Artists

Michelle Buchanan, Executive Director

Michelle is a recent transplant to Indianapolis, and discovered Motus in 2009 when she performed in Broken Fragile Mind.  She moved here from San Diego, where she was a member of Butterworth Dance Company, and participated in various local productions including Trolley Dances.  She has also lived and danced in Hawaii where she was a choreographer and dancer for various local performances including Still Frame in Motion and The Boundless Tour, and Oregon where she found her love of modern dance at Oregon State University.  She began her dance training in ballet and performed with the Eugene Ballet Company.  Michelle is excited to be a part of such a dynamic group, and is eternally grateful for the love and unending support of her husband Sean and her son Dylan.

 screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-1-25-37-pm Bethany Bak, Director of Education

Bethany Wells Bak holds a Bachelor of Fine and Applied Arts in Dance Performance from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was a member of Memphis’ Project:Motion Modern Dance Collective for four seasons, where she presented 5 original dance-works. She also co-directed Project:Motion’s site-specific spring 2014 Show, “PROMenade”, alongside Artistic Director, Rebecca Rose Cochran. Bethany served as the Class Coordinator for the Collective where she worked to deepen the community class offerings with the addition of Adult Beginner Dance, Body-Rolling, Yoga, Contemporary Jazz and African, Memphis Jookin, and Somatics.

Bethany is a co-founder of Dance Makers Workshop, alongside her collaborative partner Sarah Ledbetter. She is passionate about dance education outreach and bringing world-class artists to the South. In July of 2014, Bethany and Sarah, as Dance Makers Workshop, hosted The Urban Bush Women’s Memphis COLLABoratory, a two-day professional dance workshop with Maria Bauman of Urban Bush Women. Bethany and Sarah also hosted longtime William Forsythe dancer Elizabeth Corbett for a weeklong workshop at the new Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education and The University of Memphis in October of 2015. Dance Makers Workshop most recently presented and filmed an experimental performance project called ROSA in May of 2016 at The Darkhorse Theater in Nashville, TN.
Since moving to Indianapolis in the spring of 2016, Bethany has performed for both Motus Dance and Rebecca Pappas at the Indy Fringe Festival and presented a new dance-work “Bethany & Lauren” for an emerging choreographer’s showcase hosted by Motus Dance in October.

lauren-trio.jpg Lauren Curry, Director of Development

Lauren received her early training from the Academy of Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis and continued her studies in both dance and dance pedagogy in Texas under the tutelage of Susan Clark. She loves ballet, but only the friendly parts.

lani-plus-background-e1510171729591.jpg Lani Weissbach, Director of Artist Residencies

Lani Weissbach is a performer, teacher and choreographer of contemporary dance and somatic movement based in Indianapolis, and her ongoing investigation of Butoh has deeply informed her work for over 25 years. As founder and director of Shen & Bones Performance Group based in Erie, PA, Lani created and performed for 17 years in numerous works of “quiet introspection, raw power, evocative imagery and dark themes” (Steve Sucato, national dance writer/critic). In addition to frequent engagements throughout Northwestern PA, her work has been presented by the Cleveland Public Theatre, The Vangeline Theater in NYC, The D.C. Arts Center in Washington, D.C., the BeBe Theater in Asheville, N.C. and Links Hall in Chicago. As a devoted movement educator, Lani has worked in a variety of settings and with a wide range of students, from professional dancers to the elderly. She has served on the faculties of numerous colleges and universities in Northwestern Pennsylvania and the surrounding region, teaching both studio and academic courses. From 2014-16, Lani founded and co-directed Soma Movement Arts, a movement studio devoted to somatic movement education in Erie, PA. Lani is an associate artist with Pounds Per Square Inch, a Toronto-based interdisciplinary performance company and is featured in Sondra Fraleigh’s Butoh: Metamorphic Dance and Global Alchemy (University of Pittsburgh Press 2010). She currently teaches for a variety of organizations and is on the staff of Motus Dance Theater in Indianapolis. Lani holds an M.F.A. in dance from Arizona State University, is a Registered Somatic Movement Educator (RSME) with the International Somatic Movement Education and Therapy Association (ISMETA) and is a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 500) with Yoga Alliance. For more information, please visit: www.laniweissbach.com.

Guest Artists

Baxter

My name is Baxter and I have been a hooper since late 2001. In 2005, I began teaching a local hoop class in Carrboro, NC. By 2007, I was traveling and teaching hoop dance as a movement practice all over the US. Over the last 8 years I would travel to cities all over the US, Canada, and (to a lesser degree) the UK year after year. I began to call teaching this cycle of cities, “touring.”

Danny Beyrer

Danny started dancing at a ballroom studio in 2007 and left on a mission to pursue Vernacular Jazz and Lindy Hop after watching his first old timey swing dance clip. He has since performed, competed, and taught at many regional and national swing dance events. Danny’s passion in the dance is striving for freedom of movement in cooperation with the freely expressed art form that is Jazz. In class he likes to emphasize personal body movement, our connection to the music, and fun.

Deanna Garner

Dancing since the age of four, Deanna enjoys being a tap dance instructor at Motus Dance and the assistant director and company member of Circle City Tap Company.  An experienced performer, choreographer, and judge, who has studied tap, jazz, ballet, and modern dance, Deanna earned a degree in Dance Performance from Ball State University.  She danced and choreographed for IU Northwest Dance Company for 5 years while teaching at nearby studios before moving back to Indianapolis.  Dancing is a passion that Deanna is thankful to be able to pursue in her spare time when she is not working as an Environmental Educator for the IN Department of Environmental Management.

Carrie Gaerte

Carrie is a Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, and Pilates instructor with St Vincent Sports Performance, with a passion for rehabilitation, and who’s first love is dance and choreography. She majored in ballet at Indiana University before an injury changed her career path. After a long hiatus, Carrie was honored to participate in Motus’ 2010 production of Cultivate. Carrie is beyond excited to offer an adult class that affords a creative outlet in a comfortable environment.

Usha Sirimalle

Usha began dancing in her home town in India at the age of 3, where through the years she continued her dance training in various styles of Indian dance and choreography. She moved to Wichita, Kansas to pursue her Master’s Degree and was part of the International Cultural Society choreographing and performing for university events. In 2004, she moved to Lafayette, Indiana and began her teaching career, and has been teaching at Motus Dance since 2016.

Lynn Spencer-Nelson

With 9 years of experience teaching all-levels classes, Lynn cultivates a true learning environment for her students focused on empowering imagination, individuality, community and creating the experience of process.

Liz Wray

Liz Wray, a passionate belly dancer driven to share the art with women of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities, began belly dancing in 2003. An expert solo and group choreographer with training in Classical Egyptian Beledy and Improvisational Tribal Style Belly Dance combined, Liz specializes in Tribal Fusion Belly Dance and adds hints of pop and modern dance to create an eclectic style.  Liz’s years of experience encompass owning and operating her own dance studio, teaching at Cornerstone Center for the Arts and Ball State University in Muncie Indiana, and performing at countless events and venues throughout the Midwest. She continues her own dance education by attending intensive workshops and taking private lessons from other accomplished dancers. Liz teaches with patience, encourages positive body image and self-esteem, and always brings the fun!

Elisha Movement Christian Dance Company

Impacting lives one dance at a time!

Whether it be in live performance, video, or dance classes Elisha Movement is a dance company dedicated to using our bodies to present biblical truths in a thought provoking, uplifting, and empowering manner!

We are proud to be Millennials, and will present the gospel in a way that only a Millennial can! 

 

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