History

Incorporated in 1983 by its directors Stephanie Clemens, Larry Ippel and James Tenuta, MOMENTA grew out of a need to create opportunities for local choreographers and composers and to give young artists performing experience. In 1988, MOMENTA broadened its scope and began to acquire the rights to perform dance works by American Dance pioneer Doris Humphrey, a native of Oak Park. In addition to these internationally known works, MOMENTA has expanded its repertoire to include choreography by Humphrey's associates Ruth St. Denis, Charles Weidman and Eleanor King. In the past few seasons, MOMENTA has presented more than three dozen of these historic works; this commitment makes MOMENTA's repertoire of historic American modern dance one of the largest of any company in the United States.

Despite this concentration on the historic repertoire, MOMENTA continues to present new works by its own directors and other local Chicago choreographers. In the past few years, MOMENTA's audiences have seen new dances by Joanne Barrett, Homer Bryant, Frank Chaves, Judith Chitwood, Ron DeJesus, Randy Duncan, Keith Elliott, Ilene Evans, Anita Fillmore, Samantha Fitschen, Sarah Cullen Fuller, Laura Gallardo-Brand, Winifred Haun, Sandra Kaufmann, Jon Lehrer, Lauri Macklin, Cora D. Mitchell, James Morrow, Sarah Najera, Jason Ohlberg, Regina Sigismondi, Chuitlahuac Suarez, Tom Trimble, and Raphaelle Ziemba.

During MOMENTA's 1989-91 seasons, our dancers performed throughout New Mexico, New York State, New Jersey and at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. The company regularly performs throughout the Chicago area. From January through December 1990, we presented or performed in 50 concerts. The 1991-92 season included a restoration of Ishtar, a 1923 work by Ruth St. Denis, Charles Weidman's beautiful tribute to Doris Humphrey Brahms Waltzes, and Concertino pour Trois by the late Ruth Page. MOMENTA dancers toured in Brazil and Russia in the summer of 1993. During 1995, the Centennial Year of Humphrey's birth, MOMENTA was a focal company staging a number of her works. MOMENTA has been a featured performer at Dance Chicago for the past four years and has been featured on Channel 11’s (WTTW) ArtBeat three times.

The Tidmarsh Arts Foundation has sent MOMENTA into the local schools in Districts 90, 91, 97 and 200 during 1995-96. We have offered movement workshops and historical dance lecture/demonstrations on Doris Humphrey. These programs are funded by matching funds from the Tidmarsh Arts Foundation, local PTO's and the Oak Park Area Arts Council.

In the summer of 2003, MOMENTA toured in Austria as one of the Stars of Tomorrow for Tanzsommer International. Twelve dancers performed works by Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Martha Graham and Doris Humphrey – as well as contemporary works by Ron DeJesus and Sarah Cullen.