Stephanie Clemens – Co-Founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer

Stephanie Clemens began her dance studies with Adolph Bolm in Southern California. As a child she made her stage debut with The Ruth St. Denis Concert dancers and then continued her dance studies with Maria Kedrina, Michael Panieff, Gene Marinaccio and at the San Francisco Ballet School. She attended Juilliard in the late fifties; there her teachers were Anthony Tudor, Alfredo Corvino, Lucas Hoving, José Limón and members of the Graham Company. She has performed on the West Coast with The American Concert Ballet and The Cosmopolitan Opera Company and in the Midwest as a guest with Chicago Contemporary Dance Theatre. She is the co-owner and director of The Academy of Movement and Music in Oak Park and is one of the artistic directors/performers/choreographers of MOMENTA, a Performing Arts Company that has been actively involved in the reconstruction of works by Doris Humphrey. She appeared as a soloist with MOMENTA in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., during 1989-90, performed a one-woman concert of St. Denis solos in summer, 1993, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in 1994 at the Harold Washington Library in Chicago. Since 1988 she has worked on reconstructions of works by St. Denis, Doris Humphrey and Eleanor King with Karoun Tootikian, Ernestine Stodelle, Letitia Ide and Eleanor King. She is a founding member and was executive director of the Doris Humphrey Society and is a founding member and director of the Tidmarsh Arts Foundation. She served on the board of the Oak Park Area Arts Council for more than ten years. In 2000 she received an award of recognition from the American Library Association for her efforts in producing six videos documenting the work of Doris Humphrey. In 2001, she was awarded a Ruth Page Award for Lifetime Service. 

Stephanie has served on the Dance Panel for the Illinois Arts Council and on the Awards Committee for the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance.


Larry Ippel - Co-Founder, Artistic Director and Choreographer

Larry Ippel, a native of Chicago, has a B.S. in Comprehensive Art Education from Illinois State University. He completed graduate study at the California Institute of Arts before performing with the Chicago Contemporary Dance Theatre from 1973-79 and with the Arve Connection Dance Company from 1976-83. Larry is co-founder and co-director and choreographer for MOMENTA Performing Arts Company. He performed with the American Dance Repertory Theatre in New York and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Larry received the first Orrin Kayan Memorial award for excellence in dance teaching and he is also listed in Who's Who in American Education. Larry was nominated and was a finalist for the Kohl-McCormick Early Childhood Education award and was a presenter for two years at the annual conference of the Chicago Metropolitan Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as being published in two of their national publications. In the past year, Larry has done teachers' workshops for CEDA's Headstart Program. Larry regularly conducts Creative Movement workshops in elementary schools throughout the Chicagoland area. Larry has been on the faculty of the Academy of Movement and Music since 1975. Larry has served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Dance and Music Alliance.


James C. Tenuta - Co-founder

James C. Tenuta began performing in the early seventies; using sign language and mime both in concerts for the hearing impaired and in industrial sales films and commercials with Gil Sorenson. In 1976, he created Kramdon's Delicious Marshall, a full-length theatrical performance for Nazareth Academy. That same year, he joined the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 701, out of DuPage County. He began teaching at the Academy of Movement and Music in 1977, and shortly after was elected to the Board of the National Mime Association. James was the only mime featured in the Illinois Arts Council's 1979 Showcase at the Paramount Art Center in Aurora; later that year, he created and performed his one man show A Shoe Store. By 1981, he had founded the anonymous artists, a mime group that performed in the Chicago area and at King Richard's Faire. Throughout the eighties, James was active in relocating the Academy of Movement and Music into its present home, co-founding MOMENTA and in 1982, initiating MOMENTA's commitment to Doris Humphrey and historical dance. He continued to perform with MOMENTA and also appeared as a guest soloist dancing the role of the Bartender in Ruth Page's ballet, Frankie and Johnny, with the Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre, and was a soloist at the Lyric Opera as the gorilla and serpent in Mozart's Magic Flute. In the late eighties and early nineties, he choreographed his hallmark works Oblique 3, Captives, and Pas Seule. He also performed and taught at the International Mime Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the nineties, his performances have ranged from appearing with MOMENTA in Water Study at the Ruth Page Theatre, as well as with his sister, Judy Tenuta. He created and performed The World's Worst Mime, The Human Pi–ata and A Love Slave for Judy in Las Vegas at the Sands, in Atlantic City at the Sahara Hotel and in the Chicago area at Drury Lane West. James has taught, choreographed and performed in West Palm Beach, Florida and in Volgograd, Russia. He is especially grateful to Ernestine Stodelle, who wrote " . . . Jim Tenuta, in whom I perceive a natural gift for original choreography." Critics stated "Oblique3 is reminiscent of Moses Pendleton's groundbreaking work with Pilobolus and Momix . . . a quietly beautiful body poem." 

In 2004, James retired as an active artistic director for MOMENTA.


Valery Dolgallo - Balletmaster and Choreographer


Valeri Dolgallo is a graduate of the Virginia Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia - the training school of the great Kirov Ballet (formerly the Maryinsky) which premiered many of the great classical ballets of the last century.  He later taught there and became first solist and then director of the Maly State Opera Ballet, with whom he toured internationally.  Valeri has performed many of the great classics including Albrecht and Giselle, the prince in Sleeping Beauty and Siegfried in Swan Lake.   During his eleven years at the Academy, Valeri has staged classics for both the school's recitals and for MOMENTA including the full length Sleeping Beauty, two acts of La Bayadere, Harlequinade, Les Syphides, Paquita, Giselle - Act II, Aurora's Wedding and Pas de Quatre.  He has choreographed and created two full-length original ballets for MOMENTA ~ Baba Yaga in 1996 and last year The Clever Little Horse.  Still active as a performer, Valeri has been here as Baba Yaga and Puss in Boots and with Salt Creek Ballet as Drosselmeyer in The Nutcracker and the Witch Madge in La Syphide. 


Mike Dutka - Lighting Design


Mike Dutka, Lighting Designer, has been "moonlighting" with MOMENTA for the past ten years.  During that time, he has turned on the lights for performances in Oak Park, throughout the Chicagoland area, in Dekalb and in Sao Paulo, Brazil.  In addition to lighting, he has built many of MOMENTA's sets, particularly for historical pieces by Ruth St. Denis and Doris Humphrey.  For more than a decade Mike had his own custom woodworking business – Dutka Design Studios.  Recently he closed his shop and now works as a designer, and as a project manager for Restoric – a company specializing in architectural reconstruction.

Recently, one of his Oak Park kitchen installations won first prize in a CWB's National Design Portfolio Awards Competition and a national first place for his firm’s reconstruction of a church window.  In his spare time (?!), Mike likes to create dollhouses, castles, various wooden whimsies and other aboreal fantasies. 




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