New Dances 2017

dancers kneeling on the ground holding red tulips

Showdates: April 13 - 16, 2017

Celebrated performer, choreographer and educator Katherine Kramer will premiere “The Best Medicine” a dance that’s playful, rhythmic and full of body percussion, for the members of UAA Dance Ensemble. Kramer has built a long-standing career performing as a jazz tap dancer and musician, collaborating with many of the finest in both genres and specializing in coaching dancers in musicality and musicians in physicality. A former faculty member with UAA Theatre and Dance, Kramer continues to teach and create work internationally. "At the heart of my work is a desire to bring people together, to encourage intimacy, and to promote the value of play as a tool in creating a more humane world." –Katherine Kramer

UAA faculty and acclaimed choreographer Brian Jeffery’s lush movement style sweeps across the stage to the music of Mice Parade in his delightful work “Spring Returns” with seven members of Dance Ensemble. UAA Department of Theatre and Dance will present “The Best Medicine” and "Spring Returns" by these two veteran choreographers along with the debut of eight other original dances by UAA Dance Program faculty and students as part of New Dances 2017, April 13-16 on the Main Stage Theatre in the UAA Fine Arts Building.

Fifty performers and designers will have the stage bursting at the seams as they showcase diversity in both choreographic styles and ideas in these 10 eclectic dance premieres. Director of Momentum Dance Collective and UAA adjunct faculty Becky Kendall new work “De Lune” is both musical and visually arresting for a cast of 16 performers. Adjunct faculty Melissa Jabaay’s “Treehouse” is a dance full of curious fun and ripe with clever surprises. Additional work by UAA Dance Program outstanding student choreographers will include Katie O’Loughlin “PRE” accompanied with marimba played live by percussionist Eric Bleicher, Racin Engstrom “Sending Silent Signals”, Courtney Meneses “Distort”, Carmel Young “Unfit to Print”, Stephanie Brenner “Duet”, and Anthony Cruz “Me”.

Performance run time: 2 hours with 15 minute intermission

Performances held at the Mainstage Theatre, 3700 Alumni Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508

  • Program


    Choreography: Katie O’Loughlin
    Music: Casey Cangelosi, Character No. 5 “Aethyr”
    Live Marimba Accompaniment: Eric Bleicher
    Lighting Design: Katie O’Loughlin
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Racin Enstrom, Penelope Foudeas, Ralph Marcelo, Pam Wolfe

    Choreographer’s note: “The strength of a unit depends on the freedom individuals have to embrace their own strengths. In an age that has been defining limitations and building walls around its people, we must remember to raise our hands and stand for the beauty in a single heart and mind.”


    Choreography: Courtney Meneses
    Music: Feverkin
    Lighting Design: Meghan Stanford
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Marissa Citro, Penelope Foudeas, Luna McCarthy, Courtney Meneses, Emily Raines, Katrina Thomas

    Choreographer’s note: “There is no truth, there is only perception.” -Gustave Flaubert

    I am

    Choreography: Becky Kendall
    Music: Of Monsters and Men, Claude Debussy, David Oistrakh & Frida Bauer
    Lighting Design: Addoris Davis
    Costumes: DieselX
    Rehearsal Assistant: Brenna McCarthy
    Performers: Jacee Arnold, Crystal Dosser, Tawny Ernest, Katie Evans, Daniella Jade Fincher, Dawn Jensen, Brooke Jimenez, Stephanie Lahn, Brenna McCarthy, Luna McCarthy, Kimberly McGrath, Nancy Ott, Anna Padrick, Emily Raines, Maria Weiss, Mila Zeng

    Choreographer’s note: “For the women that came before us, the ones who paved the way, lit the torch, and pulled us up. For the young ones, and less young ones, that continue to inspire, encourage, and remind us what we’re made of; that we are made of many things.”

    Before It’s Too Late

    Choreography: Stephanie Brenner
    Music: The Cinematic Orchestra, Jessica Curry
    Lighting Design: Meghan Stanford
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Stephanie Brenner, AJ Carino

    Choreographer’s note: “If my biggest fear comes to life, could I live with how things were left?”

    Spring Returns

    Choreography: Brian Jeffery
    Music: Mice Parade
    Lighting Design: Daniel J. Anteau
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Marissa Citro, Racin Engstrom, Marlee Hughes, Kimberly McGrath, Courtney Meneses, Katie O’Loughlin, Rhiannon Roseman

    Choreographer’s note: “I’m consistently inspired by the many generous and intriguing personalities that make up Dance Ensemble. Big thanks to all of the company for their enthusiasm, playfulness and movement contributions! This semester two of our outstanding dance students, Katie O’Loughlin and Carmel Young, are graduating. Both have been intricately involved with our department every semester since their freshman year. Katie and Carmel have been ongoing members of Dance Ensemble, contributed choreography to numerous productions, held officer positions with Dance Club, and represented the Dance Program at national conferences and much more. Please join me in wishing them both well with their future adventures in movement.”


    Choreography: Carmel Young
    Music: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Boys Age
    Lighting Design: Zoe Ellis
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Stephanie Brenner, AJ Carino, Marissa Citro, Stephanie Lahn, Brenna McCarthy, Katie O'Loughlin

    Choreographer’s note: “An exploration of the subtle, sometimes subconscious ways we shut out the world around us to maintain a comfort within the darkness.”

    Sending Silent Signals

    Choreography: Racin Engstrom
    Music: Inventions, Apparat, S. Carey
    Lighting Design: Mary Alley
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Racin Engstrom, Anna Padrick, Shelbi Lynne Voit

    Choreographers Note: “This is a dance of being lonely without truly being alone. For those who have their heads in the clouds, but their feet on the ground, this dance is for those who have felt like they were sending signals for no one to hear and for no one to see. But there is always someone listening out there, they are closer than you thought. We do not have to suffer silence alone.”

    The Best Medicine

    Choreography: Katherine Kramer
    Music Compilation and Editing: Krisha Manuel & Katherine Kramer
    Lighting Design: Erin Campbell
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Marissa Citro, Racin Engstrom, Marlee Hughes, Kimberly McGrath, Courtney Meneses, Katie O’Loughlin, Rhiannon Roseman

    Choreographer’s note: “Laughter connects you with people. It’s almost impossible to maintain any kind of distance or any sense of social hierarchy when you’re just howling with laughter. Laughter is a force for democracy.” -John Cleese

    Fade Away

    Choreography: Anthony B. A. Cruz
    Music: Hans Zimmer, Ólafur Arnalds
    Lighting Design: Nikki Adams
    Costume: DieselX
    Performers: Stephanie Brenner, Penelope Foudeas, Marlee Hughes, Nancy Ott, Rhiannon Roseman, Katrina Thomas

    Choreographer’s note: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–I took the one less traveled by...”  -Robert Frost


    Choreography: Melissa Jabbay
    Music: Guns N’ Roses, Danny Elfman, 3OH!3, Pink Floyd, Joseph Loduca
    Lighting Design: Kyle Campbell
    Scenic Design: Adam Jabaay and Treeline Construction
    Costumes: DieselX
    Performers: Crystal Dosser, Melissa Downey, Marlee Hughes, Dawn Jensen, Stephanie Lahn, Jamie Logan, Ashley Paige Maioriello, Ralph Marcelo, Rhiannon Roseman, Chardonnay Stone, Shelbi Lynne Voit, Tia Wagner, Maria Weiss

    Choreographer’s note: “When the world ceases to be magical like it once was and the world reveals the harshness of reality, the only place you can go is a safe haven... In my case a Treehouse.” A Big Thanks to Treeline Construction, with special assistance by Master Carpenter Adam Jabaay.

  • Production Crew

    New Dances Director: Brian Jeffery
    Faculty Technical Director: Daniel J. Anteau
    Stage Manager: Meghan Standford
    Assistant Stage Manager: Kaeli Meno
    Lighting Designers: Nikki Adams, Mary Alley, Daniel J. Anteau, Erin Campbell, Kyle Campbell, Addoris Davis, Zoe Ellis, Katie O’Loughlin, Meghan Stanford
    Lighting Board Operator: Elijah Kahlua
    Sound Board Operator: Gabrielle Wilkinson
    Projectionist: James Branstetter
    Fly Rail Operator: Patton Reid
    Costume Shop Supervisor: Kaie Promish
    Wardrobe Lead: Michael Nobel
    Wardrobe: Angie Colavecchio, Caroline Teal, Miranda Evon

  • Choreographer  & Designer Biographies

    Nikki Adams is a senior at UAA where she is a theatre major with a focus in design and technical theatre. This spring she’s joined the crew for the dance production to try out lighting design. When she’s not working on a production, she likes to eat ice cream and watch movies.

    Mary Alley is an Anchorage born actor, stage manager, director, lighting designer, and student. She will graduate this December with a Bachelor’s in Theatre with an emphasis in performance. She hopes to continue training in stage management, or directing, or acting, or the art of making up her mind. Her ultimate dream is to create a theatre company that focuses on social justice theatre for and by anyone who identifies as a “misfit” of society.

    Daniel J. Anteau received a B.A. from the University of Alaska Anchorage and his M.F.A from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in Lighting Design. He now serves as department chair, professor in design and technical director for the dance program. Professionally, Daniel’s lighting designs have been seen across Alaska & Hawaii, in New York City and internationally in Africa. For the past six summers Daniel served as technical director for Trollwood Performing Arts School in Moorhead, MN. In Hawaii, Daniel continues to stay active as lighting designer working with Manoa Valley Theatre on their January production.

    Eric Bleicher is a senior music student at UAA who will graduate in December 2017 with two BMs (Music Education, Music Performance).  He has been actively involved in the local community by working/collaborating on events with Spenard Jazz Festival, Sweet Cheeks Cabaret, Dimond High School, Momentum Dance Collective, National Water Dance Project, the Alex Cruver Trio, Spenard Farmers Market, Cyrano’s, and Anchorage Civic Orchestra. Bleicher will be continuing his education after graduation to pursue a Masters of Music outside of Alaska.

    Stephanie Brenner is in her fifth year at UAA. After thirteen years of gymnastics she turned her attention to dance and has never looked back. She has choreographed for many shows including UAA Dance in Performance 2016 and the musical Working. Digging deep Stephanie found inspiration in her brother who is a sailor in the US Navy. After graduation Stephanie plans on pursuing a career in dance and musical theatre.

    Erin Campbell is a graduate from the UAA Department of Theatre and Dance and she’s happy to be back designing for New Dances. Having worked in the community since graduating in 2012 at Cyrano’s, Anchorage Community Theatre, and Alaska Dance Theatre to name a few, it is nice to come back home and work with new artists and old friends.

    Kyle Campbell enjoys designing lights, however most of the time this leaves him in the dark.

    Anthony B. A. Cruz has been on a two and a half year hiatus traveling the world. Now that he has returned, he is currently a senior Nursing student. Though his focus is on Nursing, he also has a minor in theatre with an emphasis on the technical side. Aside from performing onstage as an actor or dancer, he enjoys partaking in lighting design. He is very excited to finally have the opportunity to create his piece with this group of stunning dancers!

    Addoris Davis is a junior/senior Theatre Major, with an emphasis in Stage Management and Scenic Design. She has previously stage managed UAA's productions of Working, and Dance in Performance last fall. This is her first lighting design and she is excited to be apart of New Dances 2017!

    DieselX has had the joy of putting costumes on thousands of beautiful bodies over many, many years. Diesel and his trustworthy companion Sock Monkey often travel on fantastic adventures to far away exotic destinations as they wander the planet in search of the truth.

    Zoe Ellis is a senior Theatre Major here at UAA. She specializes in scenic painting, character design, and crying. This is her first foray into lighting design and although she was nervous, the process has proved to be quite "enlightening". She also couldn't be happier working with all the lovely people in New Dances 2017!

    Racin Engstrom is a life-long resident of Anchorage Alaska and is attending UAA for Anthropology and Dance studies. She began dancing in 2005, starting with Raks Sharki technique training and progressively moved into Modern, Jazz, and Contemporary styles of movement. She has had the wonderful opportunity to choreograph for the UAA Dance program since New Dances 2015, and she has loved every moment. Racin is also an enthusiastic learner and a procrastinator by nature.

    Melissa Jabaay is excited to be choreographing for UAA New Dances once again. She has three wonderful children and the best husband in the world. Melissa is a current adjunct faculty member at UAA in Modern and Dance for Musical Theatre.  She previously worked in the Athletic Department as the University’s Gymnastics team dance and choreography coach. She has taught eight seasons of Jazz at Alaska Dance Theatre, introduced Industry Skills and Boy’s Dance, as well as worked as Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager on various productions at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, including Spirit; The Seventh Fire of Alaska. She is honored to be a part of Momentum Dance Collective as a performer and/or lighting designer for seven seasons, including their latest production, Bare. Melissa has assisted in the choreography of shows for Minnie Madden Productions on five different Carnival Cruise Line Ships. Before coming to Alaska she danced at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and worked as the dance supervisor in charge of auditions, hiring, teaching and maintenance of shows as well as assisted in choreography for the parks more than 20 productions. She performed in New Zealand, Australia and Italy and had the opportunity to work as a swing performer in Neil Goldberg’s Cirque Productions. She graduated from UAA with a degree in Theatre in 2010 and is thrilled to be living in Alaska again.

    Brian Jeffery has directed over 30 productions for UAA’s Department of Theatre and Dance. He originally hails from Chicago where he was active in the city’s performing arts communities for over twenty years. He has previously served on faculty at Northwestern University, Columbia College Chicago and University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. As artistic director of XSIGHT! Performance Group for fifteen years his vision of exploring the amalgamation of theater, dance and the visual arts, has been consistently recognized by popular and critical acclaim. Jeffery created over fifty original multidisciplinary works for XSIGHT! and toured throughout the U.S. as well as Australia, Egypt, Cyprus, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. Jeffery has premiered work on numerous professional companies internationally, notably Danz Abierta of Havana at the National Theater of Cuba, Trinity Irish Dance Company at the Joyce Theater New York City, Itinerant Theatre Guild at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Scotland, Lucky Plush Productions Chicago, and Ghana Dance Ensemble in West Africa. Jeffery has lectured and presented on many conferences including African Studies Association, American College Dance Association, Congress on Research in Dance and Society of Ethnomusicology. Jeffery is also part of Secrets Under the Skin, a collaborative multidisciplinary art installation that reflects upon religious rites and rituals linked between Ghana and Cuba as a result of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Secrets has been presented on numerous venues internationally since 2010. Secrets Under the Skin Spotlight

    Becky Kendall is a choreographer, performer, and instructor who thrives on creating movement based in the collaborative approach. She is the Artistic Director of Momentum Dance Collective, as well as a Core4 member of the Light Brigade and a 2013 Rasmuson Fellow. Since receiving her Bachelors of Science in Health with a concentration in Sports Medicine, Becky has worked with numerous artists in New York, Colorado, Washington, and Alaska performing with Interweave Dance Theatre of Boulder, the Seattle Bridge Project, On The Boards productions, and many collaborations with local artists in the Anchorage area. Her work has been featured in productions by Momentum, the Light Brigade, West High School and East High School, and the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has taught modern dance for local schools and studios including Dance Spectrum Alaska and Alaska Dance Theatre, and currently serves as adjunct faculty for UAA.

    Katherine Kramer has enjoyed making her way up to Alaska a couple of dozen times since her first residency at UAA in 1993. A gypsy at heart, Katherine’s work is rooted in a desire to bring people together, to encourage intimacy, and to promote the value of artistic play as a tool in creating a more humane world. She is a performer, choreographer, educator, movement coach and producer and has built a long-standing career performing as a jazz tap dancer and musician, collaborating with many of the finest in both genres and specializing in coaching dancers in musicality and musicians in physicality. She has received a Fulbright Award, a Creation Fund Grant from the National Performance Network, an Artist Innovation Award from the Montana Arts Council, a Kentucky Arts Council Choreographic Fellowship and numerous Artist Advancement and Artist Access Grants from the Florida Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Miami-Dade Dept. of Cultural Affairs. In Havana, Cuba she has taught tap to Danza Contemporarea and Conjunto Folklorica de Cuba, and in Fortaleza, Brazil worked with Valeria Pinheiro and Co. Vata. She has conducted residencies and created choreographies at universities throughout the US and Canada and served as choreographer and movement coach for Robert Redford on his film, “The Horse Whisperer.” Katherine currently lives in Madison, WI.

    Courtney Meneses is a lifelong Alaska resident. Her fire for dance sparked at the age of three at Dance Spectrum Alaska. Though her focus was in jazz and ballet, her journey has lead her to belly dancing, burlesque and an undeniable love for modern dance. This will be her 4th year in Dance Ensemble, and would like to thank everyone she has been involved with in the program for their unwavering support, inspiration and love.

    Katie O’Loughlin is a senior Theatre and Dance major and has been involved with the Department’s productions since her freshman year. New Dances 2017 will be her fourth time choreographing for the University, and her fifth time performing. She has spent the last four years studying technical theatre to learn the production side of performances and has had the opportunity to sound design for three Theatre productions and light design for three Dance Productions. She recently combined her education in the technical, choreographic, and performative aspects to direct her own show, “Middle Ground”, earlier this semester. She hopes to continue gaining experience and skills in these areas after graduation, and plans to get her Master’s Degree in Dance and Production. She is excited to finalize her undergraduate degree by traveling to Cuba this May to research their dance community through the Office of Undergraduate Research Studies.

    Meghan Stanford is originally from Chippewa Falls, WI. She is a junior Theatre Major at UAA, with her studies focused around scenic design and technical direction. Her past credits include lighting design for pieces from New Dances 2016, Dance in Performance, and Middle Ground. This is Meghan’s first experience stage managing at UAA but as she always says, “Hakuna Matata”.

  • Production Photos
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017
    New Dances 2017, UAA Department of Theatre and Dance, 2017


Special Thanks and Smooches

Daniel J. Anteau, Becky Kendall, Melissa Jabaay, Robin Figueroa, Katherine Kramer, Kaie Promish
Nova Cunningham, Colleen Metzger, Kathleen Behnke, Daniel Glen Carlgren