In collaboration with ISD #191 Community Education and Burnsville Youth Collaborative, Youth Dance Ensemble has sponsored the MODERN DANCE PROJECT since 2015. Participants, in grades 6-8 from Eagle Ridge, Metcalf and Nicollet Junior High Schools, attend the eight-week program featuring teaching artists from the Twin Cities. This year's teaching artists were Haley Jensen and Darrius Strong. The Community Concert on March 11th, 2019, brought together dancers from Modern Dance Project, Youth Dance Ensemble, 7 Movements Dance, and Deuxmensions Dance for an incredible show. See you next year! Stay tuned for next year's Project, and in the meantime, check out @moderndanceproject on Instagram!
DARRIUS STRONG, TEACHING ARTIST Darrius Strong is a 2015 graduate of the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities campus). He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance. Strong is currently a Twin Cities based choreographer, dancer, and educator whose creative work has been chosen for the Walker Arts Center Choreographers Evening, Rhythmically Speaking, The American College Dance Festival, and was featured in the New Griots Festival at the Phoenix Theater, Minneapolis. Strong has created works for Threads Dance Project, Flying Foot Forum, Alternative Motion Projects, St. Olaf College, Macalester College, Hamline University, St. Paul Conservatory Performing Arts, and many more high schools in Minnesota. He also shared a few evenings of work titled Ipseity, Access Granted, and more recently was commissioned to create a 35-minute work for the 2017 Momentum New Works Dance series. In 2016 Strong was featured in an NYC Time Square Bill Board for American Standards. Strong also served as a 2016 Sage Award panelist and for the Metropolitan Regional Arts in 2017. Strong developed his own dance company STRONGmovement in 2015. He is also on faculty at St. Paul Conservatory Performing Arts High School, TU Dance Center, and Eleve Performing Arts Center where he focuses on teaching young dancers how to connect their identity to movement. Strong is also a company member of Black Label Movement Dance Company.
HALEY JENSEN, TEACHING ARTIST Haley Jensen is a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer based in the Twin Cities. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign in 2015. While at UIUC she had the pleasure of working with professors, Tere O’Connor, Renee Wadleigh, Cynthia Oliver, and Jennifer Monson. Ms. Jensen was selected as the only undergraduate dancer in the program to accompany professor/choreographer, Linda Lehovec, to Santiago, Chile to perform work internationally. Ms. Jensen instructs Modern and Jazz classes throughout the Twin Cities where she is most known for her work with dancers ages 12-18. In 2016, Ms. Jensen held the position of Project Liaison with the MODERN DANCE PROJECT. In this position, she was responsible for overall coordination of choreography retention, rehearsals, and production of the Community Concert. In 2018, based on requests from returning MODERN DANCE PROJECT participants, Ms Jensen was selected as a Teaching Artist where she instructed modern dance technique and choreographed SOUND BEING for the Community Concert. Additional works by Ms. Jensen have been seen at Apple Valley High School, Youth Dance Ensemble, The Southern Theater and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (University of Illinois). Ms. Jensen is currently a member of Eclectic Edge Ensemble and most recently performed All Together Now for Rhythmically Speaking with Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner.
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
The mission of the Youth Dance Ensemble is to enrich the residents of the Twin Cities and surrounding area by providing an environment of dance training and performance with emphasis on artistic, technical, and creative content all presented in a fun and energetic setting. The school of Youth Dance Ensemble will offer preprofessional training for the serious student as well as classes for the avocational and young dancer. The Repertoire Ensemble, a company of young artists, will inspire the general public to better understand and appreciate dance in its many forms, to preserve and promote the art of ballet and related cultural traditions.