AWAKE(N) brings together a community of artists

“Hello, my name is Kelly Schlabach. I have a big laugh. I have blue eyes. I have clinical depression but I am an optimist,” says junior Social Work major Kelly Schlabach as she stands in front of a full room telling the story of how she almost committed suicide.

Schlabach and other performing artists including dancers, singers, musicians, artists and poets at OU came together during AWAKE(N), an immersive arts experience, to use their art as an outlet to celebrate life and bring the message of hope and the idea of overcoming struggles to anyone who is going through a difficult time in their life.

AWAKE(N) included over 20 performances by students and local artists. The event took place at Central Venue in Athens on April 10 and was hosted by Post-IT! and The Movement Organization.

The Movement Organization is a student organization at OU for any students who are interested in any aspect of dance whether it be performing, watching or choreographing.

The Movement Organization helped plan the event and Movement members Alli Bradley, Curtis Johnson, Grace Nicklos and Kaitlin Flynn also performed dance or movement pieces at AWAKE(N).

“Post-IT! is a new organization that aims to raise suicide awareness and mental illness awareness and prevention through any medium of arts that we can access,” said Bethany Logan, junior Dance major and President of Post-IT!. Members of Post-IT! write messages on post-it notes and place them in different locations around campus.  

During AWAKE(N), audience members were able to place post-its with words of encouragement around the venue.

Logan and other members of Post-IT! reached out to students interested in sharing their stories or performing at the event. They also reached out to local businesses including Brenens, Donkey Coffee, Insomnia Cookies, Wings Over Athens and Habibi’s to donate food and coffee for AWAKE(N). 

“I decided to get involved because I think sharing stories is a really important part of the human experience, and surprisingly enough, you don’t often get the opportunity to get together just to share experiences,” Schlabach said.

Among the performers were Dylan Sams and Mitchell Toler who performed a cover of the song by The Mountain Goats “This Year.”

“Mitch selected it especially for one line that’s repeated throughout the song: ‘I’m going to make it through this year if it kills me’,” Sams said. “It’s about perseverance and sticking through adversity. The intention is to express the message that if there is a person going through an extremely rough time they always have the potential to  push through.”

Logan said that Post-IT! is all about creating a community and coming together to provide support to those in need.

“I love that the whole community present at AWAKE(N) was so supportive. I felt incredibly safe sharing my story at AWAKE(N) and received a lot of support and positive responses,” Schlabach said.

Check out the video below for more information and photos from AWAKE(N) and see the audio clip below to hear Schlabach’s full spoken word piece about her triumphs and trials of chronic depression, “Depression with an Optimist.”

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OU Technical Director keeps productions running smoothly

John Bohuslawsky, technical director for all Division of Dance productions, works hard to make sure that all productions run smoothly. Below is a video I created in 2013 highlighting Bohuslawsky’s work.


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Injuries take their toll on dancers

Dancers have one of the highest injury rates among athletes and performing artists. Below is a story that I wrote last year about a dance major, now an alumni of the Division of Dance, facing an injury and how she overcame her struggles. Also featured below is an article published by The Post about current junior dance major Becky Sebo.

Kelsey Maiolo’s Story

Kelsey Maiolo, senior dance major at Ohio University, was about to go on stage for what would be one of the final dance performances of her career at OU. With only about an hour left before the show, the dancers had one final dress rehearsal. During her piece, “The Missing Peace” Maiolo came down on the floor wrong, dislocating her patella.

Luckily, dance medicine specialist, Jeff Russell was at the scene to treat Maiolo’s injury on the spot. Russell, assistant professor of athletic training, came to OU this year with the goal of creating a performing arts medicine program to help provide healthcare for performing artists and teach students how to prevent injuries.

“Many healthcare workers and athletic trainers do not know how to treat performers and dancers,” Russell said. “We need to increase the number of healthcare workers who have direct contact with dancers and know how to treat them.”

Dancers have a very high injury rate. For pre-professional and professional dancers the injury rate ranges from 67 to 95 percent, according to a 2008 study in the Journal of Dance Medicine & Science. Dancers need to be given the correct care so that they can continue their careers.

Dance Medicine is a branch in the field of performing arts medicine that deals with the medical treatment of dancers and injuries specific to dancers. Dance medicine is often confused with dance therapy, which is a method of psychological treatment in which movement is used to express emotions or relieve stress.

In a study written in 2005 in the Dance Research Journal, author Jatin Ambegaonkar, researcher at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, said “Dance injuries are referred to as the ‘orphan child’ in the sports medicine family, with dancers representing a medically underserved occupational group.”

Communication between healthcare workers and injured dancers has become an increasing problem. Many dancers fail to seek any medical attention for their injuries and when they do they often encounter a medical professional with little knowledge of dance-related injuries, according to the article.

The study reported that 20 percent of medical practitioners who were surveyed had never observed dance and therefore had a difficult time treating dancers. For this reason, many dancers do not trust medical professionals to treat their injuries, fearful that they will tell them to stop dancing all together.

The importance for a medical professional to be partnering with the dancer and the dancers teacher or choreographer in order to monitor the dancer progress in class or during rehearsals was also discussed in the study. It is very rare for a dancer to have access to a medical professional in close proximity to them unless it is a dance specialist hired specifically to treat dancers in the specific school or company.

Researchers also reported that 24 percent of medical professionals thought that it was at least moderately important for dancers to understand basic human anatomy to understand their own injuries.

By educating medical professionals and dancers about injuries and how to prevent them, dancers will be able to feel more confortable going to medical professionals for help and less injuries will occur and dancers will be able to get the treatment that they need.

University programs focusing on dance science are becoming more popular all across the globe and especially in the United States.

The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science provides information for students about educational opportunities to pursue careers in dance medicine. Over 30 universities across the globe offer programs or courses in dance medicine, according to the IADMS database, including 17, in the U.S.

Universities such as California State University and Goucher College in Maryland, offer concentrations in dance science that give students the ability to take biology classes and work in a clinic to learn about the body and how to treat specific injuries.

Indiana University and Case Western University offer degrees and classes in kinesiology, the study of human movement, helping to better educate dancers about their own bodies.

Russell has worked to create similar programs in other universities including Belhaven University in Mississippi and the University of California, Irvine.

OU’s program is one of the first programs to focus on giving medical attention to not to only dancers, but to all performing artists.

The Division of Athletic Training in conjunction with the College of Fine Arts at OU is developing a program in performing arts medicine. This initiative comprises three facets: clinical, educational, and research.

“We are trying to be a pioneer in this area at Ohio University and provide support for our students in performing arts,” Russell said.

Russell is working to create a program in which dancers can take classes similar to an exercise physiology or physical therapy major, for those students who wish to pursue a career in performing arts medicine, sports medicine or physical therapy.

“Offering more classes in this field will build an interest in dance medicine and offer other career options for our students to pursue,” said Travis Gatling, interim dean of The School of Dance.

Classes in kinesiology are required for dance majors at OU but Russell hopes to offer more classes in performing arts medicine starting as soon as summer 2013.

Before Russell came to OU, the closest students could get to a degree in dance science was to major in Physical Therapy with a minor in dance, Gatling said.

Gatling is also excited for the hands-on experience that students will gain from working in the clinic that Russell has helped to create. The clinic, formerly the student lounge on the third floor of Putnam Hall, houses a sprung dance floor, mirror, barre, examination table and other equipment that Russell uses to treat performing artists.

“It is important that we have a specialized facility that is designed to take care of dancers and other performers because performing artists are very much athletes,” Russell said. “We take care of them in much the same way that we take care of athletes that play football, basketball, baseball or volleyball.”

Not only is support available to students through the clinic, but Russell and his team of students are also available during every performance that The School of Dance puts on. They set up a temporary clinic backstage where performers can go if they get injured during a performance.

“Dr. Russell was there when the injury occurred. I went straight to him and his team and they did an examination on the swollen area,” Maiolo said.

Miaolo is grateful that The School of Dance has someone like Russell to take care of the dancers. She said that he even told her that he would treat her as if she was his daughter and gave her everything she needed to have a successful recovery process.

“Dr. Russell understands the importance of our careers and wants to do everything he can to help us succeed. If he was not there to tell me I had a very serious injury, I know that I would have gone back to dancing and just brushed it off, until something worse happened and I was out of dance for the rest of my life,” Miaolo said.

Check out my post for more about the SHAPe Clinic at

Becky Sebo’s Story

Check out this story by The Post about current junior dance major, Becky Sebo, who is also currently dealing with an injury.

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Division of Dance takes the show on the road

The Ohio University Division of Dance class of 2014 has been preparing solos and group pieces to be performing at the Spring Senior Dance Concert since January. This year, the cast got the opportunity to perform their pieces in front of audiences in Ohio and Kentucky on tour.

The cast travelled to schools in Ashland and Louisville in Kentucky and Cleveland and Centerville in Ohio on four separate tour dates. Performances took place at Hathaway Brown, Centerville High School, and the Ashland Youth Ballet. Members of the senior class also participated in Question and Answer sessions after the shows and taught master classes for students at the schools after the performances.

Tours give students more opportunities to perform, help recruit incoming students for the Division of Dance and give the cast members a taste of what it is like to be a professional touring dance company.

The Senior Dance Concert will be April 11 at 7 and 9 p.m. and April 12 at 2 and 4 p.m. General admission tickets are $8 and tickets are free to students with a valid student ID. For more information on the Concert visit

For more social media posts check out Senior Concert Tour Social Media and check out the photo gallery below for a backstage look at the cast members on the Cleveland and Ashland tours.



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Performing this Weekend: April 11-13

Be on the lookout for these exciting performances near you this weekend!

The Addams Family

Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, has a “normal” boyfriend, and for parents Gomez and Morticia, this shocking development will turn the Addams house downside up. This new musical comedy is sure to delight audiences of all ages.The show runs from April 8-13 at the Palace Theatre in Columbus. Show times are Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m. daily; Friday, 8 p.m.; Saturday, 2 & 8 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 & 6:30 p.m. For more information visit and click here for the national tour commercial The Addams Family National Tour Commercial.

Columbus Children’s Theatre: The Wizard of Oz

Columbus Children’s Theatre will be bringing the magic of the Land of Oz to the Lincoln Theater in Columbus from April 10 to April 20.Performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 1:00 and 5:00 p.m., and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at

DANCECLEVELAND Presents: Jessica Lang Dance

Formerly a dancer with Twyla Tharp, Jessica Lang is dedicated to the creation of dance works that broaden the spectrum of collaboration. Her
choreography features contemporary dance that goes hand
in hand with the music, opera and mixed media compositions that
she collaborates with. The performance will be on April 12 at 8 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square. Ticket prices range from $20-$45. For more information visit

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OU Dancers: Where are they now and where are they going?

As graduation nears, the Division of Dance class of 2014 has had to start thinking about their futures and where they see themselves after leaving Ohio University.

Irene Davey, senior dance major, will be packing up and heading to Colorado for the summer to teach as a guest artist at a summer intensive at a dance studio. Other members of the senior class will be heading to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Massachusetts as well as other parts of the U.S. and Europe.

Davey will be working as a guest artist at the Salida Dance Studio‘s summer dance intensive in Salida, Colorado. The summer intensive will last approximately four weeks and includes a cumulative ballet and jazz curriculum base with modern, lyrical and hip hop choreography. The intensive will also feature guest artists, such as Davey, who will set pieces on the students to be performed at the final performance on Aug. 8.

Over the past year, Davey has also been working with Performing Arts Medicine Specialist, Jeff Russell who works in the SHAPe Clinic located in Putnam Hall.  Davey has been working with Russell on research on Snapping Hip Syndrome.

“Hopefully after the summer intensive, I will be heading to Switzerland to give a presentation, if my abstract gets accepted into the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS),” Davey said.

Davey said that she could not have gotten these opportunities without the help of faculty in the Division of Dance. Similarly, senior Danielle Doell, received an internship opportunity in Massachusetts with encouragement from an alumni of the Division of Dance.

Doell will be working as one of five interns at The Yard, a non-profit contemporary artist residency and dance performance center on Martha’s Vineyard, in Chilmark, Massachusetts. Doell was encouraged to apply for an internship at The Yard by 2009 OU alumni Jesse Keller. Keller is the Director of Island Programs and Education at The Yard.

Doell will be the Community Programs and General Management Intern. She will oversee all the programs that the Yard has going on over the summer including education programs, choreographies, performances, artist residencies, and so on. She will be working alongside Jesse Keller for the majority of the summer and assisting her in her work.

“Knowing the history and value of this organization, I think I am most excited to meet and work with all types of experienced artists and to learn from them,” Doell said.

The class of 2014 has been working all year to prepare for what they will encounter in the world of professional dance. They have been revising resumes, creating websites and dance reels, and learning skills in dance technique and choreography that will help them market themselves as professionals after graduation.

As part of their senior capstone, each of the 14 seniors choreographed a solo and a group piece to be performed in the Senior Dance Concerts each semester. The seniors not only choreographed all the pieces but they also did all the production work behind the scenes, create the programs, and do the publicity for the show such as sending press releases to local news outlets to get the word out about the show. The Spring Senior Concert will be April 11 and 12 in Putnam Hall.

Davey plans on putting together the work that she has done over her four years at OU, including the solo and group piece that she created this year, to create an evening length show of vignettes all centered around the idea of the apocalypse.

Seniors Emma Rumberg and Lauren Slivosky will be looking into opportunities to dance professionally in New York City after graduation, while Alex Plantinga and Kristopher Terry plan on moving to Los Angeles in search of more commercial dance opportunities. Emily Stepleton plans to move to Chicago to work as a Pilates instructor while hopefully pursuing opportunities to dance professionally.

Want to know more about where Division of Dance alumni have ended up? Click on the link below to see an interactive map showing where alumni from 2000-2013 are currently working.,-96.0258224,5z/data=!4m2!6m1!1sza9QctsvJQpE.kURcUVqDxQn4?hl=en


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Performing this Weekend: April 4-6

Spring is finally here and it is time to celebrate with some great shows this weekend.

MamLuft&Co. Dance at de la Dance Company’s Dance Cincinnati 2014

Mamluft&Co. Dance, a professional modern dance company based in Cincinnati, will be performing in the DanceCincinnati 2014 Dance Festival alongside other choreographers and artists from the Cincinnati area. OU Division of Dance alumni, Steven Evans, will be performing a duet with company member, Emily Scott. Performances will be Friday, April 4 and Saturday April 5at 8 p.m. Performances will take place at the Aronoff Center. Ticket are $33.25-$37.25. Other artists performing during the festival include the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music Dance Ensemble, SCPA Dance Ensemble, ballet tech ohio, de la Dance Company, Northern Kentucky University, and Demitrius Klein Dance Company. For more information visit Dance. 

Drums Downtown X: TIMELINE

The popular event Drums Downtown is back, celebrating its 10th anniversary of compelling and innovative collaboration. This year’s production, TIMELINE, will feature highlights from all previous nine performances in addition to several exciting new works. Joining the Ohio State Percussion Ensemble will be students and faculty from the OSU Department of Dance and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD). Performances will be April 4 and 5 at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre in Columbus. Tickets available through the Ohio State Theatre box office and CAPA Ticket Center. For more information about the performance check out the links below.

CATCO: Steel Magnolias

“Steel Magnolias” is a play the centers around a circle of chatty Southern ladies who keep the pulse of life alive in a small Louisiana town from the town’s epicenter, Truvy’s beauty salon. Alternately hilarious and touching, their lives reveal that seemingly delicate flowers are made of much stronger stuff. The show runs March 26- April 13 at the Riffe Theater in Columbus. Ticket prices vary by day. For more information visit

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