Founded in 2003
Orange County, California

Recognized by Joyce SoHo in New York as one of seven emerging dance companies to watch, Backhausdance was formed in 2003 by Jennifer Backhaus. A powerful and entertaining voice in the dance world, the company’s repertory offers an eclectic and dynamic vocabulary with a wonderful sense of fluidity and strength.

Featuring a diverse body of work that is innovative and artistic, Backhausdance has received 15 nominations and 10 Lester Horton Awards from the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles for achievements in choreography, design and performance, helping propel them to the forefront of Southern California contemporary dance. The repertory includes powerful, athletic dances; emotionally charged dramatic pieces; and whimsical, humorous glimpses at the human experience. The company also offers concert pieces with a focus on younger audiences that incorporates a master class workshop component.

Orange County’s critically acclaimed contemporary dance company has performed extensively nationwide as well as internationally in venues such as the Schimmel Center at Pace University, New York; Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre, British Columbia; Pinedale Performing Arts Center, Wyoming; and Joyce SoHo, New York. Locally, the company has been presented by the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and Irvine Barclay Theatre, and appeared on the Studio Series at South Coast Repertory, Fall for Dance at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Laguna Dance Festival, Celebrate Dance at the Alex Theatre, and the Los Angeles Arts Holiday Celebration at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. As artist-in-residence, Backhausdance has worked with Brigham Young University, Chapman University, Moorpark College, and Santa Ana College, and as guest artist for the California Dance Educators Association.

“A fluid, unforced fusion of classical and contemporary dance.”

— The Brooklyn Rail

As a member of the Arts Teach artist roster and part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Education and Community Programs, Backhausdance serves thousands of public and private school children throughout Orange and San Bernardino Counties each year. The company is also part of the Lincoln Center Aesthetic Education Program through McCallum Theatre Institute.

A life-changing experience for pre-professional and professional dancers, the company hosts an annual Summer Intensives at Chapman University. Backhausdance is dedicated to making this powerful program accessible to the dance community and provides scholarships for nearly half of the more than 100 participants.

Photo © Tim Agler

2003

Photo © Tim Agler

2006

Photo © Tim Agler

2008

Photo © Jack Hartin

JENNIFER BACKHAUS

Arcadia, california

Jennifer Backhaus is Founder and Artistic Director of Backhausdance, Orange County’s award-winning contemporary dance company. She was featured in “OC Metro’s” 40 Under 40 in 2009 and honored by Chapman University as Alumni of the Year in 2007 for her artistic leadership of Backhausdance. As a choreographer, Jennifer’s works have been commissioned and produced by Brigham Young University, Chapman University, Los Angeles Ballet, McCallum Theatre, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, TDC of the Bay Area and Utah Regional Ballet, among others.

Many of Jennifer’s works have been honored by Regional Dance America, and her piece Disintegration was selected for national performances with the American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. For Backhausdance, she has created numerous works, three of which have received multiple Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. At the McCallum Theatre’s Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, Jennifer has been the recipient of three consecutive choreography awards for her work with Backhausdance.

Currently a full-time dance faculty member at Chapman University, Jennifer is also a teaching artist for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Education Programs, where she shares her love of dance and choreography with hundreds of students in public and private schools across Southern California. A life-long learner, Jenny holds a BFA in Communications and Dance from Chapman University, and received her MFA in Choreography from Hollins University and the ADF.

THE DANCERS

Click to read dancer bio.
Photos © Jack Hartin

TOSHIRO ABBLEY

TAWNY CHAPMAN

AMIE LEE KILGORE

JOSHUA KING

KAITLIN REGAN

CHIHIRO SANO

 

EVAN SWENSON

AMANDA KAY WHITE

 
 

APPRENTICES

 
Backhausdance Sammy DeAngelo

SAMUEL DEANGELO

Backhausdance Katie Natwick

KATIE NATWICK

 
 

ARTISTIC STAFF

Jennifer Backhaus
Artistic Director, Founder

Marica Pendjer
Managing Director

Jennifer Bassage Bonfil
Educational Outreach Director

Tawny Chapman
Graphic Designer, Social Media Manager & Summer Intensive Director

Matthew Jackson
Stage Manager

Kim Olmos
Ballet Mistress, Rehearsal Assistant

 
 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Michael Kerr
President

Robert Farnsworth

Joann Leatherby

Lynda Thomas

 
 

ADVISORY BOARD

Mayra Castro Gutierrez
Chair

Nancy Dickson-Lewis

Jeremy Hunt

Kim Olmos

Proud Usahacharoenporn