With our 2018 annual production, Rhythmically Speaking (RS) celebrates 10 years of presenting lively new and restaged choreographic work inspired by American vernacular dance ideas. We support innovative Twin Cities artists at various ranges in their careers and welcome guests from other cities to share their ideas with us. When we open submissions to the public each year, we’re always thrilled to see what choreographers are creating. We are proud to support the development of work in and ongoing conversation around what constitutes jazz and American vernacular dance.


(Photos and Image Design by Galen Higgins)


We are excited to announce the choreographers this years panel (Brian Evans, Erinn Liebhard and Zoe Sealy) have selected to show work on this years production:


Gabriel Anderson & Laura Selle-Virtucio
Leila Awadallah
Melissa Clark
Brandi Coleman (Dallas TX)
Karla Grotting
Jolene Konkel
Emma Marlar


RS Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard will also have a piece on the show.


WHERE: The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN

WHEN: August 16-18, 2018 @ 7:30pm and August 18 @ 2pm (Talk Backs after the 8/17 evening and 8/18 afternoon show)


TRANSIT & DINING INFO: We recommend leaving ample time for transit and parking, and taking a look at the Southern Theater’s “Getting Here” and the MN Department of Transportation’s “Current Construction” pages to assist you in making these plans: they offer great information on how to arrive from various directions, the roadwork to know about on your way in, and ideas on where to park in the busy area where the theater is located. As for food and drinks before or after the show (or both!), we recommend both Town Hall Brewery and Republic – Town Hall brews their own (excellent) beer, Republic has some kickin’ tacos, and both have fantastic patios!


Learn more about this year’s artists:




Gabriel Anderson & Laura Selle-Virtucio

Gabriel Anderson | is a freelance dance artist based in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Recent performance credits include: Hear Here, a Live Music & Movement Festival (Maggie Bergeron & Company/ Cedar Cultural Center), Rhythmically Speaking 2017 (Jeffrey Peterson, The Illusion Theater), and Field Dances (Merce Cunningham reconstruction/ Walker Art Center). Gabriel danced consistently in the works of Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES prior to attending the University of Iowa to receive his Master of Fine Arts (emphasis in choreography) in 2012. Gabriel’s own works have been performed at colleges, universities, and performance venues, including: St. Olaf College, Hamline University, Ritz Theater, Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater, and as part of activities with the Arts Schools Network national conference at Northrop Auditorium. Currently, Mr. Anderson serves as Chair of the Department of Dance at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, where he teaches and provides curricular, programmatic and administrative oversight.

Laura Selle-Virtucuio | from Sioux Falls, SD, received a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota in 1999. She is the Artistic Associate with Shapiro & Smith Dance, with whom she has danced 15 years and also serves as Rehearsal Director and stages the company’s repertoire across the country. She has performed work by Chris Schlichting since 2012; most recently completing a new work residency at MANCC in Tallahassee, FL and performances at The Chocolate Factory in NYC. In years past, Laura performed with Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, Carl Flink’s Black Label Movement and Zenon Dance Company. While with Zenon, she had the pleasure of dancing in works by Luciana Achugar, Faye Driscoll, Daniel Charon, and Danny Buraczeski to name a few. Laura received a 2007 McKnight Fellowship for Dancers and a MN Sage Award for Best Performer. She also teaches dance at the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts and occasionally the University of Minnesota.


Leila Awadallah | is an emerging Palestinian-American dancer and choreographer based in the Twin Cities. Thematically, her creative work unfolds within the intersections of diasporic Arab identity, Palestinian stories, and building a deeper connectivity with ancestry as it lives in the body’s cellular memory. Linked to this is an intentional response to the ways mainstream media / histories erase, vilify, and distort Arab and Palestinian identity. In terms of movement aesthetic, Leila is more recently beginning to explore how Arab cultural forms, such as folk dance, the rhythms in Arabic music, and Arabic calligraphy, can be embedded into the movement she choreographs. Making within a contemporary context, Leila is researching how to saturate her artistry with influences from diasporic Palestinian identity in order to develop her own articulation of Arab American contemporary dance. She thanks Ananya Dance Theatre and the Jerome foundation for both inspiring, guiding and supporting this research. Leila is a 5 year company member of Ananya Dance Theatre and a co-creator of Kelvin Wailey. 


Melissa Clark | Originally from Gary, Indiana, Melissa began studying dance at the age of two. As a Diasporic artist with over thirty years of training and performing in Classical, Contemporary, and Traditional Folkloric dance forms, her specific interests focus on identifying and promoting cross-cultural intersections in dance and arts aesthetics, musicality, historical content, and curative properties. Melissa has actively trained, studied, and performed various art forms in Twin Cities for the past twelve years. Her background includes: Capoeira, Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Samba, Hip Hop, Chicago House, Afro-Brasilian, Afro-Cuban, West African Dance from Ghana and Guinea, as well as Traditional Haitian Dance.


Brandi Coleman | is an Artist in Residence in Jazz Dance at Southern Methodist University and is the associate artistic director of Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project. JRJP is an Emmy Award winning performing and teaching company that celebrates the communal core of jazz performance – dancing, singing and storytelling in rhythmically syncopated bursts of energy. As a performing and teaching artist with the company, she received an Emmy Award for her performance in the PBS documentary Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There and has led residencies and master classes at universities across the country and internationally. Her choreography has been presented at Links Hall, Northwestern University, Stephens College, Carthage College, University of Dubuque, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Southern Methodist University. Brandi holds a BA in Dance from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL and an MFA in Performing Arts: Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.


Karla Grotting | is a dancer, choreographer and educator working with a unique blend of jazz, tap, modern, and percussive dance techniques. She is founding member, principal dancer, and artistic associate with Joe Chvala’s The Flying Foot Forum, and has performed with companies such as Jazzdance: by Danny Buraczeski, MN Jazz Dance Co,  Keane Sense of Rhythm, Off-Leash Area, and FTF Works. Karla has been on faculty with the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance since 1998. She has created dance works for the Flying Foot Forum, Carleton College, Gustavus Adolphus College, St Olaf College, UW-Whitewater, Macalester College, Eclectic Edge Ensemble and others. Karla was named as one of City Pages’ Artists of the Year for 2015. Her project, Lost Voices in Jazz: The Choreographers of the Minnesota Jazz Dance Company was recognized with the Sage Award for Outstanding Performance in 2015.


Jolene Konkel | began her dance training at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts and under William Reilly, a descendent of Jerome Robbins’ Ballets USA. While in Milwaukee she had the opportunity to perform with the Milwaukee Ballet and the Milwaukee Opera Company before relocating to Chicago to study jazz dance at Gus Giordano’s and the Lou Conte Dance Studio. She then migrated to Minneapolis to pursue a BFA in dance at the University of Minnesota, where she studied under and performed the works of Zoe Sealy, Cathy Young and Danny Buraczeski. In 2007, she completed her MFA in Performance and Choreography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her choreography spans from musical theatre, having choreographed over 35 productions (including Singin’ in the Rain, Mary Poppins, Phantom of the Opera, Anything Goes and West Side Story), to jazz and modern concert dance that has been presented as a part of UWM’s Dancemakers series, Jazz Here, Jazz Now at the U of M, Renovate Choreographers Evening at the Ritz Theater, and at the Old Arizona, Patrick’s Cabaret, Zenon Dance Zone, the MN Fringe Festival and for Rhythmically Speaking in 2008 and 2011. Currently, Jolene serves as Adjunct Faculty in Dance and Resident Choreographer at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, where she developed and oversees the Department of Music and Theatre’s dance minor. She is thrilled to be back as a choreographer for Rhythmically Speaking, presenting a tribute to Jerome Robbins in celebration of his centennial.


Emma Marlar |, originally from Kenosha, WI, now resides in the Minneapolis area, balancing a career in the performance, creation, and technical aspects of dance. Since graduating from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a BFA in Dance in 2016, she has taken on work that allows her to support others, create collaboratively, and pursue endless explorations in movement. She is constantly moving and making in the emerging dance trio, Kelvin Wailey, and has just begun dancing with newly formed SLO Dance Company. Emma is the Production Manager for Ananya Dance Theatre and has been with the company for five seasons. She also continues to dance in other project based work around the Twin Cities. Emma is incredibly excited and grateful to take on this choreographic opportunity with Rhythmically Speaking 2018, after having been involved in the show for many years. She can’t wait to present new work in such a supportive community!




Lamia Abukhadra | is a Palestinian American artist based in Minneapolis. She is interested in interdisciplinary archival art functioning as a vessel of identity and culture, as well as a platform to challenge harmful dominant narratives which perpetuate acts of violence and ethnic cleansing in Palestine and the Middle East. Her work has been exhibited in Minneapolis at Yeah Maybe, the Quarter Gallery, Soo Visual Arts Center, Waiting Room, and the Katherine E. Nash Gallery. Notable projects include The Wall, a temporary public art installation supported by the Soap Factory’s Rethinking Public Spaces program in 2017.


Mike Grogan | has been active in the Twin Cities arts scene since 1990. In that time he has designed lights for numerous dance companies including James Sewell Ballet, Zorongo Flamenco, Contempo Physical Dance and Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum. Mike was a 2012 and 2014 SAGE Dance Award recipient for outstanding design.  Mike is pleased to be participating in his seventh Rhythmically Speaking.


E Amy Hill | is a freelance costume designer in the Twin Cities, who is pleased to be collaborating with Jolene Konkel on her third Rhythmically Speaking show. Amy’s most recent work includes Glensheen, All The Way, Watermelon Hill at History Theatre; Red Velvet,The Whale, The Aliens, The Three Musketeers at Walking Shadow Theatre Company. Vinegar Spirit , Britta Peterson Dance. Amy is on the Artistic Staff at Edina High School, and received her BFA in Theatrical Design at University of MN, Duluth. Upcoming shows: The Great Society, Dirty Business at History Theatre, Drowsy Chaperone, Chicago at EHS.


Ben McGinley | is an adoptee, dad, video producer, documentarian, and multimedia artist in the Twin Cities. He has an expanse of experience producing video content within the arts and culture sector, and as documentarian he has captured the career work of nearly 100 independent performing artists and companies. Ben has created an array of work as a film and performance maker, podcast and sound designer, and most recently, emerged as a quarterfinalist in the prestigious national Screencraft Screenwriting Film Fund contest. Since 2005, Ben has created issue-based, interactive theater programs with GTC Dramatic Dialogues, and facilitated large group, peer-to-peer discussions on race, gender, privilege, and sexual assault with over 100,000 college students nation-wide. Ben is a passionate advocate for adult adoptee healing and reconciliation and hosts a monthly adoptee-only group, and is a biological dad of a most magical 3 year-old boy named Fox.


Sarah Salisbury | is jazzed to continue her work with Rhythmically Speaking. Sarah is also the stage manager for Alternative Motion Project, Young Dance, Eclectic Edge Ensemble and Collide Theatrical as well as an Assistant Stage Manager at Ted Mann Concert Hall. Besides that, Sarah is the Production Manager for The Haunted Basement, as well as a freelance technician and props designer around the Twin Cities.


Andy Glischinski |




Hana Alford | is a native of Colleyville, Texas, where she is currently pursuing a double major in Dance and Business and a minor in Musical Theater at Southern Methodist University. While at SMU, she has performed in works by Brandi Coleman, Christopher Dolder, and guest artist Moncell Durden for the Hope Show performance series. She is also an assistant at Dupree Dance conventions around the nation, assisting classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop, Bollywood, jazz funk, contemporary, contemporary ballet, musical theater, and tap.As well, she assists in administrative work such as apparel sales, registration, and emceeing for the competitions.Hana is thrilled to share her love for dance on the Rhythmically Speaking stage!


Nora Anderson | graduated summa cum laude from Beloit College with degrees in dance and anthropology. For the past five years she has been a member of the Minneapolis dance community as a performer, choreographer, and producer. She recently returned to school to pursue a doctorate in physical therapy while still dancing as much as she can! Nora is thrilled to be a part of Rhythmically Speaking this year, and is honored to share the stage with such remarkable artists.


Rachel Bailey | is a junior at Southern Methodist University where she is pursuing a double major in dance and political communications. Originally from Pawleys Island, SC, Rachel trained in jazz, ballet, modern, and contemporary with EMpressions Dance Company and the Coastal Youth Ballet Theater in Murrells Inlet, SC. She grew up competing at dance conventions such as NYCDA, Jump, and Nuvo and has performed roles in ballet productions of the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderellaat the Palace Theater in Myrtle Beach, SC. In 2014, Rachel performed in NYCDA Foundation’s Destiny Rising at the Joyce Theater in New York City. As a dance major at SMU, Rachel has performed in works by Brandi Coleman and guest artist Moncell Durden for the Hope Show performance series.


Jordan Batta | is a performing and teaching member of Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project and has served as Rehearsal Director since 2011. She was first introduced to Jump Rhythm® Technique as a dance major at Northwestern University where she fell in love with the scat singing, rhythm-driven technique that encouraged her to find her voice both physically and emotionally as a dancer, teacher, and person. Jordan received an Emmy Award for her performance in the PBS documentary Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: Getting There, produced by HMS Media, and has been a lead teacher on numerous choreographic residencies around the country, some of which include Viterbo University, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Slippery Rock University and University of Richmond. Jordan has also toured nationally and internationally with Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project to Finland, Italy, and Spain. Currently living in Colorado, Jordan teaches master classes in Jump Rhythm® Technique around the Denver area.


Sarah Batz | is a performer in the Twin Cities who also loves to cook, go on travel adventures, and teach financial empowerment. She is thrilled to be performing in Rhythmically Speaking for the fifth time.


Talief Bennett | is an alumnus of the Penumbra Theater Summer Institute. As a multi-genre dancer, model, and actor with a passion for both dance and theater, he explores movement in any setting. Talief recently starred in the original film, “Buzzed”.


Leanna Browne | holds a B.A. in Psychology and Special Major in Dance & Black Studies from Swarthmore College. She has worked with Idan Porges, Hadar Katz, Leslie Parker & Threads Dance Project, & is delving into dance performance for social change. Leanna is certified in Umfundalai, a contemporary African dance technique, & teaches it in recreational dance communities.


Emilia Bruno |, originally from Lake Zurich, IL, is a recent graduate from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities with degrees in in Dance (BFA) and Kinesiology (BS). Emilia humbly expresses her artistic passion by working with Zenon Dance Company, Shapiro & Smith Dance Compnay, and newly established SLO Dance Company– developed and led by local Minneapolis artist, Laura Osterhaus. This is Emilia’s second time performing in Rhythmically Speaking, and she is thrilled to have been a part of Emma Marlar’s creative process. She deeply admires Emma’s ability to carefully and generously craft groovy moves and appreciates that their friendship can continue to grow through dance-making.


Tori Casagranda | apprentices for Zenon Dance Company as well as working with Mathew Janczewksi’s ARENA DANCES. While living in New York City, she performed with Falcon Dance, Megan Bascom and Dancers, Juliana Garber and others. Tori makes her own work and teaches dance around the Twin Cities.


Renée Copeland | is a Twin Cities-based artist originally from the wooded valleys south of Winona, Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in Dance and minor in American Indian Studies. Upon graduating in 2010, she joined Ananya Dance Theatre and continues to perform and teach with the company, touring all over the world. She co-founded the dance/performance-art duo Hiponymous in 2012 with Genevieve Muench and became a founding member and collaborator of hip-hop-based dance company BRKFST in 2014. She is also a poet, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter. She is indebted to her parents for their abundant support and participation in all things creative, nourishing, and sacred.


Clare Driscoll | is a dance artist and yoga teacher based in the Twin Cities. Originally from Chicago, IL she moved to Minneapolis to pursue a BA in Dance and a minor in Spanish from the University of Minnesota, which she obtained in 2017. While studying at the U of M dance program, Clare had the pleasure of performing works by Brian Brooks, luciana achugar, Carl Flink, Joanie Smith, and Angharad Davies. Clare has performed locally at Intermedia Arts, 9×22, the Tex Box, Northern Spark, the Art Box, Ritz Studio and the Winter Soundgarden (Lake Nokomis) as well as internationally at DansArts Festival in Bielefeld, Germany. This summer she has worked with Anna Marie Shogren, Crissy Tolson, Rebecca Tanner, and Erinn Liebhard. Clare is so happy to join the Rhythmically Speaking family for a second season, and finds so much joy growing her rhythmic vocabulary with wonderful movers.


Kathryn Dudley | is a choreographer, performer, stage manager, and teaching artist in the Twin Cities. A graduate from Gustavus Adolphus College with degrees in Dance Honors and THeare, Kathryn thrives in a collaborative setting, working with artists of every discipline. Recntly, she has enjoyed teaching at Children’s Theatre Company, choreographing for SteppingStone Theatre, and creating a show for the Minnesota Fringe Festival with 4 fellow Gustavus Alum.


Kendall Eckstrom | is a student at the University of Minnesota. She studies dance and biology, and loves gardening and moving and asking questions about the world around her. She is so grateful to have been a part of Leila’s process, and to learn from her and the other wonderful women involved.


Simon Eichinger | graduated from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee with a BFA in Dance and is a former core company member with Danceworks Performance Company in Milwaukee. He is happily returning to the dance scene for the first time in 5 years, and is enjoying his first ever project in Minnesota working with Jolene and her fabulous dancers.


Alexis Fabian | was born and raised in Minnesota and has been dancing for 17 years and counting. She is currently attending St. Catherine University studying massage therapy and nutrition. She teaches dance at Celebrate! Dance Academy, is a dance team coach for Concordia Academy High School, and performed in the MN Fringe Festival. This will be her first year working with the amazing Jolene Konkel. Her favorite thing is always to be moving and grooving but on the side drinking coffee and eating good food.


Abby Frank Taylor | ( is a performer and arts administrator with a deep passion for connecting creative and critical thinking to solve community challenges. She holds a dual degree in Dance and in Individualized Studies (in Political Science, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies, and Communications), and is a Stott Certified Reformer and Mat Pilates Instructor. Abby is currently a member of SLO Dance Company and guest artist with Shaprio & Smith Dance. She has also worked with artists including Maurya Kerr, Gerald Casel, Garth Fagan, Mathew Janczewski, Wynn Fricke, and Leyya Mona Tawil. She works at The Loft Literary Center, Northeast Fitness, and provides administrative support to Shapiro & Smith Dance.   


Betsy (Gaasedelen) Nelson | is a movement artist/educator, proud Minnesotan, and St. Olaf College alumna (BA Dance and Exercise Science). For the past several years she has enjoyed performing throughout the Twin Cities in addition to serving as an instructor and the Office Manager at CREO Arts & Dance Conservatory, and as a choreographer for the Jugheads Youth Juggling Company. In the fall, she will begin her first season as an apprentice with COLLIDE Theatrical Dance Company. She is grateful and so excited to perform in her third Rhythmically Speaking production alongside so many fabulous artists!


Gerry Girouard | is a long-time dancer/ choreographer/ movement explorer of the Twin Cities. He is currently mashing up improvisational ideas from Capoeira and Argentine Tango as well as choreographing. He got his start in dance with The Nancy Hauser Dance Company back in 1983! In 1992, he went on to create his own acrobatic style of dancing, literally dancing on and off the walls, which he used to create many evening-length acrobatic dances, including the 2006 IVEY award winning show Crimes & Whispers: A Tango of Despair and Defiance. Gerry has been honored with grants from the Mcknight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board, among others.


Annika Hansen | I am a dancer and maker, a Minnesotan, a lover of books and plants. I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2017 with a BFA in Dance, and I work with my collaborator, Abigail Whitmore, to create dance that fills both theater spaces and public spaces. We’ve designed performative events for a donut shop, a swimming pool, an artist warehouse, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. In both my making and performing, I strive to excavate my own experiences and pursue dance with a joyful, socially-aware practice that engages other people.


Libby Herrmann | I’m Libby. I’m about to go into my final year as a student at the University of Minnesota! There, I study Dance and Spanish. In this last year, I look forward to asking more questions and learning from mentors and peers who challenge us to be critical and imaginative about the worlds we live in. AND after I’m going to pursue every single one of my dreams.


Rachel Horner | received her Bachelor’s in Dance from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2015. This is her third year dancing in Rhythmically Speaking! She is a company member with Eclectic Edge Ensemble and recently has been producing her own work. She has also free-lanced taught, choreographed and performed around the metro area for the past five years. She is thrilled to be back this year!


Rayna Howard | is a self-taught performing artist who has been dancing since she was very young. Due to financial hardship, she began to teach herself through watching and copying music videos. Movement has always been her therapy, and that is why she loves to dance.


Erik Hunder | received a BA in Dance from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. He has performed locally with Artistry Theatres (The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, upcoming: Mary Poppins), Jeremy Bensussan, Kaleena Miller Dance, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Collide Theatrical Dance (Dracula, Dance Til’ You Drop) and in various commercials, music videos, and other independent dance projects.  Additionally, he teaches at several dance studios around the Twin Cities area and works as a character performer at Nickelodeon Universe. This will be his second year being involved in Rhythmically Speaking!


Alina Janssen | has a background in competitive figure skating, gymnastics, and Capoeira. She enjoys outdoor activities, graphic design, her two cats, and ultimately anything that allows her to create, be imaginative, and bring new ideas to fruition.


Amy Jones | has danced in Minneapolis and New York in concert and commercial roles including work for AMP, Stuart Pimsler, Morgan Thorson, Saint Paul Ballet, Opera at Bard Summerscape and The Mystic Dancers. She recently filmed a commercial for Stand Up 2 Cancer that’s set to debut in September. Amy has trained on scholarship with Jennifer Muller, Eva Dean, Susan Marshall and Broadway Dance Center. She has a private pilates practice out of Truckstop Gallery on Nicollet Island and is a bungee fitness viral video instructor and teacher trainer.


O’Calla Joslyn | ‘s professional work ranges from entertainment to concert dance, including choreography for First Avenue & Enticing Entertainment. She has taught at numerous locations including including for Zenon Dance, & has danced for April Sellers.


Lydia Kantor | has performed with companies such as Collide Theatrical Dance Company, Alternative Motion Project, Curio Dance, and Eclectic Edge Ensemble. She received her dance training as a youth at Ballet Arts Minnesota and Minnesota Dance Theatre & School, and she continued her training at St. Olaf College. For her, dance is joy, and she is thrilled to dance in Rhythmically Speaking this year!


Nate Kay | is a self-taught, 20 year old artist from South Minneapolis. Nate finds inspiration for dance everywhere and in everything, and incorporates influences of many different styles into his work. He is a member of SHAPESHIFT, a theatrical dance company.


Nakita Kirchner | is entering her third year at the University of Minnesota completing her BFA in dance and minoring in Asian Languages and Literatures. Graduating from St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists in 2016, she has performed works by Ananya Chatterjea, Laura Selle-Virtucio, and Angharad Davies. Her choreographic work has been performed at Patrick’s Cabaret, the Tek Box, and recently in “While We’re Here” at the Barbara Barker Center for Dance. Nakita is grateful to move with the intelligent and generous artists in Leila’s work.


Rachel Lieberman | has loved dance for as long as she can remember. She has an extensive background in Jazz and Contemporary Dance, and as a native of Chicago and the Chicagoland Area, she’s had a blast learning new styles of dance including Chicago House and Footwork, Samba, and Capoeira. She is also a member of Afro-Brazilian company Contempo Physical Dance. Rachel is grateful for the opportunity to learn so much in such a short time, and is excited to perform in Rhythmically Speaking for the first time!


Christine Maginnis |, a native Minneapolitan, has been active dance artist in her home town for over three decades, much of that time spent as a performer and outreach teacher with Zenon Dance Company. Her work has been presented by James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, the Red Eye Collaboration and many showcases around town as well as in Italy and Hungary, and is always attempting to take the audience down a twisted path of emotional transformation. She was awarded a McKnight Fellowship for Dancers (2001) and received a Sage Award for Outstanding Performance in 2016.


Mirabai Miller | was born and raised in Silverton, Oregon and moved to Minneapolis in 2010 to attend the University of Minnesota’s Dance Program. She received her BFA in Dance in 2014. Since her graduation Mirabai has worked with many Twin Cities dance makers including Jennifer Glaws (Jagged Moves) and John Mark Hostetler (John Mark Creative) and spent two years with Afro-brazilian dance company, Contempo Physical Dance. In 2015, Mirabai was a guest artist for Black Label Movement’s touring season and is now, since the Fall of 2017, a member of the company. Mirabai is also in her fifth season as company member of Shapiro and Smith Dance. This is Mirabai’s first time performing Emma Marlar’s work and is excited to share the stage with such inspiring movers!


Brenda Nepsund | graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with bachelor’s degrees in both Dance and Mass Media. She has worked with Susana DiPalma, Karla Grotting, Karis Sloss, Dr. Julie Kerr-Berry, Daniel Stark, Suzanne Costello, Danielle Ricci, O’Calla Joslyn, and Sophia Pimsler. Brenda is an instructor at Touch of Grace and Creo Art & Dance Conservatory. She is grateful for the opportunity to work with Jolene Konkel in this year’s show!


Laura Osterhaus | has just begun her third season dancing with Zenon Dance Company while also performing in project-based work throughout the Twin Cities for John Mark Creative and with her co-creators in Kelvin Wailey. You may have caught some of her recent on-screen work in Sylvan Esso’s latest music video “PARAD(w/m)E”. Her newest endeavor has been breaking ground on her own choreographic project—SLO Dance Company. She’s excited to be supporting her dear friend Emma Marlar’s work in this show!


Kathleen Pender | is a Minneapolis-based performer, dance educator, and arts administrator with a B.A. in Dance from St. Olaf College. She is Company Manager for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, teaches with Young Dance and the Northfield Arts Guild, and performs for local choreographer Taja Will. She has also performed in works by choreographers such as Suzanne Costello, Kaya Lovestrand, and Gretchen Pick. Kathleen is excited to perform in her second Rhythmically Speaking production and is grateful to Erinn for her thoughtful and rhythmically engaging process.


Sarah Pieper | is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point from which she holds a B.A. in Dance.  Sarah is a company member with Eclectic Edge Ensemble and is the Artistic Director of Celebrate Dance Academy.  When Sarah is not dancing, you can find her drinking coffee, watching old classic musicals, and enjoying life with her husband, David!


Kat Robertson | is a junior dance major at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX, also pursuing a major in Health and Society with a minor in Musical Theatre. While at SMU, she has performed in works by Danny Buracezski, Brandi Coleman, Christopher Dolder, and Desmond Richardson. Originally from North Carolina, she attended high school at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts where she studied ballet. She spent her summers attending programs at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in Carlisle, PA, the Musical Theatre Dance Intensive in Boston, MA, and participating in an arts outreach program in Haiti through UNCSA’s Global Arts program. Kat is very excited to be in Minneapolis for the first time and to be on the Rhythmically Speaking stage!


Amal Rogers | experiments with dance performance, teaches movement, writes, edits, and organizes with Art For Ourselves, and provides bodywork. She is a Somali/American woman from the swampy suburbs of South Florida, currently based in Minneapolis.  


Becky Stella | is an aerialist, dancer, and yoga teacher based in Minneapolis, who believes in exploring various forms of movement as a form of meditation. She teaches and trains aerialists all over the United States and abroad.


Molly Kay Stoltz | is a Dancer/ Musician known for her ability to span genres and move between the roles of performer, improviser, and choreographer. She currently dances with Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater, Kaleena Miller Dance, and Flying Foot Forum, and has recently presented her own choreography at 9×22 Dance Lab and at the Off-Leash Area Art Box. She love building connections within the Twin Cities artistic community, and spending time with her husband and two fur babies, Shadow and Malakai.


Nicole Stumpf | is a Twin Cities-based dancer with interest in contemporary dance practices and research-based approaches. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in dance in 2016 and continues to dedicate herself to project-based work, as well as strategic marketing advisement for a number of local and international dance organizations. Nicole is a company member of ARENA Dances and SLO Dance.


Amarys Thompson | is a 12 year old dancer from Minneapolis. She began dancing at 3, and when she’s not studying Classical Ballet at St. Paul Ballet, she’s enjoying dance and tradition with her parents and friends. She is fluent in French and Spanish, and loves music, dance, and arts from all cultures.


Nick Voss | has practiced Capoeira for over 5 years, and is thankful for his parents putting him into gymnastics as a kid. When not dancing he’s probably out watching birds, and actively pursues the infusion of ecology, movement, and place.


Khalea Zobel | is a Pro Fitness Bodybuilding Competitor, licensed social worker, group fitness and yoga instructor, and personal trainer. She has a passion for functional movement, dance, and multiple forms of martial arts, including Capoeira… and anything outdoors!!