DeSales Dance Department

The Blog of The DeSales University Dance Department

Jeff Shade
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This past semester, Jeff Shade came to set work on our dancers for the 2014 Dance Ensemble Concert!  His piece entitled, Cirque de Danse was a great addition to the concert and was a huge hit with audience members!  Throughout his residency, Jeff Shade also taught several master classes incorporating musical theater style and technique. The DeSales Dance Department thanks Jeff Shade for an awesome residency!

Jeff Shade’s Biography:

Mentored by Bob Fosse – - Jeff Shade has danced on Broadway in SWEET CHARITY, CHICAGO (dance captain) and TEDDY & ALICE. He has been a guest on the Rosie O’Donnell Show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, HBO Christmas, THE TODAY SHOW, and numerous other tv specials. He has also been featured at Radio City Music Hall!!! His choreography has received critical acclaim, including a rave in VARIETY, a New York Musical Theater Festival BEST CHOREOGRAPHY AWARD, and a recent nomination for a Carbonell Award. His choreography has been seen off-Broadway (Atlantic Theater and Chelsea Playhouse), on American and Japanese Television, and on stages around the world! He has been on the faculty of Harvard University, the Boston Conservatory, Marymount Manhattan College, Montclair State University, STEPS on BROADWAY, CAP 21, and Point Park University! He has an MA in dance therapy (psychotherapy that includes the creative arts), an MBA in marketing from Columbia University, and he is the founder of HOUSE OF THE ROSES dance- based outreach network (helping to build self-esteem and confidence in hundreds of NYC homeless children every week). He is here to make dances, train dancers, and DANCE IT FORWARD!!!

Natalie Desch

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Natalie Desch was chosen specifically by senior dance majors to choreograph their senior piece which was showcased in the 2014 Dance Ensemble Concert! Throughout the residency, Natalie rehearsed with the seniors to create a piece that was both unique and personal for the cast.  Aside from working with the senior class, Natalie Desch also took the time to teach modern master classes and answer questions for students about her experiences in the dance world!

Natalie Desch’s Biography:

Natalie Desch, originally from New Castle, PA, received her BFA and the Martha Hill Prize from the Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy.  From 1996 to 2001 she performed with the Limón Dance Company in an array of classic twentieth-century works, (Limón, Kylián, Maslow, McKayle, Tudor,) as well as being a collaborator in original works, (Haim, Siegenfeld, Varone.)  In 2001 she joined Doug Varone and Dancers and was part of the creation of over twenty-five works with Varone, including collaborations at the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Colorado, Minnesota Opera, Longleaf Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and the Aquila Theater Company.  She served as co-rehearsal director for the company from 2009 to 2012.  Natalie has additionally worked with choreographers Ariane Anthony, Daniel Charon, Adriane Fang, Toshiko Oiwa, and Jonathan Riedel.  She has taught at Limón and Varone summer workshops, the Bates Dance Festival, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and at universities around the country.  A faculty member at Hunter College since 2005, Natalie also teaches at the 92nd Street Y and Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. Additionally she has staged the works of Varone, Limón and Kylián on companies and universities, domestically and abroad.  Natalie’s choreography has been presented at the Juilliard Theater, Alice Tully Hall, the Clark Studio Theater, SUNY Purchase, the Limón Dance Company Choreography Project, the Dumbo Dance Festival and at Regional Dance America festivals.

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Dancers Fighting Cancer!

dancers fighting cancer 2014 group

This year the Dance majors took over at Relay! Check out this message from the teams captain, Cristina Siegel:

Relay for life with Dancers Fighting Cancer was a complete success!

We started out on Friday evening and made it all the way until Saturday afternoon! I am so proud of every single person on the team this year, and am happy to announce that with the support of family, friends, and professors, we raised $4,632.41, ranking us #1 out of 16 teams. We were also the biggest team ever with a roster of 36 people!

More big news! Julissa Dee, & Samantha Jones both shaved their heads,and received donations totaling about $400.00 for the cause!! Kaitlyn Maria also was recognized for her constant walking throughout the night, totaling about 30 miles! Also, congratulations to Samantha Burns ($910) Sam Jones ($405) & Jordan Fager ($400) who were our top 3 fundraisers & to Julissa DeJesus, Amanda Lee Sedor, Haley Gilbert, Sarah Rose,Andrea Miller, Kate Sloan, Katie Borrello, & Kristin Gorman for raising over $100 each!

Dancers Fighting Cancer was also recognized for raising the most money in 80 hours, having more than 15 members, having the most spirited team, & for raising the most money at DSU for the American Cancer Society.”

Congratulations to all involved in RELAY, I have been more than blessed to have been able to spend this weekend with you.

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JOIN US NEXT YEAR AT RELAY FOR LIFE! WE HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!

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WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS SUMMER?!

Are you interested in broadening your dance training this summer? Join us for our 2014 Summer Dance Intensive! The Summer Dance Intensive at DeSales University offers professional dance training to students ages 14 and up. The two-week program focuses on technical training in ballet, modern, jazz, and African dance. Additional classes are offered in ballet repertory, modern repertory, pilates, yoga, contact improvisation, and body percussion! We have an awesome roster of teachers lined up this year including: the chair of DeSales Dance Department Timothy Cowart, Camile Armstrong, Janine Bryant, Lavon Patterson, Edit Ginsberg, Janet Peck, Tara Madsen Robbins, as well as Angela Sigley!  The summer intensive will also culminate with an Informal Showing showcasing what students have been working on throughout the two weeks!  Interested in attending but need financial assistance? There are a number of scholarships available for students! The Deadline for scholarship information is due June 1st! Additional information can be found in the registration form below!

2014 summer dance intensive form

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Christopher Morgan Residency

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Christopher Morgan, accompanied by company members, will be in residence Friday, February 1 – Friday, February 8, 2013. He will be setting work on the senior dance majors, which will be premiered in the Spring Dance Ensemble Concert.  Throughout the week, Morgan and his company members will be teaching several dance masterclasses, including classes in modern movement as well as jazz movement.

Christopher Morgan’s Biography:

Christopher K. Morgan grew up in Orange County, CA, and learned the Hula and Polynesian
dances of his Hawaiian ancestors as a child. Discovering ballet, jazz and modern dance at
the age of 17, Christopher studied dance at the University of California Irvine. But after only 2
years in school he was offered a job to dance for Malashock Dance & Company in San Diego.
Thus began his extensive performing career that would have him move to Munich, Washington
DC, New York, Dublin and London. Now, he brings his diverse heritage and nearly 20 years of
experience as a professional dancer, educator, choreographer and arts facilitator to directing his
contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists.

Christopher’s choreography has been called “charming and poignant” by Jennifer Dunning of The
New York Times and been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents, in venues including The
Kennedy Center, La Mama, Theater Artaud, The Maly Theatre (Moscow, Russia) the Hong Kong
Cultural Center and the South Lawn of the White House. His 2010 work +1/-1, won the 2010
Dance Metro DC award for Outstanding New Work. Dance Magazine profiled him in April 2011 as
one of six breakout choreographers in the United States.

A skilled facilitator, Christopher also directs The Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an
annual three-week residency for professional, international dancer/choreographers that takes
place each August in upstate New York. From 2007-2011 Christopher served as Choreographer
in Residence and Rehearsal Director for Washington, DC based CityDance Ensemble. He is
currently the Artist in Residence at American University in Washington DC and is the recipient of
a 2011 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Choreography, a 2012 and 2013
Individual Artist Grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and a 2013
Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship in Dance.

About Christopher Morgan’s Company:

Christopher K. Morgan & Artists is a professional contemporary dance company whose work
stems from a belief in the urgency of live performance in an increasingly isolating, commercial,
and digital world. Founded in July 2011, as a vehicle for Morgan’s choreographic exploration of
social and cultural issues, the Company provides a creative outlet for its artists and collaborators
through virtuosic and expressive dance performances.

With a dual residency at CityDance in North Bethesda, MD and The Alden in McLean, VA,
CKM&A demystifies contemporary dance through interactive dialogue and media, while creating
an opportunity for self-reflection for its audiences through its performances.

www.christopherkmorgan.com

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Allen Kaeja Residency

Allen Kaeja, most known for his dance on camera work and choreography, will be in residence Sunday, January 8 – Friday, January 20, 2012. His first week at DeSales University will be spent setting work on the senior dance majors, which will be performed in the Spring Dance Ensemble Concert. The 16th to the 20th, he will be teaching several masterclasses on modern partnering and dance on camera.

Allen Kaeja’s Biography:

Gemini nominated Director and Award winning Choreographer Allen Kaeja entered the field of dance after 9 years of wrestling and Judo. He has created over 90 dance pieces since 1982 and choreographed for 17 films. Allen is Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with his life partner Karen Kaeja and is currently studying for his Masters degree at York University. He is co-founder of the CanAsian International Dance Festival and the Fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists (fFIDA). His stage works have been presented in festivals around the world including Sweden, Israel, UK, Portugal, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain and the USA amongst others. Allen’s awards include the prestigious Clifford E. Lee, K.M. Hunter and Paul D. Fleck Choreography Awards (Canada), Bonnie Bird Award (UK), UNESCO citation and the Moving Picture award for best performance (Canada) among others. Allen’s most recent full evening production Abattoir premiered in Vancouver March 2008 and continues to tour.

Allen’s most recent dance film Between Seams is premiering Italy in June 2008. It features Karen and Sylvie Bouchard, and is his 8th Bravo!FACT short. Kaeja has co-directed eight award-winning dance films with Mark Adam and a series of four films with Douglas Rosenberg in conjunction with Wisconsin Public Television and Bravo!FACT. The Kaeja films have been screened all across the globe and have been nominated for the American Choreography Awards, Gemini Awards and the Banff World Television Festival Awards. They have received special ‘Jury Mentions’ from the Rocky Awards, IMZ and a ‘Certificate of Distinction’ from American Dance Festival. The Kaeja films are also a part of the permanent collection at the MoMA and Jewish Museum in New York and Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Israel.

Allen and Karen teach Master classes and residencies in Kaeja Partnering and Contact Dance. Allen is currently on faculty at the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre and Ryerson University. He also taught Canada’s first “Hands-on” University Dance Film course in Canadian history this year at Ryerson. They developed the EXPRESS DANCE approach, now integrated into the education system through a partnership with the TDSB, TCDSB and Prologue for the Performing Arts. Renowned for their education and outreach projects, they provide subsidized workshops, dance enrichment opportunities and performances to underserved communities in Canada and abroad.

Allen has recently been commissioned to create a new work, Beyond Borders, on Mexico City’s Nemian Dance Company, which will premiere at the Theatre de la Ciudad, October 2008. As well, Soulpepper Theatre Company (Toronto) has commissioned a new creation from Allen in collaboration with Albert Shultz (Director), Anton Piatigorsky (writer) and David Buchbinder (Composer) adapting Between Two Worlds as a Dance/Theatre/Music production set to premiere in June 2009.

Kaeja d’Dance

Benjamin Levy Residency

Monday, January 30, through Saturday, February 3, 2012 modern dance choreographer, Benjamin Levy, will be teaching masterclasses at DeSales University. Levy will specifically be setting a work on the senior class. This work will be presented at the Steel Stacks on Friday, February 2, 2012 in Bethlehem, PA along side of his company, LEVYdance.

Benjamin Levy’s Bio:

Benjamin Levy is a choreographer, dancer and artistic director recognized for his cutting-edge interdisciplinary works that explore the nuance and drama of human intimacy. After earning his BA in Dance and Marketing from UC Berkeley and performing with Joe Goode Performance Group, Levy founded LEVYdance in 2002. LEVYdance very quickly became known for its innovative works and collaborations and in 2004 Levy was named one of the “Top 25 Choreographers to Watch” by Dance Magazine and awarded a San Francisco Bay Guardian Goldie Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement. Levy has also been awarded a Choreographic Fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography and a 2005 Emerging Choreographer Award from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, and creative residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artist Program and The Silo.

As Artistic Director for LEVYdance, Levy has presented original works at prestigious venues across the nation, engaged distinguished collaborators, and established a unique recognizable artistic aesthetic for LEVYdance.

Levy’s distinct choreographic style has been sought after for commissions and master classes at Scottish Dance Theatre in Dundee, Scotland, the Northern California Dance Conservatory, LINES Ballet, Joy of Motion Dance Center, DeSales University, UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Los Angeles, UC Berkeley, CSU San Jose, CSU San Francisco, SUNY Purchase, University of Oregon, Dance Place, University of Utah, George Washington University and ODC Dance Commons.

LEVYdance

Camille Armstrong Residency

Camille Armstrong will be in residence at DeSales University periodically throughout the fall and spring semester. In the fall, Camille is working with our students to present a ‘Flash Mob’ that is body percussion based, which will be performed in September. In the spring, Camille is setting a body percussion piece which is to be performed in our Dance Ensemble Concert.

Camille Armstrong’s Biography:

Camille Armstrong started choreographing Hip-Hop and Creative Dance from age 7 for local talent shows at church and community centers. She attended NYC’s H.S. of Music and Art and Performing Arts where she learned Body Percussion (or Stepping) and graduated in 1992 with a Vocal Music and Arts Endorsement Diploma. Since then , Camille has choreographed and taught Body Percussion classes and workshops in the community, forming Step teams and competitions. Camille was also the music and dance coordinator of various Teen Pageants in the community. From 1998-2008, Camille performed with the Off-Broadway, U.S. and Overseas touring companies of STOMP. Meanwhile, teaching Hip-Hop & Body Percussion workshops all over the world including Vienna, Austria; Vancouver, B.C.; NYU in New York City; Seoul, Korea; Mansfield, Ohio; and Bethlehem, PA with Touchstone Theatre.

Jody Sperling Residency

Jody Sperling, Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance, will be in residence at DeSales University from February 6th to 12th. Sperling will be setting “Ghost Revisited” inspired by Loie Fuller. The piece will be performed in our spring dance ensemble concert by selected dance majors.

Jody Sperling’s Bio:

Jody Sperling is the Founder and Artistic Director of Time Lapse Dance. A dancer, choreographer and dance scholar based in New York City. Sperling has gained an international reputation as an expert on Loïe Fuller and is the foremost contemporary interpreter of Fuller’s style. In the past decade, Sperling has created more than 30 works, including many solo and group works that pay homage to Fuller, as well as others that fuse modern dance and circus arts. She has taught, lectured and/or performed in the US, Canada, France, India, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia and Scotland.
Sperling has received commissions from the Vermont Performance Lab & Marlboro College, The University of Wyoming through the NEA American Masterpieces Program and the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M.) for the creation of a new aerial work. Her work Roman Sketches has been in the repertory of Holland’s Introdans ensemble.As a dancer, Sperling has performed in the works of other choreographers including a revival of Yvonne Rainer’s 1960s landmark Trio A. Sperling has served on the Board of Directors of the Society of Dance History Scholars and has presented at the Society’s conferences. She holds an MA in Performance Studies (NYU) and a BA in Dance and Italian (Wesleyan). Her writings have appeared in Dance MagazineThe Village VoiceThe SDHS Conference ProceedingsThe International Encyclopedia of Dance and she is contributing an essay to the forthcoming bookBirds of Paradise: Costume as Cinematic Spectacle.Time Lapse Dance
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Elizabeth Bergman

Elizabeth June Bergman is a nomadic dancer, improviser, scholar, and educator.  Her work takes the form of solo performance, dance history and cultural scholarship, DIY dancefilms, and collaboration with other dance-makers and artists.  In the past several years her creative work has been presented in places as far-flung as Lebanon, New York City, Washington DC, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Iowa City, San Antonio, Lawrence, Kansas, Omaha, Nebraska, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.                                                                                                                                                             Elizabeth holds a BA in dance from DeSales University(2005) and a MFA in dance performance from the University of Iowa (2009), where she has recently taught as an adjunct. She teaches everything from ballet, modern, and improvisational dance techniques to dance studies.  In 2011 Elizabeth was certified as a hatha yoga teacher at the 200-hour level by James Miller and is attending a 500-hour level yoga teacher training course in Rishikesh, India in early summer of 2014.

Elizabeth has also performed in the work of many independent choreographers including Jennifer Kayle, Charlotte Adams, Rosy Simas, April Sellers, Amy Lynne Barr, Analia Alegre-Femenias, Lynn Andrews, Emily Gastineau, and Joanna Rosenthal.

www.elizabethjunebergman.com

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Natalie Desch

Natalie Desch, originally from New Castle, PA, received her BFA and the Martha Hill Prize from the Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy.  From 1996 to 2001 she performed with the Limón Dance Company in an array of classic twentieth-century works, (Limón, Kylián, Maslow, McKayle, Tudor,) as well as being a collaborator in original works, (Haim, Siegenfeld, Varone.)  In 2001 she joined Doug Varone and Dancers and was part of the creation of over twenty-five works with Varone, including collaborations at the Metropolitan Opera, Opera Colorado, Minnesota Opera, Longleaf Opera, Palm Beach Opera, and the Aquila Theater Company.  She served as co-rehearsal director for the company from 2009 to 2012.  Natalie has additionally worked with choreographers Ariane Anthony, Daniel Charon, Adriane Fang, Toshiko Oiwa, and Jonathan Riedel.  She has taught at Limón and Varone summer workshops, the Bates Dance Festival, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and at universities around the country.  A faculty member at Hunter College since 2005, Natalie also teaches at the 92nd Street Y and Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. Additionally she has staged the works of Varone, Limón and Kylián on companies and universities, domestically and abroad.  Natalie’s choreography has been presented at the Juilliard Theater, Alice Tully Hall, the Clark Studio Theater, SUNY Purchase, the Limón Dance Company Choreography Project, the Dumbo Dance Festival and at Regional Dance America festivals.

Not only did Natalie join us for master class but she also spent even more time on campus collaborating with our senior dance majors.  The 2014 senior class had the privilege of working with Natalie for a week straight formulating their senior Dance Ensemble piece titled Lines From There to Here.  Natalie thanked the seniors for their invaluable input and collaborative spirit in the creation of the piece.  Similarly, our Dance Department thanks Natalie for her time here and cannot wait for her to return!

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christopherkmorgan-tie21Christopher Morgan

DeSales University was happy to welcome back Christopher K Morgan and Company! Christopher K. Morgan grew up in Orange County, CA dancing the Hula and Polynesian dances of his Hawaiian ancestors. Discovering ballet, jazz and modern dance at the age of 17, Christopher studied dance at the University of California Irvine. But after only 2 years in school, he was offered a job dancing for Malashock Dance & Company in San Diego. Thus began his extensive performing career that would have him move to Munich, Washington DC, New York, Dublin and London. Now, he brings his diverse heritage and over 15 years of experience as a dancer, educator, choreographer and arts facilitator to directing his contemporary dance company.

His work stems from a belief in the urgency of live performance in an increasingly isolating, commercial, and digital world. His choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents, in venues including The Kennedy Center (Washington DC), La Mama (New York City), Theater Artaud (San Francisco), The Maly Theatre (Moscow, Russia) the Hong Kong Cultural Center (China) and the South Lawn of the White House.

In April 2011 Dance Magazine profiled Christopher as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States. His 2010 work +1/-1, hailed as “exquisitely athletic…the kind of crooked choreography where the simple quiver of fingertips is enough to spark goose bumps”  (artspost.net), won the Dance Metro DC award for Outstanding New Work that year.

From 2007-2011 he served as Choreographer in Residence and Rehearsal Director for CityDance Ensemble. He has collaborated with Musica Aperta since 2009, choreographing Pheasants, which premiered at the National Gallery of Art that year. From 2005 until 2008 he also founded and directed his New York City based pick up group, Muse.

A skilled facilitator, Christopher directs  The Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual three-week residency for professional, international dancer/choreographers that takes place each August in upstate New York.

Christopher is currently the Artist in Residence at American University in Washington DC. Previous teaching credits include the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Shawbrook (Ireland), Iwanson Schule (Munich), Choreography College of Belarus, Towson University (Maryland), Stephens College (Missouri), Western Kentucky University and University of Idaho among many others. He has lectured for New York City Ballet’s Education Department, Dance Theater Workshop, adjudicated National and Regional ACDFA Festivals and served as a panelist for both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Performing credits include Fabulous Beast Dance Theater (Ireland/UK), David Gordon, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Kevin Wynn and the Collection, Shapiro & Smith, Malashock Dance & Company, Selfish Shellfish (Germany), and as a soloist with the Washington National, Houston Grand, and New York City Operas. He was in the original Olivier nominated cast of Fabulous Beast Dance Theater’s Giselle. TV and film credits include a PBS Great Performance with Placido Domingo, and on film dancing with Kate Winslet and Christopher Walken.

Christopher is the recipient of a 2011 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Choreography, a 2012 and 2013 Individual Artist Grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County and 2013 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Fellowship.

 

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CKM&A underwent many new and aspiring events since they last visited us here at DeSales.  Students from various institutions had the opportunity to workshop with the company for two weeks during the CKM&A Summer Intensive.  In late fall, they also welcomed new member Thomas Moore to the company!  The company also has performed in several different concerts that showcased new works.  Their most recent work, Dissolving,  just previously debuted at The Alden Theatre.  This was a new work made by <organ in collaboration with Dance Exchange Resident Artist Matthew Cumbie and composer Joanthan Kolm.  Also on the program, the company premiere of Morgan’s 2013 work Selective Sync, Morgan’s 2010 solo for live cello by Ignacio Alcover entitled Cuarti, and 2013 work Place Names.

Our Department cannot wait to culminate our semester with another great master class with Christopher in April!
 
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Ruben Graciani

Rubén Graciani began his artistic career as a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he majored in Modern Dance. After receiving his high school degree, Mr. Graciani was awarded a scholarship to attend The Juilliard School in New York City. In addition to the Juilliard program, Mr. Graciani studied on scholarship with several major New York dance companies, including the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

Mr. Graciani completed his studies at the State University of New York – Purchase College, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While attending Purchase, Mr. Graciani was invited to perform in three International Festivals of Dance staged in Taiwan and China. Mr. Graciani was also invited to join the Kevin Wynn Collection, a New York based Modern Dance Company.

After graduation, Rubén joined the Mark Morris Dance Group as a contract performer. Mr. Graciani’s five-year affiliation with the company resulted in national and international tours. He also performed as a founding member of bopi’s black sheep/dances by kraig patterson. After ten years as a member of the New York City dance community, Rubén began graduate school at the University of Maryland – College Park. While there he presented nine works of choreography for the Maryland Dance Ensemble, and premiered two works at a self-produced concert with Connie Fink and Jennifer Dorsey. His M.F.A. thesis concert, Search for my Familiar, was performed to critical acclaim. Mr. Graciani also was a guest artist with the CityDance Ensemble at the Kennedy Center.
In September of 2005 Mr. Graciani joined the faculty at Ohio University as an Assistant Professor. While there he received two Arts for Ohio Choreographic Grants, one of which resulted in the collaboration, Oyster, with composer John Orfe and the Grammy Award winning new music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound.

In addition to his work at Ohio University, Rubén was a member of the Joe Goode Performance Group for two seasons, 2005-2007. Mr. Graciani’s work with the company has included contributing to the creation and premiere of new work at the company’s home season in San Francisco, two national tours of new work and repertory, a site specific performance at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and teaching master classes all over the country.

In the summer of 2007, he appeared as a guest artist with the Brian Brooks Moving Company at the Gwang Ju International Performing Arts Festival in Gwang Ju, South Korea. In the Spring of 2008 his first solo show was presented at the SAS Performing Arts Center in Shanghai, China. Mr. Graciani was a company member and rehearsal director for Company Stefanie Batten Bland, from 2008-2010.

Currently an Associate Professor, Rubén joined the faculty of Skidmore College in September of 2008. While at Skidmore Mr. Graciani has collaborated with renowned composer Richard Danielpour and pianist, Xiayin Wang on the work Swing and a Miss, which premiered at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center; worked in collaboration with the Academy ACJW for a performance of L’Histoire du Soldat, and premiered two works for Saratoga ArtsFest. Rubén’s work on dance films with his Skidmore students was recently profiled in the November 2012 edition of Dance Magazine. He has created 11 choreographic works for the Skidmore Dance Department, and he teaches Advanced Modern Technique, Contemporary Ballet, Modern Dance Partnering, Choreography, and Senior Capstone among others. In the fall of 2012 he began teaching in the Skidmore Inter-Group relations program.

His recently formed dance company, RG Dance Projects, has already had two successful engagements in NYC. RG Dance Projects premiered a new work at the DanceNow Raw Materials show, and the DanceNow Joe’s Pub festival in September of 2012. RGDP won the Audience Favorite Award for the night while performing at the DanceNow Joe’s Pub Festival and was invited to perform again in the encore presentation of the best of the festival. RG Dance Projects has been awarded a residency at SILO Arts in Pennsylvania in the spring of 2013 to prepare for their inaugural full season in NYC.

He currently serves on the Dance Panel of the New York State Council of the Arts.

www.rubengraciani.com

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Jessica Chen

Jessica Chen is the Founder and Artistic Director of J CHEN PROJECT.  She is a global artist with a base in Santa Barbara and New York City.  Her work has been commissioned world wide including the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and spoken word artist Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai’s evening length show, “Formosa.”  She was honored as the Keynote Speaker at Cornell University’s Celebration of Asian American Women for her work in empowering Asian American women to become leaders in their community.  She grew up in Hacienda Heights, California with a passion for story telling and culture given her own Chinese American heritage.  She has traveled to nearly 30 countries across Asia, Europe,  the Americas and Africa teaching, performing and speaking as well as learning and exploring local dances and traditions.  Jessica holds a B.A. in Global Studies from the University of California in Santa Barbara.  Upon graduation, she moved to NYC to continue her training at The Ailey School, Broadway Dance Center and received a full scholarship to Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts.

J CHEN PROJECT is a contemporary dance company that strives to be an artistic force by crossing boundaries and connecting with people around the world through expressive and emotional dance works.  The company is fully dedicated to fostering dialogue and bringing social consciousness to issues facing humanity today.  Believing in the power of words, sound and imagery, the company engages in dynamic collaborations with poets, recording artists, fashion designers, photographers and filmmakers.

www.jchenproject.com

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