ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, CHOREOGRAPHER
This year marks Stephanie Pizzo's first season as Artistic Director of Eisenhower Dance. She was a founding member of the company, as well as, at various points, Resident Choreographer, Assistant Director, Associate Director and Co-Artistic Director. She has helped lead the company for the past 26 years and is now assuming the artistic helm. Pizzo’s mission is to collaborate with the highest quality national and international artists, and she plans to focus on creating strong ties within the Detroit Metro area community through the art of dance. She has set her own choreography at Illinois State University, Texas A & M University and Wesleyan University, as well as staged works by Laurie Eisenhower on numerous companies and universities throughout the United States. Most recently, she presented her work in Tel Aviv, Israel as part of Eisenhower Dance's production of The Light Show and at many international dance festivals in Poland. Stephanie Pizzo is a native of Clinton Township, Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Oakland University. In 2009, she received a Distinguished Alumni or “MaTilDa” award from the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. Currently, she is a special lecturer in dance at Oakland University and is embarking on her 27th season with Eisenhower Dance.
Founder, Former Artistic Director, Choreographer
Laurie Eisenhower received her BAE and MFA degrees in dance from Arizona State University where she also received the Wanda Turk Choreography Award and the Faculty Excellence Award. In the early years of her career, she danced professionally in both California and New York City with various dance companies and choreographers, most notably Pilobolus Dance Theatre, David Parsons, Chen and Dancers, Harry Streep III, and Mel Wong. Ms. Eisenhower began her professional choreographic career when she set a work for the Prospect Park Dance Festival in Brooklyn, NY. Since then, she has set her works on numerous professional dance companies including BalletMet Columbus, Desert Dance Theatre, State Street Ballet, Harbinger Dance Company, and the Pushkin Ballet of St. Petersburg, Russia, to name a few. In 1991, she formed Eisenhower Dance, which, with the help of committed and talented dancers, has become the premier dance company in the state of Michigan and tours internationally. Ms. Eisenhower has created over 100 dances for the Company and has received frequent grants and honors for her choreography. She has been awarded the Michigan Dance Association Choreographers Festival Award, the Women in Art Award for Choreography, Artserve Michigan’s Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Michigan Artist and the prestigious 2012 Kresge Artist Fellowship. Her work has also been supported through grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Skillman Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the National Dance Project, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Ms. Eisenhower is a former Dance Program Director and Professor of Dance at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. At OU, she was awarded a Travis Professorship, was honored twice by the OU Board of Trustees, and received the Faculty Recognition Award for her outstanding contributions in the field of dance. In 2012, she was appointed the status of Professor Emerita and, in 2016, was honored with the OU MaTilDa Award for Community Service. In the summer of 2017, she stepped down from the artistic leadership of Eisenhower Dance and turned the reigns over to long-time colleague Stephanie Pizzo. Her future plans include continuing to choreograph, as well as working with other non-profits and social service organizations in her home state of Arizona.
BS Movement is the collected, and ongoing research of collaborative/creative duo, Shaina Branfman and Bryan Strimpel. Through teaching, performance and lifestyle, the two share and probe further into their philosophy: No matter our differences we all move, so we are all the same. Shaina completed her certification as a Movement Analyst at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies. She studied religion and philosophy at the All Faiths Seminary International and is a member of The Feath3r Theory. Bryan has danced with Nicholas Leichter Dance, Brian Brooks Moving Company, David Dorfman Dance, ThirdRailProjects and is a member of The Feath3r Theory.
Joshua L. Peugh is the Founder and Artistic Director of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, Joshua moved to South Korea to join Universal Ballet Company. Since then, he has created work for festivals in Asia, Europe, and North America winning awards for his choreography in Korea, Japan, Canada, and the USA. He is the recipient of the Grand Prize at the McCallum Theatre's 18th Annual Choreography Festival. He was chosen as one of Dance Magazine's 2015 "25 to Watch," and was named “an important discovery” by The New York Times. Joshua has been commissioned to create for BODYTRAFFIC, BalletX, Ballet Memphis, Tulsa Ballet, Whim W'Him, Company E, Dallas Theater Center, METdance, and Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, among others.
Mexican born Edgar Zendejas was drawn to the United States where he received a bursary to study at the United States International University in San Diego. Edgar’s interpretive career began in Chicago where he performed with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Giordano Jazz Dance. In the early nineties, Edgar joined Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, now BJM Danse, where he found himself evolving as an artist and choreographer. After the successful premiere of Zendejas’s first work, “Breve Enlace,” Louis Robitaille, artist director of BJM, promoted Edgar to associate choreographer. Most notable works are from Jacob’s Pillow; Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, DanceWorks Chicago; Luna Negra Dance Theater, State Street Ballet, Richmond Ballet, Northwest Dance Project and Ballet de Monterrey, Mexico. Edgar Zendejas’s North American acclaim continued to grow: he won the Hubbard Street 2 National Choreographic Competition in 2010, competed as a finalist for the Milwaukee Ballet’s choreographic competition “Genesis” in 2011, and won the Outstanding Choreographer Award from Youth American Grand Prix in 2012. In January 2006, he co-founded ezdanza. As the company expands, Zendejas is able to explore new areas of choreographic collaboration and direction.
Tina Tomicic, a designer and creator of apparel and accessories for men, women and children. She has held positions such as Design Manager at Proenza Schouler in New York City and most recently Technical Designer at the Detroit based brand Z Ballerini. With over a decade of experience in the fashion industry, she brings her deep passion and knowledge of design and function to Eisenhower Dance. Tina holds a BFA in Fiber Design from the College for Creative Studies.
KERRO KNOX 3
LIGHTING DESIGNER AND TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
Kerro Knox 3 is the Theatre Program Director for Oakland University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. Over the past nineteen years, he has designed sets, costumes and lighting for many of its theatre productions, as well as Oakland Dance Theatre. His designs for Eisenhower Dance include The Land of Nod, Tom’s Songs and The Rite of Spring. He has also lit E/D's tours to New York and Poland. He is resident designer for Patterson Rhythm Pace and Take Root dance companies; the latter he recently accompanied to Korea. His work has also appeared at Meadow Brook Theatre, Syracuse Stage, the Hartford Stage, the Cleveland Play House and the Yale Repertory Theatre. Mr. Knox holds both a BA and MFA from Yale University.
THE LIGHT SHOW, LIGHTING DESIGNER
Kenneth L. Keith’s career spans 43 years and three continents. Audiences for ballet, modern dance, opera, theater, musical theater, and concerts have enjoyed his designs. Credits in lighting design for dance include George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations and Apollo, Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring, Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, Roland Petit’s Carmen, Flemming Flindt’s Red Shoes, and Miraculous Manderain, Dennis Nahat’s The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Blue Suede Shoes, Firebird, and Swan Lake, Daryl Gray’s Pirates of Penzance, Lynn Taylor-Corbett’s Diary, Ulysses Dove’s Vespers, Mary Giannoe’s Autumn, and many of the great 19th century classics.