Galia Eibenschutz

2019 International Choreographer

by Rodrigo Valero-Puertas

by Rodrigo Valero-Puertas

Galia Eibenschutz is a dance and multimedia artist from Mexico City whose work has developed through both movement and visual art techniques. Her work registers the passing of time as well as the scenic presence of the human body and its projection within architectural spaces. Her most recent performance pieces include presentations at Teatro de la Danza (Mexico City, Mexico; 2018); Museum of Contemporary Art in Oaxaca (2018) in collaboration with musician Natalia Perez Turner; FABRIKA in Beirut, Lebanon (2016) in collaboration with Corinne Skaff; at Ex-Teresa Arte, and during Art Basel at The Center for Visual Communication (Miami, 2013).

Her work has also been displayed as part of several collective exhibitions at Modern Art Museum (Mexico City); Carrillo Gill Art Museum (Mexico, City); Contemporary Art Museum of Oaxaca, MUCA Roma and MUCA CU (Mexico, City); Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes (Mexico, City); Witte de Witt (Rotterdam), Blain|Southern (London branch); Mexican Cultural Center (Paris); Saidye Bronfman Center for the Arts (Montreal) and in Stedelijke Museum Voor Actuele Kunst Gante (Belgium).

She has been in residency programs in Casa Wabi; Casa NANO, Villa Iris (Botín Foundation), L’École des Sables (Senegal) and the Mexican Fine Arts Museum of Chicago. As a performer, Eibenschutz has also participated in projects from other artists such as Joan Jonas and Carlos Amorales. 

For more information about Galia, visit her website.

For more information about the residency activities, visit our International Choreographer page.

For more information on the residency co-hosts Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder, visit their page.

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:


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. 

Saturday JUNE 2nd, 2018 10 am - 12 pm
Tapsula / Gumboot Class **
At the Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, Studio 5B (5th floor)
528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403

Monday JUNE 4th, 2018 7 - 8:30 pm 
Pantsula Class**
At Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center 788 East 7th St., St. Paul, MN 55106

Saturday JUNE 9th, 2018 10 - 11:30 am
Pantsula Class**
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts, Target Education Studio (2nd floor)
528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403 

Saturday JUNE 16th, 2018 4:30-5:30 pm
Pantsula Class
Wellstone Center, 179 Robie St E, St Paul, MN 55107


Tuesday MAY 29th, 2018 6:30 - 8:00 pm FREE
Meet the Artists: Public talk and pantsula demonstration at Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, 788 East 7th St., St. Paul, MN 55106

Featuring: Vusi Mdoyi, Sello Modiga, and Sicelo Xaba; 2018 McKnight International Choreographers
Maia Maiden; Director and Curator of ROOTED
Moderated by: Arleta Little; Arts Program Officer & Director of Artist Fellowships, McKnight Foundation.

Monday JUNE 11th, 2018 7:00 - 10:00 pm FREE
Open Rehearsal of new dance work At Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center 788 East 7th St., St. Paul, MN 55106

Friday JUNE 15 and Saturday JUNE 16, 2018 7:00 pm 
World Premiere Performance choreographed by Impilo Mapantsula, performed as part of ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers’ Evening at the Wellstone Center, 179 Robie St E, St Paul, MN 55107

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



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. 


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



Partner: James Sewell Ballet (JSB)

The 2016 McKnight International Residency took place over two residency periods. In October 2016, Rebecca 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.


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.

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.