In Performance: 2008-09 Choreographers Project


On Friday, May 8 and Sunday, May 10 at 8:00 pm, Susan Hess Modern Dance (SHMD) will present “In Performance: 2008-09 Choreographers Project.”

For the third and final showing of the 2008-09 In Performance series, resident choreographers Meg Foley, Erin Foreman-Murray, Jumatatu Poe, and Olive Prince will present new pieces they have been crafting in the Hess Studio. The performances will spotlight each choreographer’s work, which the artists have crafted without the limitations of time, required elements, and directions from their peers, to present in a “laboratory” setting of studio performance, placing the choreographers’ principal explorations front and center in an intimate and flexible setting, where audiences can see the works up close and talk with the choreographers after the show about what they see, what they hear, what they feel, and the artists’ visions and process.

Meg Foley, a new SHMD resident, will present cookie, a piece concerned with trying to create an infinite space housed within a finite environment and with letting everything rise to the surface, all conscious and unconscious materials in the room.  The work-in-progress was developed with three separate groups (two duets and one soloist) working independently of each other. Each group has purposely been kept unaware of what the others are doing. On Friday, May 8, dancers Michele Tantoco, Alison D’Amato, Sara Yassky, Christina Zani, and Gabrielle Revlock will all perform together for the first time.

Dancer, educator, and choreographer Olive Prince, a second year resident at SHMD, will present excerpts from her latest work, OUT, which will premiere in the nEW Festival on June 4 and 6, 2009.  The work-in-progress, a dynamic dance montage, combines contemporary physicality with pedestrian realities.  The movement and choreographic research is a look into “normality” in contrast to the unspoken, unrelenting chatter of the brain.  OUT blends the lines between reality and make-believe, pedestrian and virtuosity, and OUTward appearances and inside realities.

New resident Erin Foreman-Murray holds a BFA in modern dance from Temple University’s Boyer College of Music and Dance.  Her creative work has been presented by the Field/Philadelphia, Limina Projects, the Glue Performance Series, In Flux, and Current, as well as in Fresh Juice at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Movement Research Open Performance Series.  She was an artist-in-residence at Mascher Space Cooperative, where she also served as director of PhillyDance COSMOS, a contemporary dance class series.  Foreman-Murray currently dances with Michelle Stortz/Ring Dance Theater and has appeared recently in works by Moving Research/megfoley and by Roko Kawai.

Jumatatu Poe , another new resident for 2008-9, hails originally from California.  He is an alumnus of Swarthmore College and graduate of the MFA program at Temple University.  At Swarthmore he studied Umfundalai technique and other African-inspired dance styles and created Hip-Hop/Dancehall-infused works for the student-run company Rhythm N Motion.  Poe has trained at Philadanco and in the Jacob’s Pillow and Iladelph Legends festivals.  His choreography has been featured at Swarthmore College, Temple University, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, GLUE, and the New Edge Mix festival series.  Most recently, he co-choreographed (with Tania Isaac) the revival of the musical Jamaica for the Prince Music Theater.

SHMD has a played a leading role in the Philadelphia dance community for more than 25 years by offering programs of consistent excellence and originality.  The only independent modern dance institution in the area to invest in the professional development of choreographers and dancers, the organization’s mission is to serve choreographers, dancers, performance artists, and audiences in an environment where creativity and experimentation flourish. The Choreographers Project provides rehearsal space, performance opportunities, and other benefits each year to four select local artists.

In Performance: 2008-09 Choreographers Project is Friday, May 8 and Sunday, May 10, at 8:00 pm, at the Susan Hess Modern Dance Studio, 2030 Sansom Street.  For more information, go to

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