Sachiko "La Chayí" Nishiuchi

2017 DANCER FELLOW

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, her current projects include directing Twin Cities Flamenco Collective.  She has received 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.  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 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 artistic foundation to the following incomparable artists and teachers (in alphabetical order); Juan del Gastor, Farruquito, Javier Heredia, Juan del Gastor, Luis Peña, Miguel Funi, Pilar Montoya Manzano “La Faraona”, and Susana Di Palma.  

www.sachikolachayi.com

Krista Langberg

2017 DANCER FELLOW

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.

 

 

Herb Johnson III

2017 DANCER FELLOW

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. 


Deneane Richburg

2017 Choreographer Fellow

Photo credit: Richard Scott

Photo credit: Richard Scott

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

SuperGroup

2017 Choreographer Fellows

Photo Credit: Sean Smuda

Photo Credit: Sean Smuda

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


Susana di Palma

2017 Choreographer Fellow

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


 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Lisa Berman

2016 Dancer Fellow

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Lisa "MonaLisa" Berman has been working as a dancer, choreographer and instructor for the past 12 years and has danced across the globe. A recipient of the Jerome Travel and Study Grant for Choreography, Berman was fortunate to train, choreograph and perform in association with Hip Hop Huis in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She is the founder and Artistic Director of In New Company (INC), an exploratory dance theater company rooted in hip hop. Striving to create movement without a label, INC utilizes foundational breaking movement with modern and innovative concepts. Currently, she is working as a Hip Hop/Breaking instructor for the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and resident Hip Hop teaching artist for The Cowles Center, Breck School. Most recently Berman was a guest instructor at Macalester College. 

https://www.facebook.com/In.New.Company

www.instagram.com/in.new.company

Christopher Hannon

2016 Dancer Fellow

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Christopher Hannon is in his 26th year as a professional dancer and 10th year as a member of the James Sewell Ballet in Minneapolis. 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. 

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. 

http://www.jsballet.org/dancers  

 

Chitra Vairavan

2016 Dancer Fellow

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Photo credit: Tim Rummelhoff

Chitra Vairavan is a contemporary Indian dancer 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 teaches dance to help heal others. Vairavan is a founding member of Ananya Dance Theatre and a dance collaborator with Aniccha Arts. She has received the MN SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer in 2015 and been named “Artist We Love” by Minnesota Monthly magazine in September 2011. Her dance training includes Yoga, Bharatanatyam, Odissi, Chhau, and Yorchha. 

Ananya Dance Theatre bio

Intermedia Arts artist page

 

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

Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar

2016 McKnight International Choreographers


Sharon Eyal was born in Jerusalem. She danced with the Batsheva Dance Company from 1990 until 2008 and began choreographing within the framework of the company’s Batsheva Dancers Create project. Eyal served as Associate Artistic Director of Batsheva between 2003-2004, and House Choreographer of the company between 2005-2012.

In 2009 Eyal began creating pieces for other dance companies in the world: Killer Pig (2009) and Corps de Walk (2011) for Carte Blanche Dance of Norway; Too Beaucoup (2011) for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Plafona (2012) for Tanzcompagnie Oldenburg, Germany.

In 2013 Eyal launches L-E-V with her long-time collaborator Gai Behar. This October, they premiered Untitled Black in collaboration with the Goteborgs Operans Danskompani in Gothenburg, Sweden. Eyal is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2004 Ministry of Culture Award for young dance creators and the 2009 Landau Prize for the Performing Arts in the dance category. In 2008, she was named a Chosen Artist of the Israel Cultural Excellence Foundation.


As a party producer, Gai was taking a big part of Tel Aviv nightlife scene as well as a curator of multidisciplinary art events from 1999 till 2005. Gai joined Sharon in co-creating Bertolina in 2005 and has collaborated on the creation of Sharon Eyal ever since.

For more information visit their website here

 

RESIDENCY EVENTS

Partner: James Sewell Ballet (JSB)

The 2016 McKnight International Residency took place over two residency periods. In October 2016Rebecca Hytting (Sharon Eyal's rehearsal director) worked with the James Sewell Ballet to set Killer Pig on the company. In November Eyal and Behar were in residence in the Twin Cities, working with JSB.

During each residency period Eyal and Hytting taught Gaga-style classes at both the Sewell studio and Cowles Center Target Education Studio, taught by Hytting, Eyal and local teacher.
The International Choreographers and participated in a variety of community events. In November, Eyal returned to the Twin Cities with Behar for final rehearsals and events, as well as the JSB premiere of their work Killer Pig at the O'Shaughnessy on Nov. 4-6. 

photo credit: Debra Fisher Goldstein

photo credit: Debra Fisher Goldstein

Related event: Rimon Salon  "Talking the Walk: New Dance in Israel."

 

 

 

 

See video of Killer Pig set on L-E-V.

 

Joanie Smith

2014 Choreographer Fellow

Joanie Smith founded Shapiro & Smith Dance with Danial Shapiro in 1987 developing a collaborative method to create their work. Danial Shapiro died in 2006 and now Joanie Smith serves as sole Artistic Director and Choreographer and is honing that process in new ways with the members of Shapiro & Smith Dance.

Shapiro & Smith’s work has been commissioned by companies as diverse as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the PACT Company of South Africa. The Company has toured all over the U.S. and abroad including performing four times at The Joyce Theater in New York City, ten years at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis and now three seasons at The Cowles Center For Dance And The Performing Arts. Over 600 dancers have performed, To Have And To Hold, and S & S’s production of ANYTOWN had more than 40 performances across the U.S., including The Joyce Theater and The Guthrie Theater.

Smith was recognized as an “Artist Of The Year,” in 2011 by City Pages and received a Sage Award for, “Outstanding Performance,” in 2012. She has received a Bush Fellowship in Choreography, a McKnight Choreographer’s Fellowship, and was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Helsinki, Finland. Smith holds the Barbara Barker Endowed Chair at the University of Minnesota and the John Black Johnston Distinguished Professorship. Shapiro & Smith Dance has received continued institutional support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, and The Target Foundation.
Joanie Smith created The Danial Shapiro Fund in 2008 and annually awards funds to Twin Cities’ choreographers.

Visit their site for more information.

Patrick Scully

2015 Choreographer Fellow

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 – Uncut, about Walt Whitman. In addition to his performing work, Patrick was founder and the long time director of Patrick’s Cabaret, in Minneapolis.

Chris Schlichting

schlichtingcrop.jpg

2015 Choreographer Fellow

Chris Schlichting is a Minnesota-based choreographer and performer who believes in flexible definitions of dance. His choreography leans on the formality of structural investigation and the emotion of earnest expression. His dances have a tendency to simultaneously evoke the grandiosity of spectacle and the delicacy of intimate moments. Schlichting develops dances outside the constraints of thematic and conceptual frameworks, allowing choreographic process to develop focus through physical intuition and sensory awareness. 

Schlichting was named Best Choreographer in 2013 by Minneapolis-St. Paul City Pages for his work Matching Drapes, which also received two Sage Awards, including one for “Outstanding Performance” and one for “Outstanding Design”. He is the first recipient of the American Dance Institute’s (Rockville, MD) Commissioned Artist award, a new project that provides commissioning funds, fiscal sponsorship, developmental and production support for a new work from one U.S. based choreographer every year. 

Schlichting has been presented by venues throughout Minnesota, including the Southern Theater, the Bryant Lake Bowl, the Red Eye Theater, the Walker Art Center and many more; in New York at Danspace Project and as a frequent contributor to CATCH! performance series; at ODC in San Francisco, CA; and at Velocity in Seattle, WA. He frequently collaborates with Morgan Thorson, including performances in "Faker" and "Heaven", both of which enjoyed illustrious tours throughout the U.S. and for "Faker" also in Daejeon, South Korea. 

Schlichting’s work has been commissioned by Danspace Project at St. Marks (by Tere O’Connor for Food for Thought, by Judy Hussie-Taylor for the Body Madness Platform), James Sewell Ballet (Ballet Works Project), the Walker Art Center (The Momentum Series, the 25th Sculpture Garden Celebration, and for a new work in the 2014/15 performance season), The Southern Theater, Young Dance, and Zenon Dance Company.

Wynn Fricke

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

2014 Choreographer Fellow

Wynn Fricke is a choreographer, dancer and somatic movement educator. She has served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, Winona State University and as choreographer-in-residence for Minnesota Dance Theater. She is currently director of the dance program at Macalester College. For nine years, she danced with Zenon Dance Company and in 1997 became founder and artistic director of Borrowed Bones Dance Theater. She has received commissions from Ballet Arts Minnesota, James Sewell Ballet, Ruth MacKenzie for her creation of Kalevala, Dream of the Salmon Maiden, and Zenon Dance Company, among others. Her choreography has been produced nationally and abroad in Russia and Micronesia.

Wynn is a recipient of grants from the Jerome Foundation, McKnight Foundation, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and the New York State-funded grant Arts International and Trust for Mutual Understanding. In 2012, Wynn was honored with a Minnesota SAGE Award for Outstanding Performance for Wine Dark Sea, performed by Zenon Dance Company and created in collaboration with composer Peter O’Gorman. She also received a Live Music for Dance award from the American Composers Forum to create Twine with composer Marc Anderson. She also worked with Frank Theatre on Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. Wynn is co-founder of Common Ground Meditation Center where she teaches Integral Hatha Yoga.

For more information about her work visit her site.

The BodyCartography Project

2010 Choreographer Fellow

Photo credit: Cameron Wittig

Photo credit: Cameron Wittig

Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad, as co-directors of The BodyCartography Projectinvestigate the physicality of space in urban, domestic, wild and social landscapes through dance, performance, video and installation work. Their ventures range from intimate solos for the street or stage, to large community dance works in train stations, short experimental films in national parks, to complex works for site or stage amidst installations of video and sound.

Their work has been presented across the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Europe, Russia and South America. Recent work includes Mammal, a commission for the Lyon Opera Ballet, 1⁄2 Life, a collaboration with physicist Bryce Beverlin II, visual artist Emmett Ramstad and composer Zeena Parkins at Performance Space 122, NYC, the Southern Theater and Art of This Gallery in Minneapolis. They are featured artists in the first book about site dance in the USA published by University of Florida Press entitled Site Dance, the Lure of Alternative Spaces. They have been honored with two Minnesota SAGE Awards for Dance, multiple New Zealand Fringe Festival awards, City Pages Artists of the Year in 2008, ADF Dancing for the Camera and Kerry Film Festival awards. They are grateful for the support of the Jerome Foundation, MAP Fund, Bush Foundation, Public Art St Paul, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, Moore Family Fund, Forecast Public Artworks, amongst others.

Penelope Freeh

2010 Choreographer Fellow

Photo Credit: Sean Smuda

Photo Credit: Sean Smuda

Penelope Freeh's choreography has been commissioned by James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Orchestra, 3-Legged Race, the Walker Art Center/Southern Theater's Momentum, the Weisman Art Museum, Minnesota Ballet, Skylark Opera and Link Vostok Dance Festival in Russia among others. She has twice been presented by Ballet Builders in NYC. She has taught residencies at St. Catherine University, Carleton College, St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists and Perpich Center for Arts Education. Previous awards include a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers (1998), a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship (1998) and two Career Opportunity Grants (1999 and 2001), and a Jerome Foundation Travel Grant (2001). Penelope was a sixteen-year member of James Sewell Ballet where she served as Artistic Associate. She has staged the work of James Sewell on Portland Opera, Sandra Organ Dance Company, Company C Contemporary Ballet and Alaska Dance Theatre. She is adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota and summer faculty at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She has worked with Deborah Jinza Thayer's Movement Architecture since 1999 and has danced with TU Dance, MN Opera, CT Ballet Theatre, Michael Mao Dance and Dayton Ballet.

She maintained a blog from 2006-2009 (barefootpenny.blogspot.com) where she wrote a hybrid of critique, memoir and personal essay through the lens of dance. From February 2008 - April 2009 she wrote the dance column for METRO Magazine. In May 2008 she was featured in and wrote "Why I Dance" for Dance Magazine. She served on the MN Fringe Board from 2004-2010 and has twice served as a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers panelist.

Penelope grew up at the Dayton Ballet Dance Center in Ohio. Additional training includes the Joffrey Ballet School, the Paul Taylor School and two years on full scholarship at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center.