Jennifer McQuiston Lott

Artistic Director 

Jennifer McQuiston Lott enjoys a varied career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, director and advocate for the arts. Company credits include Gibney Dance Company, Groundworks Dancetheater, Armitage Gone! Dance, Inlet Dance Theatre, Collective Body Dance Lab, Eglevsky Ballet, and others. Her choreographic works and short dance films have premiered in New York at Baryshnikov Arts Center, National Sawdust, Celebrate Brooklyn!, Chen Dance Center’s Newsteps, the Thang Dao Dance Festival; also at The Dead/Live Festival (Boston), The Cleveland Public Theatre, New Haven’s Educational Center for the Arts, The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, and Festival Miden (Germany). She has created works for Cleveland’s Ingenuity Festival, Gibney Dance Center, the Laguna Dance Festival, Baldwin Wallace University’s Bach Festival, Rockford Dance Company, and has choreographed music videos for groups Son Lux and My Brightest Diamond. She assisted choreographer Jodie Gates with the creation of new works for Tulsa Ballet and Kansas City Ballet, and staged Ms. Gates’ ballets at Sacramento Ballet and Princeton University.

 

In 2012, Lott & Brent Whitney launched the Traverse City Dance Project, a seasonal company for professional dance artists in Traverse City, MI. Now celebrating its Eighth season, the TCDP has performed works by Jodie Gates, Gerald Arpino, Karole Armitage, Mauro de Candia and John Utans, and commissioned 10 new ballets, many accompanied by original, live music. Lott's many collaborators include musicians such as Son Lux, DM Stith, The Accidentals, Jonny Rodgers, and Darren Solomon, chamber groups yMusic, Clocks in Motion, and Tenth Intervention, and filmmakers Murat Eyuboglu, Mike Jones, Qian Li and Brenden Beecey and animator Anthony Ciannamea. She was recently a featured performer in the official Son Lux videos Undone (dir. David Terry Fine, chor. Tyler Gilstrap) and You Don’t Know Me (dir. Nathan Johnson/The Made Shop, featuring Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany).

 

Lott earned her BFA in Ballet Performance from Indiana University, and her MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine, where she was awarded a Graduate Fellowship, the Medici Scholarship, and the Sheila K. & James J. Peterson Community Spirit Scholarship. She is certified in GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® and is an ABT® Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. She has served on the faculty of Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, and taught master classes and workshops nationally and internationally, including DOCH (Stockholm, Sweden), Ikapa Dance Theatre (Cape Town, South Africa), the Académie Américaine de Danse (Paris, France) and Muhlenberg College (PA). Since 2018, she has had the honor of being one of only eight North American instructors of Countertechnique, an innovative and athletic contemporary dance technique developed by Dutch choreographer Anouk van Dijk. www.lottdance.com, www.tcdanceproject.org.

Brent Whitney 

Executive & Artistic Director 

Brent Whitney currently resides in Brooklyn, NY where he is the Executive & Co-Artistic Director of the Traverse CIty Dance Project, freelance choreographer, and an entrepreneur in the wellness/massage industry. Originally from Traverse City, MI, he began his early dance training at Dance Arts Academy and Ballet Etc. It became evident around nine years old that dance was his truest profession. After high school Brent continued on as a dance major at Western Michigan University. His first professional job was with the Milwaukee Ballet Company where he performed a variety of classical and contemporary roles by some of the world's leading choreographers over the course of four years. After spending a few summers training in New York City, he knew he was destined for the big Apple and made the move. During his 11 years in NYC, he danced with Judith Fugate’s Ballet NY, BalletX, Connecticut Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, San Diego Opera, Toledo Opera, Carolina Opera, Dance Key West, Lustig Dance Theatre, and the Oakland Ballet. Some of his performance highlights include William Forsythe’s Slingerland Duo, Balanchine’s Agon & Who Cares, Stanton Welch’s Orange, Iago in John Butler’s Othello, Karole Armitage Ligetto Essays, Jodie Gates Delicate Balance, and Mark Godden’s The Magic Flute. His classical repertoire includes Swan Lake, Giselle, Carmen, Nutcracker, Coppelia, Don Q, Dracula, Cinderella, and Romeo & Juliet. Brent is also a choreographer and has created work for a variety of dance and theatre companies.

 

In 2012 he and his Co-Artistic director Jennifer McQuiston Lott founded the Traverse City Dance Project (tcdanceproject.org) to bring professional dance to his hometown and create opportunities for dancers, choreographers, and musicians. Brent has been privileged to collaborate with two of the other professional arts organizations in Traverse City including a program he directed and choreographed with the Traverse Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kevin Rhoes. Last summer Brent and his TCDP Co-director choreographed the musical HAIR for Parallel 45 Theatre company. He previously served as the Ballet Master to NYC based contemporary ballet company Ballet Inc. He teaches professional ballet warm up class for a variety of companies including NYC Community Ballet, that offers subsidized ballet class for professionals. Brent is also a licensed Massage Therapist and has his associates degree in occupational health from the Harvard of massage schools, The Swedish Institute. He specializes in sports rehabilitation and injury prevention for dancers and other athletes at his private practice in NY and MI.

Susan Kettering

Board President / Company Photographer

Susan Kettering is the Board President of the Traverse City Dance Project and the Vice President of The Kettering Family Foundation. A longtime advocate for dance, Susan is also a member of the Advisory Boards of Boca Ballet Theatre, and The Atlanta Ballet.  She also serves on the board at Glen Arbor Art Center, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. As a mother of four and grandmother of five, Susan loves to travel and visit with her family, and of course, they are always ready to join her in Northern Michigan in the summer. Susan has  also been the Company Photographer for TCDP since 2014. View her photo gallery online at ssketteringphotography.com.

Hajnal pivnick

Musical Director

Hungarian-American violinist Hajnal Pivnick has developed a career as a performer and curator promoting community-driven music by modern and living composers. Her work has been recognized through foundational support from New Music USA, the Barlow Endowment, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She is co-artistic director of Tenth Intervention, a collective of musicians that explores the intersection of performance and experiential art, and its potential to reflect social issues. She is also the music director of the Traverse City Dance Company. As a soloist and chamber musician she has performed in festivals, conferences, and concert series in the United States, Cuba, and Europe. She attended Carnegie Mellon University, studying with Andrés Cárdenes, and received her master’s degree from the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary, studying with Eszter Perényi. Hajnal is a member of the violin faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp, Opus 118 Harlem School of Music, Greenwich House School of Music, and Lucy Moses School at Kaufman Music Center, and frequently works as a chamber music coach with the Face the Music/Kronos Quartet program. She is the program manager of Musicambia, which brings music learning and ensemble performance to prisons throughout the United States. Upcoming projects include the debut album of Shepherdess Duo, on New Focus Records in Fall 2020. 

Abby Schulze

Intern

Abby Schulze is a student at Lambert High School and Georgia State University. She currently trains with N-Step Dance Academy and has attended summer studies at Inaside Chicago, University of South Carolina Dance Conservatory, and with Los Angeles based contemporary company BodyTraffic. In addition, Abby is a regional and state award winner through DECA, an international marketing career development organization. Further interests include art and design where she conducted a year-long investigation in the perception of dance, which is currently under review by the College Board. Abby plans to pursue dance in college and beyond.

Traverse City Dance Project

Photos: Susan Kettering

Website Design: Jennifer McQuiston Lott and Rachel Walton

Graphic Design: Rachel Malehorn

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