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M.F.A. Dance Graduates of 2012
Ellen Bartel received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from S.U.N Y Potsdam in 1993 and in 2012 her M.F.A. in Dance at the University of Texas focusing on the pedagogical methods of contemporary dance and choreography of site-dance. For her thesis Ellen was interested in examining the different choreographic ways in to the creation of dances in alternative spaces. This led to a site-work about spaces of transition and site-inspired dances. Her final dance piece was titled "Watch The Gap". It premiered March 2012 at the B. Iden Payne Theatre on the University of Texas at Austin.
In 2000 Ellen formed her own modern dance company called Spank Dance Company. After nearly a decade of extensively self- producing SDC has grown into it’s own 501c3 arts organization. The City of Austin Cultural Arts Division has awarded SDC funding since the 99-00 season (not including 2003). All projects combined: Ellen has created nearly 25 new dance works (of which five are evening length), performed nearly 60 improvisations, 24 one minute dances, spearheaded community dance events the annual Dance Carousel and Big Range Austin Dance Festival, Hot September Flurries (05-07), and co- founded the Austin Independent Choreographers. She has choreographed for T. V. commercials, theater, fashion shows, as well as Performance Art events, and has collaborated with local composers: Graham Reynolds, Adam Sultan, and Peter Stopschinski, among others. Ellen has danced in 20 original new works from local choreographers including Ariel Dance Theater who she performed extensively with until 2001. Ellen's choreography has been shown in many venues in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio, and in 2010 premiered an new work at the Gowans Guest Room in Brooklyn NY.
Ellen has been called Dance Mobilizer 2008, Dance Phenomenon 2008 both for Big Range Austin Dance Festival, Fortunate 500 in both 2006, 2007 and 2009 in 2007 Best Dance Concert and Best Choreography nominations for Critics Table Award, and a few #10 Top Ten Dance Events. In 2007 and 2009 Ellen was a peer review panelists for the City of Austin reading, reviewing and grading local artists Cultural Arts Division applications.
Chell Parkins received her M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012, focusing on embodied and disembodied choreographic practices. She has been a member of MADCO, Steamroller, Ruby Rico's, Bibliodance, and Forklift Dance Works and founded San Francisco based Brigid’s Daisy. She has created dance work for MOMfest, Frontera Fest, Dance Carousel, Big Range Dance Festival and has been co-Artistic Director of Ears, Eyes + Feet and 3. Most recently she traveled to Derry, Ireland to perform an original piece at the Millennium Forum inspired by 27 hours of travel and Skype conversation with composer Taylor Kirk who Skyped in live music for the performance.
In November 2012, she will travel to Spain to create and perform Wanderlust, a dance inspired by the landscape using video and motion sensor technology.
Parkins is currently the Director of High Steppers and dance teacher at Manor High School.