The McKnight Foundation recently awarded fellowships to Twin Cities musicians and dancers. Each fellowship comes with $25,000 for the artist.
The Minnesota artists selected for 2020 McKnight Fellowships are:
HIJACK, a Minneapolis-based choreographic collaboration of Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder, which has created more than 100 dances and “performed in venues ranging from proscenium to barely legal,” according to the McKnight news release.
Ranee Ramaswamy and Aparna Ramaswamy, artistic directors of the internationally renowned Ragamala Dance Company, founded by Ranee in 1992.
Karen Sherman, whose work incorporates her background in dance, writing, theater, music and the manual trades. She choreographs and performs, builds sets and props, designs sound and writes text. She has been a freelance stage technician, technical director, and production manager for 25 years.
Melissa Clark, originally from Indiana, who has trained, studied and performed various art forms in Twin Cities for the past 11 years. Her background includes Capoeira, Ballet, Tap, Modern, Contemporary, Samba, Afro-Brasilian, Afro-Cuban, West African Dance from Ghana and Guinea, as well as Traditional Haitian Dance.
Non Edwards, a dancer and choreographer originally from Iowa, who has been in the Twin Cities since 2009. Edwards has performed in small, DIY, and non-art spaces as well as the Twin Cities’ Fitzgerald, McGuire and Goodale Theaters and elsewhere in the U.S. Her dancing interests include improvisation, the phenomenology of dancing and site-specific choreography.
Marciano Silva dos Santos, a native of Brazil, he immigrated to Minnesota when he was recognized by the American Folkloric Society as a “Brazilian artist of unique and exceptional ability and merit,” according to the news release. He has performed with companies such as TU Dance, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater and Penumbra Theatre and has taught residencies at colleges and universities throughout Minnesota.
Jose A. Zayas, a native Puerto Rican and saxophonist, has presented performances and taught master classes throughout Europe, the Caribbean and North America. He is building an artistic career focused on developing projects, albums and collaborations that address, respond and raise awareness about current events and social issues
PaviElle French, a soul singer from Columbia Heights, has written and performed two one-woman shows, “Runnin’” (2014) and “Ovarian Fortitude” (2016). She is a recipient of the ACF Create Grant and received a commission by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra to write “A Requiem for Zula” (2019), a symphony about her mom’s service to the Rondo community.
Diane Miller, aka Mineapolis singer/rapper/musician D Mills, fronts the band D Mills and the Thrills, a six-piece hip-hop group that originated in Fargo. She raps and sings about love, personal growth and struggle related to growing up as a shy outcast in the rural Midwest.
Ross Raihala contributed to this story.
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