The Cast of Season 4

By on April 20, 2014

Without a cast of eclectic characters, PRODUCE is not possible. Season 4’s lineup is no exception.

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photo credit: Julie E. Ballard

Ashley Deran and dancers

Ashley Deran received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance from Western Michigan University where she graduated with honors as the Presidential Scholar of the Department of Dance. During her time there she had the pleasure of working with many world-renowned guest artists such as Autumn Eckman, Jason McDole, Amanda McKerrow, and Willy Shives. She has also had the opportunity to perform for Paige Cunningham Caldarella, Esoteric Dance Project, and Western Dance Project.  Ashley’s choreography has been featured at Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival, “Going Dutch” by CORE Project, and “In here, we are whole” to name a few.  She has also recently collaborated with Fontana Chamber Arts and created a new repertory piece for Western Dance Project.  Ashley is currently on staff at Inaside Chicago Dance as Director of Marketing and teaches at several studios in the Chicagoland area.

Door Ascender’s Merkaba (Jason Javar Lawrence)

A visualist who promotes the movement of graphics and sound through multimedia works, Jason creates and produces with an interest in pursuing a mobile identity through national and international performance both independently, through residency, and professional artistic collaborations.  As a fresh transplant to Chicago from Seattle, Jason’s most recent work is deep in the world of sound harmonics, color-tone and color-scape compositions.  His work is rooted in his fascination with pulling symbols from history and manipulating them through space, sound travel, tone and frequencies to capture and create audio-visual relationships.  These relationships are designed to invite the viewer to have a sensory experience, in a public setting and explore familiar sounds and images in an innovative way.

Erica Ricketts

Erica Ricketts began her dance training in Flint, Michigan where she was a member of Flint Youth Ballet and participated in Regional Dance America. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in dancemaking. Her work debuted in Chicago at the beginning of 2012 when she was invited to perform at a queer performance night hosted by DePaul University. In addition to Chicago, her work has been performed in Michigan, Minnesota, and Austria.

Jessica Marasa and Ben Law

Jessica Marasa is a freelance dance artist and non profit administrator working and living in Chicago.  Since 2008 she has participated as an ensemble member of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak and has had the pleasure of creating and performing with Chicago’s creative talents including Ayako Kato, Kristina Isabelle, Khecari and Same Planet Different World.  Jessica teaches jazz, modern, and yoga as an Adjunct Faculty at the University of Chicago and is currently working towards the completion of a Somatic Movement Educator certification in the study of Body Mind Centering.

Ben Law is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®, co-director with Mikey Rioux of The SHO,
ensemble member of Molly Shanahan/Mad Shak, Kate Corby & Dancers, and CDI/Concert
Dance Inc., and adjunct lecturer at Northeastern Illinois University. He has previously worked with
Lucky Plush Productions, Mordine & Company Dance Theater, Julia Rae Antonick/Khecari,
Hedwig Dances, and the Dance COLEctive. He has performed Tino Seghal’s Kiss at the
Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Ben
teaches contemporary modern dance in combination with the Feldenkrais Method® in studios,
high schools, and Universities in the Chicago area, and has taught Feldenkrais and lectured on
kinesiology for the American College Dance Festival.

Jose A. Luis

José A. Luis graduated with a BFA in Dance from UW-Milwaukee. He had the great opportunity to work with a majority of the faculty as well as guest artists and graduate students throughout his four years, including: Joel Valentin-Martinez, Elijah Gibson, Lisa Giobbi, Julie Tice, Alberto del Saz, Gerald Casel, Heidi Latsky, Colleen Thomas, Cynthia Guitierrez-Garner, and Maria Gillespie. In fall of 2010, José was chosen to participate in the Centennial Celebration of Alwin Nikolais in New York. Additionally, José took a two-week Nikolais/Murray Intensive with assistance of the Wisconsin Dance Council. In winter of 2012 he was awarded a full scholarship to participate in “Sasha Waltz and Guests” as well as a weekend workshop at Tanzfabrik in Berlin, Germany. Recently, he was selected as a mentee under Shirley Mordine to create a new work in the Chicago area. He appeared as a guest in Wildspaceʼs “Milwaukee 360” and “Acts of Wilderness”. His works have been presented at Danceworksʼ “Art to Art”, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and RAD Fest in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He currently resides in Chicago and works with RE|Dance Group while creating his own works.

The Space Movement Project

The Space Movement Project is an innovative female dance group dedicated to nurturing the collective female lens in contemporary dance movement. Since 2005, the company has performed across Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York and Puebla, Mexico. Locally, TSMP has made appearances at The Dance Center of Columbia College, Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Links Hall, Hamlin Park Fieldhouse and Roosevelt University. TSMP has operated OuterSpace Studios since 2010 offering low-cost rehearsal space rental to the local performance community.

Those People Who Did That One Thing That One Time (Lucy Wieczorek and Lysha Hamm)

Lucy Wak (Wieczorek) has been a professional sound, video and performance artist since 2003 after receiving a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has had the incredible experiences of working with Playboy Enterprises and Chicago Magazine in her past and currently works as a freelance artist in Chicago. Lysha Hamm has been a dancer since she figured out how to put one foot in front of the other. She has danced with companies in Colorado, Seattle and Chicago and currently performs as a freelance dancer and contortionist. She has a passion for telling stories through movement and creating provocative work for an audience. Those People Who Did That One Thing That One Time have been creating together since Fall of 2012. They do the weird stuff.

After Party with DJ Wak

djDJ Wak has been a disc jockey and sound designer in Chicago since 2002. She has experience working nightclubs, lounges, restaurants, private events, public events and even funerals. She has also arranged audio compositions for theater productions, short films and performance art. Although her inspiration to become a disc jockey germinated with House music and its culture, DJ Wak has passion for Soul, Classic R&B, Funk, Hip Hop, Disco and Pop music as well. For the sake of a little name dropping, she has had the amazing opportunity to open for incredible performers such as KC and the Sunshine Band, Sheena Easton and The Pointer Sisters. Her favorite locations in Chicago to DJ have been The House of Blues, Cocktail, Hydrate, Berlin Nightclub and random house parties with an audience that loves House music.


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