Kari Mosel

2013 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhof

Photo by Tim Rummelhof

Kari Mosel hails from Eau Claire, Wisconsin where she grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and tripping over her own feet. She received her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota in 2004. In 2002 Mosel began her professional career with an apprenticeship for Shapiro & Smith Dance. She became a full company member in 2006, while tour managing and understudying for ANYTOWN. Mosel also serves as the administrative assistant and board secretary for Shapiro & Smith Dance. In 2005 she became a company member and teaching artist with Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater (SPDT). Performing with them nationally and internationally for the past 8 years, Mosel has assisted in SPDT workshops and residencies in educational and healthcare. She was SPDT’s company manager from 2009-2011 and now serves as their video editor and archivist. Mosel has also danced with Time Track Productions, Kats D and the Paneer Project, Marciano Silva dos Santos, Jim Lieberthal, Black Label Movement, Jenny Pennaz, Julie Warder, Cade Holmseth, and as apprentice for Zenon Dance. In October 2012 Mosel was nominated for a Minnesota SAGE Dance Award for Outstanding PerformerIn addition to performing, she creates her own work, which has been presented at The Women’s Club, Patrick’s Cabaret, and The Ritz Theater in Minneapolis and has also been commissioned by The University of River Falls Dance Program for the past several years. Mosel is also the performance coach for the Hudson High School Gymnastics Team.

Tamara Ober

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

2013 Dancer Fellow

Tamara Ober is a dancer, choreographer, and multidisciplinary creator based in Minneapolis. She has received Minnesota SAGE Award nominations for Performance, Performer, and Design (2012) and has been presented in Red Eye’s Isolated Acts (2013) with solo show, Sin Eater. Ober’s critically acclaimed multidisciplinary solo show, Pipa toured across the U.S., Canada, and to Budapest, and received Montreal Fringe’s first-runner-up Centaur Award (2009), City Pages Best Artist (2009), MN SAGE Award for Dance for Outstanding Performer (2010), and Metro Magazine’s Keeper Award (2011). 

Supported by the MacPhail Center for Music Artist grant (2012), the Spotlight Series (2012), and the American Composer’s Forum Live Music for Dance MN grant (2013), Ober, composer/musician Julie Johnson, and New York filmmaker D.J. Mendel created a MN Fringe sellout, Standing on the Hollow. In 2015, Ober created an evening-length dance film for Johnson’s live music composition, Seasons of Time. She received a 2015 MRAC Next Step grant to create a new trio, premiering in June 2016.

Ober has served on panels, performed lecture/demonstrations, and workshops for various dance and theater educational institutions. She is Wonderlust Production's choreographer, and has collaborated on the NEA supported Veteran’s Play Project (2013), and the Adoption Play Project (2016).

A graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BFA in Dance and BA in Sociology, Ober joined Zenon Dance Company in 2002 and has worked with over 40 emerging and world-renowned choreographers, touring to New York, Russia, Hungary, France, and Cuba.


Gregory Waletski

2013 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Gregory Waletski grew up in Chanhassen, Minnesota and is a 1987 graduate of St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Inspiration for a dancing life began there with his first teacher, Toni Sostek. He has been a member of the modern and jazz repertory company, Zenon, for the past 22 years. As such he has worked with a wide range of choreographers including Susana Tambutti, luciana achugar, Netta Yerushalmy, Danny Buraczeski, Colleen Thomas, Bill Young, Sean Curran, Doug Varone, Morgan Thorson, Mariusz Olszewski, and Faye Driscoll. He has also performed in the companies of several Twin Cities' based choreographers including Megan Meyer, Wynn Fricke, Cathy Young, and Matthew Janczewski. In 2000 he was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for Dance and was the recipient of a 2011 Minnesota SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer. Waletski also has a rich and varied life outside of dance. For many years he has worked as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska's Bristol Bay. He is also an avid record collector and DJ at the monthly funk and soul dance night, Hipshaker. He left Zenon Dance Company but does plan on returning as a guest artist and also for the company's outreach residencies with the deaf, hard of hearing community.  He completed a two-year program for a Sign Language Interpreter/Transliterator AAS degree and now also works as an interpreter.

Sally Rousse

2014 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff


Sally Rousse has built a distinguished, multi-faceted life in dance that includes performing, teaching, curating, advocating, choreographing, and writing, with noteworthy honors and grants. She is a two-time recipient of the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers (2001 and 2014) and received a 2013 Sage Award for Outstanding Performer. Named “Artist of the Year” (City Pages, 2010), she began dancing in Barre, Vermont, going on to train at the School of American Ballet and with David Howard before performing as a leading dancer with Ballet Chicago, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and James Sewell Ballet (JSB), which she co-founded in NYC 26 years ago. In addition to many roles in the classical and Balanchine repertoires, Sally has danced works by Maurice Béjart, Jiri Kylián, and more than 100 new works created on her by contemporary choreographers. The Cowles Center and JSB honored Rousse with a tribute and retrospective in 2014.

In 1994, Sally began studying and performing Improvisation and Contact, primarily with Patrick Scully, Chris Aiken, and Hijack, aiming to draw upon a larger movement palette to extend the definitions, aesthetics, and relevance of ballet and ballerina. Grants awarded by the Jerome Foundation and the Minnesota State Arts Board helped her delve deeper into the state of ballet and her place in it.

Rousse's work as a choreographer has been supported by diverse venues and organizations: the Southern Theater, Walker Art Center, VocalEssence, Marshall Field's, Harvard's American Repertory Theatre, the Cartoon Channel, Nickelodeon, Omaha Ballet, JSB, 3-Legged Race, the Jerome Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. While Artist-in-Residence at the American Swedish Institute from 2013-14 she co-created Kom Hit! – a roving, immersive dance/theater work with Noah Bremer. 

Sally continues to work with several diverse dance entities in the Twin Cities and around the world, among those most recently, Hijack, Penelope Freeh, and Hong Kong’s Kanta Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren, Ph.D. She serves on several Boards and panels, awarding grants, fellowships, honors and opportunities in the performing arts that help shape the local and global cultural environment. She lives and raises her two children in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

SOLO Choreographer Arthur Pita

Max Wirsing

2014 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Max Wirsing has been dancing in the Twin Cities since 2005. He has had the opportunity to perform and collaborate on works by Chris Schlichting, Emily Johnson, Justin Jones, Nick LeMere, and Karen Sherman, as well as dancing with Morgan Thorson as part of her last three touring projects. Max has created his own dance work as part of Jaime Carrera's Outlet Series, and the Jerome Foundation's Naked Stages Fellowship, and has been a part of various video installation projects such as Peter Becker Nelson's On Dying, Techtonic Industries' the desire to stay versus the inevitability of change, and Andy Underwood-Bultman’s Silver Lake. His recent design collaborations with Morgan Thorson, Emily Johnson, and Chris Schlichting have garnered many accolades including a Minnesota SAGE Award for Outstanding Design for Schlichting's Matching Drapes.

SOLO choreographer Lauren Simpson

Kenna-Camara Cottman

2014 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Kenna-Camara Cottman has worked in the field of dance and art for over 20 years, and has been a full-time artist since 2005. 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 Chatterjea, 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. Kenna is a skilled dancer, and she supports choreographer colleagues such as Pramila Vasudevan and Leah Nelson by dancing in their work. Kenna is also a member of Oyin Dance Collective, a unique collaboration of Black women who study and perform African Based dance forms. Kenna-Camara Cottman is supported by her artistic family, William and Beverly Cottman, Yonci Jameson and Ebrima Sarge.

SOLO Choreographer Deja Stowers

Alanna Morris-Van Tassel

2015 Dancer Fellow

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Professional contemporary dancer, teaching artist, and choreographer, Alanna Morris-Van Tassel, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She has studied many dance styles at various dance schools in the US and Canada. These include: Creative Outlet Dance Theater (Brooklyn), Ballet Hispanico, The Ailey School, The Joffrey Ballet, Jacobs Pillow and Springboard Danse Montreal. Upon graduating with honors from the famed LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and The Performing Arts (NYC), she received a partial scholarship to The Juilliard School, where she earned a B.F.A. in Dance. She has worked professionally with Nathan Trice/RITUALS, Gallim Dance, and Janis Brenner & Dancers. In 2007 she was invited to Minnesota to join St-Paul based dance company, TU Dance, (directors Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands), where she is currently a performing and teaching artist. In 2011 Alanna received a MN SAGE Award for Outstanding Performer. In 2013, she and her husband, collaborator/composer Brian Van Tassel, received a Live Music for Dance MN grant. They are currently producing Arabah: a prayer for peace, a full evening of collaborative original dance, music, spoken word, visual art, and community dialogue dedicated to fostering peace among religions. Additionally, Alanna teaches youth in public schools, camps, and theater companies throughout the Twin Cities, creating classes that develop movement skills and imagination in young actors, dancers and performers.

SOLO choreographer Idan Sharabi

Brian J. Evans

2015 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Brian J. Evans is a Professional Performing Human. For the past eight years, Evans has had the privilege and pleasure of engaging in a vast array of fields. Teaching in public and private institutions, working with healthcare providers in the US and abroad, performing as singer, actor, dancer in churches, theaters, basements, outdoor stages, any space provided that encourages the arts to thrive. An artist striving for social justice, Evans places high value in process and product, having had most of his training out in the 'Arts field' of the Twin Cities, working with over 50 artistic directors on more then 200 projects from solo endeavors to collaborating as a self-employed professional performer & teaching artist. Primarily as a principle dancer and musical director for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Evans has continued to investigate the idea that connections exist between us all and it's the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover those connections, highlight them to allow us to feel holistically human. 


SOLO Choreographer Tamara Ober

Amy Behm-Thomson

2011 Dancer Fellow

Amy Behm-Thomson studied dance at the University of Minnesota. Amy joined ARENA Dances in 1999 and Zenon Dance Company in 2000, and continues to perform and teach yoga and dance. She has also performed with Dancing People Company, Ragamala Music and Dance, Catalyst - Dances by Emily Johnson, and Cathy Young Dance. 

Amy is the proud mother of two young children.


Johan Amselem

2012 International Artist

McKnight International Fellow 2012 Residency June 11-30, 2012
Cie la Halte-Garderie (The Nursery)

The McKnight Fellowship program selected Paris-based choreographer/dancer Johan Amselem as the first McKnight International Choreographer. Amselem was in residence June 11-30, 2012 in Minneapolis to develop a new work entitled Bon appetit! 

Bon appetit! Work in Progress Showing
Friday, June 29, 2012 8:00 pm
JSB Tek Box, The Cowles Center

Johan worked with dancers Rachel Freeburg, Erika Hanson, Melanie Verne, Ryan Dean, Dustin Hawg, and Zachary Teska; video artist Kevin Obsatz; DJ Shannon Blowtorch; and dramaturgs Morgan Thorson and Karen Sherman. 

"We're still going on exploring the dark side of pleasure. It will be particularly about the pleasure to consume and be consumed. I think of the piece like a recipe that principal ingredients will be your wonderful bodies. As I was thinking on a twisted pleasure that nobody should understand, I came to cannibalism. So we'll work on generating into the audience the desire to eat you. Kevin will increase the hunger with the video. It will also be about promiscuity, bodies against bodies, desire and fear, excesses-we'll be on a burning dance floor stove. And for that I count on Shannon's powerful music and personality live on stage." ~Johan Amselem

Johan Amselem, a 36 year old French choreographer, was born in Toulon, French Riviera, and lives in Paris. He began to learn ballet at 6 years old at Toulon Opera House Dance School, and then modern dance at the National Conservatory of Dance in Avignon and National Center of Contemporary Dance in Angers, directed by L'Esquisse Company - Joëlle Bouvier and Régis Obadia.

He worked for five years as a dancer with Laura Scozzi (known in France and abroad for her directions and choreographies of operas) and was also her choreographic assistant on tour on Platée, an opera-ballet produced by Opéra de Paris - Palais Garnier. Amselem also works as a dancer for Da Da Dans Company with choreographer Helle Bach in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Ameslem is a choreographer of many modern dance solos and duos, often performed in very atypical ways such as choreographic walks around gardens and others public spaces. He also choreographs for popular performances in theaters such as the musical Froufrou les Bains, which won the Moliere Award in 2002 for best musical. Ameslem has also choreographed and directed a musical produced by Vidy Theater in Lausanne, and participated in the first big national celebration of dance last September at the Grand Palais in Paris, organized by the famous Spanish choreographer Blanca Li.

He creates dance theater performances, participative events such as an electro couple dance ballroom with a DJ, gives workshops for professionals and amateurs, adults, teenagers, and children, and creates customized events for enterprises and municipalities.

Amselem has been working with Opera de Paris on a pedagogic program for schools. He works on raising public awareness of dance virtues. Notorious French institutions such as Atelier de Paris, directed by Carolyn Carlson, support him. His company, La Halte-Garderie (The Nursery), is sponsored by Paris City Hall.

Amselem is Mediterranean, and born of a North African Jewish family. His work is sharp and full of joy, rituals, flesh, and spirituality, along with emotions, pleasure, and greed.

George Stamos

2014 International Artist

George Stamos, choreographer, dancer, and artistic director, received a BA in choreography from Amsterdam’s School For New Dance Development. In 1997 he relocated to Montréal where he has been active in the dance community since his arrival.

Stamos’ choreographies have been presented across North America, in Europe, and seasonally in Montréal since 1998. Stamos has also taught many workshops in technique, improvisation, and creative process. Currently he dances in his new duo Liklik Pik and works as a dancer with Zab Maboungou Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata a contemporary African dance company in Montréal.

Organizations who have presented work by Stamos include L’Agora De La Dance, The Baryshnikov Center For The Arts, Neighbourhood Dance Works, Studio 303, Theatre D’Aujourd’hui, Live Art Productions, The Canada Dance Festival, The Fluid Festival, Tangente, Dancemakers Center For Creation, Dancing on the Edge Festival, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Amsterdam's International Ness Festival, and many others.

Satmos' experience outside of the contemporary dance world includes volunteer work with community based organizations from 1987-1999 and at the occupational therapy department of Giant Steps School for Children with Autism in 2010.

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro

2013 International Artist

Sophiline Cheam Shapiro is a choreographer, dancer, vocalist, and educator whose dances have infused the venerable Cambodian classical form with new ideas and energy. Her work has toured to three continents hosted by such venues as New York’s Joyce Theater, Cal Performances, Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Venice Biennale, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Carolina Performing Arts, University Musical Society/Ann Arbor, Vienna’s New Crowned Hope Festival and Amsterdam’s Het Muziektheater. Works include Samritechak (2000), The Glass Box (2002), Seasons of Migration (2005), Pamina Devi: A Cambodian Magic Flute(2006), Spiral XI (2008), and Shir-Ha-Shirim (2008), a collaboration with John Zorn. The Lives of Giants premiered in the Fall 2010.  
Shapiro is a 2009 recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship, a lifetime honor awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, and a USA Knight Fellowship.  She was awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize for Culture in 2006 and has received Creative Capital, Durfee, Guggenheim, and Irvine Dance Fellowships, among many other honors. 
Born in Phnom Penh, Shapiro was a member of the first generation to graduate from the School of Fine Arts after the fall of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime and was a member of the dance faculty there from 1988 to 1991. She studied all three major roles for women (neang, nearong, and yeak), which is rare. With the school’s ensemble, she toured India, the Soviet Union, the USA, and Vietnam. She immigrated to Southern California in 1991, where she studied dance ethnology at UCLA on undergraduate and graduate levels. She is co-founder and Artistic Director of Khmer Arts, a transnational organization dedicated to fostering the vitality of Cambodian dance across borders. 
Shapiro lectures and teaches at conferences and universities around the world.  Her many essays have been published in Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors (1997, Yale University Press), Dance, Human Rights and Social Justice: Dignity in Motion (2008, Scarecrow Press); Cultural Identities: Tokyo to Bombay (2008, Centre national de la danse), Beyond the Apsara: Celebrating Dance in Cambodia (2009, Routledge), and elsewhere.

Osnel Delgado

2014 International choreographer

  Photo by Bill Cameron

Photo by Bill Cameron

Osnel Delgado has received major Cuban awards including the Premio a Mejor Coreografia del Concurso Solamente Solos (Award for Best Solo Choreography), and a Special Mention award at the VII Iberomerican “Alicia Alonso” Choreography competition in Madrid. He was a member of Danza Contemporanea de Cuba from 2003 to 2011 and founded MalPaso Dance Company in 2013, where he currently serves as choreographer and artistic director. Delgado's work expresses the passion and uncertainties that define Cuban life and are embodied in the country's rich dance tradition.

Delgado began his residency in Minneapolis in August 2014 , when he created a new work for Zenon Dance Company, our partner for the 2014 residency. Delgado taught classes in Cuban dance at both the Zenon Dance School and Northrop, and participated in a variety of dance community events.

Delgado’s classes focused on the Cuban technique of modern dance, which is a dense and unique blend of North American modern dance patterns and Afro Cuban dance elements and movement modes. The classes approached key Cuban popular dance styles related to the Rumba Complex; and some dance styles belonging to the Cuban religious dance traditions mostly related to the practice of Santería or Yoruba culture. 

Additionally, two community classes were offered from Minneapolis-based, Cuban-born dancers René Thompson and Chini Perez at Zenon Dance Studio. Thompson’s class taught the uniquely Cuban steps of salsa, chachacha, rumba, mambo, and other traditional Cuban rhythms. Perez taught an all-levels combination of Latin dance and Afro Cuban including Cuban style salsa, merengue, bachata, son, chachacha, rumba, and Columbia.

A public talk called “Baseball and Dance in Cuba” led by Fernando Saez, cofounder of MalPaso and director of the Performing Arts Program of Fundación Ludwig de Cuba, was held at Northrop.

Osnel Delgado returned to Minneapolis in November 2014 for the premiere of his new workComing Home, on Zenon Dance Company's season. He was also featured in An Evening With Voice Of Culture Drum and Dance. 

For more information.

Kaleena Miller

2015 Dancer Fellow

  Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Kaleena Miller  is a Minneapolis-based performer, choreographer and teacher best known for her work in the tap dance genre. She is a founding member of Rhythmic Circus, and currently tours nationally and internationally with their production Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!  As a solo artist, she is a 2007 SAGE Award recipient for People’s Choice and a 2011 nominee for Outstanding Performer. She has received funding from the Jerome Foundation, and has twice been commissioned to create works for the Walker Art Center.  She graduated from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities with a BFA in Dance, and credits Char Weiss and Karla Grotting for her tap training. 

SOLO Choreographer Derick Grant

Gioconda Barbuto

2015 Mcknight International Choreographer

Italo-Canadian dancer and choreographer Gioconda Barbuto is the 2015 McKnight International Choreographer. A dancer of explosive wit, subtle intelligence, and a fine sense of theatricality, Gioconda has distinguished herself throughout her career in an impressive number of works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Nacho Duato, Michel Fokine, Christopher House, Jiri Kylián, Hans Van Manen, Ginette Laurin, James Kudelka, José Limon, Brian Macdonald, Mark Morris, Martino Müller, Ohad Naharin, Fernand Nault, Anthony Tudor, Robert Wilson and many others. She danced with the Minnesota Dance Theatre before becoming a soloist with Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, where she danced for 16 years.  In 1998 she was invited by Jiri Kylian to join Nederlands Dans Theater III in The Hague, Holland, with a group of high caliber dancers, all over the age of forty, and toured internationally with the company for eight years. Gioconda is featured in two of Jiri Kylian's award winning Films, Birth Day and Car Men.  

In 1996 she was nominated for the Kennedy Center Fellowship and was the recipient of the Clifford E. Lee choreography award. She is a recipient of several grants from the Canada Council and has created many of her own solo and group projects with many renowned dance artists. 

Gioconda’s choreography has been presented at Ballet BC,  Ballet Jorgen, Banff Festival Ballet, Danse Cite, Tangente, L’Agora de la danse, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, BJM Danse Montreal, Alberta Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Northwest Dance Project, McKnight Fellowship SOLO Commission (for Abdo Sayegh Rodriguez), Bravo FACT, CBC Canada/Films Piche Ferrari, Ballet Kelowna, The Juilliard School, Arts Umbrella Dance Company, You Dance/National Ballet of Canada, Dutch National Ballet Academy, Nederlands Dans Theater Choreographic Workshop, and the National Circus School.

More information on Gioconda Barbuto can be found on her website.


Photos of commissioned work "Footprint" courtesy of TU Dance and photographer Michael Slobodian.