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UNDERGROUND: AN AMERICAN STORY
In 2008, Storling Dance Theater premiered Underground in Kansas City at the Lyric Theater. The production was an instant success, being chosen as one of the Top 15 of the Year and eventually as one of the Top 10 Performances in Kansas City for the Decade (2000-2009). In 2012, it was presented as part of the inaugural year of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.
Drawing on accounts of those who lived during the transatlantic slave trade, this is a story of a community coming together to unshackle a nation. Don't miss out on this profound experience to reach deep into our culture's history to not only face one of our country's darkest times, but also to meet some of the most admirable people in our heritage. The lives of those lost, those who resisted, and those who fought back live on for us to honor and motivate us to new greatness.
*Störling Dance Theater and Underground 2013 were featured on Kansas City Public Television! The Local Show's "Telling History Through Dance: Störling Dance Theater " can be found here.
Many people are involved in the creation of this production on an annual basis. We thank the following ensemble and guest artist cast members for their contribution to Underground's success every year:
Kyle is originally from northern Minnesota. He has choreographed mime, trained and written dramas that have toured internationally. Mr. Reitmeier has been a guest artist for every major Störling Dance Theater production since its inception. He has crafted cameo roles from the Father in “The Prodigal Daughter” to Mr. Walker in “Underground”. A well rounded thespian, Kyle has been an integral player both on stage and off supporting The Culture House as it has developed since 1998. He enjoys teaching Theater at The Culture House together with his wife, Kelley.
Yolanda began classical ballet training at the Post School of Ballet in Salem,VA, continued training on scholarship at Ballet Magnificat! School of the Arts in MS, and received scholarships for workshops at VSA, ABT, Ballet Magnificat!, and Art Reach. At the age of 15 she began teaching modern dance for Jackson Public School students and at age 16 began performing throughout the US and internationally. She toured with Ballet Magnificat! in the Czech Republic and Belgium, performed in Washington, DC for the Kennedy Center Honors, and performed in TBN’s live taping of the “2000 New Years Eve Celebration”. She then joined Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston, Texas where she performed throughout the US. As choreography and stage director she toured with Ad Deum for the Messiah Project’s “The Savior” in Poland and Austria, and later in Thailand, China and Japan. In 2003 she joined the Sandra Organ Dance Company, where she performed, choreographed and taught company class. She taught modern classes for the Houston Public Schools, and movement for non-dancers at Alvin Community College where she also staged their 2005 performance of Oliver. She was recognized by The Houston Press as “Houston’s Best Modern Dancer” in 2005
Sarah first began dancing as a part of Legacy Christian Church dance team and from there went on to train at Dramatic Truth School of the Arts in Grandview, MO. She is currently in her third year at UMKC working towards a BFA in Dance. While at UMKC, Sarah has had the privilege to dance under the instruction of and perform works by Paula Weber, Sabrina Madison-Cannon, Gary Abbott, DeAnna Hiett, and May Pat Henry. Most recently, Sarah had the opportunity to perform George Balanchine's Serenade at the 2012 Fall Dance Concert.
Kameron was born in St. Louis, MO. He currently attends the University of Missouri-Kansas City studying as a dance major to attain his Bachelor of Fine Arts after completing two years at Webster University in St. Louis. He graduated from Metro Academic & Classical High School while doing his dance training at COCA (Center of Creative Arts). There he studied ballet, modern, jazz, hip hop, and choreography; all a part of their Pre-Professional Program. His performance experience includes the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance, the Webster University Dance Ensemble, COCADance and Ballet Eclectica, which are COCA's two student dance companies. He has also performed with Afriky Lolo; a West-African dance company in St. Louis, MO under the direction of Diadie Bathily, and the Slaughter Project, a St. Louis-based modern dance company under artistic director Cecil Slaughter. Kameron has worked with renowned artists such as Alicia Graf Mack, Antonio Douthit, Jon Lehrer, Kate Skarpetowska, Kirven J. Boyd, Lara Teeter, Daisha Graf, Michael Uthoff, Sally Bliss, and Kirk Peterson. In May of 2010 he set a work entitled Tested Boundaries on Alicia Graf Mack of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. In the spring of 2011 Kameron entered the National Society of Arts and Letters “Art of the Solo” choreography competition where his work Runner won first place in the St. Louis chapter, which sent him to compete nationally in Birmingham, Alabama where he won fifth place. In June of 2012 Kameron premiered his work A Fragile Heaviness for The Big Muddy Dance Company’s premiere season at the Touhill in St. Louis, MO. He was invited back to set a work for the company’s second season performance in June of 2013. Kameron aspires to own his own company and dance school some day to give back to the community and the world of dance.
Robyn has been a part of the ensemble cast of Underground since its premiere in 2008. Robyn was connected to Underground through her involvement in The School of Dance at The Culture House, where she trained from the time she was four years old to her high school graduation last May. She studied a variety of dance techniques at The Culture House under many of the instructors, including Marc Wayne, Tobin James and Mona Enna. Currently, Robyn is a freshman at Fordham University in New York City, where she is majoring in dance through the Bachelor of Fine Arts program with The Ailey School. She is a Dean’s Scholarship student, as well as one of the few recipients of the Fordham Founders Presidential Scholarship.
Lorna is one of the original cast members of Underground and continues to encourage and shape the vision of this inspiring production. Lorna has trained in Modern, Ballet and Jazz. As a dancer, director and writer she has led many original theatrical works to advance the Kingdom of God. She is a partner in the joint venture "Everything that Has Breath" which is an Arts and Cultural Development LLC. The company encompasses the passion for helping small businesses and non for profits to appreciate and nurture the creative process to help them recognize how art and the artist's function in society can advance their business and/or ministry objectives. Her love to help others to dance led her journey to physical therapy and wellness. Lorna specializes in Polestar Pilates Rehabilitation for orthopedic clients. She is licensed by the Kansas Board of Physical Therapy as a PTA and holds a B.S. from Friends University. She develops Pilates based post-rehab and wellness programs for the young pre-professional dancer to the geriatric client. She has been on Pilates teams at Life Power Pilates in the premiere Lifetime Studios, Kansas City Ballet (Studio Division) and Dramatic Truth School of Ballet. She sees clients at Pilates Performance & Rehab in both Topeka and Lawrence.
Christiane was born in Martinique and moved to France at age 14. She has always loved dancing and began her formal dance training in Sweden under Vibeke Muasya and Caroline Waidelich. She began her physical theater training under Danny Scott and Master Teacher Brigitte Lengrand. She went on to study with teachers Corinne Sum at the Ecole de Mime Corporel Dramatique in Paris. Christiane has also studied and trained in ballet, modern, jazz , Afro-Cuban, latin, and hip hop. She has performed in productions that have traveled all over the world and trained drama groups that have taken her work to the far ends of the globe. She was involved with the School of Dance and the Artist Development Program at The Culture House for eight years and was also involved with GX international in KC, MO. She is currently residing in France and working with Youth with a Mission.
Branson started dancing, singing, and acting at The Culture House at age 13. After graduation, he began training in the dance conservatory at UMKC. Now in his second year, he continues to do shows with both The Culture House and Störling. In the future, Branson hopes to dance, act and choreograph professionally, as well as explore new forms of movement by fusing classical dance with martial arts.