dancEnlight's mission is dedicated to fostering the arts through excellence in dance, education and artistic collaboration in a tapestry of Eastern and Western culture & ideas. dancEnlight strives to enrich the community, enlighten audiences of all ages, and inspire cultural development, locally and globally.
Founded by Lorelei Chang and Mai Nakanishi in 2008, dancEnlight is currently in residence at Connecticut Concert Ballet. dancEnlight is a professional modern dance company that performs in the US & Japan under the direction of Lorelei Chang (US) and Mai Nakanishi (Japan). Ms Chang & Nakanishi draw their inspiration from their Asian background and creates cross-cultural works with inventive ideas. Their idea of combining dance and the ancient art form of Chinese calligraphy has uniquely set the company apart from others. Through artistic collaboration, dancEnlight works together with local and global artists to create lasting, high quality works of art that can be embraced by a wide range of audiences.
To Ms. Chang dancing is beyond physical and mental challenges and enjoyment; it's ENLIGHTENMENT. It is with this spiritual inspiration that the company was formed. dancEnlight performers come together and share not only stage, passion and skills, but most importantly they share their lives together and support one another.
Since 2008, dancEnlight has performed at many venues locally and globally such as Trinity College, Charter Oak Cultural Center, Mohegan Sun, Heights Of Wellness, Wadsworth Anthenuem, NBC Wellness Festival, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, 5x5 Dance Festival, The Book Festival, first ever in CT; The Hartt School, Marlborough Arts Center, South Windsor Senior Center, Greater Hartford Academy, Rebound Dance Festival, Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, The HOT school, Playhouse on Park, International Calligraphy Conference in Boston, and many venues in Japan including Yokohama Museum of Art in Tokyo.
dancEnlight provides education programs for all ages, and is committed to serve the community by performances, outreach organizations and events. dancEnlight is proud to be a part of “Hartford Perform” whose organization provides the company opportunities to perform for public schools and community service projects. The company has performed for many private and public schools as well as community service projects over the years including Farmington High School, Sedgwick School, Asian Study Academy, Granby Public Schools, Kinsella Performing Arts School, Killingworth Elementary School, Chester Elementary School, Kingswood Oxford School, South Windsor Senior Center, White Oak Retirement Center. Ms. Chang and the company are excited to share the "Dance & Calligraphy" residency program and "Ink Passion" performances. The company offers two annual Summer Intensive programs: 1) Summer Intensive for teens, adults and professional dancers 2) Summer Intensive For Youth for ages 6-8 and 9-12.
The company was granted a 501(c) 3 not for profit organization status in March, 2011. dancEnlight now has a wonderful board under the leadership of president, Dr. Steve Schutzer. In May, 2011, dancEnlight was awarded a non-matching grant from the Artist Fellowship Grant Program. This grant supported the company's world premiere, "The Way" In March 2012. dancEnlight produces annual company dance concert. With all the overwhelming feedback, dancEnlight is humbled and profoundly blessed with the support from the board, family, friends and fans, and wish to thank Connecticut Concert Ballet for offering rehearsal and class space.
dancEnlight would like to thank all our donors and supporters as well as our wonderful board members for their continued support and dedication to the company.
Company members: Leanne Baldwin, Heather Budinscak, Shelley Collock, Tessa Grunwald, Meghan McDermott, Lindsay Castonguay Hany, Christine Perry, Hannah Welsh, Haley Zdebski, and apprentice, Sara Baldwin.
Photo by Ron Compton
dancEnlight Pre-professional Company
dancEnlight formed the dancEnlight Pre-professional Company (DPPC) in September 2013. This program provides exceptional modern dance training for young dancers, ages 13 to 18, who are passionate about dance or considering dance as a profession. Under the guidance of Artistic Director, Lorelei Chang and Assistant Director, Christine Perry. dancers are given wonderful opportunities to work and perform with professional dancers, as well as local and international artists. They are able to explore the world of dance by digging deep into their creativity and developing their great potential through training, learning, creating, and performing. All dancers must attend auditions to become a dancEnlight Pre-professional Company member.. Auditions for the 2015-2016 season and Summer Intensive will be held on Sunday, 4/24, 1-3pm at Connecticut Concert Ballet. Current members are required to attend the yearly audition.
Lorelei and dancEnlight company members meet with dancers once a week on Sundays, from 12:30pm-3pm at Connecticut Concert Ballet. We work together for a total of 25 weeks. Besides training, dancers also learn company repertory as well as creating their own work. We end the year with a performance with the company.
A discounted rate is offered for all qualified pre-professional dancers, one time payment to be made on the first day of the classes; $475 for a total of 25 weeks from September 2016 to March 2017, plus minimum costume fee of $20 or less. Minimum 10 students to start pre-professional company. Dancers have the privilege to request private modern classes with the Director and company teachers, as well as obtain a scholarship for the dancEnlight's summer intensive for teens through audition. dancEnlight would provide a recommendation letter for college application by a special request.
Current members: Leanne Baldwin, Sara Baldwin, Carly Bernstein, Jordan Brunelle, Avery Casasanta, Rachel Fiedler, Alexa Files, Kelley Guerrero, Anna Murray, Elizabeth Nichols, Mara Serksnas, Rylie Shaw, Isa Simoes, Sophia Solecki, Caterina Wang, Jacob Wurst, Vanessa Naughton.
Board Of DirectorsPresident:
Dr. Steve Schutzer
Lorelei Chang--Artistic Director
Lorelei Chang was a modern dance pioneer in China in 1987. She performed and taught extensively in China and continued her career as a performer, teacher, and choreographer after moving to the United States in 1993. Her choreography was presented at the Beijing International Dance Festival in China (1990); American Dance Festival (1991); International Dance Festival in Hong Kong; and Dance Festival in India (1992); International Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT; 5x5 Dance Festival in Hartford, CT; Rebound Dance Festival in New Haven; and Built On Stilts Dance Festival in Martha’s Vineyard; Dragon Boat Asian Festival, and many other national and international venues including Tokyo, Japan, and Beijing, China. She was honored to be invited to perform with her twin sister, Mai Nakanishi for the Grand Imperial Charity Banquet hosted by the former Indonesian president's wife Dewi Sukarno in Tokyo in 2011.
Lorelei is the Artistic Director and co-founder of dancEnlight and her passion for dancing and teaching has inspired students of all ages. She has been a faculty member at Connecticut Concert Ballet since 2002, and currently teaches Yoga, Pilates and Qigong at the South Windsor Senior Center. Lorelei also teaches Chinese Calligraphy. Lorelei was a faculty member of Trinity College from 2002- 2014 and a dancer with the Full Force Dance Theater from 2002-2008. Lorelei has been a guest choreographer and teacher for Trinity College, Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Rebound Dance Festival, 5x5 Dance Festival, Miss Porter's School, Dance City, Riverdale, NY and Choate Hall and many other institutions and schools throughout Connecticut. Along with her endless dance-related work, she has a true passion for the Chinese art forms of Calligraphy, Qigong, Taiji Quan, I Ching and Chinese medicine. She has taught and performed at the National Qigong Conference. Lorelei is a certified Radiant Lotus Women Qigong instructor and a professional member of the National Qigong Association.
Photo by Zoe Macerollo
Co-Artistic Director, Guest Choreographer & Performer
Mai is Lorelei's twin sister, who is co-founder of dancEnlight based in Tokyo, Japan. She is a performer, a choreographer, a ballroom dance instructor, and Chinese calligrapher. A Beijing native, Mai Nakanishi is an internationally recognized calligraphy artist and highly skilled professional dancer. She began her calligraphy at the age of five. As an award-winning calligraphy artist, honoraries include being the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Tokyo Museum International Chinese Calligraphy Award. Aside from Calligraphy, Mai Nakanishi is a trained professional dancer and instructor. She began her dance training in classical ballet, and Chinese folk dance at age three. As a young adult, she was selected among thousands of dancers in Beijing, China to receive full scholarship, intensive dance training, at China's top dance institutions, working with and studying directly under world-class instructors and choreographers. Mai received numerous Certificates of Excellence at many dance competitions. She moved to Tokyo, Japan in 1993 and continued her profession as dancer and instructor. After graduating from the prestige Guang Dong Dance University, she became a founding member of Guang Dong Dance Company, China's first modern dance company.
Christine Perry (Company member, company, pre-professional company and Summer Intensive program teacher) graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Hartt School at the University of Hartford with a BFA in Dance Performance in the Spring of 2009. She also had the privilege to train at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance on scholarship. As well as dancing for dancEnlight, she is currently performing with Judy Dworin Performance Project and is on faculty at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts and Limelite Dance Center. Christine is excited to be performing in her 8th season with dancEnlight!
Meghan McDermott (Company member, Summer Intensive for Youth and Chinese Language School program teacher). Meghan's dance roots started in Sodus, NY where she grew up. She then moved to Hartford, CT in 2004 to attend the Hartford Conservatory. She graduated in 2006 with a double major in Dance Pedagogy and Dance Performance. After graduating Meghan started her professional dance career as a founding member with SOMA Dance Company in Hartford CT & Salida CO, under the direction of Darcie Froman-Shultz from 2006-2012. She also danced with DFX Entertainment at Mohegan Sun under the direction of Nicole Cassarino-Conlon since 2006. Meghan danced for the Sonia Plumb Dance Company from 2012-2014 and currently teaches and is the Education Associate for the company. She also worked as Choreographer/dancer for the West Hartford Community Theaterâ€™s production of â€œBroadway in Ravelloâ€ that traveled overseas to Ravello Italy to perform, as well as, Choreographed and performed in their latest production of â€œThe Producersâ€. This is her 6th season dancing with dancEnlight under the direction of Lorelei Chang.
Leanne Baldwin, has been dancing ballet since age 4 and modern since age 6. She dances at Connecticut Concert Ballet in Manchester under several teachers, including Wendy Fish-Lawrence and Lorelei Chang. In 2010, she performed in dancEnlight's production of Colors. She has taken dancEnlight's intensive program each summer for the past five years.
In the summer of 2013, Leanne traveled to Scotland for two weeks with Burklyn Ballet Theatre, where she performed daily in their production of Cinderella at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. When she is not dancing, Leanne enjoys reading, swimming, and kayaking. Joining DancEnlight has been her dream came true.
Heather Budinscak completed her Masters of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography from New York University's TISCH School of the Arts where she had the opportunity to dance for a number of choreographers, including dancing primary roles in world premieres by Robert Battle and Nicolo Fonte. She has danced professionally for Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Saving Grace Dance Ensemble, DanceFusion, Myra Bazell/SCRAP, Allied Motion and Apprenticed for the Pennsylvania Dance Theatre. Heather is also founder and choreographer for FreeFall Contemporary Dance Company. Her own work has been shown in New York City, Philadelphia, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. Heather is owner of Position First Pilates and Dance Conditioning, LLC. She is a fully certified STOTT Pilates Instructor and has been published in Dance San Diego. Heather was on the leadership committee of the New Hampshire Dance Alliance and is currently on the Board of Directors for the Sonia Plumb Dance Company.
Shelley Collock graduated in 2014 from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors of Arts in dance, and a minor in public health. Shelley has trained and worked with numerous dance companies and choreographers including Tara Madsen, Ursula Payne, James Washington, Lar Lubovich, and Pilobolus. In 2014, Shelley’s choreography was selected for the America College Dance Festival Association Gala at Ohio University. After college, Shelley moved to Pittsburgh where she danced with the Mary Miller Dance Company and was an instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios. Shelley currently teaches at the Creative Dance Center in East Hampton, CT and is very excited for her second season with dancEnlight!
Tessa Grunwald is a dance and theatre graduate of Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York. She has acquired a list of diverse performance credits carrying the privilege of dancing with companies and choreographers such as, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers, Donofrio Dance, Laura Glenn WORKS, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre, Antonio Brown (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane) Other professional accomplishments include national and international touring with Fisher Price, Disney, and Milestone Productions, playing the role of Susan Mahoney in "Finian's Rainbow" at The Ivoryton Playhouse in CT, as well as acquiring a number of choreography accomplishments. It is, as always, such a pleasure to be dancing with Lorelei and dancEnlight.
Lindsay Castonguay Hany is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. While attending Suffolk University in Boston, she performed with the Suffolk Dance Company and studied at the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio. After college Lindsay spent three years in Manhattan. She attended the Jose Limon Institute’s Professional Studies Program where she performed Limon repertory and studied under current and former Limon company members as well as Artistic Director Carla Maxwell. While inNew York she also studied with Tracie Stanfield, Marijke Eliasberg, Kristin Sudekis, David Howard and Dorit Koppel. Lindsay spent five seasons with Dance Connect where she had the opportunity to set two original works. She has performed with The Next Stage Project in New York City, Peter Pucci Dance in White Plains and Works/Laura Glenn in Hartford. Lindsay teaches modern, contemporary and ballet and is certified in Pilates and Barre. Lindsay is thrilled to be back on stage with dancEnlight after a brief break to have her son Parker!
Hannah Welsh, a native of Saco, Maine she started learning how to dance at 8 years old. She first gained experience in a Broadway dance company where she danced for six years. Before she left for college, Hannah was a member of the Thornton Academy Dance Company under Kathy Nolan and the Collective Motion Dance Company under Jennifer Bourgeault . She continued her training at Keene State College, graduating with a BA in Theatre and Dance. Hannah has had the pleasure working with Pilobolus, Heidi Henderson, Jennifer Archibald, Jill Eng and many more. Hannah currently teaches at Dance Dynamics in Hebron, CT. She would like to thank her family, friends, and husband for all their love and support.
Haley Zdebski graduated Magna Cum Laude from SUNY, The College at Brockport, with a BFA in dance in the Spring of 2014. During this time Haley worked with world-renowned teacher/choreographer Bill Evans and former Trisha Brown Company Dancer, Mariah Maloney. Haley attended the American Dance Festival on full scholarship in the Summer of 2013, where she performed for the Cunningham Trust. Currently, Haley is teaching at Stafford Academy of Dance, EdanSe Company and Ballroom, and Ethel Walker School. She is also a company member and teaching artist with Judy Dworin Dance Projects and performs with The Legible Bodies. This is Haley's third season with the company. It is always an amazing journey working with Lorelei Chang!
Sara Baldwin, company apprentice. This is Sara Baldwin's first year with the dancEnlight company. She started training with Connecticut Concert Ballet at the age of four. She has participated in various summer intensives such as Burklyn Ballet Theatre and dancEnlight Summer Intensive. In addition to her dance training, she studies voice and music. Sara is thrilled to be a part of dancEnlight this year.