Be sure to pack your pop-up chairs and picnic blankets to enjoy the performance! *NOTE- Dinner not provided.
Rain Date/Location- Friday, July 28th @7pm Björklunden 7590 Boynton Ln, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202
Cyenthia Vijayakumar is a Kathak dancer, performer, choreographer and teacher from Milwaukee. She has undergone her training from Guru Murari Sharan Gupta and Guru Hari and Chetna from Bangalore, India. She is currently undergoing her training under Guru Sujatha Banerjee from London. She is the artistic director of Aarambh Kathak Dance School, which she founded in 2019 in Milwaukee. Her school is ISTD certified, which is a recognized system in the UK and US. Aarambh Kathak Dance School is the only school that is at the forefront of promoting Kathak – North Indian classical dance in the Midwest. Cyenthia has performed extensively in various prestigious platforms in the US and India.
Emma Draves is a dance artist and educator navigating intertextual spaces of identity. She draws from training in modern, bharatanatyam, ballet, jazz, and ethnography, to weave work of kinesthetic narrative - derived through colliding multiplicities of physical effort, idiosyncrasy, and emotional landscape. Emma’s choreographic work has been shown internationally in Edinburgh (UK) & Vancouver (BC), as well as at NYU, Hamlin Park, High Concept Labs, Links Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Columbia College Chicago, and Comfort Station; and commissioned by Danceworks Company and UW-Milwaukee. As a performer, Emma has worked with several companies and as an independent artist. Notable experiences include Mordine & Company, Hedwig Dances, Jonathan Meyer, and Archana Kumar; and theatrical productions at Victory Gardens and Lookingglass Theatre. Trained in bharatanatyam under Smt. Hema Rajagopalan, Emma has enjoyed a long association with Natya Dance Theatre as a performing artist - participating in several national tours and international collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Project, NanJombang (Indonesia), and Astad Deboo (India) - grant-writer and archivist. She now works as Natya’s Executive Director. Emma holds a GLCMA & MFA - and serves on faculty at Columbia College Chicago.
Gerald Casel (he/they/siya) is a dance artist, equity activator, and antiracist educator. As director of GERALDCASELDANCE, his choreographic work complicates and provokes questions surrounding colonialism, collective cultural amnesia, whiteness and privilege, and the tensions between the invisible/perceived/obvious structures of power. Casel is Professor and Chair of the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. He has previously been a faculty member at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, California State University Long Beach, and UC Santa Cruz where he also served as the Provost of Porter College. A graduate of The Juilliard School with an MFA from UW-Milwaukee, they received a New York Dance and Performance Award “Bessie” for sustained achievement dancing in the companies of Stephen Petronio, Michael Clark, Stanley Love, Zvi Gotheiner, Sungsoo Ahn, and The Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Casel founded Dancing Around Race, an ongoing community engaged-participatory process that interrogates systemic racial inequity in 2018 and continues to expand its depth and reach. www.geraldcasel.com
Janet Lilly, a former principal dancer and teacher with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company, is the Director of Dance at the University of North Carolina Greensboro (UNCG). Lilly joined UNCG after over 15 years at the Peck School of Arts Department of Dance at the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin, where she was instrumental in creating a low-residency MFA program for returning dance professionals. Awarded a 2008-09 Fulbright Lecturer Fellowship, Lilly has choreographed and taught as a guest artist and teacher on college campuses in the United States and abroad.
Kelly Anderson is the Founder/Director of the Death’s Door Dance Festival and is the Artistic Director of the Chicago-based, Door County-lead performance company Kelly Anderson Dance Theatre- a dance company inspired by humor, theater and pop culture. KADT creates relatable work driven by complicated topics. By “seamlessly weaving movement and dialogue," Anderson's evening works strive to bridge the gap between artist and non-artist through comedy “filtered perfectly throughout a series of serious moments.” Anderson's work Skits & Pieceswas presented in the LookOut Series at Steppenwolf Theater, her work THE END IS HERE and that's ok. appeared in the 40th Anniversary Season of Links Hall Chicago, and she was awarded a 2019-2020 Links Hall CoMISSION Summer Residency. Theater collaborations include two devised theater works with Writer/Director Olivia Lilley- In Sarah's Shadow: The Eleonora Duse Story & the development of Diary of an Erotic Life, a dance/theater/opera with Milwaukee Opera Theatre- 26, Wrinkle in Time with Director Mark Metcalf at First Stage, and Gal Friday Films' Missed Connections. Anderson's choreography has been performed and commissioned throughout the Chicago area, NYC, Milwaukee, Detroit, Minneapolis and Portland, OR. “A master of comedic timing… Anderson proves that dance doesn’t have to be dead serious.” *Credits- Lauren Warnecke (Chicago Magazine) and Kristin Vasilakos (Performance Response Journal).
Named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch”, Li Chiao-Ping has been praised by critics in the New York Times, Village Voice, Dance Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and San Francisco Bay Guardian, calling her work “...marvelously imaginative...engrossing, intelligently put-together.” “Li Chiao-Ping in performance is a case of the dancer transcending the dance...When Li’s onstage, you don’t want to blink.” (Dance Magazine). A 7-time NEA grant awardee and a MAP Fund grant recipient, Li is a multi-hyphenate artist who creates layered works that combine multiple art forms to explore themes of culture and identity. Li Chiao-Ping earned her graduate degree from UCLA, was Director of the Hollins College Dance Program (1989-1993), and Chair of the UW-Madison Dance Department (2011-2014). Li’s work has been shown in major venues/festivals in the U.S. and abroad, including Jacob’s Pillow, Bates, ADF, Kennedy Center, Walker Art Center, Dance Place, Danspace Project, DTW, Theater Artaud, CounterPulse, and in Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Argentina, and more. Li is the creator of The Extreme Moves Training Method SM/TM. She has received fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board and Scripps/ADF Humphrey-Weidman-Limon, was the American representative in ADF’s International Choreographer’s Program, and honored with an Outstanding Woman of Color in Education Award. Li is a UW-Madison Vilas Research Professor and the Sally Banes Professor of Dance, the first person in Dance to receive either professorship and also the first BIPOC faculty hired and tenured in Dance at UW-Madison. She recently won the Best Direction Award for her screendance work “Provenance: A Letter to My Daughter” from the 2023 Experimental Dance & Music Film Festival.
Melinda Jean Myers is a multidisciplinary artist who creates in the areas of dance and choreography, theater and storytelling, and music composition. Her research includes solo choreography and performance, and collaborations with theater artists, filmmakers, writers, music composers, media designers and dance artists. At University of Iowa, she is an Assistant Professor of Contemporary Dance and Choreography. In the last few years, Myers has made collaborative choreographic works with Donika Kelly, Kurt Chiang, Ramin Roshandel, Heidi Wiren, Mathanki Kalapathy, Lex Leto, Laila Franklin, Kate Vincek, and University of Iowa dance students. Her interdisciplinary works have been presented in South Korea, Germany, New York and throughout the Midwest. Myers earned her MFA from University of Iowa and BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She was honored to perform internationally with the Trisha Brown Dance Company for four years, and has been privileged to re-stage repertory works. As a member of The Cambrians, her collaborative work Clover was named one of Chicago Tribune's Top 10 Dances of 2015. She also created three new works as a devising ensemble member of Lucky Plush Productions and toured nationally with the company for ten years. In fall 2022, Myers presented her collaborative dance-theater work, Unfinished Business, created and performed with Kurt Chiang, at Links Hall in Chicago, IL. This work was supported by an Embodied Research Grant, awarded by Lucky Plush Productions.
Nekea Leon is a performer, choreographer, and teacher. She began her love of dance at the age of 5 and continued her studies at her middle and high school. As a Milwaukee native, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BA in dance in 2018. She has performed with DPMKE, DanceCircus, Wild Space, and other community dance experiences. Nekea is currently located in the Atlanta area.
Under the direction of Ashley Deran and Emily Loar, Project Bound Dance is a Chicago-based modern dance group rooted in the practice of collaboration. Since its founding in 2013, Bound has created work that is both curious and accessible. Creating both live concert performance and dances for camera, Bound draws from both modern dance and somatic fundamentals. Incorporating vigor, athleticism, and intricate gesture exploration Deran and Loar weave together the vision of two distinct artistic voices to create richly textured dance performance.
Rachel Slater is an international award-winning dance artist and filmmaker based in New Orleans, LA. She believes artmaking can be a radical, humanist act which can support and amplify communities, stories, and empathy. Rachel holds a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She has performed with Minh Tran & Company, Franco Nieto of Open Space Dance, Tracey Durbin Dance, the Detroit Dance City Festival and Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, among many others. Rachel is the co-Artistic Director of Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance in Portland, OR. With MFCD, she has produced, choreographed and performed in three award-winning dance films which have screened in 16 countries, and 45 festivals worldwide. Their most recent screendance, how we live, won five Best Dance Film laurels, as well as Best Pandemic Film. Rachel has received artist residencies from the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (Canada), Dance Days Chania (Greece), Hambidge Center (Georgia), New Expressive Works (Oregon), Sou’wester (Washington).Currently, Rachel is pursuing an MFA in Interdisciplinary Dance Performance at Tulane University. She is a Mellon Fellow for Community-Engaged Scholarship and has been working with the Lower Ninth Ward Center for Sustainable Engagement, as well as with BODYART Dance.
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Simone Ferro is a choreographer, movement practitioner, somatic researcher, and Fulbright scholar. She joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Department of Dance in 2001 and retired in 2022 after decades serving as MFA program director and department chair. After a professional career as soloist with dance companies in Brazil and Switzerland, she completed her graduate work at the University of Iowa, a Laban Movement Analysis Certification by the Columbia College of Chicago and a Certificate as Fascia Trainer. Simone collaborates extensively with the local dance, theater and opera community, as well as visual artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers. Her project Milwaukee Through Embodied Research has engaged research students addressing social and environmental justice and community resilience through oral histories in the central city community of Milwaukee. Simone works with movement for mindfulness, as well as classical dance technique with an applied somatic vision in which she uses concepts of movement analysis, kinesiology, anatomy, biomechanics, fascia studies and the body as a home for empathy. Since 2007, she has traveled to Brazil to research popular culture in Maranhão with her research partner and life companion Meredith W. Watts.
Sixto Franco is a multifaceted musician whose activities range from performance, composition, improvisation, teaching, lecturing and curating artistic events. He is an avid performer and is continuously on stage as soloist, chamber and orchestra musician as well as part of interdisciplinary projects. His most recent and future collaborations include an improvised score for "Project Jane,” a 2022 Tulane University Theater production; curator of a concert series at Mu Art Gallery of Chicago, 2022; curating a concert for NienteForte Music Festival 2023 featuring LGTBQIA/ BIPOC composers, and two world premieres of his brand new works by the Alluvium Ensemble and the LPO. Sixto enjoys creating collaborations such as "Perfect Storm", a symbiotic work that combines an existing staple for solo viola with original choreography by Rachel Slater. "Perfect Storm" intends to highlight the work of female artists using the viola as the intermediary. As a new music enthusiast, Sixto has commissioned and helped premier more than 60 new works, including many those written for the Quijote Duo, an ensemble based in Chicago, to which he is a founding member. Now a resident of New Orleans, Sixto is thrilled to immerse himself in the unmatched and exciting cultural scene of New Orleans.
Susan Firer’s most recent book is The Transit of Venus. She is the author of five previous books of poetry, including Milwaukee Does Strange Things to People: New & Selected Poems 1979-2007 and The Lives of the Saints and Everything. Her books have been awarded the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize, the Posner Award, and the Backwaters Prize. She has also been the recipient of a Milwaukee County Artist Fellowship, a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, and the Lorine Niedecker Award. In 2015, Firer was a National Endowment for the Arts fellow. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Chicago Review, Ms. (Magazine), Georgia Review, The Iowa Review, New American Writing, Conduit, The New Yorker and other journals and anthologies. Firer’s poem “Call Me Pier” is included in the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Everywhere series. From 2008-2010, she was Poet Laureate of the City of Milwaukee. The University of Nebraska Press reissued her fourth book, The Laugh We Make When We Fall, in fall 2021. More information at www.susanfirer.com
Tim Russell lives at the confluence of the aural and the visual. He currently serves as Music Director for the University of Wisconsin’s Dance Department. In 2019, Tim was selected as one of the Cowles Visiting Artists at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a first for a Musician in the field of Dance. He has a vast catalogue of works specifically for choreography, most of which exist live, in collaboration with movement. His commitment to the nowness in performance led him to co-create/curate, along with choreographer Maria Gillespie, Hyperlocal MKE, a Music and Dance improvisation series that exists to this day in Milwaukee. His current curatorial project: Common Sage Arts, promotes multidisciplinary artists through carefully curated performances. Along with Tim’s long time collaboration with the Gerald Casel Dance Company, his audio shares the stage with a vast array of choreographic artists bringing Tim and his music across the world from Dock 11 in Berlin to YBCA in San Francisco. He holds an MFA in Music Improvisation from Mills College in Oakland, California, where he studied improvisation, electronic music and composition with the likes of Fred Frith, Roscoe Mitchell and Zeena Parkins. www.avoidancepolicy.com
Dan Schuchart is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. Since 2002, Wild Space Dance Company has been his creative home as a company member, choreographer, and now Co-Artistic Director. Wild Space is known for site-specific dance and artistic collaboration. Schuchart’s choreography has been presented from coast to coast and extensively throughout the Midwest, being heralded as, “razzle dazzle of a different sort—intelligence, honesty, psychological insight, and often breathtaking beauty” (Milwaukee Magazine). His interests in dance include collaborative creative process, dance-theatre, improvisation, and contact improvisation with standout performances in work by Susan Marshall and collaborations with the “all-star, all-female band” (Time Out New York) Victoire. Schuchart is a Wisconsin Dance Council board member, advocating for dance performance and education in Wisconsin. In 2013, he earned his MFA in Experimental Choreography from the University of California, Riverside, where he was honored to be a recipient of the 2012-13 Dissertation Year Program Fellowship. Schuchart has BFA degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee's Peck School of the Arts in both Dance and Painting/Drawing, and continues to work professionally in both fields. In addition, he earned a Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis from Columbia College Chicago in 2015, and recently became a Certified Fascial Fitness Trainer. Schuchart is currently Teaching Faculty at the UW-Milwaukee Department of Dance. He has also taught dance and movement studies at Lawrence University, Beloit College, UC Riverside and has been a guest teacher at the Milwaukee Ballet, American College Dance Association Conferences, and in public school outreach programs. Outside of dance, Schuchart has worked as a scenic painter, including for the movie Public Enemies, and scenic charge for the Milwaukee Ballet, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, Florentine Opera, and Skylight Music Theatre.