Press Release Center

Cornish Dance Theater Features NW Choreographers And Jose Limon

SEATTLE, WA – Cornish Dance Theater, the performing ensemble of the Dance Department at Cornish College of the Arts, will feature choreography by Iyun Ashani Harrison, José Limón, Vivian Little, Michele Miller, and Amy O’Neal at its Fall 2014 Concert, which takes place at the Cornish Playhouse on Nov. 21 and 22.

The Cornish Dance Theater Fall 2014 Concert features the work of José Limón, guest choreographer Amy O’Neal, and faculty members Michele Miller, Iyun Ashani Harrison, and Vivian Little. Limón Dance Company member Brenna Monroe-Cook has staged excerpts from Limón’s "A Choreographic Offering" on Cornish dancers, whose performance will coincide with the 50th anniversary of its premiere in 1964. This dance was created in memory of Doris Humphrey, Limón’s teacher, mentor, and subsequent Artistic Director of Limón’s company. Both “glorious [and] graceful,” New York Times critic Clive Barnes described the piece as “a homage not to Humphrey alone, but to the unique collaboration between master and student which gave so much to American modern dance.” 

Seattle-based choreographer Amy O’Neal’s "No Excuses" is a playful, powerful rumination on owning one’s inner ninja, set to music produced by local Hip Hop producer Dynomite D. Originally performed in 2010 during the Strictly Seattle Festival, the work examines how the power of imagination can be used for self-empowerment.

Faculty member Iyun Ashani Harrison’s "Mystery of Iniquity" is a response to the current civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where the African-American community is protesting the murder of an unarmed African-American youth, Michael Brown, by a law enforcement official. A candid commentary, Harrison’s piece is created in solidarity with the national outcry against police brutality in communities of color. 

"I AM the Bully," choreographed by Michele Miller in collaboration with Catapult Dance, is an emotionally intense and evocative investigation into the psychology of bullies. Psychologist Anna Paula Pessotto and Parent Coach Sara Cole advised Miller throughout the rehearsal process, aiding in the creation of a visually stimulating and fiercely physical work.

Formerly of Pacific Northwest Ballet and San Francisco Ballet, Vivian Little draws inspiration from her experience performing works by George Balanchine and Lew Christiansen in "Opus Provoco," a neoclassical dance that pushes the dancers to their artistic and technical limits. 

Please note: the Saturday, November 22 matinee performance will be followed by an informal question and answer period.

Cornish Dance Theater Fall 2014 Concert

November 21 at 8pm

November 22 at 2pm and 8pm

The Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center

Tickets: $12 general, $7 seniors, $5 students & Cornish alumni

Tickets available through BrownPaperTickets.com or by calling 800.838.3006. For TeenTix ($5 Tickets for ages 13-19) visit www.teentix.org.

For additional information, visit www.cornish.edu/dance

Choreographers And Stagers

Iyun Ashani Harrison (St. Andrew, Jamaica) is the artistic director of Ashani Dances (visit www.ashanidances.org). He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Juilliard School and Masters of Fine Arts degree from Hollins University/American Dance Festival. Over the 13 years of his performing career in New York City, he danced with Arthur Mitchell’s Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet Hispanico of New York, National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and Ailey II. Mr. Harrison danced in works by George Balanchine, Jiri Kylian, José Limón, Paul Taylor, Michael Smuin, Alvin Ailey, Lar Lubovitch, Donald Byrd, Talley Beatty, and George Faison. His television credits include PBS’ Setting the Stage 2007, NBC’s 20th Hispanic Heritage Awards, PBS’ Who’s Dancin’ Now? – Arts Education in Your Community, and The South Bank Show in England. Mr. Harrison has taught/choreographed for the Juilliard Dance Ensemble, Ailey School, American Dance Festival, Jamaica School of Dance, University of the West Indies at Cave Hill – Barbados, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, American College Dance Festival and on the full-time faculty at Webster University. Mr. Harrison is an Associate Professor of Dance at Cornish and teaches on the modern faculty of The Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Visit: www.iyunharrison.com for more. 

José Limón (1908-1972) was a crucial figure in the development of modern dance: his powerful dancing shifted perceptions of the male dancer, while his choreography continues to bring a dramatic vision of dance to audiences around the world. Born in Mexico, Limón moved to New York City in 1928 after a year at UCLA as an art major. In 1946, after studying and performing for 10 years with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, he established his own company with Humphrey as Artistic Director. During her tenure, Humphrey choreographed many pieces for the Limón Dance Company, and it was under her experienced directorial eye  that Limón created his signature dance, The Moor’s Pavane (1949). Limón’s choreographic works were quickly recognized as masterpieces and the Company itself became a landmark of American dance. Many of his dances—There is a Time, Missa Brevis, Psalm, The Winged—are considered classics of modern dance..He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, The Dance Heroes of José Limón (Fall 1996), and in 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Vivian Little was an original member of Pacific Northwest Ballet and performed as a principal at the company under the direction of Melissa Hayden, Janet Reed and Todd Bolender from 1974-1977. She performed as a soloist with San Francisco Ballet under the direction of Lew Christensen and Michael Smuin from 1977-81. After her performing career she worked as the Ballet Mistress and Guest Choreographer for El Ballet Municipal de Lima in Peru, S.A. Ms. Little has taught ballet and pointe for nearly thirty years, serving as Faculty at the Walnut Hill Performing Arts School in Massachusetts, Pacific Northwest Ballet School, as an Adjunct Dance Instructor at Cornish College of the Arts and as a Guest Lecturer in the University of Washington Dance Department. Ms. Little founded Dance Fremont! in September 1996 and currently co-directs and choreographs for the Dance Fremont-based performing company, Fremont Danceworks with Mary Reardon.

Brenna Monroe-Cook is originally from Oak Park, Illinois. She began her dance training at The Academy of Movement and Music and The Ruth Page Foundation. She received her BFA from The Juilliard School under the direction of Benjamin Harkavy. From 2002-2007 Ms. Monroe-Cook was a dancer with the Limón Dance Company. In 2011 she earned her MFA from the University of Washington.  She rejoined the Limón Dance Company in 2013 and now divides her time between New York and Seattle.  She continues to teach Limón technique and ballet, and stages Limón repertoire for companies and schools internationally. Locally Ms. Monroe-Cook teaches at Cornish, Dance Fremont, PNB School, and UW and has performed with Ashani Dances, Catherine Cabeen & Company, Seattle Dance Project and the Chamber Dance Company. She is a certified Pilates instructor and a licensed GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® instructor. 

Michele Miller moved to Seattle to join the Pat Graney Company in 1992. With KT Niehoff, she began Velocity Dance Center in 1996. She left her position as Executive Director in 2005, but remained on the Board of Directors until 2006. Michele spent a year as the Artist in Residence at the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts where she taught dance and choreographed work on the students. Michele taught at Bates Dance Festival for two summers, and has also taught at the Guandong Modern Dance Festival, the University of Washington, the University of Montana - Missoula, Western Washington University - Bellingham and annually at the University of Oregon - Eugene. She has taught locally in summer workshops for Dance This!, Strictly Seattle, Cornish Summer Dance Intensive, SFADI and the Regional Dance America Craft of Choreography workshop. Her work has been commissioned and produced by Boost Dance Festival, Bellingham Repertory Dance Company, Full Tilt, Northwest New Works and 12 Minutes Max. She was a founding member of the d9 Dance Collective, an all-women repertory company and performed with LeGendre Performance Group. Michele teaches private Pilates sessions and martial arts classes at SH/FT Movement and Healing Arts, the studio she runs with her wife Heather Coyle. She currently studies Chen Tai Chi, Koo's Tai Chi, Xing Yi and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. Michele recently began her own dance company, Michele Miller/Catapult Dance.

Amy O’Neal is a diverse dancer, performer, choreographer, and dance educator based in Seattle WA. For the last 15 years, she has taught and performed throughout the US, Japan and Mexico and choreographed for stage, commercials, rock shows, galleries, dance films and music videos.  Her work is an amalgam of her diverse movement and life experiences presenting social commentary with dark humor and heavy beats. She is the recipient of numerous grants including awards from Creative Capital, the National Performance Network, the National Dance Project, Mid Atlantic Arts and the James W. Ray Project Venture Award. Amy has been an artist-in-residence at Bates Dance Festival, Headlands Center for the Arts, the US/Japan Choreographer’s Exchange, and Velocity Dance Center. She is a two-time Artist Trust Fellow, a DanceWEB Scholar, two-time Stranger Genius Awards nominee. She has worked extensively with musician/comedian Reggie Watts since 2002 both on stage and screen. She choreographed his Comedy Central produced “Fuck, Shit, Stack” video and toured nationally in his show Disinformation. She has created commissioned pieces for Degenerate Art Ensemble and Spectrum Dance Theater and collaborated with Savion Glover and Daniel Bernard Roumain through Seattle Theater Group. She has performed in the work of Pat Graney, Scott/Powell Performance, and Mark Haim.  From 2000 to 2010, she was co-director of locust (music/dance/video) with musician/composer Zeke Keeble, creating six evening-length works and several shorter works. She teaches Contemporary Dance and Urban Styles at Velocity Dance Center and House at The Beacon: Massive Monkees studio in Seattle. She also teaches dance composition and improvisation for Seattle Theater Group’s Dance This program and the Seattle Youth Dance Collective. She holds a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, and her dance writing has been published in Dance Magazine, City Arts Magazine, and ArtDish Forum.