After being in the professional dance world for several years, founder Mackenzie King had experienced and witnessed dancers treated like their minds and bodies were expendable. Talent and artistry took a backseat to a person’s packaging.
When Dana Alsamsam created Moonwater Dance Project and hired Mackenzie to be a part of a small, one-time performance, each of her dancer’s commitment and talent was valued to create something that was artistically, emotionally, and physically fulfilling. This contrasting experience left Mackenzie feeling inspired to keep a similar environment alive and growing. She approached Dana about the idea, who generously gifted the name, as well as the company’s first piece of repertoire. As a result, Moonwater Dance Project was founded as a non-profit organization in 2018.
In the first stages of the building of her company, Mackenzie strived to focus on what should really matter: artistry, individuality and the ability to be vulnerable. Artists love what they do, so often times they are taken advantage of and will do their art for free or for less than what they deserve. She hopes to someday build something that will allow dancers to do what they love, bar the sacrifice of the quality of their life.
The aesthetic of Moonwater Dance Project is similar to water and has a captivating duality. Both are soft yet strong, both nurturing and destructive; a force to be reckoned with and unpredictable.
“Just as the water reflects the stars and the moon, the body reflects the mind and the soul.”
Dana Alsamsam is a dancer and choreographer from Chicago. She has performed with Ascendence Dance Chicago and Lin Kahn and Dancers where she collaborated with Miriam Engel of Jerusalem's Angela Dance Company. She currently lives in Boston where she performs with Nozama Dance Collective and has trained with Boston Dance Theater and Urbanity Dance. Dana has choreographed and produced an evening-length dance work, 22 A Million, and has presented original choreography in Vernon Hills High School's Orchesis, DePaul Dance Company, Nozama Dance Collective, Boston Dance Theater's Immersion Project, and Onstage Dance Residency Showcase. She is delighted to set new work on Moonwater Dance Project.
Mario Gonzalez started dancing at the Marya Kennett School of Dance in Goshen, NY. He received his pre-professional training at Walnut Hill School for the Arts under direction of Michael Owen and went on to attain his BFA from the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase College. While on scholarship Mario has attended summer intensives with the San Francisco Ballet, The Juilliard School, Nederlands Dans Theater, M.I.P. The Cunningham Fellowship Workshop and Springboard Danse Montreal. Prior to joining LADP Mario danced with Visceral Dance Chicago and American Repertory Ballet. During his career he has danced in works by Danielle Agami, George Balanchine, Nicolo Fonte, Mark Godden, Madboots Dance, Stephan Laks, Paul Lightfoot & Sol Leon, Jose Limon, Matthew Neenan, Kevin O’Day, Kirk Peterson, Erica Sobol, Doug Varone and Yin Yue. Mario is currently in his first season with LA Dance Project. Moon/Water was his first professional commission.
Katie Carey, co-director of Purus Motus, a company creating short dance films, began dancing in Columbus, Ohio at Marjorie Jones Schools Inc. She studied at Ballet Met and Interlochen Center for the Arts. Katie attended Ohio State University, later moving to Chicago to train at Giordano Dance Chicago. Katie was a company member and choreographer with Nomi Dance Company. She has performed in Dance Chance, Dance Chicago, Arts Midwest, New Voices, j e l l o, competed at World Of Dance, Dance For Life and is currently dancing with Cocodaco Dance Project. Katie has choreographed for Nomi, Trifecta Dance Collective, Cocodaco Dance Project, Dansteps Costa Rica and will begin a new creation on Moonwater Dance Project that will premier later this Spring.
Noelle Kayser (Atlanta, GA) spent her early dance training at the Decatur School of Ballet before joining Atlanta Ballet's pre-professional program. Noelle continued her dance training after high school, spending one year at both SUNY Purchase and the Lou Conte Dance Center.
In 2011, Noelle joined Luna Negra Dance Theater as an apprentice under the direction of Gustavo Ramirez Sansano. During her apprenticeship, she performed the company's repertoire both nationally and internationally. Noelle returned to Atlanta in 2013 to join glo, a collaborative performance platform, founded by Lauri Stallings. Other Atlanta credits include the Proia Dance Project, Erik Thurmond’s Ripple, Gathering Wild, and Scrap Theater Group's one woman play Leda. In addition to her dancing, Noelle has narrated 16 audiobooks for Listen Up Productions/audible.com and appeared in industrials for Grey Television and Kitchenaid.
Since relocating to Chicago, Noelle has had the opportunity to act as a choreographic assistant to both Stephanie Martinez and Wilfredo Rivera. Noelle has set her own choreography on Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, Moonwater Dance Project, and Atlanta’s Kit Modus. In 2017, Noelle performed in The Cambrians inaugural repertory show Chicago Dances performing works by Kevin Iega Jeff and Shannon Alvis. Noelle is currently in her fourth season with Visceral Dance Chicago under the direction of Nick Pupillo.
Ariel M. Dorsey
Ariel M Dorsey is a Chicago native, she began her formal training at Chicago Academy for the Arts under the direction of Ana Peskevska and Randy Duncan. Ariel went on to further her studies at SUNY Purchase College in New York where she graduated with a BFA in dance. Throughout her four years of study she has work with choreographers such as Nelly Van Bommel, Pam Tanowitz Jonathan Alsberry, and Ori Flormen. Mrs. Dorsey is currently dancing with Winifred Haun and Dancers and Moonwater dance project. She has also appeared in the dance ensemble in Porchlight music theatre production of Memphis.