Rodney A. Brown
Assistant Professor Rodney A. Brown is a choreographer and founder/director of The Brown Dance Project (The BDP). Professor Brown connects art, performance and education by involving choreographic practice and advocacy. He has done national and international work as an HIV/AIDS educator— an activism that fuels his concern for using art and dance to enrich the community. On World AIDS Day (2011), The BDP premiered the sound of a feeling, a YouTube dance for the camera commemorating the first reported cases of HIV/AIDS in the United States.
As an independent dance-maker, Brown’s choreographies have been performed in South Africa, Europe, and nationally by concert dance companies, university/college and community programs. His work has garnered commendation from the Ohio Dance Council, American College Dance Festival, and the National Society of Arts and Letters. Brown is a native Daytonian and former member of the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC). His most recent ballet The Gatherer / weething (2012), continues a 15 year affiliation with DCDC.
Professor Brown has taught at University of Michigan, Spelman College, Kentucky Governors’ School for the Arts, and most recently as Artistic Director of Dance at Santa Fe College. He received his MFA in Dance from University of Michigan and BA in Performing Arts from Oakland University. Currently, Professor Brown teaches coursework in Contemporary Dance Technique, Repertory/Performance, and Dance Composition.
Dots illuminates the potential of dance as not only a sensory manifestation of movement exploration, but further, a platform for education. As the movement vocabulary stems most vividly from that of contemporary lexicon, Rodney A. Brown employs both abstract and literal gesture to create a work enriched by the pedagogy of action module on HIV education. The dancers, acting as module components, transcribe the action module from language to physicality, describing, embodying, and executing the function of blood within the human body. Through the movers, the dance heightens an association between spoken text and repetitive physical shape to entertain and ultimately, teach the viewer a biology lesson harnessed in the known ways in which HIV can be passed from one individual to another. Important not only for the educative value of the material presented, but more, the utilization of dance as an approach to the learning of science, “Dot” acknowledges the social and political significance of art in contemporary culture.
Ann Sofie Clemmensen
Ann Sofie Clemmensen was born and raised in Denmark. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Art at the Norwegian College of Dance, received a first-class honor post-graduate degree from the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (UK) and completed her MFA in Dance at OSU. She has worked collaboratively with various choreographers and visual artists, such as Henri Oguike, Darshan Singh-Bhuller, Wendy Houstoun, Francesco Scavetta, Sølvi Edvardsen, Tatiana Baganova and others. Prior to graduate school, Clemmensen worked professionally as a dancer and teacher in Europe and Asia.
Susan Van Pelt Petry has had a twenty year career choreographing, performing, and teaching dance internationally. She has received six Ohio Arts Council Choreography Fellowships, grants and commissions for her work including The Repertory Project, Wellspring Dance Collective, and numerous university dance programs and solo artists; she was Artistic Director of the Van Pelt Dance Ensemble for seven years based in Columbus, Ohio and toured a solo show internationally. Susan has been a visiting artist at many colleges and universities, at Cleveland SummerDance Festival, and a faculty member at Ohio University and The Ohio State University. Susan toured internationally as company teacher and rehearsal director with the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre company of Taiwan, and was a recipient of a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts in California. In addition to her own work, she has worked with Sara Rudner, Risa Jaroslow, Gloria McClean, Susan Hadley, and John Giffin. Susan is active in advocacy for dance and dance education, was President of OhioDance, and is on the Programming Committee for Martin Luther King Jr, Center, and the Community Arts Fund panel at the Columbus Foundation. She received her BA from Oberlin College in 1979 and her MA from The Ohio State University in 1985, and continues her creative and physical practice based on Iyengar yoga, Hawkins technique, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Alexander Technique, Contact Improvisation, running, and dancing around with her two young sons.
There is nothing extravagant about Chair Pillow. No high legs or triple pirouettes. No embellishment or stylization. Importance is allotted in the task and the task alone. The dance requires but three materials, the chair, the pillow, and the dancer. Performed to Tina Turner’s “River Deep, Mountain High,” the dancers appear to have no sound relationship with the music. Instead, the dancer appears neutral, lifting and dropping the pillow as he or she sits and stands before, on top of, and beside their assigned chair. Yvonne Rainer presents the dancer with the immense task of being, simply, ordinary.
A renowned dancer and choreographer, Anna Sokolow utilized dance to explore her persistent and evocative interest in humanity. Born on February 9, 1910, Sokolow began her professional career in 1929 as a member of the Martha Graham company. During her time at the Graham Dance Company, Sokolow formed her personal company, performing solo and ensemble works. Her choreography was pervasive in its commitment to depicting a vast range of the human experience, stripping the movement from narrative association in attempt to uncover truth and emotion. As a Jewish woman, Sokolow often visited Mexico and Israel to teach and choreograph, with works frequently serving as manifestations of social, political, and simply, human conflict. In addition to her affiliation to the dance and theater arts of Mexico and invitations to work with Israeli dance companies, Sokolow’s career pervaded the world of universities and acting studios throughout the U.S., including the Julliard School. Receiving an extensive list of honors such as an Honorary Doctorate from Ohio State University, a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan, a National Endowment for the Arts’ Choreographic Fellowship, Sokolow was named one of The Jewish Women’s Archive 2002 Women of Valor. Sokolow died at the age of 90 in New York City on March 29, 2000. However, her choreography and vision for the possibility that lives within dance remains, as her works are performed by the Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble as well as repertory companies scattering the world.
Abby Zbikowski is choreographer interested in movement, practice and finding new meaning through physical form and action. Abby’s work with her company, the New Utility, has been presented at DNA’s Raw Material, Movement Research at Judson Church, the nEW Festival, COLLAGE Arts Festival, the Hear/Now series and the newMoves Festival presented by the Kelly Strayhorn Theater, among others. Her work has also been commissioned by The Ohio State University, where she currently teaches full-time. She has studied intensively at Germaine Acogny’s L’Ecole de Sables in Senegal, and holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and an MFA in dance from the The Ohio State University. As a performer, Abby has worked with choreographers Charles O. Anderson/dance theater x, Megan Mazarick, Nora Gibson, Paige Phillips, Maree ReMalia, and has performed nationally and internationally with the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project.
Noa Zuk began dancing with the Batsheva Ensemble in 1997. In 2000, she joined the Batsheva Dance Company (BDC) where she performed until 2009. During her time with BDC, she also began choreographing her own work. Among her early pieces are O.M.S., A Droom Come Tree and the trio Boxerman, which was performed by members of the Batsheva Ensemble in New York City. Her collaboration with interdisciplinary artist, Ohad Fishof on the video dance One More Song was presented in Israel and abroad. In 2010, she was awarded The Schusterman Foundation Visiting Artist Scholarship and spent three months in residency at The Ohio State University in the United States. Her recent work, Speaker (trio version), premiered in Israel’s annual event International Exposure as part of the Curtain Up series in 2011. In 2012, her new creation for Bern Ballet premiered in Switzerland and she was also selected as one of ten finalists to present her work in the 5th Copenhagen International Choreography Competition. She has been invited to return as an artist in residence for the fall semester at The Ohio State University. Noa is also a teacher of Ohad Naharin’s Gaga Movement Language.
Noa Zuk returned to Ohio State to re-stage her solo as a trio. The work begins with three different solos that explore a strict relationship between the movement and music.