News & Announcements

GroundWorks DanceTheater’s Fall Series Celebrates 20 Years of Creative Collaboration


Cleveland State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance will open its 2018-2019 season at Playhouse Square’s Allen Theatre on October 26 and 27 with two performances by its professional dance company in residence, GroundWorks DanceTheater.

Dance students at CSU have the unique opportunity to directly learn from and take workshops presented by GroundWorks throughout the academic year, making this partnership a valuable crossover for students to work directly with professionals in their field.

GroundWorks DanceTheater celebrates new beginnings during its 20th anniversary season and marks the company’s next chapter with its Fall 2018 Dance Series. The upcoming season features dynamic new talent, the revivals of two critically-acclaimed works, as well as a world premiere by Founding Artistic Director David Shimotakahara, who will debut his 43rd new work for the company.

“GroundWorks is thrilled to celebrate our 20th anniversary milestone,” Shimotakahara says. “Throughout the season we look forward to introducing our audiences to an exceptional group of new artists. They truly reflect a fresh, new energy and inspire the next chapter of the company’s continuing adventure.”

Joining GroundWorks artists Alexis Britford, Annie Morgan, Tyler Ring and Robert Rubama is newest company member Nicole Hennington, an Arizona native and graduate of the University of Arizona School of Dance, where she won the Gertrude Shurr Award, given to acknowledge passionate artistry and excellence in modern dance.

GroundWorks’ 2018 Fall Series features the world premiere of a dynamic new project created in partnership with the Akron Art Museum and funded by a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge award. The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching communities through the arts. Shimotakahara was given permission to work in response to an important piece from the museum’s permanent collection, the magnificent Dzesi II by internationally-renowned artist El Anatsui. Initially part of the Akron Art Museum’s 2012 exhibition, “Gravity and Grace,” Dzesi II has become one of the most popular works in its collection.

“The celebrated work of El Anatsui strikes a rare combination of stunning beauty, fascinating communal process and deep metaphorical and poetic meaning,” curator Ellen Rudolph writes. “A global artist, Anatsui draws on artistic and aesthetic traditions from his birth country of Ghana, his home in Nsukka, Nigeria, and various Western art forms. Anatsui’s work is about transformation. Using found materials such as printing plates, condensed milk tins and aluminum liquor bottle caps allows the artist full freedom to improvise and invent. Anatsui is also captivated by the history of use that such materials retain.”

In addition to bringing this premiere to the Allen Theatre, GroundWorks performances will also feature the reprise of two audience favorites from GroundWorks’ extensive repertory, LUNA and Hindsight.

Hindsight, Guest Artist Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s homage to Chrissie Hynde and first staged by GroundWorks in 2011, explores the sounds and rhythms of legendary English-American rock band The Pretenders.

LUNA, choreographed by Shimotakahara in 2012, explores the nature of desire and its deeply held and often conflicting motivations.

“These polarities developed into a series of physical relationships that reveal many facets in a cycle of experience,” Shimotakahara says of LUNA. “That cycle is like the moon, as unknown and primal as it is familiar.”

GroundWorks Allen Theatre Performances will take place on the following dates and times:

Friday, October 26 at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring an audience talk back with Shimotakahara and GroundWorks company artists immediately following the performance.

Saturday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m.
Featuring an audience reception celebrating GroundWorks’ 20th anniversary in the Allen Theatre lobby following the performance.

Ticket information can be found at or by calling 216.751.0088.