Choreographer

Jinza Thayer

2019 CHOREOGRAPHER FELLOW

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After spending the first six years in Japan and Southeast Asia, Jinza Thayer grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated from Johns Hopkins University and received an MFA in Dance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Now based in Minneapolis, she has created over 60 original works and presents her work as Movement Architecture – a blend of dance and theater in structured environments.

Some of the awards include being a two-time semi-finalist for France’s Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (Bagnolet) in 1999 and 2001, and receiving a 2010 SAGE Award for Choreographic Concept and Design. Fellowships include a 2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers, 2006 Associate Artist Residency at Atlantic Center for the Arts, and a 2010 Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Fellowship. She has received additional support from the Minnesota State Arts Board (1999, 2002, 2009, 2014, 2018), Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (2017), American Composers Forum (2006, 2011, 2014), and Jerome Foundation (2006).

Thayer has taught somatics, modern technique and composition at Zenon Dance Company and School in Minneapolis for twenty years.

https://www.movementarchitecture.com

 

Ashwini Ramaswamy

2019 CHOREOGRAPHER FELLOW

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As an independent choreographer, Ashwini Ramaswamy’s work references ancient myths and ritualistic practices, global literature and poetry, and the mixed media contemporary culture she has absorbed for 35 years, drawing from myriad influences to express a personal identity with collective resonance. Celebrated for her ability to “[weave] together, both fearfully and joyfully, the human and the divine” (New York Times), Ashwini studies Bharatanatyam from the legendary dancer/choreographer Smt. Alarmel Valli of Chennai, India, and Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy, Artistic Directors of Ragamala Dance Company.

As Choreographic Associate/featured performer with Ragamala, she has toured extensively, performing throughout the U.S. and in Russia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, the U.K, and India. Ashwini’s choreography was among the “Best of the Year” in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Big Dance Town, and Minn Post, and has been presented by the Joyce Theater (NYC), Triskelion Arts (NYC), Cowles Center (Minneapolis), The Yard (Martha’s Vineyard, MA), and Just Festival (Edinburgh, U.K.), among others.

Ashwini is a recipient of grants from the McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, and Jerome Foundation, including a recent inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship. Ashwini’s work is supported by USArtists International, National Endowment for the Arts, and New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project. A recent piece was commissioned by The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series, and her work has been developed in residence at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill) the Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York, NY) and the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron, OH.

http://www.ashwini-ramaswamy.com

 

Paula Mann

2019 CHOREOGRAPHER FELLOW

Photo by Galen Higgins

Photo by Galen Higgins

Paula Mann’s work has been presented by performance venues both in New York at New York Live Arts, P.S 122, Danspace, and in the Twin Cities, by the Southern Theater, the O’Shaughnessy Dance Series, The Walker Art Center, and solo work presented throughout the U.S, Canada and Italy.

Mann has received several awards from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, the MN State Arts Board, St. Paul Cultural Star, MRAC Arts Activities (2015, 2016) and Community Arts, the Sage Cowles Chair at the U of M, a Bush Artist Fellowship, an American Composers Forum Music for Dance grant, a 2017 Artist Initiative Grant from the MN State Arts Board and a 2016-17 commission for new work from GT Artistry. In 2003, 2005 and 2007 her company, Time Track Productions, completed a trilogy of evening-length work that explored the effect of media on humanity through live performance. In July 2009 the company presented the evening length “I Love Tomorrow” at New York Live Arts.

Newer works include “Here & After” (2012), ‘The One And The Many” (2014) and “Rules Of The Crowd” (2015) for the Weitz Center for Creativity at Carlton College. From 1993-2013 Mann was full-time faculty at the U of M and was a 2015-16 visiting professor of dance at the U of W, Eau Claire. She is a graduate of New York University.

www.timetrackdance.org


Deja Stowers

2018 Choreographer Fellow

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

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 Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

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. 

Laurie Van Wieren touring information

Taja Will

2018 Choreographer Fellow

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

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.

 Taja Will Touring Information

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


 

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

 

 

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

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

Photo by Tim Rummelhoff

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

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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.

Chris Yon

2011 Choreographer Fellow

Photo credit: Cameron Wittig

Photo credit: Cameron Wittig

Chris Yon, choreographer and performer, b. 1980, Los Angeles, CA. Based in Brooklyn through most of the '00's, he now lives and works in Minneapolis.

As a performer, he has worked with and for Ann Carlson, Yoshiko Chuma, Justin Jones, Karinne Keithley, David Neumann, Basil Twist and Kristin Van Loon. Yon's choreographies have been presented locally at Bryant Lake Bowl, Walker Art Center and The Southern, and nationally and internationally at Dance Theater Workshop, Performance Space 122, La Mama, Symphony Space, The Kitchen, Danspace Project, Gershwin Hotel, CBGB's, The Knitting Factory, Philadelphia Dance Project, ODC Theater, Velocity Dance Center, Highways Performance Space, Project Art Centre (Dublin), Tangente (Montreal), and CiteDanse (Grenoble).

His work has been commissioned by two repertory companies: Irish Modern Dance Theatre (Dublin) and d9 dance collective (Seattle). Named a "Very Young Hot Shot" in The Village Voice and among "25 Dancers to Watch" in Dance Magazine. He has had residencies and space grants at The Yard, SILO and BAX. Co-founder of Ur, your neighborhood dance palace in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2003-2005. Recipient: 2003 NYFA Fellowship for Performance Art (shared with Justin Jones), 2005 BESSIE Award for Performance, 2009 Minnesota SAGE Award for Outstanding Performance. BFA, NYU. Chris Yon's work entitled ECHO PARK Dream Ballet Essay: Les Sylphides without Margot Fonteyn v. The Pips without Gladys Knight premiered July 14-16, 2011 as part of the Momentum Series presented by the Southern Theater and the Walker Art Center.

For more information go to his site.

Uri Sands

2011 Choreographer Fellow

Photo credit: Ingrid Werthmann

Photo credit: Ingrid Werthmann

Uri Sands' choreography has received national recognition for the fusion of classical elegance with edgy contemporary action, for pulsating intensity with poetic lyricism.

A native of Miami, Uri performed as a principal dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for five years, with Philadanco, Minnesota Dance Theatre, James Sewell Ballet, as a guest artist with Complexions under the direction of Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson, and as a principal dancer with North Carolina Dance Theatre. His choreographic commissions include, among others, Vocalessence, Zenon Dance, Penumbra Theater, North Carolina Dance Theatre and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In addition to several film and television credits, Uri has taught dance extensively throughout the United States and Europe.

He was awarded a 2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship, and a 2005 Princess Grace Award in choreography.  TU Dance company founders Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands were named "2005 Artists of the Year" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  

TU Dance

Host to 2015 McKnight International Choreographer Residency