Northrop Dance at the University of Minnesota Presents THE WHIZ 5/8


Northrop Dance at the University of Minnesota presents Nicholas Leichter Dance with Monstah Black at Intermedia Arts, presented in collaboration with Bedlam Theatre and Intermedia Arts, May 4-8 (times vary). Featuring choreography by New York City-based Leichter and a commissioned score by infamous club performer Black with added musical selections, THE WHIZ: MONEYAPOLIS is a full-spectrum original theatrical extravaganza of song and dance inspired by the movie musical, The Wiz. Delivering a little taste of everything including funk, postmodern, cabaret, hip-hop, drag, house, and psychedelic, Nicholas Leichter Dance traverses a landscape filled with hopes, dream, fears, and home.

Nicholas Leichter is working with several local artists who feature several surprises during the performances: Shannon Blowtorch, Kenna-Camera Cottman, Mad King Thomas (with a re-imagine of their infamous polar bear dance), Jeffry Lusiak, and The Real Hauswives of Hennepin County! The legendary Cee Cee Russell will perform her tribute to Diana Ross, as will the stunning dancer and choreographer Leah Nelson. U of M student dancers Mette Towley, Jose Bueno, Elly Hollenhorst, and Bailey Anderson will perform a special section choreographed by Leichter.

One hour before each show, Bedlam's Club OZ will be open for preshow socializin' in the Intermedia Arts lobby. Come early and stay late for sparkly refreshments, special guests, and a good witch remix spun LIVE by BLOWTORCH!


Northrop Dance Presents

Nicholas Leichter Dance with Monstah Black


Presented by Northrop Dance in collaboration with Bedlam Theatre and Intermedia Arts

Performances held at Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis

Sun, May 8, 7:00 pm

Tickets: $27 through the Northrop website or the U of M Tickets and Events Office only at 612-624-2345.


Choreography and Co-Direction: Nicholas Leichter
Adapted Score and Co-Direction: Monstah Black
Lighting Design: Erik C. Bruce
Producing Director: Brian McCormick
Additional Choreography and Sound: Wendell Cooper
Costumes: Monstah Black, nldnyc, Susan Soetart
Additional Music: Missy Elliot, Jazmine Sullivan, Faith Evans, Soho, The Time
Cast: Lauren Basco, Monstah Black, Wendell Cooper, Aaron Draper, Renuka Hines, Nicholas Leichter, Dawn Robinson, Laurie Taylor, Keon Thoulouis

The W-H-I-Z
The Feeling That We Have
Can I Go On?
Lick Shots
Lions, Tigers and Bears
Soon As I Get Home
U Can't Win
Ease On Down The Road
If Only I Could Feel
Slide Some Oil
Eye of the Tiger/Mean Ol' Lion
Papi's Paradise Remix
Specimen & The Flying Monkeys
Nature Boy Live
Emerald City Dance Sequence
Is this what feeling gets?
Brand New Day/The Bird Remix

THE WHIZ was commissioned by DanceNOW [NYC] in partnership with Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, and Abrons Arts Center • Henry Street Settlement, with additional commissioning support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and supported through creative residencies at Dickinson College, Muhlenberg College, Hollins University, and Topaz Arts. The score for THE WHIZ was commissioned by the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program.

THE WHIZ was funded by New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) through the National Dance Project (NDP) with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation. Funds to underwrite the general operating support associated with this project were generously provided by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding for THE WHIZ was provided by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

All music by Monstah Black except where noted.

Selections from "The Wiz: Original Soundtrack" (1978 Film)

(I'm A) Mean Ole Lion by Charlie Smalls

Emerald City Dance Sequence by Quincy Jones

Brand New Day by Luther Vandross

All titles property of Motown Productions/MCA Records/NBC Universal. Used by permission.

Lick Shots by Missy Elliot, 2001 Elektra/EEG

Soon As I Get Home by Faith Evans, 1995, Bad Boy Records

Jungle Love & The Bird by The Time, 1984, Warner Brothers

Eye of the Tiger by Survivor, 1982, Scotti Brothers

Hot Music by Soho, 1990

If You Believe by Charlie Smalls, Live on Broadway: Lena Horne The Lady and her Music, 1995, Qwest

Founded in 1996, New York City based Nicholas Leichter Dance has performed in over 50 cities in 17 states and 12 countries at venues including The Joyce Theater; the BAM Howard Gilman Opera House with the Brooklyn Philharmonic; The John C. Wright Theater at CSU Fresno; The Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach Community College, FL; The Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA; Modlin Center for the Performing Arts at University of Richmond; Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston; Central Park Summerstage; Zoellner Arts Center in Bethlehem, PA; Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University; Diana Wortham Theater in Asheville, NC; the Fabuleus International Theater Festival in Leuven, Belgium; Kaohsiung Jazz Dance Congress in Taiwan; Freedance in Ukraine; Time to Dance in Riga, Latvia; and the Dialogue de Corps Festival in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In recognition of his unique approach to contemporary dance, Leichter has received support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Joyce Theater Foundation, New York City, with major support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, National Performance Network, New York Foundation for the Arts, Jerome Foundation, The Greenwall Foundation, The Albert and Esther Cory Foundation, The 92nd Street Y New Works in Dance Fund, the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program, New York State Council on the Arts, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) through the National Dance Project (NDP) with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

NICHOLAS LEICHTER (Choreographer/Artistic Director) has taught throughout the United States and at festivals in Africa, Asia, Canada, and Eastern and Western Europe, and he has been on faculty at Tisch School of the Arts and the American Dance Festival in Durham, New York, Russia, Korea, and Shanghai. Leichter has created over 25 works for his own company, including Carmina Burana and Rite of Spring commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Sweetwash with Eisa Davis for The Duncan Theatre at Palm Beach Community College. Recent commissions include Connecticut College, Wayne State University, The Barnard Project, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and je danse donc je suis in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Leichter has been artist-in-residence and guest artist at many institutions including CSU Summer Arts, Sarah Lawrence College, Hollins University, George Washington University, University of Houston, Muhlenberg College, and Idaho State University. Leichter received the 2006 Mariam McGlone Emerging Choreographer Award from Wesleyan University. In 2008, he received a Choreographer Fellowship from NYFA and a National Performance Network/Network of Cultural Centers of Color Artist-of-Color Residency Award at Sacramento State. He received the 2009 Copperfoot Award for Choreography from Wayne State University. Leichter is on the artist board of Dance Theater Workshop.

LAUREN CLAIRE BASCO (Dancer) is originally from West Palm Beach, Florida where she began her dance training with Peggy Brown and Ballet Florida. She holds a B.F.A. in dance from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Basco enjoys performing with various NYU alum and friends and has made several guest appearances with Dance Anonymous. She would like to thank her parents for their love and support always. Basco joined NLD in 2003.

MONSTAH BLACK (Composer, Performer) is a self-shaped Messiah of the Funk, bringing his Virginia roots and worldly explorations to bear on everything from class-consciousness to gender politics. His wildly multidimensional, multi-genre works employ musical compositions, choreography, and theater in seamless harmony. Black has garnered support and received awards from a variety of progressive arts organizations over the years, including Blackout Arts Collective, The Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, The District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Career Transitions for Dancers, Topaz Arts Center, The Field, and Dance Theater Workshop. Most recently, Black has been commissioned to compose soundtracks for Jane Franklin Dance in Washington D.C., Rowan University Dance Company in New Jersey under the direction of Paul Turner, and Muse Dance directed by Christopher Morgan, while in residence with the company in Ireland. Channeling legacies as diverse as Prince, Sylvester, and Fela Kuti, merging the forms of new-funk, modern movement, and visual design to form his own genre of art-pop, Black is a 21st century renaissance man and a force to be reckoned with.

ERIK C. BRUCE (Lighting Design) has been collaborating with NLD since 1998.

WENDELL COOPER is an artist and energy-bodywork practitioner currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Originally from Pittsburgh, he is a graduate of the George Washington University where he focused on the synthesis of contemporary dance, urban dance, new media, and religious studies. Cooper was recently in residence at the GoDown Center in Nairobi, Kenya, as a Cultural Envoy with the Maida Withers Dance Construction Company. He has taught urban dance workshops at Northeast Normal University (Chang Chun, China), American Dance Festival (NC), and at the Isadora Festival (Krasnoyarsk, Russia). Cooper joined NLD in 2006.

AARON DRAPER grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. While completing a BA in Spanish at University of California at Davis he danced with Bonnie Simoa and Nexus Modern Dance Collective. Draper received an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Draper danced for two years with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company in Salt Lake City, and moved to New York in the fall of 2000. Since arriving, Draper has performed with Randy James Dance works, Rhombus Dance, and Hilary Easton, as well as in his own works. Draper joined the company in 2001.

RENUKA HINES hails from Atlanta, Georgia. She graduated from Columbia University in 2008 where she received the Louis Sudler Prize for the Arts and was also a finalist for the ACDFA/Dance Magazine award for Best Performer. Hines joined David Dorfman Dance in 2008 and has worked on projects with Tze Chun, Colleen Thomas, and Bill T. Jones. In addition to dancing and performing, Hines is happy to be teaching young dance students at schools and studios around NYC. Hines is constantly humbled by the incredible support of her family and friends and would like to thank them for believing in her as much as they do.

Dawn Robinson is originally from Dallas, Texas where she studied at the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. She holds a BFA from the University of Utah in Modern Dance. In 1996 she moved to San Francisco and had the pleasure of performing with Della Davidson Dance, Dance Repertory San Francisco, Liss Fain Dance, Company Chaddick, and the hip hop dance company SoulForce. Since moving to New York in 2003, she has performed with Nia Love's Blacksmith's Daughter. Robinson joined NLD in 2005.

LAURIE M. Taylor is a dancer/choreographer based in New York City. She has performed in a variety of repertory and choreographic projects by master artists such as Milton Myers of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Helen Jones of the Toronto Dance Theater, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women. She holds a B.A. in journalism from Howard University and a Certificate of Dance Training and Development from the Ballet Creole School of Performing Arts in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She also performs with The Walk/Francine Ott, Shani Collins/Eternal Works, and Darin Atwater's "Soulful Symphony." She is thrilled to be working with NLD.

KEON CLAUDE THOULOUIS, born and raised in Brooklyn, began his dance training as a part of a small neighborhood dance ensemble called "Honey Plus One", where the girls were the honey and Thoulouis was the plus one, under the direction of Velda Honeywell. He attended the La Guardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts, The Ailey School, and The Juilliard School. Thoulouis has also worked with well known teachers and choreographers such as Aubrey Lynch, Brian Thomas, Bridget Moore, Camille A. Brown, Denise Jefferson, Earl Mosley, Jermaine Brown, Kevin Wynn, Linda Kent, Mathew Rushing, Ronald K. Brown, and Sylvia Waters, among others. He also had the opportunity of performing with recording artist Tamia and was in the televised Michael Jackson 30th anniversary special and danced with the King of Pop himself. He performed around the world for several years as a member of Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, which he left in 2008. Thoulouis joined NLD in 2010. Last but not least, Thoulouis would like to thank his mom Janet Cynthia Thoulouis and his entire family for being such a strong support in this life of dance.

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