Ms. Eisenhower began her professional choreographic career when she set a work for the Prospect Park Dance Festival in Brooklyn, NY. Since then, she has set her works on numerous professional and university dance companies including BalletMet Columbus, Desert Dance Theatre, State Street Ballet and Harbinger Dance Company, to name a few. Ms. Eisenhower has created over 100 dances for EDE and has received frequent grants and honors for her choreography. She has been awarded several Creative Artists grants from state arts foundations, the Michigan Dance Association Choreographers Festival Award, the Women in Art Award for Choreography, Artserve’s Michigan Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Michigan Artist and, most recently, the prestigious 2012 Kresge Artist Fellowship. Her work has also been supported through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Skillman Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the National Dance Project, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Stephanie Pizzo, EDE Associate Artistic Director, is a native of Clinton Township, Michigan where she began her training with Orchid Diane and Denise Boucke and continued on with Evelyn Kreason. She danced with the Michigan Ballet Theatre, Oakland Dance Theater and Harbinger Dance Company. She has a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Oakland University. As a student, she received the Jacob S. Decker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance and a scholarship from the American College Dance Festival to study with the Ririe Woodbury Dance Company in Utah. In 2009, she received a Distinguished Alumni or “MaTilDa” award from the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance at Oakland University. As a founding member of EDE, Ms. Pizzo currently teaches company class, rehearses the company, and choreographs. She has staged works by Laurie Eisenhower on numerous companies and universities including Desert Dance Theatre, Scottsdale Community College, Collin County Community College and Alma College. She has set her own choreography at Illinois Wesleyan University and numerous works on Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. Ms. Pizzo is a special lecturer in dance at Oakland University and also enjoys teaching ballet at the Detroit Skating Club to National and International Competitive Figure Skaters.
Ron De Jesus (Teacher, Choreographer, Founder & Artistic Director of Ron De Jesus Dance) danced with Ensemble Espanol and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 17 yrs, starred in MOVIN’ OUT- Broadway’s Musical, “Come Fly Away’ creative team, Artistic Ambassador of Northeastern Illinois University, Artistic Associate for StagePlay’s Theater Company. Film credits: Road to Perdition, Stay & Across the Universe. Awards for Excellence: Best Choreographer – Chicago Music & Dance Alliance Award, 2 New York Musical Theater Festival Awards , DanceBreak, National Choreographers’ Initiative, Ruth Page Award for “Outstanding Male Dancer”, Carbonell Award, Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS NYC, Created for: Aetna, Philips, Verizon, Matrix commercials, ” A League of Their Own” film, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BalletMet, Sacramento Ballet, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, Thodos Dance, New Jersey Repertory, Ballet Arkansas, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, Suny Purchase College, Fire Island Dance Festival, Music Hall of Performing Arts; Stars of Ballet and Broadway, Vladimir Malakhov’s Staatsballet Berlin, 2012 “Dance For Life” Chicago / Palm Springs, Dance USA, Dance Chicago Dance Festival, Dance Theater of Tennessee- Latin Heat series, Wayne State University, Evanston Dance Ensemble, Music Hall 2012 Gala, Escole Superieure De Ballet Du Quebec Corp De Ballet and for “RAW” representing Matrix & JCPenny. Mr. De Jesus just finished a new creation of a full length story ballet called “Osiris and Isis”. Mr. De Jesús is a repetiteur for Twyla Tharp Productions.
Lauren Edson, originally from Boise, Idaho began her training at Ballet Idaho Academy and Westside Dance Academy. She continued her formal studies at North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, under the direction of the late Benjamin Harkarvy. She recently finished her third season dancing with Trey McIntyre Project . While a part of this celebrated company she was featured in several of Trey’s works including: “Bad Winter,” “Oh! Inverted World,” “In Dreams,” and “Shape.” Her past professional experiences include: Hubbard Street 2, Ballet Idaho and Idaho Dance Theatre. She has had the privilege to perform the works of Jose Limon, Paul Taylor, Angelin Perljicov, Robert Battle, Alex Ketley and Pina Bausch, among others.
While based in Portland, Oregon she established herself as one of the most sought after local choreographers. She recently won the Great Works Dance Project Choreography Prize 2012, a National Choreography Competition affiliated with Western Michigan University. Her work, “Foreground” was chosen to perform at the Kennedy Center as part of the National College Dance Festival. Edson was selected to participate in The A.W.A.R.D. Show! 2011 and 2010 Seattle, affiliated with the Joyce Theatre, one of New York City’s major dance presenters. In 2009, she won the Northwest Dance Project’s first annual Pretty Creative’s International Choreographic competition. She has recently been named Artist in Residence at Mystic Ballet in Mystic, CT and commissioned by Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (MI), Opera Idaho (ID) Polaris Dance Theatre (OR) Grand Valley State University (MI), Washington and Lee University (VA) and Pacific University (OR) to create work for their upcoming seasons. In addition, her work has been featured at the American Dance Guild Festival in NY, Idaho Dance Theatre, Conduit: Charged, Ten Tiny Dances, Aerial Without Limits, Portland Youth Ballet, Northwest Dance Project, American College Dance Festival, Regional Dance America, DROP Dance Collective, Fusion Dance Company, Balance Dance Company and Coriolis Dance Collective, to name a few. She has received grants from the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Idaho Commission on the Arts, recognizing her achievements in choreography.
Edson has been a guest instructor for numerous companies, Universities and studios throughout the nation including: BodyVox, Willamette University, Northwest Dance Project, Westside Dance Academy, Boise State University, Balance Dance Company, Montana Arts Association, Columbia Dance Center, Portland Youth Ballet, Ballet Idaho Academy, Northwest Conservatory of Dance, Summer DancFest, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Western Michigan University to name a few.
Michael Foley has been involved in the world of professional dance for over 20 years and is considered a master teacher and choreographer in his field. He began his dancing career at Bates College under Marcy Plavin, where he received his B.A. in English and a minor Spanish. During Mr. Foley’s 10 years based in New York, he performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia in the companies of over two dozen choreographers including Doug Elkins, Kevin Wynn, Sean Curran, Roberta Garrison, Joy Kellman, Donna Uchizono, Ruby Shang, Ben Munisteri and Eun Me Ahn. Mr. Foley received his MFA in Dance from the University of Washington in 2002 where he performed in the works of several of the 20th century’s major choreographers, including Mark Morris, Alwin Nikolais, Hanya Holm, Stephen Petronio, Michio Ito, Dore Hoyer and Bill Evans. He has taught workshops and master classes at universities, academic institutions and private studios throughout the United States, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Panama and Cuba. He has served on the faculties of New World School of the Arts in Miami, The Amsterdam Dance Center, The Association of Professional Dancers in Ireland, Balettakademien in Stockholm and Bates College in Maine.
Mr. Foley has received choreographic commissions and conducted major residencies at academic institutions such as Harvard University, Texas Woman’s University, Cornish College of the Arts, University of Texas, New World School of the Arts and University of Florida. He has received choreographic commissions from nationally touring repertory companies d9 Dance Collective in Seattle, Modern American Dance Company in St. Louis, Moving Current in Tampa, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble in Detroit, and Shade/Lacy Duets in Texas. His notable international commissions have been with Jus de la Vie Dance Company in Sweden, DoubleTrouble in Paris, Delfos Danza in Mexico, Momentum Danza in Panama and DanzAbierta in Havana, Cuba, among many others. His work has been performed at many well-respected venues for dance around the world, including Lincoln Center’s Out-of-Doors Festival and Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, The Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, The Dance Place in Washington, DC, The Grand Performances Watercourt in Los Angeles, Teatro Mella in Havana, La Sala Miguel Covarrubias in Mexico City, Theatre Balettakedemien in Stockholm and The Beckett Centre at Trinity College in Dublin.
In 1994 he formed his own company, “Michael Foley Dance,” touring the United States and Europe. Called “exuberant” and “hypnotic” by The New York Times, the Company received funding for new work and outreach programs. The Company was based in Ireland from 2000 – 2002 as part of a multi-year collaboration with County Kildare’s “Fluxusdance,” receiving support from The Irish Arts Council and The Kildare County Arts Council, and toured several times throughout Ireland. He is currently an Associate Professor of Dance at the University of South Florida where he teaches modern dance technique, choreography, dance history, and directs a yearly study abroad program for American dancers in Paris. He is the recipient of an award for Outstanding Direction of a Play from the Kennedy Center/American Theatre Festival for his co-direction of Metamorphoses, as well as multiple Gala Concert appearances of his choreography at the American College Dance Festival.
Harrison McEldowney has created original dances for special occasions of the 97th Birthday Celebration of noted dance historian, critic, and friend Ann Barzel, the Finale for Dance Chicago’s 10 Year Anniversary, a work to open the 10th Anniversary of Dance for Life, and for the past three years original pieces for Dance for Life. This includes in 2010 the first time in its 19-year history an outside choreographer has been asked, to create its world-premiere finale. His choreography may be seen on dance companies around the world including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street 2, River North Chicago Dance Company (his work was featured as well on both companies nationally televised specials and a HSDC2 special aired in Europe), DanceWorks, the Civic Ballet of Chicago, the Cerqua/ Rivera Art Experience, Ballet Met, Louisville Ballet, Ballet Ensemble of Texas, American Repertory Ballet, Configurations, Omaha Theater Ballet, and Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. Harrison is the inaugural recipient of the Prince Prize and has received the Ruth Page, After Dark, and Choo-San Goh Awards for choreography. He choreographed the 35th Anniversary Tour of American Bandstand and directed the Australian Tour of More Dirty Dancing. Harrison has done film, television, concert dance, Broadway, off- Broadway, the West End, Carnegie Hall, and danced in the Barcelona Olympics’ Closing Ceremonies. He has also worked with stars Sammy Davis Jr., Van Johnson, Chita Rivera, Dorothy Lamour, rap artists Salt n Pepa and Nell Carter (a televised special from LA’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion), Carol Channing, Debbie Reynolds, and collaborated with or worked for directors and choreographers Alan Johnson, Sam Mendes, Mark Medoff, and Rob Marshall. He was chosen to collaborate with Ben Vereen on an original musical for the star. He starred in the revival and re-imagining of the Ruth Page ballet Billy Sunday for both stage and the televised documentary of the same name, earning an Emmy nomination for his performance. He served as one of the directors of the John G. Shedd Aquarium’s multi- species show Fantasea and recently made his Chicago Lyric Opera debut as choreographer.Harrison is a Creative Director for Chicago’s Under the Radar and Wilson Dow Group, the latter leading to directing and choreographing shows for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines including their production of the Broadway musical Hairspray.
Paul Christiano trained pre-professionally in Chicago suburbs for eight years before joining Hubbard Street II in 1998, Thodos Dance Chicago in 1999, and The Lyric Opera of Chicago in 2008. Paul’s first choreographic effort, Miracle, Interrupted, formerly in the repertory of The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, merited a 2001 Ruth Page Award and inspired the Chicago Tribune to designate Paul one of sixteen “Chicagoans of the Year.” In 2003, Paul was voted “Best Dancer in Chicago” by Chicago Magazine. Paul also received the 2003 Dance Chicago Choreography Award for Balada para un loco, currently in the repertory of River North Chicago Dance Company, and was nominated one of TimeOut Chicago’s “Dancing Men of 2010” for his work with Dmitri Peskov Dance Theatre.
Motown in Motion Choreographers
Gregory Patterson, is Dance Program Director and Associate Professor of Dance at Oakland University and a certified McEntire Method Pilates instructor. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company (PRP). Born in Toledo, OH, he received his BS from Bowling Green State University and his MFA from the University of Michigan.
Mr. Patterson has been a member of Harbinger Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (EDE), Ann Arbor Dance Works, and Rigmarole Dance Company. He has also performed as a guest artist with both the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company and the Doug Elkins Dance Company of New York. His work has been set on EDE, Orchesis Dance Company at Western Michigan University, University Performing Dancers at Bowling Green State University, Alma College, and Bal-Chi Dance Company based in Chicago.
Mr. Patterson received the Maggie Allesse Choreography Award, and his work was chosen for the Leo Choreography competition at the Jazz Dance World Congress. His signature piece, “Who’s the Boss,” was performed in Russia as part of an EDE appearance with the Pushkin Ballet. In 2003 Mr. Patterson choreographed Die Fledermaus for the Michigan Opera Theatre. Mr. Patterson regularly travels to Greece to teach, choreograph and perform as part of the University of Detroit Mercy/Oakland University Classical Greek Theatre Summer Study Program. In 2008, Mr. Patterson received a Travis Professorship, an award that will enable him to develop his dance company through annual stipends for the next three years. Last June, his company made their debut in New York City at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre.
Ginger Thatcher has choreographed over 30 works for theater, television, film and concert dance. Most recently, she choreographed a ballet of Pinocchio for Dancing Wheels, a dance company dedicated to integrating dancers of all physical abilities. Other works include Oklahoma!, Swing, the film Far From Heaven, and Maury Yeston’s new musical Hans Christian Anderson for Maine State Music Theatre. Her regional credits include works for Oregon Ballet Theatre, Louisville Ballet, Sarasota Ballet, for which she won the Triple Circle Choreography Award, Minnesota Ballet, American Repertory Ballet, Verb Ballets, and Fugate/Bahiri Ballet NY at the Joyce Theater in New York City.
She has self-produced her own evening of work, Dances by Ginger Thatcher, at Lincoln Center and was the founding director of New Steps Choreography Project in Cleveland, OH, for which she received an Achievement in the Arts Nomination. Ms. Thatcher’s other New York City choreographer credits include Warsaw, Wild Women of Planet Wongo for the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the Umbrellas of Cherbourg for Two Rivers Theatre Company, Syncopation for Stamford Theatre Works, Big for Gateway Playhouse, The Lucky Chance for Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre, The Winter’s Tale and Othello for the New York City Shakespeare Project, Barrio Babies for Amas Musical Theatre, and As The World Turns. Broadway credits as Associate Choreographer, Assistant Choreographer and Resident Choreographer include: The Red Shoes, Carousel, Big, Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Oklahoma! and A Year with Frog and Toad. Other credits include PBS Dance in America-Othello, American Ballet Theatre, the San Francisco Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, A Brahms Symphony, and Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame, Berlin.
As a dancer and actress Ms. Thatcher has appeared with the Cleveland Ballet (Principal), the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Oklahoma! on Broadway, The Phantom of the Opera, Showboat, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Kiss Me Kate, Peter Pan, Woman of the Year, and Evita. Her television and film credits include Blue in the Face, As the World Turns and Another World.
Bill De Young has danced with the companies of Al Huang, Bella Lewitzky, Rudy Perez, Elizabeth Keen and Cliff Keuter. In 1975, he formed the DeYoung Dance Theatre in New York City and took the company on two national tours. Professor De Young has received choreography commissions from the Harvard Dance Center, the Joffrey II, the Chautauqua Festival Dance Company, NBC Television, The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, Danza Universitaria in Mexico City, Truzka of Hermosillo, Mexico, Danza Una and Danza Universitaria of Costa Rica, Ann Arbor Dance Works, the National Company of Paraguay, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, and others.
During winter semester of 2000, he was guest faculty and choreographer for the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona, Spain, and guest teacher for the Jove Compania of Barcelona. In 1990, he was guest director of the National Dance Company of Costa Rica. Mr. De Young is a recipient of a prestigious Kellogg National Fellowship, in addition to two National Endowment of the Arts Choreography Fellowships, a Jerome Foundation Award and several grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs. He has been a cultural specialist for the United States Information Agency/Arts America and a member of Affiliate Artists, Inc., of New York. Mr. De Young has been a Fulbright Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar in Costa Rica and has taught and performed in Germany, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Venezuela, Chile and Paraguay.
Joel Hall is Artistic Director and Principal Choreographer for the Joel Hall Dancers and Chief Dance Instructor for the Joel Hall Dance Center. Co-founded in 1974 by Mr. Hall and the late Joseph Ehrenberg, the Joel Hall Dancers & Center comprise one of Chicago’s most diverse and respected performing arts organizations. During the past thirty-three years, Mr. Hall has achieved an international reputation for his dance company along with acclaim as a choreographer. He is noted as the creator of his own innovative Chicago urban jazz style of movement.
Mr. Hall’s unique dance style expresses a rich vocabulary of movement embracing both the classical and modern idioms. Mr. Hall also directs his annual and acclaimed mid-summer Joel Hall Jazz Camp for children, parents and dance instructors. Apart from the many works created for his own company, Mr. Hall has choreographed for Maria Tallchief’s Chicago City Ballet, Chicago Opera Theater, the Zenon Dance Company, Ballet Tennessee and Eisenhower Dance Ensemble. In addition, he was choreographer for Goldie Hawn’s now classic film Wildcats. Under Mr. Hall’s leadership, the Joel Hall Dancers have performed nationally and internationally, in places such as New York City, England, Scotland, the former West Germany, Norway and the former Soviet Union. Mr. Hall is the recipient of numerous awards including the Katherine Dunham Award, two Awards of Merit from the Black Theater Alliance and the King/Chavez/Parks Visiting Scholar Award from Western Michigan University. Mr. Hall was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame by the late Mayor Harold Washington and in 2001 received the Black and Hispanic Achiever of the Year Award from the Metropolitan YMCA of Chicago.
Lindsay Thomas (1952-2003) was a member of the dance faculty at Western Michigan University from 1979 until July of 2003. She was responsible for developing the jazz dance program to a level of international recognition.
Ms. Thomas received numerous professional awards, including Michigan Dance Teacher of the Year (1988), the Leo “Gold Shoe” Award for excellence in jazz dance choreography (1997) and third place in the jazz/hip hop category at the Prague Dance Festival (2000).
Ms. Thomas’ musical choreography was presented at a Regional American College Theatre Festival and her jazz concert choreography was showcased at four Jazz Dance World Congresses, winning the Gold Leo Award at the 6th Congress in Germany. Ms. Thomas conducted workshops for several organizations including International Dance Association, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and the American College Dance Festival Association.