Special guest artists
Karla Grotting is a dancer, choreographer, educator, and producer working with a unique blend of jazz, tap, modern, and percussive dance techniques. She is founding member, principal dancer, and artistic associate in her 25th year with Joe Chvala's The Flying Foot Forum. She has performed with companies such as Jazzdance: by Danny Buraczeski, MN Jazz Dance Co, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Off-Leash Area, and Combustible Company. Karla has been on faculty with the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance since 1998, and a guest artist and instructor at St Olaf College since 2014. Her awards include the U of M Student’s Choice Award for Outstanding Teacher in the College of Liberal Arts, a 2007 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers and a 2010 Sage Nomination for Outstanding Educator. Her project, Lost Voices in Jazz: The Choreographers of the Minnesota Jazz Dance Company was recognized with the Sage Award for Outstanding Performance and Karla was named a City Pages' Artist of the Year in 2015. Karla creates her own dance works which blend the unique styles of her tap, jazz, modern and percussive dance experiences and has set original works on the Flying Foot Forum, The Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Macalester College, St Olaf College, Gustavus Adolphus College, St Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts, UW-Whitewater, Southwest High School Dance Program, Keane Sense of Rhythm Social Club and others.
Christine Maginnis, a native Minneapolitan has been an active dance artist in her home town for over three decades, much of that time spent as a member of Zenon Dance Company. She toured internationally with Zenon, Cathy Young Dance, Shapiro and Smith Dance and Tim Latta. In the more recent past, let's say in her fifties, she has had the pleasure of working with Ballet of the Dolls, DADance, Off Leash Area, Arena Dances, Live Action Set as well as with Lisa Conlin, Sally Rousse, Penelope Freeh, Jennifer Mack and Gerry Girouard. Her choreography has been presented by James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Renovate, Rhythmically Speaking, Red Eye Collaboration, the Minnesota Fringe Festival and L1 Dance Lab in Budapest. Christine is the recipient of a McKnight Fellowship for Dancers (2001) and a Sage Award for Outstanding Performer (2016).
Marlayna Locklear hails from Milwaukee,WI. She began her training at the age of 12 at city ballet theatre and went on to graduate from Milwaukee High School of the Arts and University of the Arts In Philadelphia, PA with a BFA in Ballet and Jazz. Marlayna was one of the founding members of The Milwaukee Dance Connection and has gone on to dance with Eleone Dance Theatre, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Dallas Black Dance Theatre II , Deeply Rooted and Dayton Contemporary Dance company where she served as the company jazz and contemporary instructor as well as resident choreographer for DCDC II. She has performed works by Christopher Huggins, Dwight Rhoden, Ron Brown, Donald Byrd, Diane McIntyre and Ray Mercer to name a few. She also has worked with members of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Momix, Martha Graham Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Milwaukee Ballet, Philadanco, Koresh, Full Circle Dance Company and members of seasons 1 & 2 of So you think you can dance.
Marlayna is a freelance artist and teaches and choreographs at Universities around the nation. She is also the founder and director of Indurance Dance Intensive. She most recently finished filming the James Franco Film "Blood Heist" and studying abroad in Italy with VIVO Ballet. Marlayna will head to Bulgaria in the Spring to work with South African choreographer Fana Tshabalala on the INDUMBA project.
He has appeared on numerous television series and specials including the MTV Movie Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammy’s, the BET Awards, and the Blockbuster Awards. Eric has danced with several artists including Aaliyah, The Backstreet Boys, Lil’ Kim, Mikaela, and Usher. He appeared in the smash hit musical Grease on Broadway and in a National Tour of Hello Dolly. Eric danced in the hit movie musicals Jaaneman and Across the Universe, and has danced in several commercials. As choreographer Eric toured Germany with the bands B3 and M*Pire, creating live and recorded stage work. Eric is the Youth Artistic Director for the Brooklyn Dance Festival, guest faculty at Sacred Heart University, Hillsborough Community College, and Yale, and permanent faculty at Broadway Dance Center in NYC.
Brian J. Evans
Brian J. Evans is a Professional Performing Human. An artist striving for social justice, Evans places high value in process and product, having had most of his training out in the 'Arts field' of the Twin Cities, working with over 50 artistic directors on more then 200 projects from solo endeavors to collaborating as a self-employed professional performer & teaching artist. Brian J. Evans is a recipient of a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellowship, administrated by The Cowles Center and funded by The McKnight Foundation. Primarily as a principle dancer and musical director for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Evans has continued to investigate the idea that connections exist between us all and it's the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover those connections, highlight them and allow us to feel holistically human.
Madison Elliott started dancing at Balleraena Dance studio in 2003. Her sophomore year of high school, she was accepted into the University of North Carolina School of the Arts dance program, where she finished her last 2 years of high school. She is now attending SUNY Purchase College, Conservatory of Dance in New York. Elliott has attended American Dance Festival, Sidra Bells Winter Module, Spring Board X Iconic Women and Mark Morris Dance Company workshops. She performed works by Trisha Brown, Ming-Lung Yang, Abby Zibikowski, and Sherone Price to name a few. Elliott has a passion for exploring different types of movement and enjoys food.
chloe grace Michels
Grace Michels graduated with a BFA in Dance from Columbia College Chicago in May 2015. Upon graduating she has worked with choreographers Margi Cole (The Dance Colective), Paige Cunningham (Off Center Project), Shannon Edwards, Emily Stein and Karl Watson. She has created work for The Coincidentals' Mess Hall installment #1 and #2, and is currently working with Bessie Award winning choreographer, Timothy Buckley.
Angelina Gibson’s choreographic aesthetic is defined by the juxtaposition of contemporary ballet; militant, masculine elements; and intellectual inspirations. As an artist, Gibson wishes to challenge the traditionally feminine associations with ballet and females alike. Athleticism and stamina are two elements which define her work. Aside from her trademark choreographic style, Gibson remains dedicated to a dancer’s musicality and auditory sensitivity. As a trained classical pianist, she requires an intense amount of listening and knowledge from her dancers; since her approach is compositional by nature, each musical element is to be represented by movement.
LiRa Dance Theatre Company premiered Gibson’s Exodus, a piece depicting the emotional turmoil during and following the Holocaust. The Balleraena Dance Company premiers A Muse’s Threnody, an East Indian-inspired examination of artists without work. In addition to concert works, Gibson frequently creates competitive pieces. A judge’s “Artistic Movement” award was given to her self-choreographed solo, The Caged Bird’s Battlecry. A number of her competitive works continue to receive awards for their concept, composition, and creativity.
Daintry TenNapel began dancing at the age of six and fell in love with movement. Throughout middle and high school she discovered her love for choreography so she went on to college for dance and graduated in 2006 with BFA in Dance at Belhaven University (emphasis in Choreography). Daintry met Nate TenNapel after graduating college. They have been married for seven years and have three kids! Daintry now spends her days as a stay at home mom, teaching dance, and choreographing; she enjoys decorating, designing, fashion, traveling, and collaborating with other artists to create pieces that hold influence and fight injustice.