Peter Sparling Dance Company
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Peter Sparling Dance Company

Company Member Profiles

Peter Sparling

Peter Sparling is a professor (1984- ) and former chair (1988-95) of the University of Michigan Department of Dance and Artistic Director of the Ann Arbor-based Peter Sparling Dance Company. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and the Juilliard School, he was a member of the José Limón Dance Company from 1971-73 and a principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 1973-87. As a regisseur of the Martha Graham Trust, he has staged Graham's works on his own company and on companies all over the world.
From 1979-83, he presented his solo concert, Solo Flight, and Peter Sparling Dance Company for five successive seasons at New York’s Riverside Dance Festival. Sparling has held residencies at numerous American universities and at the London Contemporary Dance Theatre, Australia’s Victorian College of the Arts, Portugal’s Ballet Gulbenkian, Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, the Bat-Dor Summer Dance Workshop and at the American Dance Festival. He is a recipient of the 1998 Governor’s Michigan Artist Award and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Arts Foundation of Michigan and U/M Rackham School for Graduate Studies. Sparling was a 1996-97 Faculty Fellow at the U/M Institute for the Humanities and 1998 Fellow at the U/M Rackham Summer Interdisciplinary Institute. He has worked extensively with composers, actors, visual artists and scientists to create collaborative performance works. An avid writer and poet, he has written texts for performance and has been published in the Michigan Quarterly Review.

Gayle Bailey Hayes

Gayle Bailey Hayes was born and raised in Pacific Beach, California. She studied in San Diego with Carol Mead and Jean Isaacs. While receiving her B.F.A. in Dance at the University of Michigan, Gayle became a founding member of Peter Sparling Dance Company. In New York, she studied at the Paul Taylor School and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Gayle trained with Mark Morris and was on scholarship with Jennifer Muller. Dance made way for acting, filmmaking and music. She became a dedicated Yogi and has been certified by Ana Forrest to teach Forrest Yoga.

Lisa Catrett-Belrose

Lisa Catrett-Belrose is a founding member of Peter Sparling Dance Company. She received her B.F.A. in Dance from Ohio University and M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Michigan. Lisa was a member of Jazz Dance Theater from 1991-93. Lisa has worked with choreographers Gladys Bailin, Dalton/Hartel, Mark Dendy, Doug Nielsen, David Parsons and Shapiro/Smith. She has performed in Martha Graham's "Diversion of Angels" and "Panorama" as well as Jose Limon's "There is a Time." Previously a lecturer in dance at the University of Michigan, she is currently an instructor of dance at Grand Valley State University.

Matthew Farmer

Matthew Farmer has recently graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a BA in Theatre and Dance. Farmer's past credits include four seasons with Aerial Dance Theatre, three seasons with the Hope Summer Repertory Theatre, performing in the Liverpool bid for the European Capital Culture Center, and most recently performing with Steven Iannacone and Avi Kiesser in Duisburg, Germany.

Holly Hobbs

Holly Hobbs received her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in Dance from Western Michigan University. She has studied, instructed classes and performed internationally in Switzerland and Costa Rica. Holly is a former member of Ann Arbor Dance Works and Detroit Dance Collective. She has taught at the Flint School for Performing Arts and Bowling Green State University where she choreographed works for the University Performing Dancers. Holly is currently an instructor at Dance Gallery Studio, adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University and member of the Peter Sparling Dance Company.

Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson is a founding member of PSDC. She received her B.A. from the University of Michigan. She trained with Pierre Barreau, Camilla & John Chiapuris, Parker Copley, Wendy Dubois, Alan Lommasson, Lynn Slaughter, and Peter Sparling. She has attended workshops with Bill T. Jones, Ralph Lemon, Doug Varone, and Mel Wong. She was a member of the J. Parker Copley Dance Company, under the direction of Alan Lommasson, before joining PSDC. She has toured, performed and taught in residencies throughout the Midwest, as well as performed as a guest artist with Ann Arbor Dance Works, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, and People Dancing. She has also performed works choreographed by Rachel Harms, Erin Matthiessen, Rick Merrill and Terri Sarris. She has taught at and choreographed for Community School of Ballet, Dance Theatre Studio, Gym America, and the Huron High School Music Department. Lisa has been affiliated with Dance Gallery Studio since its conception and has taught modern, ballet, and creative movement.

Julianne O'Brien Pedersen

Julianne O'Brien Pedersen is a founding member of the Peter Sparling Dance Company. She holds a B.A. from Connecticut College and an M.F.A. from Ohio State University. She has studied at the Nikolais and Louis Dance Theater Lab in New York, the American Dance Festival, and Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and is certified in Laban Movement Analysis. She has danced for companies in Washington D.C. and New York City, and has had choreographic works shown throughout New England, Washington D.C., Ann Arbor, and El Salvador. Julianne is currently Associate Professor of Dance at Eastern Michigan University.

Leslie E. Williams

Leslie E. Williams moved to Chicago to study with Gus Giordano upon graduation from Interlochen Arts Academy. A native of the Texas Panhandle, she received her B.F.A. in Dance from West Texas A&M University, where she was a soloist with Lone Star Ballet, and her M.F.A in dance from the University of Michigan. Leslie has been on faculty at West Texas A & M University, University of Michigan and the University of Toledo. Leslie has performed works by: George Balanchine, Martha Graham, Paul Taylor, Joyce Trisler, Lar Lubovitch, Mark Morris, David Dorfman and many more. She is currently a member of the Peter Sparling Dance Company.

Michael Woodberry-Means

Michael Woodberry-Means is a native of Detroit, MI where he currently teaches dance at the Arts Academy in the Woods. Michael received his dance training from Dance Theatre of Harlem, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance, American Dance Festival and both his MFA and BFA degrees from the University of Michigan. He has performed with the Dallas Metropolitan Ballet, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble, Martha Graham Dance, and Ballethnic Dance Company of Atlanta, GA. He has also performed in a three-city Switzerland tour of the Toggenburger Passion, choreographed by Jovita Weibel. Michael has worked with Donald McKayle, George Faison, Kevin `Iega`Jeff, Carlos Orta, and Talley Beaty. He has taught and choreographed at Bowling Green State University, Dance Gallery Studio, Marygrove College, Oakland University, Eastern Michigan University, and Pemajju School of Dance and Related Arts. He has also been a guest artist with the Greater Lansing Ballet, and the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. This is his sixth season with Peter Sparling Dance Company.
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