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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.


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, 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

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


From the Teachers perspective

Here is a word from one our newest teachers, Jessica Kostoff, about her experience thus far with teaching students of various abilities in one of our Outreach Programs!

This month, I started teaching the class at Beachwood Adult Activities Center. The class has 8 participants in it and are all new to the Dancing Wheels program. We have had two successful classes so far. The participants worked on gaining flexibility and strength as well as working on social interactions and building a community in the classroom. The participants also worked on interacting with each other through a ball passing activity and learned some movement fundamentals by going across the floor and learning a dance to the song Firework. This was a fun final summer activity for the participants. We used colorful scarves that they threw up in the air like fireworks at the end of the dance.

There was growth in the participants in just one week. The first week they did not know what to expect and needed motivation to move. The second week they were showing me what they remembered and participated throughout the entire class. I am looking forward to the next classes and including some fall and Halloween activities with them. We are all having fun and the participants are getting to work with others. Not only are they learning dance and movement elements from me, but I am learning from them too. It has been a great experience so far and I love this class!!!!

Jessica Kostoff

We’d like to thank Jessica for being a great new addition to the team!


So you may have already learned about our Trainee program from a previous blog. We also offer Apprenticeship’s for dancers with performance experience and potential to be in the company. An Apprentice takes company classes as well as learns all the repertoire for performances. They also will have opportunities to perform with the company! This season Kelly Clymer has joined us as an Apprentice! We’d like to share a little about her and her previous dance experience.

Kelly Clymer is a newcomer to Dancing Wheels, and hails from Independence, Ohio. She recently graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercyhurst University with a degree in Dance Choreography and Art Therapy. Her performance credits include Les Patineurs, Les Sylphides, Sleeping Beauty, and Symphonie Italienne, along with original works of faculty and student choreographers. She has studied with noted professionals Carter Alexander, Melissa Bowman, Thom Clower, Vivi Flindt, Bruce Marks, Rasta Thomas, Trey McIntyre, and Diego Salterini. She has performed with Southwest Youth Ballet Company and The Mercyhurst Dancers under directors Kerry Skuderin, and Tauna Hunter respectively.


A quote from Kelly:

I’ve been a fan of Dancing Wheels since I saw them perform at the NorthEast Ohio Dance Festival years ago! I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to join them this season. Learning the repertoire, along with new pieces, has been great so far!



Wish her luck as she embarks on this new experience with the company!


Today we’d like to tell you about our Trainee program. A trainee is someone that is given the opportunity to be apart of all of the company classes and rehearsals, as well as learning pieces from the repertoire.

This season, Ja’Vaughn White has joined us as a Trainee.

Ja’Vaughn White is a newcomer to The Dancing Wheels Company & School. He was born in Detroit, MI and raised in Adrian, MI. In June 2012, he graduated from Adrian High School, where he was involved in The Dance Team, Concert Choir, Balladiers Show-choir, Tones Acapella Group and several high school musicals. He has performed in several plays at The Croswell Opera House including Fame, Footloose and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. For the past 4 years he has lead The Annual Thriller dance around the city each Halloween night. Ja’Vaughn studied dance at Encore Dance Studio, studying Ballet, Tap, Lyrical, Jazz and Hip-Hop. He is also a Second Degree Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do. He has moved to Cleveland to begin his professional career with The Dancing Wheels Company & School and is excited to be able to do what he truly loves, dance.

Ja’Vaughn we love having you in the studio. Your energy and passion is inspiring!

In Studio

Today we’d like to share a bit about what goes on in the studio. Wednesday is a unique day because we start off our class at 9:30am instead of 10. We have a guest teacher, (Bill Wade) who comes in and teaches a Hawkins technique class. This is exciting for us because its something different from our usual classes and we get to share our space with Bill’s company and trainees!

At the beginning of this season, we welcomed a new dancer to the company (Shannon Sterne), as well as an apprentice (Kelly Clymer) and a trainee (Ja’Vaughn White). Since we are a repertoire company, there are many pieces that the new comers must begin learning in order to prepare for tours and upcoming performances. This week we’ve been focusing our attention on getting the dancers into such pieces as, Walking on Clouds, Far East of the Blues, Anomalies and many more. Can you imagine learning six different dances at the same time? Shannon, Kelly and Ja’Vaughn are doing it wonderfully!

This doesn’t happen everyday but Mary (Founder/Artist Director), bought presents, cards, pizza and cake to celebrate September birthdays!

Help us wish, Samantha Fox, Isaah Henderson and Sean Gilbert, the happiest of birthdays!!!

School of Dancing Wheels 2012/2013 Opening Day!

Saturday September 15th the studios of Dancing Wheels were buzzing with new and familiar faces during our 1st day of classes.  Waking up earlier than ever before, students started the day off with a new contemporary class with Emma where they focused on strength, flexibility, and contemporary partnering.  With help from parent volunteers, the rest of the students began registration and dispersing to their classes, with incredible enthusiasm.  Our Level I; Ballet had two new students (sisters) that have no prior dance experience.  We are proud to have them join our family, as they did an amazing job picking up our integrated technique.  We want to encourage more families to bring siblings to take class together.  It helps socialization as well as partnership as they can practice together outside of the studios.  As more new faces arrived, we welcomed the growth and potential that we can see in our 2012/2013 seasons.  Our School of Dancing Wheels Performance Ensemble already has three performances lined up for this year.  The students will work together under the supervision of the School Coordinator to create pieces that will travel to venues around the Cleveland area.  These students will also partner with the Young Audiences ArtWorks dancers to collaborate through social media, technology, and distant learning to create a piece to share for performances. 

Registration for classes is ongoing throughout the year, so we invite you to come and try out a class and see what fits you or your child’s needs best.  We can even custom create a private class for your family! 
Be on the look out each Saturday for a blog from one of our students.  This week is a member of the SDWPE (School of Dancing Wheels Performance Ensemble) Elise Lemanski.  
For more information please contact:
Emma Parker
School Coordinator
office 216-432-0306