Holly Handman-Lopez is a member of the Oberlin College Dance faculty and has choreographed numerous concert works, plays, musicals, and operas; most recently, Spring Awakening (director Chris Flaharty), eleven years in (duet with Bobby Wesner), and The Only Way (original evening-length dance/theater piece), for which she was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and Mr Burns: A post Electric play (Cleveland Public Theater, director Matthew Wright). In her creative process, Holly has had the privilege of collaborating with composers, actors, directors, poets, artists, architects, scholars and videographers. She has been awarded numerous guest-artist residencies at such institutions as New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Sarah Lawrence College, and The New School. Holly danced professionally in New York City where she worked with many prominent choreographers, including David Dorfman, Nicholas Leichter, and Lisa Race; and performed extensively in New York City venues, as well as touring nationally and internationally. Most recently she has performed as a guest with Neos Dance Theatre, Shelter Repertory Dance Theatre and internationally acclaimed poet Esther Dischereit.
Bobby Wesner, Neos Artistic Director, began his career as a professional dancer with Ballet Arizona, under the direction of Michael Uthoff (now Ib Anderson). During his stay in Phoenix, he had the honor of working with American Classics such as Fredrick Franklin, Daniel Ezralow, Moses Pendelton of Momix, the Artistic Directors of Pilobolus, Kevin O’Day, Jowali Willa Jo Zolar of Urban Bush Woman, and his wife Brooke Wesner. Other great masterpieces that Wesner has performed are the “Profiteer” in The Green Table by Kurt Josse; “Iago” in The Moore’s Pavone by Jose Limon; “Tico” in Company B by Paul Taylor, (also in Taylor’s Esplanade); three works of Anthony Tudor: Lilac Garden, Leaves are Fading and Continuo; and The Jester in Earnst Uthoff’s Carmina Burana. Independently, Wesner has traveled and performed with various companies all over the northeast region of the US and in Italy. As Director and Co-Founder Bobby has choreographed four evening length ballets for Neos Dance Theatre and produced an additional ballet by resident choreographer Mary-Elizabeth Fenn. Neos also performs many of Wesner’s repertory works including Spinning Plates, Various Principals, Norm and Cleo, and more. Bobby and Brooke live in Ashland, Ohio where they raise their four beautiful daughters, Genevieve, Ella, Mekah, and Arowyn. Wesite: www.robertwesner.com , Oberlin College link
A Twin Cities, MN native, DeMarcus Akeem Suggs began his professional training under the tutelage of the late Marcus Sherman. He continued his studies at, Dance Central (Charlotte, NC), Masterworks Festival and the USA International Ballet Competition & School. In 2011, he received his B.F.A. in dance from Belhaven University (Jackson, MS) where he was a full-tuition scholarship recipient. While at Belhaven, DeMarcus was selected for the 2009 Bezalel Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement and was also a member of TALK Dance Company with whom he toured internationally. Upon graduation, Mr. Suggs joined Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, where he danced for three consecutive seasons. During his tenure, he was honored by his colleagues with the Josephine (JOSIE) Schwartz Award for his pursuit of artistic excellence both on and off the stage. DeMarcus has had the pleasure of performing as a guest artist with Brown Dance Project, Crystal Michelle & Artists, Masterworks Festival, and most recently, Dayton Ballet.
In addition to performing, DeMarcus is a enthusiastic leader, passionate about cultivating environments for the holistic development of dance artists. As an administrator, Mr. Suggs has served as the Program Director of Victory Project (Dayton, OH), as well as Education & Engagement Coordinator with Victoria Theatre Association. A dynamic dance-educator, he has choreographed and instructed students of all ages for many organizations that include: Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Professional, Pre-Professional companies, and school), Dayton Ballet School, South Dayton Dance Theatre, Sangro de Cristo Ballet, Stivers School for the Arts, Open Door Studios, and many more.
What he loves about teaching: “It love to see a student progress both technically and artistically. Being part of that transition is an incredible feeling.”
Mustapha Braimah was born and raised in Ghana, West Africa and endowed with over 15 years of international experience as an artist/scholar. He is a choreographer, educator, administrator, curator, musician, and performer. He holds an MFA, Dance and was a Teaching Assistant at the University of Maryland, College Park. He graduated with an M.A, African Studies from Ohio University and B.F.A, Dance and Theater from the University of Ghana, Legon - Ghana. His art practice is deeply rooted in contemporary and traditional dance forms. He is currently a Part-time Lecturer at Case Western University.
Braimah has given lectures, workshops and performed at places such as the National Theater of Ghana, The Kennedy Center, Harbourfront Center in Toronto with Azaguno Inc., George Washington University, Georgetown University, American University, Dance Place in Washington DC, World Dance Alliance at the Memorial University, in Newfoundland, Canada. He also coordinated and performed at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic ACDA. He served as the social and cultural secretary for the Ohio University (OU) African Student Union where he choreographed and performed in many events at OU. Prior to coming to OU, he trained as a contemporary African dance performer and choreographer with Noyam Dance Institute in Accra under Prof. F. Nii Yartey.
He attended the American Dance Festival in 2010 under stagecraft apprenticeship scholarship where he worked with companies such as Paul Taylor, Pilobolus, Martha Graham, African- American Dance Ensemble, Eiko and Koma, etc. Prior to moving to the United States, he represented the University of Ghana-School of Performing Arts as a guest teacher and choreographer for the annual Gauteng Dance Manyano in Johannesburg, South Africa, an educational dance exchange program . He was a Teaching Assistant at the School of Performing Arts where he trained many students in West African traditional dance forms, creative process, contemporary African dance, drumming, and folk singing.