Tag Archives: MamLuft&Co. Dance

Mutual Dance Theatre (Formerly MamLuft&Co. Dance) to Perform Live in |S|P|A|C|E|, April 16 – May 1, 2021

CINCINNATI, OHIO — Mutual Dance Theatre, Cincinnati’s resident Modern Dance company formerly known as MamLuft&Co. Dance, makes its premiere under its new name. This COVID-conscious event will take place live at the organization’s new home in Hartwell (8222 Monon Ave, 45216).


Steven P. Evans, choreographer and Company Director. Photography by Jeanne Mam-Luft.

MūDa choreographer Steven P. Evans and the company jump off of pandemic-induced conditions to explore what it means to feel deserving of a claim to space.

The Modern Dance performance will be like none other, taking place in a unique, studio setting featuring a long, translucent, plastic curtain that defines areas, but also hides and reveals.

Evans, a highly talented Cincinnati-native who worked with well-known Modern Dance choreographers in New York City before returning to Cincinnati, likens the dance performance to a journal entry. Through it, he and the Company process some of the conditions we find ourselves in during the COVID-19 pandemic and how metaphorical masking and distancing had been the norm for many prior to it, such as LGBTQ+ persons attempting to blend-in.

Evans struggled in his youth with severe depression as he attempted to hide his sexual identity. A revelation came to him during COVID-19 that masking was all too familiar to him, and from masking comes separation and misunderstandings. And, from social distancing comes isolation and the familiar loss of critical human connection.

Evans writes:
“So many people attempt to retreat from their spaces: hiding behind what they can…they don’t — like I didn’t — think they even deserved space for themselves…Each dancer in this work represents various aspects of self-camouflage, and each is cloaked in misinterpretations.”


Promotional image for |S|P|A|C|E|, choreographed by Steven P. Evans in collaboration with the Mutual Dance Theatre performers.

When audiences enter the performance space, they are immediately transported into a unique theater experience. They will share space with an enormous plastic curtain — reminiscent of biohazards in films, but also familiar as plastic dividers that have been erected by businesses to protect their workers from the virus. This curtain divides the area and changes during the performance. Audience members can vaguely see what is happening on the other side of the curtain, but given the lack of clarity, masks worn by all, and socially-distanced pod seating, each person immediately feels separation and thus palpably enters into Evans’ world.

The plastic curtain works as a player in this work in multiple ways: it is an intentional homage to COVID-19, it blurs views, it reveals, and it delineates space as very personal or very impersonal.

The performance will take place in a large studio at Mutual Arts Center, the organization’s new home in Hartwell, quickly accessible from I-75 and other local routes by just a 15 minute drive from most parts of the city. Parking on-site is free and ADA-accessible. The organization is fundraising for renovations to fully complete the transformation of the space into a performance studio theater.

In this performance, Mutual Dance Theatre (formerly MamLuft&Co. Dance) introduces several new performers previously unseen by Cincinnati audiences: Hannah Neff, Rowan Salem, Jacob Shade, Jasmine Snellen, and Emma Raney (guest artist); in addition to Hannah Williamson and Claire Dieringer who return from previous seasons. Click here for photos.

Performances are Fridays at 8pm & Saturdays at 3pm & 8pm.

Tickets are $60-$125 depending on the size of your pod and are available online at https://www.mutualdance.org/archive/space/

COVID-19 Considerations
Seats will be sold in distanced “pods” wherein a household can share a cluster of 4-5 seats and will be spaced safely from other “pods.” Masks will be worn by all persons: performers, audience members, and front-of-house. COVID-19 screening will take place upon entry, with temperature checks, a masks-required-at-all-times explanation/reminder, and questions regarding symptoms and exposure. More information can be found at mutualdance.org/space#covid.

Mutual Dance Theatre was founded to create more access to Modern Dance. We believe that all income levels should have the pleasure of attending live performances. Free admission will be provided to persons of low-income.  Patrons are encouraged to contact the organization at 513.494.6526 or hello@mutualarts.org for assistance.


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Contemporary Dance Theater and MamLuft&Co. Dance to Merge to Form MUTUAL DANCE THEATRE

ML&Co. takes new name MUTUAL DANCE THEATRE first and announces new arts center, Modern Dance academy, and lead artists

June 22, 2020 CINCINNATI, OHIO — Contemporary Dance Theater (“CDT,” est. 1972) and MamLuft&Co. Dance (“ML&Co.,” est. 2007) will be merging by Fall 2021. MamLuft&Co. Dance will take the new name MUTUAL DANCE THEATRE first, effective immediately.

AW_Made Possibly byThe merged organization will be led by MamLuft&Co. Dance’s Artistic and Executive Director, Jeanne Mam-Luft. Contemporary Dance Theater’s founder Jefferson James will retire as Artistic Director Emeritus and continue to lend consultation. ArtsWave has made the merger possible through a $30,000 grant, supporting the idea that a merger between the organizations will lead to more sustainable advancement of Modern Dance.

Jefferson James says about the decision to step down and to pursue the merger:

“This was not an easy decision to make, but I thought the time was right. There is so much change happening in the field of live performance now that one more change seemed appropriate. I will miss the joys of directing my dance organization, but I’m confident I’m leaving the mission of CDT in the hands and heart of an equally dedicated and supremely talented leader. Her job will be to combine the organizations and make an even stronger dance presence in our community than we’ve had.”

Jefferson James founded Contemporary Dance Theater in 1972 in Cincinnati after leaving Juilliard and New York City, where she trained with the Modern Dance founders and legends José Limón, Martha Graham Dance Company, and Merce Cunningham. While CDT began as a performing repertory company, it eventually became the major presenter of Modern Dance in Cincinnati, as well as an arts service organization which has provided resources to many individual artists and fledgling companies, like MamLuft&Co. Dance, for 47 years. Contemporary Dance Theater was also a founding member of the now-extensive National Performance Network, which supports the presentation, creation, and touring of contemporary arts around the country while advocating for social justice and social equity. (Archival photography and more about CDT’s history can be found at vdc.ohiodance.org/exhibits/cdt.htm.)

MDT_CDT Park Dance

Contemporary Dance Theater in Park Dance at Fountain Square, 1980. Photo by Jan Van Dyke.

Contemporary Dance Theater and MamLuft&Co. Dance have a long history with each other, starting with ML&Co.’s very first company auditions held at CDT’s studio in 2007. Since then, James has been a mentor to ML&Co. founder Jeanne Mam-Luft, who also later served as James’ assistant director from 2010-2014. As the only self-described Modern Dance company in Cincinnati since 2007, MamLuft&Co. Dance has worked to encourage the presence and consistent work of professionals in Modern Dance.

Jeanne Mam-Luft says about CDT and leader Jefferson James:

“Contemporary Dance Theater — and, really, that means Jefferson — has been absolutely integral to MamLuft&Co. Dance. I’ve never met another person who has single-handedly held up a genre of art for an entire city for as long as Jefferson has. When people call her the ‘mother of Modern Dance in Cincinnati’ (and I know she hates the term), they do it with good reason. My organization — actually, the city — owes so much to her, and it’s an immense honor to be trusted with continuing her work. We both have a deep, deep love for Modern Dance and for Cincinnati, and I know that there is no other work that either of us want to be doing.”

Mam-Luft, a refugee of the Cambodian genocide, is one of only several Asians who are leading arts organizations in Cincinnati. Her vision centers on increasing access and the representation of people of color.

More merger details

  • The two organizations will complete the merger over the next season, to be completed by the fall of 2021.
  • Contemporary Dance Theater will continue to operate separately until the merger is effectively complete. MamLuft&Co. Dance will be known as Mutual Dance Theatre immediately.
  • After fall of 2021, the flagship program of CDT, the presentation of touring companies will be called The Jefferson James Contemporary Dance Theater Series.
  • The merged organization will expand and deepen its service to local artists.
  • Both CDT and ML&Co./MDT invite the public’s counsel. The organizations are looking for diverse community voices to help re-envision the future. The public can join the effort by visiting mutualdance.org/join.
  • Donations can be made at mutualdance.org/mergerdonate.

MDT_Arts Center Redering

Model by Andrea Fernando and David Eppele, rendering by Jeanne Mam-Luft.

The Arts Centers: The Hart and The Hill
MamLuft&Co. Dance, in December of 2019 before the pandemic, purchased a 1.5 acre property in the Hartwell area. The organization, now to be known as Mutual Dance Theatre, announces the new arts center. Affectionately termed “The Hart,” the center allows the organization to fulfill its vision of becoming a neighborhood-based community arts center that also creates space specifically for Modern Dance. At the new headquarters, the organization will work to bridge neighboring communities (such Wyoming, Roselawn, Bond Hill, and Carthage) through creative placemaking collaborations and initiatives.

(The rendering above depicts a vision for the center’s improvements.)

Contemporary Dance Theater has been the city’s steward of the College Hill Town Hall since 1999. Under Mutual Dance Theatre management, this arts center (“The Hill”) will continue to serve Modern Dance as one of the very few spaces in Cincinnati appropriate for the genre.

The organization will raise $750,000, which will cover amongst other capital expenses, the creation of black box theater designed specifically for Modern Dance in the Hartwell center, as well as essential updates (including adding much-needed air conditioning) in the College Hill facility.

Tax-deductible donations can be made at mutualdance.org/mergerdonate.

Photo by Splendiferously FOTO&LTRPRS

The city’s first Modern Dance academy
Mutual Dance Theatre (as the former MamLuft&Co. Dance) is also proud to announce the establishment of the city’s first Modern Dance academy. The Academy will provide rigorous training for Cincinnati’s youth who seek college degrees in Modern Dance and eventual professional appointments. The Modern Dance academy will provide not only training, but mentorship, resources, connections, and invaluable experiences in preparation for university study. The Academy’s goal is to present racially-diverse, scholarship-worthy, exceptionally-talented cohorts of young dancers to university dance departments.

Artistic changes and appointments
Mutual Dance Theatre (as the former MamLuft&Co. Dance) also announces a transition to a repertory company who will restage works by national choreographers, while continuing support and collaborative opportunities for the Company Members. New Company Members will be announced later this summer, but the organization now announces several artistic promotions.

MDT_Snellen and Evans

Jasmine Snellen (Louisville, Kentucky) and Steven Evans (Dayton, Ohio) are promoted to Company Directors. The two will take Jeanne Mam-Luft’s place in daily rehearsal and company leadership, providing fresh lead choreography and exciting new creative direction. The two are extraordinary movement-makers who joined ML&Co. in 2019 and 2013, respectively.

A graduate of Wright State University, Hannah Williamson joined MamLuft&Co. Dance in 2017, but began studying in the organization’s summer intensives as just a teenager. Williamson is promoted to Rehearsal Director of the professional company, as well as the Academy’s senior ensemble, in recognition of her outstanding talent.

MDT_Susan Honer

Raised in Virginia and graduate of the Hollins University/American Dance Festival Master of Fine Arts program, Honer first danced with MamLuft&Co. Dance in 2010. Since then, Honer has been a luminous contributor of artistic vision and choreography. Honer, who led the professional company from 2016-2019, will continue on as a Resident Choreographer and Associate Curator of presentations.

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Auditions Announced for MamLuft&Co. Dance

MAM_AuditionsSunday, March 15, 2020

  • 9-10am Individual Warm-ups and check-in
  • 10am-12pm Open Audition
  • 1-3pm Call Backs

8222 Monon Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45216

Fee: $20 deposit. Those who attend will receive their fee back!!!


MamLuft&Co. Dance, a progressive modern dance company in Cincinnati, Ohio, seeks intelligent and skilled dancers who possess a strong commitment to in-depth rehearsal processes and the development of original dance within an ensemble.

The Company seeks experienced, mature dancers with strong training and experience in modern and “post-modern” techniques, including release techniques, weight share/partnering, and somatic practices.

More information: mlco.org/audition

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Audition Call for Modern Dancers at MamLuft&Co. Dance

ML&CO logoAudition call for Modern Dancers!

When: Saturday March 30, 2019, 11am-1:30pm and 3-5pm Call backs
Where: Contemporary Dance Theatre (1805 Larch Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45224)
Fee: $20

Pre-registration is required. Request audition packet.

MamLuft&Co. Dance, a progressive modern dance company in Cincinnati, Ohio, auditions annually for intelligent and skilled dancers who possess a strong commitment to the rehearsal process and the development of original dance in an ensemble.

The Company seeks experienced, mature dancers with strong training and experience in modern and “post-modern” techniques, including release techniques, weight share/partnering, and somatic practices.

Successful applicants will be invited to join a community, in which all members — regardless of their roles on stage — are responsible for creating, producing, and public relations in/for a grassroots organization.

Applicants should be committed to being an integral part of the development and advancement of a young, but exceptional organization. The season’s in-depth and extended process takes place over a ~40-45 week season.

Experienced adults and serious inquiries only. MamLuft&Co. Dance prefers not to enlist students who are still in college, but may do so in exceptional cases.


Video Pre-Screen
Applicants are welcome to send Artistic Director Jeanne Mam-Luft (jeanne@mamluftcodance.org) video links of dancers in class, performance, and/or rehearsal. Use the subject line: “Video audition pre-screen.” Jeanne will let you know if she recommends you attend in person or not. We strongly encourage sending videos that are in-line with MamLuft&Co. Dance’s aesthetic, which you can get a sense of at vimeo.com/mamluftcodance or facebook.com/mamluftcodance.

When to Audition
Preferred: attend open audition on Saturday, March 30, 2019 (11-1:30pm and 3:00-5:00pm call backs).

Less preferred: by appointment before May 2019 or June 3 and 4 at the Summer Workshop/Intensive, if positions are still available.

Rehearsals for the 2019-2020 season may begin as early as June 23.

How to proceed
Please request an audition packet from jeanne@mlco.org to register and/or make an appointment.

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MamLuft&Co. Dance to premiere ICEMAN 3000

ML&C_Iceman 3000 promo

Susan Honer of MamLuft&Co. Dance and Sean Simon

An original work co-presented by the Contemporary Arts Center
May 24-26, 2018
with support from the National Endwoment for the Arts

Cincinnati, Ohio — MamLuft&Co.’s newest work ICEMAN 3000 is based on the story of Ötzi, the 5,300 year old mummified “iceman” discovered by hikers in the Austrian Alps in 1991. The Ötzi discovery was stunning for the body and belongings incredibly preserved in the ice. But while the biological and physical materials draw our immediate attention, the true significance of the find emerges as the man and his surrounding block of ice enter into the scientists’ (and our) speculative imaginations. The narrative of the man, his times, and his death constitute the true treasure gradually extracted from the ice.

Choreographer Susan Honer and sculpture artist/composer Sean Simonwill reimagine the iceman story in the year 3000 A.D. with dance, sculpture, and sound. Using the Ötzi discovery and deciphering of the remains and artifacts, as well as the forensics and fantasies of murder as a framework, ICEMAN 3000 imagines a new discovery set in a land where the earth’s climate has changed significantly. Human culture is aquatic and these futuristic beings find a chunk of ice containing a body (and its possessions) from 2018. The dancers interact with the sculpture and body in an effort to imagine what 21st century life, culture, and dance might look like to humans living many millennia into the future, and how this iceman met his demise.

MamLuft&o. Dance’s second new work of the 2017-2018 season is funded with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtsWave (fueled by the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign), and The Ohio Arts Council (made possible by state tax dollars that support quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically).

ICEMAN 3000 will be presented in the iconic fifth floor gallery of the Contemporary Arts Center.

This presentation is co-presented by the Contemporary Arts Center and is presented in conjunction with the installation Deep North by Chris Larson as part of his larger exhibition Function Is Redundant. Deep North documents the performance of a medieval looking machine inhabiting a frozen shotgun house that turns into a rhythmic apparatus as it moves chunks of ice from one end of the house to the other. (Honer’s work will echo the “shotgun” house of Larson’s exhibit by composing the dance along the length of the gallery.)

Performances take place Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:30pm; Friday, May 25, 2018 7:30pm; and Saturday, May 26, 2018 2:00pm. Tickets are $15 for CAC Members. Tickets for the general public are $15 before May 21st and $20 after.

More information can be found at MLCo.org/iceman. Tickets are available from the Contemporary Arts Center at 44 E. 6th Street, 513.345.8400, or at contemporaryartscenter.org/iceman.

The performance features MamLuft&Co. Dance Company Members: Corrinne Bailey (Columbus, Ohio), Samantha Conte (Springboro, Ohio), Claire Dieringer (Lima, Ohio), Susan Honer (Roanoke, Virginia), Gabriel Martinez Rubio (Queretaro, Mexico), and Hannah Williamson (Liberty Township, Ohio).

MamLuft&Co. Dance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to bring more Modern Dance to more people through creating, advocating for, and educating in dance that is innovative, palpable, and accessible. 

MamLuft&Co. Dance’s work is supported in part by individual donors, big and small.
This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. MamLuft&Co. Dance is made possible through the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps to fund this organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. ML&Co. is a resident company at the Aronoff Center for the Arts and The Liberty Exhibition Hall (in Northside). This performance could not be possible without partnership with the Contemporary Arts Center.

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