Laurie Eisenhower received her BAE and MFA degrees in dance from Arizona State University where she 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. The company tours nationally and internationally and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. 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’s Michigan 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 also well known for her teaching and is a former Dance Program Director and Professor of Dance at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. At OU, she was awarded a Travis Professorship and was honored twice by the OU Board of Trustees. She also received an OU Research Fellowship, 25 faculty research grants, and 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.
As a founding member of Eisenhower Dance, Stephanie Pizzo performed for 20 years as a dancer with the Company . Now, as Co-Artistic Director, she teaches company class, rehearses and is a resident choreographer for the company. She has staged works by Laurie Eisenhower on numerous companies and universities throughout the United States and has set her own choreography at Illinois Wesleyan University and numerous works on Eisenhower Dance. Most recently, she presented her work at three international dance festivals in Poland. Stephanie Pizzo is a native of Clinton Township, Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Oakland University. In 2009, she received a Distinguished Alumni or “MaTilDa” award from the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. Currently, Ms. Pizzo is a special lecturer in dance at Oakland University. This year marks her 26th season with Eisenhower Dance.
Christa Koerner, a former math teacher with a deep passion for dance, left teaching to pursue a career in dance costuming. She studied professional tutu making at several conferences across the country and the San Francisco Ballet. She furthered her studies in costumes earning a BA in Theatre Production from Oakland University and a Master of Fine Arts from Wayne State University in Costume Design. She has designed costumes for professional theatre in the Detroit and Ann Arbor areas as well as many dance projects in metro Detroit. Currently, she is a lecturer and Costume Shop Supervisor at Oakland University, where she designs for the Theatre , Dance and Opera programs and the professional company, Take Root Dance. Every year she sends several of her tutus with students to the Youth America Grand Prix ballet competitions in Chicago, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. This is her fourth season designing and building costumes for Eisenhower Dance.
Shari Bennett has enjoyed a relationship with Eisenhower Dance where she has done everything from making stage curtains to designing and tailoring costumes. She has been employed as Assistant Costume Shop Supervisor for Oakland University’s Department of Music, Theatre and Dance for 2 1/2 years where she taught beginning sewing classes for Theatre and Dance majors and designed the costumes for The Women of Lockerbie. She has also been a professional tailor the past 36 years. Mrs. Bennett holds a BA from the University of Washington in Textile Science and Apparel Design.
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.
Joshua Paul Weckesser is a lighting designer, production manager and stage manager. He is co-founder of Bread & Roses Productions (www.breadandroses.productions), which has been providing production support to Eisenhower Dance since 2012. He works closely with LEVELdance as resident lighting designer, as well as Molly Shanahan / Mad Shak Dance Company as a lighting designer and core collaborator. In addition, he is Production Manager for the annual Dance Chicago Festival, Production Manager / Lighting Designer for the Chicago Human Rhythm Project. TimeOut Chicago said that Josh’s “name seemed to pop up in every program.” Career highlights include lighting the first ever evening-length production of American Tap at the Kennedy Center, working with Karole Armitage in the Netherlands, and touring with the Argentinian group Che Malambo.
Burke Brown's recent dance designs include lighting for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Houston Ballet, Ballet Nacional de Mexico, St. Louis Ballet and Aszure Barton & Artists. He has collaborated with many of America’s exciting new choreographers including Gina Patterson, Aszure Barton, David Gordon, Pam Tanowitz, and Jessica Lang. Mr. Brown’s recent NYC work includes work with Clubbed Thumb, Rattlestick Playwright Theater, the Incubator Arts Project, Apollo Theater, Joyce Soho, Three-Legged Dog, Here Arts Center, 52nd Street Project, Public Theater, La Mama ETC, Under The Radar Festival, Summer Play Festival, Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. His international work includes productions at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, the Golden Mask Festival in Moscow, the Seoul Performing Arts Festival in South Korea, and with Opera Erratica in Toronto. Projection Design work includes productions with Big Apple Baroque, Yale Baroque Opera Project, Diverse City Theater Co., and the Bone Orchard Collective. Mr. Brown is a member of the Wingspace Design Collective and holds an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
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.
Mark LaPierre designs lighting, sound and video. His work encompasses everything from dance to children’s theatre to concert lighting. He designs for Bodyvox, Portland Taiko, Michael W. Smith, Pink Martini, Pixie Dust Productions, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Fusion Dance, Jefferson Dance, Ten Grands Seattle, Eugene Symphony, and many others. Also a composer, he created a universe of both sonic and visual particles forming and reforming when he designed Lights, Sound/Composition and Video for the sci-fi classic Wrinkle in Time for Oregon Children’s Theatre. As a writer of musical theatre, his works have played Off-Broadway as well as many Off-Off Broadway houses. www.marklapierre.com