Cleveland’s Verb Ballets Hosts Choreography Intensive with nationally recognized artists

By Jen Garlando 

For the dance art-form to sustain and renew itself, talented dancers need encouragement and training to step into the role of choreographer, yet there are few structured means to pursue that path. Verb Ballets enters into the company’s 30th Anniversary Season and will build on its mission of artistic excellence and exemplary community engagement with the Choreography Intensive Project. Funded through the generosity of the Ohio Arts Council, Verb Ballets will host nationally recognized artists Sydney Skybetter, Maurya Kerr, Rosalind Newman and Jared Bendis to teach workshops in choreography, dance and technology.

The Choreography Intensive is an initiative inspiring professional dancers to consider extending their careers through choreography. Spearheaded by Verb Ballets Director, Dr. Margaret Carlson, the project is an evolution of her Verb Ballets’ “Fresh Inventions” concept which provides company dancers the opportunity to develop works for performance. These professional development workshops are designed to further their education in the field of choreography. Verb Ballets has extended an invitation to local professional dancers to attend the workshops alongside the Verb Ballets company in order to increase Northeast Ohio’s dancers’ capacity to contribute exceptional choreographic work in the community. This exclusive event is free but limited to ensure an intimate learning environment.

Through Director Dr. Carlson and Associate Director Richard Dickinson’s extensive relationships with the national and international dance community, the following dance professionals are visiting Cleveland for the Choreography Intensive.

Sydney Skybetter
Monday, October 24, 2016 12-4pm at Verb Ballets Studio
Sydney Skybetter will be leading a workshop on expanding the definition of choreography.

Sydney Skybetter is a choreographer, technologist, and writer. His dances have been performed around the country including The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Jacob’s Pillow and The Joyce Theater. A sought-after speaker, he lectures on everything from dance history to cultural futurism. (See full bio below)

Maurya Kerr
Tuesday, January 3, 2017, 10-4pm at Verb Ballets Studio
Maurya Kerr will teach company class and a workshop about stretching the boundaries of classical ballet.

Maurya Kerr is a San Francisco-based choreographer, educator, and former dancer with Alonzo King LINES Ballet. She is founder and artistic director of tinypistol, an ODC artist-in-residence and is on faculty with the LINES Education Programs. (See full bio below)

Rosalind Newman, PhD
Thursday, January 5, 2017, 10-4pm at Verb Ballets Studio
Rosalind Newman will teach company class and a workshop about the essentials of choreography.

Internationally acclaimed choreographer Rosalind Newman has set her works on a variety of international companies and has taught widely as a guest artist worldwide. She is founding artistic director and choreographer of Dance HK/NY in Hong Kong and was senior lecturer in modern dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.  (See full bio below)

Jared Bendis
Monday, January 16, 2017, 12-4pm at Verb Ballets Studio
Jared Bendis will teach a workshop on Virtual Dance New Horizons

Jared Bendis is a specialist in photography, game design, virtual reality, interactive and new media. He received his MFA in Contemporary Dance with a focus in Performance Media. As a visual artist, he focuses on the way people see, augmenting their reality via technology and visual perception. His art practice also includes creating immersive installations that provide interactive social and sensory experiences for viewers. (See full bio below)

The Choreographic Intensive will engage the community through works-in-progress showings of the dancers’ work. This type of connectedness between audience, dance-makers and dancers represents a natural outgrowth of Verb Ballets’ mission to ignite audience passion and participation in dance.

The Choreography Intensive reflects Verb Ballets vision to be recognized as a catalyst to promote learning and encourage dialogue about the dance art-form. The project will bring Northeast Ohio’s dancers’ unique visions together in common effort to elevate the quality and diversity of professionalism in the field. These workshops offer professional choreography instruction and a training ground for the next generation of talented practitioners in Ohio. Verb Ballets is grateful to the Ohio Arts Council for making this project possible.

Choreographer Full Bios

Sydney Skybetter

Sydney Skybetter is a choreographer. His dances have been performed around the country at such venues as The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Boston Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow and The Joyce Theater. As a Founding Partner with the Edwards & Skybetter | Change Agency, he has consulted on issues of change management and technology for The National Ballet of Canada, The Jerome Robbins Foundation, The DeVos Institute / Bloomberg Philanthropies, New York University and The University of Southern California, among others. A sought-after speaker, he lectures on everything from dance history to cultural futurism, most recently at Harvard University, South by Southwest Interactive, TEDx, Saatchi and Saatchi, Dance/USA, NYU and MVR5. He is a Public Humanities Fellow and faculty member at Brown University, where he researches the problematics of human computer interfaces and mixed reality systems. He is the founder of the Conference for Research on Choreographic Interfaces (CRCI), which convenes ethnographers, anthropologists, speculative designers and performing artists to discuss the choreography of the Internet of Things. He produces shows at Joe’s Pub, SteelStacks and OBERON with DanceNOW[NYC], and is the winner of a RISCA Fellowship in Choreography from the State of Rhode Island.
For more information of Sydney Skybetter visit:

Rosalind Newman, PhD

An internationally acclaimed choreographer, Rosalind Newman has created a body of more than 70 works. Her original New York company, Rosalind Newman and Dancers, had major seasons in New York at the Joyce Theater and Dance Theater Workshop. The company toured the U.S. and Europe performing in many prestigious international festivals and venues such as Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Paris International Dance Festival, Holland Festival, in London at the Dance Umbrella and Sadler’s Wells, and the Academy of Arts in Berlin. The company received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and foundations.

Newman was founding artistic director and choreographer of Dance HK/NY in Hong Kong, which had highly successful seasons in Hong Kong and on international tours to Taiwan and the United States, including New York. Support came from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, Asian Cultural Council, and Shanghai Tang.

As a senior lecturer in modern dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, works choreographed for the Academy dance ensembles were performed in Hong Kong and toured to festivals in Korea, India, the Philippines, China, Australia, France, Czechoslovakia and the U.S. Newman has also set her works on several companies, including London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Diversions Dance in Wales. She has taught widely as guest artist and teacher at the Rotterdam Dance Academy, Dance Forum/Taipei, Guangdong Modern Dance Company/China, and London Contemporary Dance School.

Her fellowships and awards include the Guggenheim Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and Hong Kong Dance Alliance Award for Choreography. Newman was the keynote speaker on Global Dance Today at the annual American Dance Guild conference in 2004, and was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Wisconsin, School of Education, in 2006. She was course leader in the master’s graduate program in choreography at the Laban Centre in London and is presently on the faculty of the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College.

Recent commissions include a work for Dancing Wheels in Cleveland, Ohio, a company of integrated performers with wheelchair performers, and works performed in Hong Kong. Other works have been performed at the TARI ’05 and ’07 international dance festivals in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Recently, Newman was artist in residence at North Carolina School of the Art and at Western Australia Academy for the Performing Arts in Perth, Australia.

Newman received her PhD in the philosophy of contemporary dance from London Contemporary Dance School, University of Kent.
For more information on Rosalind Newman, PhD visit

Maurya Kerr

Maurya Kerr is a San Francisco-based choreographer, educator, and dancer. She is founder and artistic director of tinypistol, a project-based company since 2011.

tinypistol has been honored by a 2011 Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition Award, a 2012 CHIME grant, a University of Minnesota 2014 Cowles Visiting Artist grant, and selection to Whim W’Him’s Inaugural 2015 Choreographic Shindig.

Maurya’s work has been commissioned and presented by AXIS Dance Company, Ballet Nouveau Colorado, WestWave Dance Festival, the Black Choreographers Festival, and the San Francisco International Arts Festival, among others. She is currently an ODC artist-in-residence, under the mentorship of choreographers Katie Faulkner and KT Nelson.

As a dancer, Maurya trained and started her professional career with Pacific Northwest Ballet, and then danced with Alonzo King LINES Ballet from 1994-2006. She is on faculty with the LINES Education Programs and teaches, choreographs, and conducts residencies nationally. She was born in Minnesota and grew up in Seattle.
For more information on Maurya Kerr visit

Jared Bendis

Jared received his MFA program in Contemporary Dance at Case Western Reserve University with a focus in Performance Media, his M.A. in Art Education from the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Institute of Art joint program and his B.A. from Case Western Reserve University in Psychology with minors in Music and Art Studio.

Jared Bendis is a specialist in photography, game design, virtual reality, interactive and new media and serves as the Creative New Media Officer for Case Western Reserve University’s Kelvin Smith Library. As the Creative New Media Officer, Jared weaves together cutting-edge technologies with proven, innovative pedagogical strategies to create rich media experiences. Jared serves as a senior expert for the campus, designing digital media strategies for content creation (and use) by researching and developing New Media applications for education and digital scholarship. Jared also holds adjunct appointments in the CWRU Art Studio, Music, and SAGES departments where he teaches courses on multimedia, instructional technology, and New Media Literacy. And he is adjunct faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Art where he teaches in the Game Design program.

Jared is also an installation artist, photographer, teacher, playwright and filmmaker. As a visual artist Jared focuses on the way people see, augmenting their reality via technology and visual perception. As a photographer he prefers to view the world though a wide-angle lens and specializes in spherical panoramic and stereoscopic photography. On his first trip overseas, in March 2000, Jared visited the Chateau de Pierrefonds in France and became driven (if not obsessed) with capturing and sharing cultural and architectural experiences and has photographed over 500 architectural, archeological and cultural sites (primarily castles) in 14 countries. Jared’s art practice also includes creating immersive installations that provide interactive social and sensory experiences for viewers.

Jared has extensive experience in the Museum world digitizing collection materials from: The Cleveland Museum of Art (where he served as their Virtual Reality Specialist), The Cleveland Botanical Garden, The Western Reserve Historical Society, The Cleveland Natural History Museum, The Cleveland Zoo, The musée des beaux-arts Dijon (in coordination with the French Regional American Museum Exchange), and the Isparta Museum in Turkey.

As a practicing commercial artist, Jared is lead developer, designer, and co-owner of Lemming Labs Limited that develops interactive media applications for the iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms. His mobile applications include: “Mandalas,” “EasyDraw,” “HoopDreams,” “Carve-It,” “Egg Draw,” “Hex Doodle,” and “Mow-It” to name but a few… He is also the owner of ATBOSH Media ltd. a publishing company that specializes in traditional print media, game design, web design, and custom app development.
For more information on Jared Bendis visit

About Verb Ballets

Verb Ballets, a contemporary ballet company, presents dynamic programming through bold artistry, unique styles and technical excellence that captivates a broad audience. Under the direction of Dr. Margaret Carlson, Producing Artistic Director and Richard Dickinson, MFA, Associate Director, the company will present a season that ignites passion in the energy, beauty and athleticism of dance. Critics have hailed Verb Ballets as, “Dashes preconceptions …with keen dramatic power.” -The Plain Dealer, “(Verb) is dance magnifique.” – The Examiner, “confident and polished, Verb’s dancers shone” – Dance International Magazine. Verb Ballets cultivates dance appreciation and nurtures wellness through movement in community dance classes, school residencies, senior outreach, library programs, master classes and college course partnerships. Verb Ballets has also been named one of Five Great Tiny Troupes in America by Dance Magazine and was one of the 25 dance companies in America to watch. Additional information can be found at

Verb Ballets
3445 Warrensville Center Rd.
Shaker Heights, OH 44122

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