VON HOWARD PROJECT (VHP) is a Mid-Atlantic Contemporary Dance Company based out of New York City and Richmond, Virginia, USA. Under the Artistic Direction of Christian von Howard, the company mission is to perpetuate the creation of art that encompasses the idea that “DANCE” and all of its many layers, is not limited by style nor discipline. A company driven by choreographic diversity, VON HOWARD PROJECT delivers a repertory jam packed with sinuous athletic movement that always challenges the elements of space and time.
The VON HOWARD PROJECT is dedicated to the pursuit of artistic excellence and the availability of the Arts to everyone. VHP seeks to build enthusiastic audiences for the living arts, while promoting a wider appreciation and understanding of Contemporary Dance. Our mission supports the creative process; enriches the general public through local programs and performances, national and international tours, and continually advocates for the field of dance.
“Surfacing” is an ensemble work that explores the physical and emotional boundaries felt between mankind. Von Howard, along with his dynamic group of performing artists, delves in to the superficial layers of outward appearances. “Surfacing” is guided by a pulsating soundtrack of 21st century electronic music with lighting design by Michael Jarett. Also on the program are repertory works by US choreographers Elizabeth Gillaspy and Ellenore Scott.
Christian von Howard is the Artistic Director of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, a Mid-Atlantic contemporary dance company based out of New York and Virginia. He is an Assistant Professor of Dance & Choreography at Virginia Commonwealth University and also teaches at the Alvin Ailey School in NYC. From 1st to 7th April 2013 he will also be teaching contemporary dance in “Dance It!” 2013, Sofia.
Christian’s choreography has been produced in various venues across the globe including Germany, Japan, Bulgaria, Colombia, Chile, South Korea and in the states at Dance Theater Workshop (now New York Live Arts), Joyce SoHo, Dixon Place, DanceNow/NYC Festival, d.u.m.b.o. arts festival, the Ailey School and the Spoleto Festival (SC). His choreographic work has been commissioned by various dance companies, colleges and universities including Columbia College (SC), University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Jacksonville University, The Power Company and various others. In 2006, Christian received a Choreographic Fellowship from the NJ State Council of the Arts. In 2010, his choreographic work was selected to represent the Mid-Atlantic Region at the 2010 National Conference of the American College Dance Festival Association at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Professionally he has worked with such artists as Doug Varone, Fernando Bujones, Douglas Becker, and has performed with numerous companies including Footprints Dance Co., Fred Benjamin Dance Co., Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Co., and the Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Co. He holds a BFA from Texas Christian University and a MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.
Beth Brandt (Assistant Rehearsal Director) graduated with a BFA in Modern Dance from Texas Christian University in 2003. Since moving to NYC she has become a Gyrotonic® and Gyrokinesis® teacher as well as a Gyrotonic® Pre-Trainer. Proud to be a founding member of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, Beth looks forward to continuing her exploration of movement with her dance family.
Jasmine Domfort graduated from Long Island High School for the Arts and received her BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. Along with the VON HOWARD PROJECT, Jasmine has performed in projects at Lincoln Center, Philly Fringe Festival, and American Dance Festival. Her choreography has been featured at the Ailey Citigroup Theater and AUPAC. Jasmine was a guest artist at C.W Post this spring, and is currently a choreographer for the Long Island Dance Project.
Ryan Houston began his training with Eartha Robinson when he was inspired to pursue dance professionally. He went to Hamilton High School, where he trained under Karen Mc Donald, and was a dance major and CALARTS. Ryan received a scholarship to The Ailey School, where he trained for four years. Ryan is currently a member of the LIFE DANCE COMPANY.
Courtney Sauls began dancing early at the Mid- Atlantic Center for the performing Arts and furthered her training at the Baltimore School for the Arts. She later graduated from the Ailey School’s Certificate program. Her performance credits include Purelements dance, The Rolle Project, Classical Contemporary Ballet Theatre and VON HOWARD PROJECT. She also teaches young children up to adults at Brooklyn Dance Project and for Purelements (COAR program).Ellenore Scott is a professional dancer and choreographer based in NYC, she is most recently known for being a finalist and All-Star on the hit television series “So You Think You Can Dance?” She has also performed with Janet Jackson as well as dancing on hit shows “Smash,” “The Ellen Show,” and “Dancing with the Stars.” Ellenore’s choreography has been presented at numerous festivals in NYC. She was recently commissioned to create an evening length work, Henne, on Glow Dance Company in Norway and also choreographing recording artists CJ Tyson’s first Music Video “Una Vez”. Love to my family! www.ellenorescott.com
Iquail Shaheed, a native of Philadelphia, was introduced to dance at the age of 13 upon acceptance to the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He furthered his dance studies with Philadelphia Dance Company’s (PHILADANCO) and later became a senior member of DANCO II. Mr. Shaheed earned scholarships to attend several dance institutions, including Ailey School, Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, Paul Taylor School, and Juilliard School. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet from the University of the Arts, and a Masters of Fine Arts from SUNY Purchase. As a dancer, Mr. Shaheed has worked with companies including Ronald K Brown/Evidence, The Fred Benjamin Dance Company, and Subtle Changes. He has also appeared on Broadway in Hot Feet, The Lion King, and Purlie. He is also the Founding Artistic Director of Dance IQUAIL!
Michael Jarett (Lighting Designer/Company Manager) is pleased to continue his collaboration with the VON HOWARD PROJECT, for whom he has previously designed RE-GENERATE, TRIPTYCH, Only Connect, and Assemblage . He is the Lighting Designer/Dance Technical Director for the VCU Department of Dance and Choreography. Michael received his MFA in Theater Design from Brandeis University and his BA in Theater from the University of Richmond. As the Gilbert Hemsley Lighting Intern at Lincoln Center, he had the opportunity to work with the Lincoln Center Festival, New York City Opera, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and New York City Ballet. (www.michaeljarett.com)
Elizabeth Gillaspy (Choreographer) is a Texas-based choreographer and dance educator whose contemporary ballets have been performed in Japan, Taiwan and throughout the USA. Her choreography has premiered at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater (NY), Dance Theater Workshop (NY), Dance Gala Hiroshima, International Ballet Competition, and with Orlando Ballet (Bujones). Critics have noted her work as “skillfully structured” and “poetic”, and she is the Artistic Director of the project-based, Nymbal: new ballet for creation and performance of contemporary ballet choreography.
Christopher Ralph (Choreographer) began his dance training at Holy Trinity High School, were he was accepted into the theater/ dance program lead by Cathy Murphy. While training at school he simultaneously attend classes at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway with teachers such as Peter Schabel, Dorrit Koppel and Chio Yamada. From 2005 till 2009 Christopher attended SUNY Purchase College completing his Bachelors of Fine Arts in dance. Christopher Ralph has performed works by Lauri Stallings, Nick Ross, Yung-li Chen and Doug Varone.