Suzon Fuks (multimedia artist, director and photographer) and James Cunningham (choreographer and performer) have been collaborating artistically since 1993, share the artistic directorship of Brisbane-based multimedia and performance company IGNEOUS http://www.igneous.org.au, and are founding members of the international cyberformance group ActiveLayers. The tandem organized and participated in several international streaming events connecting artists from around the world.
James and Suzon create stage shows, performance-installations, screendance works and online performances, presenting and creating work in Australia, Europe, Canada and India. They facilitate workshops, master classes and labs on the integration of visual media and the performing arts, and have been artists in residence in various universities and cultural centres.
Their installation performance MIRAGE was short-listed for an Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Independent Dance, and the screendance FRAGMENTATION received several nominations in Australia and overseas. Suzon Fuks, born in Brussels in 1959, is currently an Australia Council for the Arts Fellow continuing her research on screendance and networked performance. She trained in dance, theatre & music at Lilian Lambert Academy, Brussels (69-76), completed a Masters in Visual Arts at La Cambre, Brussels (79-84), and moved to Australia in 1996. She received the Green Room Award for Outstanding Video-Scenography in Theatre (New Form). Her photographic exhibition KEEPING THE LIGHT toured from 1997 to 2001 to seven capitals of the world, and her photographs are part of the State Library of NSW and the National Library of Australia collections. http://www.suzonfuks.net
James Cunningham, born in 1963, completed an Advanced Certificate in Dance (performance) at the Centre for Performing Arts Adelaide (87-88), and was dancer with Dance North, Townsville (89-91). He paralyzed his left arm in a motorbike accident in 1992, and spent some years in India retraining. In 1999 he received a grant from the Australia Council for the Arts to develop his choreographic work, and in 2000 performed with DV8 Physical Theatre in Can We Afford This? (Sydney, London and HK). Since 2008, he has been developing live art performances: STILL/CITY (audience participatory), and TUNING FORK (installation) with Jondi Keane tuning-fork.blogspot.com.
Photo 1 by: Suzon Fuks
Assane Konte, a national of Senegal, West Africa, is the Founder and Artistic Director, Choreographer, Costume Designer for KanKouran West African Dance Company. Mr. Konte began his dance training at age 12, and studied with many prominent traditional dancers and musicians throughout West Africa. These teachers/mentors, born in Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Togo, and Senegal, were key to his development as a multi talented artist. His career as a professional dancer began at age 15 with the "Ballet Africaine de Diebel Guee" of Dakar, Senegal. During his ten years with the company, he electrified audiences with his performances, while simultaneously developing his own movement style. In 1978, following a tour in Cote d'Ivoire where he worked and performed as a guest consultant for a locally based dance company, Mr. Konte came to the United States to pursue a career as an independent performer and worked with numerous organizations, as musical arranger, and choreographer. Subsequently, Mr. Konte's realization that he needed to develop his own dance company in order to accomplish his ultimate goal of introducing traditional African dance and drumming to wider audiences in the U.S. led him in 1983, along with his colleague, Mr. Abdou Kounta, master drummer from Senegal, to found the KanKouran dance company, Mr. Konte assumed the responsibilities of Artistic Director of the company. Since that time, his lifelong dedication to preserving and sharing Africa's rich culture through dance and music has made him a goodwill ambassador, promoting cross cultural appreciation and understanding in the many performance venues in which he and the company appear. For his tireless work, innovative choreography, and outstanding contribution to the community, Mr. Konte has been the recipient of several prestigious awards which include the Immigrant Lawyers Association's "Immigrant of the Year" award (along with other recipients including Madeleine Albright, Placido Domingo, and Abe Polin), and an award for "Outstanding Community Service" presented by WGMS, one of the most popular classical music radio stations in Washington, D.C. In addition, Mr. Konte's awareness of African dance as a universal language has allowed him to reach out to other artistic traditions. As a result, KanKouran has performed with symphony orchestras, chorales, church based dance groups, tap- dance companies, ballet companies, theatrical productions and other drum and dance companies from around the world. His choreography and costume designing have enhanced not only KanKouran's stage professionalism, but numerous local and national dance companies as well. Through his careful and meticulous choreography, Mr. Konte has taken U.S. based African dance to another level: at the same time he has challenged his company's dancers and drummers to achieve impressive levels of virtuosity and technical ability. Although Mr. Konte choreographs primarily for his own company, his ingenious creativity and spirit is always in demand at home and abroad. Consequently, he conducts programs in Poland, Hawaii, Japan, and St. Croix. Mr. Konte has held faculty positions in the dance department at several prestigious universities in the Washington, D.C. area, including American and George Mason Universities, and presently serves on the faculty at Howard University.
Deborah Lohse, Artistic Director of ad hoc Ballet, is a classically trained choreographer and dancer from Sacramento, California. Lohse's ballet foundation was provided by Dame Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski and continued with modern under Jean Isaacs, Kevin Wynn and Joe Goode. Her eclectic training also includes theatre, comedy improvisation and ballroom. As a dancer, she has performed with a variety of companies, including The Sacramento Ballet, Jean Isaacs' San Diego Dance Theatre and Monica Bill Barnes & Company. In California, her ballets were presented at Sushi Visual and Performance Art, Celebrate Dance Festival and Entré Lineas Festival. Jean Isaacs, producer of the Entré Lineas Festival in Tijuana, Mexico, described Lohse as "(having) a lively wit and a deep comedic vein, but also a disturbingly dark vision at times with the impulse of a true dance-maker".
Since relocating to New York City four years ago, her ballets have been called "emotionally driven" (Backstage) "searing and articulate" (Village Voice), and "elastic and fascinating" (Village Voice). With a desire to seek out new music and support living composers, her repertory includes works from Michael Gordon and Radiohead. In New York, her work has appeared in numerous performances in venues ranging from the theater at Florence Gould Hall and the Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center to the Synod House at St. John the Divine to the stage of Joe's Pub. Her work can also be found in the repertory of New Chamber Ballet and has been featured in several NYC theater productions. She has received support from the Puffin Foundation, Bossak/Heilbron Foundation and been the recipient of artist residencies at Dancenow/NYC Silo Residency and Dance New Amsterdam.
Photo by: Quinn Batson
Richard Move is Artistic Director of MoveOpolis! which has been presented by Dance Theater Workshop, Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival, Sitelines/River to River Festival, and numerous other international venues. MoveOpolis! collaborators include designer Patricia Field (Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada), visual/video artist Charles Atlas and writer Hilton Als (The New Yorker). Move's The Show (Achilles Heels), originally commissioned and created for Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project, had its New York premiere at The Kitchen featuring Rasta Thomas and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Deborah Harry of Blondie. His other choreographic commissions include works for the Martha Graham Dance Company, PARADIGM (Carmen DeLavallade, Gus Solomons, Jr., and Dudley Williams), American Festival of Paris, and the Opera Ballet of Florence, Italy. Move has created large-scale, multi-media events for the European Cultural Capitol of France, Guggenheim Museum in New York and the VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards. He choreographed Dame Shirley Bassey's Diamonds are Forever at the Cannes Film Festival and directed Isaac Mizrahi's LES MIZrahi. His films include: Bardo, which received the 2009 Jury Prize nomination at Lincoln Center's Dance on Camera Festival, BloodWork-The Ana Mendieta Story, recipient of the 2009 National Board of Review Prize at the Director's Guild of America, and the feature GhostLight, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. These films have screened internationally at festivals, galleries, and museums. He also choreographed the cult film Strangers With Candy, starring Amy Sedaris, Mathew Broderick and Stephen Colbert. Move has performed with Karole Armitage, DANCENOISE, Molissa Fenley, Koosil Ja and Pooh Kaye, among many others, and was recently guest artist with the Le Centre Choreographique National de Tours, in France. He is also co-founder of the legendary and long-running late-night cabaret Jackie60. Martha@ ..., Move's performances as 20th Century Icon Martha Graham began in 1996, received two New York Dance and Performance Awards (aka 'Bessie Awards'), tours internationally and has been featured on the BBC, La Sept TV/France, PBS' City Arts (Emmy Award) and is the subject of the forthcoming documentary Channeling Martha. Move is recipient of the prestigious TEDGlobal 2010 TED Fellowship. He is curator of "Where is Ana Mendieta?" an exhibition and symposium at the Fales Collection at New York University, August 1 through October 8, 2010.
Photo by: Josef Astor
Joe Bowie was born in Lansing, MI, and began dancing while attending Brown University where he graduated with honors in English and American Literature. In New York he has performed in the works of Robert Wilson and Ulysses Dove and also danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for two years before going to Belgium to work with Mark Morris in 1989.
Daniel Burkholder is the Director of The PlayGround, a dance performance group, which was awarded the 2006 Metro DC Dance Award for "Outstanding Group Performance in a Dance Production" and a 2005 Local Dance Commissioning Project through The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Daniel's work has been seen in the Metro D.C. area, New York City, San Francisco and the Mid-Atlantic region. Daniel served as the D.C./Local Dancers' Rehearsal Director for the D.C. presentation of White Oak Dance Project's "Past Forward" program and as guest teacher for Cirque du Soleil. Daniel studied with numerous teachers including his mentor Viola Farber, Bill T. Jones, K.J. Holmes, Peggy Hackney, and Twyla Tharp. Daniel graduated from Sarah Lawrence College, American University, Moving On Center / School for Participatory Arts, is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner(cm) and a current MFA candidate at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Photo by: Marketa Ebert
Philippine-born Gerald Casel received a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with assistance by a fellowship from the Advanced Opportunity Program. He has danced in the companies of Michael Clark, Stanley Love, Zvi Gotheiner, Lar Lubovitch, the Metropolitan Opera, Sungsoo Ahn and Stephen Petronio, where he was a member from 1991-1998 and 2001-2005 and served as the Stephen Petronio Company's Assistant Director and Director of Education. He continues to assist, re-stage and coach Petronio repertory on major companies including Ballet National de Marseille, Sydney Dance Company and The Scottish Ballet. In 1997, he was honored to receive a New York Dance and Performance Award "Bessie" for sustained achievement. As a teacher, Casel has taught at Movement Research, Dance New Amsterdam, Impuls Tanz Vienna, the School for Modern Dance in Denmark, Sarah Lawrence College and as a faculty member at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Gerald began making choreography for his company, GERALDCASELDANCE, in 1998. He has also been commissioned by NYU Second Avenue Dance Company (Kinship Descent, 2007) and by The Barnard Project, Barnard College at Dance Theater Workshop.
Photo by: Shila Tirabassi
Mark Morris was born on August 29, 1956, in Seattle, Washington, where he studied with Verla Flowers and Perry Brunson. In the early years of his career, he performed with the dance companies of Lar Lubovitch, Hannah Kahn, Laura Dean, Eliot Feld, and the Koleda Balkan Dance Ensemble. He formed the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980, and has since created more than 120 works for the company. From 1988-1991, he was Director of Dance at the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, the national opera house of Belgium. Among the works created during his time there were three evening-length dances: L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato; Dido and Aeneas; and The Hard Nut. In 1990, he founded the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Morris is also much in demand as a ballet choreographer and has created seven works for the San Francisco Ballet since 1994 and received commissions from many others. His work is also in the repertory of the Pacific Northwest Ballet, Boston Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, New Zealand Ballet, Houston Ballet, English National Ballet, and The Royal Ballet. Morris is noted for his musicality and has been described as "undeviating in his devotion to music." He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Gotham Chamber Opera, English National Opera, and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. In 1991, he was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation. He has received nine honorary doctorates to date. In 2006, Morris received the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture and a WQXR Gramophone Special Recognition Award "for being an American ambassador for classical music at home and abroad." He is the subject of a biography, Mark Morris, by Joan Acocella (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and Marlowe & Company published a volume of photographs and critical essays entitled Mark Morris' L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: A Celebration. Morris is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. In 2007, he received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival lifetime achievement award. In 2010, he received the prestigious Leonard Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award for the Elevation of Music in Society.
Photo by: Amber Star Merkens
Alwin Nikolais was born in 1910 in Southington, Connecticut. He studied piano at an early age and began his performing career as an organist accompanying silent films. As a young artist he gained skills in scenic design, acting, puppetry and music composition. It was after attending a performance by the illustrious German dancer Mary Wigman that he was inspired to study dance. He received his early dance training at Bennington College from the great figures of the modern dance world: Hanya Holm, Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Louis Horst, and others. In 1940, in collaboration with Truda Kaschmann, his first modern dance teacher Mr. Nikolais received a commission to create Eight Column Line, his first ballet. The work was presented at one of the events of the Hartford social season that counted Salvador Dali and Leonide Massine as honorary patrons, and was well received. After teaching two years at his own studio and touring the US with dancers from Hanya Holm's company, Mr. Nikolais did active duty in the Army during World War II. Mr. Nikolais relocated in New York City following the war and resumed studying with Miss Holm. Eventually he became Miss Holm's assistant, teaching at her New York school and at Colorado College during the summers. In 1948, Mr. Nikolais was appointed director of the Henry Street Playhouse, where he formed the Playhouse Dance Company, later renamed and known as the Nikolais Dance Theatre. It was at Henry Street that Mr. Nikolais began to develop his own world of abstract dance theatre, portraying man as part of a total environment. His unique choreographic works placed him in a realm previously untouched by other choreographers. Mr. Nikolais redefined dance, as "the art of motion which, left on its own merits, becomes the message as well as the medium." It was also at Henry Street Playhouse that Mr. Nikolais was joined by Murray Louis, who was to become a driving force in the young Playhouse Company, Mr. Nikolais' leading dancer and longtime collaborator. In 1956, the Nikolais Dance Theater was invited to its first of many appearances at the American Dance Festival. With this, his total dance theatre had begun to take shape, and the company established itself in the forefront of American contemporary dance. With the company's extraordinary successful 1968 Paris season at the Theatre Des Champs-Elysees, Mr. Nikolais' impact on dance grew internationally. In 1978, the French National Ministry of Culture invited him to form the Centre Nationale de la Danse Contemporaine in Angers, France. In December 1980, he created his 99th choreographic work Schema, for the Paris Opera. At the same time, his choreography for an opera by Gian Carlo Menotti was being staged at the Vienna Staatsoper. Mr. Nikolais has been lauded for his accomplishments and contributions many times over. In 1987 he was awarded our nation's highest cultural honors, the National Medal of Arts, bestowed by President Reagan, and the Kennedy Center Honors, conferred during a three day round of official Washington events, which culminated in a CBS telecast featuring the Nikolais Dance Theater. He received the City of Paris' highest honor, the Grande Medaille de Vermeille de la Ville de Paris, as well as medals from Seville, Spain, Athens, Greece, and 30 other cities both foreign and national as well as a special citation from New York City's Mayor, which he shared with Murray Louis. Often affectionately referred to as the American Patriarch of French modern dance, Mr. Nikolais is a knight of France's Legion of Honor and a commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. Mr. Nikolais has been granted five honorary doctorate degrees, has twice been designated a Guggenheim Fellow, and was the recipient of a three year creativity grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Mr. Nikolais and his work have been featured in numerous films and television programs in the US and abroad. In 1987, Nik and Murray, a documentary film by Christian Blackwood, aired on the PBS series, "American Masters." As a uniquely original exponent of American contemporary dance he toured throughout Europe and subsequent tours to South America and the Far East. Mr. Nikolais is renowned as a master teacher, and his pedagogy is taught in schools and universities throughout the world. He passed away May 8, 1993 and is buried in Pere La Chaisse cemetery in Paris.
Alberto del Saz is the Artistic Director of the Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance Company as well as Co-Director of The Nikolais/Louis Foundation for Dance and Assistant to Mr. Louis. Mr. del Saz is a vital and important link in keeping the Nikolais-Louis repertory active. Mr. del Saz was born in Bilbao, Spain in 1960. At an early age he studied ice-skating, which later led to his first performing career. In 1980 Mr. del Saz became the Spanish National Champion in figure skating and soon made his debut with Holiday on Ice-International. His skating work has appeared on Ice-Wars, Grand Slam and the Professional World Championships televised on CBS, FOX and ABC networks as well as the official opening of the Rockefeller Center sponsored by Champions on Ice.His early dance training was received at the Nikolais-Louis Dance Lab from the great teachers of the technique: Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais, Murray Louis, Claudia Gitelman, Tandy Beal, Beverly Blossom and others. In 1985, Mr. del Saz made his debut as a lead soloist with the Nikolais Dance Theater, later renamed the Murray Louis and Nikolais Dance Company. As a member of this internationally acclaimed company he has toured to virtually every continent on the globe. Mr. del Saz has appeared for President Reagan at the Kennedy Center Honors in a CBS telecast featuring the Nikolais Dance Theater as well as on PBS American Masters series in Nik and Murray, an award winning documentary film by Christian Blackwood. He has also represented the United States State Department on a tour of India, appeared at the Paris Opera Garnier in a Homage to Alwin Nikolais and at the Next Wave Festival with Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane Dance Company. Mr. del Saz has appeared as a guest solo artist in works by Hanya Holm, Claudia Gitelman, Maureen Fleming, Sara Pearson, Cleo Parker Robinson and others. Mr. del Saz is the Reconstruction Director of the Nikolais/Louis repertory and has staged the Nikolais/Louis repertory on university and professional dance companies around the world, including North Carolina School of the Arts, The Juilliard School, Conservatoire de la Danse de Paris, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Co., The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, University of Illinois, Rutgers State University, Brigham Young University, Centre National de Danse Contemporaine in Angers, Boston Conservatory, University of Utah, Hunter College, Marymount Manhattan College, and Barnard College. Mr. del Saz has been with the Nikolais/Louis Foundation for 20 years; at the moment his focus is in preserving the Nikolais/Louis technique, repertory and legacy through his teaching and directing.