DanceMasters Weekend is one of the most anticipated dance events in the Northeast, an opportunity like no other for a two-day total dance immersion, combining inspiring performances by premier companies with master classes by expert instructors.

Showcase Performers

 

SHOWCASE PERFORMANCE

Dance Theatre of Harlem
Souleymane Badolo
Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company

Saturday, March 8, 8pm, CFA Theater
271 Washington Terrace, Middletown
Tickets: $28 general public; $24 senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni and non-Wesleyan students; $8 Wesleyan students

This year’s 15th anniversary DanceMasters Showcase Performance will feature dancers and choreography from three outstanding artists, ranging from classical ballet to modern and West African dance. The first permanent black ballet company in America, Dance Theatre of Harlem was co-founded in 1969 by the New York City Ballet’s first African-American principal dancer Arthur Mitchell, and his colleague and acclaimed ballet instructor Karel Shook. The first American ballet company to perform in Russia, Dance Theatre of Harlem has toured to 40 countries on 6 continents. Since 2010, the company has been led by Artistic Director Virginia Johnson, a founding member of the company and former principal dancer. At DanceMasters Weekend, the company will perform New Bach (1999), a witty confection of urban post-modern neoclassicism choreographed by Robert Garland and set to music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Born in Burkina Faso, choreographer and performer Souleymane Badolo is the 2014 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award recipient. His heritage is a driving force in his work, having founded his own company, Kongo Ba Téria, in 1993. Since moving to New York in 2009, in addition to his own work, he has performed work created for him by Reggie Wilson, and was featured in the New England premiere of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and Nora Chipaumire’s visible on the Breaking Ground Dance Series in the CFA Theater in October 2012. In 2013, Mr. Badolo was also featured in the CFA’s summer series as the Danspace/Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance Creative Residency Artist. Founded in 1985 and based in Brooklyn, Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, A Dance Company focuses on the integration of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word providing a unique view of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. The New York Times describes Mr. Brown’s works as “searingly relevant and shockingly beautiful.” Mr. Brown has set works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, and Philadanco, among others, and was the choreographer of the award-winning Broadway revival of Porgy and Bess. Mr. Brown has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Bessie Award, and a Black Theater Alliance Award. The company will perform Mr. Brown’s Come Ye (2003), which is set to music by Nina Simone and Fela Kuti.

MASTER CLASSES

Classes are designed for students with intermediate to advanced dance experience. Master Class teachers will incorporate technique and movement combinations from their repertoire.

Saturday, March 8

 

11am–12:30pm  
Michelle Dorrance, Tap
Bessie Schönberg Studio
Virginia Johnson, Dance Theatre of Harlem Cross Street Dance Studio
1pm–2:30pm  
Ronald K. Brown, Evidence, A Dance Company Bessie Schönberg Studio
Eddie Taketa, Doug Varone and Dancers Cross Street Dance Studio
3pm–4:30pm  
Brandon “Peace” Albright, Illstyle & Peace Productions: Hip Hop  Bessie Schönberg Studio
Souleymane Badolo, Souleymane Badolo Repertory: A New Voice in African Dance Cross Street Dance Studio

 

 

Sunday, March 9

 

11am–12:30pm  
Brian Brooks, Brian Brooks Moving Company Bessie Schönberg Studio
Nicholas Leichter, Nicholas Leichter Dance Cross Street Dance Studio
1pm–2:30pm  
Bill Hastings, Jazz Bessie Schönberg Studio
Maria Bauman, Urban Bush Women Cross Street Dance Studio
Carolyn Kirsch, Never Stop Moving, A Fosse-Style Jazz Workshop for Older Dancers Crowell Concert Hall
3pm–4:30pm  
Aubrey Lynch, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Bessie Schönberg Studio
Kurt A. Douglas, Limón Dance Company Cross Street Dance Studio

 

 

Pricing Information

Fees and Ticket Prices

$19 per class: general public
$13 per class: Wesleyan students

Tickets for the performance

$28: general public
$24: senior citizens, Wesleyan faculty/staff/alumni and non-Wesleyan students
$8: Wesleyan students

Weekend Pass

Includes five Master Classes and one ticket to the Showcase Performance: $100 general public (plus $6 class registration fee); $73 Wesleyan students

 

Company and Dancer Profiles


Dance Theater of Harlem
Dance Theatre of Harlem is a leading dance institution of unparalleled global acclaim, encompassing a performing Ensemble, a leading arts education center and Dancing Through Barriers®, a national and international education and community outreach program. Each component of Dance Theatre of Harlem carries a solid commitment towards enriching the lives of young people and adults around the world through the arts. Founded in 1969 by Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook, Dance Theatre of Harlem was considered “one of ballet’s most exciting undertakings” (The New York Times, 1971). Shortly after the assassination of The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children — especially those in Harlem, the community in which he was born — the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts. Now in its fourth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multi-cultural dance institution with an extraordinary legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence that continues to set standards in the performing arts. Dance Theatre of Harlem has achieved unprecedented success, bringing innovative and bold new forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country and around the world. http://www.dancetheatreofharlem.org

Evidence, A Dance Company
Founded by Ronald K. Brown in 1985 and based in Brooklyn, New York, EVIDENCE, A DANCE COMPANY focuses on the seamless fusion of traditional African dance with contemporary choreography and spoken word. This work provides a unique view of human struggles, tragedies, and triumphs. Brown uses movement as a way to reinforce the importance of community in African American culture and to acquaint audiences with the beauty of traditional African forms and rhythms. He is an advocate for the growth of an African American dance community and is instrumental in encouraging young dancers to choreograph and to develop careers in dance. Brown’s choreography is in high demand and he has choreographed works on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Jeune Ballet d’Afrique Noire, Ko-Thi Dance Company and Philadanco. He choreographed Regina Taylor’s award-winning play, Crowns. “I hope that when people see the work their spirits are lifted. I am interested in sharing perspectives through modern dance, theater and kinetic storytelling. I want my work to be evidence of these perspectives,” says Brown. Evidence now tours to some 30 communities in the United States annually. It has also traveled overseas to Cuba, Brazil, England, France, Greece, Hungary, Mexico and Senegal to perform, teach master classes and conduct lecture/demonstrations for young people. Evidence brings arts education and cultural/historical connections to local communities that have historically lacked these experiences. Annually the company reaches an audience of more than 30,000. http://www.evidencedance.com

Souleymane Badolo
Souleymane ‘Solo’ Badolo was born in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. He started his professional career as a dancer for the DAMA, a traditional African dance company, and in 1993, he founded his own Burkina Faso-based troupe, Kongo Ba Téria, fusing traditional African and western contemporary dance aesthetics. Solo has danced with the world-renowned Salia ni Seydou, worked with French choreographers Elsa Wolliaston and Mathilde Monnier, performed with the National Ballet of Burkina, choreographed for a number of companies, and developed a program at The Center of Dance, Music and Theatre in Rome. Since moving to New York in 2009, Solo premiered Yaado, a solo commissioned by Danspace Project for I Get Lost, Platform 2010, curated by Ralph Lemon. He has toured with company nora chipaumire’s lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break: gukurahundi, and collaborated with Chipaumire and master Ghanaian drummer Obo Addy on the creation of I Ka Nye (You Look Well), commissioned by Dance New Amsterdam with support from the Multi-Arts Production Fund. He has participated in DTW’s Studio Series, PARALLELS Platform 2012 (performing in work created for him by Reggie Wilson), Harlem Stage’s E-Moves Series, and Dance Under the Influence at the Museum of Art and Design. In 2011 he was nominated for a Bessie Award as Outstanding Emerging Choreographer. Currently, he is featured in Visible, an evening-length dance commissioned by Harlem Stage, choreographed by Chipaumire and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women. Solo teaches contemporary dance at Bennington College while pursuing a graduate degree in dance and performance. Dancer and choreographer Souleymane 'Solo' Badolo, is known for his contemporary interpretations of traditional African dance. In his own solo performances, he draws upon ritual and personal narrative to blur boundaries between his Burkinabé heritage (pronounced burr-KEE-na-bay) and his Brooklyn present.

Brandon Albright
Brandon “Peace” Albright is a founder and Artistic Director of Illstyle & Peace Productions, a multicultural dance company based in Philadelphia and founded in 2002. Albright is well versed in the various styles of hip-hop dance, bringing energy to the stage and presenting a cogent voice in theater. Intrigued by the universality of hip-hop, Brandon seeks inspiration from other dance and art forms to make his blend of dance. He was an original member of the Philadelphia-based crew Scanner Boyz and has danced for major recording artists such as Schooly D, Will Smith, Tuff Crew, Boyz II Men, LL Cool J, Run DMC and the Beach Boys. Brandon has also performed with the NAACP Image Awards, Cool Heat Urban Beat (Boston Dance Umbrella), Ballet Memphis and BAM’s Dance Africa to name a few. With Illstyle & Peace Productions, Brandon continues to share his dance ministry with diverse audiences. http://www.pentacle.org/metro_illstyle_about.php

Maria Bauman
Bauman is a teacher, currently an adjunct professor of dance at Hunter College and an annual faculty member for the American Dance Festival Winter Intensive and Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute. Last semester, she was also a guest artist for Long Island University, invited to set repertory for select students. She has an intensive at Peridance every summer and has facilitated learning for students at venues such as American College Dance Festival, the Florida State University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Maria Bauman danced with Urban Bush Women for seven years, originating several roles and spearheading the company’s repertory-based educational programs. She has also danced with Nia Love/Blacksmith’s Daughter, Adele Myers and Dancers, Angela’s Pulse, Mendi + Keith Obadike, and Ground Zero Dance, and apprenticed with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. In addition to her choreographic and performance work, Bauman is now Urban Bush Women’s Director of Education and Community Engagement. Maria Bauman founded MBDance in 2007, creating duets & small group dances from a sense of physical & emotional power, a desire for equity, and a fascination with intimacy & relationship. For that work, she has been honored by GO! Magazine as a “Woman at the Helm.” She works closely with the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond on Understanding and Undoing Racism workshops for arts communities, is a WOW Café Theatre collective member (theater space by and for women and transgender artists), and is on the Laundromat Project’s Artists + Community Council. Bauman is a founding member of the Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts Working Group (NOCD-NY), and is part of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance. http://mbdance.org/

Brian Brooks
Brian Brooks was awarded with a 2013 Guggenheim Fellowship. He is a proud recipient of the NY City Center Fellowship (2012-2013), the Jerome Robbins New Essential Works Grant (2013) and the Joyce Theater’s Artist Residency (2013-2014). He is creating new work on dancers from NY City Ballet for the third consecutive year, commissioned by Damian Woetzel for the Vail International Dance Festival. Brooks recently choreographed director Julie Taymor’s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as the inaugural performance of Theatre for a New Audience’s Brooklyn home. He is touring internationally with NY City Ballet Principal Dancer Wendy Whelan, performing his duet “First Fall” as part of her Restless Creature project. His dance group, the Brian Brooks Moving Company, has toured throughout the US, South Korea and in Germany, and was recently presented by BAM in their 2013 Next Wave Festival. As a Guest Artist, he has created new dances at schools including The Juilliard School, Skidmore College, Rutgers University, Princeton University, Barnard College of Columbia University, Alfred University, the University of Maryland at College Park and Illinois State University. Brooks has served on part-time faculty at both Rutgers and Princeton, and was a Teaching Artist at Lincoln Center Institute from 1999-2012. http://www.brianbrooksmovingcompany.com/
Class Descripton: For DanceMasters, Brian Brooks’ contemporary technique class begins with a series of continuous and rigorous warm-up exercises, with an emphasis on motion and pathways through space. Using different somatic approaches to understand and articulate the body’s alignment and placement in space, dancers explore principles of movement that can be applied to many dance forms. Highly technical sequences develop strong muscular and core support while integrating with the body’s weight and breath. Moving vigorously across the floor and through long, momentous phrases, students are able to soar through large areas with a grounded center and self.

Ronald K. Brown
Ronald K. Brown was born in Brooklyn and founded the New York-based contemporary dance ensemble EVIDENCE, A DANCE COMPANY in 1985. In addition to his work with Evidence, Brown has created work for the African American Dance Ensemble, Philadanco, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Grace in 1999, Serving Nia in 2001, IFE/My Heart 2005 and Dancing Spirit during special tribute season), Ailey II, Cinque Folkloric Dance Theater, Jennifer Muller/The Works, and Jeune Ballet d’Afrique Noire. He has collaborated with such artists as composer/designer Omotayo Wunmi Olaiya, the late writer Craig G. Harris, director Ernie McClintock’s Jazz Actors Theater, choreographers Patricia Hoffbauer and Rokiya Kone, and composers Robert Een, Oliver Lake, Bernadette Speech, David Simons, and Don Meissner. “Dancing Spirit” 2010, a tribute to Judith Jamison. Mr. Brown was the choreographer for the award winning revival of Porgy and Bess on Broadway. Brown has received numerous awards and fellowships including a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Choreography, a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer’s Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in choreography, New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie), a Black Theater Alliance Award, the American Dance Festival Humphrey/Weidman/Limón Award, and fellowships from the Edward and Sally van Lier Fund. In addition, Brown was named Def Dance Jam Workshop Mentor of the Year in 2000. In 2003, he received an AUDELCO (Black Theatre Award) for his choreography for Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats, originally produced by the McCarter Theater and presented off-Broadway in 2003. In fall 2006, Brown received The United States Artists Rose Fellowship. He was one of only four choreographers of 50 artists to receive the inaugural award.
Class Description: Expand your awareness with Ronald K. Brown's signature style the fuses western modern with traditional contemporary and social dance forms from the U.S., Senegal, Cuba, and Ivory Coast. Classes are usually a combination of techniques from Evidence’s company repertory.

Michelle Dorrance
Michelle Dorrance, founder and artistic director of Dorrance Dance/New York, is a 2012 Princess Grace Award Winner (the first tap dancer to receive a fellowship in Choreography), 2012 Field Dance Fund Recipient and 2011 Bessie Award Winner. Michelle was formally trained at The Ballet School of Chapel Hill and received a BA from New York University's prestigious Gallatin School. Michelle joined Medler’s groundbreaking North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble (NCYTE) in the late 1980s and performed and toured extensively with NCYTE for the next decade across the states and at major international tap dance festivals. Since moving to New York City in 1997, Michelle has performed with notable tap companies around the world and spent four years performing in the New York cast (as well as the North American Tour) of Off-Broadway sensation, STOMP, and performed with Heather Cornell’s Manhattan Tap, Max Pollak’s Rumba Tap, and Savion Glover's company Ti Dii, among others. In early 2011 Michelle founded Dorrance Dance/New York with the mission to help audiences view tap dance, a beautiful, old jazz form, in a new and dynamically compelling context. Michelle has established herself as an accomplished solo artist, performing and teaching master classes throughout the world. She has been featured in countless festivals and shows including The New York City Tap Festival, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and Brazil International Tap Festival. She has been the subject of featured articles and the cover story for both Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher Magazine. Michelle has been on faculty at Broadway Dance Center since 2002 and has taught as guest faculty at New York University, The Ohio State University, and Barnard College. http://www.michelledorrance.com/

Kurt A. Douglas
Kurt A. Douglas graduated from New York’s famed high school of music art and the performing arts. Originally from Guyana, South America he attended and earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Dance from the Boston Conservatory, where he was the recipient of the Ruth Solomon Ambrose Dance Scholarship Award and the Jan Veen Dance Award. There he performed with the Boston Dance Theatre and The Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre in works by Jose Limon, Sean Curran, Paul Taylor, Martha Graham, Lar Lubovitch, and Murray Louis. After graduating from the Conservatory in 2001 he joined the Limon Company where he performed in many of Limon’s most influential works. During his second season with Limon, he received a 2002 Princess Grace Award and was honored by an invitation to perform for His Serene Highness Crown Prince Albert of Monaco and The Royal family. Kurt has performed in works by Yuri Killian, Donald Mckayle, and Billy Singenfied. Kurt became the first African American in Limon’s history to portray "Iago" in "The Moor's Pavane", Limón’s most Famous works. Kurt was named one of Dance Magazine’s "TOP 25 TO WATCH” in 2006 and danced from 2002-2007 with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring the Rockettes. In 2009-2010 Kurt joined the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for their 40th anniversary City Center season And traveled throughout the United States and Asia. In 2010 he began working with Buglisi dance theater. Kurt played the role of Richie in the national tour of “A Chorus Line” in the United States, and has toured Japan and Australia with the show. He has also Danced with The Thang Dao Dance Company, Ballet Hispanico, and the Sean Curran Dance Company . Kurt has taught in, and conducted Limon Dance workshops in Boston, New York, Oregon, Dallas, and Bristol, England, Sydney, Australia, at Harvard University, The Juilliard School, SUNY Purchase, and the Boston Conservatory. Kurt hopes to travel to Guyana, South America, his birth country to develop research material for his graduate thesis.

Bill Hastings
Bill Hastings has performed in over forty musicals and plays including Broadway and National touring productions of The Most Happy Fella, A Chorus Line, Cabaret, Rags, Bob Fosse's Dancin', and Sweet Charity. During his professional career, he has had the privilege to work with such dance luminaries as Bob Fosse Michael Bennett, Graciela Daniele, Ron Field, Scott Salmon, Chet Walker (whom he assisted during the creation of the Tony Award winning musical FOSSE), Tony Stevens, Phil Black, Harvey Hysell, and Luigi. He has also performed at Radio City Music Hall in both the Christmas Spectacular and the Easter Extravaganza. Bill has Choreographed over forty productions for U.S. European, and Japanese theater, television, video, industrial, and concert dance companies including Peter Pan, The King and I, Dames At Sea, The Pajama Game, My Fair Lady, Where's Charlie?, The Boy Friend, The Wiz and Grease among other; plus The Four Minute Egg and Conga for Dance Kaleidoscope and Pink Tofu for Arts In Motion. His piece, Nabta Playa, created for the stellar modern dance company, RhythMEK, and with an original score by well-known composer, Marty Beller, premièred at the 2000 Gala Opening of Jacob's Pillow and was also introduced by David Parsons for New York City's Metro Arts 13 for their series on modern dance. Mr. Hastings, through a grant received by the University Of Richmond, created a piece based upon Maya Angelou's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings." Currently, he is teaching at Peridance and Broadway Dance Center in New York City and also at various private schools in the metropolitan area. Bill has taught or choreographed in Oslo, Norway, the Boston Summer Dance Festival, the American Theater Dance Workshop at Hofstra University and the Summer Dance Workshops held at VASSAR and Oberlin Colleges, by the American Academy of Ballet and the Ohio Dance Theater respectively. In New York City, he was also privileged to be guest teacher for American Ballet Theater's Studio Company under the direction of John Meehan, and he held a series of Master Classes in Rome and Naples Italy in December of 2001. As well as currently producing music CD's for modern dance class and educational videos for both modern and theater dance, two of his more unusual endeavors were serving as President of The Jury for the Bazillion Nation al Hazz Dance Contest and as Producer of Bal Mystique, a fund raiser for the Performing Arts Center in Orange County California. Teaching dancers from twenty-four ballet and modern companies, Bill in 2002 was a guest faculty member along with Suki Schorer, Christine Spizzo, John Magnus, Bruce Stegman, and Russell Svezback at the Southwest Regional Dance American Festival; he also had the privilege to follow that event as a guest faculty member for the "Share the Legacy Conference"; an event held at Hunter College in Manhattan and co-sponsored by the Harkness Foundation. He participated with faculty and speakers Carolyn Adams, Katherine Dunham, Norton Owen, Murray Louis, Lourdes Lopez, Milton Meyers, and Carla Maxwell among others. He was also honored to teach in David Howard's seminar directed toward helping teachers of dance improve their skills. Bill Hastings also received the Artist In Residence National College Choreographers Grant to the University of Nebraska Lincoln to stage the works of Bob Fosse. The NCCI is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support by the Dana Foundation, is administered by Dance/USA, the national service organization for professional dance. http://www.billhastings.org

Virginia Johnson
Virginia Johnson returns to Dance Theatre of Harlem as artistic director having been a founding member and principal dancer. Born in Washington, DC, Johnson graduated from the Academy of the Washington School of Ballet. She briefly attended the School of the Arts at New York University as a University Scholar before joining DTH in 1969. During her 28 years with the company she performed most of the repertoire, with principal roles in Concerto Barocco, Allegro Brillante, Agon, A Streetcar Named Desire, Fall River Legend, Swan Lake, Giselle, Voluntaries, Les Biches among others. Three DTH productions in which she danced leading roles were recorded for broadcast: A Streetcar Named Desire for Dance in America on PBS, Creole Giselle, which was the first full-length ballet broadcast on NBC, and Fall River Legend, which won a cable ACE award from the Bravo Network. In addition, she was included in two acclaimed television dance series, Margot Fonteyn’s “The Magic of Dance” and Natalia Makarova’s “Ballerina.” Her choreographic credits include the television film, Ancient Voices of Children in which she danced and an early, self-produced solo concert for Rae Metzger’s Concert Socials. Later choreographic works include ballets created for Goucher College, Dancers Respond to AIDS, the Second Annual Harlem Festival of the Arts, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center and Marymount Manhattan College, where she was also an adjunct professor. The latter two projects were an outgrowth of Dancers Making Dances, a collaborative choreographic project with former DTH colleagues, Judy Tyrus and Melanie Person. While still performing, her interest in journalism led her to Fordham University where she continues to pursue a degree in communications. After retiring from performing, she founded POINTE magazine and was editor-in-chief from 2000-2009. The popular publication helps dancers prepare for the professional ballet world developing educational seminars and lectures on health and wellness for dancers, auditions and professional preparation. Her honors include a Young Achiever Award from the National Council of Women, Outstanding Young Woman of America and the Dance Magazine Award, a Pen and Brush Achievement Award and the Washington Performing Arts Society’s 2008-2009 Pola Nirenska Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2009 Martha Hill Fund Mid-Career Award. Highlights of her guest appearances include a tour of Australia with Stars of World Ballet, several appearances at various International Festivals of Dance in Havana Cuba, and with the Royal Ballet at The Royal Opera House in London. Her commitment to community service is maintained through volunteer assignments with New York Cares. http://www.dancetheatreofharlem.org

Carolyn Kirsch
Carolyn Kirsch appeared in 15 Broadway Musicals over a 21-year period of performing in New York City. During that time she worked extensively for the Director/Choreographers Michael Bennett and Bob Fosse. For Mr. Fosse she appeared in both the first National and Broadway productions of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, “Sweet Charity”, and the first National Company of “Chicago”, in which she played Velma Kelly (the role originally created by Chita Rivera). For Mr. Bennett, Ms. Kirsch appeared in the Broadway companies of “Promises, Promises”, “CoCo” (with Katherine Hepbrun), “Company”, and “A Chorus Line”. As a member of the Original Company of “A Chorus Line” she was the recipient of a Theatre World Award. Mr. Kirsch was schooled in the distinctive styles of both these talented men by the choreographers themselves. As a lecturer she is able to share her personal, as well as professional, perspectives on how each of them developed his important contribution to the American Musical Theatre. An active member of “Dancers Over 40—The Legacy Project”, Carolyn is passing on the legacy to a new generation of talent. She is the Musical Theatre Department Chair of the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan, and is on he faculty of The Grater Harford Academy of the Arts. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Dance Allegiance. She studied acting with the legendary Uta Hagen and continues to study with Austin Pendleton, both of HB Studio, New York City. For her work as Amanda Wingfield in “The Glass Menagerie” at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse (2008) she received the New Hampshire Theatre Award for Best Actress. She also appeared at the Playhouse in the title role of “Driving Ms. Daisy” (2009). In 2012, Ms. Kirsch became the first person to be sanctioned by the Verdon-Fosse estate (by Nicole Fosse) to teach the styles of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. She is presently writing a play based on the life and artistic times of Camille Claudel, the French sculptress. The scope and grandeur of Camille’s body of work, her perceived lack of recognition for that work, and her possible decline into madness, has prompted Carolyn to write this, her first play.

Nicholas Leichter
Nicholas Leichter has taught throughout the United States and at festivals in Africa, Asia, Canada, and Eastern and Western Europe, and he has been on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts and the American Dance Festival in Durham, New York, Russia, Korea, and Shanghai. Leichter has created over 25 works for his own company, Nicholas Leichter Dance, including Carmina Burana and Rite of Spring commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Sweetwash with Eisa Davis for The Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach Community College. Recent commissions include Connecticut College, Wayne State University, The Barnard Project, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and je danse donc je suis in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Leichter has been artist-in-residence and guest artist at many institutions including CSU Summer Arts, Sarah Lawrence College, Hollins University, George Washington University, University of Houston, Muhlenberg College, and Idaho State University. Leichter received the 2006 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University. In 2008, he received a Choreographer Fellowship from NYFA and a National Performance Network/Network of Cultural Centers of Color Artist-of-Color Residency Award at Sacramento State. He received the 2009 Copperfoot Award for Choreography from Wayne State University. Leichter is on the artist board of Dance Theater Workshop. http://www.nldnyc.org/

Aubrey Lynch
Aubrey Lynch II is from the town of Woodhaven, Michigan. While he was a chemistry major at the University of Michigan, he was chosen to attend the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (now called The Ailey® School) in New York City, where he began to follow his dream of a career in the performing arts. While studying at Ailey, Mr. Lynch became a member of the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble (now called Ailey II), Ailey’s second company. In June 1989, he was invited to join Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, one of the last dancers selected by Mr. Ailey himself before his death in December 1989. Aubrey performed as a principal dancer with the company until 1993, traveling to more than 20 countries and performing over 35 ballets, including some of Mr. Ailey’s greatest works, Reflections in D, Blues Suite, and Revelations. He had the honor of working closely with Judith Jamison, who succeeded Mr. Ailey as artistic director of the company in December 1989. Another aspect of Aubrey’s Ailey experience was the opportunity to work with young artists worldwide through the company’s outreach program, teaching master classes and addressing audiences. During this time period he also performed as principal dancer with Déjà Vu Dance Theater and served as its associate artistic director, working with friend and mentor, Barry Martin. It was Barry who pushed Aubrey to be more than a dancer and Aubrey attributes much of the lyrical style that followed him through his career to the training he received working with Barry. Aubrey hopes that he is on the journey to becoming exactly who Barry had inspired him to be, a dancer who can do many, many other things. Aubrey left the Ailey organization to pursue a career in film and television, appearing in TV commercials, print ads, and the movie The Next Step, an independent dance film choreographed by Donald Byrd. His performance credits also include live concerts and music videos with artists such as En Vogue and George Michael. Mr. Lynch also taught movement classes for deaf children, and was a guest speaker at the Juilliard School and other arts institutions. Aubrey continued concert work with Déjà Vu Dance Theater while being a guest performer with other companies including a tour to Japan with Virginia Johnson and Dance Theater of Harlem. He is also proud to have been an original company member of the now world renowned and critically acclaimed Complexions Contemporary Ballet. In 1997, Mr. Lynch joined the original cast of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Disney’s The Lion King. While performing in the cast, Mr. Lynch also acted as the production’s dance captain, dance supervisor, and ultimately as associate choreographer. As associate producer, Aubrey led the team responsible for casting, mounting, and overseeing the creative aspects of all Lion King productions worldwide. During this time, he worked closely with the director of education and outreach at Disney Theatrical Productions, helping to develop theater programs for schools. From all of his experiences, Aubrey has developed his own curriculum, The Aubrey Lynch Experience, a program for young artists and non-artists. Aimed at the high school, university, and professional levels, his programs use elements of theater to help young people to see their options and explore the kind of decision-making that leads to successful and stable lives. Mr. Lynch is the proud recipient of the 2009 Ailey School Apex Award presented annually to a member of the dance community who has had a profound influence on the world of dance and has impacted The Ailey School. Aubrey has been on faculty of The Ailey School and Steps on Broadway and is a frequent guest speaker and master teacher at schools and institutions around the world. Most notably, Aubrey has been a modern dance mentor at Miami's prestigious Young Arts Week an annual competition whose awards include a $10,000.00 scholarship and an opportunity to meet the President of the United States. Mr. Lynch is honored to have led a Lion King presentation for Oprah Winfrey, Gayle King, and the young ladies of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa in June, 2007. Mr. Lynch's master classes and workshops are designed to better prepare young artists for a successful life in the arts. Click here to view Aubrey's audition tape for the Oprah Winfrey Network. Mr. Lynch is a Master Teacher, Arts Educator, and certified life coach. He is currently the Director of Dance and Musical Theatre at Harlem School of the Arts and is on faculty at The Therapeutic Arts Alliance of Manhattan, With an intense belief that the arts are a critical part of the development of young people, Aubrey is a mentor for the prestigious Theater Development Fund Open Doors Mentoring Program where he brings high school students to see theater and guides them through lively discussions about life. He shares this honor with other mentors including Thomas Schumacher, Alan Eisenberg, and Graciela Daniele among other high level arts industry professionals. http://aubreylynch.com

Eddie Taketa
Dancing professionally since 1982, Eddie Taketa was a member of the Murray Louis Dance Company (1983-1990), Nikolais Dance Theatre (1988-1990), Lar Lubovitch Dance Company (1990-1992), and the Jacob's Pillow's Men Dancers: The Ted Shawn Legacy (1992-1993). Concurrently, Taketa maintained a performing and creative collaboration with Janis Brenner (1985-1998). He has performed Off-Broadway with the New York Shakespeare Festival, and danced for television with such artists as Michael Moschen, and Tandy Beal and Bobby McFerrin. In 1994, Taketa joined Doug Varone and Dancers. As a member of the Varone Company for the last two decades, he has been an original cast member in twenty-seven of Varone’s works, and nine operas and plays directed/choreographed by Varone for companies across the country. He has been the company’s Rehearsal Director since 2001, and served as its Education Program Director for two years. He is a principal teacher in the company’s workshops and intensives, and has staged Varone’s works on over thirty companies and university programs. Taketa taught and choreographed as Guest Artist in Dance at Connecticut College for ten years (1996-2006.) He has been Guest Artist in Residence at the University of Iowa and University of the Arts, Philadelphia; taught on the faculties of the Bates Dance Festival, SUMMERDANCE Santa Barbara, and Glenwood Springs Dance Festival; and has conducted workshops and master classes at universities and studios throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. Recently, he was Lecturer in Dance at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, Taketa began his dance training at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, from which he holds a BFA in Dance Theater, and received a Certificate of Merit in Dance, Outstanding Dancer. In 1998, he was awarded a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for Sustained Achievement in Dancing. http://www.dougvaroneanddancers.org/