed in works by April Sellers, Chris Schlicting, and Karen Charles, and was the recipient of the Toni Award for the Arts which allowed her to attend the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation and the West Coast Contact Improv Jam. Since moving to Minneapolis, she has worked with Paula Mann, Theresa Madaus, Laurie Van Wieren, and Halie Bahr. This is her first time performing with ARENA DANCES and she is thrilled to have the opportunity. When not dancing in the studio, Rachel also likes dancing in the streets with Don’t You Feel It Too? and in the kitchen with her loving roommates.
Dustin Haug grew up in southern Minnesota and attended St. Olaf College. Although he was very active in the dance department and spent a good deal of time studying chemistry, he earned a BA in Visual Art in 2000. He move to Seattle, WA after graduation and began working with KT Niehoff’s lingo dance theater in 2002, creating and performing in several evening-length works, including Speak to Me, Relatively Real, and Inhabit. In the summer of 2007, Dustin moved back home to Minnesota. Locally, he has shown his own work at The Walker Art Center’s Choreographer’s Evening, Zenon’s Dance Zone, Choreographer’s Evening at the Ritz, Bryant Lake Bowl, and SPCPA’s Evening of Dance. He has also had the pleasure of working with numerous local choreographers such as Body Cartography Project, Rosy Simas Danse, Patrick Scully, Maggie Bergeron and Dancers, and Chris Schlicting. Dustin joined Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES in 2013 to help create and perform the evening-length work The Main Street Project. He has taught modern dance and contact improvisation at Zenon Dance School since 2008; dance, chemistry, and physics at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists from 2008-present.
Blake Nellis originally from Door County, Wisconsin, Blake graduated from Luther College with a degree in Theater/Dance. He has taught and performed throughout the US, Mexico, Europe & Asia. He has recently produced work at the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Earthdance, TEK box and the Jewel Theater at Luther College. His other professional experience includes Stuart Pimsler Dancer & Theater, Jim Lieberthal’s Footholds Project, Rosy Simas and Taja Will. Blake is a 2013 recipient of a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council “Next Step” grant. He is grateful to Mathew and this cool, creative, kind-hearted company for the opportunity to play, question and connect.
Betsy Schaefer Roob is originally from Elm Grove, WI. Her studies have taken her to Michigan, Oregon, El Salvador, and Minnesota where she completed her self-designed degree at the University of Minnesota—a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in English, Dance, and Sustainability Studies. In addition to working with ARENA DANCES, she dances with Karen L. Charles’ Threads Dance Project and Dance & Other Behaviors, and has worked with choreographers including Sasha Kleinplatz, Linda Lehovec, A.T. Moffett, Anne-René Petrarca, and Ray Tadio. Betsy also teaches across the Twin Cities and coordinates youth and adult enrichment programs with Minneapolis Community Education.
Nicole Stumpf (apprentice) is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in dance from the College of Liberal Arts and a marketing degree from the Carlson School of Management. She has performed works by highly acclaimed artists including Gerald Casel, Nora Chipaumire, Garth Fagan, Penelope Freeh, Wynn Fricke, Martha Graham, Justin Jones, Scott Rink, Uri Sands, Joanie Smith, and Erin Thompson. Recently, she performed a work by Leila Awadallah at the American College Dance Festival national conference at the Kennedy Center. Nicole dedicates herself to project-based work in Minneapolis and is a company member of STRONGmovement, directed by Darrius Strong.
Benjamin Swenson-Klatt (apprentice) is a Minneapolis resident who recently graduated from St. Olaf College where he received a B.A. in Dance and Theater and a concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies. During his college career he performed in over twenty productions and worked with artists such as Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, Alexandra Beller Dances, Joe Chvala, and more. He is currently working as a Performing Arts Intern with the Walker Art Center as well as performing in the Twin Cities.
Timmy Wagner is a movement maker compelled by the way dance enriches relationships at all levels. After receiving his BA in Dance at St. Olaf College, he began dancing with a number of choreographers and collaborators, including ARENA DANCES, Body Cartography Project, Stuart Pimsler Dancer & Theater, Mad King Thomas, Jennifer Arave, Flying Foot Forum, Rosy Simas, Vanessa Voskuil, Taja Will, and Blake Nellis, as well as appearing in his own performance work. Timmy has had the pleasure of dancing with ARENA since 2011.