Guest Artists

Webster Dance actively seeks guest artists, giving Webster dancers opportunities to work alongside national and international professionals.

Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner to set Antony Tudor's Continuo

amandamckerrowThe Webster University Department of Dance is pleased to announce that acclaimed ballet dancers Amanda McKerrow and John Gardner will be restaging Antony Tudor's Continuo for the Webster University Dance Ensemble. Special thanks to Sally Bliss and the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust for this opportunity. Amanda McKerrow has enjoyed a career as one of America’s acclaimed ballerinas. She has the honor of being the first American to receive a gold medal at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow in 1981. Since then, she has been the recipient of numerous other awards, among them the Princess Grace Foundation Dance Fellowship and the New York Woman Award for Dance.

Ms. McKerrow was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and began her ballet training at the Twinbrook School of Ballet in Rockville, Maryland, where she completed the syllabus of the Royal Academy of Dance. She then spent two years at the Metropolitan Academy of Dance where she studied the acclaimed Vaganova syllabus. She then studied at the Washington School of Ballet, under the direction of Mary Day, where she danced with the company for two years, touring extensively throughout the United States and Europe.

Ms. McKerrow joined American Ballet Theatre in 1982 under the direction of Mikhail Baryshnikov. She was appointed Soloist in 1983, and became a Principal Dancer in 1987. Her repertoire included the leading roles in Cinderella, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, Manon, La Bayadere, Coppelia, Don Quixote, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, La Sylphide, and The Nutcracker. She has received acclaim for her performances in shorter works by Antony Tudor, George Balanchine, Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Jerome Robbins, and Juri Killian. Ms. McKerrow has created roles in ballets by choreographers such as Agnes DeMille, Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Clark Tippet, Choo San Goh, and James Kudelka. She has also appeared extensively as a guest artist with ballet companies around the world.

In 2000, after having worked closely with him during his lifetime, Ms. McKerrow began staging the works of Antony Tudor for the Antony Tudor Ballet Trust. She also stages the ballets of Agnes DeMille and Benjamin Millepied, as well as the full length classics such as, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, Giselle, and Don Quixote. After retiring from performing in 2006, she devotes the majority of her time to teaching, coaching, and staging ballets for professional companies around the world. Among them, American Ballet Theatre, Royal New Zealand Ballet and Colorado Ballet. She is married to fellow dancer and repetiteur, John Gardner.

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Alicia Graf Mack Master Class

The Webster University Department of Dance welcomes Alicia Graf Mack of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, who willaliciaphoto instruct a master class in the large studio of the Jean and Wells Hobler Center for Dance in the Loretto-Hilton Center on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 11:30 a.m.

Along with credits including Dance Theatre of Harlem and Complexions Contemporary Dance Company, Mack has also been a guest performer with Alonzo King LINES Ballet and musical artists Andre 3000, Beyonce and Alicia Keys. She is the co-founder of Daisha and Alicia Graf Arts Collective, and is the recipient of the Columbia University Medal of Excellence and Smithsonian magazine’s Young Innovator Award.

Lehrer Dance's Jon Lehrer Master Class

jonlehrerWebster University will host a master class on Friday, Jan. 31 at 1 p.m. with Jon Lehrer of LehrerDance from Buffalo, N.Y.

“Jon’s athletic and dynamic approach to dance makes the students excited to work with him and experience his energy,” says James Robey, chair of the Department of Dance in Webster’s Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts. “This should be a kinetic and fun workshop.”

The class will take place in the Large Studio in the Loretto Hilton Center’s Jean and Wells Hobler Center for Dance. Lehrer danced in the companies of Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, and John Passafiume Dancers. He has choreographed on several companies, including Thodos Dance Chicago, Instruments of Movement, Momenta Dance Theatre, Louisiana Dance Theatre, Le Jazz Groupe from Monterrey, Mexico, and Kannon Dance of St. Petersburg, Russia.

Ballet Memphis Master Class

Ballet Memphis will present a master class sponsored by Dance St. Louis at Webster University on Saturday, January 25 from 11:00am to 12:30pm. The instructor will be Ballet Memphis ballet mistress Tamara Hoffman. The class is open to ages 13 to adult, at an intermediate to advanced level.

Nejla Yatkin to teach master class on Sep 27

nejlaNejla Y. Yatkin, Artistic Director of NY2Dance is originally from Berlin, Germany with Turkish roots. She is a 2012/13 3Arts Awardee, a 2011 Creation Fund recipient of the National Performance Network, a 2008 Princess Grace Choreography Fellow, was named by Dance Magazine as one of "Top 25 to Watch in 2005" and "Outstanding Emerging Artist" by the D.C. Mayor's Arts Award Committee. This award-winning and internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer graduated with a professional concert dance degree from Die Etage - a Performing Arts College in Berlin, Germany.

Ms. Yatkin is currently commuting between New York and Chicago dancing, choreographing and giving workshops at international and national festivals creating commissioned work for other companies, evening length works for her own company, site specific works as well as dances for film, theatre and opera. In the past she has been awarded numerous grants to create and perform from Arts International, the National Performance Network, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kennedy Center, the D.C. Commission of the Arts and Humanities, The Turkish Cultural Foundation and the University of Maryland.  To date, Ms. Yatkin has received five awards from the Metro D.C. Dance Awards, including two "Outstanding Individual Performance," "Best Scenic Design," and "Best Multi-Media Performance" as well as “Best Overall Production in a small venue.  Recently, she choreographed for Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Washington Ballet, the Darpana Performing Group in India, Baltimore Ballet, the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and River North Chicago.. Since the fall of 2001, she has also been a Professor of Dance at the University of Maryland - College Park and then held a position as Artist in Resident at the University of Notre Dame from 2008-2012. The New York Times describes her work as “somewhere between narration and abstraction with considerable formal beauty” For further information please visit www.ny2dance.com.

Jamie Graham to set choreography in Fall 2013

jamie graham headshotJamie Graham is a performer, improviser, and teacher based in New York, NY. Born in Nashville, TN, Jamie moved to Saint Louis, MO in 2001 to attend Webster University as a Daniel Webster scholar; she graduated in 2005 cum laude with a B.F.A. in dance and a B.A. in English Literature. She then crossed the Atlantic for one year of postgraduate study at the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, Holland, where she studied contemporary techniques, improvisation, and tanz theater; she also began her Pilates certification here through Romana's Pilates under the tutelage of Marjorie Oren.

In 2006 Jamie made the move to New York and began dancing with Juliana May / May Dance, while also completing her Pilates certification at True Pilates with Sari Mejo Santo. She began studying Klein technique with Barbara Mahler in 2007 and since then has had the honor to perform with Mahler at the 92nd St Y, Judson Church, Green Space, and Center for Performance Research. She has been working with Naomi Goldberg Hass / Dances for A Variable Population since 2008, creating site-specific performances that bring together professional dancers with communities of older adults. Jamie has had the opportunity to work with communities in lower Manhattan, Harlem, Chatham (NY), Jacob's Pillow, Martha's Vineyard and Vancouver.

In 2010 she began pursuing physical theater and clown at the Pig Iron Theater's Summer Session in Philadelphia. She subsequently began collaborating with Amy Larimer and their coach Jay Rhoderick in New York. Together they make The Raving Jaynes, weaving together dance and theater improvisation techniques to make performances based on an audience suggestion. They have been presented at The PIT's Improv Festival, the Unscripted Festival, Triskelion Arts' Comedy in Dance Festival, Joe's Pub, Built on Stilts in Martha's Vineyard, Twin City Improv Festival in Minneapolis, Adapt Festival in Los Angeles, and will be performing at the Abundance Festival in Karlstad, Sweden in September, 2013. Jamie also has raving jaynesperformed in the fast paced, witty work of Jenny Rocha and her Painted Ladies at Galapagos Art Space's weekly Floating Kabarette since 2011.

Follow these links to see some of Jamie's work:
The Raving Jaynes: http://amylarimer.org/amylarimer.org/Video.html
Barbara Mahler at Judson Church: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ5Evr0daZA
Dances for A Variable Population at Jacob's Pillow: https://vimeo.com/69724847
DVP's Dances for Seniors Program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEf7arj-ml0

Heather Ward (Nisaa) to teach Belly Dance master class Oct 16

jamie graham headshotHeather D. Ward (Nisaa) is a Middle Eastern dance instructor, performer, and researcher based in St. Louis, Missouri. As an instructor and performer, Nisaa specializes in Egyptian raqs sharqi (belly dance).  Her repertoire also includes Egyptian folkloric dance, including beledi,ghawazee, and sa'idi dance styles, as well as folkloric styles from the Levant and the Persian Gulf.  As a researcher, Nisaa's primary area of concentration is the transition from awalem and ghawazee dance styles to classical raqs sharqi at the turn of the 19th/20th centuries in Egypt.  Since 2009, she has conducted in-depth examinations of primary textual, photographic, and pictorial evidence as well as on-site investigations in Cairo in order to advance knowledge of the dancers and performance venues of this period.  Nisaa's work on this subject has been published in the Gilded Serpent and Belly Dance Chronicles magazines.

Nisaa began her studies of Middle Eastern dance with several well-known dancers in Missouri and Illinois, including Nadia Alooma, Salwa (director of Aalim Dance Academy), and Diana Wolf (former director of Simone's Seventh Veil Dance Studio).  Currently, she continues to attend master classes, seminars, and workshops with internationally-renowned dancers such as Aisha Ali, Farida Fahmy, Dr. Mo Geddawi, Mahmoud Reda, Ranya Renee, Sahra Saeeda, and Yousry Sharif, among others.  Nisaa has completed courses one through four in Sahra Saeeda's Journey through Egypt series.  In addition to her dance training, Nisaa holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology and history from Kent State University and a master's degree in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Nisaa's academic background rounds out her dance training and provides the foundation for her meticulous approach to the study of Middle Eastern dance.

Nisaa has been teaching Middle Eastern dance since 2003.  In the summer of 2008, she opened her studio in south St. Louis as a dedicated space for the propagation of Middle Eastern dance, music, and culture in the St. Louis area.  In addition to teaching, Nisaa has performed extensively at Middle Eastern dance events, cultural festivals, and other Middle Eastern themed events and venues both in the St. Louis area and beyond.  Nisaa also produces several events each year, including her annual student recital, which she has choreographed and directed annually since 2005, and workshops featuring internationally-renowned guest instructors, which she has hosted in partnership with St. Charles Community College since 2010.

Through excellent instruction, outstanding performances, and original research, Nisaa presents Middle Eastern dance as a living, dynamic folk art and a window into the rich heritage of the peoples and cultures of the Middle East.