Kennesaw State University Choreographic Residency

The KSU Choreographic Residency program invites two nationally-emerging or mid-career choreographers to the Department of Dance each summer for a four-week residency to create two world premieres with the KSU Dance Company. Invited choreographers will audition and select dancers, preferably for ten students, for which they will create an original choreographic 30-minute group work. The residency culminates in two fully produced pieces, presented as a double bill in our state-of-the-art KSU Dance Theater. A panel of industry and university professionals will review and select choreographers. The department will announce the recipients of this residency in the spring. 

The residency is designed to support the creative process of emerging or mid-career artists with an emphasis on innovation and movement invention. The goal of the residency is to increase students' access to the professional practice of dance while further enhancing and enriching their dance education at KSU. The resident choreographers receive a $5,000 honorarium. Housing, travel, and per diem are included in the honorarium. The Dance Department will provide additional travel funds of up to $1,000 to return to KSU at the beginning of the fall term for rehearsals and performances.   
This program is made possible by the Eleo Pomare–Glenn Conner Dance Endowment, which is funded by a generous gift from Jay and Debra Yunek. The Eleo Pomare-Glenn Conner Dance Endowment honors their late uncle, Glenn Conner, and his partner, Eleo Pomare. Eleo Pomare was known for his artistic range and his innovative approach to choreography. He was a prolific choreographer whose work often focused on instances of social inequality and injustice.  

Eleo Pomare–Glenn Connor Dance Endowment

The choreographic residency is made possible by the Eleo Pomare–Glenn Connor Dance Endowment

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How do I apply for residency?


A CV outlining choreographic history 

A description of the proposed work

Two complete works (not excerpts). One sample must be a group work.

Three references

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2024 Choreographers

Christian Denice

Christian Denice

Christian Denice is a dancer and choreographer originally from Los Angeles, California. His professional dance experience includes Odyssey Dance Theatre, River North Dance Chicago, and BJM Danse (Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal). Christian was named one of the top ten male dancers of 2010 by Time Out Chicago and recognized as a notable Chicago dancer of 2010 by the Chicago Tribune. As an artist, Christian seeks to examine and unravel the mysteries of the human experience by way of dance and dance making. His work is driven by emotion and reaction, and the process becomes an incubator for researching how humans live, breathe, interact, connect, and engage in the world we are living in. Christian is passionate about making dance that is thought provoking and allows both dancers and audiences the invitation to take part in a reflection of sensations in this world, and hopefully gain new perspectives and opinions on not only art, but their place in this world.

As a choreographer, he has created new works for such companies and organizations as Nevada Ballet Theatre, Moving Arts with dancers of Kansas City Ballet and Cincinnati Ballet, Chamber Dance Project, Odyssey Dance Theatre, DanceWorks Chicago, Interlochen Center for the Arts, the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, Western Michigan University, Modern America Dance Company, Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, Wright State University, Kit Modus, Dance Lab New York, Santa Barbara City College, Manhattanville College, and Dreyfoos School for the Arts. As a dance educator, Christian brings his movement language both nationally and internationally, and has been on faculty with Modas Dance, Open Doors Dance Festival, EPIC Dance Utah, Eisenhower Dance Detroit NEWdanceFEST, Kansas City Jazz Dance Fest, DanceWorks Chicago Dance360, AXIS Connect Los Angeles, Peridance Center in New York City, and SALT Dance Link Festival. Christian was the 2015 winner of the University of South Florida's Echo Choreographic Competition and selected as one of the three choreographers for the Joffrey Academy's Winning Works Choreographic competition in 2016.

Christian works for Greek choreographer Andonis Foniadakis, restaging his work for companies throughout the United States and Europe, as well as dancing in his production of “Salema Revisited” which premiered in Athens, Greece in 2021. Christian worked with New York City based filmmaker Alexander Sargent on a dance film of his work “Dwellings” created on Chamber Dance Project which premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in October 2022. Christian served as Artist in Residence at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland from 2021-2023. Christian made his Broadway debut in “The Little Prince '' which opened in New York in 2021 and most recently served as répétiteur and rehearsal director for Texas based contemporary company ISHIDA Dance.

Tristian Griffin

A native of Kansas City, Mo., Tristian Griffin graduated from Texas Christian University with a degree in Ballet and a minor in English. While at TCU, his choreography was selected to participate in American Dance College Association’s regional conference and a semi-finalist for nationals. Following graduation, Tristian began his professional career and danced with Garth Fagan Dance Company, Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company, the Metropolitan Opera House (NYC), and Springboard Danse Montreal.

In 2019, Tristian reconnected with his passion for choreography by starting his dance company, Tristian Griffin Dance Company. His company has performed in Kansas City, Lawrence KS, Newport RI, Philadelphia PA, St. Louis MO, Kalamazoo MI, and San Diego CA. TGDC has appeared at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Charlotte Street Foundation, Newport Dance Festival, Kemper Contemporary Museum, and International Dance Festival.

As a choreographer, Tristian has been commissioned by over 15 professional companies, universities, art galleries, and pre-professional institutions. His most recent commissions include Kennesaw University, Newport Contemporary Ballet (Island Moving Company), Peabody Institute of The John Hopkins University, Wylliams-Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Malashock Dance Company, and the University of Kansas.

Most recently, he taught full-time as a visiting professor of practice at the University of Kansas and a guest teaching artist at the University of Missouri Kansas City. From 2019 to 2023, he was awarded artist-in-residence at Lawrence Arts Center. Tristian is a recipient of the Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellowship. In 2024, he will pursue his MFA at Duke University, studying Dance in Composition with an emphasis in Black Studies.

Tristian Griffin

Previous Choreographers

  • Lior Lazarof(she/her) is an Israeli dance artist. Studied in the Sadna- professional dance program located in Kibbutz Ga'aton, and Graduated from The Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance 2016. She then moved to Europe to further her artistic research. Lior developed her body of work with the support of Life Long Burning, SIN culture center(HU) and L1 association(HU). 

    Lior Lazarof

    She was awarded residences by Divadlo Dance Theater- Slovakia, Ultima Vez Dance Company- Brussels, Kinitiras- Athens, Workshop Foundation- Budapest, Faber- Spain, Stage Center- Tel Aviv, and was commissioned to create work by Haifa Museum, Cialo/Umsyl foundation(PL), and Jaffa to Agripas Dance festival.

    Her work has been presented in Poland, Spain, Czech Republic, Canada, Bulgaria, to name a few. Lior taught and set her choreographic work for various professional and non-professional dance programs world-wide. 

    In 2019, she was selected as an Emerging Choreographer in Springboard Danse Montreal, and in 2022, she was selected for the ATLAS program for choreographers in Impulstanz. 

    Lior is a member of The Israeli Choreographers’ Association.

  • Australian-born, Nicola Wills started her dance training in Adelaide, South Australia, where she developed her passion for performing a variety of dance styles. In 2009, Nicola completed her tertiary schooling and achieved her South Australian Certificate for Education (SACE) in Dance and Choreography and in Visual and Dramatic Arts with an Honours grade. After winning the RAD Kathleen Short Memorial Award and the silver medal in the RAD Genée awards in Singapore, Nicola started her professional dancing career in Queensland Ballet’s Trainee program in 2010 under the direction of François Klaus. Moving to Europe in 2012, Nicola danced briefly with Dortmund Ballet, Germany, before moving in 2013  to the Ballet van Vlaanderen in Belgium, formally known as Royal Ballet of Flanders. She was promoted to Demi-soloist in 2017 and is currently still dancing. 

    Nicola Wills

    Through her time as a professional Nicola has worked in a broad spectrum of full-length classical repertoire, and in a timely manner became more exposed and invested in contemporary dance and modern dance approaches.

    Through her time with the Ballet van Vlaanderen she has had the opportunity to dance contemporary repertoire and creations from renowned choreographers such as William Forsythe, Crystal Pite, Sidi Larbi Cherkoui, Ohad Naharin, Akram Khan, Jiří Kylián, Alexander Ekman, Pina Bausch, Martha Graham, Johan Inger, Anne-Theresa de Keersmaker, Merce Cunningham, Wayne McGregor, Andonis Fondiadakis, and many more, performing on many international stages, film, galas and festivals.

    This variety of repertoire has exposed her to many choreographic dance methods such as Gaga, Limon technique, Cunningham method, Graham method, Forsythe improvisation methods, Stream Flo methods (Heidi Vierthaler), and Counter technique (Anouk van Dijk).

  • Tsai Hsi Hung
    Tsai Hsi Hung graduated from Taipei National University of the Arts 2011. In 2009, she traveled to Australia as an exchange student for the Dance at Queensland Technology University Dance Department. She has worked with the Australian Dance Theater, Tasdance, Expressions Dance Company, and Chunky Move Dance Company Dancers.

    In 2020, Hung received a Choreography Fellowship from the New Jersey Council on the Arts. Shortly after, Hung's work was selected by the Joffrey Academy of Dance for their Spring 2020 Winning Works performance in Chicago. Hung was invited to Taipei National Dance Theater to perform New work this July 2020. Hung's most recent work will be featured in Ballet X's 2020-2021 season. In 2021, Hung won Western Michigan University's National Choreography Competition and will premiere a new work in 2022.  For Ballet X's 2022 Season, Hung will create a new work for their dancers through the Ballet X Choreographer Fellowship. Battery Dance of New York will also premiere an original work in the summer of 2022, inspired by the paintings of Hans Hofmann. Hung will be in residence at Kennesaw State University, Georgia, in the summer of 2022 to create new work for the students of their dance department. 

    Hung teaches the open class at the Peridance Capezio Dance Center and NYU Tisch Dance and /MOVE|NYC|, and is the director of the Queens Ballet Center/QBC Company in New York.

  • Chuck Wilt
    Chuck Wilt is the Artistic Director of UNA Productions. Chuck has been a choreographic fellow of the Ailey Foundation NDCL, a recipient of the Rainin Opportunity Fund, and an Artist in Residence at The Launchpad, 92nd St. Y, CUNY Dance Initiative/Brooklyn College, Fusion International:Japan, Berkeley Ballet Theater and RoundAntennae.

    UNA's work has been presented by the Chutzpah! Festival in Vancouver, Sointula and Alert Bay, the 92nd St. Y, Fusion International, Dance Initiative, Movement Research, Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out and co-presented by ODC Theater, among others. 

    Most recently, UNA has been co-commissioned by The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for the premiere of Grass is Green in 2022 and received support from US Artists International to tour new work to Jerusalem. Wilt has taught, created and set repertory internationally for universities, training programs, summer programs, professional companies, youth companies, high schools, and professional dancers. Chuck graduated from NYU Tisch. 

  • Annalee Traylor
    Annalee Traylor is a NYC-based freelance creator/choreographer and educator. She is a high school graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts and received her BFA with honors from Point Park University. Her live work has been presented at numerous venues in cities nationally and abroad including Los Angeles, NYC, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Huntsville, Texas, and Rotterdam, Netherlands, and her films have been shown in Seattle, Temecula, Brooklyn, Rome, Minnesota, and at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina.

    She has been commissioned by Periapsis Music and Dance, Texture Contemporary Ballet, REED Dance, Infra Dance Company of Carnegie Mellon, Point Park University's International Summer Dance, DanceCanvas, and Voices Carry Inc., and she has been awarded residencies through Terra Nova, Periapsis Music and Dance, Highways Performance Space, and the Dance Gallery Festival. Most recently, she was named Outstanding Choreographer at the 2020 Youth America Grand Prix regionals.

    Annalee feels a personal responsibility and finds joy in sharing her passion and knowledge with younger generations. She has taught master classes throughout the United States and been on faculty at schools on the east and west coasts. Guest teaching credits include: Carnegie Mellon University, Sam Houston State University, Point Park University, Slippery Rock University, Dekalb School of the Arts, and The Creative and Performing Arts High School in Pittsburgh among others.
  • Omar Román De Jesús
    Omar Román De Jesús (he/him), originally from Bayamón, Puerto Rico, is a recipient of the 2020 Jacob's Pillow Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellowship. He has been commissioned twice by Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico to create work for the International Dance Festival of Puerto Rico, where he was awarded the Ambassador of Dance medal.

    Omar has won choreographic competitions including the Joffrey Academy of Dance's Winning Works Choreographic Competition and Whim W’Him’s Choreographic Shindig, and received awards including the Audience Award at The Dance Gallery Festival, 1st place prize at the Reverb Dance Festival, and the Parsons Dance GenerationNOW Commission for their 2017 Joyce Season. He has also created work for Jacob Jonas The Company and educational institutions such as The Ailey School, James Madison University, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

    His work was presented at the 2020 CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work Contemporary Dance Festival and will be presented, online and live, at the upcoming PRISMA International Dance Festival in Panama, the Jerusalem International Choreographic Competition, and the Palm Desert Choreography Festival. Omar will be creating a new work on Bruce Wood Dance this upcoming March

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