Newport Beach, CA

Artistic Director, Backhausdance
Full-Time Faculty, Chapman University
MFA, Hollins/ADF University

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.


(WEEKS 1, 2, & 3)

BD Technique will explore the fundamentals of Backhausdance technique. Physically demanding and original, the BD movement vocabulary requires a balance of fluidity and strength. Students will engage in a series of exercises and phrasework as they learn about movement dynamics, alignment, groundedness, moving in and out of the floor, inversion work and more. The principles explored in this class will prepare the dancers for the choreography learned and performed in the culmination performance.


New York, NY

Shen Wei Dance Arts
Merce Cunningham Dance Company

BFA, University of North Carolina School of the Arts

Kate attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, receiving her BFA in 2001. Soon after moving to New York she became a scholarship student and understudy with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in 2002. While working with Mr. Cunningham she participated in the creation of Split Sides and Views on Stage. Kate joined Shen Wei Dance Arts in 2005 and participated in the creations of MAP, Re-I, Re-III, Connect Transfer II, Undivided Divided, Limited States, Collective Measures, In Black White and Gray and Neither. Kate was named rehearsal director of SWDA in 2009. She has conducted master classes and workshops as well as performed all over Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. Kate staged Shen Wei’s Re-II for Les Grand Ballet, Rite of Spring for The University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and Behind Resonance for Rutgers University. As education director, she helped create a dance-in-education program for New York City public and private schools. Kate has implemented this education workshop at P.S. 218, P.S. 5, I.S. 311, The Columbia School and The Dalton School among others. Her own works have been performed at DeSales University, the United Nations, Park Avenue Armory, Milano Teatro Scuola Paolo Grassi, Fabbrica Europa, Performatica festivals and West Park Presbyterian Church. Kate is founder and co-curator of Watusi Regime, a site-specific collaborative performance series in NYC. She is currently working on a dance and live film project with Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener.


(WEEK 3)

Class is influenced by Kate’s experiences with Shen Wei’s Natural Body Development technique as well as her studies with Merce Cunningham. These movement principles compliment each other through the use of the center body, the opening of the chest and the articulation of the joints. As we explore the many ways to use the various parts of the spine and energy center, class will build in both dynamic expression and joyful flow. Students are given the possibilities of discovering new and innovative ways to move, culminating in phrases that push the boundaries of space and time. Qualities such as momentum, continuous energy, center shifting, floor work and breath give the dancer tools to better their movement vocabulary while approaching their dancing experience and choreography with fresh eyes.


Tel Aviv, Israel

Former Artistic Director, Israeli Ballet
Batsheva Dance Company
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company
Bat Dor Dance Company
Scapino Ballet

Celebrated artist Ido Tadmor is the 2011 recipient of Israel’s highly respected Landau Prize for lifetime achievement. He was artistic director of the Israeli Ballet from 2014 to 2016, and led his own Tel Aviv-based company for 13 years, from 1995 to 2007. Today, he travels the world as a lead dancer, choreographer, judge in professional dance competitions, artistic advisor and artistic director of competitions and festivals. For the past three decades, Ido has represented the State of Israel worldwide as an Ambassador of Dance. He has been awarded several grants from numerous funding sources and foundations encouraging cultural activities in Israel. During his extensive performing career, Ido has been a principal dancer in companies including Bat Dor Dance Company, Bat Sheva Dance Company, Scapino  Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and many international collaborative projects.  Ido has worked with internationally acclaimed choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Itzik Galili, Lar Lubovitch, Ohad Naharin, Robert North, Hans Van Mannen and Vladimir Vasiliev, to name a few.


(WEEKS 1 & 2)

A ballet barre for contemporary dancers using physical transitions and shift of weight, followed by contemporary combinations based on Tadmor’s repertoire and the ballet technique.