The Cohort is a reimagining of Rhythmically Speaking’s (RS) annual summer multi-choreographer production. After hitting 10 years of successfully presenting the work of 7-8 mostly local choreographers and their own casts to media acclaim and sell-out crowds, we decided this past year it was time to stretch ourselves to fulfill our mission in innovative new ways. August 2019’s first round of our program The Cohort  built on our celebrated model of bringing together local choreographers and dancers interested in staged work inspired by jazz and American social dance ideas and their sociocutural histories and innovations while making a more significant space for visiting choreographers to share their work with our communities.

Submission Form BELOW

We are excited to continue with this program with another production at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis in August of 2020. This second round of the program will again support fewer choreographers making longer/ more substantial works than in past years, and a selected cast of dancers to perform them all. We will again select from an open call for choreographers one “Local” (Minnesota-based) choreographer to make a new work alongside RS Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, and two “Visiting” choreographers (based outside Minnesota) to revisit a piece of their repertoire. All four works will be learned and performed by a group of 7-9 selected local dancers.

This program deepens engagement and improves compensation for artists and offers audiences fewer but more substantial works to experience. It continues our support of new work by local choreographers and provides touring opportunities for artists from outside Minnesota while creating regular performance opportunities for local professional dancers interested in staged work inspired by jazz and American social dance ideas.

Important Dates: (Location: Zenon Dance/ Cowles Center in Minneapolis unless specified)

  • 10/25/19: Choreographer Submission Form due at 5pm CST
  • 11/8/19: Choreographers announced
  • 4/29/20 – 5/29/20 Ws & Fs 1:30-5:30pm: Erinn Liebhard rehearsal period (40 hrs)
  • 6/3/20 – 7/3/20 Ws & Fs 1:30-5:30pm: Local Choreographer rehearsal period (40 hrs)
  • 7/8/20 & 7/10/20 1:30-5:30pm: Brush-up Rehearsals (Erinn & Local piece)
  • 7/13/20 – 7/18/20 1:30-5:30pm: Visiting Choreographer #1 intensive rehs (24 hrs)
  • 7/22/20 & 7/24/20 1:30-5:30pm: Brush-up Rehearsals (7/22 Locals & 7/24 Visitor)
  • 7/27/20 – 8/1/20 1:30-5:30pm: Visiting Choreographer #2 intensive rehs (24 hrs)
  • 8/5/20 & 8/7/20 1:30-5:30pm: Show-run Rehearsals
  • 8/10/20 – 8/15/20: Production Week (@ The Southern Theater) – Techs (3 hr slots per piece)/ Dress (8/12) & Shows (7:30pm 8/13-8/15 & 2:00pm 8/15)

Important Details:

  • Eligibility: Artists at any point in their careers are welcomed to submit choreography. Must 21 and older (though folks under 21 working with an experienced mentor are welcomed to submit). Submitted work must explore staging of jazz and American social dance forms (including but not limited to tap and hip-hop styles). We encourage you to join our ongoing conversation around “what constitutes jazz and American social dance?” by submitting.
  • Requirements: Both local and visiting choreographers works are to be for eight dancers or less and run 15-22 minutes, locals making a new work and visitors revisiting existent repertoire. Work to be set on The Cohort All choreographers will be required to be dutiful in communications, rehearsal period and production week activities (as able – Visiting Choreographers not required to come back) and post-program evaluation efforts, as well as to teach a master class and do a public showing of their work at the end of their rehearsal period.
  • Compensation: Full rehearsal and presentation support, from the provision of rehearsal space and dancers to the rental of celebrated Twin Cities performance venue The Southern Theater, a full technical staff, and major marketing support from Rhythmically Speaking for the show, as well as an honorarium of at least *$1250. (* Honorarium offered at the same rate for Local and Visiting Choreographers, given the former will be in rehearsal more and the later will have travel costs. Homestays available for Visiting Choreographers. As development efforts are ongoing, it is possible honorarium amount will increase.)

Submission Details:

  • Complete and submit this Google Form by 5pm CST on Friday, 10/25/19.
  • Required Video Link: Locals: select one video of an entire past work best representing your aesthetic and the work you hope to create. Visitors: provide video of entire work being submitted. MUST be submitted (within the Google Form) as an ‘UnlistedYouTube link. Non YouTube links will not be watched.

Questions? Contact Erinn at We look forward to seeing your work, and thank you for your interest in ours!


Erinn Liebhard
Artistic Director
Rhythmically Speaking



Rhythmically Speaking presents . . . THE COHORT

When: August 15-17 @ 7:30pm and August 17 @ 2pm
Talk-Back: Q&A with the artists after the August 16 show
Where: The Southern Theater
Who: The Cohort (the 11th annual summer RS show) featured new and revisited choreographic works by:

Erinn Liebhard (Local Artist/ New Work – RS Artistic Director)
Julie Warder (Local Artist/ New Work)
Rohan Bhagrava (New York, NY/ Revisited Work)
Pat Taylor (Los Angeles, CA/ Revisited Work)

Press Log – featuring a great review from the Minneapolis Star Tribune!

Photo Credit: Bill Cameron
Design Credit: Jaime Willems

2019 Selection Panels:

Choreographer Selection Panel:

  • Brian Evans: Citizen Artist & Rhythmically Speaking Board Member
  • Erinn Liebhard: Dance Artist & Rhythmically Speaking Artistic Director
  • Zoe Sealy: Professor Emeritus – U of M Dance Program & RS Board Member

Dancer Selection Panel:

  • Ozzy Dris: House Dancer & Lead, Twin Cities MN House Dance
  • Judith James Ries: Former JAZZDANCE company member & master jazz teacher
  • Julie Warder: Choreographer, The Cohort 2019

More About the 2019 Artists:

Local Choreographer: Julie Warder

Julie - Headshot

Illustrious local choreographer Julie’s dance career began with Myron Johnson at Children’s Theater and Uchawi African Dancers under Richard D. Thompson. From there a BFA in dance at U of Arts in Philly, training with Philadance and performed with LEJA Dance Theater as a company member. She also was a company member of Ballet of the Dolls. Choreographically, upon returning to the Twin Cities, her works have been seen in Laurie Carlos’ Late Night, Kinetic Kitchen, Rhythmically Speaking and several Renovate and 16 Feet choreographers evenings. Julie is so honored to be a part of this wonderful expansion in the Rhythmically Speaking world. Her new work What’d You Say will be exploration of communication accentuated in rhythm.

Visiting Choreographer: Rohan Bhargava/ Rovaco Dance Company (New York, NY)

Rohan - Headshot.png

Touring choreographer we are excited to welcome to the Twin Cities for the first time, Rohan Bhargava, is an acclaimed artist from New Delhi, India. He holds a BFA in Dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is the Founder of New York based Rovaco Dance Company. Currently, Rohan is completing a two-year residency through CUNY Dance Initiative at LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. Learn more at The piece Rohan will be revisiting for The Cohort, Kool Kids 2.0, is a comical beat-box and dance collaboration, satirizing the elusive state of “coolness” as a deceptively innocuous byproduct of capitalistic power struggle.

Visiting Choreographer: Pat Taylor, MFA/ JazzAntiqua (Los Angeles, CA)

Pat - Headshot

Touring choreographer Pat Taylor, returning to the Twin Cities after a smashing success of a visit to Rhythmically Speaking in 2016, is founding artistic director/choreographer of Los Angeles-based JazzAntiqua Dance & Music Ensemble. She is the recipient of a Brody Arts Fund Choreography Fellowship; grants from Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Doolittle Foundation, California Arts Council and the Center for Cultural Innovation; and was a finalist in the Leo’s Choreography Competition (Jazz Dance World Congress). Pat teaches, choreographs, lectures and tours with JazzAntiqua across the United States and internationally, including University of California – Irvine, International Association of Blacks in Dance Conferences (Washington, DC and Denver, CO), Dance USA, and Congresso Internacional de Jazz Dance (Brazil). Learn more at The work Pat will be revisiting for The Cohort, A Love Supreme, is set to and named for the seminal jazz masterpiece by legendary saxophonist John Coltrane, and is a story of redemption that embodies choreographer Pat Taylor’s signature approach to jazz dance as a reflection of the movement in the music.

Choreographer & – Erinn Liebhard (creating a piece, performing in Julie & Pat’s casts):

Erinn is a dance artist (MFA University of Colorado Boulder, BFA University of Minnesota) making opportunities for people to experience the reflective and connective power of groove. Having grown up dancing socially at her dad’s rock band’s gigs, she discovered at a young age the exhilaration of grooving alongside others. Her artistry is guided by her history with and fondness for social dance and the vernacular forms that develop out of this practice, which has led her to work with creatives as varied as hip-hop dance theater artist Rennie Harris and Appalachian clogging company the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. Erinn creates and presents her own choreographic work, and supports and presents new work by others through Rhythmically Speaking, the organization she co-founded and artistic directs, and she currently performs as a member of Afro-Brazilian company Contempo Physical Dance and as self-created character entertainer “Nerdette” for Saint Paul Saints Baseball’s Entertainment Team. An active educator, she is an instructor for Zenon Dance School, a teaching artist for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts and an active conference presenter and writer.

Beatboxer – Fernando Acevedo (Rohan’s cast):

Fernando Acevedo is a beatboxer and music producer based in Queens, NY. He currently teaches music to youth, freelances, busks and participates in competitions. You can find him on social media @apparitionmuzik.

Dancer – Nora Anderson (Erinn & Julie’s casts):

Nora graduated summa cum laude from Beloit College in 2013 with degrees in dance and anthropology. She has performed for the Women of Substance series at the O’Shaughnessy, Collectivus Dance Company, Rhythmically Speaking, and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Notably, she has performed work by Erinn Liebhard, Karla Grotting, Mathew Janczewski, Blake Nellis, Vanessa Voskuil, Anna Marie Shogren, and Jolene Konkel. Nora has also choreographed and produced work for the Minnesota Fringe Festival, and has co-produced two of her own shows with Crissy Tolson under the name Body Group. Currently, she is a member of Painting the Room, an improv performance group, and will be pursuing a doctoral degree in physical therapy this fall.

Dancer – Doug Hooker (Erinn, Julie, Pat & Rohan’s casts):

Doug graduated from the University of Oregon with a Bachelors in Dance. He has had a variety of professional performing opportunities, including with the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps, touring with Broadway show Blast!. Local works of note include Dancing People Company, ARENA DANCES, Paula Mann, The Minnesota Opera, Threads Dance Project, and Shapiro & Smith.

Dancer – Erik Hunder (Julie & Pat’s casts):

Erik received his BA in Dance from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. There, he trained in many different dance styles and worked with locally, nationally, and internationally renowned teachers and choreographers. Erik has performed locally with MinnesoTap, Artistry Theatres, Kaleena Miller Dance, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Collide Theatrical Dance Company, Rhythmically Speaking, and in various independent projects. Additionally, he teaches at various local dance studios and works as a character performer at Nickelodeon Universe.

Dancer – Sara Karimi (Erinn, Julie & Pat’s casts):

A native of Wisconsin and a graduate of University of Iowa (BFA in Dance Performance, BA in English), Sara has danced and toured nationally and internationally with Kayle & Co., 10,000 Feet Dance Company, The Architects and Threads Dance Project, among others. Upon relocating to the Twin Cities seven years ago, she has worked with regional and local choreographers; and is in her sixth season with Threads Dance Project and her seventh season with Borealis Dance. Sara is also a 400 hour certified yoga instructor and has taught workshops and classes in Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Dancer – Kelli Miles (Julie, Pat & Rohan’s casts):

Kelli is a Minneapolis-based dancer, choreographer, teacher and arts manager. She graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in the Spring of 2018 with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Leadership. Throughout her training, she has spent time dancing in New York City, San Francisco, Nashville and Israel. She has had the honor of performing works by Ohad Naharin, Banning Bouldin, Uri Sands, Gina Patterson and Angharad Davies. Kelli is constantly inspired by way in which this movement form sparks conversation, invokes visceral reactions and creates community.

Dancer – Kathleen Pender (Erinn, Julie & Pat’s casts):

Kathleen Pender is a Minneapolis-based performer, dance educator, and arts administrator with a B.A. in Dance from St. Olaf College. She teaches for the Northfield Arts Guild and Young Dance, where she also works as Administrative Assistant. She was Company Manager for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater from 2013-2019. She has performed for local choreographers Erinn Liebhard, April Sellers, and Taja Will, among others. Kathleen is passionate about community and relationships cultivated through movement exploration, education, and performance.

Dancer – Betsy Schaefer-Roob (Erinn, Pat & Rohan’s casts):

Betsy was born and raised in Elm Grove, WI. She has lived and studied in Michigan, Oregon, El Salvador, and Minnesota where she completed her self-designed degree at the University of Minnesota—a Bachelor of Individualized Studies in English, Dance, and Sustainability Studies. She currently dances with Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES, and has also worked with Karen L. Charles’ Threads Dance Project, Dance & Other Behaviors, and nationally and internationally based choreographers Lynn Andrews, Sasha Kleinplatz, Linda Lehovec, A.T. Moffett, Anne-René Petrarca, and Ray Tadio. Her own work with faux pas, a duo with Julie Marie Muskat, has been presented as part of Candy Box Dance Festival at the Southern Theater. Alongside dancing, Betsy manages the Children’s Literacy Program for Hennepin Healthcare System.

Dancer – Cheng Xiong (Pat & Rohan’s casts):

Cheng is a young professional dancer that grew up on the East side of St. Paul, Minnesota who started off as a street dancer. Xiong received his Bachelors of Art in Dance at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2014. He is now currently working with a few professional dance companies such as Black Label Movement, Strong Movement and BRKFST Dance Company. Xiong is not just a sought-after Hip-Hop/Breakdance instructor, he is also leading and helping connect communities with a passionate organization called Hmong Breakers Leadership Council.

Lighting Designer & Tech Director – Mike Grogan:

Mike Grogan is an experienced and sought-after dance lighting designer and technical director in the Twin Cities and beyond. In addition to this work, he is the Technical Coordinator for the Dance Program at the University of Minnesota. This is his seventh Rhythmically Speaking show!

Stage Manager – Sarah Salisbury:

Sarah could not imagine a summer without working on Rhythmically Speaking. When not managing dancers, Sarah is the Production Director for Haunted Basement, a freelance stage manager/technician and props designer, a pet sitter and an event coordinator for Rock What You Got.




Rhythmically Speaking 10/2018

Southern Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 16-18, 2018
Featured work by Gabriel Anderson & Laura Selle-Virtucio, Leila Awadallah, Melissa Clark, Brandi Coleman (Dallas, TX), Karla Grotting, Jolene Konkel, Erinn Liebhard (RS Artistic Director) and Emma Marlar
Press Log

Rhythmically Speaking 2017

Illusion Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 17-19, 2017
Featured work by Karla Grotting, O’Calla Joslyn, Erinn Liebhard (RS Artistic Director), Kaleena Miller, Laura Osterhaus, Jeffrey Peterson (PA) and Abigail Whitmore
Press Log

Rhythmically Speaking 2016

Southern Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 18-20, 2016
Featured work by Rush Benson, Rae Charles, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner (OR), Karla Grotting, Erinn Liebhard (RS Artistic Director), Laura Selle-Virtucio and Pat Taylor/ JazzAntiqua Dance Ensemble (CA)
Press Log

Rhythmically Speaking 2015

Bedlam Lowertown, St. Paul MN
August 20-22, 2015
Featured work by Rush Benson and Brian Evans, Jennifer Glaws, Sarah Jabar, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Erinn Liebhard, Emily Oleson and Kwame Opare (West Virginia/ D.C.) and Clarence Teeters Jr. (reconstructed by Karla Grotting)
Press Log

Rhythmically Speaking 2014

Southern Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 14-16, 2014
Featured work by Michele Dunleavy, Karla Grotting, B-Boy J-Sun, Erinn Liebhard, Christine Maginnis, Joanne Spencer and Voice of Culture
Press Log

Rhythmically Speaking 2013

Southern Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 15-17, 2013
Featured work by Yung-Tsi Bolon & Laura Horn, Emily Broeker, Maura Garcia, Karla Grotting, RS Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, Christine Maginnis and Darrius Strong
Press Log

2012: Rhythmically Speaking presents . . .

Southern Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 16-18, 2012
Featured work by Deborah Elias, Karla Grotting, Cythnia Gutierrez-Garner, Carrie Lande, RS Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, Jennifer Mack, Whitney McClusky, J-Sun and Dancin’ Dave and Joanne Spencer
Press Log
KFAI Fresh Air Radio Feature

2011: Rhythmically Speaking presents Groovers & Makers

Southern Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 25-27, 2011
Featured work by Emily Broeker, Jennifer Glaws, Karla Grotting, Jolene Konkel, Carrie Lande, RS Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, Jeffrey Peterson, Julie Warder and Cathy Wind
Press Log

2010: Rhythmically Speaking presents Principles of Pulse

Bedlam Theater, Minneapolis MN
August 19-21, 2010
Featured work by Jennifer Glaws, Karla Grotting, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Sarah Jabar, Ellen Keane, RS Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, Jeffrey Peterson, Kenna Sarge and Karis Sloss
Press Log

2009: Rhythmically Speaking

Bedlam Theatre, Minneapolis MN
August 20-22, 2009
Featured work by Karla Grotting, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Jolene Konkel, RS Co-Artistic Director Erinn Liebhard, Kaleena Miller, Karis Sloss, and RS Co-Artistic Director Heather P. Westerlund