School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Michigan Dance Festival returns to OU campus on Oct. 12

icon of a calendarOctober 2, 2019

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Michigan Dance Festival returns to OU campus on Oct. 12
Michigan Dance Festival
Oakland University and the Michigan Dance Council will co-host the Michigan Dance Festival on Oct. 12 in Varner Hall on the OU campus.

On Saturday, Oct. 12, Oakland University and the Michigan Dance Council (MDC) will co-host the Michigan Dance Festival in Varner Hall on the OU campus.

“We are excited to be hosting the Michigan Dance Festival again this year,” said Elizabeth Kattner, an associate professor of dance at OU. “Artists, educators and dance students from all over the state will be here to learn, exchange ideas and collaborate on how we can continue to advance the art of dance in our state.”

Ali Woerner
Ali Woerner

This year’s festival features two free community classes — Afro-Jazz with Karen Prall, a lecturer of dance at Wayne State University, and Dance for Parkinson’s with Ali Woerner, an associate professor of dance at Oakland University and co-director/co-founder of the professional modern dance company, Take Root, one of two professional resident companies at OU.

The day-long festival also features summer intensive scholarship auditions and special dance workshops for middle school, high school and college students, including:

• Contemporary (high school/college level) with Megan Bascom, a choreographer, performer and dance educator. Bascom’s work is highly collaborative and relationship driven, involving memory, intimate interaction, and a commitment to physically engage in the action of human expression. With her NYC-based company, Megan Bascom’s Dancers, works have been produced at Triskelion Arts, Gowanus Arts + Production, Center for Performance Research, Dixon Place, Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, and Dance New Amsterdam

• Detroit Jit (middle school) with Haleem “Stringz” Rasul, a Detroit-based dance performing artist, choreographer, and artist educator, proficient in the Detroit cultural dance form known as Jit. Rasul was awarded the Kresge Artist Fellowship in 2010 and was a recipient of the Knights Arts Challenge grant in 2013. He directed and produced the documentary, The Jitterbugs: Pioneers of the Jit, which was the first documentary to detail the origins of the Jit dance form.

• Ballet (high school/college level) with Sergey Rayevskiy, who received his early training as a full-time scholarship recipient at the Vaganova Academy in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Rayevskiy graduated with honors from the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C., and went on to dance professional neo-classical and classical solo and principle roles with Mariinsky Theatre’s North America Tour, Sarasota Ballet and Tulsa Ballet.

• Contemporary (middle school) with Kellie Lopiccola, a graduate of Oakland University and the owner and director of Juliart Dance Studio in Troy, Mich. Lopiccola is passionate about enriching young dancer’s lives through their love of the art form.  Her classes are a synthesis of technique, strength, and creativity.

“Dance continues to grow and this annual event brings together the most diverse group of dance artists in Michigan,” Kattner said.

The festival will culminate with the Showcase Gala Concert. This year’s concert features the works of the selected finalists in the Maggie Allesee Choreography Award Competition: Cailin Ferguson, Lena Granger, Bipasha Guptaroy, Jennifer Hawkins, Hayley Midea, Seyong Kim, Maddy Petz and Emily Song.

“It is a very exciting event where we get to see the young talent emerging in the art of dance,” Kattner said. “The Gala Concert is open to the public and is a wonderful opportunity for the local community to see some of the best work from around the state.”

More information about the festival, including the registration link, is available on the Michigan Dance Council website at

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