Lori Belilove is a highly acclaimed third-generation Duncan dancer and choreographer, and like Isadora Duncan, was born in San Francisco. After an early training in ballet, modern dance and yoga, she began her Duncan training in Athens, Greece. She was privately coached and guided by Irma Duncan in California and with Anna Duncan in New York. While studying with "The Isadorables" (coined by the press in the 1920's to describe Duncan's performing troupe), Lori trained extensively with 2nd generation Duncan dancers Mignon Garland, Julia Levien and Hortense Kooluris, among others. Ms. Belilove has also trained extensively in the modern dance technique of Doris Humphrey. She has been a private student of both Eleanor King and Ernestine Stodelle, original members of the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company. Ms. Belilove has performed extensively, both nationally and internationally, has taught at Juilliard and has conducted workshops throughout the United States, most recently Northwestern University in Evanston. She is the featured soloist in the internationally distributed documentary Isadora Duncan: Movement from the Soul, with narration by the distinguished screen and stage actress, Julie Harris. Belilove has appeared on television specials and radio programs in the United States, Europe, Brazil and West Africa. In 1992, Ms. Belilove was awarded "highly recommended" status by the Dance Panel of the United States Information Agency. In 1979, she founded the Isadora Duncan Foundation for Contemporary Dance as a non-profit center dedicated to keeping the dancing art of Isadora Duncan alive with a school, performing troupe and historical archive. As the artistic director of Lori Belilove & Company, the Company has performed to international acclaim in contemporary dance festivals. With her company, Belilove is currently choreographing Mozart's "Requiem" for a fall '98 world premiere at the new Living Arts Center.
Ernestine Stodelle was a member of the pioneer dance company of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman prior to her marriage to the internationally known theatre director-designer, the late Theodore Komisarjevsky, with whom she lived for several years in France, England and Switzerland. She has staged her own reconstructions of the early works of Doris Humphrey throughout the United States, Canada, England and Holland. Known also as a writer and dance critic, Ernestine Stodelle has authored The Dance Technique of Doris Humphrey and its Creative Potential and Deep Song, the Dance Story of Martha Graham. She directs her own dance studio in Cheshire, Connecticut, where she lived for 23 years with her husband, the late author and columnist, John Chamberlain.
Karoun Tootikian worked with Ruth St. Denis from 1945-1965. She headed the faculty and Oriental Department of Miss Ruth's school in Los Angeles and gave classes in St. Denis' dance techniques and in various forms of Oriental dance. She performed with Ruth St. Denis and Ted Shawn at Jacob's Pillow. In reconstructing many of Miss Ruth's early dances, Ms. Tootikian was also able to consult with Ann Douglas, a former Denishawn dancer. Ms. Tootikian's dance training included study with Adolph Bolm, Michio Ito, La Meri and Benjamin Zimoch and she was a member of Lester Horton's first dance company. Many master teachers visited and taught at the St. Denis School during Ms. Tootikian's years there; among them were Charles Weidman, Mary Wigman, Harold Kreutzberg, Leon Destiné and Uday Skhankar. Ms. Tootikian worked on many reconstructions directly with Miss Ruth and Ted Shawn, as well as with Robert Hawkinson, Miss Ruth's pianist and musical arranger, and Ms. Tootikian's husband. Karoun Tootikian died April, 2000.
Ilya Levinson was born in the USSR and graduated from the Moscow State conservatory as a composer. In 1988, he immigrated to the United States. In 1997, he completed his Ph.D. in Composition at the University of Chicago. His composition teachers include: Alexander Pirumov, Ralph Shapey, Shulamit Ran, John Eaton and Howard Sandroff. His works have been performed in Russia by various music groups. In the Chicago area, his works have been performed by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Contemporary Chamber Players, the CUBE Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, the New Music Ensembles of The University of Chicago and Northwestern University, the Kankakee Valley Symphony Orchestra, and the Lake Shore Symphony Orchestra, among others. In 1994, he was a winner of the Midwest Composers competition. In 1997 and 2003, he received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Music Composition. In 2002, Mr. Levinson received a CAP grant from American Music Center. He has written music for a number of documentary films including Shtetl (Frontline), Isa: The People's Diva about the life of singer Isa Kramer (Women's Media Group, Inc.). Mr. Levinson is a member of
New Tuners Musical Theatre Workshop, Chicago and has written a number of musicals and operas. His Klezmer Rhapsody is recorded by the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band on Shanachie label. Ilya Levinson is a composer-in-residence with American Music Festivals.
Jessica Lindberg (Coach, Reconstructor) earned her BFA in Dance Performance with a minor in English Literature from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas in 1998. Afterwards, she went on to New York City to pursue her dance career in the Martha Graham School, the Oona Haaranen Dance Company and teaching at CHILDANCE. A growing curiosity about Labanotation lead her to Ohio State's graduate program where she completed her MFA in Directing from Score. Reconstructing and restaging Fire Dance is the result of an idea sparked over five years ago in a dance history class in which Ms. Lindberg was a student, and after three years of research it has finally come to life. She is currently teaching dance in Dallas, Texas at booker t. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts.
Megan Slayter received her MFA in Dance with an emphasis in Lighting Design and Production from the Ohio State University and a BA in Dance from Western Michigan University. From the beginning she has been fascinated by the way lighting and movement combine into a cohesive whole in the eyes of the audience, and has diligently sought to bring a collaborative feeling to her work with choreographers. Her most recent collaboration on Fire Dance, fellow OSU alumna Jessica Lindberg's reconstruction of the 1896 dance by Lo‹e Fuller, has resulted in a DVD documentary produced by dance historian John Mueller and performances across the country. As a lighting designer, Ms. Slayter has worked with several colleges and universities in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois as well as Robert Moses' KIN, MadShak Dance Company and Stuart Pimsler Dancers. As a performer, she has worked with Bebe Miller and Victoria Uris at OSU and performed in Lar Lubavitch's Marimba while at WMU. She is currently a part-time faculty member at Western Michigan University teaching lighting design, dance history and serving as technical coordinator.
Brenna Monroe-Cook Dancer/Choreographer
Francisco Ruvalcaba Dancer
Kirby Reed Choreographer
Jon Lehrer is currently the Associate Director and seventh year company member for Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. As a choreographer, Jon has set three works on the Giordano Company, Cesura (2000), Bridge and Tunnel (2001) and Like One Hundred Men (2002) and in the fall of 2003, created The Embrace on MOMENTA. He has also set works at the University of Buffalo, East Central University and Illinois Wesleyen University. In 2002, Jon set a new work, Elements, on dancers from the Joffrey Ballet as part of Dance Chicago's first annual Choreography Project sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust and Sara Lee. Jon received his dance training at the University of Buffalo and was awarded a scholarship to study at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in the summer of 1994. He has danced with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company, John Passafiume Dancers, for Merv Griffin in Atlantic City and in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.