What’s Happening Next?

May 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

North Carolina Dance Festival starts touring again in September, but that doesn’t mean that the Dance Project is sitting still for the next few months! We’ve got quite a bit lined up for the summer months!



  • Dancing and Drumming Workshop at Brown Rec Center.
  • 7, 14, 21, 28: Summer Modern Master Class series taught by Amy Beasley (July 7) and Renay Aumiller (July 14, 21, 28)


We’ve got so much going on this summer leading up to our 25th season if NCDF! We look forward to dancing with you and your family this summer and seeing you at the North Carolina Dance Festival starting in September!


May 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

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On June 25th, the NC Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival will collaborate for the 3rd time with the “Here and Now” show as part of the ADF Season. The goal of “Here and Now” is to celebrate the professional dance and choreography being made right here in North Carolina.

This year, four artists will be featured at the “Here and Now” show in Durham: Anna Barker, Shaleigh Comerford, Kristen Jeppsen Groves, and Karola Luttringhaus. We’re thrilled to celebrate these four choreographers chosen to perform on the ADF/NCDF concert, but there are so many other dancers and choreographers in NC worth celebrating, too! We want to highlight dance in all its NC glory, happening “here and now.”

So, beginning in June, we at NCDF want to see how you dance here and now! At 6:25 any day between June 1 and 22, take a picture of yourself or others dancing, share on your favorite social media site (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram) and tag it #herenow625. Each week we will gather all pictures that have been tagged #herenow625 and let the public vote on their favorite picture. The overall favorite for the month will be featured on our social media accounts and awarded a pair tickets to the concert in Durham on June 25!

Come join us as we celebrate modern dance in North Carolina! How do you dance here and now? What does it mean to create work here and now? We can’t wait for you to share your pictures and ideas with us using #herenow625.

Keep an eye out on the blog for artist profiles of “Here & Now” artists, coming soon!!

Spotlight on: ADF/NCDF Here & Now Adjudicators

April 27, 2015 § Leave a comment

Four NC artists have been chosen to present work at the upcoming NCDF/ADF show in June–now you can read about the folks who did the choosing! All the video submissions were collected and sent off to three nationally recognized choreographers across the country: Carl Flink, Beth Gill, and Rosie Herrera. Here’s a glimpse into the careers of these three choreographers!



rehearsal for “Wreck” courtesy of Carl Flink


Carl Flink is the choreographer and artistic director of the movement theater Black Label Movement based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. He is also the Nadine Jette Sween Professor of Dance and Chair of the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

His choreography is recognized and embraced for its intense athleticism, daring risk taking and humanistic themes that often address diverse social, scientific, political and working class subjects in addition to more abstract dance approaches. Dance programs and arts institutions across the United States have presented or commissioned his choreography. He created two presentations with BLM and John Bohannon for the 2011 TEDx Brussels, including the internet hit, “A Modest Proposal.”



Beth Gill is an emerging choreographer who makes contemporary dance and performance in New York City. She has accumulated a body of work that critically examines issues relating to the fields of contemporary dance and performance studies, through a focused exploration of aesthetics and perception. Ranging from short-term improvised structures to long-term choreographed performances, her work has been commissioned by The Chocolate Factory Theater, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop and New York Live Arts as well as performed internationally.

Gill is a 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship recipient, a New York City Center Choreography Fellow for 2012-2013, and a member of the inaugural cohort The Hatchery Project (2013-2015) including: luciana achugar, Paul Lazar & Annie B. Parsons, Reggie Wilson, Jennifer Calienes (MANCC), Sara Coffey (Vermont Performance Lab), Craig Peterson (Live Arts Brewery), Brian Rogers and Sheila Lewandowski (The Chocolate Factory Theater).

Beth is a graduate of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and has been a guest artist at Barnard College, Eugene Lang College the New School for Liberal Arts and Arizona State University.   



Rosie Herrera is a Miami based dancer, choreographer and artistic director of Rosie Herrera Dance Theater. She is a graduate from New World School with a BFA in Dance Performance.  She has been commissioned by The Miami Light Project in association with the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing and the American Dance Festival in 2010, 2011, and 2013. She has had two residencies at the ADF recreating her work “Various Stages of Drowning:  A Cabaret” on ADF dancers and creating a new work entitled “Make Believe” which is set to premiere on her company n 2015/16.

Her company has been presented by the Northrop Dance Series, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Baryshnicov Arts Center, Texas A & M University, Duncan Theater, The Annenburg Center in Philadelphia and Gotham Dance at Skirball and Focus Dance at The Joyce in New York.

Rosie is a 2010 MANCC choreographic fellow and a 2011 Miami Dance Fellow.  In 2013 she was awarded a Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship for her work with Ballet Hispanico. The same year she was in residency with Moving Ground Dance Theater in Cleveland creating a new work titled HouseBroken. This past summer she was in residency at the Bates Dance Festival working on a solo work set to premiere in May at the Miami Light Project. She is also collaborating with Larry Keigwan on a duet set to premiere this June at the American Dance Festival. Rosie is a proud artistic associate of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami Dade County.

A big thank you to these accomplished artists for lining up the four NC choreographers taking the ADF stage in June!

For tickets or more information about the performance, visit the ADF website.

All About the Board

April 13, 2015 § Leave a comment

Dance Project wouldn’t be what it is without the wonderful guidance of our Board of Directors. As part of our “A Day in the Life” series, we wanted to take a moment and introduce them to you. Here’s our board!


Meagan Jolliffe Sergent, Board Chair
Dance has played a major role of Meagan Jolliffe Sergent’s life since she was 7 years old. As she grew older she began to appreciate dance more profoundly. Growing up in Waterloo, Ontario Canada, she quickly became a permanent fixture in a couple of local dance studios both taking class and assisting instructors with younger dancers. She was introduced to modern dance when her family moved to North Carolina and she majored in dance at UNC Greensboro. Meagan was accepted into UNC Greensboro’s nationally coveted Counselor Education Master’s program which provided an opportunity to share and apply the value of dance and the lessons in human nature dance provides. She was able to continue dancing at the university and auditioned to be cast in Graduate student thesis work, namely Amy Love Beasley.
In Meagan’s words:

I am still involved in the dance world today, though in a slightly different capacity. I love movement and working in the studio every now and again, but mostly I am involved in dance through advocacy and appreciation. I currently serve as President on Dance Project’s Board of Directors. This is a brand new role for me but the professionals with the Board make it fun, interesting, and most importantly—meaningful. I am grateful for this opportunity.

G. Alex Smith, Vice PresidentG. Alex Smith holds an MFA from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival, a BFA in Performance and Choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and also studied within the pre-professional programs at both the Virginia School of the Arts, and BalletMet Columbus.

In 2006, he founded G. Alex Moves to support his artistic endeavors, and to promote collaborative and interdisciplinary projects in the performing arts. He has presented his choreographic works in numerous venues, including the Cunningham Studio in New York, and at the American Dance Festival. As an independent choreographer he continues to make dances and perform. He has held professor positions in dance departments internationally. Alex is the Executive Artistic Director of G. Alex Moves. This is his first year on the board of Dance Project.

In Alex’s words:

One thing I love about Dance Project is the Festival tour.  The tour’s stop in Boone, where I live, is an important element to the ecology of the dance community in our region.  It gives our small community a sense of connection to the city centers across the state.  As an artist I have participated in the tour on many occasions over the years.  The opportunity to interact with other artists at each stop is an invaluable experience.


Ira Trollinger, Treasurer

Ira with wife and two daughters (including School Director Lauren Joyner)


Ira Trollinger is a retired public educator having served the students and families of both North Carolina and Virginia for the past forty years. He served in many capacities throughout my career including teacher, principal, college instructor and superintendent. The arts have always been a part of his life. His younger daughter was so smitten by the dance bug that she chose to major in dance performance in college.She was fortunate to attend UNC-Greensboro and have excellent instructors such as Jan Van Dyke and others. During his time as superintendent Ira implemented a program with his county’s fourth graders and the Richmond Ballet.
In Ira’s words:

When I was given an opportunity to serve on the board of the Dance Project I gladly accepted. I have grown in my knowledge of modern dance by interacting with my fellow members on the board. I enjoy learning about their experiences in dance performance and am amazed at their expertise. I am happy to give of my time because I truly believe in the mission of the Dance Project and know that the program can benefit all who take the challenge and participate in such an experience.


Melissa Pihos


Melissa Pihos holds an MFA in Choreography from UNC-Greensboro. She began dancing at a very young age and has been performing professionally for over 20 years. She has performed all over the United States and her film work has screened in several film festivals across the country. She currently dances for Christine Bowen Stevens and Van Dyke Dance Group and danced for John Gamble Dance Theatre, Sidelong Dance Company. She has also performed in works by Martha Graham, Larry Keigwen and Twyla Tharp.She is an award-winning filmmaker and is currently touring her work, PIHOS A Moving Biography as Alzheimer’s disease awareness events. PIHOS A Moving Biography is a documentary dance/film performance that explores the life of her father, NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver Pete Pihos and his battle with Alzheimer’s disease. The work has toured to Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Lubbock, TX, Philadelphia, New York City and Santa Fe. She is adjunct faculty of dance Salem College. She has also taught at UNC-Charlotte, UNC-Greensboro and High Point University. http://www.pihosamovingbio.com
In Melissa’s words:

When I first started to perform in the Triad area, I was always inspired by Jan’s choreography. It had always been a goal of mine to dance for her. I was then able to have her as a professor in graduate school at UNC-G. My goal was reached, I was able to dance for her and now help her with her goals for the Dance Project. She has helped to mold me into the teacher, artist, dancer, performer and filmmaker that I am. I am so thankful for her presence in my life. My first experience with the Dance Project was performing in the NC Dance Festival back in 1999. I have been involved ever since.


Kelly Swindell, Secretary



Kelly Swindell has been a dancer for most of her life. Trained at the NC School of the Arts (now UNCSA) and UNC-Greensboro, Kelly was a founding member of the Van Dyke Dance Group and Gamble/Van Dyke Dance. Kelly Swindell has danced for Jan Van Dyke for nearly 28 years, first as a student and later as a professional. She is grateful to have had such a long tenure with Jan and the Van Dyke Dance Group and its various iterations over the years. She has a M.F.A. in Performing Arts Management from UNCSA and a B.A. in History from UNCG. When not performing, Kelly is the Assistant Brand Manager at Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN and a mom to two creative beasts, Jasper Z. the illustrator and Sam the tuba man.

In Kelly’s words:

Fun fact: I once was invited to the stage to dance along with The Smiths during the last 30 minutes of their second show ever in the United States in Boston in 1985. Yes, I love live music. And have a passion for Shakespeare, the theatre, slaying ivy and learning to be a better cook.


Our other esteemed board members include Laverne Bass and E. E. Balcos. We appreciate all the hard work they do for the Dance Project!

Want to know more about the board and how you can help out the Dance Project? Head to our website to learn more!!


Announcing 25th Season of North Carolina Dance Festival

April 8, 2015 § Leave a comment


The NC Dance Festival (NCDF) is pleased to celebrate its 25th season in the Fall!  To mark this milestone we plan expanded performances and community outreach across the state during the 2015 season. 

Each year, NC-based professional choreographers are chosen in a blind adjudication process to participate in the annual NCDF statewide tour.  The artists selected for 2015 are:


These artists will perform at the three sites that started it all: Raleigh, Boone, and the founding site, Greensboro. Local artists from each of these cities will perform in concert with the touring choreographers, and then the visiting choreographers will teach and perform throughout the communities associated with each Festival weekend. Get to know these artists through our series of outreach activities, including pre- and post-show talks, free community artist talks, and more


Mark Your Calendar: 

  • Raleigh: September 19
  • Boone: October 23-24  
  • Greensboro: November 13-14


To celebrate this landmark season, there will be a special performance in Greensboro featuring “veteran” choreographers of the NCDF: founders Jan Van Dyke and John Gamble, Gerri Houlihan, Robin Harris, Martha Connerton, and Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre –all artists who performed with the Festival in the early years.  Additional special activities in Greensboro will be announced as the season approaches

Day in the Life: Dance Project Interns Alaina And Dylan

April 1, 2015 § Leave a comment

Alaina: I love interning with Dance Project! I really feel like the work I get to do every day makes a difference for the organization. My days are full of brainstorming, data analysis, marketing work… Anything really! It’s been a great supplement to what I’m learning in school–as an artist, it’s equally as important to be great at my craft as it is to be able to do the administrative work. Working here has helped me get better at both! -Alaina Monts, Intern 

10:45- The first thing I do when I come into the office is check all of our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). I’ll update all of the pages, and look for ways that we can interact with other online accounts. 

12:30- There are quite a few activities that I’ve been working on for a while and can continuously come back to if there isn’t too much other work that needs to be done. This week I’m looking up pictures to accompany the #moderndancemonday posts that go up weekly on the Van Dyke Dance Group’s page. 

1:45- Once a week I go straight from working with the festival to working with the school. I’ll usually grab a quick lunch while I check the voicemail and take down any necessary messages. 

2:00- Lots of the work I do for the school is data entry and analysis. We always keep track of the monthly attendance averages for each class; that’s primarily what I’m working on today. It’s time-consuming but necessary work. 

4:00- I usually draft our monthly newsletter. I do most of the formatting and write most of the content, but I’ll always get it double checked before it’s sent off to all of the parents and students. As soon as I’m done with this, I’ll head to class–one of the great perks of interning here is that I can take any of the classes I want at no charge!

Dylan: I started this internship to fulfill a class requirement and it’s been such a learning experience! Basically, I do a lot of things that people don’t really have time to worry about! It’s a lot of fun!–Dylan Reddish, Intern

11:00- I check in with Lauren and Milanda first. I’ll file attendance things, or adjust tuition with square. 

11:30- I do a lot of the organization for the Performance Company…Today I’m drafting an email to invite everyone to come see Ballet 422 at Geeksboro. I’ve been pulling all the costumes for the shows; next week we’re compiling costumes for the spring showcase.

1:00- After two hours I go upstairs to check in with Anne. We’ve been doing a lot of the troubleshooting and preliminary organizing for the Festival. I wrote a grant letter last week and created interview questions for the 25 promo videos we’re doing. I made a chart on when grants are due and what we need to compile for them.

Day in the Life: Assistant School Director Milanda McGinnis

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

As Assistant School Director, my main priority is to support the School Director in anything that she needs. That includes keeping up with the books, helping to develop curriculum, and being a parent liaison. I love being able to come to Dance Project each day for work because it lets me get the best of both worlds–the work I do is equally administrative and artistic. I hope you enjoy seeing what an average day in my life looks like!

–Milanda McGinnis, Assistant School Director

10:00–When I come in, I check the studio notebooks and take any payments that have been received in class. One of the most major parts of my job is to keep up with all the money that comes in and out of the school. This means writing the checks for Jan to sign, reminding parents when monthly tuition is due, and keeping up with the bills (not exciting, but definitely necessary!). I try and get everyday payment things out of the way as soon as I come in so I can focus larger amounts of time to big projects.

12:00–I have a meeting with Lauren to go over some new information about some upcoming marketing. It’s definitely important for us to make sure that the projects we do reach a wide audience and having a solid marketing plan will help us to be successful.

1:45–I’ve got a little downtime, so I’m looking for new and innovative teaching methods that help supplement our curriculum. I want the dancers that I teach to leave the studio knowing everything that they can about as many styles as possible to prepare them for college and beyond.

2:30–More teacher prep! The Teen Performance Company just had their first performance of the semester at Pillow Pops and it went great! Now it’s time to learn some new choreography. I like to spend some time in my day going over the choreography that I plan to teach tonight so that when it’s time for instruction, I’m fully prepared and can give 100%.

4:45–One of my favorite parts of the day is when I get to teach. I love working with my students! They’re dedicated and hardworking and getting to see their improvement each week is a joy to me. Today I’m teaching Modern III for ages 13-18 and Teen Performance Company. In Modern we’re working on getting ready for the Spring Showcase where the dancers will be performing a dance inspired by mermaids in the sea. It’s got an aquatic, flow-y feel to it. I’m excited for the finished product!


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