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The Artists

Get to know the Eclectic Edge Ensemble company members, apprentices, and guest artists.  Over the past 13 seasons EEE has had the privilege to work with as many as 60 different dancers and movement collaborators in our community!  

Emily Magnuson - Company Apprentice

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

Emily Magnuson is a recent graduate of Minnesota State University Mankato achieving a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business Administration. Originally from Sioux Falls, SD, Emily made the move to the Twin Cities this summer.  Lately, she has been working to perform with LiRa Dance Company in South Dakota, summer 2016.  Emily teaches modern, ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, and creative movement at multiple dance studios in the Twin Cities area.  When she isn’t dancing, she loves to spend time with her friends and family.  She is extremely excited to be working with Eclectic Edge Ensemble as an Apprentice in their 2015-2016 season!

 

Timothy Herian - Guest Artist

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

Timothy Herian is a native of Port Washington, WI. After receiving a BFA in dance at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in 2013, Timothy spent a year dancing in NYC. The absolute highlight was performing at the Apollo Theater with Forces of Nature Dance Theater for the Kwanzaa Regeneration Celebration. Timothy returned to Minneapolis in the fall of 2014, and has been dancing ever since! Herian performed with Ananya Dance Theater for Rock the Ordway, at the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts with Black Label Movement, Contempo Physical Dance, and Threads Dance Project in each of the last two seasons, and has most recently danced with Matthew Janczewski's Arena Dances at the Southern Theater. Timothy had the absolute honor and privilege to work with Karla Grotting, and Zoe Sealy, under the direction of Karis Sloss and the Eclectic Edge Ensemble, on the Lost Voices in Jazz project. The Sage Award winning performance of Lost Voices in Jazz was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.  Timothy is thankful for all the opportunities that have since led to amazing friendships in the performance community.

Haley Jensen - Company Apprentice

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

Haley Jensen is a native of the Twin Cities and happy to be back home after graduating with a BFA in dance from The University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. While at UIUC, Haley had the pleasure to work with professors, Tere O’Connor, Renee Wadleigh, Cynthia Oliver, and Jennifer Monson to name a few. Haley also had the pleasure of accompanying professor/choreographer, Linda Lehovec, to Santiago, Chile to perform work internationally. Aside from pursuing her love of anything dance, she works part-time at Bierbrauer Chiropractic. Haley is excited to be a part of the EEE family and has been loving every minute of it thus far!

Jeremy Bensussan - Guest Artist

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

Jeremy Bensussan earned a BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota in 2010. Currently he is a proud member of Minnesota Dance Theatre and about to enter his sixth year with the company. Locally Jeremy has danced with Minnesota Dance Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Flying Foot Forum, Out on a Limb Dance Company, Keane Sense of Rhythm, Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Christopher Watson Dance Company, and others. New York dance credits include Dusan Tynek Dance Company and The Bang Group. Regional musical theater credits include Fiddler on the Roof (New York), 9 to 5 (Ohio), Annie Get Your Gun (Wisconsin), French Twist (Minnesota), Heaven (Minnesota), La Cage Aux Folles (Minnesota), and CATS (Rhode Island). Jeremy was the regional producer of the sell-out premiere of the new musical Golden Boys by Horace Turnbull. Jeremy was nominated for a 2014 MN Sage Award for Outstanding Performer. He is the recipient of 2015 MN Sage Award for Outstanding Performance for his participation in Karla Grotting’s Lost Voices in Jazz.

As a teacher Jeremy is a specialist in the buck and wing tap dance style and also teaches jazz tap and rhythm tap, ballet, contemporary, and jazz dance for over 14 years. With his unique knowledge of tap he teaches as a community education instructor, non-profit arts studios and academies, and as a guest teacher in competition settings. He has also coached several professional musical theater performers in the Twin Cities and New York for auditions and performances.

 

Brian J. Evans - Guest Artist

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

Brian J. Evans is a Professional Performing Human. Evans has had the privilege and pleasure of engaging in a vast array of fields. Teaching in public and private institutions, working with healthcare providers in the US and abroad, performing as singer, actor, dancer in churches, theaters, basements, outdoor stages, any space provided that encourages the arts to thrive. An artist striving for social justice, Evans places high value in process and product, having had most of his training out in the 'Arts field' of the Twin Cities, working with over 50 artistic directors on more then 200 projects from solo endeavors to collaborating as a self-employed professional performer & teaching artist. Brian J. Evans is a recipient of a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellowship, administrated by The Cowles Center and funded by The McKnight Foundation.Primarily as a principle dancer and musical director for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Evans has continued to investigate the idea that connections exist between us all and it's the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover those connections, highlight them and allow us to feel holistically human.

Karis Sloss - Artistic Director

Matt Hankerson

Artistic Director

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Karis graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Dance and Theatre Arts. She has been studying dance for over 30 years. Over the last 15 years, Sloss has choreographed for SteppingStone Theatre, Illusion Theatre, Children’s Theater, Project Success, University of MN Theatre Program, University of Eau Claire Dance Program, Envisions Academy, Breck High School, Saint Paul Academy, Zenon Scholarship Program and the Loring Playhouse. In 2002 Sloss formed, Eclectic Edge Ensemble (EEE), and for the past 12 years they have been producing work around the city including The Lab Theater, The Southern, The Ritz Theatre for 7 years, Intermedia Arts, Illusion Theatre, Kinetic Kitchen at Patrick’s Cabaret, Rhythmically Speaking at the Bedlum Theater, Hopkins Center for the Arts and 5 MN Fringe Festivals. Sloss is the Artistic and Executive director of Eclectic Edge Ensemble. She directs both their performance and outreach programs. Aside from working with EEE she is also a dance teacher the Assistant Director at Ballare Teatro Performing Arts Center. Sloss & EEE have been awarded 11 MRAC grants to create new work for Eclectic Edge Ensemble and for their Outreach Program. She is dedicated to creating and producing works of artistic excellence through the medium of jazz dance, which has its roots planted deeply in music and theater. Sloss aims to bring jazz to the forefront of the dance community once again, as well as push the boundaries of the form itself beyond its more traditional roots.

 

Heather Annis - Company Member

Matt Hankerson

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Heather Annis  graduated from the University of MN with a BFA in dance and had the privilege to perform works by Louis Falco, Linda Talcott-Lee, and Paula Mann. She has studied dance for 25 years. Heather attended the first Jazz Symposium hosted by Danny Buraczeski at SMU, in Dallas, TX, and has had the honor to study under Zoe Sealy, Karla Grotting, and Karis Sloss. She currently teaches dance at the wonderful Ballare Teatro Performing Arts Center. Heather has been dancing with EEE since 2009, and is the assistant director to the one and only Karis Sloss. She enjoys being a part of this wonderful company that is so passionate about bringing jazz to the forefront! Heather is also thankful to have such a supportive family, especially her husband Joey, and beautiful daughter Felicity!

Mackenzie Beck-Esmay - Past Company Member

Matt Hankerson

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Mackenzie Beck-Esmay graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota's BFA Dance Program.  Since graduating, Mackenzie has had the privilege of dancing with Threads Dance Project and Alternative Motion Project, as well as several side projects including a MN Opera Gala choreographed by Danielle Ricci, and national tours to Georgia with Threads, and both Kentucky and Michigan with AMP.  Mackenzie enjoys substitute teaching at local dance studios, as well as working as a program counselor in a group home with vulnerable adults.  She is honored and thrilled to be dancing with EEE for her final show before heading off to explore all NYC has to offer.

Sarah Beck-Esmay - Past Company Member

Matt Hankerson

Sarah Beck-Esmay is a summa cum laude graduate from the University of Minnesota where she earned her B.F.A in dance as well as her M.Ed. and MN teaching licenses. She has performed professionally with Eclectic Edge Ensemble, Aniccha Arts and Ananya Dance Theater, among other projects locally and internationally.  Besides performing, Sarah loves teaching and choreographing dance, color guard and musical theater at schools and studios throughout the Twin Cities.  New this year, Sarah has added teaching middle school English and Film to her endeavors and loves the challenge this vocation provides

Allison Doughty Marquesen - Company Member

Matt Hankerson

Allison Doughty Marquesen is proud to be in her 8th season with EEE! (This is baby Marquesen's stage debut!) Allison holds a MA in Holistic Health Studies from St. Kate's Univ., and a BFA in Dance from the U of MN. She danced seven seasons with St. Paul City Ballet, and was the co-artistic director for the 2012-13 season. Allison has been a dance educator for 13 years and currently teaches at MN State Univ., Mankato, as well as various studios in the Twin Cities. When not dancing, Allison focuses her energies on her holistic nutrition and health coaching practice, teaching and practicing yoga, and most importantly, relishing in time with her beloved family and friends. www.4graceshealth.com

Mallory Dykema - Company Member

Matt Hankerson

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Mallory Dykema has been a proud member of EEE since 2008! She holds a BFA in dance from the University of MN-TC. Since graduation, Mallory has been busy performing, teaching, and choreographing dance around the twin cities; although most currently, she dances through her days with three delightful kiddos!

Jenna Ely - Company Member

Eclectic Edge Ensemble

Jenna Dove graduated in 2008 from the University of Iowa with a degree in Dance and Journalism, and a minor in Communications. While at the University, Jenna performed at the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), and performed the works of such choreographers as George de la Pena, Alan Sener, Deanna Carter, and Louis Falco, several of which featured her in ballet solos and duets.

Jenna has had the opportunity to dance professionally at corporate events, parades through downtown Minneapolis, and at a Twins game. She has also performed in a corporate music video and has been in several national commercials as a dancer for the company, Big Lots.

Jenna currently teaches tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, gymnastics and musical theatre at several dance studios around the Twin Cities area, and is choreographing for local musicals and musical theatre camps. When not dancing or thinking about dance, rare indeed, Jenna loves spending time with her 3 kitties and her husband, Tyler. This is Jenna’s third year dancing with EEE and she is thrilled to be a part of it!

Susanne Grochett - Company Member

Matt Hankerson

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Susanne Grochett completed her BA in Dance from the University of MN. She has performed with the national tour of Copacabana, Joe Chvala’s Flying Foot Forum, Jeffrey Peterson, Red Dive, Edisa Weeks, Zoe Sealy and Jennifer Glaws. Susanne appreciates, more than ever, the joy which dancing inevitably offers her.

Erinn Liebhard - Guest Artist

Matt Hankerson

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Erinn Liebhard (BFA University of Minnesota, MFA University of Colorado Boulder) is a dance artist that makes opportunities for people to experience the embodiment of music, with a specialty in jazz and the American vernacular and efforts focused on teaching, performance and scholarship. An active educator, she has a wide array of experience in settings as varied as private studios, public education programs and colleges, and is currently on faculty at Winona State University and is a Teaching Artist for the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts (MN). Liebhard is the Artistic Director of Rhythmically Speaking, a jazz and rhythm-driven dance supporting and presenting organization, and her own choreography has been presented across the U.S. and Canada. She has worked with music-driven movement creatives as varied as hip-hop artist Rennie Harris and Appalachian clogging company the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers (and many in between!), and flexes her physical comedy muscles by playing “Nerdette” as a part of Saint Paul Saints Baseball’s Entertainment Team. Erinn is grateful her career allows her to inspire and organize individuals and communities through the embodiment of music.

Megan Mohr - Company Member

Matt Hankerson

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Megan Mohr graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in dance and psychology.  She has been performing with EEE since the summer of 2007.  Megan currently performs with EEE, is a Yoga Sculpt, Zumba, and dance instructor.  When she is not dancing you will find her in a hot and sweaty yoga room, walking and playing with her two beloved doggies, or with her amazing husband Bill Mohr.  She is so excited to be dancing with EEE for another year.  She would like to thank her amazing family for all their support.

Crystal Secor - Company Member

Matt Hankerson

Crystal Secor is a 2008 graduate of the University of MN where she received her BFA in dance.  While studying at the U of MN she had the opportunity to work with Guest Artists Ananya Chatterjae, Bebe Miller, Sardono Kusumo, as well as local artists Jeffery Peterson and Karen Charles of the Threads Dance Project. She has been a proud participant of the many collaborations her performance opportunities have given her including MadMunchkin Productions, teacher and mentor Karla Grotting as part of the “Lost Voices in Jazz” concert, and curated shows such as “Rhythmically Speaking” and the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Prior to her studies at the U of MN, Crystal completed a BS in Kinesiology from the University of WI, Eau Claire. While studying at UWEC she participated in the Concert Dance Company, a student organized dance group that presented original student and guest artist choreography and participated in ACDFA.  She is a current member of Eclectic Edge Ensemble and has been a member since 2009.  Dancing for Karis Sloss in EEE these past seasons has fostered her love of jazz and rhythm based choreography and a love for connections between music, movement, and the human experience.   She is also a member of AMP (Alternative Motion Project) and has been with them since the 2014-2015 performance season.  Most recently she was a part of the collaborative piece “Jolere” which toured to Illinois in the Spring of 2016.  

When she's not rehearsing she teaches tap, jazz and ballet routines at the studio where she grew up dancing as a Senior Competition Assistant. For the 2014-2015 season she joined the Lux Winterguard, an independent color guard which provides educational and performance opportunities in the art of color guard. Crystal would like to thank her husband and family for all their support!