Welcome to Tellus. I am so excited and humbled to present two exciting dance works that have been in the making since 2019. Each work tackles a different angle of the climate crisis, from psychological effects to memorializing our present climate.
In addition to viewing these works, I invite you to find a moment to explore the interactive exhibit that University of Minnesota's Outreach through Science and Art (OSA) has created. It brings the science behind these works to the fore and makes space for you to share your voice and perspective.
I hope you enjoy the show!
Founder and Artistic Director, Analog Dance Works
National Park Service
To Rachel Clark, Harper Foote, Ellis Johnston and Michelle Lindau for beginning this journey with me. Thanks to my family for always supporting me.
To Paula Vasquez Alzate, Lauren Vasilakos, and Mio Yoshizaki for their contribution to the early development of this work and to the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts for their support through the Generating Room program.
Brenna is a modern dance artist based in Minneapolis, MN. As a dancer, Brenna fuses her performance quality with elements of ballet, Butoh, and choreutics. As a choreographer, she draws inspiration from natural history and physics to create her work.
She earned her bachelor’s in dance performance at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, UK. She supplemented her degree at le Centre national de la danse Contemporaine in Angers, France where she spent two years learning intensively from world-renowned dance companies and their artists. There, Brenna earned the US equivalent of a BA in dance performance and in arts management.
Upon returning home, Brenna spent two years in the Conservation Corps, an AmeriCorps program focused on environmental restoration projects in Minnesota. It was there that Brenna saw the effects of climate change, and has since dedicated her art to bringing awareness to this crisis and investing in sustainable action.
As well as choreographing for Analog, Brenna currently dances for Threads Dance Project and Alternative Motion Project. She also is the Office Manager at the Alliance Française Mpls/St. Paul.
Zoë Koenig is a dancer and choreographer from Madison, WI. She has performed recently at DUMBO Dance Festival (Brooklyn, New York), Queerly Contemporary Festival (New York City), World Dance Alliance Global Summit (St. John’s, Newfoundland), Going Dutch Festival (Elgin, IL), Detroit Dance City Festival (Detroit, MI), and RADfest (Kalamazoo, MI). Zoë was a member of the Kanopy Dance Company II in Madison, WI from 2011–2014 before attending Beloit College where she worked with numerous choreographers, including Kate Wallich and Katy Pyle, and was awarded the 2017 Chavey Family Endowed Award in Dance for outstanding performance. In addition to Analog, she is a member of Alternative Motion Project, and has danced for Twin Cities artists Sarah Abdel Jelil, Erika Martin, and Gabriel Rodreick, among others. She has shown work in Minneapolis at Squirrel Haus Arts, Praxis Gallery, and the Off-Leash Art Box and was a 2019 Generating Room Artist at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts for the development of Cloud Cover. Outside of dance, she is a Development and Editorial Associate at Minneapolis-based publisher Coffee House Press.
Fresh from the farm, Karen Christ Aalgaard hails from Lakota, Iowa. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa with a BFA in dance. Prior to college she studied under the direction of Michelle Clegg. Karen is a teaching artist throughout the Twin Cities, a company member with Threads Dance Project and Vox Medusa, and founder of 43⁰N 94⁰W Movement Research.
Rachel Lieberman has been dancing and choreographing since first convincing her many younger siblings and cousins to comply with rehearsals for holiday routines in the living room. Growing up in and around Chicago, she trained and performed primarily with Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, and then choreographed and performed on scholarship with Kibbutz Dance Company's Dance Journey program in Ga'aton. After graduating from Macalester College in 2018, she's performed in works by Melissa Clark, Sarah Abdel-Jelil, Contempo Physical, Leila Awadallah, A Cripple’s Dance, Off-Leash Area, Peace Madimutsa, The Walker’s “Paradox of Stillness,” and is currently dancing with Black Label Movement. In addition to her performance work, Rachel is a Program Director at Cow Tipping Press—teaching and publishing creative writing by adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
Javan Mngrezzo (he/him) relocated to Minnesota in 2021 by way of Portland, OR. He graduated from Western Oregon University in three years, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Science in dance and sociology. At present, he dances with Black Label Movement and Analog Dance Works, is guesting with companies Collide Theatrical and Ballet Co.Laboratory, and has been a company dancer with Threads Dance Project and BodyVox. He has also had the privilege of performing as a guest artist for numerous companies such as Heidi Duckler Dance, Cynthia Gutierrez’s Company Movimiento, and Dar Vejon Jones Dance Ensemble [DJDE]. Javan is a certified instructor of The Ellové Technique®, has taught at dozens of Oregon studios, including at Bodyvox, Northwest Dance Project, and Shaun Keylock Studios, and also taught at local studios including Zenon, Arena Dances, and Headline Dance Center. This inaugural performance in Analog’s Tellus is one Javan is very much looking forward to!
Sophia's first performance was at age two, in her hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Instead of walking across the stage, she looked to the audience, seeing complete darkness, and jumped up to be carried by her dad the rest of the way. As she grew up, Sophia realized her fear as a toddler became the fuel to dive through the challenges of pursuing a profession in the arts, and is currently a working choreographer and performer. Her training in dance began with Živili Dance Company (OH) and then Ballet Arts Minnesota. She continues to practice and teach ballet, modern/contemporary, gaga techniques, and also is a trained vocalist. After graduating from Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, she completed her Bachelors in Dance with a Minor in Alcohol & Drug Studies from Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU). Her choreography has been commissioned for Threads Dance Project, Borealis Dance Theatre Alternative Motion Project,The Glass Theater's Production of "Spring Awakening", PiM Arts High School, & The Phipps Center for the Arts (WI). She has danced professionally with Borealis Dance Theatre, GloATL (GA), Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, and is thrilled to be now with Analog Dance Works (MN)! Most recently, she was an Assistant Teaching Artist with Suzanne Costello, her mother, for a three week residency & performance with members of Walter Reed Hospital (MD). In addition to dance, Sophia works in the Twin Cities as a Licensed Psychotherapist.
A California native, Addie graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in theater arts and dance; collaborating, choreographing, and directing new works both professionally and within the university. Since moving to the Twin Cities in 2017, they have created and performed with Loom Lab, Crash Dance Productions, and Alternative Motion Project. Addie loves bringing humor and vulnerability into dance spaces; their style and work is often theatrical, absurd, and steeped in child-like curiosity. They are beyond grateful and excited to be working with such brilliant artists and movers, and to be a part of Analog’s inaugural show!
Ruby Josephine Smith is a contemporary dance artist and choreographer originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She fell in love with modern dance at the age of 10 and began to train more intensively after leaving the US when she was 19, traveling around Europe and participating in a wide variety of workshops and festivals. Eventually, she landed in Tangier, Morocco, where she worked with contemporary dance as an emerging art form in the city. Ruby lived in Tangier for 7 years, and still maintains a professional base there. She taught regularly at several studios, performed and choreographed for local institutions, and collaborated with local and international artists to create new work. Her choreography has been sponsored by the US Embassy of Morocco, l’Institut Français, and the American Language Center Network, among others. She has also taught masterclasses at international schools in Paris, Mumbai, Chennai, and Ho Chi Minh City.
Now that she is back in the Twin Cities, Ruby has reintegrated into the local dance scene, working as a freelance artist. She teaches at Zenon Dance School and Circus Juventas, has choreographed for CollabArts Twin Cities, and is a Spring 2022 choreographer for the Threads Dance Project Tapestries Program. She has performed in pieces by Kendall Kramer and Jennifer Mack, and is now thrilled to be dancing with Analog Dance Works.
Kendall Kramer is almost 5’3, likes pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, practices quite a bit of yoga, and sometimes appreciates champagne. She is thrilled to have taken part in Analog’s creative process!!
Kendall is a dancer, choreographer, and educator who is deeply passionate about creating spaces where creativity can flourish. Kendall grew up in MN where she trained at Minnetonka Dance Theater and School, and also taught dance.
Kendall graduated magna cum laude from Southern Methodist University (Dallas, TX) in 2010 with dual degrees in Dance Performance and Spanish Language. She had the great privilege to study with Danny Buraczeski, Christopher Dolder, and Karen Kriete, among others. In Texas, she danced with organizations and individual artists such as Leslie Scates of Lower Left, Frame Dance, and Psophonia Dance Company. Kendall has received reviews for noteworthy performances in the Houston Press; and her work GLOW received the honor of Best New Dance Work of the Houston Fringe Festival in 2016. In TX, Kendall set work on Psophonia Dance Company, the Nasher Sculpture Garden, for 3D film, the Houston Comedy Dance Festival, among others. With mentorship from Psophonia, Kendall began her in-studio dance and dance-in-education career, working to stimulate creativity, improve reading skills and empower students to use critical thinking skills.
Kendall currently teaches at Zenon, The Arena, and Hothouse; and is happy to be dancing locally in Minneapolis again!
University of Minnesota’s Outreach through Science and Art Group:
Outreach through Science and Art (OSA) is a group of graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota dedicated to uncovering connections between the arts and sciences and sharing these connections with the general public. OSA has created reusable outreach materials covering a range of science topics, hosted an exhibition of student-made science-inspired art, and partnered with Northrop on the Twin Cities campus to create interactive public exhibits to accompany professional dance performances that have scientific themes. These exhibits provide scientific context for the artistic works and demonstrate how artistic media can be used to explore human interactions with scientific concepts and understanding.