Listen to all our Studio Stories Podcasts here! See each week’s special guest, learn about their past and present, and listen to their stories on our Episode Player –
Season 4. Episode 12 – June 29th
Special Guest: Berit Ahlgren
Berit Ahlgren established HoneyWorks in 2019, a dance organization to house interdisciplinary work. Native to St. Paul, MN, Berit Ahlgren trained at Minnesota Dance Theater with both Loyce and Lise Houlton. A founding member, Ahlgren performed with TU Dance 2006—2016. In 2011, Ahlgren had the opportunity to study the Gaga Movement Language in Tel Aviv, and moved to Israel to pursue a year-long Gaga teacher certification. Ahlgren obtained her MFA in Dance from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts in 2016, where she expanded her interests to film and technology, actively collaborating with NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).
Season 4. Episode 11 – June 24th
Special Guest: Abigail Whitmore and Annika Hansen
Abigail Whitmore (she/her) and Annika Hansen (they/them, she/her) are dance artists and partners invested in collaborative efforts, performative events, and dance as embodied research. Both graduates of the University of Minnesota Dance Program, they draw inspiration from somatic practices, improvisation, post-modern, and contemporary dance forms.
Season 4. Episode 10 – June 17th
Special Guest: Danielle Ricci
Danielle Ricci is an educator, choreographer, director, and dancer. She received her BFA in Dance Performance from University of California, Irvine in 2006 under direction of Donald McKayle. In 2014 she graduated with an MA in Arts and Cultural Management from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota and earned an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University in 2018. Danielle is the Founding Artistic Director of Borealis Dance Theatre- a professional modern dance company based in Minneapolis. She is also the director of Dance Camera North- an annual international dance film festival. Her choreography has been recognized as “Best of the Festival” at the Frontera Fringe Festival in Austin, TX in 2010 and 2012.
Season 4. Episode 9 – June 10th
Special Guest: Leila Awadallah
Leila Awadallah [leilawa] is a Palestinian American dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker based between Minneapolis and Beirut. She is in the beginnings of Body Watani, a dance project that engages performance, film, and workshops. Body Watani is premiering it’s first collaborative work-in-progress TERRANEA: hakawati of the sea at the Candy Box festival this year, following the premiere of a solo-version at the Arab American National Museum in 2020.
Season 4. Episode 8 – June 3rd
Special Guest: Bonnie Mathis
Bonnie Mathis was a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre and a soloist with the Harkness Ballet and also performed with many modern companies, namely the Lar Lubovitch Company, the Paul Taylor Company, the Paul Sanasardo Company, the Norman Walker Company, and the Nederlands Dans Theatre. She was part of the dance community of Minneapolis from 1980 to 2005, initially teaching ballet for the Minnesota Dance Theater, the University of Minnesota, the Northwest Ballet, and in 1989 co-creating Ballet Arts Minnesota. In addition to teaching and coaching dancers, she also created ballets for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Boston Ballet II, the Boston Lyric Opera, the Boston Conservatory, as well as many self-produced concerts in Minneapolis supported by grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Season 4. Episode 7 – May 27th
Special Guest: Karla Grotting
Karla Grotting is a dancer, choreographer, educator and producer working with a unique blend of jazz, tap, modern, theater, and percussive dance techniques. Since 1990, she has been a founding member, principal dancer, and artistic associate with Joe Chvala’s The Flying Foot Forum. Karla has performed and toured with Jazzdance: by Danny Buraczeski, MN Jazz Dance Co, Keane Sense of Rhythm, and dance/theater companies Off-Leash Area and Combustible Company. She is also on faculty at the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance, and has been a visiting guest teaching/choreography artist at many others. Karla has been named as one of City Pages’ Artists of the Year.
Season 4. Episode 6 – May 20th
Special Guest: Jinza Thayer
Jinza Thayer received her BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MFA from George Mason University. Recognitions include being a two-time semi-finalist for France’s Rencontres (Bagnolet); a 2010 SAGE Award; and support from the Minnesota State Arts Board, American Composers Forum, Jerome Foundation, and McKnight Artist Fellowship. She has created over 60 original works and presents her work as Movement Architecture – a blend of dance and theater in structured environments. Jinza is a registered Somatic Movement Therapist and Movement Educator (ISMETA) and has taught somatic movement re-patterning and modern dance training for the past 20 years.
Season 4. Episode 5 – May 13th
Special Guest: Eddie Oroyan
Eddie Oroyan is a founding mover and Artistic Associate of Black Label Movement, a company with roots deep in his heart and body. In 2012, in joy and sadness, he moved to Brussels and worked with Ultima Vez for six years, having toured and performed primarily with What the Body Does not Remember and In Spite of Wishing and Wanting. Oroyan continues to dance in Europe and has been working since 2017 with Emmanuel Gat Dance. Eddie is also teaching extensively the practice he continues to research and develop, Animal Mindfulness. After an injury in late 2014, Oroyan began a practice of meditation and observation. Animal Mindfulness came through his search for balance.
Season 4. Episode 4 – May 6th
Special Guest: Kevin Jones
For over 40 years collectively, Kevin Jones provided expertise in lighting design and production management for Minnesota Dance Theatre and James Sewell Ballet, as well as Ballet Minnesota, Ballet Arts Minnesota and McKnight SOLO concerts. His designs have illuminated internationally acclaimed Sewell ballets such as Moving Works, Barrage, Outerborough, Appalachia Waltz, Your Move, and Guy Noir: The Ballet, and Sharon Eyal, Gai Behar’s Killer Pig locally and in Europe. Kevin is currently the Production Manager for The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University and has been declared “one of the best stage managers in America” by Dr. Maya Angelou. We couldn’t agree more!
Season 4. Episode 3 – April 29th
Special Guest: Sharon Picasso
Sharon Picasso is a Minneapolis based movement, performance and transdisciplinary creative Artist and Founder/Artistic Director of Picasso Projects and Lupa Studio. Her work as a freelance performance and dance artist lives parallel to her work as a choreographer for the past 25 years. Sharon’s creative and collaborative practice has expanded into design including sound, light and installation. Paramount in Sharon’s collaborative process is cultivating an inclusive, respectful and sustaining creative environment where value is placed on the wholeness of an individual.
Season 4. Episode 2 – April 22nd
Special Guest: Darrius Strong
Darrius Strong is a Twin Cities based choreographer, dancer, and educator whose creative work has been chosen for the Walker Art Centers, Choreographers Evening, and Rhythmically Speaking. He was featured in the 2015 New Griots Festival as well as an American Standard Bill Board advertisement in NYC Time Square in 2016. He was also a 2017 Momentum New Works recipient. Strong has created works for Threads Dance Project, Flying Foot Forum, Alternative Motion Projects, TU dance and James Sewell Ballet. Strong is a grateful recipient of a 2019 Jerome Hill Fellowship.Strong developed his own dance company STRONGmovement in 2015. He is also a faculty at St. Paul Conservatory Performing Arts High School, TU Dance Center, and Eleve Performing Arts Center where he focuses on teaching young dancers how to connect their identity to movement. www.strong-movement.com
Season 4. Episode 1 – April 15th
Special Guest: Cathy Young
Cathy Young brings 34 years of experience as an artist and educator to her work as Executive Director of Boston Conservatory at Berklee. During the course of her career she has been a performer with leading American dance companies, the artistic director of her own dance company, a nationally recognized choreographer and teacher of jazz dance, a professor of dance, co-founder of a college dance program, and the Dean of Dance at Boston Conservatory.
Season 3. Episode 12 – March 25th
Special Guest: James Sewell
James Sewell’s path took off when he moved to New York, studied at the School of American Ballet and began performing with ABT II. He was a dancer with Feld Ballets/NY for six years, as well as a guest artist for many others. He, along with co-founder Sally Rousse, started James Sewell Dance in NYC in 1990, and then moved the company to Minnesota in 1993. James has choreographed more than 100 ballets for various companies and is nationally recognized. He regularly develops pieces along with live musicians and artists of other idioms.
Season 3. Episode 11 – March 18th
Special Guest: Eve Schulte
Eve Schulte is a dance artist & administrator based in Minneapolis, MN. She grew up training in ballet and modern at Minnesota Dance Theatre, and transitioned to company member in 2007. In 2009, she joined James Sewell Ballet, where she has served as dancer, artistic associate (2017-2020), and now executive director. She has also collaborated with physical theater group Live Action Set, which is pioneering innovative immersive and interactive moving stories. In the summertime, she teaches at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, and has twice served as co-director for their International Ballet Ensemble.
Season 3. Episode 10 – March 11th
Special Guest: Heather Klopchin
Heather Klopchin is a Professor and Chair of the Dance Department at St. Olaf College. She holds a BS degree in Management from SUNY at Geneseo and an MFA in Dance from the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign. She has performed with several companies including ARENA DANCES, Zenon Dance Company, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and is the principal artist with Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater. Some of her career highlights to date include performing works by Danny Buraczeski, Joe Chvala, Robert Cohan, Suzanne Costello, David Dorfman, Bill Evans, Karla Grotting, Judith Howard, and Doris Humphrey. Heather also currently serves on the American College Dance Association’s Board of Directors.
Season 3. Episode 9 – March 4th
Special Guest: Susana di Palma
Having studied Spanish dance and flamenco since childhood, Susana di Palma continued her apprenticeship with maestros such as Ciro, Manolo Marin, Manolete, Carmen Mora, and Merche Esmeralda. She performed throughout Spain in tablaos and with companies such as La Singla. In 1985, she founded Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater in Minneapolis. A devoted teacher, di Palma has been part of the Cowles Center’s Distance Learning Program and taught at the University of Minnesota Dance Department for over 25 years. She continues teaching at the Zorongo School where she directs and guides the Majas apprentice program.
Season 3. Episode 8 – February 25th
Special Guest: Paula Mann
Paula Mann’s journey took her from Appalachian roots to the Detroit teenage runaway, through Kent State in the 1970’s, to NYU and the downtown dance scene of the 1980’s. She studied Humphrey/Limon technique, Hawkins technique, and Cunningham with Merce Cunningham. Her first concert of choreography was produced at the Merce Cunningham Studio in 1980 and later that year she co-founded Dudek/Mann + Dancers. Mann moved to the Twin Cities in 1987, and has since created 50 new works and is co-artistic director of TIME TRACK PRODUCTIONS with visual artist Steve Paul. She was full time faculty at the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance from 1993-2013 and is a 2019/2020 McKnight Fellow in Choreography.
Season 3. Episode 7 – February 18th
Special Guest: Penny Freeh
Dancer, choreographer, educator, and writer Penelope Freeh dismantles antiquated modes of how ballet is taught, languaged, applied in research terms, and expressed physically, intellectually, performatively, and at the gut level. Through her practice of expanding the terms and exploding the tropes of ballet, she aims to meaningfully connect with a diversity of dancers, collaborators, colleagues, students, and audiences.
Season 3. Episode 6 – February 11th
Special Guest: Sally Rousse
Sally Rousse, a native of Vermont, is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, writer, and advocate. Branded “Renegade Ballerina,” Sally co-founded James Sewell Ballet in NYC in 1990. Since 2014, Rousse’s site-specific works have taken dance off the traditional stage. She engages the community through workshops, art installations, tours, discussions, and the acclaimed performance ICON SAM: Temple Dances. Her choreography has been seen in local venues, as well as national stages like MASS MoCA, the Cartoon Channel, and Harvard’s American Repertory Theatre. Sally currently contributes to two national organizations: Creating New Futures and BreakBank, which are focused on ethics and equity in dance and performance, and promoting balanced screen usage while de-centering whiteness.
Season 3. Episode 5 – February 4th
Special Guest: Tom Kanthak
Tom Kanthak has been involved with music and dance for over 40 years as a composer, dance musician, choreographer, dancer, and performer. He trained with Hanya Holm, Nancy Hauser, Claudia Gitelman, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, and more. He is a member of the International Guild of Musicians in Dance and the MN Dance Educators Coalition. Tom is the originator of SoniCoMotion, the overriding name for many collaborations with composers, musicians, choreographers, and dancers. Some of his collaborators include choreographers Chris Aiken, Cathy Young, Patrick Scully, composers/improvisors Michelle Kinney, Manjunan Gnanaratnam, Jane Shockley, Mary Harding, and his students from Perpich Center for Arts Education.
Season 3. Episode 4 – January 28th
Special Guest: Diane Aldis
With a professional dance career traveling across the nation and Europe and an Honor Award for Dance from the Minnesota Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE), recognizing her “outstanding services and contributions in the promotion of dance,” Diane Aldis has had an immense impact on the world of dance. Currently she provides professional development services, training, and planning assistance for K-12 teachers, schools districts, teaching artists, and arts education organizations in Minnesota. Her areas of specialization include arts integration, curriculum development, instructional coaching, educational technology, online teaching & learning, and dance & theater content areas.
Season 3. Episode 3 – January 21st
Special Guest: Gerry Giouard
Currently merging improvisational ideas inspired from in-depth studies of Modern Dance, Argentine Tango and Capoeira. Gerry Girouard’s history in the Twin Cities is rich. Gerry initially danced with The Nancy Hauser Dance Company, and in 1990 transitioned into his own acrobatic style of dancing, creating many evening-length works. In 2017, Gerry co-founded 16 FEET with Lori Mercil and Becky Heist, a showcase for independent choreographers. The showcase is a collaborative effort of all the participants.
Season 3. Episode 2 – January 14th
Special Guest: Judith Howard
Judith Howard is currently the Director of the Dance Program at Carleton College, teaches various courses, and co-directs the Semaphore Repertory Dance Company. Judith has made dances, performed, and taught in the Twin Cities for 30 years. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally. Judith’s early dance training included studying with Erik Hawkins and Twyla Tharp. Her dance training also includes Body Mind Centering, release technique, Laban Movement Analysis, contact improvisation, mask (Sears Eldredge/Lecoq), Authentic Movement, and Craniosacral Therapy.
Season 3. Episode 1- January 7th
Special Guest: Taja Will
Taja Will (pronouns Taja/they) is a queer, Latinx (Chilean) adoptee, performer, choreographer, somatic therapist and Healing Justice practitioner based in the Twin Cities (MN), on the stolen and occupied Dakota lands of Wahpekute and Anishinabewaki. Taja’s approach integrates improvisation, somatic modalities, text and vocals in contemporary performance. Their aesthetic is one of spontaneity, bold choice making, sonic and kinetic partnership and the ability to move in relationship to risk and intimacy. Will’s work explores visceral connections to current socio-cultural realities through ritual, archetypes and everyday magic.
Season 2. Episode 12- December 17th
Special Guest: Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder
HIJACK is the Minneapolis-based choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder. HIJACK is the confluence and clash of two independent compositional/kinesthetic impulses. Their dances embrace juxtaposition. Their dances house unlikely intimates and question “who is the enemy?
Season 2. Episode 11 – December 10th
Special Guest: Derek Phillips
Derek Phillips, a Kansas City native, graduated from Carleton College in 1977. He began his career with the Nancy Hauser Dance Company and Children’s Theatre Company. Derek has been a roster artist for the MSAB’s Artists-in-Education Program and conducted annual residencies for Minnesota public schools for over twenty years. He has also served as Adjunct Dance Education Coordinator for the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Recently, he toured internationally with Katha Dance Theatre. Currently, Derek is a teaching artist for the Cowles Center, and performs English country and sword dances with Minnesota Traditional Morris & Guyz with Tie.
Season 2. Episode 10 – December 3rd
Special Guest: Christine Maginnis
Christine Maginnis has been an active dance artist in her hometown for almost four decades. She has danced for Zenon Dance Company, Cathy Young Dance, ARENA DANCES, Movement Architecture, Ballet of the Dolls, and more. With Zenon, she toured to Switzerland, Aruba, Saipan, Russia, New York, and throughout the Midwest. Christine has been making her own dances for the past 20 years. Delving into the baggage of the human psyche using images from cinema, cartoons, mythology, musicals, vaudeville, fairy tales, nature and spiritual ritual, Christine’s goal is to create a “dream-logical” narrative leading the audience down a twisted path of emotional transformation, often spiced with dark humor and melodrama as well as film for juxtaposition and dimension.
Season 2. Episode 9 – November 26th
Special Guest: Colleen Callahan-Russell
A St. Paul native and tap and jazz dancer through high school, Colleen Callahan-Russell went to Utah to major in dance. There she embraced “modern dance” for the first time. She returned to the Twin Cities in 1979 and became an apprentice with the Nancy Hauser Dance Company and a dancer with Loon on a Log Dance Company. She has co-produced many of her own concerts and was produced by The Minnesota Dance Alliance’ Summer Dance series. During this time, she taught dance at Minneapolis North High for fifteen years, followed by Minneapolis Southwest High for 20 years. She also began and has sustained the Dance Educators’ Coalition.
Season 2. Episode 8 – November 19th
Special Guest: Morris Johnson, Jr.
Morris Johnson, Jr is a choreographer, teacher, and dancer who started his formal dance education in the Broadway District in New York. Morris has performed nationally and toured internationally with various dance companies and musicals including Africa, South America, he Caribbean and the Netherlands Antilles. He has performed for such noted artists as Eartha Kitt at the Apollo Theater, Desi Arnez, Barbara Striesand, Prince, Charles Moore’s Drums and Dances of Africa, Pearl Primus, Arrow, and Chuck Davis.
Season 2. Episode 7 – November 12th
Special Guest: Leigh Dillard
Leigh W. Dillard retired as Professor Emerita, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, in 2015. She taught dance at CSB/SJU for fifteen years and was Chair of the CSB/SJU Theater Department for eight years. She was honored with the Linda Mealey Faculty/Student Collaborative Research and Creativity Award in 2015, the first and only time this has been awarded to a Fine Arts faculty member. Leigh was co-founder and Artistic Director of New Dance Ensemble, a professional repertory company in Minneapolis, 1981-91, was a member of the Nancy Hauser Dance Company 1976-79, and also danced with Margie Fargnoli’s Whispers of America company.
Season 2. Episode 6 – November 5th
Special Guest: Ranee, Aparna and Ashwini Ramaswamy
Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy’s Ragamala Dance Company is the embodiment of an immigrant story. Founded in 1992 by Ranee, and currently under the leadership of Artistic Directors Ranee and Aparna and Choreographic Associate Ashwini Ramaswamy (mother and daughters), their aesthetic is deeply influenced by their cultural hybridity as Indian-American artists. Practitioners of the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, they explore the myth and spirituality of India to engage with what they see as the dynamic tension between the historical, the ancestral, and the personal.
Season 2. Episode 5 – October 29th
Special Guest: Mary Moore Easter
In addition to the newly released book From the Flutes of Our Bones (Nodin Press), Mary Moore Easter is the author of three compelling poetry books. In a long dance career in Minnesota & nationally, her awards include a Bush Artist Fellowship in Choreography & McKnight Awards in Choreography & in Interdisciplinary Arts from Intermedia Arts. She most recently performed as a dancer in Paula Mann’s Invisible. Her career as an independent dancer/choreographer & Founder/Director of Carleton College’s dance program overlapped with writing as a Cave Canem Fellow. She is a 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Easter holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence & an M.A. in Music for Dancers from Goddard.
Season 2. Episode 4 – October 22nd
Special Guest: Christopher Watson
Christopher Watson began his dance training after earning a Masters of Science in journalism from Northwestern. He began at the Houston Ballet Academy and ultimately went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts in dance at the University of Michigan. Locally, Christopher Watson was a member of the New Dance Ensemble. Throughout his career, he has performed with companies in Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, and more. Beyond performing, Christopher has produced dance, music, and theater events, served as guest teaching artist at multiple universities, and choreographed on his own company. Christopher Watson Dance Company was founded in 1991 in CA, and now calls Minneapolis home.
Season 2. Episode 3 – October 15th
Special Guest: Robin Stiehm
Robin Stiehm’s professional dance career spans 4 decades, beginning as a soloist for the ballet company Minnesota Dance Theatre. In 1989 Robin transitioned to modern dance and worked with New Dance Ensemble. Robin began choreographing in 1990 and in 1994 formed her own group, Dancing People Company. During her Minneapolis years, Robin’s work received support from the McKnight & Jerome Foundations, and the Minnesota State Arts Board, as well as the prestigious Bush Artist Fellowship. In 2003 she relocated the company to Ashland, Oregon. In the 13 years DPC was in Oregon, Robin developed strong professional dancers and created an innovative high school program that introduced modern dance to many hundreds of students in rural Southern Oregon.
Season 2. Episode 2 – October 8th
Special Guest: Pramila Vasudevan
Pramila Vasudevan is a cultural worker, choreographer and trans disciplinary artist. She is the founding Artistic Director of Aniccha Arts (since 2004), an experimental arts collaborative producing site-specific performances that examine agency, voice, and group dynamics within community histories, institutions, and systems. This is her fifth year as director of Naked Stages at Pillsbury House Theatre, a 7 month program for early career performance artists. The pandemic has had devastating consequences for artist communities and she is currently researching what it means to build self sustaining artist ecologies that are not dependent on traditional funding models. Pramila is on a personal journey to examine her caste privilege in her body, artistic, spiritual and daily life, as she searches for paths to be in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Season 2. Episode 1 – October 1st
Special Guest: Heidi Hauser Jasmin
Heidi Hauser Jasmin spent over forty years with Hauser Dance as a performer, choreographer & teacher, and became Artistic Director of the Company & School in 1987. She studied with her mother Nancy Hauser & Hanya Holm, and has choreographed over fifty dances. Under the National Endowment for the Arts, the Hauser Dance Company performed and taught throughout the United States in the 70’s and 80’s. She has received choreographic support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Minnesota State Arts Board and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Heidi also taught at the University of Minnesota for 15 years.
Season 1. Episode 21 – September 24th
Special Guest: Gary Peterson
Gary Peterson has been a part of Minnesota’s dance community for 40 years. He has served as managing director of Ananya Dance Theatre and research collaborator with Dr. Ananya Chatterjee. He has also worked as executive director of James Sewell Ballet, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Zenon Dance Company, and the Southern Theater. He has produced dance performances at more than 300 domestic and international venues, including seven New York City engagements, Bermuda, Iceland, and Ethiopia. Gary’s perspectives are informed by experiences in law office management, legislative lobbying, federal multi-district litigation, political candidacy, public affairs radio broadcasting, newspaper publishing, and by public service on the Washington staff of Senator Hubert H. Humphrey.
Season 1. Episode 20 – September 17th
Special Guest: Myron Johnson
Myron Johnson’s career as Artistic Director and Choreographer of the Ballet of the Dolls and the Ritz Theatre is one of his most well known legacies in the Twin Cities. He’s produced well over 150 ballets and shows no signs of slowing down or softening an edge that has defined his 50 years on the stage. Transitioning into a new phase of his career in 2011, Johnson’s solo show Songs for a Swan reflected on his training with Marcel Marceau in Paris in the 1970s, dancing in New York in the 1980s and the past 20 years performing and creating in the Twin Cities. Listen in to learn dance through the past, present and future with special guest Myron Johnson.
Season 1. Episode 18 – September 3rd
Special Guest: Karen Charles
A dedicated performer, teacher and creator, Karen Charles received a BFA Ballet/BS Computer Science from Texas Christian University and M.Ed. in Administration from Georgia State University. Charles has performed with numerous dance companies including Room to Move Dance Company (Atlanta, GA), Susan Warden Dance Company (Kansas City, MO) and was awarded a fellowship to study at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Charles served as Director at Perpich Arts High School and she was the founding Principal/Executive Director at Main Street School of Performing Arts. Charles has created/presented works for James Sewell Ballet, Carleton College, Macalester College, Main Street School of Performing Arts and Perpich Arts High School. In 2011, Karen founded Threads Dance Project, which was nominated for a SAGE Dance Award for Outstanding Performance in 2015.
Season 1. Episode 17 – August 27th
Special Guest: Neil Greenberg
A native of Mendota Heights, MN, Neil Greenberg studied with Minnesota Dance Theatre & School. In 1976, he moved to New York City and became a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. As a choreographer, he is known for his Not-About-AIDS-Dance, which employs his signature use of projected words as a layering strategy that provides doors into “meanings” in the dance, while also raising questions about the nature of meaning-making. He is currently Professor of Choreography at Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, and has previously taught at Purchase College, Sarah Lawrence College, and UC Riverside. His most recent project, To the things themselves! (2018), continues his interest in the move away from representation toward an experience of the performance moment in and of itself.
Season 1. Episode 16 – August 20th
Special Guest: Laurie Van Wieren
Laurie Van Wieren has been a creative force in the Twin Cities for 30+ years. Her choreography has been shown in the Twin Cities, nationally, and in Europe. 9×22 Dance/Lab, her monthly showcase, is the pre-eminent performance platform for local and visiting choreographers. She’s developed work for the Walker Art Center’s Open Field performance, which highlighted 100 local choreographers. Van Wieren has curated performance for the Southern, Ritz, Bryant Lake Bowl Theaters and Soo Visual Art Center. She is a recipient of fellowships/grants from McKnight, Jerome, Bush, NEA, Rockefeller Foundations and Mn State Arts Board. She has received a Special Citation SAGE Award and a SAGE Award for Outstanding Performance. Van Wieren received a City Pages Artists of the Year in 2016 for her solo dance Temporary Action Theory and her ongoing curation. She is currently making site-specific ensemble dance performances for parks and large spaces and a series of solo works for small spaces that explores the poetics of the human body within these architectures.
Season 1. Episode 15 – August 13th
Special Guest: Amy Behm Thomson
Amy Behm-Thomson studied dance at the University of Minnesota. She was a very active member of the Minneapolis dance community for over 15 years. Amy joined ARENA Dances in 1999 and Zenon Dance Company in 2000. She has also performed with Dancing People Company, Ragamala Music and Dance, Catalyst – Dances by Emily Johnson, and Cathy Young Dance. She is the proud mother of two young children living in North Carolina with her husband and teaching yoga at Franklin Street Yoga.
Season 1. Episode 14 – August 6th
Special Guest: Greg Waletski
Greg Waletski is a graduate of Chaska High school & St. Old College. He has been a member of the Twin Cities dance scene for over 30 years, 22 of which he was a member of Zenon Dance Company. His most recent projects have been dances by Megan Meyer, including (FW) Redux which has been interrupted by Covid. In 2013, Greg began a career transition to American Sign Language/English Interpreting and now works as an Interpreter. He was awarded McKnight Fellowships for Dance in 2000 and 2013, and a SAGE Award for outstanding performer in 2011. He is also a DJ, spinning soul 45s at the monthly dance night, Hipshaker.
Season 1. Episode 13 – July 30th
Special Guest: Linda Andrews
Since starting Zenon in 1983, Linda Andrews has earned accolades for developing the company’s unique modern and jazz aesthetic by commissioning repertory works from such choreographers as Bebe Miller, Dwight Rhoden, Bill T. Jones, Bill Young, Llory Wilson, Joe Goode, Stephanie Skura, David Dorfman, Doug Varone, Danny Buraczeski, Daniel Rousseve, Cathy Young, Keely Garfield, Johannes Wieland, Seán Curran, Colleen Thomas and Andrea Miller. She studied at the Martha Graham School, Alvin Ailey Dance Center, the Juilliard School, and with Alvin Nikolais, Lynn Simonson and Merce Cunningham. She holds a degree in dance and drama from Hollins College in Virginia. Linda has taught dance and creative movement since 1972, and has developed Zenon Dance School into a recognized training center for vocational and professional dancers. She is the mother of two amazing daughters, Laura and Lily, and lives in St. Louis Park with her two cats, Ollie and Jack.
Season 1. Episode 12 – July 23rd
Special Guest: Zoe Sealy
Early in her career, Zoe Sealy performed in ballet, jazz and musical theater, and taught and competed professionally in ballroom dance. In 1972, she founded the Zoe Sealy Dance Center, a primary training ground for jazz and tap artists. She also founded the first jazz dance company in the upper Midwest, Minnesota Jazz Dance Company. She was the first woman in the country to head a professional jazz dance company. She was an early believer in having her dancers study a combination of dance forms – ballet, tap, jazz and modern – in order to develop their knowledge, strength, and a sophisticated use of dynamics, rhythm and musicality. Her work has been commissioned across the nation and internationally. She has been on the faculties of the International Music Camp of Fine Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, Northwest Ballet and Ballet Arts Minnesota. Zoe was on the faculty in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota for 25 years [1983 – 2008] where she built the jazz program. Now retired and living in Florida, she continues to freelance as a choreographer, and still serves on various panels and boards. Her most gratifying work now is advising and mentoring younger artists, helping them to develop their skills and encouraging them as they grow in their chosen fields.
Season 1. Episode 11 – July 16th
Special Guest: Louise Robinson
Louise Robinson began dancing in her parent’s sunroom in Winona, MN at the age of three and has maintained a connection with dance in Minnesota ever since. She attended St. Olaf College, where she studied with Ann Wagner, Susan Bauer and Toni Sostek. It was during college that she started learning the administrative side of dance and first got involved in an organization being formed in the Twin Cities – MICA, aka the Minnesota Independent Choreographers’ Alliance. In the early 80’s, she managed several dance companies including Whispers of America Chamber Dance Ensemble (Margie Fargnoli, Artistic Director) the Nancy Hauser Dance Company, and the Minnesota Jazz Dance Company (Zoe Sealy, Artistic Director). In the mid-80’s, she worked for several years at the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. And through the early 90’s, she served as Program Director and Executive Director of the Minnesota Dance Alliance (previously MICA), where she led the effort to utilize Studio 6A as a dance performance venue. More recently, she was Managing Director of Ragamala Dance Company helping them navigate their emergence on the national and international scene. She retired from Ragamala in 2017.
Season 1. Episode 10 – July 9th
Special Guest: April Sellers
April Sellers is an independent choreographer, dancer and performance curator who has created over 60 works over the past 18 years. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of April Sellers Dance Collective which is renowned for its complex expressions of identity in highly crafted performances. She uses movement, humor, and a mix of scripted and improvised content to explore gender, politics and pop culture. Her most recent and transgressive performance, Animal Corridor prompted the award “Best Artist of the Year” by City Pages in 2017.
Season 1. Episode 9 – July 2nd
Special Guest: Judith Brin Ingber
Judith Brin Ingber’s history in the dance field is both impressive and impactful. A Minneapolis native, Judith grew up training with Lillian Vai before moving to New York to study at Sarah Lawrence College, and the studios of Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. During that time she also began writing about dance, as the editorial assistant at Dance Magazine. With a multifaceted career in dance, Judith has since split time between Minneapolis and Israel. She conceived Choroegrapher’s Evening and was the first director of the dance program of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Theatre Arts and Dance. She taught apprentices of the two modern dance companies at the Batsheva Bat Dor Dance Society and choreographed a program for young audiences for the Batsheva Dance Company. Today, she continues to research, lecture and teach…and dance!
Season 1. Episode 8 – June 25th
Special Guest: Linda Shapiro
Linda Shapiro works as a freelance writer and has published articles, reviews and essays on dance and other subjects in The Twin Cities Reader, The Minnesota Monthly, Midwest Home & Design, Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine, Architecture Minnesota, Music Live, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, CLA Today, City Pages, Twin Cities Metro, The Rake and Dance Magazine and The Gay City News in New York
Season 1. Episode 7 – June 18th
Special Guest: Patrick Scully
Patrick Scully is a Minneapolis based choreographer/dancer and performance artist. He began dancing in 1972 as a college freshman. In 1976, he co-founded Contactworks, a Minneapolis based dance collective focused on contact improvisation. In 1980, he left Contactworks in search of a way to bring his voice as a gay man into the work he was creating. This eventually led him to Remy Charlip’s Naropa East workshop in 1984, Meetings with Remarkable Women. That led him to dance with Remy, beginning with Remy’s Ten Men show in BAM’s Next Wave Festival in 1984. In his heart, and daily life, Patrick is still dancing with Remy. Patrick’s most current project is Leaves of Grass – Illuminated, about Walt Whitman. In addition to his performing work, Patrick is the founder and long time director of Patrick’s Cabaret, in Minneapolis.
Season 1. Episode 6 – June 11th
Special Guest: Rosy Simas
Rosy Simas is a transdisciplinary artist who historically has presented work as a choreographer. Simas is Haudenosaunee, enrolled Seneca, Heron Clan. “The culture, history, and identity stored in my body is the underpinning of all my artwork. Creating is a spiritual act for me, rooted in nature, formed through my link to my ancestors and the land of which we are made.” Simas’ projects merge decolonized physical movement with media, sound, and objects for stage and installation. She unites cultural concepts and images with scientific and philosophical theories to create work that is literal, abstract, and metaphoric. Her work weaves themes of personal and collective identity with family, matriarchy, sovereignty, equality, and healing. She creates dance work with a team of Native artists and artists of color, driven by movement-vocabularies developed through deep listening.
Season 1. Episode 5 – June 4th
Special Guest: Erin Thompson
Erin Thompson began her dance performance career with the Minnesota Dance Theatre in 1970 and continued in New York City in the companies of Nina Wiener and Bebe Miller from 1980-1989. Erin received a New York Dance and Performance award, “BESSIE”, in 1986 for her dancing in Nina Wiener’s Enclosed Time at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival. She moved back to Minneapolis in 1990, danced with Zenon Dance Company for two years, and founded 45 Chartreuse Dance Company with her husband, Byron Richard in 1992. They received choreographer’s fellowships from the McKnight Foundation (1993) and from the National Endowment for the Arts (1994, 1996).
Since 1991, Erin has been on the faculty of the University of Minnesota’s Department of Theater Arts and Dance as well as at Zenon Dance Company where she continues to provide advanced professional contemporary/modern dance training for the Twin Cites dance community. In recent years she has appeared in the work of choreographers Joanie Smith, Judith Howard, Penny Freeh, Sharon Picasso and Deborah Jinza Thayer. Erin received a Sage Award for Outstanding Dance Educator in 2008 and the City Pages Best Dancer Award in 2016. She is also an ATI certified Alexander Technique teacher. Erin is a 2019 McKnight Dancer Fellow.
Season 1. Episode 4 – May 28th
Special Guest: Danny Buraczeski
Danny Buraczeski, is Professor Emeritus of Dance at Southern Methodist University. At SMU, he taught classic jazz dance technique, composition and choreography. A classic jazz stylist for over three decades, his work has traced a clear and deep investigation of jazz, its sources and its ongoing evolution. After a career on Broadway appearing in such musicals as MAME with Angela Lansbury and THE ACT with Liza Minnelli, he founded the original New York City based JAZZDANCE in 1979. Based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul from 1992-2005, the company performed at leading concert halls and festivals in more than 35 states, in Europe, Russia and the Caribbean. Buraczeski’s choreography has been commissioned by the Walker Art Center, the Joyce Theater, the Library of Congress, the American Dance Festival, the Bates Dance Festival and the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Buraczeski was named Artist of the Year in 2000 by the Minneapolis StarTribune. He has received multiple fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, for whom he is now a regular panelist/consultant.
Season 1. Episode 3 – May 21st
Special Guest: Morgan Thorson
Since 2000, Morgan Thorson has generated a body of work that investigates the conventions of western concert dance through interdisciplinary collaboration. Engaged in critical dialogue with the form, and inspired by a topic, physical process or point of view, her work honors the body as a complex means of expression as it relates to the site in which it is situated. For Morgan, dancing provides communication and connection to people, silence, rage, space, beauty and itinerant imagination.
A certified Skinner Releasing Technique instructor, she is a 2016 Creative Campus Fellow at Wesleyan University where she engages students and professors in interdisciplinary practices, developing pedagogy in Dance, Archaeology, and Religious Studies.
Season 1. Episode 2 – May 14th
Special Guest: Kenna-Camara Cottman
Kenna-Camara Cottman has worked in the field of dance and art for over 20 years. Kenna is a Black American Griot, following in the oral tradition of storytelling through art. She has studied traditional and contemporary drum and dance forms from experts such as Ananya Chatterjee, Koto N’Gum, Fode Seydou Bangoura, Backa Niang and William Atchouellou. She is a dance educator who teaches about the history of African peoples through art, culture, movement and song. Managing her own company, Voice of Culture Drum and Dance, has given Kenna the opportunity to train with world class artists and develop her traditional drum and dance skills. Combining these forms with her experiences, Kenna creates contemporary Black dance that deals with interesting topics, confusing cultural ideas, and movement-based puzzles.
Season 1. Episode 1 – May 7th
Special Guest: Caroline Palmer
Caroline Palmer is a freelance arts writer. She began writing in New York City at Paper Magazine and also contributed to American Theater and Movement Research Journal. After moving to Minnesota, she contributed to City Pages and Star Tribune for several years before starting work on book about the history of dance in the Twin Cities. She has also written a blog, Big Dance Town.