Guest artists bring a variety of new styles and approaches to the Carthage learning environment. Their time with Carthage dancers offers concentrated opportunities for artistic growth and development while bridging the academic environment nurtured at Carthage with multiple professional dance communities. Recent artists include:
Gina Laurenzi graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a Bachelor of Arts in dance. Before beginning her chapter in Milwaukee, she performed with Giordano II and Inaside Chicago Dance among other Chicago artists. For seven years, Laurenzi owned and operated her own studio, Laurenzi Dance. In her hometown of Kenosha, Laurenzi presented work regularly and mentored many local artists through the performance groups she founded including; Project Innovate: A Performing Dance Company, Captivate Dance Co., and Momentum Dance Project. Laurenzi has set work on dancers of the UW-Milwaukee Dance Dept., Water Street Dance Milwaukee, Danceworks Youth Performance Company, Danceworks Performance MKE (DPMKE), the Milwaukee Highschool of the Arts, Makaroff Youth Ballet (Appleton, WI), and Milwaukee Ballet summer intensive students. Laurenzi is a guest instructor at several local dance studios and is on faculty at Danceworks where she is currently the Studio Manager. Laurenzi is an Associate Lecturer at UW-Milwaukee and the Artistic Director of the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project. Laurenzi has performed with DPMKE (formerly Danceworks Performance Company) since 2013 and as a company member has had the opportunity to work with Dani Kuepper, Daniel Burkholder, Kym McDaniel, and Dawn Springer among others. Laurenzi’s own work has been shown at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Next Act Theatre, Danceworks Studio Theater, Milwaukee Fringe Festival.
Karlies Kelley Vedula
Karlies, originally from Panama, has earned her B.F.A. in Dance from UW-Milwaukee and has over 15 years of experience dancing, teaching, and performing in a variety of settings. She is the founder and director of Panadanza Dance Company. Her constant research and passion for dance have molded her into a versatile dancer, ranging from Salsa to West African, Brazilian, Caribbean, Modern, Jazz, Theater, and more. Karlies is actively involved in the Milwaukee community, engaging youth and adults to move in positive and unifying ways, and fully believes that dance is key to living a more happy, colorful and meaningful life.
Richard Ashworth (Milwaukee, WI) is an educator, choreographer, and performer whose interest in technical foundation and corresponding social cultures have made him a resource in both African Diaspora social and percussive dance communities.
Richard attended the University at Buffalo, receiving a BFA in Dance in June 2007. After graduating, Rich performed aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas and upon returning to the States, danced in several crews for live performances and industrials including for artists such as Flo Rida and The Goo Goo Dolls.
Rich has performed, choreographed, and toured with several internationally celebrated dance companies including Lehrerdance (dir. Jon Lehrer), Chicago Dance Crash (dir. Jessica Deahr), Be The Groove (dir. Stephanie Paul) serving as educational director, and Chicago Tap Theatre (dir. Mark Yonally), where he served as a choreographer and rehearsal director.
As an educator, Rich has been on the faculty of several dance-based organizations including Dance Masters of America, Flow 40 Dance, Beyond the Stars dance convention, and Interdanza of Mexico. He has taught classes and courses at the University at Buffalo, Hope College, and Salve Regina University. Rich most recently attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, achieving a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance in May 2021.
Brianna Rae Johnson
With an interest in non-traditional performance space, video, and interactive technology, Brianna Rae Johnson creates dance for the stage, gallery, and screen. Her films have been shown in festivals around the world and her choreography has been performed in theatres and art galleries around the United States.
She attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and graduated with dual degrees in Dance and Biology and a concentration in American Racial and Multicultural Studies. Upon graduating, she began performing professionally with Robin Stiehm’s Dancing People Company in Ashland, Oregon.
In her six seasons with Dancing People Company, she rehearsed full-time, toured nationally and internationally, taught, and choreographed. She has also performed and toured with various Minnesota-based choreographers such as Paula Mann and Mathew Janczewski and is currently dancing in Erin Drummond’s Flyway Dance.
While pursuing her M.F.A. in Dance from The Ohio State University, her creative work began to combine video, sculpture, sound, interactive technology, and choreography to create immersive and interactive performances.
Since receiving her M.F.A. in 2020, she has taught and created with students at Carthage College, Winona State University, Mount Mary University, St. Olaf College, and Milwaukee’s Danceworks.