Susan Banyas integrates movement, language and images into performance, visual art, and non-fiction. The Hillsboro Story (world premier at Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland, Oregon) and No Strangers Here Today are set 100 years apart in Highland Country, Ohio, celebrate activism, and shed light on what lies in the shadows of the American system. Both works continue to tour nationally. The experimental performance work -- It's Been a Busy Week -- penetrates the surface of our busy lives in witty, poignant dance poetry. Her innovative classes and methods -- Everyday Dancing and Soul Stories -- form the heart of her directing style. She has directed and produced original performance works since co-founding SO&SO&SO&SO in 1976.
Gregg Bielemeier was born in Mt. Angel, Oregon and has worked on the West Coast and in Europe as a featured choreographer, performer and teacher for over 40 years. He is a frequent collaborator with musicians, actors and visual artists -- master drummer Obo Addy, Cygnet Theater, Rumpus Room Dance, and SO&SO&SO&SO/Susan Banyas. His work has been commissioned by the Northwest Professional Dance Project, School for New Dance (Amsterdam), Tere Mathern Dance, Reed College, Polaris Dance Theater, Skinner|Kirk Ensemble, Imago Theatre, Paufve|Dance, BodyVox and White Bird, among others. He is a founding core artist of Conduit Dance in Portland, Oregon where he continues to teach all levels of contemporary movement and dance improvisation.
Ashley Williams comes from a big city with a small town feel. She has a BA in acting from California State University, Fullerton. At the university, she had the opportunity to perform on stage with Gladys Night, then later was able to take her talents to the theater in Marisol, Am I Blue, and Twelfth Night. She recently moved to Portland and has worked on Raisin in the Sun, I You, and has been cast in Seven Guitars at Artists Repertory Theatre this fall. Being in The Hillsboro Story has been a great experience as an actor and as a human being.
L Smith Jaxon
L Smith Jaxon hails from Denver, Colorado where she was among the first students in the city to be bussed as a part of desegregation. She was in The Nat Turner Story with Hand to Mouth Theatre and Mycenaean with Carl Hancock Rux. She has also performed with Sojourn Theatre and with Leanne Grabel. L works daily to create equity for all students in her role as an educator with Portland Public School.
David Ornette Cherry
David Ornette Cherry is a composer, band leader, jazz keyboardist, and music producer. He grew up in Watts, California, and has played with some of the great jazz artists of our times. Ensemble for Improvisors was featured at the Ruben Museum in NYC, the Getty Museum, and ALOUD at Central Library in LA. His Organic Roots band from LA performed in Sardinia, Italy in 2008, and he continues to play in the US and Europe, most recently at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. He has collaborated with performance artist, Susan Banyas -- No Strangers Here Today, The Hillsboro Story, It's Been a Busy Week -- choreographer Gregg Bielemeier -- Half of Some, Neither of Either, and is composing the music for Embers, a jazz opera in poems, written by LA poet Terry Wolverton, to premier in SF in fall, 2013. His full discography is on-line at davidornettecherry.com