Destination Dance launches this summer in Akron and Minneapolis


The University of Akron's Dance Program is launching Destination Dance Project this summer.

Destination Dance Project will be an annual and always-new collective of regional professional dancers, plus professional dancers and a guest choreographer from a select American city.

Led this summer by artistic director James Sewell of Minneapolis-based James Sewell Ballet, Destination Dance Project 2014: Akron+Minneapolis will premiere a new work Aug. 8-9 at the nationally known Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in Akron. The 2014 dancers will rehearse in both Akron and Minneapolis and also do a two-week high-altitude intensive in Montana.

Selected by Sewell during auditions at UA’s Center for Dance and Theatre at Guzzetta Hall in April, the Akron-region dancers are Bath native Lauren Marie Stenroos, who dances with the Dayton Ballet, Hudson resident and Stow native Laurie Nielsen, who dances with the Carolina Ballet, and Akron resident Brian Murphy, who is a guest dancer with Verb Ballets.

Completing the Destination Dance Project 2014 ensemble are Shohei Iwahama of Houston, Texas, and Sewell Ballet dancers Nicky Coelho, Chris Hannon, Anton LaMon, and Kelly Vittetoe.

Initiated by Neil Sapienza, associate dean of UA’s Fine Arts Division, Destination Dance Project is designed to connect professional dancers and audiences in Akron with dancers, choreographers and audiences in other cities, while giving professional dancers opportunities for paid employment during the summer months when they are often on hiatus. It also, says Sapienza, adds an exciting new dimension to the city of Akron’s Heinz Poll Dance Festival.

Sponsors of Destination Dance Project 2014 are The University of Akron’s Dance Program and Mary Schiller Myers Lecture Series and the city of Akron's Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival. For more information, visit the School of Dance, Theatre and Arts Administration, The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival and James Sewell Ballet.

Media contact: Cyndee Snider, 330-972-5196 or

Laurie Nielsen

Hudson resident and Stow native Laurie Nielsen, who dances with the Carolina Ballet, has been chosen for the Destination Dance Project.