2017 Choreographers


    Adam Hougland – WORLD PREMIERE


Adam grew up in Dallas, Texas and studied visual arts and acting from an early age. At 14 he began his dance training at the Dallas Conservatory of Ballet and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. In 1999 he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from The Juilliard School and then went on to perform with The Limon Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theatre and The Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. While at Juilliard Adam choreographed his first group dance, Beyond, which won the Hector Zaraspe Prize for Choreography. This piece set his choreographic career in motion and was quickly taken into the repertoires of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Met Columbus and The Louisville Ballet.

Adam has gone on to create original works for Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, The American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Introdans in the Netherlands, The Limon Dance Company, Cedar Lake Ensemble, The Washington Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Ballet X and The New York Choreographic Institute at New York CIty Ballet. He has created works for internationally recognised dancers such as Sofiane Sylve (San Francisco Ballet), Marcelo Gomes (American Ballet Theater) and Wendy Whelan. In 2006 he created a world premiere for Juilliard’s Centennial Celebration that toured to Chicago and Los Angeles and was broadcast on the PBS ‘Live from Lincoln Center’ series. He has won The Princess Grace Award for Choreography, The Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography, was one of Pointe Magazines’ 10 VIP’s of 2006 and one Dance Magazine’s 25 to watch for 2011.

Adam is the Principle Choreographer for The Louisville Ballet and has created nine critically acclaimed original works for the company including Petrouchka and Rite of Spring with special guest artist Wendy Whelan. He is Resident Choreographer for Cincinnati Ballet where he has created an evening-length Mozart’s Requiem and The Firebird.

Adam lives in Bristol, England with his husband Ashley and their dog Liza.

    Ryan Jolicouer-Nye – WORLD PREMIERE

Ryan was born in Maine. He took his first ballet class at the age of 15 and at 17 joined the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. It was there he created his first choreographic work ,which received an honorable mention in the 2003 first steps choreographic competition. In the 2004 competition his piece “Pavana”, won the the people’s choice award and best contemporary ballet award and was then chosen to be performed at RWB’s annual Ballet in the Park. In 2007, Ryan was commissioned by the “Salsa Idaho Correspondent” to create a work in the afro-cuban style to the music of “Celia Cruz” which was performed by the Balance Dance Company in Boise, Idaho. Ryan has also collaborated with live painter, Patrick Hunter “Patcasso” to present a fusion work featuring music by the “Rolling Stones”. He has since created 6 works on Ballet Idaho notably “City Symphony” to Phillip Glass’s famed opera “Einstein on the Beach” and “Romeo and Juliette” set to Tchaikovsky’s romantic overture. Ryan’s most recent work “On the Sky” set to Max Richter was performed for the Kansas City Ballet’s “New Moves” showcase and will be presented as a part of a full work for the 2015 Kansas City Dance Festival. His work has been called “sophisticated”, “the highlight of the evening” and “Mesmerizing from curtain up to curtain down”. Recently in 2017 Ryan was awarded outstanding choreographer at Youth America Grand Prix.

    Jennifer Owen – WORLD PREMIERE


Jennifer Owen is co-founder and Artistic Director of Owen/Cox Dance Group. Jennifer’s ballet career has taken her around the globe. After training with Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School, School of American Ballet, and the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, she went on to dance with the Russian State Ballet, Moscow Renaissance Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Hong Kong Ballet, BalletMet, and had the unique experience of appearing as a guest artist with the National Ballet of Turkmenistan. Notable roles danced include the title role in Giselle, Kitri in Don Quixote, principal roles in George Balanchine’s Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux and Donizetti Variations, and the central pas de deux in Todd Bolender’s Arena. Jennifer has choreographed over forty works for the Owen/Cox Dance Group, as well as nine works for Kansas City Ballet’s “In the Wings” choreographic workshop, and created the winning entry for the 2006 Columbus Choreography Project. Owen is the recipient of a 2000 Princess Grace Honorarium.

In 2006, after a 13-year international ballet career, Jennifer co-founded Owen/Cox Dance Group with composer Brad Cox. The ensemble is committed to creating and performing new and innovative dance works in collaboration with nationally recognized dancers, musicians, and visual artists. The group’s mission is to create new music and dance collaborations, to present high-quality contemporary dance performances with live music, and to engage as wide an audience as possible through affordable live performances and education and outreach programs. With this mission in mind, founders Owen and Cox bring together some of the most talented artists from Kansas City and around the country, representing a variety of genres, to perform contemporary dance with live music. The collaborative results speak for themselves: fresh and vibrant new works that are classical in form, but contemporary in expression.

Since Owen/Cox Dance Group’s debut performance in 2007, the company’s accomplishments include: two world premieres commissioned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, creative partnerships with newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, Charlotte Street Foundation, The People’s Liberation Big Band, Ensemble Ibérica, YWCA of Greater Kansas City, Bach Aria Soloists, Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and Paseo Academy, collaborations with artists Peregrine Honig, Peggy Noland, Mark Southerland, and NEA Fellow Nate Fors, participation in annual events Spring to Dance Festival, Modern Night at the Folly, New Dance Partners, Festival on the Vine, and Dance in the Park, and launching of Take the Stage, an educational program providing year-long dance instruction to elementary school students in the Kansas City area. The company has been proud to serve as fiscal sponsor for Kansas City Dance Festival since 2013.

    Andrea Schermoly – WORLD PREMIERE


Andrea Schermoly (Andi) was born in South Africa where she first started training at the National School of the Arts in Johannesburg under the direction of Vyvyan Llorayne. Andi also competed around the world as a member of The South African Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Team. She received a full scholarship to Rambert Ballet and Contemporary School in London and shortly thereafter a full scholarship to The Royal Ballet School in London, where she completed her dance education. After graduation, she joined Boston Ballet Company. While dancing in Boston, she danced leads in ballets ‘Ginastera’ by Rudi van Dantzig and ‘Sharp Side of Dark’ by Jorma Elo. She was invited to join Netherlands Dance Theater in Holland. She had the extraordinary experience of performing existing repertoire as well as new creations by choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Mats Ek, Paul Lightfoot/Sol Leon, Ohad Naharin, Hans van Manen, Alexander Ekman and many other great contemporary choreographers.

After directing the contemporary department at The Marat Daukayev School of Ballet, L.A., Andi has gone on to choreograph full time. She has choreographed for Festival Ballet Theater, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Ballet Theatre Afrikan, NDT Workshops, Quixotic Fusion Company, Boston Ballet 2, Joffrey Ballet School as well as over 80 solos and group pieces for students attending dance competitions such as YAGP throughout the US and Europe. She was awarded the “Outstanding Choreographer” award in both 2012 and 2013 at Youth America Grand Prix and in 2014 YAGP was awarded the “Emerging Choreographer” grant to choreograph at Lincoln Center at YAGP’s 15th anniversary gala 2014 evening, choreographing on dancers Maria Kochetkova (principal San Francisco Ballet) and Joaquin de Luz (principal New York City Ballet). The piece was a huge success and has since been re-staged at ‘Buenos Aires International Dance Festival’, Argentina and ‘Stars of the 21st Century Gala’ in the Champs Élysées, Paris. Andi has choreographed for feature films and commercials in Hollywood including ‘Beautiful Now’, ‘Budweiser Superbowl Commercial’ and ‘Star Trek into Darkness’. She has upcoming company commissions with Kansas City Ballet, Louisville Ballet, Joburg Ballet and Boston Ballet. She also choreographs for principal dancers from various companies attending festivals and galas.

Christopher Wheeldon – Suite from Polyphonia


Christopher Wheeldon, (born March 22, 1973, Yeovil, Somerset, Eng.), British-born ballet soloist and choreographer, known for his work with the New York City Ballet and its connected institution, the School of American Ballet. In his work Wheeldon shunned trendiness and preferred the classical and lyrical to the more contemporary.

Wheeldon was first attracted to ballet when he saw the chicken dance in a production of La Fille mal gardée on television. He began taking classes, first in a local school and later at London’s Royal Ballet School. There he began creating dances and winning awards for them. At age 17 he won the Prix de Lausanne competition’s gold medal with a program that included one of his own pieces.

In 1991 Wheeldon entered the corps de ballet of the Royal Ballet, where he spent two years. While on a trip to New York City during a company break, he was persuaded to take a class with New York City Ballet (NYCB), and at the end of the class he was offered a job with that company. In 1993, after he finished his contract with the Royal Ballet, he entered the NYCB corps. He appeared in such ballets as Dances at a Gathering, The Four Temperaments, Chaconnne, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Nutcracker, The Concert, and The Goldberg Variations. He originated roles in a number of other works, among them West Side Story Suite, La Stravaganza, Brandenburg, Reliquary, and Episodes and Sarcasms. Along the way, he was promoted to soloist.

Wheeldon also choreographed for the School of American Ballet for such performances as Le Voyage (1994) and Danses bohémiennes (1996). In 1997 his first work for NYCB, Slavonic Dances, was presented to wide acclaim. Wheeldon also choreographed Scenes de Ballet for the School of American Ballet; it premiered in 1999. Set to music by Igor Stravinsky, it featured more than 60 children in a classroom setting and for the most part was choreographed to give the illusion of dancers and their mirror images. One scene, however, depicted a rapturous fantasy pas de deux “imagined” by one of the children as she gazed into a mirror.

As his reputation grew, Wheeldon received invitations from other ballet troupes such as the San Francisco Ballet, Colorado Ballet, and Boston Ballet, and in late 1999 it was announced that he had been appointed Boston Ballet’s principal guest choreographer. He also supplied some of the original choreography for the motion pictures Center Stage (2000), Ballets russes (2005), and The Sleeping Beauty (2008). In 2007 Wheeldon founded a dance company, Morphoses/Wheeldon Company, in collaboration with former New York City Ballet principal dancer Lourdes Lopez. When Wheeldon left the organization in 2010, Lopez carried on and continued to direct the company then renamed simply Morphoses.