2015 Artists

Aerial Dance Chicago (Chicago, IL) is a contemporary dance company in flight, founded in 1999 and guided by the original creative vision of Chloe Jensen. One of the world’s first dance companies dedicated to exploration of airborne choreography, ADC is a pioneer and a leader in the international dance community. The company's work has been presented across the United States at theaters, museums, schools, universities and festivals, including favorite hometown venues such as Navy Pier and Millennium Park. In 2014, ADC opened Chicago’s premiere dance center dedicated to the fine art of aerial dance. As ADC moves forward, creating, performing and teaching, company artists continue to redefine human movement potential and transcend the assumed limits of dance. Learn more at www.aerialdancechicago.org

Andee Scott (Tampa, FL) is an interdisciplinary dance artist investigating the intersections between light, projection design, and the body in motion. Her work has been produced nationally and internationally, most recently in Guadalajara, Mexico in collaboration with Proyecto al Margen. She curated and performed an award-winning solo performance project, touring the work in the US, Mexico, and in Italy, as a member of the Deja Donne Company. She was a member of Sharir+Bustamante Danceworks and Blue Lapis Light in Austin, TX, and performed with David Dorfman Dance and AlienNationCo. She is currently on faculty at the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

CERQUA RIVERA DANCE THEATRE (CRDT) explores and celebrates contemporary American life through the fusion of contemporary dance, live music and visual art. In performance the company’s critically-acclaimed, award-winning Music and Dance Ensembles bring to life original multi-sensory work that stays with audiences long after the curtain falls.

“Performances boast the theatricality of a Broadway review, the slyness of late night cabaret and the exuberance of a jam session” - Barbara Vitello, The Daily Herald

For more information, including video, photos, audio clips of original music, schedule of upcoming performances, and links to social media, visit www.cerquarivera.org.

Columbus Moving Company (Columbus, OH) was founded in 2011 by the four remaining dancers of Kristina Isabelle Dance -- Maggie Abrams, Eric Falck, Jeff Fouch, & Gabby Stefura --when Isabelle relocated to Chicago, IL, that year. In 2013, Fouch assumed the role of Artistic Director and, with the inclusion of Short North Stage Associate Producer Noah Rogers, established CMCo as the resident modern dance theater company at the historic Garden Theater in the Short North Arts District. Christeen Stridsberg & Amanda Platt were soon recruited to round out the principal company.

In September 2013, Columbus Moving Company produced our first full-length, main stage concert, “In House”, with collaborator and local musician Counterfeit Madison. That same year, Fouch's evening length work "Living Rooms" was selected and excerpted for both the Ohio Dance & Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festivals, and, in 2014, Fouch & Falck collaborated on the duet "1962", which was awarded the Columbus Dances Fellowship, through GCAC’s partnership with Columbus Dance Theatre. CMCo presented three other main stage concerts at the Garden Theater in 2014: “Off the Wall” (May 2014), a collaboration inspired by art work from the private gallery collection of Ron & Ann Pizzuti of Pizzuti Collection; “An Object In Motion” (July 2014), a retrospective showcase of repertory work; and “Plays” (September 2014), a concert of three adaptations of local playwrights’ works that had never before been set for the stage.

With the amazing support of many family members, friends, and loyal audience members, CMCo was crowd-funded through our highly promoted Kickstarter campaign in March 2015, allowing us to increase the technical aspects and compensation for the artists of our two, subsequent productions. During our fundraising efforts, we were acknowledged and featured on WOSU’s local arts program, “Broad & High”, which highlighted for viewers across the state of Ohio our unique collaboration with Zoot Theatre Company and positioned CMCo as a credible, professional dance company representing the Columbus arts community.

In March 2015, “Puppets” was our latest main stage show, teaming up with the Dayton-based puppet theater group Zoot Theatre Company in an immersive evening of puppetry and dance. Pairing the steam-punk inspired artistic direction of Tristan Cupp's hand-crafted puppets with the wickedly witty antics of our energetic dance creations, PUPPETS combined live storytelling elements, such as shadow play and real-time projections, to frame the delicate intricacies both of the puppetry and the dance, allowing the audience to discover the unexpected connections between these two, very different mediums.

To finish out our second full artistic season as residents at the Garden Theater, we will present “Glass” in June 2015, through the marriage of an original, composed ballet by MaD Arts Group’s Kevin Estes, set to instruments made from glass. The monumental glass instrumentation will set the stage, framing the dancers and musicians as we team up to present a touching and dynamic tale of the fragility of life and the will to do more than simply survive.

CMCo is a laboratory for local performance artists. We bring a collaborative spirit to the Columbus arts community through our proud commitment to the innovation of the performing arts. Our whimsical repertory works pair movement improvisation with inventive structured choreography, and we feature professional and budding artists who create new dance in the emerging collaborative Columbus arts community.

Diane McNeal Hunt / ELEVATE DanceWorks (Tempe, AZ) Innovative, creative, collaborative, technically strong and expressive contemporary dance! ELEVATE DanceWorks is dedicated to upholding the top level of artistry.
Diane McNeal Hunt, (Founding Artistic Director / Choreographer), presents an eclectic palette of choreography, showcasing her dancers who deftly express the concept and intent behind her work. Ms. Hunt coaches her dancers to find an authentic and honest way of integrating movement in their bodies, resulting in an articulate, dynamic and captivating performance. Choreographic inspiration for Ms. Hunt comes through creating with her powerful core of dancers who share a common passion and vision. ELEVATE’s repertoire includes mesmerizing choreography by Ms. Hunt that features original masks by acclaimed artist, Zarco Guerrero. Hunt and Guerrero have enjoyed vital collaborations for over 30 years. Annually, ELEVATE celebrates Arizona's rich Latino culture, with performances in the Dia de los Muertos Festivals and the El Puente Festival. Ms. Hunt is honored to have her works selected to showcase nationally at: Harvest Chicago Contemporary Dance Festival, ODC/San Francisco, MixMatch Dance Festival (L.A./Santa Monica), danceXchange (Temecula, CA), Dance in the Desert Festival (Las Vegas), BETA Dance Festival (Phoenix). As Resident Choreographer/Outreach Education Director for Center Dance Ensemble, Ms. Hunt’s choreography is featured at the The Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix. Her works are commissioned by other Arizona companies and college programs. At the heart of Ms. Hunt’s work exists a career-long devotion to arts education.

Elements Contemporary Ballet (Chicago, IL) is the first and only contemporary ballet company based in Chicago. Combining the beauty of classical technique with contemporary style and verve, Elements Contemporary Ballet advances and explores ballet through the marriage of innovative concepts and classical art. Founded in 2005 by Artistic Director Mike Gosney, the company trains and develops its work using the four elements; fire, earth, air, and water; to each represent a major facet of dance; expression, physicality, focus, and freedom. Elements now produces annual concerts in downtown Chicago, performs in local showcases and dance festivals, presents free lecture demonstrations to the public, and provides community outreach through Chicago's Urban Gateways program. www.elementscontemporaryballet.com

Giordano II (Chicago, IL) is a company dedicated to the elevation of young professional dancers and is under the artistic leadership of Nan Giordano and directed by Joshua Blake Carter. The dancers of GII are provided the unique opportunity to work side-by-side with the Giordano Dance Chicago dancers to learn the vast and diverse main company repertoire, in addition to works created specifically for them. GII then performs at venues throughout the Midwest, allowing the dancers to gain the on-stage experience necessary for a career in concert dance. As a stepping-stone to the professional dance world, Giordano II allows dancers to broaden and explore their technical and artistic range. Currently, nine of the ten main company members are former members of Giordano II.

Hub Dance Collective (Hattiesburg, MS) is a new contemporary dance company based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. The idea for HDC grew from faculty members at University of Southern Mississippi’s Dance Department who wanted to continue choreographing and performing professionally, in addition to their work with the student body. Recognizing there was an “arts gap” that a professional modern dance company could fill in Hattiesburg, HDC began presenting work as an ensemble in Fall, 2012. Founding HDC company members are: Meredith Early, Kelly Ferris Lester, Elizabeth Lentz-Hill, Rebecca McArthur, and Stacy Reischman Fletcher.

While HDC as an ensemble is new, its members have extensive experience choreographing, performing, teaching, and running dance companies and festivals. Independently, our choreography has been presented in New York City, Chicago, New Orleans, New Zealand, Wales, South Africa and the Piccolo Spoleto Festival. HDC members have performed in Mexico, Brazil, France, and across the United States. We now find ourselves in Southern Mississippi, a region known for its blues and literature, but not its modern dance. Hub Dance Collective was formed to change this.

HDC focuses on the collaborative nature of modern dance. We value the inspiration, challenges, and creativity that arise in a collaborative process, recognizing that in such collaboration each of our individual artistry is fed. Having trained nationally, we now bring a broad perspective on dance to our work and strive to create highest quality modern dances. By performing our work in Southern Mississippi we grow our local audiences for dance; by touring we increase recognition of the burgeoning modern dance scene in our region.

Since its formation, HDC has been presented in the Barefoot Dance Brigade Festival (Dallas, TX), Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival (Kalamazoo, MI), Alabama Dance Festival (Birmingham, AL), FestivalSouth (Hattiesburg, MS), the Mississippi Dance Festival (Hattiesburg, MS), and performed locally at the University of Southern Mississippi, Oddfellows Gallery, and the Hattiesburg Cultural Center.

HDC’s goals are:
-to provide professional choreographic and performance opportunities for contemporary dance artists in Southern Mississippi;
-to explore the collaborative nature of modern dance, both in artistic output and administrative structure;
-to present exceptional modern dance performances to the arts-hungry audiences in our region;
-to tour our performances to build regional and national appreciation for dance from Southern Mississippi.

Rebecca Sleger McArthur received her BFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi and her MFA in Performance and Choreography from the State University of New York, College at Brockport. McArthur is certified in the Laban-Bartenieff Based Bill Evans Method of Dance Technique and is a member of the American Dance Guild and National Dance Education Organization. McArthur served as a board member for the New York State Dance Education Association (2010 – 2012). She was an adjunct instructor at The College at Brockport in the summer of 2012 and currently is an Instructor at University of Southern Mississippi, teaching ballet and modern technique, as well as dance appreciation.

Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Jacksonville Dance Theatre is a contemporary dance and performance company dedicated to creating and promoting excellence in the field of professional dance on local, national, and international stages. JDT believes in acknowledging, respecting, and inspiring members' efforts to reach personal and artistic goals in an environment that fosters artistic inquiry, project based research, creative process, and collaboration.

James Morrow (Salem, MA) A native of Chicago, IL. James Morrow is the founder and artistic director of james morrow/ The Movement. Coming from an urban background, Morrow yearns to see the classical vocabulary prevalent in concert dance integrated into the hip-hop culture with which he is submerged. His movement has become a fusion of modern, contemporary, and urban dance styles. His choreography can be seen on companies throughout the U.S. and internationally, working in Utrecht, Vienna, Mumbai, Krasnoyarsk, and New Brighton.

Morrow was on Faculty at the American Dance Festival (summer 2010). He received a fellowship to Hollins University/The American Dance Festival (2011) where he earned his MFA in dance. He has been recipient of the Artist Ambassador Award to Northeastern Illinois University (2001), The Mordine and Co. Mentoring Project (2006), Chicago Cultural Dance Center’s Dance Bridge (2008), Movement Research at Judson Church (2012), SOLO Commissioned Choreographer for Minnesota's McKnight Dance Fellow (Stephen Schroeder 2012), Bates Teacher Fellowship (2013), the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellow in Choreography (2014), and The Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Foundation Achievement Award (2015).

As a dancer/ performer, Morrow has worked with Chicago based companies: The Joel Hall Dancers, Deeply Rooted Productions, Ascension/The Kirby Reed Project, Ken Von Heidecke’s Festival Ballet, Larry Long’s Civic Ballet, Culture Shock Chicago, Concert Dance, Inc., Mordine and Co., Hedwig Dances, The Tyego Dance Project, Impetus Dance Chicago, MOMENTA, and Nick Cave's (Soundsuits) of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Other performance credits include working with New York’s: Helen Pickett, nicholasleichterdance, Gina Kohler/ Dream Factories, Danielle Russo Dance Company, Tami Stronach Dance, Tessa Chandler, Margaret Morrison, Wendell Cooper, Yozmit, DeeLite, DJ Kotchy, Bahama’s: The Baha Men, Minnesota’s: Sesame Street Live, Toronto’s:Gerry Trentham/ Pounds Per Square Inch Theatre, Michigan’s: Kalamazoo Ballet, Berlin's : Tino Sehgal, North Carolina’s: Tommy DeFrantz/ Slippage, Ellen Hemphill/ Archipelago Theater, Jim Havercamp, Alex Maness, Florida’s: Jacksonville Dance Theater, Rachael McClellan Leonard, Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, Elevated Aerial Dance, and Massachusetts's: Jen Pollins, Paul Matteson, Peter Dimuro, Caitlin Corbett, Meghan McLyman, Across The Ages Dance Project..

As an educator, Morrow has been a guest lecturer/ adjunct professor at Jacksonville University and Amherst College. He has worked as dance faculty at Northeastern Illinois University, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Episcopal School of Jacksonville, Hartford Academy for the Arts, and Pioneer Valley Performing Arts. He is currently living in Salem, MA and working as an assistant professor of dance at Salem State University.


Jay-Son Tisa Dance Company (Chicago, IL)was founded by Derek Jayson Rusch. The company’s name came from the middle name of the founder. The name originated from his orphaned period during the Vietnam War in 1974. Van Ngoc Son was the name given to him by a nun that cared for the orphans at the New Haven Nursery in Vietnam. During that time, the U.S. Government launched a program called U.S. Operation Babylift. Jayson was part of the program and was brought to the US in 1975 to be adopted by his loving family in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Derek Jay-Son formed the company in Washington, DC in 2000 and received great response from the Washington Post and DC community. The company became his “diary” of trials and tribulations of his unique life.

In 2002, Mary Tisa and Derek Jay-Son merged their artistic backgrounds to form Jay-Son Tisa Dance Company. Both artists are Asian American and adopted focusing on their actual conflicts of growing up in America with their choreography.

Jessica Miller Tomlinson (JMT) Choreography (Chicago, IL) Jessica has choreographed professionally for the Chautauqua Ballet, NC School of the Arts, DanceWorks Chicago, Chicago Repertory Ballet, The Inconvenience Performance Group, Idaho Dance Theatre, Forum Dance Theatre, Nomi Dance Company, Dance in the Parks, Visceral Dance Chicago and Thodos Dance Chicago. In June 2009, Jessica was awarded the Grand Prize from the Joyce Theater Foundation's The A.W.A.R.D. Show. Her work has been presented at the prestigious Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, The Joyce SoHo, The Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, and The EICC in Edinburgh, Scotland as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Booking Dance Festival.

Keith Johnson/Dancers (Long Beach, CA) was established in 1998 in Long Beach, California. The company has toured California, Utah, Seattle, Singapore, North Carolina, Arizona, and New York. Keith Johnson /Dancers have been presented at The University of Utah, WestFest Festival, Breaking Ground Festival, HHII Festival, The Diavolo Space, Scottsdale Community College, California State University, Long Beach, California Institute of the Arts and The Center Stage Theatre. The company has received two Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Choreography and Small Group Ensemble.

Keith Johnson danced with Ririe/Woodbury Dance Company, Creach/ Koester, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, and Doug Varone and Dancers. In addition he has performed with Victoria Marks, Bill Young/Colleen Thomas and Dancers, and Nancy Bannon. He is the Artistic Director of Keith Johnson/Dancers, Co-Director of Fistbomb Films, a Professor at California State University, Long Beach, and a 2015 Djerassi Artist in Residence Award. He was named the Distinguished Alumnus From the Department of Dance in 2012/13 at The University of Utah. This summer he will be on Faculty at ADF.

Mordine & Company Dance Theater (Chicago, IL) celebrates its 46th season beginning in the spring of 2015. Under the direction of Shirley Mordine, the Company has produced works whose coalition of choreography and theatre has won critical acclaim. Praised for original choreography combining wit and sheer movement with technical sophistication, the Co.'s work has been described as "a two-edged sword of comedy and drama" and "adventurous, audacious, gutsy, and energetic." Over the years, Mordine & Company has had the honor to work with a number of illustrious collaborators from diverse artistic disciplines, including choreographers Miguel Mancillas and Ishmael Houston-Jones; composers Tatsu Aoki, Henry Threadgill, Shawn Decker, Richard Woodbury, and David Pavkovic; visual designers John Boesche and Ken Bowen; puppeteer Michael Montenegro; and video artist Miroslaw Rogala. This collaborative spirit is part of an ongoing effort by Mordine & Co. to infuse the field of dance with new modes of performance and expression. The Company has performed throughout the United States as well as internationally at numerous festivals and has toured to Australia, Israel, Mexico, and Yugoslavia. Most recently, the Company premiered Cast By the Sun: Light Play in 3 Parts at Links Hall in Chicago.

Philip Elson Dance (Chicago, IL) is the creative identity that represents the choreographic and directed work of Philip Elson. His choreographic and directed work derives from a desire to explore the effects of life's experiences through their physical impacts. These experiences range from social, political, environmental, and personal matters. Currently, Elson is in his sixth season as a perform with Chicago-based contemporary dance company The Seldoms, with whom he also serves as Technology and Media Coordinator, and his second season as a performer with Same Planet Different World Dance Theater. Elson earned a BFA from Columbia College Chicago.

Acts of Matter (Long Beach, CA) Founded in 2014, Acts of Matter is a project-based performance group with a mission of revealing and reveling in our greater humanity through investment in process and collaboration. The work of the company is grounded in an unfettered willingness to attempt something while accepting the possibility of its failure. This physical exertion—this act of trying—is the core of humanity in the work. As a choreographer, Artistic Director Rebecca Lemme is inspired by the ability of movement to move people—to stir in them something innately human: the need to find connection. Acts of Matter hinges on the belief that as a society we are defined by what unites us—by what makes us similar, not what makes us different. Drawn from immensely personal inspiration, the work creates a window in which others can see their own experience reflected. Her work suggests that at the core of every private struggle or individual joy is something universal.

Rebecca Lemme, Artistic Director of Acts of Matter, is a choreographer, performer, educator, and visual artist. Her choreographic work has been commissioned for numerous universities and professional companies, and she teaches extensively in contemporary, ballet, jazz, improvisation, and composition. Currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at CSULB, she has also been on faculty at CalArts, Columbia College, Roosevelt, Hubbard Street, Visceral, and Joffrey. She has toured nationally with Luna Negra Dance Theater, River North Dance Chicago, and Hedwig Dances. Lemme holds a BA from Princeton University in English and Theater and an MFA from CalArts in Choreography.

RE|Dance Group (Chicago, IL) Michael Estanich and Lucy Riner established RE|dance group in 2009, after ten years of performing, producing and collaborating on various dance projects in Chicago together. As former members of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, we cultivated our choreographic ideas and many years later, decided to form RE|dance group as a means to further develop our inimitable, creative dance-theatre approach. Central to the success of the company has been the trust and collaborative spirit between us—as we each spearhead different aspects of the company’s organization. Michael evokes and directs much of the artistic voice of our work, while I manage the day-to-day, business, and strategic planning components (and have the pleasure of performing and informing the work we do). Originally designed as a duet partnership for us to take advantage of and further develop our long established and admired performance energy together, RE|dance group quickly grew into a company of ten dancers committed to creating enthralling, complex, and personal dance-theatre. The company annually produces a Chicago season while our national touring schedule continues to add new cities each year. In August of 2016, RE|dance group participated in our first international tour to Seoul, South Korea. The company is currently working on a collaboration with Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble on a multi-disciplinary worked entitled "Ethereal Abandonment" premiering in May of 2017. This Fall, we will also start developing the production of our 10th annual season for Winter/Spring of 2018. As 2017 unfolds, RE|dance group continues casting our net out to audiences in different parts of the country and world.

Scott Bodily and Nicole L. Olson (Phoenix, AZ) Scott Bodily has a diverse background as a professional dancer, singer and performer. He received a vocal scholarship to Utah State University and studied Opera, Musical Theater and received Modern and Classical Ballet training as well as a BS in Psychology. He has a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Dance from Sam Houston State University. He has since performed several leading roles with his singing (Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, the International Broadway tour of Saturday Night Fever), including Opera Companies (Houston Grand Opera, Omaha Opera and Utah Festival Opera) and has danced many leading roles in professional Ballet and Modern Dance Companies (including Dayton Ballet, Indianapolis Ballet Theater and Dance Kaleidoscope). Scott has been a featured soloist for Center Dance Ensemble the Resident Modern Dance Company of the Herberger Theater in Phoenix for three years. He choreographs and teaches company class for CDE, teaches at Mesa Community College and Scottsdale Community College. He is a company member of Elevate DanceWorks and is the Assistant Artistic Director for Arizona Youth Ballet.

After attending Milwaukee Ballet School and graduating with a BFA in Dance from Univ. of WI - Stevens Point, Nicole continued performing for Bauer Contemporary Ballet (Milwaukee) and Emergence Dance Theatre (Chicago). Ms. Olson has performed in Arizona with the Phoenix Opera, Dulce Dance, Center Dance Ensemble, and Nearly Naked Theatre. Currently, she is the Associate Director/Principal Dancer of Scorpius Dance Theatre, where she performs nationally and internationally. Nicole has presented her choreography in such venues as the Kennedy Center (DC), Summerlin Theatre (Las Vegas), TBA/Ten Tiny Dances (Portland, OR), Sling Dance Project (Austin), MixMatch Festival (LA), and Herberger Theatre (Phoenix). Along with her choreography and performance work nationally, she is Director of Dance at Metropolitan Arts Institute.

Weslie Ching received her BFA from UC Santa Barbara in 2002. From 2002 to 2014, she performed with a variety of artists throughout Southern California including Benita Bike, Art Bark International, Nebula Dance Lab, and Robin Bisio. Weslie has been on the faculty of the Academy for the Performing Arts Magnet High School and the Regina Klenjoski Dance Company Community Program and has taught master classes at Cal State University, Long Beach and UC Santa Barbara. In 2014, after a ten-year hiatus from creating her own work, Weslie returned to the studio to explore her voice as a choreographer.