• Lisa Andrea Thurrell

    Lisa Andrea Thurrell

    Lisa Thurrell, Co-Artistic Director Kanopy Dance Company (director, choreographer, teacher, dancer) trained and danced with Martha Graham Dance Company 1987-1995. Honored to be among those who reconstructed some of Martha’s early works, she performed Graham’s NYC City Center Gala, Season and the Spoleto national and international Festivals 1991-1994. In 1995 she became co-director of Kanopy Dance with her partner Robert E. Cleary. She has worked extensively, performing, choreographing and teaching in companies, schools, and universities throughout U.S. and Denmark. Embracing modern founders’ philosophies, she has also studied and performed Asian theater and physical theater. Nominated for Bonnie Bird International Choreography Award, her choreography has been described by critics as “...a Hieronymus Bosch painting, spilling onto the floor of the theater . . . stresses fragility of the human body and self-reflection.” As a performer, critics call her “...pure power and vulnerability at once.” Thurrell holds postgraduate certificate from Professional Trainee Program, Martha Graham Dance Company, NYC. (3yr full time, technique, repertory, history, composition, pedagogy) She holds an MFA-Dance & Asian Theater from University of Wisconsin-Madison (1987). Mentors include Yuriko, Carol Fried, Denise Vale, Ethel Winter, Peggy Lyman, Pearl Lang, Zena Rommett, Phyllis Lamhut, Sankaran Namboodiri, Hanya Holm and others. Thurrell has been awarded numerous government grants, foundation, private grants and awards for Kanopy. Recently, Ms. Thurrell’s choreography has been presented in curated showcases: [email protected](Martha Graham Dance Company), NUVU Festival(Miki Orihara); and she has performed in Modern Rebels (Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble)in NYC May 2018. She is invited regularly as guest faculty to teach at Martha Graham Dance Center in NYC (9/18,1/19, 8/19); and is choreographer for Wozzeck for the Des Moines Metro Opera Festival July 2019. Ms. Thurrell, along with Co-director Mr. Cleary and Kanopy Dancers will headline the Past to Present Dance Festival in Warsaw Poland August 2019. Examples of her teaching alongside her role at Kanopy include: Chair of Dance at Idrætshøjskole, Oure, Denmark (1997), faculty at Academy of Russian Ballet, Denver, CO (2001-2004); Illinois State University, Normal, IL (2005.); Ballet Minnesota, (1998 - to date); Visiting Professor, University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE (1992,1994), guest teacher University of Wisconsin Madison ( 2004, 2017, 2019), guest faculty at the Martha Graham School (2018 to date), New York City. Examples of her performance and choreography presented: as co-director of Kanopy Dance in its Seasons from (1995-2004) in Madison WI theaters, and since 2004 as Resident Company of the Overture Center for the Arts in Kanopy’s home theatre in Madison WI (2004-date). Her choreography has been presented in New York City at The Field, Dance Space, Laban Center, Goodson Theatre (1989-1994), Jazz at Lincoln Center (2013-2016), [email protected] (2018), NUVU Festival (2018), Modern Rebels (2018). In Chicago at the Ruth Page Center (2010, 2013) and Links Hall (2017). In Minneapolis at Minnesota Dance Festival. (2014, 2016) among others. Special Projects include choreographer for Madison Opera’s Florencia (2018) Madison, WI, Des Moines Metro Opera’s Wozzeck (2019) Des Moines IA, headline curator, choreographer and instructor for Past to Present Dance Festival (2019) Warsaw Poland, and others.
  • Robert E. Cleary

    Robert E. Cleary

    Robert E Cleary, Co-Artistic Director Kanopy Dance Company (director, choreographer, teacher, dancer) was company member and soloist for Minnesota Dance Theater, danced for Bebe Miller, Bill T. Jones, Danny Ezralow, Paula Mann, Carolyn Brown, Susan McGuire, Maria Cheng, Wendy Hambidge; and was a Principal Dancer for Ballet Minnesota, among others. In 1995 he took directorship of Kanopy Dance with his partner, Lisa Thurrell. He has toured, performed, choreographed, and taught throughout the U.S. and in Denmark. Influenced by ballet, postmodernists as well as the modernists, he is in constant exploration of relevant dance expression. An extraordinary movement artist, physical theater fits him like a second skin. Critics call him “fiery and riveting, Inspired, wicked dancing, an astonishing performance...” As a choreographer, his work has been called by critics “quirky… oozes nonlinear narrative… classic gut-centered. 20th century modern dance” and “riotously pleasurable… intense, richly satisfying.” Mr. Cleary received his Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography and a Bachelor of Arts in History, 19th Century Europe, from the University of Minnesota. He trained intensively at American Ballet Theatre and with Susan Klein in Klein Release Technique in New York. Some of his mentors include David Voss, Mary Hinkson, Frank Bourman, Loyce Houlton, Bonnie Mathis, Susan McGuire, Maria Cheng, and Tisha Von Burpee, and others. Cleary has been awarded numerous government grants, foundation, private grants and awards for Kanopy. His most recent commissioned choreography, This is Not America, was performed in March 2019 by the Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble in New York City. Mr .Cleary, along with Co-director Ms. Thurrell and Kanopy Dancers will headline the Past to Present Dance Festival in Warsaw Poland August 2019. Examples of his teaching alongside his role at Kanopy include: Faculty in Dance at Idrætshøjskole, Oure, Denmark (1997), guest faculty Illinois State University, Normal, IL (2005.); Mankato Ballet, Ballet Minnesota (1991-2004) Minnesota; guest faculty Southwest Texas State, Texas (1998), among others. Examples of his performance and choreography presented: as co-director of Kanopy Dance in its Seasons from (1995-2004) in Madison WI theaters, and since 2004 as Resident Company of the Overture Center for the Arts in Kanopy’s home theatre in Madison WI (2004-date). His choreography has been presented in Denmark at several Arhus and Copenhagen Dance Festivals (1997). In Chicago at the Ruth Page Center (2010, 2013) and Links Hall (2017). In New York City at Sokolow Theatre Dance Ensemble’s Season (2019). He was soloist in Nini Theilade's Ballet Schubert, created originally for Massine's Ballet Russe (1997) Copenhagen, Denmark. He annually performs as guest soloist for Ballet Minnesota in Nutcracker (1994 to date), as well as High Brahmin in La Bayadere (2008), and most notably, lead role created on him for Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (2008, 2018). Special Projects include headline curator, instructor and choreographer for Past to Present Dance Festival (2019) Warsaw, Poland, and others.
  • Sarah Wolf

    Sarah Wolf

    Sarah attended Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi, for two years working on her BFA in dance. She attended Milwaukee Ballet School’s summer intensive for multiple years, as well as summer intensives at the Ailey School and Masterworks Dance Festival. While completing her BFA in dance with honors form UW-Milwaukee, she worked with a variety of choreographers including Simone Ferro, Ed Burgess, and Luc Vanier. Ms. Wolf danced one season with Danceworks Performance Company in Milwaukee before joining Kanopy in 2010. Ms. Wolf is an ABT Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 7, and currently teaches at Kanopy Dance Academy, First Position Dance Studio, and Beloit College.
  • Erica Pinigis

    Erica Pinigis

    Erica Pinigis is a Madison, native and started her dance career at the Kanopy School for Contemporary Dance and Choreography. Erica received her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota. After graduating, she produced and choreographed “Ooh La Lounge: An Evening of Dance and Jazz” at the Suburban World Theater and the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. She was curated by the Red Eye Theater for her collaboration with Erinn Liebhard: Lulladreams and Insomnimares, and was an Artist in Residence at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Arts. Erica has performed in Madison and Minneapolis with the Kanopy Dance Company, Peel and Core Dance Company, University Dance Theater at the University of Minnesota, Zenon Block E performance group, the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, and Marylee Hardenbergh’s Global Site Performance. Erica migrated to the Bay Area in 2008 where she was a company member of several local groups including Facing East Dance & Music, Paco Gomes & Dancers, the Natasha Carlitz Dance Ensemble, Slick Babble Dance Project, H2O Dance, and Bianca Cabrera’s Blind Tiger Society. Erica completed her MFA in performance and choreography at Mills College where she was honored with the E.L Wiegand award for excellence in performance and choreography.
  • Vivian Tomlinson

    Vivian Tomlinson

    Teaching has been a big part of Vivian’s life for over three decades…and he still loves it. He has taught men, women, old and young, beginners and experienced —"even UW football players." While attending the University of Capetown in South Africa, he studied ballet and performed with the University of Capetown Ballet Company (1973-76.) “The highlight of that time was dancing with Margot Fonteyn of the Royal Ballet in Swan Lake. I was so impressed with her because she was very gracious and humble. She sat on the floor with us and chatted like everyone else.” Tomlinson arrived in Madison in 1973 to join Wisconsin Ballet Company. Mr. Tomlinson, a founding member of the Kanopy Dance (1976), danced in the Edinburgh Arts Festival in Scotland with KDC (‘78.) He performed in France and Switzerland. Mr Tomlinson has been teaching for the Madison School of Ballet, the UW Dance Program and the University Department of Liberal Studies and the Arts, Division of Continuing Studies, in Madison and in outreach programs around the state. He has taught, performed and choreographed at the Jewish Community Center in Omaha, NE; at East High School in Madison; at Columbus High School and at Watertown High School. He has worked with the Central Wisconsin Ballet Fdtn in Wausau since 1976. He has presented with Madison Civic Opera and University Opera. He reprised one of his most delightful works Just for Kicks for Kanopy's Generation to Generation concert in 2000. He was awarded the Wisconsin Dance Council 2000 Distinction Award.
  • Amy Panganiban

    Amy Panganiban

    Amy is a native of Madison. She performed professionally with Minnesota Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater and American Festival Ballet. After retiring from dancing, she began designing and building costumes for Christopher Aponte at Spokane Ballet and later worked as a costume designer for Eugene Ballet Company in Oregon. While at EBC, Amy designed several of Toni Pimble’s ballets including Raramuri, Still Falls the Rain, Channel Surfing, Wild Indigo and Slipstream. Amy also created costumes for classical productions of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. In addition to her work with EBC, Amy has also designed costumes for Charleston Ballet Theatre; Ballet Teatro de Guadalajara; University of Oregon Dance Department and for the Oregon Ballet Theatre’s American Choreographer’s Showcase in Portland; and, worked with several choreographers including Eloy Barragán and Lisa de Ribere.
  • Juan Carlos Díaz Vélez

    Juan Carlos Díaz Vélez

    Juan Carlos began his dance training in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he studied under several teachers including Carmen Sandoval, Lucila Arce, and Alex Zybin. He also attended summer programs at the San Francisco and Pacific Northwest Ballet schools in the U.S. and was an apprentice with the American Festival Ballet. As a professional dancer, he danced with Idaho Dance Theater and Spokane Ballet, and as a principal dancer with Charleston Ballet Theater, Ballet Idaho and Eugene Ballet Company. Juan Carlos has performed throughout Mexico, United States, Canada, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Syria, Jordan, Tunisia and Taiwan. He has worked with many accomplished choreographers including Christopher Aponte, Toni Pimble, Jill Eathorne Bahr, Lisa de Ribere, Elisa Monte, Beth Corning, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, David Berkey, Sandra Kaufmann and Martin Lofsnes.
  • Georgia Corner

    Georgia Corner

    Georgia is a dancer and teacher with over twenty years of experience performing, teaching, and producing dance. She performed for five years with the Erik Hawkins Dance Company; for two years with Douglas Dunn and Dancers, and New York based companies of Lise Brenner, Kriota Willberg, and Karen Bernard. She also performed throughout Minnesota with Ballet Harren, and performed domestically and internationally for eight years with Ballet Mink Colbert. In 1998, she founded and went on to co-direct and dance in The Wellspring Project, a repertory company based in the Hawkins technique. Over six years, Wellspring commissioned and premiered over a dozen new dances, produced five New York seasons, performed throughout New England, and appeared in Toronto and Montreal. Corner developed a lecture demonstration about modern dance for Wellspring and grants which were funded by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the Bossak Heilbronn Foundation. In 2002 Wellspring produced the Erik Hawkins Legacy Forum in conjunction with Hunter College, which drew teacher and students from across the country and abroad. While in New York, Corner taught modern technique at the Erik Hawkins School of Dance and at the 92nd Street Y, both cradles of modern dance. For twelve years she directed the Broome Corner Studio, which offered classes, rehearsal and performance space to the New York dance community. She has been a guest artist at the University of Nebraska-Las Vegas, and has taught workshops and master classes for groups of every age and experience level.
  • Anna Betz

    Anna Betz

    Anna, dancer and ballet instructor for KDC, began her dance studies at the Classical Ballet Academy of Minnesota. She has danced in many of the classics restaged by Cheryl Rist for Ballet Minnesota including: "Don Quixote", "La Bayadere", "Sleeping Beauty" and "Swan Lake". She has been a featured dancer in works by Andrew Rist including: "The Classic Nutcracker", "Beethoven"s 9th Symphony", "Rhapsody in Blue", "Beethoven's 6th Symphony", "Mozart's 40th Symphony" and "Black Dog Cafe". Anna was made an apprentice to Ballet Minnesota for the 2010-2011 season. She studied under the instruction of Elizabeth Shipiatsky, Gelsey Kirkland, Ted Kivitt, and Karen Burns as part of her supplementary training. Currently pursuing a degree in Art History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is also certified in instructing the Vaganova Method of classical ballet.
  • Emily Shelton

    Emily Shelton

    Emily Shelton is from Cincinnati, OH where she trained at the Otto M Budig Academy of Cincinnati Ballet. She received her BA in dance and BS in physics from Case Western Reserve University, where she performed works by Larry Keigwin, Mark Morris, and Pascal Rioult. Additionally, she attended summer programs at BalletMet Columbus, Interlochen Center for the Arts, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Mark Morris Dance Group, and Paul Taylor Dance Company. She performed with Verb Ballets and Ohio Dance Theatre in their production of “The Nutcracker” in December 2015. This is her first season with Kanopy Dance Company.
  • Mandy Milligan

    Mandy Milligan

    Mandy graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy as a dance major in 2010, and went on to receive her BFA in Ballet Performance from the University of Cincinnati. During her time at University of Cincinnati she’s studied at the Beijing Academy of Dance in Beijing China and received an award of excellence for her work ‘Girl in the Bell’. Upon graduation Mandy began working with Dance Kaleidoscope under the direction of David Hochoy. During her three- year tenure at Dance Kaliedoscope she worked with regional choreographers including Brock Clawson, Stephanie Martinez, Nick Owens and Keisha Lalama. Mandy currently dances with Winifred Haun and Dancers based in Chicago IL and has danced with projects such as Simantikos Dance, Ground Rhythmn Movement and Cocodaco Dance Project. Mandy is also a certified Pilates instructor. She is grateful and excited to be joining Kanopy Dance for their 2018-19 season.