Project Description


Contact: Beth Rutkowski (GroundWorks DanceTheater)
Tel: 216-751-0088

Contact: Hallie Kogelschatz (shark&minnow)
Tel: 617-270-1101
Email: hallie@shark&

GroundWorks DanceTheater to Present World-Premiere Works at Inaugural Series with University of Akron at EJ Thomas Hall in Akron

AKRON, OH (January 27, 2015) – GroundWorks DanceTheater will debut two new works as part of the company’s inaugural concert series at EJ Thomas Hall’s Contemporaries Series on March 5th & 6th, 2015. This series is the centerpiece of GroundWorks’ month-long University of Akron creative residency, which aims to grow the dance community throughout Akron. These performances will comprise three works including House of Sparrows, Untitled and Current Frame.

The world-premiere of House of Sparrows, choreographed by Executive Artistic Director David Shimotakahara

This work is the culmination of an exciting collaboration between GroundWorks DanceTheater, New York-based Aeolus Quartet, Austin-based composer Steven Snowden & New York-based Nic Petry of Dancing Camera. New music by Snowden & choreography by Shimotakahara will explore themes of the Civil War to commemorate its sesquicentennial in 2014 & 2015. The piece will be set in scenes inspired by letters & photographs illustrating the upheaval of domestic life during the Civil War.  The artistic concept will avoid narratives depicting battle & glory, choosing instead to explore individual experiences & stories. The display of these individual portraits will leave the interpretation to the audience & encourage audiences to re-examine the far-reaching impact of the Civil War on our present day society.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the project, there may be an exciting cross-pollination of audiences for dance, chamber music, & new music. Aeolus will be fully integrated into the staging, re-contextualizing interplay between music & dance. All three collaborators have extensive past experience with interdisciplinary works. Fulbright scholar Steve Snowden fully embraces the entire gamut of opportunities available to the modern composer, having written for ensembles as traditional as the string quartet to the less often heard amplified cactus & electronics. Aeolus has worked with dancers, opera companies, & even silent film scoring across the United States. GroundWorks’ central artistic vision is around creating new work in dance & has worked in interdisciplinary models throughout its 16-year existence. Multiple US performances are expected as several national venues are interested in presenting this new work.

An inside look at creative development as it happens (featuring Shimotakahara’s conceptual notes, initial dance segment clips as well as audio clips from Snowden) is available here.

The world-premiere of Untitled, choreographed by Artist-in-Residence Robert Moses

Since founding Robert Moses’ Kin in 1995 in San Francisco, choreographer Robert Moses has created numerous works of varying styles & genres for his highly praised dance company. His work explores topics ranging from oral traditions in African American culture (Word of Mouth, 2002), the life, times, & work of author James Baldwin (Biography of Baldwin, 2003), & the dark side of contemporary urban culture (Cause, 2004), to the nuanced complexities of parentage & identity (The Cinderella Principle, 2010), & the simple joys of the expressive power of pure movement (Toward September, 2009).

In addition to his work with Robert Moses’ Kin, Moses has choreographed for San Francisco Opera (La Forza del Destino, 2005), Philadanco, Cincinnati Ballet, Eco Arts, Transitions Dance Company of the Laban Center in London, African Cultural Exchange (UK), Bare Bones (UK), Oakland Ballet, Moving People Dance, & Robert Henry Johnson Dance Company, among others. He has choreographed for film, theater & opera, with major productions for the Lorraine Hansberry Theater, New Conservatory Theater, Los Angeles Prime Moves Festival (L.A.C.E.), & Olympic Arts Festival.

Learn more about his collaboration with GroundWorks here.

A reprise of Current Frame, choreographed by Artistic Associate Amy Miller (in collaboration with Kathryn Wells Taylor, Gary Lenington, Felise Bagley & Damien Highfield)

This work – a duet performed with live solo violin, played by Nicholas Tavani of Aeolus Quartet – explores the dramatic interplay between the formal structures of Baroque composer Biber’s Passacaglia violin solo & the emotional undercurrent found in response to the music’s themes & cadences. Current Frame premiered in August 2012 at the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in Akron, Ohio.

Amy Miller has a long-standing relationship with the City of Akron. She received her training at the Dance Institute of the University of Akron & at the Joffrey Ballet School. Miller performed with the dance project New Steps from 1991-1997 & was a member of Ohio Ballet from 1991-2001. A founding member of GroundWorks DanceTheater, she has created eleven works for the company including eleveneleven (2006) composed by New York composer/musician Ryan Lott (aka Son Lux), & Allow (2008) composed by Oberlin College graduate Alex Christie. Valence (2009) was created in collaboration with Oberlin College professor Peter Swendsen from the renowned TIMARA School (Technology in Music & the Related Arts.) Since 2008, she has been commissioned to create works for Cleveland’s Dance/Theater Collective, as well as the dance programs of Bowling Green State University & the University of Akron. She holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Akron & was voted 2009 Outstanding Artist in Dance by the Akron Area Arts Alliance. Miller’s choreography earned a 2010 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award.

Since relocating to New York City in 2010, she has performed with David Parker & The Bang Group, jill sigman/thinkdance, Gibney Dance & in the work of Lynne Taylor-Corbett, & appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s upcoming production of Don Giovanni. Amy now holds the position of Associate Artistic Director at Gibney Dance.

EJ Thomas Hall is located at: 198 Hill Street, Akron, OH 44325. Tickets are available for $25 (General Admission)/$10 (Students). Please visit or contact Beth Rutkowski for more information regarding this performance.

About GroundWorks DanceTheater

Now in its 16th season, GroundWorks DanceTheater is dedicated to the development & presentation of new choreography & collaborations.  The five-member company performs new works by Artistic Director, David Shimotakahara, & Artistic Associate, Amy Miller, as well as commissioned work by nationally & internationally acclaimed choreographers including Kate Weare, Ronen Koresh, Dianne McIntyre, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Jill Sigman, Gina Gibney, David Parker & others.

GroundWorks DanceTheater’s Summit County programming is made possible with funding from The GAR Foundation, Roush Memorial Fund of the Akron Community Foundation, The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation, The Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, The Mary and Dr. George L. Demetros Charitable Trust, Sisler McFawn, Individual Contributors & Members of the GroundWorks Board of Directors.

GroundWorks DanceTheater’s annual programming is made possible with additional funding from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Ohio Arts Council, Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Char & Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, The Toby Devan Lewis Philanthropic Fund, The John P. Murphy Foundation, The Kulas Foundation, The Judith Gerson Fund, Individual Contributors & Members of the GroundWorks Board of Directors.

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