2 dancers on a black stage

New Dance Partners
The Ultimate Collaboration

8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, September 15, 2023 - September 16, 2023 | Yardley Hall

Tickets start at $25.
Ticket packages on sale May 15, 2023. Individual shows on sale August 7, 2023.

Individual Tickets

Pre-show talk: Artistic Advisor Michael Uthoff at 7 p.m., Sep. 15 and 16.

Audiences will delight in a feast for the eyes as four new works premiere on Yardley Hall stage. For the 10th festival of contemporary and modern dance, the Midwest Trust Center 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.

This year, the collaborative partners are:

  • The Kansas City Ballet, working with Gina Patterson
  • Owen/Cox Dance Group, working with Norbert De La Cruz III
  • Störling Dance Theatre, working with Kyra Jean Green
  • Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, working with Omar Román De Jesús

Gina Patterson

A 2021 Bogliasco Fellow, Gina Patterson has won such honors as the Choo San Goh Award, a nomination for an Isadora Duncan Award, the Hubbard Street 2 National Choreographic Competition, New Choreographers on Pointe, the National Choreographic Initiative and a commission by The Cowles Center / SOLO Commissioning Program, funded by the McKnight Foundation. Many of her works for companies have been generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

During her 25-year career as a principal dance artist, Patterson danced with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Austin, Ballet Florida and as a guest artist in North America and Europe. She has been a prolific creator since 1998, making more than 120 works. Multi-disciplinary, full-evening productions include “Liquid Roads” for MADCO, a contemporary adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet” for CoDa21 and a one act “Hansel and Gretel” created for the Croatian National Theatre.

Patterson often addresses social issues, as with her “Anne Frank’s Diary,” “72 Steps” on women’s suffrage and “It Is” as part of Freedom: A Civil Rights Project and Olin Library at Washington University in St. Louis. Her work encompasses concept, direction and collaboration, appearing in the repertoire of companies such as Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Smuin Ballet, Nashville Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Austin, Richmond Ballet, Dayton Ballet, BalletMet and DanceWorks Chicago and presented internationally in Italy, Germany, Slovenia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Spain.

Norbert De La Cruz III

Born in the Philippines and raised in Los Angeles, Norbert De La Cruz III received a BFA in Dance from the Juilliard School and an MFA in Dance from Hollins University. He is a New York City- and LA-based freelance artist.

A former soloist with Ballet Torino, Aszure Barton & Artists, Metropolitan Opera and Complexions, De La Cruz has created original works for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, New York City Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Hubbard Street 2, Ballet Hispanico, BalletX, Peridance, Juilliard, Olympic Ballet Theater, Big Muddy Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Dallas Black Dance Theatre,  Bruce Wood Dance and many more.

De La Cruz was a Princess Grace Foundation-USA award recipient in choreography, Alvin Ailey New Directions Choreography Lab, Joffrey Academy of Dance’s Winning Works and a two-time recipient of the NYC Ballet’s NY Choreographic Institute. He was a former faculty member at Juilliard and a guest visiting artist at SUNY Purchase and Barnard Columbia University. His honorable mentions include the Asian Arts Alliance, McCallum Theatre Choreography Festival Award, Youth American Grand Prix’s best choreographer award and Dance Magazine’s Top 25 to Watch. De La Cruz is in constant search of inspiration, always seeking valuable collaborations and human connections.

Kyra Jean Green

Kyra Jean Green, a Canadian-American artist, was born in France, raised in Florida and now lives in Montreal, Canada. She obtained her BFA in dance from The Juilliard School in 2006. In 2007, she won the Hubbard Street 2 choreographic competition, and the Kennedy Center commissioned her to present an evening of her work.

Green has since presented work at The Center for Performance and Research (Brooklyn, New York), CHOP SHOP (Bellevue, Washington), F.A.T. (Toronto), Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival (Guelph, Canada), Dance Conference U.S.A. (Miami), Quinzena de Dança de Almada (Almada, Portugal), Offset Dance Fest (Brooklyn) and CICC (Copenhagen). In 2019, Green created new works in Germany for Choreolab, made in Ulm and Seattle, for Whim W'him's Choreographic Shindig. Later that year, she presented two choreographic works from her company at Prisma Dance Festival in Panama.

After 10 years of working as a dancer, in 2017, Green decided to create her own company, Trip The Light Fantastic (TTLF). The company involves the Montreal community's dancers, visual artists and filmmakers. The company's movement language combines contemporary and urban styles and structured improvisation. Trip The Light Fantastic dives toward the harsh realities of the individual psyche and the social stigmas that prevent us from reaching our true liberation. These questions are asked through dance and mixed media to inspire positive social change.

The company debuted in September 2017 at the Festival Quartiers Danses in Montreal, where she won the Prix Coup de Coeur 2016, 2018 and 2020. She has since presented TTLF in Panama, Denmark, New York and Portugal. In 2021, Trip The Light Fantastic was invited to participate in C2 as the in-house dance company.

Omar Román De Jesús

Omar Román De Jesús (Bayamón, Puerto Rico) is a Queer Puertorriqueño choreographer and director of New York City-based dance company Boca Tuya. He is a 2023 inaugural Baryshnikov Arts Center Fellow at Kaatsbaan, a 2022 Princess Grace Award Winner in Choreography, a 2022 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Choreography and a 2020 Recipient of The Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellowship (Jacob’s Pillow).  

He has been commissioned to create work by more than 20 companies and pre-professional schools, including The Baryshnikov Arts Center, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, Ballet Hispánico, Ballet Collective, Limón 2, MOVE NYC, Bruce Wood Dance, Jacob Jonas The Company, Joffrey Ballet Concert Group, Whim W’him, Parsons Dance, The Ailey School, Kennesaw State University, James Madison University and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Román De Jesús’ stage work has been awarded top recognition through the Joffrey Academy of Dance's Winning Works Choreographic Competition, Whim W’him’s Choreographic Shindig, The Dance Gallery Festival, Reverb Dance Festival and the International Dance Festival of Puerto Rico, where he was awarded the Ambassador of Dance medal. Most recently, his work “Los Perros del Barrio Colosalf” brought home first place from the Palm Desert Choreography Festival. Originally created for the screen in 2021, “Los Perros del Barrio Colosal” has been viewed by audiences in more than 20 countries and was awarded Best of Screen Dance International and Best Choreography and Best Narrative of ReThink Dance Film Festival. Since 2021, his work has additionally toured to ENDANZANTE (Colombia), Chop Shop: Bodies of Work (Seattle), PRISMA International Dance Festival (Panama) and Masdanza (Canary Islands).

Supported in part by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission.