Roundtable Panel with Dance Department Alumni
On Friday, September 23rd, current DeSales dance majors had the opportunity to meet with the first graduating class of DeSales University dance majors over lunch. Of the five alumni from the class of 1986, several travelled across the country to share their life stories and discuss how their degrees affected their careers. In the spirit of Homecoming weekend, old friends reconnected and related to current students through their mutual experiences in the DeSales family.
After focusing on dance education in her undergrad, Suzanne Winoski pursued her teaching goals by joining the staff at her local studio and eventually transitioned into the roles of owner and director. Her numerous teaching certifications contributed to her current positions as a voice for dance and wellness in the public school system. Moreover, her path in the dance world has allowed her to balance her family life with her career. For all considering a future in teaching dance, Suzanne was definitely an excellent source of information.
Carol M. Heverly’s experience after graduation could not have been anticipated. After booking a dream job as a Sesame Place Theme Park performer, a torn ACL cut her performance career short. Despite many setbacks due to injury, Carol found fulfillment in using her experiences to assist others in coping with physical obstacles, working in movement classes with chair bound individuals as well as those with brain damage. Residing locally with her husband and children, Carol offered the great advice that you don’t necessarily need to relocate to utilize your degree; also, the course of your life is entirely unpredictable, but it’s still worthwhile despite the trials you’ll face.
An incredibly passionate and vocal individual, Lindsey Hanahan enjoyed success as a musical theater performer around the world before discovering her passion for Laban movement studies. She currently works as a movement therapist in Denver, Colorado where she owns MOVE studios. In addition to offering advice regarding auditioning and staying motivated after graduation, Lindsey encouraged the dance majors to seize every opportunity and explore all aspects of dance as often opportunities and career options exist of which we aren’t even aware.
Next, Kara Callahan-Boyd described her endeavors as a cruise line performer for Royal Caribbean International. Beginning as a dancer, she now operates in the creative and production areas of Disney Cruise Line. As a Talent Casting and Operations Manager, Kara gave insight regarding audition tips, financial situations, and balancing her job with her family. As several dance majors are interested in someday working for Disney, Kara was an incredible contact to have on campus.
Finally, Danny Cunningham illustrated his career as a Modern dance performer, an actor with the European tour of West Side Story, an esteemed competition adjudicator, and more. His experiences as a dancer during the AIDS epidemic shed light on some of the harsh realities in the arts community while reminding all present to appreciate every opportunity they face and take nothing for granted. Additionally, he shared his incredibly generous plans to found a new scholarship for incoming dance majors at DeSales.
Overall, the discussion with Dance department alumni was interesting and informative. The variety of routes pursued with the same degree was eye-opening for the young artists deciding which direction to turn upon graduation. Meeting graduates from the class of 1986 was a great reminder of how rare the familial community found at DeSales is, and how responsible we are for cultivating and preserving it.
Alumni with DSU dance faculty
On Wednesday, April 20th, many DeSales University dance majors road-tripped to Philadelphia. Departing from the Labuda Center for the Performing Arts, a bus took them to the Wilma Theater where they enjoyed exclusive access to a closed rehearsal for Philadelphia’s premiere contemporary ballet company, BalletX. There they were welcomed by the company’s founder and artistic and executive director Christine Cox and associate artistic director Tara Keating. After offering an overview of the program, Keating introduced one of the choreographers, Kevin O’Day. Opening that night, the Spring Series performance celebrated the prolific company’s tenth anniversary with excerpts from some of their most memorable pieces of the decade, as well as a new work by O’Day. Featuring one piece from each year since 2005, the program culminated in the world premiere of O’Day’s Time Curves. Each piece highlighted the versatility of the company members, varying immensely in moods, music, and approaches to the classical movement vocabulary of ballet. In the opening piece Frequencies (2005), a trio of two women and one man entered the space unexpectedly wearing sets of angel wings and executing sharp and precise movement with an underlying sense of struggle and desperation. Later on, The Last Glass (2010) involved all of the company’s ten dancers in whimsical costumes flying through the space in unrestrained revelry. The world premiere contrasted immensely with its mysterious, intense tone. The full company took the stage accompanied by a cellist and a massive hanging installation in what appeared to be an “X.” Implementing a strong use of breath, multiple costume changes, and risky, breathtaking choreography, this piece was a strong closer to the program and left little to be desired. At the conclusion of the performance, dance majors remarked at the inspirational effect of the artists’ insane physicality and technical prowess. Their fearless approach to partner work and the sheer strength with which they handled the difficult choreography brought everyone to a resolution to work harder in classes and tap into new creativity in their own works. Overall, the BalletX trip was an extremely worthwhile experience and just one of the many amazing opportunities enjoyed by dance majors at DeSales.
By Emmy Spaar (Sophomore Dance and English major)
In class we will practice our understanding, and comfort in exploring, for the plethora of movement possibilities within a full spectrum of our individual kinesphere; as well as ours in relation to a group. Where and how you move in space can directly affect your experience, or not. We will move together, through our bodily possibilities in Space, Time, and Effort and take notice to discuss the similarities and differences in our tendency to react both internally and externally.
A native Michigander, Bryan Strimpel graduated from Wayne State University in 2011 with a B.F.A. in dance. He is Co-Director for his own company, B.S. Movement and he has danced with Nicholas Leichter Dance from 2009 to 2012 as well as the Brian Brooks Moving Company from 2011-2014. Most recently Bryan is dancing with David Dorfman Dance. He has performed internationally and across the U.S. in venues including: The Joyce Theater, Joyce SoHo, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Jacob’s Pillow, Bates Dance Festival, Joe’s Pub, Hundred Grand SoHo and more. He teaches class in NYC regularly at Gibney Dance at 280 Broadway. Bryan is honored to have been selected as one of Dance Magazine’s ‘Top 25 to Watch’ in 2013.
Come join us, July 25th-Augut 5th, for our Summer Dance Intensive. You can find more details by signing up on the Coursesites web portal. Sign up for a free account here to get information on the summer dance intensive here:
The above link is a online website that gives information regarding registration, scholarships, instructor bios, scheduling, etc. Signing up for the above account does not obligate you to sign up for the Summer Dance Intensive, it just gives you access to updated information about it.
You can also check out and download the brochure below!!
When you are ready to register for the Summer Dance Intensive you can find a link in the Coursesites web portal above or you can go directly to the registration page here:
We look forward to seeing you at this years Summer Dance Intensive!!!
Born and raised in California, DEBORAH LOHSE is a choreographer/performer living and working in New York City. Her work has been presented in theaters, public spaces and festivals across the U.S. and Mexico including DANCE NOW Joe’s Pub, American Dance Festival, Chicago Contemporary Circus Festival, La Mama Moves, Joyce SoHo and the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. She has received commissions from New Chamber Ballet, Women In Motion, Mantra Percussion, DANCE NOW and Island Moving Company as well as artist residencies from The Yard, Marble House Project, Acadia Summer Arts Program and SILO. As a performer, Lohse has worked with Michael Preston, Barbara Karger, Anne Kauffman, Suzanne Bocanegra, Monica Bill Barnes and currently dances with Doug Elkins and David Parker. Lohse has a BA in Dance as well as a BA in Theater from the University of California.
Abigail Levine’s works have been presented throughout the US, in Cuba, Brazil, Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Egypt and Taiwan at venues including Movement Research Festival, Mount Tremper Arts Festival, Danspace Project, Roulette, Gibney Dance, Center for Performance Research, Kennedy Center, Trinosophes Detroit, Hemispheric Institute Encuentro (São Paulo 2013, Montreal 2014), Prisma Forum (Mexico), Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (Cairo), Festival Escenario Urbano (Caracas), Días de la Danza (Havana) and Taipei Fringe.
Levine has received funding and support from New Music USA, Jerome Foundation/ Tofte Lake Emerging Artist Residency, Puffin Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Knockdown Center, Marina Abramovic Institute, and Jacob’s Pillow Professional Advancement Award.
Levine was a reperformer in Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and has also performed recently in the work of Clarinda Mac Low, Carolee Schneemann, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Will Rawls, and Mark Dendy. In 2014, Levine learned Yvonne Rainer’s iconic 1965 work Trio A, coached by Pat Catterson.
She holds a Masters in Dance and Performance Studies from NYU and was the 2013-14 editor of Movement Research’s digital performance journal Critical Correspondence, where she co-curated the Dance and the Museum project. Levine is currently a Visiting faculty in Dance at Wesleyan University.
Mark Dendy will explore improvisation and composition through his own vocabulary and movement invention tools, touching on body part initiation, rhythm, patterns, and gesture. Students will create a movement study within the class that they may use to start their own dance. Mark Dendy has steadily defied the expectation to work in defined categories throughout his career. He has traveled from experimental dance, and edgy East Village drag to high-end Broadway productions, prominent ballet companies and opera to large-scale site-specific works, refusing to capitulate to the dance hegemony that often dictates artists’ choices. From 1983 to 2008, Mark Dendy Dance & Theatre was presented at PS 122, the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, The Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage, and Dance Theater Workshop, as well as numerous national and international venues. Dendy has been commissioned by both modern and ballet companies worldwide, most notably Pacific Northwest Ballet. In 1990 Dendy started producing work that encompasses text, gesture, and nonlinear narrative. In 2000 Dendy ventured into the theater and opera world. He has collaborated with directors Julie Taymor, Tina Landau,Gabriel Barre, Ellen Hemphill, Rebecca Taichman, and Timothy Sheader; writers Neil Simon and Charles Busch; and composers Boy George, Heather Christian, Don Byron, Andrew Lippa, Jim Steinman, and Stephen Schwartz. His commercial theater credits include choreography for Taboo, The Pirate Queen (Broadway); The Wild Party, The Miracle Brothers, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well… (Off-Broadway); Pippin, Camille Claudel, Hair (regional and national tours); The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera); Orpheus (NYC Opera); and Rappacini’s Daughter (Gotham Chamber Opera). MarkDendyProjects.com
Donnell Oakley is an independent choreographer, performer and teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. Donnell co-founded everything smaller in 2002, a Brooklyn-based dance company driven by collaboration. She spent 6 extraordinary years making dances with the inimitable Jessica Jolly and David Schmidt. everything smaller performed in venues and events such as the Studio 42’s Starving Artist Ball, Movement Research’s Improvisation is Hard, The Flea Theater’s Dance Conversations, DanceNOW NYC, the Bodyblend series at Dixon Place, the Solar Powered Arts Festival, Dancespace Center’s Wave of Humanity and their Elizabeth Pape Memorial Concert for which everything smaller received the Elizabeth Pape Scholarship in 2005, the Williamsburg Free Festival, the International D.U.M.B.O Dance Festival, WAX Works, Triskelion Arts Benefit Concerts, New Jersey’s S.W.E.A.T., Teresa Wimmer’s Twilight Project, the Brooklyn Dance Sampler, Middlebury College, University of Michigan, Swarthmore University, and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
In 2008, everything smaller disbanded to pursue other ventures. Donnell continued making dances and has had her work produced through Movement Research, the 92nd Street Y, the West End Theatre, Triskelion Arts, the Joyce SoHo, Dance Now NYC, Dance New Amsterdam, Dixon Place, The Yard, Gowanus Art + Production and was the recipient of the Bessie Schönberg Choreographic Mentorship Residency at The Yard in 2013. She has been fortunate enough to work and collaborate with the extraordinary likes of Xan Burley, Courtney Drasner, Josh Palmer, Jordan Risdon, Alex Springer, Deborah Lohse and Cori Marquis. Donnell has also had the pleasure of working with designers such as Paul Moffit, Scott Nelson and Mandy Ringger.
In addition to her own work, Donnell has had the great pleasure of collaborating and dancing withSteeledance, Chavasse Dance and Performance, Liz Staruch, Fritha Pengelly in Pengelly Projects, Cori Marquis and The Nines [IX], the collective LMn’O3 (Deborah Lohse, Cori Marquis, Donnell Oakley,)Alex|Xan: The Median Movement, and Doug Elkins Choreography Etc.
Donnell has been dancing with Steeledance since 2004. The company performed in Salt Dance Festival 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah and most recently, premiering Devastating Beauty at Peridance’s Salvatore Capezio Theater as part of their 20 Anniversary Season. Steeledance loved being apart of last year’s Dance Now Festival at Joe’s Pub and is currently working on Strictly Personal which premiered at The Yard in June of 2014 and will premiere in New York at The Green Building this November.
In August of 2011, Donnell embarked on a residency with Chavasse Dance and Performance in Puglia, Italy through Res Extensa Dance Company to continue the creation ofThe Hunger For the Longing, which premiered at The University of Michigan in November of 2011. She traveled with Amy to China July of 2013 to perform a new duet, Low Winter Light, with fellow company member Jessica Jolly as part of the Beijing Dance Festival. These pieces along with Amy’s solo and duet work premiered in New York in June of 2015 at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn.
Donnell has been working with Doug Elkins & Friends’ award-winning Fräulein Maria, touring North America, since 2008. In March of 2011, acting as rehearsal director, she had a month long residency through Dance Works in California at Santa Barbara’s Lobero Theater, where Doug Elkins Choreography Etc. began working on the Bessie nominated Mo(or)town/Redux, which had it’s world premier in May of 2012 at American Dance Institute in Maryland, it’s New York premier at Baryshnikov Arts Center in December of 2012, and it’s European premier in Suresnes, France in January of 2013. Doug and company are thrilled that Mo(or)town/Redux was recently part of the line up for the Fall For Dance in New York! Doug’s newest creation, Hapless Bizarre, was in residency at The Yard and Jacob’s Pillow and previewed at The Yard last August. It began touring with its premiere at Keene State College in New Hampshire in February of 2014 and is continuing to tour, having had its New York premiere in January of 2015. The company returns to open Fall For Dance’s 12th Anniversary Season with Hapless Bizarre.
LMn’O3: Deborah Lohse, Cori Marquis and Donnell Oakley have received many exciting opportunities in the last year. Robin Staff of Dance Now NYC brought LMn’O’s collective creative play to the stage of Joe’s Pub in 2014 and they have gone on to “grace” the stages of Triskelion Arts, Judson Church, Built On Stilts, Elm City Dance Collective and The Yard. LMn’ O were awarded multiple Silo Residencies through Dance Now NYC and are thrilled to be working on their first evening length piece to premier at Joe’s Pub on Valentine’s weekend in 2016. So far there are multiple costume changes, snack time and license to parade their deepest desires and fears.
Donnell has been invited to teach and/or set work at West Chester University, the University of Michigan, Middlebury University, Arizona State University, Prescott College, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, Enloe High School and Arts Together in NC, The Yard, The Beijing Dance Festival, and as a continuing part of the modern guest artist program at Gibney Dance Center and Mark Morris Dance Group in New York City. September introduced Donnell’s weekly contemporary technique class at Gibney Dance Center, Wednesdays and Fridays at Noon.
A North Carolina native, Donnell had the great privilege of attending Arts Together in Raleigh where she received extensive training from a young age through high school. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography in 2001 and attended the American Dance Festival in the summers of 1999 and 2001.