GroundWorks DanceTheater

GroundWorks DanceTheater



Get your summer dance vibe on and help GroundWorks DanceTheater usher in its 25th Anniversary Season with a program of new contemporary dance works by former Nederlands Dans Theater dancer Spenser Theberge and GroundWorks Executive Artistic Director, David Shimotakahara. Also, back by popular demand, is GroundWorks’ Artist in Residence Antonio Brown’s Floating Walls. The piece explores the physical and psychological space that one encounters when feeling surrounded by walls both in the literal sense and within the imagination.


GroundWorks DanceTheater is a contemporary dance company founded in 1998 by Executive Artistic Director, David Shimotakahara. Entering its 25th Anniversary Year, GroundWorks is nationally recognized for its contribution to the art form and the enrichment of human experiences in collaboration with some of the most innovative voices in dance today. Work that is created, produced, and supported in Northeast Ohio. GroundWorks' collaborative philosophy informs its work, in the studio, on stage, and in community. It expands the ways dance is shared and engages with and enlivens the communities we serve. 

Fundamental to GroundWorks is the fostering of new choreography and challenging preconceptions about dance. This group of outstanding artists has introduced dance lovers and neophytes alike to an experience that is unconventional, yet deeply human and resonating. 

The desire to push boundaries is evident in Shimotakahara’s bold initiative: To constantly seek collaboration and input from ground-breaking choreographers of the highest caliber and to make certain that the repertoire of the company is constantly evolving.

The company performs new works by Shimotakahara, as well as commissioned work by nationally and internationally acclaimed choreographers including GroundWorks Artist in Residence Antonio Brown, Rena Butler, Sidra Bell, Peter Chu, Dianne McIntyre, Robyn Mineko Williams, Adam Barruch, Gina Gibney, David Parker, Brian Brooks, James Gregg, and many others. 

Now in its third decade, GroundWorks looks toward its future, having earned solid support and a growing audience base as more and more people discover what the Cleveland Plain Dealer has described as the “smoldering brilliance” of one of “Cleveland’s cultural gems.” More at 

SPENSER THEBERGE (Choreographer) is a multi-hyphenate performer and creator, working across the fields of choreography, dance, movement direction, text, costume design, pedagogy, and installation work. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School and a former company member with the Nederlands Dans Theater I & II and The Forsythe Company, as well as a guest artist with Kidd Pivot, the Goteborgs Operans Danskompani, the ARIAS Company, and RGWW. Spenser’s creations are multi-disciplinary and genre-defying, continuously exploring identity, authenticity, and spectatorship.  His work has been commissioned and presented by LA Dance Project, The Broad Museum, MOCA Geffen, REDCAT, The Korzo Theater, Gothenburg Opera Dance Company, Place des Arts, The Juilliard School, and the Queer Biennial III in LA. Spenser’s collaborations with partner Jermaine Spivey have been additionally supported by Hollins University, PACT Zollverein, Nuova Officina della Danza, and presented by The Korzo Theater, The Frankfurt LAB, Place des Arts, Oregon Contemporary, Reed College, and NAVEL. As a movement director and performer, Spenser has worked with artists, brands, and organizations such as Taylor Swift, Gwen Stefani, LANY, UGG, Rami Malek, Ryan Pfluger, the Tune-yards, Seaworthy Jewelry, and the New York Times Magazine.  He has also designed costumes for Andrea Miller, the ARIAS Company, and performing artist Frances Chiaverini, and is the text writer behind Alexander Ekman’s award winning “Cacti” and “Hubbub”. Spenser has been dance faculty at California Institute of the Arts, a guest faculty at The Juilliard School and USC Kaufman School of Dance, as well as at conservatories, schools, and programs across America, Europe, and Asia. Spenser is a YoungArts award winner, a Presidential Scholar in the Arts, and a Princess Grace Award winner. More at

ANTONIO BROWN (Choreographer, Floating Walls) GroundWorks DanceTheater Artist in Residence Antonio Brown is the artistic force behind AntonioBrownDance, a native Cleveland, Ohio, where he began his dance training at the Cleveland School of the Arts and received his BFA from The Juilliard School. While there, he had the opportunity to perform works by Jose Limon, Ohad Naharin, Jiri Kylian, Eliot Feld, Aszure Barton, Jessica Lang, Susan Marshall, Larry Keigwin, among others. Mr. Brown has also worked with Camille A. Brown & Dancers, The Dash Ensemble, Sidra Bell Dance New York and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company for 11 years. Antonio has choreographed works for Verb Ballets, The Juilliard Dance Ensemble, MOVE(NYC), August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble, Jacksonville University, Cleveland State University, Hunter College, Perry Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, The Arden Theater Company’s production of “The Bluest Eye”, Drama League DirectorFest, Earl Mosley’s Dancing Beyond and is currently the movement director for The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative and Associate Choreographer for upcoming Broadway musical “Black No More”. Antonio is always so grateful to be sharing his gifts and talents around the world. More at

DAVID SHIMOTAKAHARA (Executive Artistic Director, Choreographer) has been a member of the Atlanta Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet, Kathryn Posin Dance Company, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. He performed with Ohio Ballet under the direction of Heinz Poll from 1983-1999. He has been awarded 8 Individual Artist Fellowships for Choreography from the Ohio Arts Council from 1996 to 2016. Mr. Shimotakahara received the 2000 Cleveland Arts Prize for Dance. In 2002 his work with GroundWorks DanceTheater was voted “One of 25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. In 2007, he received the OhioDance award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of the Dance Artform. Mr. Shimotakahara was a 2008 recipient of the first COSE Arts and Business Innovation awards as the founder of GroundWorks DanceTheater. In 2010 and 2013 Shimotakahara received a Creative Workforce Fellowship, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. 

AHNA BONNETTE (Dancer) grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona where she trained, taught, and set solo competition dances at Dance Connection Scottsdale. At 18, she was accepted into SUNY Purchase to pursue a BFA in dance. In 2021, she traveled with choreographer Peter Chu, répétiteur Roger Van der Poel and Jenni Gordon to aid in setting repertoire and host dance intensives at competition dance studios in Texas, Florida, and California. She then spent 5 weeks assisting Chu and Van der Poel in Germany as they set a work on Augsburg Ballet. In addition to performing, Bonnette over her career, has also developed a deep passion for creating with, and teaching young dancers.

MADISON PINEDA (Dancer) began her early dance training in Sacramento, CA and Keller, TX. At age 16, she attended The Joffrey Ballet School’s New York City Jazz and Contemporary Program, and in 2021, graduated with a BFA degree from The Juilliard School where she received the Martha Hill Award and the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship Grant. She has also trained at the Jacob’s Pillow Contemporary Dance Festival, the Nederlands Dans Theater Summer Intensive, and the Arts Umbrella Summer Dance Intensive. Madison has performed the dance works of Martha Graham, Crystal Pite, Paul Taylor, Ohad Naharin and Rena Butler. She appeared in the 2021 Warner Brothers film, “In the Heights.”

TEAGAN REED (Dancer) is a Saint Petersburg, Florida native and started training and competing in Scottish Highland dance at age 12. “Tea” then trained in ballet at the Patricia Ann Dance Studio, attended the Boston Conservatory at Berklee and The Hubbard Street Professional Program in Chicago. Tea has been a freelance dance artist with Fukudance, Adam Weinert & Company, the A.R.T. at Harvard University, Dance in the Parks Chicago, and Aerial Dance Chicago. In 2021, Tea founded the inaugural pro.noun dance festival to help queer dance artists gather and create.

VICTORIA RUMZIS (Dancer) is a Chicago native and began dancing at age 14 at Dancenter North. She continued her studies at Point Park University where she received her BFA in dance, graduating magna cum laude. Additionally, Tori received training at Axis Connect, Movement Invention Project, ODC and Salt Contemporary Dance. She has also had the privilege of performing as a company member with Aerial Dance Chicago, Ensemble180, Dance in the Parks, Hedwig Dances and New Dances (under the direction of Melissa Thodos and Julie Nakagawa). Along with performing, Tori has enjoyed working as a dance teacher, choreographer, and certified yoga instructor.

MATTHEW SAGGIOMO (Dancer) grew up in the small town of Sayre, Pennsylvania where he began his dance training of all styles, starting at the age of 6. At 18, he continued his dance training at Elite Danceworx in Ontario, Canada. Matthew then attended Point Park University where he earned a BFA in Dance in 2022. Additionally, Matthew has attended dance training programs at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and Utah’s SALT Contemporary Dance. He has also worked as a company member with Pittsburgh’s The Pillow Projects. He has performed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Open Air dance series, and at the Pittsburgh Opera Fashion Show.

Facebook: @GroundWorksDanceTheater
Instagram: @groundworksdance

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