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Webster University Dance Ensemble, April 26-28

wude2019Webster Dance Ensemble (WUDE), under the Artistic Direction of Beckah Reed, presents their 2019 Concert April 26-28.

The concert features a variety of works performed by our students in a wide range of styles, from tap to contemporary, ballet to aerial. It showcases the dancers' extensive technical training and their very eclectic performance abilities. Webster faculty members Maggi Dueker, Jan Cosby, Monica Newsam, and Michael Uthoff, as well as visiting guest artist, Zhao Xi, and guest choreographer, Antonio Douthit-Boyd have choreographed several premiers and all original works for this year's performance.

Performance Dates, Times, Tickets
April 26-27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m
Browning Mainstage, Loretto-Hilton Center
Admission is $12 for general pubic, $6 for students and seniors
Tickets are availably by calling the Fine Arts Hotline at 314-968-7128

Jan Cosby is an alumna of Webster and has been teaching rhythm tap in the Department of Dance since 1990. This year, she was commissioned to create a new tap piece, which she has chosen to choreograph as a trio, to the music of Blue Monk. This opportunity for our students is possible through the generosity of the Lara Elizabeth Turek Alumna Fellowship Award.

Guest Artist Antonio Douthit-Boyd, co-artistic director of Dance at COCA (Center of Creative Arts), and former performer with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has created a fast-paced, driving, dynamic ballet for our students.
"We dance our freest on the edge of the horizon before the sun appears," says Douthit-Boyd.

Maggi Dueker, a visiting professor and interim chair in the Department of Dance, has choreographed many works for Webster Dance Ensemble over the years. "As a choreographer, it is a treat to work with dancers who are both technically proficient and creatively curious," says Dueker. "I always enjoy having the opportunity to work with my own students in a creative process because it allows us to interact in a different way, exploring and discovering together."

Monica Newsam described her 2019 Dance Ensemble premier, Glimpse the Infinite, as one that is influenced by her personal experience of visiting the decorated caves of Lascaux in the Vezere, Valley in France. "This aerial hoop/lyra group piece is a journey in search of a sanctuary; a place of balance and fluidity, " says Newsam. "The dancers stand in the portal of light and dark while connecting with this spiritual space and hoping to find the infinite." Hungarian musician and composer Zoltan Lantos collaboriated with Newsam to create an original sound score of Glimpse the Infinite. The pair had previously worked together on a WUDE piece in 2015.

Michael Uthoff, adjunct faculty in the Department of Dance, has choreographed a ballet for WUDE annually since 2011. This year's ballet is an intimate, behind the scenes' view, stemming "from the qualities of the dancers as performers and human beings," says Uthoff. The dancers contributed to the essence of the work which forms a partnership as the music of Astor Piazzolla and Horacio Salgan resonates and the movement flows."

Zhao Xi is a visiting guest artist from China. The women in her choreography share a sense of sisterhood, strength, and yet an individual voice in the transformation process one experiences during one's life journey. "The women are from an ancient time, yet all time, connected to the earth, yet soaring into their souls' stirrings," envisions Xi.

Jan Cosby began teaching tap at Webster University in 1990. Prior to that, she was a performer, teacher and designer with the award-winning Metro Theater Company. Founder and Artistic Director of Tapsichore, a concert tap company, she has performed and taught for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, the St. Louis Tap Festival, and also taught at Washington University, the Ballet Conservatory of Saint Louis and DaySpring School of the Arts. Crosby served as Regional Representative for the International Tap Association and was also on the Steering Committee for that organization. Crosby continues to teach privately and work on choreographic projects.

In 2015, Antonio Douthit-Boyd was named Co-Artistic Director of Dance of COCA, where he began his dance training at age 16 under the direction of Lee Nolting. Prior to his time with COCA, he spent 11 years with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He trained and performed with the Alexandra School of Ballet at the North Carolina School of the Arts, the Joffrey Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem School, and the Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montréal. After becoming a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1999, he appeared in featured roles in the ballet, South African Suite, Dougla, Concerto in F, Return, and Dwight Rhoden's Twist. He is an ABT® Certified Teacher, reaching level 5 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Douthit-Boyd is also a faculty member at Washington University, where he teaches modern dance in the collaborative MFA program between the university and COCA.

Maggi Dueker is a visiting professor and the interim chair of the Department of Dance at Webster. She founded Webster's Summer Dance Intensives and currently serves as the director of the program. Her choreography has been performed by the Webster Dance Ensemble, Convergence, and for the American College Dance Festival, Dancing in the Streets and National Dance Day among others. Dueker is an MFA candidate in Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and received her BFA in Dance from Webster (Summa Cum Laude). She has performed professionally with Giordano Dance Chicago II, Royal Caribbean International, the MUNY and as a freelance performer with Melissa Thodos and Dancers, and Chicago Arts Project. Previously, she has taught at Northwestern University, Giordano Dance Center, and is currently teaching at the Big Muddy Dance Company. For her work at Webster, Dueker has been nominated for the Kemper Excellence in Teaching Award.

Monica Newsam, a native of Panama, serves as the president of Newsam Aerial Dance. Her passion for movement and dance started at the age of five. Since then, she has embarked on a life-long journey to define her singular artistic vision. She received her BFA at the National School of Dance and Folklore in Havana. She went on to receive her graduate degree in Indian Classical Dance at the Sivananda Yoga Center of Kerala and also a master's degree in education from Lindenwood University. Currently, Monica teaches aerial dance at Webster where she also choreographs for WUDE. in 2017, Newsam, along with the help of her sister, Graciela, published an aerial dance curriculum which the two implement in teaching workshops. Since 2008, Newsam has worked with the St. Louis non-profit consortium ANNONYArts. Here, she collaborates with artist Tom Brady in performance installations. Throughout her extensive creative output, Monica seeks to expand global awareness of aerial dance as an exciting, expressive movement discipline.

Michael Uthoff, a native of Chile, traveled to New York after deciding to pursue dance. He has taught extensively throughout the county, as well as choreographed and directed numerous Operas. After studying at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, The School of American Ballet and Juilliard School of Music, he became a soloist with the Jose Limon Dance Company and soon after joined the Joffrey Ballet where he rose to become a principal dancer. Uthoff then went on to join the First Chamber Dance Company of New York, touring the USA extensively and also Latin America and Eastern Europe. Uthoff developed the Hartford Ballet, turning the company into one of the most visible small dance companies in the United States. Uthoff has served in many prestigious roles including artistic director, director, and faculty member. At Webster, Uthoff has continued taught, choreographed, and nurtured students. He has received numerous grants from the NEA to local state agencies and major foundations such as The Rockefeller Foundation, The Duke Charitable Fund, Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation, and many others.

Zhao Xi received her MFA in Performance and Choreography from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and her MA in Dance Choreography at the School of Dance, Minzu University of China. Her many accomplishments include founding Y Art Studio, numerous awards, such as being named the Best Young Dancer of China in the Asian Dance Arts Festival in Singapore, acting as artistic directors for multiple companies, and also acting as a lecturer at the School of Dance, Minzu University of China since 2007, one of the top dance schools in China. While being a guest artist at Webster, Xi has worked as an independent choreographer worldwide. In addition to her numerous performance and choreography credits in China and the United States, she is conducting ongoing research on contact improvisation and improvisational choreography with financial support from the Beijing Education Commission.

Zoltan Lantos, a violinist who has forged his own sonic language. He appeared on the Eastern-European jazz scene while studying at Music Academy in his home town, Budapest. Shortly after earning his degree in classical violin, Lantos embarked his musical journey. Drawn to experimental and eastern music, he traveled to India in 1985 to study classical Indian music. In 1994, after nine years of studying, traveling, teaching and performing in India, Lantos returned to Europe. Composing new pieces, he began rediscovering his musical roots and found his own language by blending Hungarian and classical traditions with Eastern music and contemporary Europe jazz. Lantos' main project since 1999 is the group Mirrorworld - the group's current project, OpenSource, was founded in 2011, is taking a more electronic, loop, and groove direction. The band gave its first concert in November 2012 at MUPA (Palace of Arts) in Budapest. Lantos has been invited to several international Jazz and World music festivals across Europe and several other countries. He received the "Artisjus" prize in 2006 and the "Golden Cross of Merit" medal by the Hungarian Government in 2008.

Dance Visiting Guest Artist Zhao Xi Honored in North Macedonia for International Efforts

zhaoxiOn April 4, 2019, Zhao Xi (Cecilia), traveled to Macedonia to receive the "Award MENADA for Extraordinary Achievement in the Field of Contemporary Dance" from the Dance Fest Skopje.

Zhao is a visiting Guest Artist from Beijing, China, in the Webster University Department of Dance, part of the Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts, for the 2019 Spring Semester.

Enjoy some of her choreography as performed by Webster Dance students at the upcoming Webster University Dance Ensemble April 26-28.

Zhao is the first young artist to receive the Award MENADA, with artists such as Hans van Manen and Vladimir Vasiliev, having preceded her with this honor. It is a recognition of several of her accomplishments.

In 2014, she founded the NEW, Beijing New Dance Festival collaborating with Chaoyang Culture Center and Beijing 9 Contemporary Dance Theatre. As the artistic director, she has brought world-renowned artists and companies to China; the festival has successfully invited over 100 international artists from more than 20 countries to perform and to teach in Beijing and have hosted over 10,000 participants and audience from all over China to join the festival.

The festival she founded has introduced many contemporary dance artists and companies from central eastern European countries to China for the first time. The NEW is gradually becoming the most influential contemporary dance festival in China.

Zhao's award also received coverage in Macedonia news media.

Webster Students Perform at American College Dance Festival Gala

Hollow Pleasures 2018'deadbug

Webster Department of Dance students attended and were selected to perform at the American College Dance Association's (ACDA) Central Regional Conference at Missouri State University in Springfield March 13-16. The ACDA Central Region includes college dance programs in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

Three student works, one informally and two for adjudication, were presented. Out of more than 20 universities who presented dance pieces for adjudication, both of the submitted works from Webster were amongst those chosen to be performed at the conference's closing gala concert.

The selected pieces were choreographed by two graduating seniors, Jaqueline Edwards and Megan Reed, and were recognized for their creativity, commitment and skilled execution.

The conference also provided various learning opportunities. Dance Department Interim Chair, Maggi Dueker taught ballet and jazz classes for conference attendees and students attended lectures and workshops exploring a variety of dance disciplines and topics throughout the week.

Creations Dance Concert, March 29 and 30


Welcome to Xi Zhao, our Visiting Guest Artist for the Spring Semester

Xi ZhaoThe Dance Department is very excited to welcome visiting guest artist, Xi "Cecilia" Zhao, for Spring, 2019. Cecilia will be teaching Ballet, Modern Technique, Composition, and Performance Technique as well as choreographing for the April 26-28 WUDE performances.

Cecilia and her family are visiting from Beijing where she is a full-time lecturer at Minzu University of China, guest choreographer for the Beijing Peking Opera Troupe, and founder and Artistic Director of Beijing New Dance Festival.

Cecilia holds a MFA in Dance (Performance & Choreography) from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. In addition to her numerous performance and choreography credits in China and the United States, she is conducting ongoing research on contact improvisation and improvisational choreography with financial support from the Beijing Education Commission.


Creations Dance ConcertDecember 14

Creations Fall 2018

Inbetween Showcases Original Works by Webster Senior BFA Candidates

Nov. 21, 2018

BFAII2018Webster University’s Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts Department of Dance presents Inbetween. The concert showcases original choreography of senior BFA candidates Jaqueline Edwards, Claire Francescon, Megan Reed, and Dorianne Thomas. Inbetween runs December 6th and 7th at 7:30p.m. as well as December 8th at 2:00p.m. The performance is located in Webster’s Stage III, the lower level of Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave. The concert is free and open to the public, however, donations are accepted.

Jaqueline Edwards began dancing in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania where she continued to graduate from the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Performing Arts directed by Kim Maniscalo. While at Webster, she has had the pleasure of performing works from Gary Hubler, Nejla Yatkin, Cleo Parker Robinson, Eve Mason, the Big Muddy Dance Company, and the José Limón Dance Company and has had the opportunities to study dance in Geneva, Switzerland and Puebla, Mexico.

“Within my work, I am particularly interested in the human experience,” Jaqueline explains, “I explore the simple and complicated facets of life through organization and reconstruction of movement that facilitates ‘humanness’ rather than a presentational show. I am consistently searching for contradictions and realness but hope that the viewers find personal meaning and connections.”

Claire Francescon was raised in Nashville, TN and began her formal dance training in the Tennessee Metro Arts system but moved to Second Story Studio after her first teacher opened the small Nashville Studio. During the summer of 2018 she studied European contemporary dance at Webster University’s Geneva, Switzerland Campus, where she had the opportunity to work with European artists Ramon Moraes, Graciela Acedo, Estelle Bovay, Vittorio Bertolli, and Luciana Reolon.

Claire reveals, “In my work I seek the day to day actions of humanity that can be translated into dance because they are the most natural movements. I, also, seek the human condition and try to address, understand, and replicate the things that “man” cannot control, such as love, hate, judgement, bliss, etc.”

Megan Reed was raised in the St. Louis area, beginning her dance training at DeNoyer Dance Studio under the direction of Sharon McGuire. While At Webster, Megan has had the opportunity to work with Alicia Graf Mack, Monica Newsam, Beckah Reed, Maggi Dueker, James Robey, Heather Sultz, Eve Mason, Cleo Parker Robinson and many others through classes and performances with the Webster University Dance Ensemble.

Megan states, “As people, we are affected by our environment. For my works, I’m interested in exploring the relationships we have with both ourselves and those around us. In working with my dancers, we discussed different relationships they’ve had in their lives to create a more relatable experience for them rather than performing as a character.”

Dorianne E. Thomas grew up in Chicago, IL. She began her formal dance training at Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts at the age of three. She has attended Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp (Twin Lake, MI), The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Summer Intensive (New York City, NY) and in the summer of 2018 she studied European contemporary dance and ballet abroad at Webster University’s campus in Geneva Switzerland.

“This process allowed me to express simplicity, grace, beauty and strength. While at Webster I found that moving my body has become therapeutic for my soul and my entire being. For this concert, I created three works which embody events, thoughts and ideas that have taken a toll on my heart and mind for a while. I utilize Jazz music by John Coltrane for two of my works. This music choice is purposeful and relative to the movement I developed, and the specific emotions that come along with it. I want the audience to feel moved by what they see when watching my work and relate to it personally,” said Dorianne. 

Concert Information

Webster University’s Department of Dance Bachelor of Fine Arts Choreographic Project Concert II, Inbetween, will premiere December 6th, 7th, and 8th on Stage III—located in Webster Hall. For further information, call the Fine Arts hotline at 314-968-7128. For more information on the Department of Dance: call 314-246-7747, email, or visit the Department of Dance website.

Webster's Department of Dance Presents Temporary Beings, a BFA Choreographic Concert

Oct. 18, 2018

Temporary Beings BFA 1 2018Webster University’s Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts Department of Dance presents Temporary Beings. The concert showcases original choreography of senior BFA candidates Stephanie Borcherding, Alyssa Perez, Josiah Gundersen, and Rachel Tegtmeier. Temporary Beings runs November 8th and 9th at 7:30 p.m., as well as November 10th at 2:00 p.m. The performance is located in Webster’s Stage III, the lower level of Webster Hall, 470 E. Lockwood Ave. The concert is free and open to the public, however, donations are accepted.

Stephanie Borcherding states, “Sometimes our pain causes us to disconnect from the moments that are meant to connect us with the ones we love and the passions that liberate us from ourselves. I drew inspiration from these external and internal battles and shaped my choreography to display the possibility of accepting the pain we endure, as opposed to running from it. I think there is beauty in vulnerability.”

Borcherding, a Chicago native, fell in love with the stage while competing with Motion Express in St. Louis, Missouri. While at Webster, Stephanie had the opportunity to study abroad in Geneva, Switzerland this past summer of 2018 with Estelle Bovay, Bertolli Vittorio, Ramon Moraes, Luciana Reolon, and Graciela Acedo.

“I have a collage of thoughts racing through my mind daily. I want to highlight bold and rapid movement that covers the stage to illustrate this collage. Insanity can sometimes lead us to sanity". Alyssa Perez follows through her pieces with either struggles or accomplishments she's had in her past life and current life. She explores the use of space with herself and others within her pieces. She asks, “What is comfortable and what is not?”

Alyssa Perez was raised in Miami, Florida and trained with Hannah Baumgarten, Karin Bejerano, and Corey Colfer. Apart from the faculty at Webster, she has had the pleasure of working with Amanda Tae, Nicole Casanova, Janelle Delgado, Estelle Bovay, Bertolli Vittorio, Ramon Moraes, Luciana Reolon, and Graciela Acedo.

“I’m especially interested in crafting, formulating, and organizing movement that imparts to the viewer a design based experience. I’ve always been curious, so exploring concepts and pushing to create a meaningful experience without forcing a direct meaning is how I shape my work. I find it important that the dancer lives within the movement rather than puts on a show,” said Josiah Gundersen.

Josiah Gundersen grew up in the city of Olympia, Washington where he began his dance training at Studio West Dance Academy with Stephanie Wood and Sarah Shepler. Since coming to Webster University as a dance major, Josiah has worked with Alicia Graf-Mack, Monica Newsam, Beckah Reed, James Robey, Michael Uthoff, Heather Sultz, Cleo Parker Robinson and many others through classes and performances with the Webster University Dance Ensemble.

Rachel explains, “I’ve always preferred developing concepts for dance based on the human condition. My pieces for this concert explore familial relationships and a wide range of beliefs regarding death. I’m interested in using identifiable gestures as well as abstract movement to convey narratives and ideas.”

Rachel Tegtmeier grew up in Kentucky where she trained in all styles at Barbara Ann’s School of Dance under the direction of Clemmy Ann Bastin. Outside of Webster, she has had the privilege of working with Karen de Luna, Andrea Weber, and Angel Arambula.

Concert Information

Webster University’s Department of Dance Bachelor of Fine Arts Choreographic Project Concert, Temporary Beings, will premiere November 8th, 9th, and 10th on Stage III—located in Webster Hall. For further information, call the Fine Arts Hotline at 314-968-7128. For more information on the Department of Dance: call 314-246-7747, email, or visit the Department of Dance website.

2018-2019 Webster Dance Season