Mary-Jean Cowell, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Dance Program at Washington University in St. Louis and ACDFA Central Region Director, studied with Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais. She performed in the Katherine Litz Company, in her own choreography for CHoreographers’ Showcases, and in work by performance artist Ping Chong. She has since choreographed more than sixty dances in NYC, Hawaii, Tokyo, and St. Louis. In Tokyo, she taught and choreographed for the Abe Kobo Repertory Company. Her Michio Ito research has produced several articles and conference papers, and she has been studying the Ito method for several years. In 2009 she participated as a dancer and resident scholar in the Utah Repertory Dance Theatre summer workshop and focused on Ito technique and repertory. Awards include a Japan Foundation Grant, a Missouri Creative Artist Project Grant, and a teaching award. She has an MA in Dance and a PhD in Japanese Literature and Theatre.
Kyoko Imura-Ryutani began studying Michio Ito as a child in 1952, continuing until his death in 1961. She organized the Doomonkai (Michio Ito Association) in 1964. She participated in the Association performances, including the special Michio Ito Birth Centennial Anniversary and the 40th Association Anniversary Commemoration performances. She served as president of the Doomonkai for 12 years and, since 1994, has been engaged in the preservation of Michio Ito’s works. She presently serves as artistic adviser of the Doomonkai. In this capacity, she coaches the repertoire that the members present and counsels them on the performing methods that most support Ito’s aesthetics. Currently, she continues to manage and teach at the Kyoko Imura Dance Art studio. Through her work at her private studio and with the Doomonkai, she has taught both adults and children for many years. Ryutani is one of the few surviving direct students of Michio Ito.
Kumiko Komine first studied the Michio to Method as a child and began appearing in Ito studio performances a few years later. After graduation from Japan Women’s Athletic College, she opened a ballet studio and continued to perform with the Ito group and in Young Generation Modern Dance concerts. After a 10 year “sabbatical” to raise her children, she opened another ballet and rejoined the Doomonkai (Michio Ito Association). During the 1990’s she performed in the concerts celebrating Ito’s birth and other performances by the Doomonkai. In 1997 she became an assistant to Taeko Furusho, Michio’s niece, teaching at the Academy of Performing Arts. In 2000 she assisted Taeko during a residency at the University of Washington to teach Ito technique and repertoire to the Seattle Chamber Dance Company. She assisted in the production of documentaries on ITo for the UW and for the Japan Broadcasting Association (NHK). She became president of the Doomonkai in 2006 and has continued lectures and performances focused on the Ito legacy. With Kyoko Imura, she was a resident artist during the 2009 Summer Session of the Utah Repertory Dance Theatre. Throughout her career she has taught children and adults of all ages.
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 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.