Renée Copeland

2018 Dancer FELLOW

  Photo courtesy of the artist

Photo courtesy of the artist

Renée Copeland is a Twin Cities-based artist originally from the wooded valleys south of Winona, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in Dance and minor in American Indian Studies. Upon graduating in 2010, she joined Ananya Dance Theatre and continues to perform and teach with the company, touring all over the world.

She co-founded the dance/performance-art duo Hiponymous in 2012 with Genevieve Muench and became a founding member and collaborator of hip-hop-based dance company BRKFST in 2014. She is also a poet, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter. She is indebted to her parents for their abundant support and participation in all things creative, nourishing, and sacred. 

 

 

Yeniel ‘Chini’ Perez Domenech

2018 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Alice Gebura

Photo by Alice Gebura

Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Yeniel ‘Chini’ Perez Domenech has been a professional dancer for over 25 years. He graduated from the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana, Cuba in 1991. Chini then became a member of Afrocuba de Matanzas, under the direction of Francisco Zamora Chirino ‘Minini’. He danced in both national and international tours, taught and was invited to choreograph for the company.

In 2006, he moved to Mexico and danced with a variety of groups and performed as a guest dance artist with famous Latin bands including Latin Grammy award winning Los Van Van and Pupy y Los Que Son Son.

In 2011, Chini moved to Minnesota. He immediately began dancing with Rene Thompson’s Street to Stage group. He went on to work with Patrick Scully, Curio Dance and has connected with Brazilian, West African and Hip Hop artists in the Twin Cities. Chini now performs and choreographs for Rueda de la Calle and his own performance identity Chini Company. He is a passionate dance educator teaching Cuban and other Latin dances in a variety of venues from school workshops to nightclubs to Chini Studio. Throughout his career he has performed in theaters, festivals and nightclubs reaching a broad range of audiences and communities. 

Sharon Mansur

2018 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Boris Willis

Photo by Boris Willis

Sharon Mansur is an experimental dance and visual artist whose creative work integrates improvisational techniques, somatic practices, and interdisciplinary collaborative approaches.

She has a keen interest in site-situated/responsive art that melds the visual and visceral, body and environment, as well as subtle or invisible internal and external landscapes and perceptions. She loves creating experiences where active viewing and wild imaginations are welcome.

Her live performance and dance on film projects have been presented throughout the United States, as well as in Argentina, Canada, Ecuador, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Mexico, and the UK.

www.mansurdance.com 

Deja Stowers

2018 Choreographer Fellow

Deja Stowers Photo .jpg

Deja Stowers is a Black artist who uses dance, poetry and theater to explore the many bridges to and from Black America and Africa. She has studied dance at Howard University and with master dancers from Senegal and Guinea. She is also a graduate of Penumbra Theatre’s Summer institute program where she has honed the skill of art for social change. She continuously explores body image, language, culture, and modes of oppression. She believes her art is something not to be performed but witnessed and has replaced the word “performance” with “observance” mainly to keep the artist’s raw emotions intact. The art is not gifted for the observers, but in fact a ‘rites of passage' for the artist. Her most recent work includes Taneber/BLAQ Wall Street with her dance company BLAQ. BLAQ thrives off four main pillars: Dance, Writing, Discussion, and ASL (American Sign Language). BLAQ’s mission is to strive for freedom and aspire to embody the true reflections of themselves and their vast communities. 

Laurie Van Wieren

2018 Choreographer Fellow

  photo by Dan Dennehy

photo by Dan Dennehy

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. 9x22 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. 

Taja Will

2018 Choreographer Fellow

  Photo by Robbie Sweeny

Photo by Robbie Sweeny

Choreographer Taja Will is a queer, Latina artist. Her body of work includes multi-dimensional contemporary performance and holistic therapy. These two parallel worlds come together in her artistic work through modalities of somatic movement and structured improvisation. Will’s aesthetic is one of spontaneity, bold choice making, sonic and kinetic partnership and the ability to move in relationship to risk and intimacy.  Her practice and performance works are deeply rooted in exploring a visceral connection to current socio-cultural realities.

Will’s work has been presented throughout the Twin Cities and across the United States. Including local performances at the Walker Art Center Choreographer’s Evening, the Red Eye Theater’s New Works 4 Weeks, the Radical Recess series and Right Here Showcase. Will has been named ‘One to watch, one to embrace’ as the Keeper Award recipient in 2010 from Metro Magazine, she received a 2011 Sage Award nomination, and was a featured artist in Lavender Magazine’s ‘Choreographers that Move Us’. Will received the Right Here Showcase commission, Jerome Travel Study Award and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant for her most recent solo work Bruja // Fugitive Majesty. Her futuristic trio Gospels of Oblivion: To the End premiered at the Southern Theater presented by ARENA Dances' Candy Box Dance Festival, and received support from the MRAC Next Step Award and MSAB Artist Initiative grant.

In addition to her own work Will has collaborated and dance with Rosy Simas Danse, Aniccha Arts (Pramila Vasudevan), Deborah Jinza Thayer, Off Leash Area, Vanessa Voskuil, and Body Cartography Project among others. Will maintains a private healing practice blending modalities of healing justice work with developmental psychotherapy and somatic bodywork.

 

Impilo Mapantsula: Vusi Mdoyi, Sicelo Xaba, Sello Modiga

2018 International choreographers

  Photo by Chris Saunders.   Left to right: Vusi Mdoyi, Sicelo Xaba, Sello Modiga

Photo by Chris Saunders.

Left to right: Vusi Mdoyi, Sicelo Xaba, Sello Modiga

IMPILO MAPANTSULA is a professional organization that promotes the development of pantsula dance, creates formal standards, and acts as an industry representative. Impilo Mapantsula was founded by German researcher Daniela Goeller and the South African pantsula dancers, choreographers and company directors Vusi Mdoyi, Sello “Zilo” Modiga, Joshua “Jeje” Mokoena and Sicelo “Malume Ka” Xaba. The organization aims to document and protect the living legacy of the vibrant street culture that has shaped the identity of generations of young people in South Africa, as well as create a network to support dancers in professionalizing and further developing their art.

Pantsula has had increasing international success; it has the potential to provide interesting job opportunities for the disadvantaged youth, and pantsula artists have taken on social responsibilities in their communities. Yet pantsula struggles to gain mainstream acceptance. Pantsula culture is still associated with low social status, immorality, and crime in South African townships, even though the dance-form has long found its place in in the global urban dance community and in the hearts of all audiences.

Impala Mapantsula gives workshops and training, initiates projects, organizes events, and represents pantsula dancers. The organization creates learning opportunities and supports artistic creation and self-expression through educational, artistic and professional programs, with an emphasis on job creation, international collaborations, exchanges and shared experiences.

Vusi Mdoyi, photo by Chris Saunders.jpeg

VUSI MDOYI is a dancer, choreographer and director of Vusi Arts Pro. He was born in 1980 in Johannesburg and lives and works in Katlehong, Ekurhuleni. As a dancer and later co-director and choreographer of the multidisciplinary community dance crew Via Katlehong, Vusi has toured the world for more than 20 years and performed on many major stages in Europe and the US. He is a talented, very passionate and versatile artist and performer, and he has experience with pantsula, gumboots, tap-dance and contemporary dance, as well as acting and signing, and has collaborated with various artists internationally. Beside his experience as a dancer, choreographer, artistic and administrational director of Via Katlehong and Vusi Arts Projects, he is also a graduate of Wits Business School. Vusi is a visionary choreographer and artistic director, who is able to inspire and unite people in the creative process.

  Photo by Chris Saunders

Photo by Chris Saunders

SICELO XABA is a dancer, choreographer and director of Red for Danger Pantsulas. He was born in 1977 in Johannesburg and lives and works in Mohlakeng, West Rand. As the leader of one of the oldest active pantsula crews, Sicelo has a broad knowledge and understanding of the history of pantsula dance and culture that has earned him a lot of respect in the pantsula community. He shares his knowledge in the form of public speeches, called “umrhabulo”, and in form of dance training and workshops in South Africa and abroad. Beside his experience as a dancer, choreographer, artistic and administrational director of Red for Danger Pantsulas, Sicelo is a very talented poet, writer, and theatre director with a great passion for books. Sicelo has been invited to dance in festivals and theatres around the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York. He is an undisputed expert of pantsula dance and culture and one of its most competent and authentic representative.

Sello Modiga, photo by Chris Saunders.jpeg

SELLO MODIGA is a dancer, choreographer and director of Real Actions Pantsula. He was born in 1980 in Johannesburg and lives and works in Orange Farm, Sedibeng. Under Sello’s leadership, Real Actions Pantsula has developed into one of the most successful pantsula dance crews in South Africa and toured in Europe and the US. Beside his experience as a dancer, choreographer, artistic and administrational director of Real Actions Pantsula, Sello has been organizing, judging and participating in dance battles internationally. Sello is passionate and talented teacher and has solid international experience in giving pantsula dance workshops for all audiences. He has mastered different pantsula styles and other street dances like hip-hop, house, or Chicago footwork, and can explain the specific characteristics and the historical development and significance of the pantsula movements.

For more information: www.impilomapantsula.com

 

RESIDENCY EVENTS

Impilo Mapantsula was in residence in the Twin Cities May 28 - June 17, 2018. They created a new work for 12 area Hip Hop dancers, for Maia Maiden Productions, our partner for the 2018 residency.  Mdoyi, Xaba and Modiga taught classes in pantsula, tapsula and gumboot at The Cowles Center. They participated in a variety of community events, including a Meet the Artists public talk and pantsula demonstration at Indigenous Roots Cultural Center in St. Paul. On June 15 & 16th, the artists premiered a commissioned work as part of ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers Evening at the Wellstone Center in St. Paul, MN. 

 

Sachiko "La Chayí" Nishiuchi

2017 DANCER FELLOW

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

A native of Osaka, Japan, Sachiko “La Chayí” Nishiuchi is a Twin Cities-based Flamenco dancer, teacher, choreographer and organizer.  Besides her work as an independent artist, she dedicates her time for community work in Flamenco including directing Twin Cities Flamenco Collective.  Sachiko attained her artistic name “La Chayí” from one of her great teachers, Pilar Montoya Manzano “La Faraona”, to honor and remember her.

She has received awards, recognition and grants from Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Jerome Foundation, the Minnesota SAGE Awards for Dance, and New York State Flamenco Certamen.  Sachiko is the recipient of a 2017 McKnight Dancer Fellowship, administered by the Cowles Center and funded by the McKnight Foundation.

Her dance and choreography have been commissioned and/or presented by The Walker Art Center, Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, The Southern Theater, and Hamline University.  She was a resident artist of Zorongo Flamenco from 2003 to 2009. She attributes her artistic formation to her most significant mentor, Zorongo's Artistic Director Susana Di Palma.

She lived and studied the art of Flamenco in Seville, Spain from 2010 to 2015 which became the foundation of her current dance and work.  Besides her daily life surrounded by the culture of Flamenco in Seville, she owes her current artistic direction and foundation to the following incomparable artists and teachers; Farruquito, Javier Heredia, Juan del Gastor, Luis Peña, Miguel Funi, and Pilar Montoya Manzano “La Faraona”.

SOLO Choreographers Pepe Torres, Angelita Vargas, Luis Peña

 

www.sachikolachayi.com

Krista Langberg

2017 DANCER FELLOW

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Krista Langberg is originally from Great Neck, New York. She is a freelance performer currently touring and performing Soft Goods, made by the visionary artist Karen Sherman. In a professional career spanning over thirty years, she has had the opportunity to work with many other exceptional artists. Most recently she performed and toured SHORE (2014/15), made in collaboration with choreographer Emily Johnson and director Ain Gordon, and worked with choreographer Chris Schlichting from 2010-2015, on the creation and performance of Stripe Tease and the Minnesota SAGE Award-winning production, Matching Drapes.

Krista was a member of Susan Marshall & Company in New York from 1994-2002, creating original parts in six evening length works, including the role of Lise in the Susan Marshall/Philip Glass Opera Les Enfants Terribles. Previous to that, she danced with New Dance Performance Laboratory (MN), Zenon Dance Company (MN), and the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble (CO). In these formative years Krista had the chance to work with outstanding artists, including Douglas Dunn, Bebe Miller, Donna Uchizono, Milton Myers and Donald McKayle. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Macalester College since 2007, working as a teacher, advisor and choreographer, and lives with her two daughters in Saint Paul, MN.

SOLO Choreographer Karen Sherman

 

 

Herb Johnson III

2017 DANCER FELLOW

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Herb Johnson III graduated from Perpich Center for the Performing Arts in 2010 and studied 3 years at Lundstrum Center for Arts. Herb is now at the University of Minnesota as a Hip-Hop dance instructor. He currently choreographs and performs solo and in groups 612 Crew, DeadPool, and Kudeta. Professional work includes iLuminate from America’s Got Talent, ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening, and The Ordway Theater's production of A Chorus Line

Herb also travels the nation as his alias “Jus Herb” to compete in battles in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Las Vegas. In the future, Herb plans to continue traveling and challenging himself creatively in performance, choreography, and battles to further optimize his talents. 

SOLO Choreographer Tight Eyez


Deneane Richburg

2017 Choreographer Fellow

  Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Deneane Richburg grew up competing in figure skating and received her MFA in dance and choreography from Temple University in 2007, an MA in Afro-American Studies from UW Madison, and a BA in English and African American Studies from Carleton College. She has created work for both the ice and stage, including Aunt Sara’s Escape, a piece about Saatjie Baartman (also known as the Venus Hottentot) which premiered on the ice in 2009 at Ridder Ice Arena on the University of MN campus.

Through her company, Brownbody, she has also created work for the stage including These Blues Women, and Living Past (Re)Memory—a duet based on Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved. In 2013 Brownbody remounted this work for the ice. Working with Lela Aisha Jones, Richburg was also the Co-founder of The Requisite Movers, a Philadelphia based initiative that seeks to support the work of Black female choreographers. Deneane has danced for a number of choreographers including, Chris Walker, Jose Fransico Barroso, Andrea Catchings, Dr. Kariamu Welsh, and Lela Aisha Jones and has performed with Off Leash Area, Pangea World Theater Company, Flyground and Kariamu and Company. In 2015 Brownbody was a proud recipient of a 2015 Minnesota SAGE Award for Dance and a John S. and James L. Knight Arts Challenge award. 

http://www.brownbody.org

Deneane Richburg Touring Information

SuperGroup

2017 Choreographer Fellows

  Photo Credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo Credit: Tim Rummelhoff

SuperGroup is the Minneapolis based performance collaboration of Erin Search-Wells, Sam Johnson, and Jeffrey Wells. Since forming in 2007, SuperGroup has presented work at venues across the Twin Cities cluding the BLB, the Red Eye, Bedlam Theatre, the Ritz, and the Walker Art Center, as well as nationally at the Invisible Dog Art Center (NYC, presented by the Joyce Theater), Velocity Dance Center (Seattle), Temple University (Philadelphia), and ODC (San Francisco).

Their most recent project, PEOPLE I KNOW:, collaboration with esteemed Twin Cities performance leaders Deborah Jinza Thayer, Derek Phillips, Judith Howard, Mary Moore Easter, Miriam Must, and Venus de Mars premiered at the Red Eye Theater in Minneapolis, November 2016. SuperGroup’s work has been supported through commissions from the Walker Art Center, the Red Eye Theater, and the Southern Theater and grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. SuperGroup has led performance workshops at Temple University, Macalester College, and the University of Minnesota and has created work with students at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, Young Dance, and Zenon Dance Zone. In addition to work with SuperGroup, Erin, Jeffrey, and Sam all maintain independent creation and performance lives, working with many artists including: Morgan Thorson, Fire Drill, Daniel Linehan, BodyCartography Project, Karen Sherman, Paige Collette, Abigail Browde, Chantal Pavageaux, and Justin Jones. 

http://supergroupshow.biz/index.php

SuperGroup Touring Information


Susana di Palma

2017 Choreographer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Susana di Palma is a theater/flamenco choreographer, dancer and teacher.  She studied with great maestros of flamenco in Spain and lived and worked there. In 1983, She founded Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater in Minneapolis.  Since that time, she has created over 30 full-length works.  Apart from Zorongo, di Palma has choreographed for the Guthrie Theater, Flamenco Vivo, Other Tiger Productions and other venues.

A beloved teacher, she taught at the University of Minnesota for over 25 years and is part of The Cowles Center’s Distant Learning Program.  She is director of the Zorongo School.

http://www.zorongo.org

Susana di Palma Touring Information


 

Salia Sanou

2017 McKnight International Choreographer

  Photo by Antoine Tempe

Photo by Antoine Tempe

Salia Sanou is a choreographer and dancer from Burkina Faso, born in Léguéma. At a young age he was introduced to the Bobo rituals and traditions, and his early training in African dance was with Drissa Sanon (Ballet Koul Odrafrou de Bobo Dioulasso), Alasane Congo (Maison des jeunes et de la culture de Ouagadougou), Irène Tassembedo (Compagnie Ebène) and Germaine Acogny (Ballet du Troisième Monde).

Salia Sanou was for many years the artistic director of the Choreographic Encounters of Africa and the Indian Ocean, and he was in residence from 2008 to 2011 at the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin. In 2011 he established his own company Perpetual Movements. He is co-founder and co-director of the Center for Choreographic Development La Termitière in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The first of its kind in Africa, this initiative is dedicated to creation and training worldwide.

He has created numerous choreographic works, including Beyond Borders (2012);  Doubaley (The Mirror) with Japanese musician Takumi Fukushima; Clamor of Arena created in July 2014 for the Montpellier festival; Kupupura created for Tumbuka Dance of the Mozambique National Ballet, where he was guest choreographer; and Desire for horizon created in Paris in July 2016 for the Theatre National de Chaillot.

He is the recipient of many honors and awards, including first prize for contemporary African dance (AFAA) awarded during the National Culture Week in Burkina Faso; the Trophée Cultures France des Créateurs sans frontières; and he was named an officer in the order of Arts and Letters by the F

rench Ministry of Culture for his choreographic work around the world. He is the author of Afrique, danse contemporaine, published jointly by the Cercle d’art and the Centre National de la Danse de Pantin.

Through his work, Salia seeks to make visible the strength, poetry and musicality of a changing Africa and he aims to create work that reflects real life and the challenges of our time.

“The flow of ideas and cultures are personally very important to me, making us see, hear and understand the creative power as a vehicle of tolerance.” - Salia Sanou

For more information visit his website here

 

RESIDENCY EVENTS

Sanou will began his residency in Minneapolis in October 2017, and created a work with Karen L. Charles's Threads Dance Project, our partner for the 2017 residency.  Sanou taught classes for Threads company members, and participate in a variety of community events. In November, Sanou attended technical rehearsals and the premiere of his commissioned work at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts on Nov. 3-4, 2017. 

 

Megan Mayer

2016 Choreographer Fellow

 photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Megan Mayer is an artist working with choreography, dance, experimental video and photography. She obsesses over minimalism, mimicry, tenderness, wry humor, empathy, fake bad timing and exacting musicality. Her work offers glimpses of internal terrain and unexpected expressive delicacies. By exposing tiny emotional undercurrents concerning the body, Mayer constructs a unique perspective of what dance can be: virtuosity in vulnerability and victory in a gesture. Drawn to the edges of the experience of performing: the anticipatory rapid heartbeat before going onstage, and the regretful relief after exiting, her work often reveals where that switch lives in the body. Mayer’s work has been recognized by The Right Here Showcase commission (2016), a MN SAGE Award for Dance in Outstanding Design for Soft Fences (2015), a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant (2014), a residency at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography in Tallahassee, Florida (2012), a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers (2010) and a Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant (2010). Professionally based in Minneapolis since 1991, Mayer hold a B.A. in Dance from the University of Minnesota. She feels most like herself when she is onstage being other people. www.meganmayer.com

 

Rosy Simas

2016 Choreographer Fellow

 Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Rosy Simas is an enrolled Seneca from the Heron clan. She is a Minneapolis based choreographer, engaged in the dance field as a performer, teacher, curator, lecturer, panelist, activist, advocate, and mentor to other Native artists and artists of color.

Simas is 2016 First Peoples Fund Fellow, a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, and a 2013 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellow. Her work is supported nationally by NEFA National Dance Project (2014, 2016), National Presenters Network (2015), and regionally by the Minnesota State Arts Board (2014, 2016) and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (2014). Her most recent work, We Wait In The Darkness, has toured to 14 cities and won a 2014 Minnesota SAGE Award for Performance and a 2014 City Pages Artist of the Year citation.

For more than 20 years Simas has created work dealing with a wide range of political, social and cultural subject matter from a Native feminist perspective. Her newest work Skin(s) is being developed in three regions -- the Twin Cities, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Chicago metropolitan area. Skin(s) explores what we hold, reveal, and perceive through our skin. Simas is examining the beauty and diversity of how Native people identify and the contradictions, pride, joy, pain, and sorrow that arise out of our many dimensions of identity. Skin(s) will open at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis in October 2016.

Simas's main collaborator is French composer François Richomme. Together they work with Native artists and artists of color from many different disciplines.

http://www.rosysimas.com

Rosy Simas Touring Information

 

 

Pramila Vasudevan

2016 Choreographer Fellow

 Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Pramila Vasudevan is the founder and Artistic Director of Aniccha Arts (2004), an experimental arts collaborative that produces site­ specific performances that examine agency, voice, and group dynamics within community histories, institutions, and systems. She has a background in Bharatanatyam (classical Indian dance) and contemporary Indian dance, a BFA in Interactive Media (2004), and a BA in Political Science (1999), all which inform her interdisciplinary voice and her socially conscious performance practice. Through years of researching audience methods, studying how technology supports the integration of artistic disciplines, and analyzing physical patterns in our bodies, she is committed to the creation of singular performances.

Major influences and teachers include Dr. Bala Nandakumar, Roshan Vajifdar Ghosh, Ranee Ramaswamy, Nirmala Rajasekar, Dr. Ananya Chatterjea, Piotr Szyhalski, Steve Dietz, and Dr. Ali Momeni. 

http://www.aniccha.org

Pramila Vasudevan Touring Information

 

 

Lisa "MonaLisa" Berman

2016 Dancer Fellow

 Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Lisa “MonaLisa” Berman, founder and Artistic Director of BRKFST Dance Company, has been working as a dancer, choreographer and instructor since 2004. Berman is the recipient of the 2008 Jerome Travel and Study Grant for Choreography, and 2016 McKnight Dancer Fellowship, providing opportunities to work with Bgirl Aruna, founder of HipHopHuis in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Victor Quijada, founder and Artistic Director of RUBBERBANDance Group in Montreal, Canada.

Locally MonaLisa has performed at the Southern Theater, Walker Art Center, The Ritz Theater, MIA, Xcel Energy Center, Target Center, Palace Theater, The Cowles Center, Intermedia Arts, First Avenue. Beyond the Twin Cities she's been seen at NJPAC, Paradise Theater, Lincoln Center, Performa Biennial via Salon 94 NYC, Art Basel-Miami, Corcoran Gallery in Washington D.C., Kunsthal Museum, Gallery Tribute to Women in Hip Hop Rotterdam, Netherlands, and The National History Museum of Amsterdam.

MonaLisa is currently working as a Breaking instructor/choreographer for Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, The Cowles Center, Breck School, and Hamline University. 

SOLO Choreographer Victor Quijada

https://deskgram.org/bgirlmonalisa 

Christopher Hannon

2016 Dancer Fellow

 Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Christopher Hannon is in his 28th year as a professional dancer. Chris has performed soloist and principal roles with Ballet Austin, Ballet Florida, Ballet British Columbia, Alberta Ballet, Kokoro Dance in Vancouver BC, Gina Patterson's Voice Dance in Austin Texas, and Compania de Danza21 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was a member of the James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis for 11 years. 

Chris trained at the Houston Ballet Academy while studying classical and jazz guitar at the High School for Performing and Visual Arts also in Houston, Texas. He later completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Texas in Austin. 

SOLO Choreographer Gina Patterson

 

Chitra Vairavan

2016 Dancer Fellow

  Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Chitra Vairavan is a contemporary Indian dancer and choreographer of Tamil/South Indian-American descent. Vairavan is immersed in both Tamil culture and progressive brown politics here in the U.S. She dances to heal and creates dance to help heal others.

Her contemporary Indian dance foundations began as a founding member of Ananya Dance Theatre in 2004 and a dance collaborator with Aniccha Arts since 2007. She has labored as a professional dancer for fifteen years and continues exploring and experimenting with her Indian-based artistic roots. The aesthetic of her movement is through both yoga and contemporary Indian dance forms – mainly a mixture of training in Bharatanatyam, Odissi and Yorchha.

Dance Magazine named her "25 to Watch" in 2017, and she was awarded the 2018 Naked Stages Fellowship to create a site-specific performance in January 2019. 

 

SOLO Choreographer Eiko Otake

 

"Bird"
Solo performed by Chitra Vairavan, Choreographed by Ananya Chatterjea
Moreechika: Season of Mirage | Ananya Dance Theatre (2012)