March 5, 2014 11
“The vocabulary of ballet never changes, it is only the usage that becomes outmoded.” - William Forsythe
Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, a contemporary ballet company in San Francisco, believes that ballet is an expressive and vital voice relevant to our times. Imagery’s artists share the belief that through collaboration & experimentation, vibrant and courageous ideas are expressed and habitual reactions are discouraged. Imagery’s mission is to expand the definition of ballet by exploding preconceptions of what ballet is and can be.
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Amy Seiwert received her first choreographic commission in 1999 from Ricky Weiss at the Carolina Ballet. That summer, she and a group of hand picked dancers traveled to Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, to compete in the Festival des Arts Choreography Competition. Seiwert won, securing a residency for herself and her dancers the following summer.
That same year, 1999, she moved to San Francisco, where she continued to hand pick dancers and present choreography on a project based basis. With the premiere of “lessness” in 2004, the group picked a name, and im’ij-re was formed. The company incorporated in 2011 as Amy Seiwert’s Imagery and received its 501(c)3 determination letter from the IRS in early 2013.
Seiwert’s artistic direction reflects commitment to create and present work of excellence and influence. Though she is a sought after choreographer, with commissions from companies across the country, it is with Imagery that she can continually take risks and hone her artistic voice. Part of the company’s mission is to collaborate with artists of other disciplines, those collaborators include such fantastic talents as software artist Frieder Weiss, spoken word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and composers Kevin Keller and Darren Johnston.
Imagery serves contemporary artists whose careers are enhanced through this artistic process, as well as local and national dance audiences who have come to expect surprising, meticulous and remarkable work. The company’s growth has been sustainable, receiving consistent critical and audience acclaim.
Home grown projects include the SKETCH Series and Move to the Now. The SKETCH Series was created to foster risk and innovation in ballet based choreography. The company brings in guest choreographers, introducing the Bay Area to choreographers such as Gina Patterson, Matthew Neenan and Adam Hougland and showcasing such local talents as Val Caniparoli and Julia Adam. Move to the Now, co-produced with Post:Ballet, is a free National Dance Week event that celebrates the diversity of the Bay Area dance community. Set in a non-traditional venue, such local celebrated companies as ODC, Chitresh Das, Smuin, Raw Dance, LEVY Dance and Dance Through Time have contributed to this yearly event.
Other performances include WestWave Dance, Get in Front Benefit, Dances From the Heart Benefit, Dancers Over 40 / Equity Fights AIDS Benefit in New York, Contemporary Dance Theater Guest Artist Series in Cincinnati, OH, Concept Series, SF International Arts Festival, Left Coast Leaning; curator, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, LEVYdance Salon, Dancing Under the Stars in the Palm Desert and Sunken Cathedrals; curator, Rob Bailis.
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Artistic Director, Amy Seiwert
Amy Seiwert enjoyed a nineteen-year performing career dancing with the Smuin, LA Chamber and Sacramento Ballets.
As a dancer with Smuin Ballet she became involved with the “Protégé Program” where her choreography was mentored by the late Michael Smuin, and became Choreographer in Residence there upon her retirement from dancing in 2008. Named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine, her first full evening of choreography was named one of the “Top 10” dance events of 2007 by the SF Chronicle.
Twice she has worked with dancers from New York City Ballet, participating in the NY Choreography Institute at the invitation of Peter Martins. Collaborations include works with visual designers Marc Morozumi and Matthew Antaky, composers Daniel Bernard Roumain and Mason Bates, media designer Frieder Weiss and spoken-word artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph.
She is honored to have been an Artist in Residence at ODC Theater from 2013-15 and to have works in the repertory of Ballet Austin, BalletMet, Smuin, Washington, Atlanta, Oakland, Sacramento, Colorado, Louisville, Cincinnati, Carolina, Oklahoma City, Dayton, Milwaukee and American Repertory Ballets as well as Robert Moses KIN.
April 25, 2017 0
ANTHONY CANNARELLA, a native of Madison, Wisconsin, received his primary dance education from Monona Academy of Dance in Wisconsin. He later continued his dance studies on a scholarship at the Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania under Bo and Stephanie Spassoff, Mariaelena Ruiz, and Justin Allen. After graduating from the Rock, Anthony joined the Sacramento Ballet as an Apprentice, working under the direction Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda. After two years as an Apprentice, he was promoted to Company Dancer and has since been performing throughout the region with the company. Among his favorite performed roles are Peter Pan in the recent Ron Cunningham’s “Peter Pan”, and both the Nutcracker Prince and Lead Russian in Ron Cunningham’s “The Nutcracker”. Anthony has also greatly enjoyed performing George Balanchine’s “Stars & Stripes”, Septime Webre’s “Juanita y Alicia”, Ma Cong’s “Blood Rush”, and Ron Cunningham’s “The Great Gatsby”. Anthony first worked with Amy Seiwert on “It’s Not a Cry” at Sacramento Ballet and is extremely excited to continue working with her for Amy Seiwert’s Imagery.
April 25, 2017 3
ALYSIA CHANG was born in Berkeley, CA and trained at the Contra Costa Ballet School. She spent her summers at San Francisco Ballet School, Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and Alonzo King’s Lines Summer Training program. Alysia graduated Magna Cum Laude from SUNY Purchase with a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Arts Management. Upon graduation, she danced with Sacramento Ballet, Sacramento Music Circus, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular in New York and toured through China with Ziru Dance. Locally she has danced with The San Francisco Opera Ballet, Concept O4, and DawsonDanceSF. Alysia is a current member of Oakland Ballet company where she met Amy when she came to create a new work for the company. Alysia’s repertoire includes works by Yannis Adoniou, Melissa Barak, Ron Cunningham, Val Canipolari, Lila York, Graham Lustig, Amy Seiwert, Janice Garrett/Charles Moulton, Paul Taylor, Mark Morris, Helen Pickett and George Balanchine. Alysia is excited to be a part of SKETCH this summer!
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JAMES GILMER of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was trained at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School and the Pittsburgh School for the Creative & Performing Arts. After graduating in 2011, he joined Cincinnati Ballet where he worked with Amy Seiwert for the first time as a soloist in “I Think of You Often.” James has danced with the Cincinnati Ballet for six seasons where he’s performed works by Septime Webre, Val Caniparoli, George Balanchine, Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, Edwaard Liang, Jennifer Archibald, Trey McIntyre, Adam Hougland and Victoria Morgan to name a few. James began dancing with Imagery in 2013 as a part of Sketch 3.
April 25, 2017 0
TINA LAFORGIA MORSE
TINA LAFORGIA MORSE is currently a dancer with the Cincinnati Ballet. She has previously danced professionally with Charlotte Ballet (formerly known as North Carolina Dance Theatre), Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance, and Syracuse City Ballet. Tina received her professional training at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Pittsburgh ballet Theatre. Tina is very excited to be a part Amy Seiwert’s Imagery for the first time this summer.
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Board of Directors
Niko Mayer, Chair
Lori Laqua, Treasurer
Amy Seiwert, Secretary
Board Member Emeritus: Fred Terman
Imagery is currently seeking individuals to join the Imagery Board who believe in Amy Seiwert’s vision and Imagery’s mission. People who are excited to support the company and its continued growth. We look for team players who celebrate risk taking and collaboration. If you are interested in learning more, contact us.
May 2, 2017 2
JACKIE NASH, a native of Connecticut, started her pre-professional ballet training at the Connecticut Dance School under the direction of Alan Woodard. She then spent two years in the dance and academic residency program at The Rock School for Dance Education, graduating in 2009. During her summer studies, she attended the Chautauqua Institute, Nutmeg Conservatory, Miami City Ballet, and the Atlanta Ballet Centre for Dance Education. She has enjoyed dancing roles such as Marya in Atlanta Ballet’s Nutcracker and the principal roles in Yuri Possokhov’s Classical Symphony and Firebird. She has also performed featured roles in works by Christopher Wheeldon, Jean-Christophe Maillot, Douglas Lee, and Alexei Ratmansky. She has had the pleasure of working with such choreographers as James Kudelka for The Man in Black, Jorma Elo for 1st Flash, and Ohad Naharin for Secus.
May 2, 2017 0
BEN NEEDHAM-WOOD, hailing from Massachusetts, has been part of Amy Seiwert’s Imagery since the inaugural Sketch series in 2011. After graduating from the College-Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio (magna cum laude), Ben joined the Louisville Ballet where he danced for five seasons before relocating to San Francisco to continue his performance career as an artist with Smuin. Ben has danced the role of Romeo in Alun Jones’s Romeo & Juliet, Armand in Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias, and featured roles in contemporary works by Adam Hougland, Jiri Kylian, Helen Pickett, and Amy Seiwert, among others. As an emerging choreographer, Needham-Wood has created works for Louisville Ballet, Dance Theatre of San Francisco, and Smuin. He is also the co-creator of BaseBallet with Weston Krukow, a dance documentary short produced by Comcast Sports Network which won Best Arts/Entertainment-Feature/Segment at the Northern California Area Emmy Awards.
April 26, 2017 0
SHANIA RASMUSSEN joined the Sacramento Ballet, where she has had the privilege to perform in such works as Marius Petipa’s Swan Lake, George Balanchine’s Stars & Stripes, and Gerald Arpino’s Viva Vivaldi, among others. She first got the opportunity to work with Amy Seiwert on It’s Not a Cry at the Sacramento Ballet, and is greatly looking forward to being a part of SKETCH this summer.
May 23, 2017 0
GABRIEL SMITH started dancing at the age of 12 in his hometown of Saugerties, NY at the Saugerteis Ballet Center. For his senior year of High school, Gabriel traveled to Pittsburgh, PA to study with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. After completing both the Schenley and Graduate programs, Gabriel joined the company in 2005. In 2008 Gabriel joined Ballet Met in Columbus, OH where he still lives, dances, composes, choreographs, and creates. Check out more at GabrielGaffneySmith.com
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SARAH CECILIA GRIFFIN was born in Barranquilla, Colombia. From the age of four, she trained in classical ballet with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Ballet Estudio Maria Cecilia Diaz (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Kansas City Ballet School, and Barnard College, Columbia University. Sarah has performed a varied repertoire of classical and contemporary work with Kansas City Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, and Oakland Ballet. She currently dances with Oregon Ballet Theatre and Amy Seiwert’s Imagery.
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BRANDON FREEMAN, better known as “Private”, hails from Colorado. He started dancing at Colorado State University and with Canyon Concert Ballet, before a very successful 12-year career with ODC/Dance, in San Francisco, where he toured internationally. In the Bay Area, Private has also had the privilege of working with Berkeley Ballet Theater, Marin Ballet, Western Ballet, Peninsula Ballet, Mark Foehringer Dance Project, Stephen Pelton Dance Theater, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Janice Garrett and Dancers, Katie Faulkner (Little Seismic Dance), TheaterWorks, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Liss Fain Dance, Oakland Ballet Company, and Sonya Delwaide; and was a principle dancer in the movie, ‘The Matrix II: Reloaded.’ He also had the rare opportunity to be a guest artist with the Colorado Ballet, performing in Glen Tetley’s Le Sacre Du Printemps in 2013, and danced with Wonderbound, in Denver, for 3 1⁄2 seasons. Nominated multiple times, Mr. Freeman received Isadora Duncan Awards for Ensemble Performance in 2002 with Brian Fisher, and in 2012 with Katie Faulkner, and most recently a 2014 Izzie for Ensemble Performance with Katherine Wells, for Amy Seiwert’s The Devil Ties My Tongue. Notably, Private received a nomination for Individual Performance in 2004 for his role, which he helped to create, in Brenda Way’s masterpiece, Investigating Grace. Brandon’s choreography includes works for Berkeley Ballet Theater, Marin Ballet, Canyon Concert Ballet, the Lines Contemporary Ballet BFA program, and collaborations with Deborah Slater. In addition to teaching ballet and modern dance technique (including Dance for Parkinson’s Disease), he is a woodworker, oil paints, and was formerly a Military Police Sergeant in the Army National Guard. He gratefully acknowledges all who have influenced his dance career; specifically Brenda, KT, Sonya, and Randy.
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RACHEL FURST is from Baltimore, Maryland and received her training at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University. In 2012, she began dancing with Amy Seiwert’s Imagery. She has had the pleasure of performing with Smuin Ballet, Dawson Dance SF and also works by Amy Seiwert, Michael Smuin, Val Caniparoli, Adam Hougland, Sidra Bell and Julia Adam, among others.
March 10, 2016 2
SCOTT MARLOWE is a dancer, actor, and director. From 2005 to 2015, Marlowe created and performed with San Francisco based LEVYdance as a Company Artist and the company’s Associate Director. His 2014 evening-length work Soar was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design. Marlowe is currently working with both Risa Jaroslow and Dancers and [detour dance] as a performer and collaborator. In 2013, Marlowe starred in the internationally acclaimed feature film Test, written and directed by Chris Mason Johnson. Test won the 2013 Outfest Grand Jury Awards for Outstanding Feature Film and Outstanding Screenwriting and was nominated for a 2015 John Cassavetes Film Independent Spirit Award. He started working with Imagery in December 2015.
June 7, 2016 2
KELSEY MCFALLS is from Syracuse, New York. She has trained with Alonzo King Lines Ballet, Nutmeg Conservatory, and American Ballet Theatre. Her career began as an apprentice with American Repertory Ballet in Princeton, New Jersey. She went on to dance as a company member for American Contemporary Ballet, Company C, and Peninsula Ballet Theatre. Currently, Kelsey performs as a guest artist for the San Francisco Symphony, as a company member for Dance Theatre of San Francisco, and works as the chief operations officer for a Berkeley-based educational technology company, Socos.