Last year marked our first Cleveland Dance Fest, a 2-day dance festival full of master classes and performances. The festival was created to give a platform to local artists in creating new work, while also making dance performance accessible and affordable for Cleveland residents. So many great connections were made, and so many great works were performed, it was a great experience for me, personally, to take part of.
And now the second Cleveland Dance Fest is coming...and we are ready. This year we have eighteen choreographers, three different performances, and a lot of great classes. Much can be said for the thriving dance community here, as well as the excitement of having a two-day dance festival here in Tremont. Instead, though, let’s take a look at our artists. We have a diverse group, mainly from northeastern Ohio, all with distinct styles and backgrounds. Some are burgeoning young artists, and others are seasoned creators. Let’s meet them all.
Rosie Trump: With or Without Dance
Rosie Trump joins us from Nevada, where she is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Nevada, Reno. Rosie’s work is rich in video and performance, and her knowledge covers choreography as well as dance on film. On top of her work for CDF, Track 45, which explores the American political climate and the absurdities it entails, she will also be teaching a master class focusing on site-specific work. The class will traverse interesting spots and terrain, and explore compositional movement strategies for interfacing dance and site.
Dancing Wheels is a staple of Cleveland dance, and we are excited to have them be a part of CDF. Their work, Concerto DW, was choreographed by former company member and current Artistic Advisor Mark Tomasic. Utilizing traditional modern dance and Antonio Vivaldi’s violin concertos in Baroque style, the work will encompass partnering, gestures, and floor patterning. Mark Tomasic himself is a Los Angeles based choreographer, educator, dancer, and full-time faculty member at Santa Monica College. In 2012 he authored a first-of-its-kind training manual that bridges artistic and scientific disciplines in the creation of an inclusive modern dance curriculum.
Elyse Morckel is in her first season with The Movement Project, and is from Akron, Ohio. She studied choreography, dance, and technology at The Ohio State University. Her work, series of rituals, remembered, is based off of the development of a series of movement phrases that became habitual. As the piece develops, it pushes the dancers to the limit as the movement becomes more violent and aggressive. Elyse is also a certified yoga instructor, and will be teaching a yoga class at CDF’s professional and youth master classes.
Summer Logan is a performer, choreographer, and education artist from Southern Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University with BFA in dance and choreography, and is now the Assistant Artistic Director of 4th Avenue Arts. Logan is also a a senior member of the Jeslyn Dance Gallery, co-founder of the Jeslyn Dance Gallery Youth Ballet Company, and performs regularly in Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan, and California. Her work at CDF this year, Followed Paths, stems from her personal experience of being the sole supporter of her family while working in the dance community. This work is actually a part of a larger work that depicts the lives of women in Appalachia, but this work specifically explores generations of women, the relationships they have, and how that shapes female identity. Logan will be teaching a modern/contemporary class for CDF’s youth master classes this year.
Kimberly E. Murry
Kimberly E. Murry is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and artist. She graduated from Ohio University in 2013 with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography. After graduation, she relocated to Chicago and worked with Mordine and Company Dance Theater until 2015, where she originated the Artist Services intern role with The Yard. Now, Murry has settled in New York City where she is a company member with Bodystories: Teresa Fellion Dance, rehearsal director of Bryce Dance Company, and has completed two seasons with DanceTheYard (and is looking forward to the third!).
A Tribute, Murry’s choreographic work, focuses on her experience as a black dancer/woman/individual, and how the presence of her body can speak volumes before any movement in produced. A blend of Murry’s experiences, the experiences of those of her ancestors, slaves, and grandparents, and elders in her community, the work will include the poem “Strange Fruit” read by Nina Simone. The work is a tribute as well as a parallel story involving Murry’s continued fight for rights. Murry will also be teaching a modern/contemporary class at CDF this year.
DANCEVERT is the work of artistic director/dancer/choreographer Tom Evert, which he founded in 1986. He has a BFA in both painting and dance from Ohio University, and has toured the world with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City (1977-1985). The work he has done since has been extensive, particularly in the education realm, and his teaching career has spanned over three decades. He is currently a teaching artist with the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, VSA Ohio, and the Ohio Arts Council where he provides arts-programming, performances and professional development workshops for teachers. DANCEVERT’s work for CDF 2017, The President, is a character study of the Chief of State.
A Medina Ohio native, Kaytee Cox graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Akron. Her work in choreography has received numerous awards throughout the years, and her work, Autumn, will be performed at CDF this year. Autumn explores the process of change, and how we constantly evolve. Cox will also be teaching an improvisation class for CDF’s youth master class series. This class will explore the ways in which dancers use their senses and surroundings to improvise as well as the boundaries bodies can reach during improvisation.
Catherine Meredith & Artists
Catherine Meredith has a lot of choreographic work under her belt, and her movement has been commissioned by Ohio Northern University, Verb Ballets, The Dancing Wheels Company, The University of Akron, and The Dance Institute. She currently teaches at Cuyahoga College, and is presenting No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time at CDF this year. This work explores drug addiction and its effect on the individual as well as the people that love them. With the intense duet, Meredith hopes to de-stigmatize people grappling with addiction.
Expedition Dance is a newly formed, project-based dance company comprised of dance artists from areas surrounding the Cuyahoga Valley. Led by Lauren Holler, the company strives to use dance as a vehicle for social change by teaching, challenging, and empowering audiences through movement. Their work, The Real McCoy, explores feeling texture in fabric, moving with fabric, and the weight of fabric. Through the fabric, the piece toys with concealing and revealing personal notions of truth.
Expedition Dance will also be presenting another work at CDF...a solo titled WhatXThisXAgain, which is inspired by personal tribulations.
A dancer, teacher, and choreographer, Kristyn Lein comes from Richfield, Ohio. She graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography this year, and is now a company member with The Movement Project. Lein’s work, Hesitant/Ambition, explores personal insecurities of new situations through gesture. These gestures expand into movements that represent growth, vulnerability, and fulfillment accompanied by the picturesque sounds of a string ensemble.
Elu Dance Company
Elu Dance Company was formed in 2012 by Mackenzie Valley and Mikaela Brown with the intention to create, portray the human spirit, and use movement to create paths to freedom. Valley and Brown have traveled internationally to share their work, and have been awarded the Cleveland Workforce Fellowship through Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) twice. Hold Fast, the work they will be sharing at CDF, explores humans surviving extreme horrors, but also the ability to emerge on the other side more deeply connected in strength through an invisible cord.
Short Vincent Shakers
Short Vincent Shakers was formed in 2016 by a group of women who loved vintage dancing. They came together and formed an all-female troupe that performs original and vintage choreography to a variety of music genres. Their work in CDF will include a Charleston-based routine, a chorus line, partnering, and much more. The Short Vincent Shakers, or “Shorties”, aim to demonstrate their passion and love of jazz dance.
Mookie Hany is the Director and Owner of Mookie’s Academy of Dance located in Port Clinton, Ohio, as well as the dance instructor at The Great Lakes Visual and Performing Arts Academy in Sandusky, Ohio. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Ohio University and will be presenting Draft at CDF 2017. Hany’s work focuses on the deconstruction and rebound of a person.
Hey, it’s me! I am a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist based in Cleveland, Ohio. I am in my third season with The Movement Project, and am also the co-founder of Cleveland arts collaboration dotdotdot. I received my BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Ohio University in 2014, and has since remained active in performing and choreographing in the Cleveland community. I am also interested in dance medicine and presented research on snapping hip syndrome at the annual International Association of Dance Medicine and Science's meeting held in Basel, Switzerland in the fall of 2014.
Straw, my work for CDF, paints a dry, stark landscape with dry, stark people. The three individuals onstage are stripped of all emotion and hope as they move subtly through the space, building in intensity as they go. Based off of the work "The Hollow Men" by T.S. Eliot, each gesture, gaze, and breath correlates directly to its source material and mirrors that post-World War 1 sentiment: this is the end of all things.
Baldwin Wallace Dance Ensemble
Baldwin Wallace Dance Ensemble is made up of dedicated dance minors from Baldwin Wallace University. Their mission is to encourage and inspire dancers to grow as artists by giving them the opportunity to choreograph and experiment with many styles of movement, as well as exposing them to the greater dance community. Their work, Senses, is a collaborative piece that explores the body’s five senses, and how they can be illustrated through movement.
The Adverb Project
The Adverb Project is Verb Ballet’s community-based dance company. This troupe is made up of members from Verb’s Dance for Everyone ballet classes. The dancers range from college students to older adults, and there is a commitment and love of dance present that ties them all together. Their work, Tchaikovsky, is a classical ballet, and will be performed at CDF’s Informal Showing.
The Movement Project
TMP was founded in 2009 by sisters Megan Lee Gargano and Rebecca J. Leuszler. What started as a small, project-based collective grew into a multifaceted, fully-functioning dance company, and in July of 2015, TMP received their 501 c (3) status and was able to expand further. Now, the company functions not only as a dance company, but has also opened a school of dance as well as continues to remain active in movement outreach to local Cleveland communities.
Grace Nicklos, Director of Education and Outreach at TMP, has created the work Unacquired Contentment on the company. The work explores the physical discovery and knowledge we have as sentient beings. Existing in an intrinsic space, it awakens the sensations of our surroundings. Through subtlety and clarity the piece unfolds a sense of oneness while bringing to light the fragility and vulnerability of the human composition. As for Nicklos herself, she is a certified Pilates instructor, choreographer, and has an extensive teaching background. On top of having instructed at multiple studios, from 2014-2016 Grace served as a therapeutic movement instructor at Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities. This gives her a unique and seasoned approach to instruction.
We are excited to see everyone’s work this year at CDF, and we look forward to seeing you at our shows! For tickets to the shows and master classes, click here, and we will see you there!