Kelsey Adams – dancer
Kelsey Adams was born in Portland and began dancing when she was 4 years old. Over the years, she has studied ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary at several studies including Stites Performing Arts Center and Deborah Messinger’s School of Dance. In 2007, she began teaching classes of her own at several different Deborah Messinger dance school locations. Kelsey has danced with Pure Dance Company and recently become a member of Nonsense Dance Company. She currently studies physics at Portland State University and is part of a research group studying the physics of ballet. Kelsey has been dancing with Agnieszka Laska Dancers as of January 2013.
Niqi Cavanaugh – dancer
Early in training Niqi Cavanaugh developed a fixation with the art of expression. From studying with American Repertory Ballet, to dancing with Agnieszka Laska Dancers, touring, choreographing,and dancing with several international companies including Las Pleyades; attention to detail and the artistry of expression, supported by pursuit of technical prowess, remain the focus of his work as a choreographer and dancer.
Niqi joined ALDancers in 2004 and is one of the two dancers with the longest trajectory in the company.
Sissy Dawson – dancer
Sissy Dawson, at age three, began her formal ballet training at Stites Performing Arts Center in Portland, Oregon. During her high school years she began training with Sarah Rigles at Portland’s Classical Ballet Academy, eventually graduating from the studio’s Pre-Professional Program. She continues her classical ballet training at Classical Ballet Academy and performs lead roles in their Regular Ballet Program’s performances. Sissy has also been CBA’s office manager for the past two years. She has worked as a dance counselor at the Young Musicians and Artists summer arts camp for the past four years. She has also danced and choreographed in Anna Rigles’ pre-professional multi-dance form company, Legacy Dance Company. She joined Agnieszka Laska Dancers in January of 2012 and loved traveling abroad with them and being on the poster for the Mexican premiere of Broken Flowers.
Karissa Dean – dancer
Karissa Dean spent much of her childhood dancing in the Gresham area at Body and Soul, as well as Deborah Messinger. Karissa joined her high school dance team her junior year becoming a captain in her senior year. Karissa continued dancing at Western Oregon University, becoming captain & choreographer of the dance team. She spent many hours in the studio with the staff at Western Oregon University where she took a keen interest in dancing safely and understanding the anatomy of a dancer’s body. After some tough anatomy and kinesiology work, Karissa took her dance degree back to Portland and started working right away. She joined Kinetic Images, a modern dance company and started teaching at Tualatin Dance Center and Spotlight Performing Arts. Karissa choreographs for the Barlow & David Douglas High School dance teams, as well as Judging for OSAA/JA. Focusing on continuing her education Karissa has participated in multiple intensives, most recently with Paul Taylor in New York City. Karissa joined ALDancers in 2012.
Allie Fahsholz – dancer
Allie Fahsholz, originally from Eugene, Oregon earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Western Oregon University. She has been training in dance since the age of 5 at various academies and studios throughout Oregon. Her training includes idioms such as ballet, modern, West African, jazz, hip-hop, improvisation, and composition. She has studied and participated in workshops with Martha Graham Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Garth Fagan Dance, Lucinda Child’s Company, Amy O’Neil, TEETH, as well as multiple International artists through a Seattle summer program. Allie has been a guest performer with the Eugene Ballet Company, Dance Theater of Oregon, and has performed various works from choreographers such as Jodi Melnick, Margo Van Ummerson, and Daryl Thomas. Allie is an innovative choreographer who enjoys exploring real-life social issues in her work, such as the oppression of women abused in sex trafficking and the realities of war. She joined Agnieszka Laska Dancers in 2012 for the Broken Flowers project.
Sharon Lane – dancer
Sharon started dancing at the age of 10 at the YMCA in Salem, OR, with Widad Farren. At 16, she became a member of the Classic Tap Performing Company in Keizer, OR. At 18, Sharon decided to pursue ballet and moved to American Ballet Academy in Salem, OR under Annie Josling (Orwick). At 21 Sharon became a Trainee at the Portland Festival Ballet under Artistic Director, John Magnus. She continues to dance at PFB. In addition to her dance training, Sharon has also taught ballet and jazz throughout the years at various studios. She is absolutely thrilled and honored to be a part of the Agnieszka Laska Dancers. She joined Agnieszka Laska Dancers in 2012 for the Broken Flowers project.
Heidi Nelson – dancer
Heidi Nelson, a native Oregonian, has been dancing since she was 12 years old. As a Jefferson Dancer, she studied and performed for may top dance companies including Arthur Mitchell of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Honey Coles and Brenda Bufalino tap masters and Edward Villella of the New York City Ballet. She has also studied master classes in New York with Luigi for Jazz and Maggie Black for Ballet. Heidi has performed in musical theater productions around Portland including Jesus Christ Superstar and Applause. She continued studying and performing dance at Portland State University where she earned her Bachelor Degree. Heidi has been dancing for Agnieszka Laska since the very first performance in 2003 and has been given the opportuntity to continue to perform and dance, which is what she loves most. Heidi gives her utmost thanks to her loving family & friends for supporting all of her artistic endeavors.
Lauren Richmond – dancer
Lauren Richmond graduated from Portland State University in the Spring of 2007 with a BA in Communications, and a minor in Dance. Lauren has performed in ballets such as Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Coppelia, La Sylphide, La Boutique Fantasque, The Nutcracker, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Secret Garden, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, and Raymonda. Lauren performed these past two years as a company apprentice and trainee in Portland Festival Ballet’s Trainee Company, directed by John Magnus the former Artistic Director of The Joffrey Ballet School. Before that Lauren graduated from Classical Ballet Academy’s pre-professional ballet school under the direction of Sarah Rigles in June of 2009 and accepted a position as a ballet instructor. She first performed professionally in modern dance with Kinetic Images Dance Company directed by Kimm Mahoney-Watson in 2008. Lauren also performed with the multi-form pre-professional Legacy Dance Company directed by Anna Rigles, as well as understudied with the Polaris 2 group directed by Robert Guitron. Lauren joined Agnieszka Laska Dancers in August of 2011.
Amelia Unsicker – dancer
Amelia Unsicker, a native of Portland, Oregon, trained at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre for seven years. With OBT, Amelia performed various roles in Il Distratto, La Source, Napoli, Peter and the Wolf, Raymonda, Snow White, Swan Lake and George Balanchine’ s The Nutcracker. In 2007, she began studying at the University of Oregon. While studying science, Amelia also danced as a company soloist for four years with Ballet Fantastique, and toured with them across the Northwest. In June 2011, Amelia graduated from the UO with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in dance. Last year, she continued performing with Ballet Fantastique and appeared as a guest artist with Portland Festival Ballet in John Magnus’ The Nutcracker, Hansel and Gretel, and Don Quixote. Amelia choreographs and teaches ballet at Fired-Up Dance Academy. She is also a dancer for choreographer Jennifer Camp, and recently performed in (A)merging 2013. She aspires to continue dancing and eventually amalgamate her two passions in life – dance and science. Amelia is excited to be joining the Agnieszka Laska Dancers.
Jack Gabel – resident composer & technical director
Jack Gabel’s concert hall works are performed internationally. For 20 years he’s run the North Pacific Music record label. For the past 10 years he’s Resident Composer and Technical Director for Agnieszka Laska Dancers. Noteworthy achievements including a 2008 Render Yard Film Festival (London) Best Film Score Award for the film from the dance theatre production THE FALL 01 — a score created on an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship. As a current OAC Fellowship recipient and Oregon Music Teachers Association Composer of the Year, he is completing his DIAMETERS suite of 12 instrumental duets, planned for full-length premiere next summer in Portland’s Pioneer Place Mall, 3-level Atrium, with Cascadia Composers cosponsorship.
We honor all our past dancers and collaborators – we are grateful for your artistic contribution.
DANCERS: Kelsey Adams, Sissy Dawson, Karissa Dean, Allie Fahsholz, Sharon Lane, Nikki Leopold, Heidi Nelson, Lauren Richmond, Amelia Unsicker, Christina Wolken, Niqi Cavanaugh, Gentry Fielder, Jonathan Garza
guest dancers: Jorge Ronzon – by the courtesy of Contemporary Dance Production Center (CEPRODAC), Mexico, Natalie Cheechov, Sophie Marcus, Maddox Dancers Little Ballet Theatre
PSU Symphony Orchestra – Ken Selden conducting
Chicago Philharmonic – Scott Speck conducting
Jeffrey Payne and Susan Smith – piano / Rite of Spring
Ruta Kuzmickas – piano / Chopin Project
Igor Lipinski – piano / Chopin Project
Andrzej Krukowski – actor / Chopin Project