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Laura Schandelmeier & Stephen Clapp

Artist Biographies

www.dancenow.org Laura Schandelmeier & Stephen Clapp
Co-Artistic Directors

Laura Schandelmeier and Stephen Clapp are the Co-Artistic Directors of Dance Box Theater, Inc. The duo began working together in 2004 and have since then created eight full-evening performance works with increasing recognition regionally, nationally and internationally. Schandelmeier & Clapp have received choreographic commissions from the Creative Communities Fund of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. In 2010, Schandelmeier & Clapp were honored to receive the Dance Metro DC Founder's Award for Innovation in Dance. The Co-Artistic Directors have each received numerous awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council for their individual artistry.

Dance Box Theater is an ensemble performance company whose creative process is fluid, collaborative and non-conventional. The company's work explores issues of social justice and the human condition and is based on the collaborative partnership between the Co-Artistic Directors. Each bring their talents, creativity, determination and unique perspective to create dynamic choreography through many hours of intricate partnering. They collaborate with other performers, visual artists, musicians and technical artists to create interdisciplinary work.

In addition to dance theater productions, Schandelmeier & Clapp have been engaged in arts-integration residencies, professional development for educators, and arts education for youth. Schandelmeier & Clapp are both facilitators for the Resources for Social Change Program of Alternate ROOTS. Schandelmeier is a Master Teaching Artist and Trainer for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, and teaches at schools, universities and studios throughout the region. Clapp teaches theater, creative movement and leadership to young people throughout the DC area and is the Director of Dance Metro DC. He is also a MFA candidate with the dance department of the George Washington University. Schandelmeier & Clapp both serve on the Board of Directors for Alternate ROOTS and are adjudicators for Dance Place's annual New Releases Choreographers Showcase.

The company premiered Museum of False Memories in October 2013. Inspired by the work of visual artist Joseph Cornell, the work features an original orchestral score by Jamie Kowalski. We Are Here premiered at Dance Place in Washington, DC in 2012 featuring an original music score by Stephen Clapp. The work received high acclaim from premier audiences. In 2010, Dance Box Theater was commissioned by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to create Affectations, a multi-media movement/theater performance created and performed by Schandelmeier & Clapp with dance artist Ilana Faye Silverstein. The work premiered at the Kennedy Center in October of 2010 and toured regionally throughout 2011. The Loving Project: E-Race, a response to US and global perceptions of interracial marriages and non-traditional partnerships, premiered at Dance Place in 2009 and toured regionally throughout 2010.

In August 2010, Dance Box Theater was invited to present Haunted at Dance Base, Scotland's National Center for Dance for a 12 performance run during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Haunted unearths local lore and ghost stories of the diverse community in which the company is based - Mount Rainer, Maryland, where some say the story behind "The Exorcist" took place. Performed to an original score by vocal duo Leah and Chloe Smith of Rising Appalachia, and percussionist/performer Kofi Dennis Haunted premiered at Dance Place in 2008, toured regionally and was featured at the State of the Nation Festival in New Orleans in 2009. Portals, the company's third full-evening duet work, was performed at the invitation of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland in March 2008 as part of the "Take 5 Series." Portals features an original score by Clapp and examines the transformative process of evolution through rites of passage. Portals premiered at Dance Place in June 2007.

Their second full-evening duet work, The Dragons Project: Power Play, was presented in multiple venues including Dance Place and the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, and was excerpted for performances at numerous venues throughout the region. The Dragons Project: Power Play features an original music score by Clapp and text by playwright Christopher Greybill. In 2004, Dance Place presented Rappaccini's Daughter, the duo's first full-evening work inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story and performed to Toby Twining's Chrysalid Requiem.



photo by Ray Schandelmeier Laura Schandelmeier
Co-Artistic Director

Laura Schandelmeier is a Dance Artist who works as a choreographer, performer, and Teaching Artist. She was the Artistic Director of Schandelmeier & Company in New York City from 1988-1994 and a solo performer in the DC area from 1995-2004 when she began collaborating with Stephen Clapp. Her work has been commissioned and produced by Dance Theater Workshop and Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church in NYC. In DC, her work has been produced by The Kennedy Center, Dance Place, The IN Series, and by Washington Performing Arts Society in Martha @ Dance Place, curated by Richard Move. Regionally, festivals such as the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, Dancenow/NYC and, Yes, Virginia Dance have presented her work. She has received several awards for her choreography including grants from the Harkness Foundations for Dance, support for international projects from the Suitcase Fund, and Individual Artist Awards from Maryland State Arts Council and Prince George's Arts Council. She was one of ten American choreographers selected to participate in American Dance Festival's 1989 Franco-American Bilateral Exchange Program and was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in 2000 for the opening event of the Dancing in the Millennium conference. The Kennedy Center has presented two full evenings of her solo performance work.

In 1994, Schandelmeier founded The Field/DC (a satellite project of The Field in NYC that provides performance and workshop opportunities to artists.) She has participated in and/or coordinated Field programs since The Field's inception in NYC in 1986. Since then, The Field/DC has offered over 30 Fieldwork sessions, impacting hundreds of local artists and patrons.

Since moving to Washington, DC, Schandelmeier has conducted site visits for The National Endowment for the Arts, been a panelist for the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division, Maryland State Arts Council, Dance Place's New Releases Choreographer's showcase, and served as Chair to the Nirenska Committee (a fund created in honor of choreographer, Pola Nirenska, by her late husband, Jan Karski, to honor a local or Polish dance artist with a cash award of $5,000 annually). In 2001 Schandelmeier was awarded an Artist-in-Residence grant from P.G. Arts Council and continues to conduct residencies in local schools through Joe's Movement Emporium's Arts in Education program. She is a Master Teaching Artist and Trainer for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and teaches dance to children, senior adults, and professionals at studios and schools throughout the region.

While in New York, Schandelmeier was Associate Producer at Dance Theater Workshop. During her tenure she coordinated and served on several Fresh Tracks panels, co-coordinated the New York Dance and Performance Awards (a.k.a. The Bessies), worked with the Executive Director, David White and members of the Board of Directors to initiate the Family Matters series for young audiences, audited performances and reviewed proposals, as well as performing other administrative duties. She was co-curator for Rapp Arts Centers' May Dance Festival, in conjunction with the Bang on a Can Festival, in 1988 and 1989.

Schandelmeier began her dance training with Wigman-based instructor Erica Thimey at the age of four and studied ballet at the Washington School of Ballet. She attended high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC and graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts. She received a B.F.A. in dance and choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, and studied choreography with Bessie Schonberg in New York City.


Photo by Carl Hamilton Stephen Clapp
Co-Artistic Director

Stephen Clapp is a dance artist, choreographer, theater artist, composer, and writer and has performed nationally and internationally as a collaborating artist with Laura Schandelmeier and with CatScratch Theatre, ClancyWorks Dance Company, and The Other Theatre. Clapp has been nominated for four Metro DC Dance Awards: Outstanding New Work (Haunted, 2009) Excellence in Sound Design (2007 and 2006); Emerging Choreographer (2005); and Outstanding Individual Performance (2003). He has received Individual Artist awards from the Maryland State Arts Council for Dance Choreography (2009) and Solo Dance Performance (2006). Clapp has had works presented by Dance Place (DC), the Goose Route Dance Festival (WV), The Other Theatre (MA) and the DC Improvisation Festival.

Clapp has toured throughout the East Coast and has facilitated arts-based anti-racism workshops with partners from Alternate ROOTS (Atlanta, GA). With CatScratch Theatre, Clapp collaborated on projects including The Greenline Project (2006), a series of community workshops, offered free to residents of the Columbia Heights (DC) neighborhood in partnership with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; Metro (2004) created in collaboration with Co-Directors Jeramy Zimmerman and Jessica Hirst; Redline: Revisited (2004) a re-staging of Redline (2000) performed on the DC Metro train's Red line; The Cazals Project (2003) created and performed in a medieval Chateau in Southern France; and Project Y (2004) at Dance Place. In addition, Clapp composed the music for the re-staging of Project Y at the Goose Route Dance Festival in WV.

Clapp earned a BFA in Performing Arts from Emerson College. In 1996, he became a founding member of the Boston based performance ensemble, The Other Theatre. With The Other Theatre, Clapp created and collaborated on two original evening-length performance works: An Atlas of Change (1998) and Timepiece (1997); he performed in The Other Theatre's production of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream (1998) and co-created a collaborative work entitled Common Ground (1996). In New York City, Clapp performed in Richard Schechner's production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet (1999) and became a company member and performer with the Maranoa and T'boli (Philippines) dance performance group, Kinding Sindaw.

Since moving to the DC area, Clapp has been a faculty member, education/community programs coordinator and guest artists with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange and has been on faculty of the Studio of Ballet Arts (Olney, MD), Dance Place (Washington, DC), Joe's Movement Emporium (Mount Rainier, MD) and has been a performer and teaching artist with the ClancyWorks Dance Company. He served as the grants manager for Dance Place from 2003-2012 where he managed a portfolio of foundation, corporate and government grants that encompassed 60% of the organization's operating budget. Currently, Clapp is the director of Dance Metro DC, the regional dance service organization in the DC metropolitan area. Clapp is a certified Arts Integration Specialist (MSAC, AEMS, YAM, TAI) and has taught dance, theater, creative movement and leadership to youth and adults throughout the DC area. Clapp is a facilitator with the Alternate ROOTS Resources for Social Change program, served as Northeast Regionl Desk for the National Performance Network (2010-2012) and lives in the Gateway Arts District in Brentwood, Maryland with his wife and creative partner, Laura Schandelmeier.









































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Background Photo by R.C. Schandelmeier