Performance: Unorthodox

Monday, April 26 @ 6:00 pm CST
Wednesday, April 28 @ 6:00 pm CST

Choreographer: Ariel Grossman
Company: Ariel Rivka Dance
Performers: Caitlyn Casson, Casie Marie O’Kane, Danita Shaheen, Hana Ginsburg Tirosh
Cinematography and Editing: Melissa Wu
Costumes: Ariel Grossman
Music: Original Music Composition by Stefania de Kenessey

Artist’s Statement: As a mother of two there are many times I feel completely in control, well managed, loving and open; while other times I find myself angry, hurt, and distracted. These emotional characteristics have greatly informed my creative development in the past few years and I find serenity and solitude in recognizing the ecology of emotions and living with them day to day. As an artist, a mother, and a Jewish woman, I have a strong voice and the opportunity to share with the world, speaking for underrepresented communities through expressive movement and patterns. Collaborating with composer Stefania de Kenessey to create an original score inspired by the drive and tradition of Klezmer music, Unorthodox speaks to the juxtaposition of grungy raw realness and the simple polite versions of ourselves we often portray to the world. What happens when you unzip the dress to breathe? The name is inspired from the book with the same title about a woman who leaves a very strict hasidic sect.


Ariel Grossman founded Ariel Rivka Dance in 2008. Born and raised in New York City, she trained at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art & the Performing Arts and at the Joffrey Ballet School under the direction of Gerald Arpino. She earned a B.S. in Dance, with honors, and a Minor in Women’s Studies from Skidmore College. Her work has been presented at Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York Live Arts, Gordon Center, BAM Fisher, Kaplan Theatre, NJPAC, Dixon Place, Rutgers University, Gershman Y, Saratoga Dance Museum and more. Ariel is drawn to dancers with strong technique who are willing to take creative risks and collaborate. She draws inspiration from the struggles and joys of the human experience, particularly finding emotional depth through being a woman and a mother. She and the dancers work together to transform these emotions into shapes and stories. Ariel encourages dancers to bring themselves to the work—molding pieces that are striking, evocative, and layered.

Ariel Rivka Dance (ARD) is a critically acclaimed all-female contemporary dance company based in New Jersey led by Artistic/Executive Director Ariel Grossman. ARD’s mission is to champion female creatives through original choreography, commissioned music, and curated family and educational programming. Drawing from Grossman’s personal experiences as a Jewish woman, mother, and choreographer, the company shares stories that resonate with a broad audience. The company has toured Philadelphia, PA, Vero Beach, FL, Houston, TX, Cleveland, OH, Baltimore, MD, and throughout New York and New Jersey presenting movement that creates a community of vulnerability and acceptance, providing opportunities for hope and connection. Ariel Rivka Dance is the recipient of grants from Jersey City Council of the Arts, Dance/NYC,  Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a Nathan Cummings Foundation grant.

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