by Nicole Harris
We have been so lucky over the last seventeen years to have former students from Impulse Dance Center, Dover Sherborn High School, the Dancing Arts Center, Natick High School, Groton School, Endicott College and beyond who have returned to be part of Monkeyhouse in some way. They've been board members, funders, company choreographers, audience members and guest artists. They have participated in Musings and company class as well as been invaluable advisors to us in and out of the studio. We are forever grateful to each and every one of them!
This past summer we created a series of Musings at Impulse Dance Center to give the alumni an opportunity to dance at a more professional level and to play with choreographic ideas in a low stakes setting. (We'll be talking more about that particular program in a future blog post. Keep an eye out!) During that process we were inspired to create a new Choreography Mentorship for emerging choreographers. Many of our former students have gone on to complete dance programs at the college level and came home with inspiring new skills, ideas and goals. We want to help these emerging choreographers as they transition from an academic dance life to a professional one.
We are starting this program with two of our Impulse Dance Center alumni, Elizabeth Powers and Elyssa Berg (who you might also remember as being a choreographic intern during her senior year of high school and a guest artist at Monkeyhouse's Misplaced/Displaced concert). These two dynamic choreographers will continue to lead Musings for December and January as they refine a choreographic idea. During the month of January, they will each create a piece of choreography for NACHMO (National Choreography Month) using dancers from Monkeyhouse.
This is an exciting opportunity for emerging choreographers. They receive studio space for both Musings and rehearsal; mentoring in choreography, design and all the administrative work involved in producing a new work; the opportunity to set work on a company and a whole lot more. You will hear a whole lot about these two ladies and the work they are creating over the next three months. But first, here's a quick introduction:
Elizabeth Powers graduated from Roger Williams University in May 2017 with a BA in Dance and Performance Studies and a double major in Psychology. Elizabeth grew up dancing at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA where she studied a variety of dance styles before finding contemporary-modern and improvisation techniques to be her passion. Nicole Harris and Karen Krolak were two of Elizabeth’s teachers at Impulse who encouraged her to find her creative voice and push boundaries. They continue to do so today.
Throughout college, Elizabeth had the opportunity to study with and perform in works by Heather Ahern, Hilary Easton, Ori Flomin, Kellie Ann Lynch, Fritha Pengelley, and Christina Robson. She was graced with the mentorship of Michael Bolger, France Hunter, Cathy Nicoli, and Gary Shore. She was also able to spend a semester studying dance and performance in London, UK where she worked with choreographer Katie Lusby.
Elizabeth is currently working as a teaching artist in Providence, RI, where she works with middle school teachers to integrate the arts into their academic curriculum. She is also performing and choreographing for various events throughout the Boston and Providence areas. She is extremely excited to be exploring a new idea with Monkeyhouse.
Elyssa Berg began her dance training at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, Massachusetts. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Dance andChoreography. In 2016, she studied abroad with the University of South Florida’s Dance in Paris Semester Program, under the direction of Michael Foley. During her time at VCU, Elyssa performed in works by Scott Putman, Melanie Richards, Judy Steel, as well as guest artists; Doug Varone, Liz Lerman/Dance Exchange, and Dawn Bazemore. In 2015, she performed in the official music video for Victor by Prinze George, a finalist in the LA Music Video Festival.
Outside of VCU, Elyssa has studied at Bates Dance Festival’s Young Dancers Program as well as their Professional Training Program. Elyssa has been commissioned twice by Monkeyhouse to create work and has presented choreography in the Boston area as well as Richmond, Virginia.