New Dance Partners

New Dance Partners 2020
The Ultimate Collaboration

December 4, 2020 - December 6, 2020 | VIRTUAL EVENT (free)

Past Event

Midwest Trust Center Series brings together four choreographers and four local dance companies for the ultimate festival of contemporary and modern dance.

Audiences will delight in a feast for the eyes as four new works premiere on film. For the seventh festival of contemporary and modern dance, Midwest Trust Center Series has enlisted four choreographers to create original works for four local dance companies to perform at the world premieres. Each new work will then be owned by the dance company for two years for use in their own programs.

Keeping Time

Caili Quan, Choreographer
Performed by Owen/Cox Dance Group

Music: Stacy Busch, Inward Findings; New Zealand; and Hope for You
Costume Designs: Christine Darch

Caili Quan, Choreographer

Caili Quan
Caili Quan

Raised on Guam, trained in New York, and a dancer with BalletX since 2013, Caili has choreographed for BalletX, konverjdans, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, DanceWorks Chicago’s ChoreoLab, CelloPointe, and St. Paul’s School. With BalletX, she has performed new works by Matthew Neenan, Nicolo Fonte, Gabrielle Lamb, Penny Saunders, and Trey McIntyre and danced at Jacob’s Pillow, Vail Dance Festival, Central Park SummerStage, Belgrade Dance Festival, the Joyce Theater, and the Kennedy Center during DEMO by Damian Woetzel. Her duet Fancy Me was performed at the Vail Dance Festival in 2018. She served as an Artistic Partnership Initiative Fellow at The Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU in Summer 2019. Caili choreographed and edited a short dance film 100 Days, a virtual commission for The Guggenheim’s Works & Process. This summer she choreographed Love letter, a dance film inspired by Guam’s culture and people for BalletX’s virtual platform, BalletX Beyond.

Owen/Cox Dance Group

Owen/Cox Dance Group’s mission is to create new music and dance collaborations, to present high-quality contemporary dance performances with live music, and to engage as wide an audience as possible through affordable live performance, education and outreach programs.

With this mission in mind, co-founders Jennifer Owen and Brad Cox bring together some of Kansas City’s most talented artists representing a variety of genres to perform contemporary dance with live music. With diverse backgrounds ranging from the Bolshoi Ballet and the Leningrad Chamber Orchestra to Alvin Ailey and Dave Brubeck, these dancers and musicians form a highly skilled and multifaceted corps. The collaborative results speak for themselves: fresh and vibrant new works that are classical in form but contemporary in expression.

Jennifer Owen, Co-Founder and Artistic Director

Jennifer Owen is the Artistic Director of Owen/Cox Dance Group, an ensemble she co-founded with composer Brad Cox in 2007. She has choreographed over fifty new works for Owen/Cox Dance Group, including two commissions by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and works commissioned by Island Moving Co. of Newport, RI, NWA Ballet Theatre, Kansas City Dance Festival, Kansas City Baroque Consortium, and Kansas City Chamber Orchestra. She has also created nine new works for Kansas City Ballet's In the Wings choreographic workshop, and a winning entry for the 2006 Columbus Choreography Project. Owen is the recipient of a 2000 Princess Grace Honorarium. Prior to founding Owen/Cox Dance Group, Owen enjoyed a 13-year international ballet career. After training with Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, she went on to dance with the Russian State Ballet, Moscow Renaissance Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, BalletMet, and was a guest artist with the National Ballet of Turkmenistan. She has performed principal roles in "Giselle," "Don Quixote," George Balanchine's "Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux" and "Donizetti Variations," and the central pas de deux in Todd Bolender's "Arena."

Christine Darch, Costume Design

Christine Darch designs and builds costumes and sets for choreographers Julia Adam, Jennifer Archibald, Karen Burke, Val Caniparoli, Robert Dekkers, Jorma Elo, Nicolo Fonte, Adam Hougland, Jae Man Joo, Wubkje Kuindersma, James Kudelka, Gabrielle Lamb, Edwaard Liang, Stephanie Martinez, Stephen McMahon, Matthew Neenan, David Palmer, Gina Patterson, Caili Quan, Brian Reeder, Dwight Rhoden, Amy Seiwert, Merián Soto, and Septime Webre.

She has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey, Arizona, Astana, Atlanta, Ballet West, BalletX, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Colorado, Complexions, Dayton, Hawaii, Houston, Imagery, Israel, Kansas City, Marin, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nice Méditerranée, Oklahoma City, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, Post, Sacramento, San Francisco, Singapore, Smuin, Tulsa and Washington Ballets.

She is the resident costume designer for Complexions Contemporary Ballet and lives in East Northport, NY, with acclaimed classical American ballet composer Matthew Pierce.

Stacy Busch, Composer

Stacy is a composer/performer working in electronic music. Her work has been performed at the University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, Western Michigan University and Central Michigan University. It has also been performed by ensembles including: loadbang, Bent Frequency and the Beo String Quartet.

Stacy is a 2020 Charlotte Street Foundation Generative Performing Artist Fellow and has received grants from ArtsKC, ArtSounds, Charlotte Street Foundation and the UMKC Women's Council. Stacy received her MM in composition from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her BM in composition from Western Michigan University. Her teachers include Rome Prize winners Paul Rudy and James Mobberley as well as Pulitzer Prize winners Zhou Long and Chen Yi. Other influential teachers include Guggenheim Fellow Curtis Curtis-Smith, Christopher Biggs and Lisa Coons.

Owen/Cox Dancers

Emily Mushinski
Emily Mushinski is a native of the Kansas City area. She studied at American Dance Center under the instruction of Kristopher Estes-Brown and Jennifer Tierney. She was a member of American Youth Ballet where she performed lead roles in ballets such as The Firebird, Swan Lake, and The Nutcracker. She furthered her training at summer intensives with Joffrey Midwest, Boston Ballet, LINES Ballet, Ballet X, and Trisha Brown Dance Company. She graduated summa cum laude from SUNY Purchase College in 2017 and she was the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award. In 2015, she studied abroad at Codarts University of the Arts in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Emily has performed works by choreographers such as George Balanchine, Trisha Brown, Gregory Dolbashian, Adam Hougland, Gabrielle Lamb, Matthew Neenan, Taryn Kaschock Russell, Kameron Saunders, Bettijane Sills, and Manuel Vignoulle.

In 2018, Emily lived in Budapest, Hungary and trained with Budapest Dance Theater. She is a 200-hour RYT and teaches dance and yoga locally. She is thrilled to be a part of Owen/Cox Dance Group.

Demetrius McClendon
Born and raised in the south side of Chicago, Demetrius McClendon, who is also known as ImagineJoy, began dancing with street hip-hop at the age of 15 and has traveled nationally and internationally as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer sharing their passion for the arts. Since graduating from Northern Illinois University in 2011, they have danced professionally with DanceWorks Chicago, TU Dance, Owen/Cox Dance Group and as a guest artist with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Twin Cities Ballet, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, and Minnesota Opera, among numerous other companies.

As a community organizer and facilitator that believes wholeheARTedly in the power of radical imagination, political education, and spiritual practice, they co-create with others to build experiences that heal and empower BIPOC & Queer communities. They are currently a co-artistic associate for “Don’t You Feel It Too?” a movement meditation, social justice-based organization in the Twin Cities of Minnesota.

Laura Jones Wallner
Laura Jones Wallner, originally from Hamilton, Montana, started dancing at the age of 6. She began attending the University of North Carolina School of the Arts’ School of Dance when she was 14, where she later graduated from their high school Classical Ballet program. During this time, Laura also studied with Boston Ballet and Houston Ballet. After high school, Laura danced professionally with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet II and with the Missouri Contemporary Ballet. Since moving to Kansas City, she has danced extensively with Quixotic and with Owen/Cox Dance Group.

Winston Dynamite Brown
Winston Dynamite Brown, Dancer/Teacher/Choreographer, A native of Kansas City Missouri began his dance journey at The Smith Sisters Dance Studio which led him to the Missouri State Ballet, The University of Missouri Kansas City (BFA in dance recipient) as well as the Center Dance under the mentorship/tutelage of Mr. Tyrone Aiken. Along this varied creative path, Dynamite has participated in numerous intensive programs such as -Kansas City Ballet, Alonzo King’s pre-professional, The Ailey School summer intensive (three-time fellowship recipient) as well as the inaugural recipient of the Lorna Strassler scholarship recipient at the Jacobs Pillow (ballet & Modern program).

Dynamite is currently working with Camille A. Brown & Dancers (New experiment 2020). As a professional Dynamite has had the pleasure of sharing creative space with companies such as Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Co., Deeply Rooted Productions, Albany Berkshire Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera, TU Dance,Corbin Dances, Irish Modern Dance Theatre (IMDT), Ben Munisteri Dance projects, Taylor 2 and most recently Dance Heginbotham, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Pilobolus, Sean Curran Co., Opera Theater St. Louis, Kyle Abraham/A.I.M, and Stephanie Batten Bland Co.

In addition to concert dance Dynamite has been fortunate to participate in the 27th annual “Gypsy of the Year” & “Easter Bonnet” choreographed by Ray Mercer for The Broadway Cares Fundraisers. Throughout his career, Dynamite has taught for many schools and institutions both domestic and international as a teaching artist, most recently American Ballet Theater, Ballet Arts, Manhattan Movement Arts Center (Manhattan Youth Ballet), Joffrey Ballet and contemporary /jazz, Ailey Camp (MO, KS, NJ, NY) and The Ailey School.

Dynamite has begun to explore more choreographic endeavors, so far producing works for his own company TheDynamitExperience as well as Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Co., UMKC, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Joffrey summer intensive, Brooklyn Arts High School, The Ailey School (BFA, Certificate, Junior, PPAS divisions & extension).

Dynamite is grateful for his journey thus far and recognizes he would not be where and who he is without the continued and generous support of Friends and Family. “Nothing to prove only to share.”

Christopher Page-Sanders
Originally from St. Louis, Mr. Page-Sanders received his formal dance training from the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) and the University of Missouri- Kansas City: Conservatory of Music and Dance. He is the CO-Founding\Artistic Director of NU-World Contemporary Danse Theatre, which he founded with his husband, Bashir Page-Sanders. As a performing artist, Christopher is grateful to have danced as a member of many notable companies such as the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, Owen/Cox Dance Group among others.

As a choreographer and teacher, he has created concert dance work for companies such as Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Davis Contemporary Dance Company, Deeply Rooted's ECS, COCADance, as well as teaching and choreographing at the Denver School for the Arts, Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, William & Mary College and the Central Visual & Performing Arts High School. He is currently the Modern Dance Director for Park Hill Dance Academy.

His choreography has been presented on a national level twice at the International Association of Blacks in Dance Conference. In 2013, he was recognized and given the Leni Wylliams Award for choreography and innovation from Cleo Parker Robinson Dance. In 2020, he was awarded a Colorado Henry Award as "Best Choreographer," for his choreography for “The Scottsboro Boys,” produced by Vintage Theatre Productions. To his ancestors and mentors on your shoulders I dance! Peace and Blessings; Love, Light and Art!

Latra Wilson
Latra Ann Wilson a Tyler Texas native and graduate from University of Missouri at Kansas City with a BFA in dance. Ms. Wilson has since danced with artist and institutions across the creative spectrum from Paul Taylor 2 (NY), Opera Theater St. Louis (MO) to The Public Theatre annual Shakespeare In the Park (NY).

Ms. Wilson also shares dance to the community at large as a teaching artist with both the Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (MO) and Ailey Arts in Education (NY). Ms. Wilson in addition to singing, dancing and teaching continues to hone her craft by assisting some brilliant and up-coming artist Stefanie Batten Bland (Eve’s Song), Josh Prince (Dance Lab New York) and Karen Sieber to name a few.

Lastly Ms. Wilson is profoundly excited about TheDynamitExperience a dance project she recently co-founded with her husband in 2018. Ms. Wilson is presently being represented by LDC Artists. This is Ms. Wilson 2nd New Dance Partners with Owen/Cox Dance Group.


Rosie Herrera, Choreographer
Performed by Störling Dance Theater

Music: Original music by Buffalo Brown
Costume Designs: Rosie Herrera

Rosie Herrera, Choreographer

Rosie Herrera
Rosie Herrera

Rosie Herrera is a Cuban-American dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theater in Miami. She is a graduate from New World School with a BFA in Dance Performance. She has been commissioned by The Miami Light Project, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Ballet Hispanico, Jose Limon Dance Company, Moving Ground Dance Theater, Houston Met Dance, New World Symphony and the American Dance Festival (ADF) in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2018. Her company, Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre, has been presented by the Northrop Dance Series, New World Symphony, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Light Project, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Texas A & M University, Duncan Theater, The Annenberg Center, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, Dance Place, Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Yard at Martha’s Vineyard, Alys Stephens Center, Wilson Center at Cape Fear University, The Rialto Center, Gotham Dance at Skirball and Focus Dance at The Joyce as well as by The American Dance Festival at the Joyce NYC in 2016 and 2018.

Rosie is also a classically trained lyric coloratura soprano and performs with the Performers Music Institute Opera Ensemble as well as works as an independent director and creative consultant throughout Miami. With over a decade of experience in both dance and cabaret, she has collaborated on productions with Walter Mercado, Pig Iron Theater, The South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, New World School of the Arts, The University of Central Florida, Six Floor Ensemble, Zoetic Stage and the New World Symphony as well as with the interdisciplinary performance ensemble/avant-garde cabaret Circ X. She has also collaborated with filmmakers Adam Reign, Lucas Leyva, Jonathon David Kane, George Echevarria and Clyde Scott to create original short films and music videos.

Rosie is a 2016 USArtist Sarah Arison Choreographic Fellow, a 2010 and 2018 MANCC choreographic fellow, a 2014 Bates Dance Festival Artist in residence, a 2016 Bessie Schoenberg Fellow and a 2011 and 2016 Miami Dance Fellow. She was awarded a Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship for her work with Ballet Hispanico in 2013.

Störling Dance Theater

Störling Dance Theater is celebrating its 24th season in Kansas City. Mona Störling-Enna moved to Kansas City in 1995 to launch her vision of a dance company made up of highly and diversely skilled artists. With beauty and story as her skill set, Mona, with her background in dance, painting and design, set out to enrich the community with stories and visions that would inspire others with specific concepts of relationships, community and hope. Störling Dance Theater’s first major work, "The Prodigal Daughter," premiered at the Kansas City Lyric Opera in 2001 and was chosen as one of the top 15 productions for the year by the Kansas City Star. Besides a collection of beautiful repertory work, Störling Dance Theater became known for its narrative works, including "Sower," "Butterfly," "Her Last Prayer" and "Suspended Grace."

Störling Dance Theater is housed at The Culture House in Olathe, Kansas, where its Conservatory of the Arts welcomes 800+ students a week, studying dance, theater, music and art from Kansas City’s top professionals.

Mona Störling-Enna, Artistic Director and Founder

As Co-founder of The Culture House and Artistic Director for Störling Dance Theater, Mona has choreographed such productions as "Between Earth & Sky," "Sower," "Parables & Prayers" and "The Prodigal Daughter." "The Prodigal Daughter" was chosen by the Kansas City Star as one of the top 15 performances for 2003. Of Mona, the Star wrote, “Mona Störling-Enna’s choreographic invention seems to have no limit.”

Mona has gone on to choreograph and design new works, including "butterfly," "Suspended Grace," "The Little Match Girl" and the latest, "Underground," a powerful telling of the history and heroics of the Underground Railroad. "Underground" was Mona’s first major collaboration with choreographer Tobin James and was touted by critic Paul Horsley as one of the “Top 10 Performances of the Decade” (2000-2009). The show has been performed annually since 2007.

Mona has been featured in Dance Studio Life as one of America’s up-and-coming new choreographers as well as a guest teacher and choreographer for national dance conferences. She began her classical dance training at the Ostrobotningen Dance Academy in Kokkola, Finland, and went on to train under Jill Miller at Dansivintti in Helsinki. She supplemented her training under the Paris Opera and Finnish National Ballet as she formed her first dance company in Helsinki, Kadosh, with Titta Tunkkari.

Mona received the Finnish Young Choreographers award in Helsinki for her work In the Storm. She toured with Kadosh throughout Europe until she joined Eternia Dance Theater in 1992 as a soloist. She became ballet mistress as well as costume designer for Eternia’s production Sacrifice. Mona’s choreography for "A Prayer for Bosnia" was requested for the vigil concert in the Blue Hall in Stockholm (where the Nobel Peace Prize is given) to perform together with the top upcoming conductors and orchestra musicians in honor of the needs in Bosnia at the time.

Mona is married to Jeremiah Enna. They have four children: Niko, Iris, Noelle Rose and Richard Ellis.

Jeremiah Enna, Executive Director

Jeremiah Enna is the Founder and Executive Director of The Culture House in Kansas City. The Culture House is an award-winning community arts organization succeeding in excellence, education and social engagement. The Culture House includes The Culture House Academy of the Performing Arts with over 800 students; Störling Dance Theater, world class dance company in residence at TCH and The STAR Program, a social outreach program which serves hundreds of incarcerated and at-risk children and youth each year.

Störling Dance Theater and The Culture House are responsible for the theatrical production, Underground, which recently completed its 13th annual season. Go Underground, the small group discussion program supplementing the production, is now a part of the Underground season and is bringing people of all races together over productive and uplifting discussions about race, racial healing and the place we can take in building a unified community and church world.

Jeremiah serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Kansas Arts & Creative Industries Commission for the state of Kansas. He is also a founding board member of WE-KC.

Passionate about the building of life giving, spirited and generous communities Jeremiah is a student of the socio-economic, religious and cultural components that interplay in creating either a thriving environment or an impoverished one. The Culture House in Kansas City is the successful pilot project of creating an arts organization with the opportunity to tangibly and positively affect a community. It is intended to be a model for other communities to draw from and emulate in order to infuse and make popular again healthy morals and ethics.

Jeremiah is a deeply convinced Christian and hopes that he can positively influence his community with the healthy and life-affirming values that the Biblical perspective has brought to the many cultures it has transformed.

Jeremiah received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater from UCLA, was the Carol Burnett Award winner for his work in Musical Theater and received the Los Angeles Young Leaders Award from Mayor Tom Bradley for his work with inner city gang leaders and members. He went on to become a soloist and Assistant Director for Eternia Dans Teater in Sweden where he won accolades for his work from the French Institute. With Eternia, Jeremiah was also a cultural ambassador to the Baltic States after the fall of the Soviet Union; and he traveled extensively, performing and speaking throughout Europe, Eastern Europe and Israel.

Fortunate to grow in his Christian perspective under great teachers in Europe, Jeremiah learned from Ellis Potter from L’Abri in Switzerland and the writings of Francis Schaeffer. He is currently working with his wife, Mona Störling-Enna, on a new production, "The Cost of Living," about the beauty, challenge and sacredness of the family.

Störling Dance Theater Dancers

Laura Fiatte
Laura Fiatte, originally from Maine, started her training at Midcoast Dance Studios and Maine State School for the Performing Arts. She received her BFA in Dance Pedagogy from The University of Hartford, The Hartt School in 2007. After graduating, she started dancing with Störling Dance Theater. During her eight seasons with Störling, Laura performed many memorable leads and supporting roles, including Corrie in "Underground." Laura has also performed many seasons with Kansas City Contemporary Dance and Seamless Dance Theater. She recently performed in “Fly Girls” by Catherine Meredith through New Dance Partners and in Tristian Griffin’s premiere of "Palimpsest."

Tiffany Best
Tiffany Best is a Wife, Mother of 5, Dancer, Choreographer and Dance Instructor. Tiffany enjoys being a member of the Catholic Fine Arts Counsel, Instructor for Störling’s Professional Certificate in Dance, Artistic Advisor and Instructor for the Kansas City Jazz Dance Intensive and a Mentor to Artists. Tiffany’s illustrious career has earned her opportunities to work with all ages and abilities from conservatories to the Parkinson’s Foundation. This is Tiffany’s 9th season with Störling!

Alexandra Wilson
Alexandra Wilson began her formal training in Kansas at DanceWorks Conservatory. Alexandra received her BFA in Ballet and Modern from the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she earned scholarships all four years. She performed works by Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, and Jelone Vierra of Dance Brazil. Mrs. Wilson has performed and choreographed for the Young Tanzsommer tour in Europe. Currently in her 14th season with Störling, she has danced featured and lead roles in New Dance Partners, "Underground," "The Prodigal Daughter" and "butterfly." Jesus>all

Jillian Sivewright
Jillian Sivewright began ballet and modern training with Andrea Bedford at Northeast Missouri Bible College. She moved to Kansas City and completed Störling Dance Theater’s Artist Development Program. With Störling, she has traveled to NYC, Chicago, LA, and Orcas Island; performed works by Mona Enna, Tobin James, Courtney Bourman, Heather C. Gray and Lauri Stallings; danced the title character in "The Prodigal Daughter" and originated the title character in "The Little Match Girl." This is Mrs. Sivewright's 12th season with Störling. Much love to Jason, Isaiah and Shepherd for their support.

Rhiannon Grimes
Rhiannon Grimes graduated from Belhaven University in 2013 with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. She worked with many acclaimed choreographers while studying there, including Caleb Mitchell (Houston Ballet) and Laura Morton-Zebert (Houston Metropolitan Dance Center), and performed in historic works like "Songs of the Disinherited" by Donald McKayle.

In 2013, she began dancing with Störling Dance Theater, performing in works including "Underground" and "The Prodigal Daughter" and working with choreographers Tobin James, Heather Gray, Courtney Bourman, Lauri Stallings and Catherine Meredith.

Brianna Wheeler
Brianna Wheeler began her dance career at Greenleaf Performing Arts Academy at the age of 7, where she instantly fell in love with movement and made the decision to never stop dancing! She graduated from Störling’s Artist Development Program, where she trained for two years. This is Brianna’s second season with Störling Dance Theater, and she is thankful to be a part of such a supportive and artistically brilliant group of dancers. Brianna is passionate about impacting culture and creating community through the arts, and she is anticipating a lifetime exploring that mission.

Heidi Loubser
Heidi Loubser began dancing in her hometown of Pretoria, South Africa. She studied performance, choreography and pedagogy at Störling Conservatory of Dance, formerly Störling's Artist Development Program, from 2017-2019. She has performed locally and internationally with Chadash Contemporary Dance Movement, Störling Moves and Störling Dance Theater. Heidi teaches at The Culture House Conservatory of the Arts and will graduate with her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics in 2021. She is overwhelmed by the abundance of life! She hopes to share it through movement.

Shannon Benton
Shannon Benton began dancing at a young age, studying at Dance Theatre of Lynchburg and Virginia School of the Arts. She attended Liberty University where she founded Divine Call Dance team and began teaching and choreographing. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications: Advertising and Public Relations. After graduation, Shannon continued her dance training at The Ailey School and Dayton Contemporary Dance 2. She made her professional debut in Houston, Texas, with Ad Deum Dance Company.

Most recently, Shannon moved to Kansas City and is excited for her first full year dancing with Störling Dance Theater.


Micaela Taylor, Choreographer
Performed by Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company

Music: Pan Sonic, Samuel Barber, sound effects composed by Micaela Taylor
Costume Designs: Wylliams/Henry Dance Company and Naomi Tanioka of TaniokaWear
Costume Concept: Micaela Taylor

Statement from the Choreographer: bts: the battle of the mind. this film focuses on the behind the scene thoughts that we have every moment. the inner emotion that no one sees or feels but you.

Micaela Taylor, Choreographer

Micaela Taylor
Micaela Taylor

Micaela Taylor is a professional dancer/choreographer/ Artistic Director of The TL Collective. She is the recipient of the Inaugural Springboard EMERGE Choreographic Award and recently named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch,” 2019, and Dance Magazine cover May 2020. She is trailblazing in the city of Los Angeles and beyond.

Alongside the launch of The TL Collective, Taylor has been commissioned to choreograph and teach by BODYTRAFFIC, Springboard Danse Montreal, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, B12 Festival Berlin, Carlos Acosta’s Acosta Danza, and more. Taylor's work has been presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, The Broad Stage, Ford Amphitheatre, The Barclay Center, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, and more. Her quirky style of facial expressions and athletic theatricality sets her work apart. SNAP, a commissioned work created for BODYTRAFFIC set her mark as a choreographer that transcends one style of dance. She formed a new movement style called Expand Practice, which allows individuals to expand their mind, body, and narrative.

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company

The Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company has been hailed by critics and audiences alike as one of the most exciting, captivating dance troupes in the Midwest. Wylliams/Henry has been spotlighted Dance Magazine’s Critic’s Choice issue of “favorite picks across America” and in the National Endowment for the Arts 2008 Report. Works by internationally acclaimed choreographers, such as David Parsons, Dwight Rhoden, Donald McKayle and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, as well as classics by some of the 20th century’s greatest masters, such as José Limón, Hanya Holm and Anna Sokolow, are presented by the Company in each of its seasons. New works expressing important social issues from the Holocaust to racism are a hallmark of the company in performances that are thought-provoking and speak to the human spirit. WHCDC is known for its beautiful, athletic style in a repertory ranging from the lyric to the avant garde. Performances are given in both conventional and nontraditional spaces, often in partnership with community organizations, to introduce contemporary dance to new audiences. Wylliams/Henry connects with a broad spectrum of individuals in both urban and rural communities while presenting the most powerful and uplifting works from the rich archive of American modern dance.

Wylliams/Henry is proud to call Kansas City home and is honored to be Artists-in-Residence at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance. The company has been honored by acceptance to the artist touring roster of the Missouri Arts Council, South Carolina Arts Commission and the Mid-America Arts Alliance touring programs.

Mary Pat Henry, Artistic Director

Mary Pat Henry, Artistic Director has performed with the San Francisco Ballet, Ballet West, Radio City Music Hall Ballet and at the Jacob’s Pillow International Dance Festival Inside/Out Series. She studied dance at the Atlanta Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet and Martha Graham School of Dance in New York. She has been on the teaching faculty of the Dance Theater of Harlem, The Fled Ballet and the 92 Street Y in New York, The New Jersey Ballet and the Laban Center for Dance in London. In addition, she has been an artist in residence throughout the United States and Europe and most recently at the Tianjin Conservatory of Music in Tianjin, China. She is the Artistic Director of the Wylliams/ Henry Contemporary Dance Company, a professional contemporary dance company based in Kansas City, Missouri, which tours nationally. Prior to establishing Wylliams/Henry, Ms. Henry was Artistic Director for the London Dance Collective in London and the Dance Edition in New York. She has choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Radio City, Off-Broadway in New York, the Victoria Arts Festival in Canada33 and the Westminster Cathedral’s Royal Christmas Benefit in London, among others. Ms. Henry has been a dance adjudicator for the National Endowment for the Arts, John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, University of Missouri Research Board, American Dance Awards, Dance Masters of America, New England Dance Awards, North American World Dance Championships and United States Dance Team International Championships. She holds a BFA degree in ballet from the University of Utah and an MFA degree in dance/choreography from Florida State University. She is Professor Emeritus, former Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs and former Chair of Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. She is the recipient of the National Endowment Choreographic Arts/Work Award for 2019 as well as having been a recipient of Muriel McBrien Kauffman Award for Artistry/Scholarship, the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Robert C. Olson Award for Creativity in the U.S. and the Alberta Dance Festival Teaching Award in Canada.

DeeAnna Hiett, Co-Artistic Director

DeeAnna Hiett, Co-Artistic Director is originally from Texas. She began her training at the Dance Factory under the direction of Pamela Erwin. She has danced with Ailey II, Ballet Hysell, The Jamison project, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Deeply Rooted Productions, Quixotic, and performed as a special guest artist with several companies including the Kansas City Ballet. Ms. Hiett has participated in various commercial works such as videos with LL Cool J and Cameo, American Express industrials, and Issey Miyake fashion show and Hanes Her Way. She has performed in the productions of "Carmen" and "The Merry Widow" with the Lyric Opera. Ms. Hiett was featured at New York’s Fame City Center in a benefit Career Transitions for Dancers. Jennifer Dunning in the New York Times noted that DeeAnna “filled the stage with cool heat.” In 2008, DeeAnna received the prestigious Generative Performing Artist award from The Charlotte Street Foundation for her powerful artistry and accomplishment in the world of dance. She has choreographed for the Kansas City Ballet In the Wings series as well as the Lyric Opera, Coterie Theatre, The Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater, American College Dance Festival and the Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company. In addition, Ms. Hiett has taught and choreographed for numerous universities and studios including Princeton, University of Michigan, University of California Berkeley, Inchibungi in Tokyo, Steps, and Ailey Camp. Ms. Hiett is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has been with Wylliams/Henry since its creation.

Leni Wylliams, Co-Founder (1961-1996)

Leni Wylliams was born and raised in Denver, Colorado. In 1982, he moved to New York City to work as a soloist with such companies as José Limón, Eleo Pomare, Netherlands Danse Theatre, Pina Bausch, Paul Sanasardo, Donald Byrd/The Group, Fred Benjamin, Rod Rodgers, and Cleo Parker Robinson.

Mr. Wylliams was the artistic director of the Mafata Dance Company, Danny Sloan Dance Company and the Wyll/Danse Theatre. His ballets are in the repertory with the Bolshoi Ballet, the Metropolitan Ballet, Boston Opera and some thirty national and international dance companies and universities. His Broadway and choreographic credits include "club XII," "Dolls," "The Faffertas" and "Dennis the Musical."

He was presented with several awards for choreographic excellence nationally and internationally. His work for Boston’s PBS captured three Emmys and he received an MTV award for his work with Janet Jackson. He received two commission grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and Humanities and several choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Mr. Wylliams was a dance instructor of worldwide acclaim, having taught in Russia, East Germany, Asia, and throughout the United States. In addition, Mr. Wylliams was on the modern faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music.
In Loving Memory.

Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Company Dancers

Caroline Dahm
Caroline Dahm is a native of the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, Ca. She trained under Patrick Frantz and furthered her training with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Batsheva/Gaga Labs, Boston Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Orlando Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, and River North Dance Chicago. As a graduate from The University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory, she holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography with a dual emphasis in Ballet and Modern.

Caroline has performed professionally with Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Quixotic, Tristian Griffin Dance Company, and Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company. She has set choreography for Alvin Ailey’s Ailey Camp, Friends of Alvin Ailey Artist-in-Residency Program, and the iconic musical by Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel at MTH Theater.

Caroline has her 250-hour RYT Yoga Certification. Ms. Dahm is currently on the dance faculty at the University of Missouri- Kansas City Conservatory serving as adjunct professor and travels nationally and internationally with Sheer ELITE as a part of their ballet and contemporary faculty.

Jeremy Hanson
Jeremy Hanson began dancing at the age of 2 at Stephanie’s School of Dance (owned by his mother). Over the years he danced at many dance conventions and dance competitions. In 2015, Jeremy began his pursuit in becoming a more versatile and technical dancer through strict ballet training at COCA (Center Of Creative Arts) in St. Louis, Mo. The following year he was invited to attend the summer and year-round program at The Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Fla., where he furthered his ballet training.

In 2017, Jeremy enrolled in the day program at Kansas City Ballet School where he was given opportunities to dance with the Company. The following year he became a trainee with their Second Company where he would dance with the Company on a consistent basis. Ending his year in Kansas City, he was fortunate enough to travel to Moscow, Russia, where he would perform the role Toto from "The Wizard of Oz" choreographed by Septime Webre on the infamous Bolshoi Stage. He then pursued the opportunity to dance with Louisville Ballet as a Company Artist for the 2019-2020 season.

Jeremy is currently a freelance artist in Kansas City, Mo., where he is performing with a number of different artists and companies, including his first season with Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company.

Tristian Griffin
Tristian Griffin, a native of Kansas City, Mo, graduated from Texas Christian University, in 2014, receiving his BFA in Ballet with an English minor. Following graduation, he joined Garth Fagan Dance Company for 3 years. More recently, he was given the opportunity to perform with The Metropolitan Opera House, The Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Company E, Springboard Danse Montreal, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company (WHCDC), and Owen/Cox Dance Group.

Throughout Tristian's career, he has danced works by William Forsythe, Ronald K. Brown, Ohad Naharin, Gregory Dawson, Christian Von Howard, Frank Chaves, and Christian Denice. Aside from dancing professionally, he has also taught in various settings including classes through Em's Spotlight, H.A.L.O. (Helping Art Liberate Orphans) Foundation, and Kansas City’s Friends of Alvin Ailey for underprivileged children at several Kansas City's Community Centers.

While freelancing, Tristian discovered his passion for choreography and his latest creation, “Palimpsest: Performance Series," was commissioned by Charlotte Street Foundation, ArtsKC, and The Nelson-Atkins Museum. Gaining momentum, Tristian started his own dance company, Tristian Griffin Dance Company. The Company was commissioned by the American Jazz Museum (Kansas City), International Dance Festival (Philadelphia), Kansas City Ballet School, And WHCDC. He was selected as tenure for The Charlotte Street Foundation and Friends of Alvin Ailey Artist-in-Residency Program.

Shacura Wade
Shacura Wade, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, began her professional training as a student at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA). Wade attended Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in the summer of 2010. Shortly after, she graduated from Central Visual and Performing Arts High School, followed by the University of Missouri-Kansas City; where she received her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography.

In Kansas City, Shacura worked with Wylliams/Henry Dance Company, Störling Dance Theater, and The Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey. In 2017 Shacura eagerly entered the musical theater world as a dancer/actress/singer with "The Lion King, Rafiki Tour." Concluding her run with "The Lion King," Wade sets out to pursue greater dreams and opportunity as a freelance artist.

Tal como eres (just as you are)

Julia Hinojosa, Choreographer
Performed by Ensemble Iberica and Melinda Hedgecorth

Dancers: Melinda Hedgecorth (Kansas City)
Music: Atoche by Beau Bledsoe, performed by Ensemble Ibérica
Costume Designs: Pilar Cordero, Sevilla, Spain

Statement from the Choreographer: My work is rooted in cultural tradition and identity. Set in the Flamenco style of Alegrias, this piece explores the sensations of revealing your authentic self, if only for a moment, in the absence of structures and labels that inhibit us.

Julia Hinojosa, Choreographer

Julia Hinoisa
Julia Hinojosa

Julia Hinojosa is a contemporary Spanish dancer and choreographer from Chicago, Illinois, whose work is rooted in cultural tradition and identity. She is the Principal Dancer of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater and Artistic Director of the Ensemble Español Youth Company.

Julia is an honor graduate from Northeastern Illinois University with an Associate Degree in Dance. In 2010 she earned a master’s degree in Arts Entertainment and Media Management from Columbia College Chicago. She began her formal dance training in 2000 with Dame Libby Komaiko at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU). Additionally, she studied in Madrid, Spain at the Amor de Dios Flamenco Dance Academy and trained extensively with artists Carlos Rodriguez, Jose Barrios, Paloma Gomez, Raquel Gomez, Juan Mata, Ana Gonzalez, and Carmela Greco, to name a few.

In 2013, she made her choreography debut at the Chicago Dancing Festival’s The Art of the Solo show held at the Museum of Contemporary Art which featured her original work "Ensueños de mi Caribe." Her works have also been presented at Old Town School of folk Music, Taste of Chicago, Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park, and on tour to cities in Florida, Pennsylvania, and throughout cities in China.

As a performer, Julia has executed lead roles in Ensemble Español repertoire such as "Nuevamente Vivir," choreographed by Paloma Gomez, and in Ron De Jesus’ "Mil Clavos" in 2014. She has performed at Jacob’s Pillow, Dance for Life, Going Dutch Festival as well as nationally and internationally in Poland, China, and Spain as a dancer with Ensemble Español.

Melinda Hedgecorth, Dancer

Now residing in Kansas City, Melinda Hedgecorth has been living the last 14 years in one of the capital cities of flamenco dance: Sevilla, Spain. Surrounded by artists and experts, she has studied, performed and taught flamenco, gaining experience onstage with local musicians in performances at flamenco clubs, cultural centers and tablaos. Since returning to KC she has lectured at Kansas University, been selected to participate in Artist Inc and as a resident at Charlotte Street Foundation and received an Inspiration grant from ArtsKC.

She teaches Flamenco dance classes to both adults and children and organizes Festivals, Recitals and Tours to bring the Culture of Sevilla, Spain, to sister city Kansas City.

Ensemble Ibérica

Beau Bledsoe - Artistic director, guitars, oud
Beau Bledsoe’s performances have been described as “pointedly musical” by Paul Horsley of The Kansas City Star. This stylistically eclectic musician performs and records classical music, jazz and folkloric music from around the world as he seeks to integrate different musical cultures with diverse audiences. With his many varied projects and ensembles, Beau has performed extensively throughout Europe, Russia, Asia, South America and North America. In addition, he has produced fifteen recordings under his recording label Tzigane.

Beau is currently artistic director and founder of Ensemble Ibérica which explores the music of Spain, Portugal, and the colonial Americas while educating the public about Iberian cultural influence.

John Currey - percussion
John Currey is a freelance percussionist with more than 20 years' experience as an in-school presenter and clinician. John specializes in Modern dance accompaniment and has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Western Europe. Teaching credits include at the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, Graceland College, and Pittsburg State University. John currently directs the Mexican marimba quartet, Sol de Chiapas.

Michael McClintock - guitar, Cuban Tres
Michael McClintock is a guitarist with a background in multiple styles of music including classical, flamenco, Brazilian and jazz. Since graduating from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance, Michael has continued his education at the Institute of the Superior Arts in Havana, Cuba studying the Cuban tres. In 2016, Michael and his wife, Cuban national, Dalida Barrios, created the project "Cubanisms," to increase awareness of Cuban culture in the USA. The project features a traditional Cuban musical ensemble and guided tours to Cuba.

Cubanisms released its debut album "Acento Cubano" in October 2017. Recently, Michael was invited to participate in the Jazz Plaza International Festival in Havana sharing the stage with Victor Goines and Ivan "Melon" Lewis. This concert will be released on the Cuban record label BIS music in 2019.

Coleen Dieker - violin
Coleen started playing piano when she was four years old and violin when she was seven. She has been singing all her life. After many years of classical training, she attended Berklee College of Music for two years and studied piano performance, improvising, listening, arranging and recording. As a genre-hopping music fiend, she enjoys a diverse career of collaboration, performance and recording. She has since worked with many local and national artists and enjoys taking on new challenges and projects.

Other Artistic Contributors

Michael Uthoff, Artistic Advisor, New Dance Partners
Burke Brown, Lighting Design

Michael Uthoff, Artistic Advisor, New Dance Partners

Artistic Director Dance St. Louis, Dance Lecturer Webster University, Consultant for Lose Your Marbles Fringe Dance Festival in Akron, Ohio. Teacher at COCA in St. Louis, Missouri

Michael Uthoff, internationally renowned artistic director, choreographer, teacher and dancer, was born in Santiago, Chile, to former dancers Ernst Uthoff and Lola Botka, both members of the Jooss Ballet and founders of the Chilean National Ballet. He started dancing after high school and a year later arrived in New York to attend the Juilliard School of Music, School of American Ballet and Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. He danced with the José Limón Company and was a principal dancer with the Joffrey Ballet.

In 1972, Uthoff established the Hartford Ballet in Hartford, Connecticut. For the next 20 years as artistic director, he developed the company into a national institution that toured throughout 49 states. He commissioned works by both new and established choreographers and created more than 80 ballets for the company himself. In 1992, Uthoff accepted the position of artistic director of Ballet Arizona, a post he held until 1999.

From the time that Uthoff created his first dance for the Joffrey Ballet in 1967, his ballets have entered the repertory of companies all over the world. His large-scale works include "The Nutcracker," "Coppelia," "Hansel and Gretel," "Alice in Wonderland," "Awakening," "Dias de Muertos" and "Romeo and Juliet." He has directed opera and choreographed for opera companies internationally and has served on the Board of Dance/USA and panels of the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 2006 Mr. Uthoff assumed the post of Artistic and Executive Director of Dance St. Louis, where he instituted a major educational program within the inner-city schools; created Spring to Dance, a dance festival that has become major destination for dance lovers in America; and put together New Dance Horizons, commissioning new works to bestow in local dance companies to be performed that year as part of Dance St. Louis’ season. Said program was adopted by the Midwest Trust Center at Johnson County Community College as New Dance Partners and is receiving even greater notoriety. In 2017 Dance/USA saw fit to showcase the works that had been created by New Dance Partners at their major convention held in Kansas City, Missouri. IN 2020, Mr. Uthoff returned to Dance St. Louis as Artistic Director.

Uthoff’s recent career as guest teacher, choreographer and artistic advisor includes entities such as the government of Chile; the Shanghai Ballet of China; the California Ballet of San Diego; Portland Opera Performing Institute; Andanza Dance Company of Puerto Rico; the Ballet Estable of the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he held the post of artistic director; and his own Michael Uthoff Dance Theatre, which premiered in 2003. In January 2012, he received the prestigious Excellence in the Arts award from the Arts & Education Council in St. Louis. In 2010, Uthoff received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. He holds an honorary laureate degree from Saint Joseph College in Hartford. In October 2007, he received the Chilean North American Institute’s Distincción Ernst Uthoff Award for his distinguished 40-year career and outstanding contributions to dance. In 2014, Mr. Uthoff received the Dean’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts from the University of Missouri- St. Louis Fine Arts and Communications Department, and in 2017 was inducted as Miembor Correspondiente to the Academia de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile.

Mr. Uthoff is an adjunct professor and choreographer at Webster University in St. Louis and a guest teacher at University of Missouri-St. Louis. He continues choreographing and teaching nationally and internationally and advises the Midwest Trust Center on New Dance Partners.

Burke Brown, Lighting Design

Burke Brown’s recent dance design includes work with La Scala Ballet, English National Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Parsons Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Houston Ballet, Ballet West, Compañia Nacional de Danza (Mexico), and Aszure Barton & Artists.

His work has been presented at the Joyce Theater, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, New York City Center, Yerba Buena Center and across North America, Europe and Russia. His international work includes productions at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the Golden Mask Festival in Moscow, the Seoul Performing Arts Festival in South Korea, the Festival of Two Worlds in Spoleto, Italy, Erratica in London and the Bayerisches Staatsballett in Munich.

His work in theater and opera includes projects with Metropolitan Museum of Art, Mabou Mines, Erratica, London’s The Print Room, Ars Nova, NYSF-Public Theater, Baltimore Center Stage, Cleveland Playhouse, Magic Theatre, Two River Theater Company, and Playmakers Repertory Company.

Mr. Brown has a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Theater Studies from Guilford College in Greensboro, NC. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama. Mr. Brown volunteers with the 52nd Street Project and is a member of Wingspace Theatrical. He teaches in the Hunter College Dance Department in Manhattan. Originally from North Carolina, Burke Brown has lived in Beijing, Miami, New Haven and Brooklyn. He now lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, with his wife and son.