2015 Alembic Resident Artists

Meet our 2015 Alembic Resident Artists:
Nancy Ellis, Dora Gaskill and Stephanie Trotter!

Thanks to our 2015 Panel:
Luke Gutgsell, Mizu Desierto, Julie Hammond and Danielle Ross

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Nancy Ellis began dancing professionally in 1994, when she joined the musical theater chorus of the St. Louis Muny Opera and became a member of Gash Voigt Dance Theater of St. Louis. In New York City in 1995, Nancy became a founding member of both Yanira Castro + Company and Maura Nguyen Donohue/inmixedcompany. With these and other artists, including Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar/Big Dance Theater, Nancy has performed throughout the U.S. and in Russia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and South Korea.Since moving to Portland in 2006, she has worked with Jennifer Monson (TBA 2006), Hand2Mouth Theater, Tahni Holt, Linda Austin, Katherine Longstreth and Dawn Stopiello. Nancy began making her own work this year, with generous support from the N.E.W. Residency program at Studio 2@Zoomtopia. She presented Nancy’s NANCY in sold-out shared evenings there in September 2014, to positive audience and critical response.

Nancy is also a professional arts administrator and fundraiser (Dance Theater Workshop 1997-2003, David Bury & Associates 2003-2006, White Bird 2006-2010, Wordstock 2010-2013) and is an active member of the Portland arts community. Nancy graduated from Smith College with degrees in Theater and in French, is a CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) and has been a member of Actors Equity since 1994. Nancy is also a parent of Elodie Ellis Anderson.

“I am anxious to get back into the studio to explore, in my body, questions I have now about Nancy’s NANCY. It’s time for me to make Nancy’s NANCY, Part 2. It’s time for me to investigate, in movement, my present. I need to challenge myself to address “the middle”, as in midlife, the Midwest (my roots), the “sandwich generation”. The challenge will be using  movement and music to communicate my “middle”-ness, my “now”. I crave the opportunity to explore my own, embodied story further.”


Dora Gaskill was raised in Omaha, Nebraska and studio-trained in ballet, tap, and jazz, all the while relentlessly making and rehearsing dances in her living room. She completed an MFA in Choreography at the University of Roehampton, London in 2009 and has nearly finished an MA in Literature with the Bread Loaf School of English. Since adolescence, Dora’s teaching practices have included dance, technical theater, and yoga.  She has been a freelance lighting designer for ten years and is the program director at Conduit Dance. Dora is a practitioner…of dance, backpacking, somatics, Ashtanga yoga, rock climbing, Qi Gong, and poetry. Text has always been a crucial part of her making, and she delves into it increasingly both as a conceptual launchpad and as raw material embodied through memory and vocalization.  Participation in the Corpus Mentoring Program, facilitated by Linda K. Johnson, keeps her in constructive and critical conversation with fellow Portland dance artists.

Dora’s ongoing project PITCH is a collaborative performance practice launched in March 2014. PITCH makes public the workshopping of ideas, accumulation of resources, and score-building—all shaped by the landscape and inhabitants of our city. We adapt to varying terrain and question the ways we move within peopled spaces (pushing through, squeezing between, spilling over, and seeping in); the ways we map and occupy temporary residences; the ways we move with and against the rules of a particular civic space.

“My current research interest collects my experiences as choreographer, lighting designer, and creative writer into a solo study where body, light, and language share creative authority. I am asking if it is possible to collaborate with myself in these three capacities. Under the working title Sentient, I will score movements of dance, light/video projection, and embodied text.”


Stephanie Lavon Trotter is a classically trained vocalist, also skilled in extended vocal technique. Ms. Trotter composes scores for movement, sound, and audience participation; improvises with electronics and acoustically; in ensembles and solo; and blends all of these things together to create unforgettable performances. Stephanie is interested in the ways we sound, their representations and connections, on a stage or in the street. She has been fortunate enough to explore these ideas in a number of workshops, residencies and performances with Otto Muller, Andrea Parkins, Marina Abramović, Gino Robair, Marina Rosenfeld and Anthony Braxton. She holds a MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and a B.Mus. in Vocal Performance from Cornish College of the Arts. http://www.stephanielavontrotter.com/

“I am currently investigating the implications of genre on the Voice through styles of singing, and the social and cultural expectations of Self, Scene, and Performance, and am committed to challenging the social constraints of what it means to be a woman. I am exploring how my voice moves through my body, expanding my vocal vocabulary, dismantling my formal education in Operatic Performance. The act of vocalizing isn’t only singing, but sounding, and the voice has a great palette to create and convey with I once was an Opera singer, standing center stage, reciting my lines. Now, I compose, curate, collaborate and create experiences.”

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