Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth | September 10th, 2006 | Posted in People

by Amy Chen

Over the past year I’ve had the privilege of interviewing these three wonderful artists: Mike Gosney, dancer, teacher, and founding-director and choreographer for Elements Contemporary Ballet; Sonya Hohmann, belly-dancer, teacher and owner of Arabesque; and American Ballet Theatre dancer, Arron Scott. I recently caught up with them to ask, “what’s new?”

Mike Gosney: Previous Interview

Last time I spoke with Mike about his company, Elements Contemporary Ballet, he wanted to keep most of the details about their premiere concert a suprise.

The time has come! Elements Contemporary Ballet will be performing this Friday, September 22nd at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium of the Harold Washington Library at 7:30pm. Tickets will be $15 at the door.

Mike tells us that Elements has grown in to an entity of its own, greater than the sum of its parts. Its eleven dancers are excited, yet calm, as the day of their performance draws near. The performance will showcase five pieces, each involving extensive multiple movements.

Elements is not your typical company with a corp de ballet and a few starring dancers. The dancers have evolved as a company of strong soloists working together as a group. Each dancer is featured for their individual strengths and temperament. Audience members can expect to have a favorite dancer–one that they will be eager to track the progress of in future performances.

Elements is not only a title. Implementing the elements, earth, air, fire and water, into their dancing is exactly what this contemporary ballet company does. Earth is evident in their hard work and dedication. This upcoming performance will work primarily with water and air, but the dancers will be firing up for future performances.

Elements has several more performances lined up in the near future with tentative dates in October, November and early 2007. They are very excited to have three new choreographers to add to their repetoire. Elements is also seeking the aid of like-minded artists who are interested in working in accounting, administration, lighting, costume and set designs.

Merde to the Elements dancers! And Happy Birthday, Mike!

Sonya Hohmann: Previous Interview

This past June, Sonya was selected as one of only ten dancers to attend a week-long master certification program in teaching and performing Middle Eastern dance in Cairo, Egypt. The course was given by Mahmoud Reda, whom Sonya describes as “the Baryshnikov of bellydance!”

For six hours everyday Sonya attended classes in traditional costuming, history and culture and music. At night, Sonya saw three nightclub bellydance shows: a Nile cruise, a “Zar” dance reenacting a traditional expelling possession of evil spirits, and a 2-our Sufi show (that’s spinning for two hours straight!)

Sonya also had the honor of dancing in Cairo in a Zeffa, leading a wedding processional at the Intercontinental Hotel of Pyramid Parks.

Sonya’s certificate from the program, on papyrus bearing her name in hieroglyphs, is framed and displayed at her studio, Arabesque.

For this coming year, Sonya’s goal is to accomplish a balance between her dance career, teaching and running Arabesque–any one of which would be enough to fill anyone’s plate!

Upcoming Chicago-area Performances:

September 22nd 7-10pm “Gothic Belly Dance” at Skadarlija Restaurant;

September 30th 3pm “SandSwept” An Arabesque Bellydance Studio Student Showcase at The Lakeshore Theatre;

October 6th 10pm “8:18 Unity” event on Chicago’s north side, with her troup, “Ro-He”;

October 22nd 7-9pm “Where the Mid-East Meets Mid-West” Starring the infamous Aziza of Montreal (this big annual event is sponsored by Sonya and Arabesque Dance, LLC)

Upcoming Events:

October 21-22 “Where Mid-East meets Mid-West” Seminar with Aziza;

October 28th Sonya Headlines (teach and performs) in Grand Rapids, MI “Expressions of Orientale” annual seminar and show;

November 12th Costume Clinic 12-2pm and 2nd Hand Souk and Costume Swap/Sale, 3-6pm at Arabesque

More info on these and other events can be found at ArabesqueChicago.com or SonyasSouk.com

Thank you, Sonya!

Arron Scott: Previous Interview

The highlights of Arron’s year have been performing the role of “Eros” in Frederick Ashton’s ballet, “Sylvia” on tour in Orange County and in New York City during the Met season and teaching classes over the summer at his home studio in Pennsylvania.

Arron recently returned to the ABT studios to prepare for this fall’s City Center season in New York. Among other things, he will be performing in Twyla Tharps “Upper Room,” de Mille’s “Rodeo,” and a new work by Jorma Elo (not yet titled).

For the coming year, Arron hopes to a) remember and b) finish all the little projects he has started! And he is currently studying for his driver’s license, as the MTA has served as his “car” for the past five years.

Thanks, Arron!