Happy New Year! 2018 has bloomed, and it’s time to move forward into the new year. There are many a new and exciting performances and opportunities the company has in store. I would like to give you a glimpse at some of the great things we have in the works, but before we peek ahead, let’s take a glance back at 2017. TMP’s trajectory into 2018 would not be possible without all of the wonderful experiences and amazing people along the way.

 

TMP’s February Pilgrim Church Performance and Our New Space

For our first show to kick off 2017 we enjoyed works by TMP’s Megan Lee Gargano, Grace Nicklos, and guest artist Jon Lawson. We finally found a home in Pilgrim, and acquiring this space proved invaluable to our growth, creativity, and stability as an organization.  Creating space meant more opportunities and reliability for our community.

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Weekly Professional Classes

With our studio, we began to host regular weekly classes for college and professional dancers to continue to stress the importance of consistent training. This is a great way for local dancers to maintain their technique as well as connect with other artists in the area! We offer modern classes Monday/Wednesday mornings, Tuesday evenings as well as a Thursday morning pilates class. We also offer a Friday morning ballet class alongside our company members.

 

New Company Members

Following our Winter Intensive and audition in December 2016, we were happy to hire two new dancers into the TMP family: Kristyn Lein and Elyse Morckel! Lein gives us a glimpse of her experience:

“When I found out about getting into the company, I was super excited! It definitely was a weight off my shoulders as well because at the time I was accepted into the company, I was in my last semester of college and I wasn't quite sure what I was doing yet post-graduation and it was a little nerve racking. Being a member of the company has not only helped me grow into a stronger dancer and mover but I've also built many connections within the Northeast Ohio dance community. Overall, my experience with [...] The Movement Project has been amazing and I've been provided with so many opportunities since being a member of the company that I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.”

 

Going Dutch Festival

As summer came, The Movement Project packed its bags and headed to Illinois for the Going Dutch Festival, a festival that celebrates female voices in art. Morckel says:

"Leading up to this performance, I was nervous. I had not performed in some time, and I worried about being the new person in a group of close knit performers. However my worry faded after having such an amazing experience with the company [...]. I felt our connection as a group became much deeper, and [I] experienced a strong sense of community from my fellow company members. The faith that I felt TMP placed in me, had translated into faith in myself, and my ability to perform with this group [of] passionate artists."

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Summer Intensive

One of the biggest events of the year, The Movement Project’s summer intensive has always been successful since its inception. This year was the first intensive in our new space, and was a wonderful way to dive into this beautiful facility. The intensive kick off with our professional dancers who participated in a weeklong intensive which concluded with an informal showing that was free to the public. The pre-professional intensive ended with our SummerWorks 2017 performance, with works by our students as well as our company (I debuted of my work, When in Rome…!).

“The Movement Project Summer Intensive was a very fun and rewarding experience,” says Alyssa Garrison, who took the professional intensive, “Getting to take classes from and alongside company members challenged my abilities which allowed me to grow as a dancer. I found myself making different choices in my movement and allowing more room for creativity. I loved the open atmosphere and getting to know all of the other dancers!”

 Tracks 2 and 3 in ballet with Rebecca Leuszler, co-artistic director of The Movement Project.

Tracks 2 and 3 in ballet with Rebecca Leuszler, co-artistic director of The Movement Project.

 

TMP at The Grove

I had never danced in an outdoor amphitheater before, so when TMP announced a performance at The Grove, I was excited. The day of the show was rainy and gray, and for a few awful hours we feared we’d have to reschedule...but then a soft breeze came, and the storm disappeared.

Dancing underneath an open sky was a humbling experience. I, for one, was not used to performing outside, and it was overwhelming exciting and wonderful. Once my body adjusted from the warm up, I was grateful for the soft breeze and rustle of the trees. They were elements that carried me through the work.

Megan Lee Gargano, choreographer of the work Something Getting Through, took note of the new venue, “The wind gave another element to the work, creating a sweeping scape of fabric and hair. From the audience, it [gave] another visual element to [the] experience and for the performer it create[d] new sensations to experience in the work.”

We started in daylight, and by the end of the show, night had fallen. It was a very poetic ending to a remarkable day.

 

Artist Mixer

To foster connections and to build community, The Movement Project hosted an Artist Mixer at Pilgrim Church, and met a bunch of new local musicians, dancers, and other artists! The mixer was not only fun, but it also was a testament to the passion and activity happening in the Cleveland arts.

 A number of Cleveland artists gather at the TMP Mixer at Pilgrim Church.

A number of Cleveland artists gather at the TMP Mixer at Pilgrim Church.

 

The Movement Project’s School of Dance

As summer faded away, TMP started its very own School of Dance at Pilgrim Church. Unlike our professional classes, this training is for students aged 4-18 who are interested in dance. Classes include creative movement, ballet, and modern, and at the end of the academic year, there is a concert for the students to perform what they have accomplished through the year!

“Accomplishing the establishment of the school has been really rewarding for our organization,” Grace Nicklos, Director of Education and Outreach at TMP says, “One thing that particularly excites me about our school, and what I think sets us apart, is its connection to our professional dance company.” And she’s right. Direction, coordination, and teaching at the school is all done with TMP company members. “This has allowed us to transfer our bank of knowledge as professionals to the youth that are local to our company's region,” Nicklos goes on, “Being able to impact our community [...] has really made a difference in our overall connection to Cleveland and our Tremont neighborhood.”

 

Cleveland Dance Fest 2017

CDF 2017 was our second go at it, and it proved to be even more wonderful than the first. Numerous professional artists from the area, and a few from out of town, took part in this two-day event. Cleveland artist Lauren Holler of Expedition Dance enjoyed her involvement in the festival,

“CDF 2017 was such a great way to bring together the Cleveland dance community! I participated in some of the master classes, the informal showing, and the Saturday night show with Expedition Dance. I saw familiar faces and met new people throughout the entire weekend!

It was nice to dance and mingle with some of the other CDF artists off the stage in the master classes. Kimberly Murry’s master class was full of energy and excitement, and Rosie Trump’s improvisation class gave me an opportunity to get creative, which I really enjoyed!”

 

Winter Intensive and Company Audition 2017

To close out the year, TMP had its annual winter intensive and company audition. Many new faces cropped up, and we enjoyed seeing these dancers move. The Winter Intensive was the ideal way to end the year...introductions to new performers and artists was inspiring.

 Intensive participants explore partnership, trust, and lifting in class.

Intensive participants explore partnership, trust, and lifting in class.

 

Looking Ahead

Here are a few sneak peeks of what TMP has planned for this upcoming year:

  • The first big event on TMP’s calendar is our School of Dance Open House and Winter Wonderland creative movement camp on January 20th. From 11-12:15pm, kids will enjoy crafts and dancing taught by TMP company members. In the hour following the camp will be having our new student registration event! For details, visit our website here.

  • Summer Intensive Audition Tour 2018 (and, by extension, our Summer Intensive!). Details for these are still in the works, so keep an eye out on our website to see when and where we will be!

  • Our Spring Show at Transformer Station May 12th! TMP will be debuting new works by Kristyn Lein, Elyse Morckel, Megan Lee Gargano, and yours truly (Irene Honora). Plus, we will also have work by a surprise guest artist! Details coming soon...visit our website!

There you have it, a glimpse into our upcoming season! I wish you all a Happy New Year, and hope to see you at TMP events and performances!

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