On February 7, 2024

Weekend Festival to raise funds for Briggs Opera House 

Courtesy Barn Arts

Sat., Feb. 10 and Sun., Feb. 11—WHITE RIVER JUNCTION—The Junction Dance Festival holds  its annual fundraiser  at the Briggs Opera House in White River Junction this weekend. The festival is a nonprofit organization dedicated to increase the visibility of the art of dance in the Upper Valley. For three years it has created the events featuring a wide range of dance artists, choreographers, performers, instructors, in a variety of performance spaces, in films, and through classes and workshops.


Ellen Smith Ahern is a dance artist and social worker/community organizer living with her family on Abenaki lands in N’Dakinna/New Hampshire. As a Creative Community Fellow with National Art Strategies, her dances explore the intersection of movement, storytelling and nature, creating performance projects that include a wider array of people than might otherwise feel welcomed into traditional dance spaces.


Created and directed by Elizabeth Kurylo. Poem by Calvin Walker. Choreographed by Elizabeth Kurylo and Calvin Walker. Sounds engineering by Edward Childs. Music excerpt from “For All We Have Destroyed” by Stacy Fahrion performed by the Bergamot String Quartet. Costume design by Janna Genereaux.

“Uncertain Wind”

Created and directed by Michael Bodel. Sound Design by Finn Campman. Choreography by Michael Bodel, Jessica Trout-Haney and Reina Hitotoki. Performed by Michael Bodel, Jessica Trout-Haney, Finn Campman.

“Artist Bios”

Michael Bodel makes interdisciplinary dance works. Some of these projects are place based and many integrate puppetry, object theater or sensorial stuff. His process involves research into disparate areas and play. Past works have included dances choreographed to oral histories of immigration, a pageant set in an apple orchard, and a puppet opera unpeeling Bellini’s “La Sonnambula”. He is currently developing a project about the beginnings and ends of science, constructed from text, movement and twenty sheets of cardboard. As a dance scholar, Michael fancies writing about historical pageantry and embodied cognition. He works at the Hopkins Center for the Arts at Dartmouth and lives with his family in Putney. 

Finn Campman is a Putney School alum and studied printmaking, poetry, and literature at Sarah Lawrence College. In 1991 he joined Sandglass Theater, and founded Company of Strangers, whose production “Moth and Moon” won an UNIMA Citation of Excellence, in 1999. He has toured much of the world performing his theater work, and for four years was an artist-in-residence at The Hall Farm Center for the Arts and Education. Recently, he has been focusing his creative energy on painting and electronic music with his band The Brothers Chorizo. He has taught English and art at Hilltop Montessori School for 21 years. 

Jessica Trout-Haney is an aquatic ecologist and a postdoctoral researcher in the biology department at Dartmouth. She has always loved merging science with the arts. She received her BS and BA at the University of New Hampshire, majoring in zoology and German with minors in dance and music. Jessica received her MS at Villanova University and her PhD in biology at Dartmouth, while studying Arctic lakes in Greenland. As a dance artist, Jessica focuses on tap, contemporary and aerial dance forms. She has been a member of the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble since 2016 and teaches dance at The Dance Collective in West Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Ellen Smith Ahern has performed and taught throughout Mexico, Cuba, Qatar, Europe and the U.S., collaborating with many artists, including Jane Comfort & Company, Lida Winfield, Kate Elias, Rebecca Pappas, Hannah Dennison, Pauline Jennings, Polly Motley, El Circo Contemporaneo, Amy Chavasse, David Appel and Tiffany Rhynard’s Big APE. She shares her work through film, installation and live performance in a diverse array of venues, including the National Gallery of Art, Dance on Camera Festival/Film at Lincoln Center, Middlefield Community Center, Bates Dance Festival, AVA Gallery, Dixon Place, Artistree Community Arts Center, Flynn Theater, Ionion Center of Kefalonia and Rococo Theatre in Prague. As a Creative Community Fellow with National Art Strategies, Ellen creates performance projects that include a wider array of people than might otherwise feel welcomed into traditional dance spaces. 

Elizabeth Kurylo’s choreographies encompass elements of physical theatre as well as stylistic dance. She develops choreographic themes in close collaboration with her performers, respecting their unique dance framework. She is especially fascinated by ethnic and street dance. She produced and directed two short films with grant support from the Vermont Arts Council. She is the founder of The Junction Dance Festival. The organization sponsors a seed program, called ChoreoLab, encouraging dance artists to create and develop their own choreographic projects in her dance studio in Corinth.

Calvin Walker is a writer and dance performer. He began dancing in his early teens under the guidance of Cheri Skurdall and the NCUHS dance program. Writer by day, break-dancer by night, he continues to train and compete in a balanced capacity with his crew/band of brothers, the Rhythm Riderz. He recently danced with Paula Higa Dance for the production of  “The Migrant Body.” He has taught at studios across Vermont and has a passion for all forms of movement.

For more information on the event and artists, visit: thejunctiondancefestival.org/event.

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