Cleveland Ingenuity Festival 2013

Greetings Readers!,

It has been quite some time since we’ve shared with you what the company has been up to. Busy none the less. We’d love to get you back up to speed on everything that’s happened but that will all come in a later post. Today we’d like to share that we have the privilege of performing at the 2013 Cleveland Ingenuity Festival! On Saturday the company will be performing an excerpt of “Walking on Clouds” in a warehouse with a twist! Our founding/artist director, Mary Verdi-Fletcher has collected footage from a documentary that shares the feats of people with and without disabilities coming together to capture the inaccessible buses. It promises to be an unforgettable and moving performance. If you’re visiting the Cleveland area this weekend, we recommend that you stop by the Cleveland Port at 1pm on Saturday to see the company perform!

Dancing Wheels in the top 6 Finalists for CAC Grant!

A few weeks ago, Dancing Wheels was informed that we are one of the top 6 organizations chosen as finalists for the CAC Grant!

Congratulations! I’m pleased to you inform you that our panel of independent judges has scored your Creative Culture Grants project as one of the top six. This means your project will now move forward to the next round, where the two winning projects will be chosen by public vote.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

In order for Dancing Wheels to become a winner, we will need everyone ages 13 and over in Cuyahoga County to vote for our company! 

There are two ways to vote! Cuyahoga County Residents can vote online starting February 1st and ending on February 20th at 11:59pm EST (A link to the online voting system will go live on CAC’s website). Residents may also vote by paper ballot (available at http://www.cacgrants.org/creative-culture-grants.php), which can either be delivered in person or by U.S mail to Cuyahoga Arts and Culture’s office, 1501 Euclid ave. Suite 407, Cleveland, OH 44115 by February 15th 4:30pm EST. Ballots received after the deadline and incomplete or illegible ballots will not be counted.

What is Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s Creative Culture Grants program for?

Cuyahoga Arts & Culture created the Creative Culture Grants program to bring large-scale, transformative projects to Cuyahoga County residents by awarding two grants worth up to $150,000 each. An independent panel of experts from outside Northeast Ohio evaluated and scored the 12 proposed projects from organizations that applied to this program, and the top six project finalists will go to public vote in February 2013.

Through this grant we’ll have the ability to continue reaching out to new audiences in the hopes of touching more lives with our mission and movement. We would truly appreciate all the support we can get in this vote. Please pass this on to family, friends and neighbors!

DUMBO Auditions!

Happy New Year Everyone!

The company has returned to the studio to continue working on upcoming performances and the school is back in session getting ready for our production of Dumbo! In May, The Dancing Wheels Company and School will be bringing Dumbo to life on stage at the “St. Ignatius, Breen Center”.

This Saturday, January 26th from 2-3:30pm at the Dancing Wheels Studios we will be holding 
open call auditions for the student piece in Dumbo.  Students auditioning will take a small
modern class/warm up, learn a small section of choreography and then be asked to
present a small performance of their choice.  This can be either a small dance,
they can give a small speech, show a picture they have drawn, or sing.  We do
ask that these pieces be no longer than 30 seconds to a minute.  All students
will receive a part in the show, this is just an opportunity for them to
understand how an audition works.  They should wear dance attire with no loose
clothing. Also, have your hair pulled back and neat.

Auditions are taking place at our studios in Cleveland, Ohio at The Masonic Temple.

3615 Euclid ave. Cleveland, Ohio 44113

For more information/questions, email our school coordinator; Emma Parker at school@dancingwheels.org

Look forward to seeing you there!

Bus 52 Presents: The Dancing Wheels Company and School

When Dancing Wheels performed at West Virginia Northern Community College this past October, Bus 52 met us there to learn about what we do and why we do it. Here is the final product of that collaboration!

Updates from our Outreach program!

Jessica Kostoff teaches one of our Outreach classes in Beachwood, Ohio. She has given us some insight on the progress of the students and what to look forward too!

The Beachwood adult class is amazing!  We have been having so much fun in class!  Everyone comes in excited to move!  During October we had a great Halloween class.  We played some games and worked on creative movement activities.  We played pass the pumpkin with a small pumpkin and pretended it was different weight and shapes and how to handle it like so.  We also did the Monster Mash!  The participants kept asking to do it again and again.  We also explored with movement across the floor as Halloween creatures.  A participant from the previous class requested that I bring in some disco music, and I did, so we built a dance together.  We went around the circle and each person added a movement on.  Everyone enjoyed being able to participate in the creation of a dance. 

 

                In the next few classes we are going to work further on building dances and movement phrases together and putting meaning behind them.  We are also going to work on a creative movement series called, “Ready, Set, Move”.   This has several steps to it and will take a few class periods.  It works a lot with listening and following directions.  It also works with colors, numbers and movements that they get to do and review all those skills.  I am looking forward to building more skills with them and enjoying the holidays with them.  They are a special group of people and I always look forward to going to see them!

Dancing Wheels loves spreading our message as well as giving people a chance to be themselves and dance with abandon! If there is a group of students, with or without disabilities, that you think would be interest in a program like this?

Then contact our office at (216) 432-0306 or email our School Coordinator at school@dancingwheels.org

 

The School of Dancing Wheels Ensemble collaborates with Unveil, ArtWorks Dance Performance Company

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This past Saturday the dancers of the Performance Ensemble took class and rehearsal with the students from the after school program ArtWorks. These students are in internships learning how to create and be in a professional dance company. The two groups will be working together throughout this semester in creating some works to be performed in December. The ArtWorks dance company Unveil were asked to write about their experience at Dancing Wheels and their responses are below. The two groups will be meeting again November 3rd.

Najader

My experience with Dancing Wheels was great. I learned that it’s people first. It was nice to meet and dance with students and people with disabilities. They weren’t as different as anyone else. They still had emotions and feelings, and to me they were pretty happy. It was fun to see and learn how it feels to be in a wheelchair and having to use all of your upper body strength. I can’t wait to go back and dance with Dancing Wheels again!

Marcus

I enjoyed working with the Dancing Wheels Company School Ensemble. It was a very fun experience. I loved when we worked on choreography. The techniques were insightful and interesting.

Olivia

This Saturday at the Dancing Wheels Dance Company I had a good experience. I enjoyed moving with the dancers with disabilities, and I was inspired by how they and the whole company don’t let their disabilities hold them back! I really learned not to be discouraged or let something hold me back in dance or in life. I loved everybody’s positive attitudes and learning how to ride and move in the wheels chairs!

Marrisa

My experience at Dancing Wheels was awesome. I had a really good time working with the School Ensembles. I really liked how we did different dance moves with the wheel chairs. I didn’t know you could use wheel chairs in all of those different ways. My favorite part was riding on the back of the electric wheel chair and keeping a pose while doing it.

Samantha

As I walked into the Dancing Wheels studio, I was hesitant, nervous for new experience and excited for new friends. Once I saw Motion teaching hip-hop, I thought it was all over. I have no rhythm. Hip-hop is not my favorite style of dance, but Motion helped me understand how to move. Once we started to interact with the dancers with disabilities, I was amazed. They were keeping up with all standing dancers phenomenally. Some could retain better then I could. Then we tried getting in their shoes, or I should say chairs. The experience was eye opening and extremely fun. I am ecstatic I have that memory and anticipating the next visit to be just as great!

Katrina

I went to a small Quaker elementary school where there were at least two special needs kids in every class. I think the best thing you can do with special needs is to talk to them, and meet them at their level, and include them. I strived to do that last Saturday. It was interesting to learn wheelchair techniques, but I was acutely aware of the fact that, unlike some of the girls in the class, my experience in the wheelchair was only temporary.

Willia

My experience in working with dancers with disabilities was interesting. I was surprised to know how much the students talked. I always thought they were quiet but going to Dancing Wheels proved otherwise. They were as eager as I was to learn and I found it refreshing. They were also fun to work with because the shapes that we were able to create were unique. I also did an arabesque on one of the student’s motorized wheelchair, which I thought I couldn’t do but I tried it and accomplished it.

The Dancing Wheels School: Taylor Amanda Evans

This week we’d like to introduce you to Taylor!

I first heard about Dancing Wheels from Youth Challenge. I love watching the T.V. series So You Think You Can Dance because of all the cool routines and for all the people to go out there and perform their hearts out, that inspired me to dance as well. Dance is my way of expressing myself and escaping all my troubles. I’m in my second season now with the company and I love it! I am a member of the performance group and it’s really fun to perform with my best friends. When do I plan to stop you ask NEVER!

-Taylor Amanda Evans

Taylor (center) in the dressing during “The Snowman” Production.

West Virginia Tour

Did everyone know that Dancing Wheels goes on tour? Like a band or a broadway show, we travel to different venues and perform for various audiences. For example, today, Dancing Wheels went to West Virginia Northern Community College.

In the morning we traveled to the college which was about 3 hours away from our studios. Upon arrival we were all happily surprised with lunch that our presenters provided for us! After filling our tummies, we started our tech rehearsal.

Tech rehearsal is when the performers in each piece find their proper placement in the new space. Since every venue we perform in is different, sometimes there are adjustments needed to make it work.

Today’s tech was special because we had an audience…Bus 52. (@bus52 on twitter) Bus 52 asked if they could film our tech rehearsal as well as doing some interviews with some of the dancers. This was fun and interesting for everyone because we’re not used to having a crowd before the performance actually starts.

Once tech was finished we had an hour to get “snazzed up” for the show. Hair and makeup is important for accentuating a dancers face. After everyone was freshened up, we gathered on stage for a company warm up. This helps us warm up muscles and joints as well as becoming aware of each other in preparation for moving together in performance.

Show time!

We performed, “Far East of the Blues”, “Missing You” and “Walking on Clouds”

At the final bow the audience rose to their feet in a standing ovation. This always makes us feel like our message was received. After the performance we like to talk with the audience for feedback and their overall experience. Sometimes they even ask us for our autographs! At the end of it all we said our goodbyes and headed back on the road to home. It was a full and fulfilling day with our Art in Motion!

The School of Dancing Wheels: Jamaica Nida

Like always, each Saturday one of our students writes a blog about their experience with the School of Dancing Wheels. This time its Jamaica’s turn. She is one of our senior members at the school and has even performed with the company in the past! See what she had to say below:

So it all started when i was about 4 years old, i remember it like it was not too long ago. My first teacher’s name was Todd and my first performance was at The Fine Arts Association. From there i began to learn so many new skills that i enjoy, such as skills like how to do a full turn in a wheelchair and other new skills like how to perform onstage. This past year i was in The Snowman for the 4th time. i was going to be onstage with some of the company members which meant i would have to learn how to use some of the stage props in the show, which did not work out well. i love being here because i get to learn the skills i need for dance as well as theater, music, i’m also wanting to be in commercals and movies and stuff. And now with that being said i would like
to share with you some of my favorite things of mine.

1. “Ohmigod You Guys” – Legally Blonde: The Musical – Original Cast
This is one of the songs in my favorite musical Legally blonde. which i will be in at Beavercreek Community theater next summer.

2. Legally Blonde – Positive – Broadway Performance
This is another video from the broadway version (the first one was from the same show). This song is called positive, this song rocks and i
love the dance break to it. i actually know how to do it too!

The School of Dancing Wheels: Meghan Drops

Here it is again! A blog from one of students. This time Meghan Drops is telling us about her experience with the school.

This is our second week of classes. I’m glad to be back and
seeing all my friends and teachers. I’m enjoying all my classes. I’ve been dancing since I was five years old in various studies. I joined Dancing Wheels about four years ago while, attending the Dancing Wheels Adult Summer Workshop. I enjoyed it so much I decided to join classes at the school and I have been doing it ever since. I’m a member of Junior Company and now Performance Ensemble.
We continue to improve our technique in ballet, modern, contemporary and hip-hop. Our teachers are great in helping us work on our strengths and weaknesses. I have also been able to be a volunteer assistant at the Youth Summer Workshops and the Theater Arts Workshops.
In Performance Ensemble this week, each student started to pick music and start to choreograph a dance for the ensemble to dance. It will be exciting to see everyone’s ideas for dances.

If you think your child would benefit from being part of a performance ensemble, contact our School Coordinator! We hope to see many new faces this season!

Emma Parker
School Coordinator
School@dancingwheels.org
216-432-0306

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