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School of Dance Class Notes

Fall 2014

The CalArts Winter Dance concert in December at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater featured new work by CalArts faculty Laurence Blake, Herb Alpert Award winner Michelle Dorrance, and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Jonathan Fredrickson (Dance BFA 06). Dorrance premiered an ensemble work highlighting tap and body rhythm, Fredrickson unveiled a new trio and Blake debuted a new ensemble work.

Time and the Weather, a new work by Nancy Karp (Dance BFA 73). will receive its world premiere at ODC Commons in San Francisco on February 20, 21, and 22. The premiere celebrates Karp's return to the Bay Area as well as the 35th anniversary season of Nancy Karp + Dancers. The February season will also include the premiere of a-motion-upo-nmotio-n, a new duet, and the return of ll Mercato, a full company work. Tickets go on sale on-line beginning Dec. 10.

Summer 2014

Contemporary dance company Khecari, directed by Julia Rae Antonick (Dance BFA 03) and Jonathan Meyer, will perform Esther & the Omphali and theiir new work, Orders from the Horse, at Links Hall in Chicago on September 12, 13, and 14 at 7 pm. They will share the evening of performance with Happydog.

VISIONS Contemporary Ballet,  founded by Ranardo-Domeico Grays (Dance BFA 95) will perform three movements from Dash-Between, a five-movement work choreographed by Grays, at the Dance at the Wassaic Project Festival in Wassaic, New York. The performance will take place on August 3 at noon.

Following his quintuple bypass surgery last year, Larry Ippel (Dance MFA 73) received a big surprise in July at his retirement party, when his son, Peter, presented him with his CalArts diploma, 41 years after he left the Institute. The presentation was captured on video

Natalie Metzger (Dance MFA 11) recently won the Platinum Best of Show Aurora Award for her public service announcement for the Verdi Chorus. Other CalArtians involved include writer Amy Tofte (Theater MFA 11), co-production designer Alex Gaines (Theater MFA 12), and costume designer Angi Ursetta (Theater MFA 13).

Kristi Tornga (Dance BFA 10) recently completed a six-month contract with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York, replacing an injured dancer in the company. In an interview with Kate Fox Colie (Dance BFA 05) on nohoartsdistrict.com, Tornga said, "...it was literally a dream come true." One of her thrills was performing at Lincoln Center with the company.

Guggenheim Fellow Kate Weare (Dance BFA 94) recently completed the Evelyn Sharp Choreographic Residency at CalArts. In June, she and members of her company also conducted a series of dance workshops at BAM Fisher, Mark Morris Dance Center, New York City Center and Gibney Dance Center in New York.

Choreographer, dancer and Feldenkrais practitioner Teri Jeanette Weikel (Dance 78), based in Modena, Italy, is part of a cultural organization called "Artisti Drama" that promotes research projects in theater and dance, production of performances and presentations and educational activity directed to children, the disabled, amateurs and professionals.

Stephanie Zaletel (Dance BFA 12) is currently setting work as part of the Hammer Museum's Made in L.A. exhibition in collaboration with James Kidd and the Pieter Council. Open rehearsals are on July 29, August 12 and August 19 with a performance on August 26 from 1-5 pm.

Spring 2014

A member of Ate9 dance company since June, 2012, Ariana Daub (Dance BFA 12) danced one of the lead roles in mouth to mouth, a new production by the company that was presented at Los Angeles Theatre Center on April 26. It will be presented again on May 3 at 8:30 pm with live music provided by Wild UP, the ensemble that features many CalArtians, with music composed by Jodie Landau (Music BFA 14).

VISIONS Contemporary Ballet, founded by Ranardo-Domeico Grays (Dance BFA 95) will perform for the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center in a dance concert at 160 Schermerhorn St. in Brooklyn on May 1 at 7:30 pm. On May 3, the company will perform in Boogie Down Dance Series 2014 at 8 pm at Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.

Maria Hassabi (Dance BFA 94) is touring her piece, PREMIERE throughout Europe, with performances in Bologna, Brussels, Goteborg, Sweden and Nottingham, UK.

Alonzo King (Acting 72) and his LINES Ballet will premiere a new work at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco from May 21-25. The Spring Season will also feature sections from his body of work, including The Radius of Convergence, Klang and Koto.

Choreographer Cherise Richards (Dance MFA 12) and her company, Riptide Dance, will present Turn the Tide at The Electric Lodge in Venice on May 23 at 8 pm.

Brooklyn-based choreographer Kate Weare (Dance BFA 94), the artistic director of Kate Weare Company, has been named a 2014 Guggenheim fellow for choreography. She will be conducting a two-week creative residency at CalArts May 20-30.

Winter 2013/14

VISIONS Contemporary Ballet, founded by its artistic director, Ranardo-Domeico Grays (Dance BFA 95), will perform in the Under Exposed dance series on April 1 at 7:30 pm at Dixon Place, 161A Chrystie Street in New York.

Tarren Johnson (Dance BFA 13), Natalia Sookias (Film & Video BFA 12) and Finnish artist Simo Vassinen premiered a physical theater piece called Birthing Self in Berlin in February. 

Natalie Metzger (Dance MFA 11) recently started production on a feature documentary titled Special Blood, an intimate portrayal of five patients struggling with a rare disease known as hereditary Angioedema. Failed by a healthcare system that is largely ignorant of their existence, they learn to find strength in each other and their small, but strong community. Metzger will travel the country with her team, interviewing patients, physicians and advocates. She also recently directed a commercial for the Verdi Chorus that aired on CityTV Santa Monica. 

Jordon Waters (Dance BFA 13) is in Ashland, Oregon for the 2014 season of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He's playing one of Ariel's dancers in The Tempest, directed by Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Repertory Theatre. 

Fall 2013

L.A.-based dance company BODYTRAFFIC, featuring dancers Melissa Bourkas (Dance BFA 09) and Andrew Wojtal (Dance BFA 11) is performing at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica on October 11 and 12. Separately, Wojtal performed Shen Wei's version of The Rite of Spring at the Israeli Opera House in Tel Aviv at the end of September. In the fall, he will create a new piece with Hofesh Shechter and BODYTRAFFIC. In December, he will begin working for the Metropolitan Opera in New York for its production of Prince Igor.

Amanda Castro (Dance BFA 13) is currently apprenticing with the acclaimed dance company Urban Bush Women in Brooklyn. She was also invited to teach and guest judge at the American Dance Awards in Sun City, South Africa.

Daniel Charon (Dance MFA 13) is the new artistic director of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City. It is launching its 50th anniversary season. The company will be performing at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center at Cal State Long Beach on October 12 at 8 pm. It will perform Charon's Everything that Changes, among other work.

Jessica Gaynor (Dance MFA 02) and her company, Jessica Gaynor Dance, premiered a new work called What's Next at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn in November. Kristi Tornga (Dance BFA 10) performed in the piece.

In November, the Kitchen produced choreographer Maria Hassabi's (Dance BFA 94) Premiere, part of Performa 13 in New York. Hassabi also performed in the work. The piece was reviewed in The New York Times.

Alonzo King's (Acting 72) LINES Ballet was recently featured in the Santa Barbara Independent, previewing the company's upcoming performance at the Granada Theatre on October 2. 

Dana Lawton (Dance BFA 94), founder of Dana Lawton Dances, and her company of eight dancers present Beyond This Moment, a modern dance performance with original live music exploring the idea of memories, weaving through a lifetime of beauty, reflection, challenges and joy. Performances run October 3-5 at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley. Lawton was recently profiled in Inside Bay Area, which revealed that her modern dance career began at CalArts because a fencing class that she had tried to take was full.

The New York Times reviewed the New York premiere of Dark Lark, choreographed by Kate Weare (Dance BFA 94) and performed by her company at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in November.

Teri Jeanette Weikel (Dance 78) will be teaching at the Duncan Centre Conservatory in Prague from December 2013 through January 2014.

Summer 2013

Dancer and choreographer Julia Rae Antonick (Dance BFA 03) will present a new dance work titled cresset: vibrant, rusting at Paul Revere Park in Chicago on November 22 and 30 and on Dec. 6, 13, and 14.

Amanda Hart (Dance BFA 05) and Sandra Rasor (Dance BFA 05) produced the Seventh Annual MixMatch Dance Festival from August 22-25 at Santa Monica's Miles Memorial Playhouse. More than 70 dances in eight styles, including hip hop, ballet, and belly dancing, were performed by companies around the U.S.

Mersiha Mesihovic (Dance BFA 12), the founder and artistic director of CircuitDebris, was featured in a Q&A with Tamara Johnson in The World Dances. In the fall, CircuitDebris will perform a new piece, Dissonance, as part of NYC10, an initiative of NYC Dance Week.

Spring 2013

Bessie-award-winning choreographer luciana achugar (Dance BFA 95) has been named a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow along with fellow CalArtian David McDonald (Art MFA 92) and art faculty member Charles Gaines. They were awarded the prestigious honor on April 11, among 175 scholars, artists, and scientists to receive the award from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, in its 89th competition. Achugar was recently in Los Angeles, presenting Puro Deseo at Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. Conceived and directed by achugar and created and performed by achugar and her long-time collaborator, Michael Mahalchick (Art MFA 95), achugar draws inspiration from paranormal phenomena, the occult, and representations of monstrosity in Gothic film and literature. A new work by achugar called OTRO TEATRO has been co-commissioned by New York Live Arts and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and will premiere next February at the Walker.

Linda Cevallos-French (Dance BFA 89), co-producer/co-director of Pushing Motherhood, launched a Kickstarter campaign for the film on April 24, during National Infertility Awareness Week. Pushing Motherhood follows Cevallos-French and her best friend Sybil as they both navigate the road to becoming mothers later in their reproductive lives. They explore the reasons why they and so many women around them waited so long and discover both the costs and benefits of deferring motherhood into what medical professionals call "advance maternal age." For more information, go to www.facebook.com/pushingmotherhood.

Ranardo-Domeico Grays' (Dance BFA 95) VISIONS Contemporary Ballet performed on May 11 as part of the Boogie Down Dance Series at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.

Choreographer Nancy Karp (Dance BFA 73) collaborated with Bay Area artists Cheryl Calleri and Thekla Hammond in a new work titled, Continua in Light, Three Acts, which premiered May 4 at the Storage San Francisco Building. Presented by the San Francisco Performance Art Institute, the show included music, dance, and a video installation. Karp has created more than 70 dance works for her San Francisco-based company, Nancy Karp + Dancers, which she founded in 1980 and which has toured throughout the world.

Several CalArtians performed in Stephan Koplowitz: Red Line Time, a site-specific performance inside the L.A. metro system, conceived and created by award-winning director/choreographer Stephan Koplowitz, the dean of CalArts Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance. Leslie Curtis (Dance BFA 11), Kerrie Schroeder (Dance BFA 11), and Alexandria Yalj (Dance MFA 07) performed with other dancers in all 14 stations of the Red Line, running from Union Station to North Hollywood over nearly four hours. Anne C. Moore (Dance MFA 12) was rehearsal director and costume designer. Performances occurred on April 5 and April 6. The project was produced by the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles.

Lindsey Lollie (Dance BFA 12) and Arianne MacBean (Dance MFA 99) choreographed separate new work for L.A. Contemporary Dance Company's Spring Repertory Concert in April. The concerts took place at Diavolo Dance Space at the Brewery Arts Complex in downtown Los Angeles.

Nicole Mathis-Berman (Dance BFA 00) has been awarded a National Artist Teacher Fellowship by the Center for Arts in Education at Boston Arts Academy. Mathis-Berman, a dance teacher at the Art Theater Entertainment School (ArTES) in San Fernando, California, is one of 20 awardees nationwide, and will receive a $5,500 fellowship, while her school will be awarded a $1,500 grant to support her teaching activities.

Working for the non-profit Ford Theatre Foundation, Ilaan Mazzini (Dance BFA 89) has been named the Community Initiatives Program Manager for the Ford Theatre under the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. The community programs include the Big!World!Fun! family series, the interactive music and dance JAM Sessions on site, and the off site Community JAM Sessions. Writes Mazzini: "Presenting performances and cultural programming has been my focus for the last two decades. My early dance work just out of CalArts was supported by the then new Department of Cultural Affairs, bringing the work "Dance on the Level" to school gymnasiums and performance venues where audience and performers share the same floor space. My most recent project, Family Dance Jam, brings interactive creative movement workshops for the whole family to public spaces much like the JAM sessions I am now responsible for at the Ford."

As part of the NYC10 dance initiative, CircuitDebris, the dance company founded by Mersiha Mesihovic (Dance BFA 12), presented I am at Dixon Place in New York on February 20. The piece was performed and choreographed by Mesihovic, and was reviewed in Fit Engine.

Choreographer and filmmaker Natalie Metzger (Dance-Integrated Media MFA 11) is completing post-production on the film adaptation of her award-winning dance/theater work, Sacrament, originally started as her MFA thesis project. Sacrament, which features Erica Carpenter (BFA 12), is about a woman dragged into a cult ritual surrounding the creation and destruction of a god. Most of the 17 dancers in the film are CalArts alumni or current students. In March, Metzger's film, Barely, screened at the Loikka Dance Film Festival in Helsinki, Finland. Barely was created in collaboration with CalArts faculty member Colin Connor and CalArts alumni Robert Allaire (Music MFA 09) and Melissa Bourkas (Dance BFA 09). Metzger is collaborating with Connor again this summer in a film adaptation of his 2009 critically-acclaimed dance work, ARENA. Metzger will be directing the film and Connor will be choreographing it.

In an article on the evolution of dance and technology, dance critic Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post focuses on Troika Ranch, the Portland-based performance group founded by choreographer/media artist Dawn Stoppiello (Dance BFA 89) and composer Mark Coniglio (Music BFA 89). The company is working on a major new project and will have a development residency in Portland this summer, with an open house/informal showing at the conclusion.

Kate Weare (BFA 94), the artistic director of the Kate Weare Company, was featured in a recent article in the Boston Globe. The dance company, based in New York and founded by Weare in 2005, is planning its Boston debut at the Institute of Contemporary Art for the winter of 2014.

Winter 2012/2013

Carina Couture (BFA 2011) performed a new piece by Imani Hopkins (BFA 08) with Hopkins' dance company Tahira: The Pure Dance Theater at Aspen Aerials in San Francisco on March 2 as part of National Choreography Month's first season in the Bay Area. Couture will also be performing on Friday March 15 with Binki Danz Company, performing a work by Bianca Mendoza (BFA 12), artistic director of the company, at a benefit concert with Push Dance Company at Terra Gallery in San Francisco. Besides performing with both Binki Danz and Tahira: The Pure Dance Theater, Couture manages the companies as well.

Ariana Daub (BFA 12) and Stephanie Zaletel (BFA 12) performed in  TacTics, a “DancEducation” piece by Danielle Agami, former rehearsal director for the BatSheva Dance Company. They performed as part of Ate9 dANCEcOMPANY March 2 and 3 at Mimoda Studio in Los Angeles.

Fall 2012

This year's Commuter Dance Fest will be a special Alumni Edition held on October 4th and 5th.

Jessica Gaynor (Dance MFA 02) Dance Presents World Premiere of HERO at Triskelion Arts November 15-18, 2012. 

VISIONS Contemporary Ballet performed Graciousness (2012) by its Founder/Artistic Director, Ranardo-Domeico Grays (Dance BFA 95), in the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer-Central Park-Performance on October 21 at the Bandshel in Central Park.

Amanda Hart (Dance BFA 05) opened her 6th Annual MixMatch Dance Festival in August.

Dana Lawton (Dance BFA 94) was awarded tenure at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, CA in their Performing Arts Department.

Cindy Pepper (Dance BFA 84) assisted in casting HBO's The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia.

Summer 2012

Francesca Penzani (Dance MFA 99) choreographed a piece, "Transit"  featuring Christopher Anderson (Dance BFA 02), Erica Marosi (Dance BFA 09), Travis Reinfried (Dance BFA 06), Hanna Rutherford (Dance BFA 08), Zari Wigfall (Dance BFA 03) being presented at the Tom Bradley Terminal at LAX. The event is open to the public and will take place in the TBIT Arrivals Lobby underneath the Video Filmstrip.

Jaclyn Undaloff (Dance '75) see Webster Terhune (BFA Art '77)

Winter 2011/12

Nicholas Bruder (Dance BFA '09) received the Falstaff Award's Best Principle Performance Male for his performance in Sleep No More.

Jessica Emmanuel (Dance '02) will be performing in Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre's upcoming production, Cleopatra, CEO premiering in February.

Cyn Mendez- See Regan Remy in Music.

Deborah Oliver (BFA Dance '79 & MFA Dance '81) is curating an event for the College Art Association's 100th Centennial Conference in Los Angeles.

Cynthia Pepper (BFA Dance '84) and her company Xanadu assisted in casting the film The D Word Understanding Dyslexia. She also choreographed Mavie Marcos' new music video Much To Much.

Spring 2011

Nicholas Bruder (Dance BFA 09) in Sleep No More, a site-specific, immersive theater production, opened in New York City. Developed by the British theater company Punchdrunk.

Deborah Parsons Oliver (BFA Dance '79) - See Juan Garza Film/Video.

Last December, Karen Quick (Dance '90) and Jennifer Vaughn launched Los Angeles Live Arts, a new dance rehearsal and performance space in Eagle Rock.

Last edited by mrogers on Dec 15, 2014
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