JENNIFER BACKHAUS

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.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BD TECHNIQUE
(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.

YONI SOUTCHY

Tel Aviv, Israel

Israel Ballet School
So You Think You Can Dance Israel
Ido Tadmor Dance Company

Yoni Soutchy, originally from Tel Aviv, was educated at the “Bat – Dor” dance school, where he studied RAD and Martha Graham technique. Yoni danced at the "Muza" Dance Company, where he worked with choreographers Keren Levy, Lara Barsaq, Niv Sheinfeld, Margalit Oved, Ohad Naharin, Anat Danieli and Ido Tadmor. As a principal dancer with Ido Tadmor Dance Company, Yoni performed the works of Emanuel Gat, Yossi Yungman, Ido Tadmor, Shlomi Bitton, Javier de Frutos, and Beit Lessin. Yoni received a B.Ed degree in dance and teaching from the Kibbutzim College of Education. Yoni has been working as an independent, award-winning choreographer since 2009. He created acts for the television program “So You Think You Can Dance” Israel and served as the artistic director of the Mehola Youth Dance Company. He is a teacher at the Israel Ballet School and at other professional schools, dance studios and seminars throughout Israel.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

CONTEMPORARY & MODERN TECHNIQUE
(WEEKS 1, 2, & 3)

The class deals with conservative modern technique combined with contemporary techniques and repertoire. 

IDO TADMOR

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.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BALLET FOR CONTEMPORARY DANCERS
(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.

SPECIAL STUDIES
(WEEK 1)

Description coming soon!

LEE ARBEL

Tel Aviv, Israel

Artistic Director, School of Ballet Tel Aviv

Lee Arbel has always danced, exploring her limits of movement, wanting to get more out of her body. She has trained Israeli students the technique of ballet for over 19 years, using her own special method.

Originally trained at Bat Dor school of classical and contemporary dance, she has performed with Israeli Ballet Company, Ido Tadmor Dance Company, Rina Sheinfeld Dance Company, Fresko Dance Company and DDC Dance Company. She holds a BA in Psychology from Tel Aviv College.

Ms. Arbel established the School of Ballet Tel Aviv in 2007 where she serves as Artistic Director and educates children from the age of six to eighteen.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BALLET TECHNIQUE
(WEEK 2)

This ballet technique class designed for young children and adults builds strength and emphasizes placement of the pelvis and the body in a special and unique way. The class is based on technique that assists in understanding the movement in a different way. Ms. Arbel creates a special connection with each student and challenges them to trust themselves while moving and dancing.

ADRIAN HOFFMANN

Seattle, WA

Company Dancer, Whim W'him

Adrian, born and raised in Cambridge, MA, began as a martial artist. After receiving his Black Belt, he transitioned into dance in high school. He graduated from The Ailey School/Fordham University, with a BFA in Dance and double minor in Philosophy/Math, while also pioneering a study abroad exchange with Israel’s Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company. He is currently a company member of Whim W'Him under the direction of Olivier Wevers in Seattle, WA and in the past has been a guest dancer with Alvin Ailey, danced in music videos for Poo Bear(Ft. Justin Beiber), Julia Michaels, Katy Perry, and has freelanced on stage and film. He also regularly performs with Invertigo Dance Theater and Luminario Ballet in Los Angeles.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

WHIM W'HIM REPERTORY
(WEEK 1)

Adrian will offer a rare opportunity to learn some of the repertory of Whim W'him, focusing on the physicality, nuance and intention of Olivier Wevers' work as well as other choreographers the company has recently performed.

BROOKE WINDER

Southern California

Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach
Physical Therapist, Sarton Physical Therapy
Doctor of Physical Therapy, University of Southern California
BFA, Chapman University

Brooke possesses a diverse background as a dancer and performer that informs her unique perspective and passionate focus on dancer health, wellness and injury prevention. Originally a competitive gymnast, Brooke transitioned into training in modern and contemporary dance with foundations in Graham, Horton and release technique prior to her BFA studies. Brooke is a former company member with Backhausdance. Her great interest in learning more about injury prevention and movement science led her from her performance career into graduate study in physical therapy.

Brooke is currently a practicing physical therapist who has treated a wide variety of orthopedic patients, including dancers of all ages. She is a Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist in Physical Therapy, having completed a rigorous post-professional residency in orthopedic physical therapy with the University of Southern California where she mentored with top physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons. Brooke also has specialized training in women’s and men’s pelvic rehabilitation and practices in the Orange County area in both orthopedics and pelvic health. She utilizes various perspectives drawn from training in advanced manual therapy, movement science, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization techniques, analysis of Movement Impairment Syndromes, Pilates-based exercise interventions, and Kinesiotaping to optimize injury prevention and rehabilitation for dancers. Brooke has maintained her Pilates Instructor Certification through Body Arts and Science International since 2005. She incorporates Pilates-based interventions into both fitness optimization and rehabilitation specific for dancers and other athletes. 

Brooke conducts research on dance-related injuries and has presented work for the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, the Performing Arts Medical Association, and published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy. She has served in leadership roles for the Performing Arts Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association. Brooke presents lectures on injury prevention and wellness for dancers, dance teachers, fitness professionals and health care providers via workshop sessions at dance studios, summer intensives, and conferences regionally and nationally. 

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PILATES & CONDITIONING FOR DANCERS
(WEEKS 2 & 3)

Class will focus on Pilates conditioning exercises to optimize core stabilization, breath control, alignment awareness, and proximal strength and stability of the upper and lower extremities.  Exercises are drawn from traditional Pilates mat work with variations tailored to the specific needs of contemporary dancers.

ELLEN AKASHI

Fountain Valley, CA

Company Dancer

Ellen Akashi, a native of Southern California, began studying dance at Southland Ballet Academy under the direction of Salwa Rizkalla. She has attended numerous dance programs including those of Axis Connect, BODYTRAFFIC, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, LINES, and Springboard Danse Montréal. In 2013, Ellen received a BFA in Dance Performance from Chapman University, where she performed an excerpt of Jiří Kylián's Falling Angels and a Merce Cunningham MinEvent. She furthered her modern dance training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance's year-round program with director Summer Lee Rhatigan and artists Christian Burns, Tristan Ching, Alex Ketley, and Doug Letheren. Since returning to Southern California, Ellen has performed with the San Diego Opera in Nixon in China; Skylar Spence's music video I Can't Be Your Superman; and two seasons with LA-based Clairobscur Dance Company, founded by artistic director and resident choreographer Laurie Sefton. This is Ellen’s first season with Backhausdance.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PARTNERING
(WEEK 1)

This Partnering class will focus on the fundamentals of building trust, strength and support. We will explore the push and pull of a partnership and understand how to move together as one unit. During the duration of the intensive, we will start every class with strengthening exercises along with small improvisational exercises across the floor. Students will also be learning partnering phrases using the ideas and aesthetics behind the Backhausdance partnering techniques.

JENN BASSAGE BONFIL

Long Beach, CA

Founding Company Member, Backhausdance
MA in Dance Education, University of Northern Colorado
Dance Education & Curriculum Specialist, The Wooden Floor

Jennifer Bassage Bonfil, originally from Washington State, is a southern California-based modern dancer and dance educator. She earned her MA in Dance Education through the University of Northern Colorado, her BFA in Dance Performance from Chapman University, her comprehensive Pilates certification at Body Arts & Science International, and an Arts Management & Dance Training certificate from the José Limón Dance Foundation. As a founding company member, Jenn danced professionally with Backhausdance for 13 years and served as their Educational Outreach Director for five. Driven by her passion for dance education, Jenn has taught at West Coast Conservatory of Ballet, Chapman University, California State University, Long Beach, Santa Ana College, and various elementary schools. She joined the faculty at The Wooden Floor teaching ballet and modern in 2006, and was promoted to Dance Education & Curriculum Specialist in 2017. She is a member of the National Dance Education Organization and the California Dance Education Association

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PILATES FOR DANCERS
(WEEK 1)

Class will focus on Pilates conditioning exercises to optimize core stabilization, breath control, alignment awareness, and proximal strength and stability of the upper and lower extremities.  Exercises are drawn from traditional Pilates mat work with variations tailored to the specific needs of contemporary dancers.

TAWNY CHAPMAN

Cypress, CA

Company Dancer, Backhausdance
Commercial Dance Facilitator, Orange County School of the Arts
BFA in Dance Performance, Chapman University

Tawny Chapman, originally from Southern California, has worked for more than 15 years as an accomplished performer, innovative choreographer and influential educator. Currently performing in her 13th season as a veteran dancer with Orange County’s critically acclaimed Backhausdance, Tawny is a graduate of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and an alumna of the Orange County School of the Arts’ Commercial Dance Conservatory. She has performed the choreographic work of Jennifer Backhaus, Dee Caspary, Jodie Gates, Sean Greene, Liz Imperio, and William Lu, among others. Tawny is currently on faculty at Impact Dance Center (Los Alamitos) and the Orange County School of the Arts’ Commercial Dance Conservatory, where she also serves as a program facilitator. In addition to performing and teaching, Tawny’s award-winning choreographic works have been performed at Pasadena Dance Festival, Backhausdance’s Platform, Encore Dance Festival, Studio A Dance’s DanceSpot, Hart Pulse Dance’s MixMatch Dance Festival, The Core Collective, and beyond.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

COMPOSITION
(WEEK 1)

Dancers will explore a wide range of approaches to the art of choreography. Students will be encouraged to find their own choreographic voice while using a number of tools and ideas presented.

TOOLS OF CHOREOGRAPHY
(WEEK 2)

Description coming soon!

BD REPERTORY
(WEEKS 1, 2 & 3)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

SAMUEL DEANGELO

Yorba Linda, CA

Company Dancer, Backhausdance

Samuel DeAngelo, from Yorba Linda, CA, began dancing at the age of 18. After discovering his deep passion for dance, he began his college dance at Santa Ana College, and then transferred to Chapman University. In 2016, he graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and was awarded multiple awards for both performance and choreography. After graduation, he has worked with companies such as Anaheim Ballet, Ponybox Dance Theater, Shieldwall Dance Company, and most recently, Disney Cruise Line, where he was a part of the opening cast of Beauty and The Beast.  He has worked with choreographers such as Jennifer Backhaus, Ido Tadmor, Yin Yue, Amanda Kay White, Sean Greene, Andrea Guise, and Connor Gallagher. Additionally, he has also participated in notable intensives including Backhausdance’s Summer Intensive, BODYTRAFFIC, and Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company (LACDC). Samuel joined Backhausdance as an apprentice, and became a full company member in 2017. 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BD REPERTORY
(WEEKS 1, 2 & 3)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

PARTNERING
(WEEKS 1 & 2)

This Partnering class will focus on the fundamentals of building trust, strength and support. We will explore the push and pull of a partnership and understand how to move together as one unit. During the duration of the intensive, we will start every class with strengthening exercises along with small improvisational exercises across the floor. Students will also be learning partnering phrases using the ideas and aesthetics behind the Backhausdance partnering techniques.

AMIE LEE KILGORE

Los Angeles, CA

Company Dancer, Backhausdance
Performing Faculty, San Pedro City Ballet
BFA in Dance, University of Arizona

Amie Lee Kilgore, originally from Tucson AZ, began her dance training at the age of 11 under the tutelage of Mary-Beth Cabana with Ballet Tucson. In 2014, Amie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arizona and was recognized as Outstanding Senior for the College of Fine Arts and Dance. While working toward her BFA in Dance, she was privileged to perform various featured roles by UA Dance Faculty, as well as world-renowned works such as Rubies, Allegro Brilliante and Tarantella by the legendary George Balanchine. Prior to graduation, Amie furthered her contemporary dance training and became a founding member of ConDanza, under the direction of Cesar Degollado Rubio. Currently, she is in her fourth year as a part-time performing faculty member with San Pedro City Ballet under the direction of Cindy and Patrick Bradley. This is Amie’s third season with Orange County’s critically acclaimed Backhausdance.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BD REPERTORY
(WEEK 1, 2 & 3)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

MCKELL LEMON

Boise, ID

Company Apprentice, Backhausdance

McKell Lemon, originally from Boise, Idaho, discovered her passion for dance at the early age of 3. To continue pursuing her love of movement, she furthered her dance training at Chapman University in Orange, California, where she recently graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and a minor in Integrated Educational Studies. While at Chapman, she had the privilege to train with and perform works by Ido Tadmor, Jennifer Backhaus, Sean Greene, Alicia Guy and Brandee Lara. Additionally, McKell had the opportunity to present five of her own original choreographic works and received multiple awards for her achievements in performance, choreography, and academics. Alongside her training at Chapman, she has attended Holly Johnston’s SummerLAB intensive, the Backhausdance Summer Intensive, and the American Dance Festival, where she was selected to perform a work choreographed by Gregory Dolbashian for the ADF Footprints Concert. Professionally, McKell has performed at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA, as well as multiple performances with companies in the Southern California area. She recently has performed with Jess Harper and Dancers in Los Angeles, and is currently in her first season as a company apprentice with Backhausdance.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PILATES FOR DANCERS
(WEEK 2)

Class will focus on Pilates conditioning exercises to optimize core stabilization, breath control, alignment awareness, and proximal strength and stability of the upper and lower extremities.  Exercises are drawn from traditional Pilates mat work with variations tailored to the specific needs of contemporary dancers.

DALE A. MERRILL

Fullerton, CA

Dean of the College of the Arts, CSU Fullerton
Founder, Spectrum Dance Theater
MFA in Dance, University of Washington

Dale A. Merrill was the Artistic Director of Spectrum Dance Theater in Seattle, WA, from 1985to 2002. Under his direction, Spectrum grew from a community dance company to a repertory jazz company of national prominence performing works by Ann Reinking, Margo Sappington, Lou Conte, Lar Lubovitch, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, and Danny Buraczeski. Born in Richland, WA, he studies dance with Willam Christensen, Bruce Marks and Mattlyn Gavers at the University of Utah to augment his theatrical training. While in Utah, Dale performed with Ballet West, Pioneer Memorial Theater and The Utah Ballet Ensemble. In 1992, he became one of the first   graduates in the newly instated MFA in Dance at the University of Washington. As part of this nationally recognized program, he was actively involved in the education program of undergraduates, and performed contemporary masterworks of José Limon, Paul Taylor and Anna Sokolow, which added depth to his classical background.

Dale has more than 25 years of choreographic credits including numerous original works, musical theater production, and a Public Television special, Voices Across America, starring Paul and Mira Sorvino. In 1999, he became an Adjunct Faculty member for the University of Washington Dance Program and for the School of Drama’s Professional Actors Training Program. In addition to teaching full-time in Spectrum Dance Theater’s Educational Programs, Dale has been a guest teacher for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Washington Contemporary Ballet and University of Montana, to name a few. Dale currently serves as the Dean of the College of the Arts at Cal State Fullerton.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

COMPOSITION
(WEEK 2)

Dancers will explore a wide range of approaches to the art of choreography. Students will be encouraged to find their own choreographic voice while using a number of tools and ideas presented.

CONTEMPORARY BALLET
(WEEKS 2 & 3)

Contemporary ballet meshes classical ballet technique with the principles learned in the BD Technique classes. Incorporating the concepts of momentum, movement efficiency and expansive moving, this class will challenge the dancer to apply his or her kinesthetic awareness and gained knowledge within the structure of a ballet-based vocabulary.

KATIE NATWICK

Long Beach, CA

Company Dancer

Katie Natwick began dancing at the age of 11 in her hometown of Escondido, CA. Having discovered a deep passion for movement, she furthered her training at Chapman University where she received a BFA in Dance Performance. Throughout her career, Katie has had the opportunity to perform with companies such as DANCE AEGIS, Kairos Dance Company and Nickerson-Rossi Dance, as well as choreographers including Robin Conrad, Sean Greene, Jess Harper and Dale Merrill. A multi-faceted artist, she also teaches various dance styles at Hills Academy of Music, Art and Dance in Torrance, CA. This is Katie’s first season as a company member of Backhausdance.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BD TECHNIQUE (ASSISTANT)
(WEEKS 1 & 2)

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.

BD REPERTORY
(WEEKS 2 & 3)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

JULIANNE O'BRIEN

Orange, CA

Department of Dance Chair, Chapman University
MFA, Ohio State University
Founding Dancer, Peter Sparling Dance Company

Julianne O’Brien has a background in the field of dance as a performer, choreographer, academic leader, and dance educator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Connecticut College, a Master of Fine Arts from the Ohio State University, and is certified yoga instructor and Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst.

Prior to joining Chapman University, she served as the Dean of the School of Dance at Dean College in Massachusetts and as program director and professor at Eastern Michigan University. She teaches modern techniques, pedagogy, dance history, career seminars, yoga, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Laban movement analysis, improvisation, and choreography.

Julianne performed as a founding member and soloist for fourteen years with the Peter Sparling Dance Company. While with Sparling, who was a member of both the Limon Company and the Graham Company, she had the opportunity to train deeply in two foundational modern techniques. She has also had the privilege of performing with William (Bill) Evans, and in repertory by Isadora Duncan set by Lori Bellilove. She has choreographed more than fifty works that have been seen in venues across the states and in El Salvador and received numerous grants and awards for choreography including funding from the US Embassy in El Salvador, and selection for the 2016 American College Regional Dance Festival.

An interest in K-12 movement integration curriculum has spanned two decades: receiving multiple grants from the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children to work with under-served K-3 students in science and history classes; developing math in motion curriculum with the Malashock Dance School in San Diego, CA; multiple year teaching residencies with Malashock and Freese elementary school; and spear-heading movement curriculum into the Franklin, MA public schools in partnership with college internship programs.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

SPECIAL STUDIES
(WEEK 2)

Class description coming soon.

JENNIFER OLIVAS

Collinsville, IL

Diavolo Dance Theater, Lehrer Dance
BFA in Dance, Webster University
Dance Faculty, Webster University
Dance Faculty, Southern Illinois University

Jennifer Olivas is from the small town of Festus, Missouri. She attended Webster University in St. Louis where she received a BFA in dance. As a professional, Jennifer has performed all across Europe and The United States, in China, Korea and Australia. She has performed with distinguished groups such as David Dorfman’s Dance out of Seasons, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal’s The Nutcracker, Paul Taylor 2 in Esplanade, Inaside Chicago Dance Company, MusicalFare's American Rhapsody and Neglia Ballet's The Nutcracker. Jennifer was a founding company member of Buffalo’s Lehrer Dance and toured for three years, before she moved to Los Angeles to dance with Diavolo Dance Theater for four seasons. Jennifer finds herself still jumping back in with Diavolo and recently appeared with the company for the final top ten performance on season 12 of America's Got Talent. Jennifer's teaching credits began when she was seventeen years old and now she continues to teach and co-teach with her husband, Omarall across the country. They have set works and taught all over the world including at Brigham Young University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Webster University, LA Contemporary Dance Company, Backhausdance, Lehrer Dance and in Fürth, Germany. Jennifer is currently and has been an adjunct professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for five years. She also keeps busy as an L1 Crossfit trainer managing a local Crossfit Affiliate, coaching her Acrobatic Gymnastics team and spending time with her husband and two boys. 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PARTNERING
(WEEK 3)

In this class you will learn how to organically move and lift your partner through the use of weight sharing, counter balancing, and improvisational exercises.

OMAR OLIVAS

Collinsville, IL

Diavolo Dance Theater
Backhausdance
L.A. Contemporary Dance Company

MA in Kinesiology, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville
BFA in Dance, University of California, Irvine
Dance Faculty,
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Omar was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. He began his training at Saint Joseph Ballet, now The Wooden Floor, under the artistic supervision of director, Beth Burns. Omar has a Masters in Kinesiology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and graduated with a BFA in Dance as a Haggerty and William Gillespie Scholar from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a member of Donald Mckayle’s student repertory dance company, Etudes. As a professional, Omar has performed nationally and internationally with such distinguished groups as Diavolo Dance Theater, Backhausdance, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, and Neglia Ballet. Omar premiered Donald Mckayle’s Minstrel Man at the Conservatoire in Paris, France and Tammy L. Wong’s About Last Night for the Esplanade’s inaugural Da:ns Festival in Singapore. Aside from dancing, Omar has been teaching and choreographing dance for over 10 years. He was invited by La Salle College of the Arts, in Singapore, to set a piece for The Esplanade's Da:ns Festival in 2008. In 2011, he paired with his wife, Jennifer Huffman Olivas, to co- teach master classes and set brand new works all over the world including at Brigham Young University, University of California Irvine, Webster University, Lehrer Dance, Backhausdance, LACDC, and Ballet Centrum in Fürth Germany. Omar is currently on faculty for the department of theater and dance at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and manages CrossFit 1020 with his wife.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PARTNERING
(WEEK 3)

In this class you will learn how to organically move and lift your partner through the use of weight sharing, counter balancing, and improvisational exercises.

FLOORWORK/FLOW
(WEEK 3)

This class will work to expand our physical relationship to the floor; how to move in and out of it with more ease and efficiency, how to slide, dive, push, and pull, and, overall, how to conceptualize the floor as our primary partner when dancing. The latter part of the class will finish with a combination that combines both standing and floorwork phrasing.  

KIM OLMOS

Mission Viejo, CA

Ballet Mistress, Backhausdance
Instructor, Chapman University
South Bay Ballet, Ballet Pacifica

BA in Dance, CSU Long Beach

Kim Olmos was born in El Paso, Texas and began her studies in Torrance, California with Diane Lauridsen. She was a member of South Bay Ballet, where she danced leading roles in original works by Charles Maple, John Christafori and Terri Lewis. Kim also studied with Gloria Newman, Gus Soloman and Rebecca Wright while earning her B.A. in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. She retired from Ballet Pacifica in 1994, where she had performed ballets by Peter Pucci, Anne Marie DeAngelo, Choo-San Goh, Lynn Taylor-Corbett and Molly Lynch. Kim was on the conservatory faculty for eight years and assumed the position of Ballet Pacifica Conservatory Registrar in 2004. Ms. Olmos is an Instructor of Ballet at Chapman University. She is currently the Ballet Mistress and rehearsal assistant for Backhausdance, Orange County's award-winning contemporary dance company. Kim is also on the faculty at the Maple Conservatory of Dance in Irvine where she serves as Director of Student Management. 

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

CONTEMPORARY BALLET
(WEEK 1)

Contemporary ballet meshes classical ballet technique with the principles learned in the BD Technique classes. Incorporating the concepts of momentum, movement efficiency and expansive moving, this class will challenge the dancer to apply his or her kinesthetic awareness and gained knowledge within the structure of a ballet-based vocabulary.

CYRUS PARKER-JEANNETTE

Orange, CA

Dean of the College of the Arts, CSU Long Beach

Cyrus Parker-Jeannette, currently serving as Dean of the College of the Arts at CSULB, combines years of experience as a professional dancer and choreographer with works ranging from concert dance, movement for theatre, to gallery and site-specific performances. She has been an artist in residence in Taipei, Taiwan, at Jacksonville University in Florida, and Spelman College in Atlanta, and she serves as a master teacher at The Wooden Floor.  She received her BA in Theatre/Dance from California State University, Fullerton and her MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine. With a particular interest in improvisational processes and the intersection of improvisation and choreography, Cyrus teaches internationally and has received several leadership and teaching awards during her academic career.  She was awarded the 2003 California Dance Educator of the Year presented by the California Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (CAHPERD) and the 2004 Director’s Award for Outstanding Contribution in Dance Education presented by California Dance and Movement. She has served as a pre-performance speaker at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts and the Carpenter Performing Arts Center and has given several lectures and presentations in the Southern California area.  She is an active member of the National Association of Schools of Dance, where she serves as an external evaluator for program review and accreditation on a national level. She loves teaching and creating, and lives in Orange with her husband Patrick, and their cat, KoKoNut who does tricks and loves to swing dance.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

IMPROVISATION
(WEEKS 1 & 2)

Students will be challenged to explore new and unique movement patterns as they engage in a series of guided improvisational prompts, scores and explorations. With a playful approach to movement, students will be encouraged to expand their abilities as dance artists and performers, they will be asked to innovate, and will deepen their self-awareness through the class activities.

KAITLIN REGAN

Irvine, CA

Company Dancer, Education Director, Backhausdance
BFA in Dance Performance, Chapman University

Kaitlin Regan is currently performing in her 7th season with Orange County’s critically acclaimed dance company Backhausdance, where she also serves as Educational Outreach Director. She is an alumni of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance. Kaitlin has performed the works of Jennifer Backhaus, Dale Merrill, Sean Greene, Mike Esperanza, Yin Yue, Ido Tadmor and others. As an influential dance educator in Southern California for the past 12 years, Kaitlin helped develop an adaptive dance program for students with special needs. She is also on faculty at Avanti Dance Company (Costa Mesa, CA) and Impact Dance Center (Cypress, CA). She was chosen to be dance teaching artist for ESCAPE; a research grant designed to examine the impact of learning science concepts through dance and visual arts, in addition to classroom studies, for ESL students. In addition, Kaitlin has developed STEAM assemblies and residencies for the company coinciding with the Next Generation Science Standards.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

PARTNERING
(WEEK 2)

This Partnering class will focus on the fundamentals of building trust, strength and support. We will explore the push and pull of a partnership and understand how to move together as one unit. During the duration of the intensive, we will start every class with strengthening exercises along with small improvisational exercises across the floor. Students will also be learning partnering phrases using the ideas and aesthetics behind the Backhausdance partnering techniques.

BD REPERTORY
(WEEK 1, 2 & 3)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

CHIHIRO SANO

Lakewood, CA

Company Dancer, Backhausdance

Chihiro Sano, originally from Japan, began her modern dance training at the age of seven under the direction of Akiko Ishii. She joined Backhausdance as an apprentice and has been a full company member since 2010. Chihiro has worked as an assistant to Artistic Director Jennifer Backhaus on freelance projects such as the Irvine Valley College Faculty Dance Concert, the East Valley Dance Project/Studio Project in Palm Desert, the Temecula Community Theater Dance Project and Trolley Dances Riverside. A certified yoga instructor, Chihiro is passionate about sharing her love of dance and yoga with people of all ages.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

YOGA FOR DANCERS
(WEEK 1, 2 & 3)

Yoga for Dancers is designed to help students gain strength, flexibility, and the body awareness necessary to maintain a healthy physical structure. Incorporating challenging and dynamic Vinyasa-style flows and stretches, the class will focus on correct breathing techniques and proper alignment and execution in postures and stretches.

COMPOSITION
(WEEK 3)

Dancers will explore a wide range of approaches to the art of choreography. Students will be encouraged to find their own choreographic voice while using a number of tools and ideas presented.

PARTNERING
(WEEKS 1 & 2)
This Partnering class will focus on the fundamentals of building trust, strength and support. We will explore the push and pull of a partnership and understand how to move together as one unit. During the duration of the intensive, we will start every class with strengthening exercises along with small improvisational exercises across the floor. Students will also be learning partnering phrases using the ideas and aesthetics behind the Backhausdance partnering techniques.

BD REPERTORY
(WEEKS 1, 2 & 3)
Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

MEGAN SEAGREN

Los Angeles, CA

Company Dancer

Megan Seagren, originally from Aurora, CO, fell in love with dance at age 3. In 2016, she graduated magne cum laude from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance. During her collegiate years, Megan had the privilege of performing at the prestigious Joyce Theater in New York City with the Chapman Dance Ensemble under the direction of Jennifer Backhaus and Dale Merrill. She has attended intensive studies with AXIS Connect; Backhausdance; BODYTRAFFIC; Colorado Ballet; and the American Dance Festival (ADF), where she performed works by Batsheva, Lar Lubovitch and William Forsythe. Megan has performed as a guest artist with Backhausdance, Emergent Dance Company, Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Shieldwall Dance Company and VVW Dance. This is her first season as a company member of Backhausdance.

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

BD TECHNIQUE (ASSISTANT)
(WEEK 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.

BD REPERTORY
(WEEK 2)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

AMANDA KAY WHITE

Tustin, CA

Founding Company Member, Backhausdance
MFA in Choreography, Jacksonville University
BFA in Dance Performance, BA in Communication Arts, Chapman University

Amanda Kay White is a founding/current member of Orange County, California’s critically acclaimed dance company Backhausdance. She is an alumna of Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and a BA in Communication Arts with an emphasis in Advertising. Amanda recently graduated with a Master’s of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University in April of 2016. As an extension of her thesis work she traveled to Finland to partake in the inaugural Dance Hack, where new differing avenues of technology converged with the moving human form. Additionally, her written thesis was accepted into the prestigious International Academic Forum on the City in Barcelona, Spain. Her inventive choreographic works have been showcased at Highways Performance Space, Pasadena Dance Festival, American Celebration, The Core Collective, Epilepsy Network Benefit Concert, Chapman Touring Company, American College Dance Festival, and MixMatch Dance Festival. Amanda is currently on faculty at Santa Ana College, Chapman University, Orange County School of the Arts, and South Coast Conservatory. Along with teaching at SCC, she is the executive advisor to their national award winning dance team and managing director of the jazz department. In 2009 she founded Compass Dance Company, a pre-professional contemporary dance company for emerging artists ages 14 and up. By engaging, expressing, and innovating Compass Dance Company reaches out to the community through dance.

 

CLASS DESCRIPTION:

CREATIVE QUEST
(WEEKS 1 & 2)

Creative Quest an explorative movement experience built around the eternal mystery of creativity. During class we will use traditional modern movement patterns as a playground for our minds and bodies by seeking ways to turn the known into the undiscovered.

MUSIC VISUALIZATION
(WEEK 3)

Music Visualization will delve into way the body can not only react, but discover ways to embody the music. Participants will also collectively create a piece to showcase in the culminating performance.

BD REPERTORY
(WEEK 1, 2 & 3)

Students will work alongside Backhausdance company members to recreate sections from signature choreographic works. Phrasework and partnering sequences will be explored from a diverse cross-section of Backhausdance repertory. For those participating in the culmination performance, daily attendance is mandatory.

SAMMI WAUGH

Orange, CA

2018 Student Liaison
Company Apprentice, Backhausdance
BFA in Dance, Chapman University

Sammi Waugh is a dance artist located in Southern California. Born in Austin, TX, she trained for 15 years in various styles before moving to California to further her dance education. She graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Dance Performance and an Interdisciplinary Honors minor. At Chapman, she worked with and performed works choreographed by faculty, students, and guest artists, including Dwight Rhoden, Ido Tadmor, Jennifer Backhaus, Sean Greene, Brandee Lara, and Alicia Guy. She also presented ten of her own original choreographic works and taught technique and creative movement classes to all levels. Passionate about dance education, she has taught both locally at various studios and a nearby elementary school and globally in small villages in Cambodia. Sammi has also performed with Sling Dance Project in Austin, TX and Backhausdance in Orange, CA. She is a current apprentice with Backhausdance, and looks forward to expanding her experience and knowledge as an artist through her work with the company.

CRAIG SHIELDS

Fullerton, CA

Percussionist, Cuñao

Craig Shields is a percussionist, dance collaborator, member of the Latin alternative folk band Cuñao, and an adjunct percussion instructor at Chapman University. His training includes extensive work in contemporary chamber music, musical theatre, orchestral percussion, and a brief stint with Blue Man Group. He holds degrees in Percussion Performance and Music Education from Chapman University ('12). In addition to the band Cuñao, Craig regularly performs with Duende Flamenco and at various special events throughout the year, including Oktoberfest and the Renaissance Faire. He has recently created original music for choreographers Chelsea Asman, Jeremy Hahn, Rayven Armijo, and Alexx Shilling. Craig provides live music for modern and ballet technique classes at CSU Fullerton and the Contemporary Modern Dance Collective, and has previously accompanied for Chapman University, Backhausdance, Ledges and Bones, and The Wooden Floor.

BRIAN WOOD

Orange, CA

Multi-Instrumentalist, Composer, Improviser, Songwriter & Healer

Brian Wood is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, songwriter, and healer. He uses music and sound to help connect people into deep experiences with their bodies, emotions, and environments and assists people in bringing out their own authentic voice. He is a Radical Aliveness/ Core Energetics practitioner with a private practice and he currently accompanies modern and improvisation dance classes at Chapman University, Cal State Long Beach, The Wooden Floor and OCC. He has composed for dance, video, film, and multimedia performance, including collaborations with artists in Japan and all over Southern California. He composed for the Internet documentary series "Group," and has composed and accompanied live for theater productions in Los Angeles. He holds a degree in music composition from UCSB's college of creative studies. Examples of his songs and dance compositions can be found at brianwood.bandcamp.com