September 16-17 the Midwest Trust Center will present four world premiere pieces featuring four local dance companies. The evening will include modern and contemporary dance from national and international choreographers under the artistic advisement of Michael Uthoff. Recently retired Executive Director of the Midwest Trust Center, Emily Behrmann reflected “In 2013 New Dance Partners was created to encourage new work in dance to further artistic growth in dance by creating new work and encouraging collaboration between Kansas City arts organizations. Since its inception we have commissioned over 30 new works, which is no small feat!”
This year’s companies and choreographers include:
Kansas City Ballet with Stephanie Martinez
Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez has created works for Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Kansas City Ballet and National Choreographers initiative among others. She also assisted Broadway legend Ann Reinking in the Fosse Trilogy in 2010. She was awarded the 2015 Joffrey Ballet “Winning Works: Choreographers of Color” commission, the Chicago 3Arts Award and a National Endowment for the Arts grant for her premiere “Bliss!” at Joffrey Ballet.
Kansas City Ballet is a 30-member professional ballet company under the leadership of Artistic Director Devon Carney and Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley. The company’s mission is to establish Kansas City Ballet as an indispensable asset in its community through exceptional performances, excellence in dance training and quality community education programs for all ages. This marks Kansas City Ballet’s seventh year with New Dance Partners.
Owen/Cox Dance Group with Bryan Arias
Bryan Arias was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York City in his youth. Arias has created original works for The Paul Taylor Company, The Bolshoi Ballet and Tanz Lucerne Theater to name a few. He received the Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship Award (2017), the Jacobs Pillow Fellowship Award (2019) and the German der Faust Award in choreography (2020). In 2020 Arias co-founded Company Snorkel Rabbit in Basel, Switzerland.
Owen/Cox Dance Group’s mission is to create new music and dance collaborations, present high-quality contemporary dance performances with live music, and engage as wide an audience as possible through affordable live performance, education and outreach programs. Founders Jennifer Owen and Brad Cox bring together talented artists representing a variety of genres to perform contemporary dance with live music. This will be Owen/Cox’s ninth year with New Dance Partners.
Störling Dance Theatre with Victoria Marks
Victoria Marks is an Alpert Award-winning choreographer, Guggenheim and Rauschenberg Fellow, and Fulbright Distinguished Scholar, who has been creating dances for stage and film for four decades. Marks is a professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and serves as Chair of UCLA’s Disability Studies minor. She is involved with the Dancing Disability Lab at UCLA, a gathering of dance artists who challenge ability paradigms.
Störling Dance Theater is the artistic vision of Mona Störling-Enna who moved to Kansas City in 1995 to launch the company. With beauty and story as her skillset, Mona set out to enrich the community with stories and visions that would inspire others with concepts of relationships, community and hope. 2022 will be Störling’s sixth year with New Dance Partners.
Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company with Charissa Barton
Choreographer, director, educator and producer Charissa Barton has collaborated with David Parsons, Julie Taymor, Alan Tudyk and Katy Perry among others. Her stage choreography has been featured on the Pritzker Pavilion stage in Chicago and Ailey Theater in NYC. Her choreography for screen appears on HBOMax, Netflix, and SyFy. She has been featured in publications including Variety, New York Times, Washington Post, Vogue Magazine and Dance Magazine.
The Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company has been hailed as one of the most exciting, captivating dance troupes in the Midwest. Works by internationally acclaimed choreographers are presented each year. New works expressing important social issues are a hallmark of the company in performances that are thought-provoking and speak to the human spirit. This will be their ninth year participating in New Dance Partners.