Frances Donohoe - Sitka Cirque to Speak at Chamber Luncheon
Weekly luncheons are held every Wednesday at noon. Enjoy great food, dynamic speakers, and exciting networking opportunities. Chamber luncheons are open to the public. Chamber members receive special member-only pricing.
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Frances Donohoe - Sitka Cirque
Biography: Frances Donohoe
“My experiences growing up in Southeast Alaska and the support I received from Sitka's community have informed my artistic and teaching practice.”
Born and raised in Sitka Alaska, Frances began dancing under the guidance of Melinda McAdams. As a teenager she furthered her training in the summer by attending various dance workshops around the west coast of America and finally at 16 moved to France to work with contemporary jazz company Vendetta Mathea touring to various places including Martinique in 2000 and China in 2002.
Frances graduated in 2006 with honours from one of the most prestigious dance universities in America. Cornish College of the Arts is the leading school for the dance sciences and innovative approaches to healthy dance practice in the USA. Scholarship recipient and nominated dance department speaker at graduation, she danced in major works by some of America’s greatest choreographers as a soloist for Cornish Dance Theatre. These works included: Martha Graham’s “Diversion of Angels,” and Jose Limon’s “A suit from Choreographic Offerings.” Projects were sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts.
After graduation Frances taught at La Manufacture University in France for two years. In addition to teaching, she worked as the assistant director to Vendetta Mathea as well as performing and choreographer for the company.
Frances worked as a freelance teacher, performer and choreographer in London from 2008 - 2014 and directed three of her own performance groups. As a freelance choreographer Frances was commissioned in 2012 to choreograph and direct a multi-media production entitled “The Fish Tales of Alaska” with support in Kind from the Yard Theatre and The Barbican Theatre. She also directed “He Dreamed Himself” by performance collective A Bed Time Story which performed as part of London's Big Dance 2012 Festival and the Cultural Olympiad.
As a choreographer and teacher Frances believes in nurturing dancers' bodies and creative minds. Following on this practice Frances has worked as a movement therapist with high risk client groups and is experienced at working with vulnerable people from various and diverse cultures; often from abusive or dangerous backgrounds.
Throughout this time Frances returned yearly to France to work with Company Vendetta Mathea as a guest teacher and choreographer.
After 15 years touring, teaching, choreographing and performing around the world Frances reached a point in her life where she felt it was important to give back to the communities that nurtured her. Frances knows better than most what it is like to grow up in a remote island community and feels she is well prepared to aid in the development of Sitka's youth and help prepare them to face the challenges awaiting them when they leave Sitka.
“I believe I can aid in the development of Sitka's youth, both artistically and socially, while keeping them in touch with their roots and the values of life in Southeast Alaska.”
Frances founded Sitka Cirque in 2014 in Sitka which has grown into one of Alaska’s Premier aerial arts studios.
After 8 years in the professional dance world I began seeking out new artistic communities with the aim of better understanding dance and movement as part of a wider society. I feel in love with aerial dancing and began performing & training incorporating aerial info my work. For most of my twenties I worked as an international freelance choreographer, teacher and performer committed to understanding dance in a global context. I believe that dance and movement play an important part in the continued health and vitality of a community.
Most of my work is based within community participation, collaboration, exploration of cultural diversity, movement therapy and rooted firmly in the belief that dance is for everyone. I am dedicated to the art of dance and believe that everyone can and should dance. Being a group activity, erial dance is about community, as the structure and strength of dance lies in the community of people supporting it.
I am forever researching cultural influences to inform and inspire my choreography and related projects, creating unique collaborative fusions of dance styles and artistic mediums.
I am dedicated to bringing professional and non-professionals together in movement.
Chicken Pot Pie, Salad Bar & Bread