Choreographic Lab Showcase
FRI, NOV 5 | 7:00PM
SAT, NOV 6 | 5:00PM
Runtime: 1 hour
This performance presents the culmination of COCA alumnus Mason Cummings’ Choreographic Lab experience at COCA. Under the guidance of Co-Artistic Directors of Dance Kirven Douthit-Boyd and Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Cummings has worked with COCA’s Ballet Eclectica and COCAdance to present a showcase of his choreography and share his experience of his 6-week journey at COCA.
About the Creative Team
Mason Cummings (Choreographer)
Mason Cummings is an interdisciplinary choreographer, dancer, and writer. Mason has studied at COCA, The Ailey School, and Professional Performing Arts High School. He graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a major in dance and minor in pre-law. Mason has trained in various dance forms, including neoclassical ballet, modern-based Horton, and improvisation. He has performed the works of Shamel Pitts, Jennifer Archibald, Chuck Wilt/UNA Productions, and Patricia Hoffbauer. Mason’s choreography has been presented at the Jack Crystal Theater in New York City and Spoke the Hub’s Solo Fancy.
Sam Gaitsch (Choreographer & COCAdance Rehearsal Assistant)
Sam Gaitsch is a St. Louis-based choreographer, educator, and performing artist. She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018, where she also earned her Bachelor of Arts in both Psychology and Dance, with a minor in Visual Art, in 2015. Bridging the gap between professional concert dance and theatre, her choreography often uses humor as a tool for social commentary. Her work embraces embodied emotionality to foster empathy in her audiences. Sam is thrilled to be a Rehearsal Assistant and member of the dance faculty at COCA. Sam also serves as Adjunct Faculty at Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University. She choreographed St. Louis University’s Godspell and Stray Dog Theatre’s Evil Dead the Musical as well as produced a new work for the Big Muddy Dance Company’s concert Home Grown. Her choreography for Stray Dog Theatre’s production of Spring Awakening was nominated for the “Outstanding Choreography” Award by the Theatre Circle in 2018.
Ashley Hamann (Choreographer and Ballet Eclectica Second Company Rehearsal Assistant)
Ashley Hamann began her dance training with the Orlando Ballet School under the direction of Fernando Bujones and Peter Stark. Her training continued at the Hair Conservatory and Boston Ballet School. Ashley has performed with the Orlando Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Quad Cities, Missouri Ballet Theatre, and Ballet314. She has performed works by Geroge Balanchine, Lauri Stallings, Deanna Carter, Terrence. S. Orr, and Fernando Bujones, among others. Ashley has been a ballet faculty member at COCA for the last six seasons and is currently a Ballet Eclectica Second Company Rehearsal Assistant. In addition, she currently teaches the professional company dancers of the Big Muddy Dance Company and Ballet314. Ashley earned a B.S in Health Education and is certified to teach the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and the Progressing Ballet Technique Conditioning program. She also is a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
About the Choreographic Lab Mentors
Claudia Schreier is the Artistic Director of Claudia Schreier & Company. She has choreographed, directed, and produced for dance, opera, and film across the U.S. and internationally. Her choreographic works have been commissioned by companies and organizations, including Miami City Ballet, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Guggenheim Works & Process, Vail Dance Festival, American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Juilliard Opera, New York Choreographic Institute, New York Choral Society, and Joffrey Winning Works.
Claudia is the recipient of the 2018 Princess Grace Award for Choreography, the 2018 NEFA National Dance Project Award, the 2018 Dance/NYC Dance Advancement Fund supported by the Ford Foundation, the 2017 Lotos Foundation Prize for Dance, the 2008 Suzanne Farrell Dance Prize in recognition for Outstanding Artistry in the Field of Dance, and winner of the 2014 Breaking Glass Project choreographic competition. She received the 2017 Virginia B. Toulmin Fellowship for Women Choreographers at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU.
Gemma Bond trained with Sylvia Bebbs and at The Royal Ballet School. Gemma joined The Royal Ballet in 2000 and was promoted to first artist in 2003. She joined American Ballet Theatre as a member of the corps de ballet in January 2008. Since 2010, she has created three new ballets for ABT’s Choreographic Institute, as well as works for ABT Studio Company, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Sun Valley, Intermezzo Ballet Company, New York Theater Ballet, and The Hartt School. Her choreography has been performed at the prestigious Erik Bruhn Competition, the Youth America Grand Prix Gala, the 92nd Street Y, The Joyce, and Jacob’s Pillow. Bond was a 2017–2018 New York City Center Choreography Fellow, the recipient of a 2017 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship and the winner of a 2018 Clive Barnes Award for Dance.
Jamar Roberts Resident Choreographer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He first joined the Company in 2002. Jamar is a graduate of the New World School of the Arts. He trained at the Dance Empire of Miami, where he continues to teach, and The Ailey School’s Fellowship Program. Mr. Roberts was a member of Ailey II and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Dance Magazine featured him as one of “25 to Watch” in 2007 and on the cover in 2013. In 2016, he was a guest with London’s Royal Ballet and won Outstanding Performer at the New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards. He made his Ailey II choreographic debut with Gêmeos, set to the music of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti. Jamar has been commissioned to make virtual works for New York City Ballet, The March on Washington Film Festival, and Works and Process at the Guggenheim where he created the short dance on film piece entitled Cooped.
2021 Guggenheim Fellow Tommie-Waheed Evans is a queer black dance maker. His work explores blackness, spirituality, queerness, and liberation. He began his formal training with Karen McDonald before receiving a fellowship at the Ailey School, and a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University. He has toured and performed nationally and internationally as a company member of Lula Washington Dance Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Philadanco. Since 2004, he has created more than 50 original dance works that range widely in scope, length, tone, and subject matter. waheedworks, his Philadelphia-based dance company, is the primary vehicle for his creative research. He has created works for BalletX, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, PHILADANCO, Verb Ballets, Ballet Memphis, The University of the Arts, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, Louisville Ballet, among others. He has received accolades and honors including 2020 Center of Ballet and Arts resident fellow, 2019 Princess Grace Honoraria Award in Choreography, New Music Project Grant, Howard Gilman Foundation Fellowship, Joffrey Ballet Winning Works 2019, and Ballet Memphis New American Dance Residency 2019.