Jennifer Glaws, School and Communications Director, is delighted to be experiencing her eighth season with Young Dance. Jennifer is interested in the social and developmental rewards of the arts evident in her work as an arts administrator, performer, choreographer, educator and photographer. Jennifer’s research delves into the relationship of dance with cognitive science, and the view that the practice of choreography enhances critical thinking skills in dancers and non-dancers alike. Jennifer holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and BFA in dance and photography from Arizona State University. In addition to working for Young Dance, she is an active dance educator teaching in settings as varied as private studios, public education programs and colleges. Jennifer has been producing dance work in Minnesota since 2004 in museum and theater environments including commissioned dance works for Alternative Motion Project, Gustavus Adolphus College, American College Dance Association-Midwest, Eagan and Apple Valley High School, Perpich Center for the Arts and UW-Milwaukee among other private institutions. Her recent evening length work, Study 1 Perceptions: Stuck or Unstuck? was on tour in 2015-16 performing in Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York. Jennifer is continually inspired by the Young Dance community and is grateful for the opportunity to work amongst an ambitious and dedicated staff, faculty and board.
Anat Shinar, Director of Develpment, is a Minneapolis-based contemporary artist, working in performance and visual mediums. She graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BFA in Dance and Visual Arts and completed her Master’s degree in Arts & Cultural Leadership in 2015. Her work has been presented at the Red Eye, Southern Theater, Soap Factory (3x5), Bryant Lake Bowl, Monday Live Arts/SooVAC, The Ritz Theater, and Future Interstates at the Cowles Center. As a performer, she has worked with Morgan Thorson, Chris Schlichting, Body Cartography Project, Carl Flink, and more.
In addition to performance, she is a consulting curator at the Walker Art Center, is an educator with Young Dance, as well as is their Development Director, and serves on the Steering Committee for DanceMN, a weekly e-newsletter and online resource for the Twin Cities Dance Community.
Anat has been teaching dance for over 15 years and has taught students of all ages, from 0 to 100, and of all abilities. She teaches techniques including ballet, jazz, and modern, as well as creative movement and dance composition. She joined the faculty at Young Dance in 2013 and joined the administrative team in 2015, first as Outreach Director and then as Development Director.
Andrea Zimmerman is a dancer and pediatric physical therapist. Andrea graduated with degrees in Dance and Physical Therapy from the University of MN. She has performed locally with companies including catalyst, dances by Emily Johnson, Zenon Dance Company, Hijack, BodyCartography Project, Gomez Dance Group, and Maggie Bergeron and Company. She performed in the 2013 Sage Award winning duet "Folding In Wings" choreographed by Megan Flood. In 2012, she studied physically integrated dance in California with AXIS Dance Company. She has taught with Young Dance since 2010, working mostly with ballet, creative movement, and all abilities dance classes. Andrea is inspired consistently by the Young Dance community and all it dances for.
Denise Gagner is a dancerand massage therapist. She graduated from St. Olaf College in 2004 with a B.A.in Dance. She has been teaching creative movement classes for Young Dance since2009. Denise has taught extensively throughout the Twin Cities and enjoysworking with students of all ages, but particularly enjoys the enthusiastic andexplorative nature of Young Dance's youngest movers. She has performed locallywith companies and choreographers including Rosy Simas Danse, Ready At Will,Sherry Saterstrom, Sarah Jacobs, and Mandy Herrick. Denise teaches both Creative Movement I and II for YoungDance.
Julia Davidson is a dancer, scholar, writer and teacher. Julia graduated from Macalester College with a degree in Performances Studies and recently received her Master’s Degree in Dance from Mills College in California. While in California, Julia had the pleasure of studying at Luna Dance Institute and attending the inclusive dance teaching workshop presented by AXIS dance company. She also had the opportunity to publish observations and writings in collaboration with inkBoat theater-dance company as they created “95 Rituals: A present for Anna Halprin.” Julia has enjoyed teaching all ages since she began in college and is thrilled to join Young Dance as an assistant and teacher.
Blake Nellis is an artist, educator and improviser who creates work with the body. His work is deeply rooted in human connection, physical touch and shared emotion. He originally hails from Door County, Wisconsin, and graduated from Luther College with a degree in Theater/Dance. He is a 2015 recipient of the MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant and 2013 recipient of the McKnight Foundation’s Metropolitan Regional Arts Council: Next Step Funds. He has taught and performed throughout the US, Mexico, Europe & Asia and is proud to call Minneapolis home! He has recently produced work at the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, TEK Box, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater & Luther College. He is a freelance photographer, choreographer and dancer. His other professional experience includes performing with Mathew Janczewski's ARENA Dances, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Jim Lieberthal’s Footholds Project, Jane Hawley, Rosy Simas & Taja Will. His work is inspired by his experience with athletics, the circus, singing, acting, playing piano, photography and filmmaking. His favorite moments are those in which laughter reminds us that play is valuable. And he strongly believes that riding bicycle, eating good food and being curious, compassionate and creative are all integral parts of being a good artist.
Angelique Lele has been performing on stage for most of her life. From the Bharatiya temple as a child to co- founding an all woman’s theater company in Los Angeles; to performing as an aerialist. Two years after a fall from her trapeze landed her in her wheelchair, she discovered Young Dance and there was an instant attraction. Young Dance introduced her to the world of integrative dance. She loved the new physicality, strength, and grace that it allowed her to express. She is honored to be a part of this amazing dance community.
Kathleen Pender is a dancer, teacher, and arts administrator. She received her B.A. in Dance from St. Olaf College and has been teaching and assisting classes with Young Dance since 2013. Kathleen also teaches dance at the Northfield Arts Guild in Northfield, MN. Apart from teaching, she is Company Manager with Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater and performs for local choreographer Taja Will. With deep passion for building community through dance education and performance, Kathleen is grateful to work for Young Dance.
Charisse Ponder is a Teacher, Choreographer, and Dancer for over 30 years in the Twin Cities and Northfield communities. She is a Classical Ballet trained dancer who carries this training into all her works. She has studied at the Joffrey Ballet and a variety of schools in New York City. She has performed with St. Paul Classical Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theater, Prairie Home Companion, Joe Chvala's Flying Foot Forum Residency, Four Seasons Dance, and with Young Dance All Abilities Classes. Charisse is currently teaching with Young Dance in the classroom, outreach programs, and the all abilities program. She also teaches at Zenon and Four Seasons Dance in Minneapolis. Charisse is particularly passionate in the study of language and culture and speaks Spanish and French.
Jesse Schmitz-Boyd hails from Minneapolis. He holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. At UWSP, he studied under Professor Joan Karlen, Re|Dance Group’s co-founder, Michael Estanich and Jump Rhythm Jazz Project’s associate artistic director, Jeannie Hill. He danced featured roles in Susan Marshall & Company’s Other Stories and Billy Siegenfeld’s god of dirt; and he choreographed several works, including his dance-theater work Glass Houses, in Eleven Sections, which was presented at the American College Dance Festival’s regional conference’s adjudication concert. Jesse went on tour with the Chicago-based RE|Dance Group performing in the Chicago and Minnesota Fringe Festivals. Currently he teaches at several studios including Zenon Dance School and Allegro School of Dance. Jesse’s classes are high energy and fun while maintaining an emphasis on technique, bodily awareness, performance quality, and a masterful mind. In his free time, Jesse enjoys science fiction television, gummy worms and bowling.
Cary Bittinger has had the opportunity to share her love of dance and the power of movement with a diverse population from around the world. Each population she has encountered whether they be refugees, High School students from the Westside of Chicago, children in the Bahamas, individuals that exhibit mental illness in Australia, homeless in North Carolina, dancers with disabilities etc., she recognizes the essences of what movement provides: joy, freedom, peace, and an understanding of the human connection that is felt through the mind/body/spirit connection. Cary received her masters degree in Dance/movement Therapy & Counseling from Columbia College Chicago in 2009, which taught her how to approach movement from a different lens. This is Cary's 6th year with Young Dance. During her time, she has assisted the level 2 All-Abilities, has been teaching the level 1 All-Abilities class, assisted and taught all-abilities classes at Bridgeview, taught at Hennepin County Home School, and has taught other various outreach classes throughout the years.