For GroundWorks, 2016 was a year filled with extraordinary creative opportunities including three live music collaborations within the production and presentation of an amazing range of groundbreaking work. From the creation of “Shadowbox” as part of the Violins of Hope Project with the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage to our spectacular production of Carmina Burana presented with the Akron Symphony Orchestra, GroundWorks continues to partner with the region’s finest cultural organizations. Our world premieres and dynamic re-stagings with guest artists Adam Barruch, Robyn Mineko Williams, Loni Landon, and Beth Corning, our collaborations with composer Oded Zehavi and musicians Mirabai Weismel Rosenfeld, Erica Snowden, Solomon Liang, Aaron Mossburg, Andrea Belding and Yihan Chen, allowed us to share work with our audience that captivated hearts and minds by boldly pushing the experience of dance into new territory.

GroundWorks connected deeply with the communities it serves in both Akron and Cleveland, reaching over 1,000 students in 12 different public, charter or private schools with literally hands-on creative learning opportunities in conjunction with our performance series. We enriched long term relationships at Willson Elementary, Citizens Leadership Academy and Spring Garden Waldorf School and established exciting new bonds at Hawken School. The company continued dynamic partnerships in higher education as the professional dance company in residence at Cleveland State University, and with the University of Akron Department of Dance, offering college students direct interaction with professional artists through a variety of master classes and workshops. Talented dance students from Ballet Excel and the University of Akron Dance Institute were invited to perform with the company in Carmina Burana. Through our innovative Action/Reaction program, designed to elicit responses to dance from practitioners of other arts disciplines of all ages, we were able to inspire a wonderful group of seniors who are interested in visual art from Judson Park Residence.

We are extremely grateful for the fantastic support of our annual “It Takes Two!” Benefit hosted at the Cleveland Museum of Art.  Our 2016 cast of Celebrity Dancers from the community included Margaret Richards Frankel, Ian Friedman, Heidi Gartland, Brian Marita, Kristen Morris, August Napoli, Sylvia Perez, and Matt Zone, and, paired with company artists, they burned down the stage of Gartner Auditorium! The event has been successfully raising important funds for the work of the company but its real value has been the lasting friendships that have resulted with individuals from all sectors of the community.

Behind all the work that GroundWorks does, be it through our performances or the ways we extend creatively into community, is the idea of connecting to people through an “Exchange.” How do we take what we do and believe in at GroundWorks and use it to inspire and empower creativity in others? As I look back on a busy year I see our Exchange is alive and continues to grow. I am so grateful to the many individuals at GroundWorks who are committed to the hard work of realizing this idea every day. On behalf of the entire company Thank You for your part; for your interest, curiosity, your participation, help and support, and the many ways you complete what we do and make it not only possible, but vital.

With our Sincere Thanks and Best Wishes for your Holiday season and for the New Year,


David Shimotakahara, Executive Artistic Director


We are so appreciative of your support, year round. Please consider helping us continue our creative Exchange with the community we proudly serve and are part of.

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