Minnesota’s festival of performing arts
August 1–11, 2013 / Minneapolis

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A Woman's Works

Dance /

By Threads Dance Project

Choreographed by Karen L. Charles

Karen Charles explores the life of women. Featuring works of strength, fragility, and fun, the all female cast invites the audience to question, illuminate and revel in what is female.

Classical Dance, Modern Dance

World premiere, Includes artists of color

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 7 and up.

Thursday, 8/1 7:00 p.m.
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Saturday, 8/3 5:30 p.m.
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Thursday, 8/8 10:00 p.m.
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Saturday, 8/10 8:30 p.m.
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Sunday, 8/11 1:00 p.m.
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Southern Theater

1420 Washington Ave. S

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Audience reviews


By Carol Langland / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I enjoyed the physicality of the dancers and there was a lot of great choreography. The first piece left me jolted and in unenthused but the program grew in strength as it progressed. I liked that the feminine themes were carried through the program.


By Barbara Torkelson / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This was a good show and I did enjoy it. However, the flow from the first piece to the other more serious ones felt disjointed. I was hoping that the tempo would pick up again toward the end.

Fluid, exquisite dance

By Aseem Kaul / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 23 shows

A lovely performance - the dancers were all superb and Ms. Charles has a genuine gift for creating work whose lines are both flowing and expressive. There are a few disappointments here - the first piece 'Bootyful' in particular is a silly mess - but they are more than made up for by the tender, swirling momentum of 'Limitless' and the vivid emotional power of 'Childless Mother', the latter alone being reason enough to go watch this show.

Another Great Show from Threads

By Nanette Stearns / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

Threads Dance offers some of the most compelling dance I've seen. I loved last year's show and this year's is also very good. The program features a great diversity of style (from irreverent to very moving) and some wonderful musical selections (especially Sweet Honey on the Rock). Looking forward to future works from this group.

1 person found this review helpful

Women's Works is Wonderful

By Sarah Parker / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

A great evening! Beautiful choreography, dance and costumes all come together. Fun. Thought provoking. Mesmerizing. Tender. "All of the above" applies to this presentation by Karen L. Charles and the Threads Dance Project. Put it on you Fringe "must-see" agenda, and you won't be disappointed.

Women's Hearts Connect

By Marc Hadley / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

We women share so many heart moments, from enjoying childhood slumber parties, to developing our adult bodies, to birthing and loving our children. As these talented dancers share such universal moments, I found myself laughing, remembering, crying, and connecting with all my sisters in the world. Thank you, Threads Dance Project, for so poignantly expressing female feelings of the heart:)

Sincerely, Ellen Hadley


By Amy Hubbard / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 4 shows

I had not seen this group before. The choreography was inventive and thoughtful. You will not be sorry if you put this one on your schedule. Cudos to the costumer also.

A Woman's Works

By Kathy Bakkenist / August 1, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Very creative! Did a nice job of exploring a range of roles and emotions. I would definitely recommend seeing it.

Better and Better

By Joy Gullikson / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

The flow from funny to serious was a bit of a risk and it paid off. This talented company pulled off a hilarious and silly booty dance while wearing hoods and socks. The dances that followed explored the meaning of womanhood, ending with the provocative and sad "Childless Mother"--this piece haunts for long after the lights come up. The Company members are strong, powerful, graceful and wonderfully in tune with each other.

A Woman's Works

By Marc Hadley / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Fabulous display of creative dance talent, emotion, choreography, musical and artistic appeal. A terrific range of emotions in five very different performances that will make you laugh, cry and ponder your place in today's changing world. You'll be glad you caught this one.

Movement, thought, and humor

By Lin Nelson-Mayson / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

In "A Woman's Work," Threads Dance Project presents a beautifully done series of dance stories that range from delightfully brash to deep, emotionally-charged explorations. When you attend, check out the dramatic comedy/mystery of light and color.

1 person found this review helpful


Background information + more

Choreographer Karen Charles presents her company - Threads Dance Project in their second Fringe Festival show.  This performance continues and exciting year for Charles whose works were presented this year as guest choreographer for James Sewell Ballet (2013) and Carleton College (2013).  A Woman's Works highlights Charles' emotional and technical blend of ballet and modern dance.

The show explores the multi-faceted world of a woman in today's society.  The show extrapolates, via movement, ideas about womanhood, motherhood and all things feminine.  The show features the premiere of 3 new works - Bootyful - a lighthearted examination of female body image (via the derriere); Limitless - an abstraction of the joy and hope of not limiting oneself (flying) if only momentarily; Sacred - an exploration of the seeming devaluation of the feminine in a patriarchal society.  The show also includes favorites from Threads' previous seasons - Childless Mother and Hush.

Cast + crew bios

Karen Charles


A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Karen Long Charles has performed and worked in the dance community for over twenty years. A dedicated performer, teacher, and mentor, Karen Long Charles received her BFA in Ballet and BS in Computer Science from Texas Christian University. She also received her Masters Degree in Education Administration from Georgia State University. Charles has performed with dance companies around the country including Room to Move Dance Company (Atlanta, GA), Susan Warden Dance Company (Kansas City, MO), Pittsburgh Choreography Continuum, University of Kansas Lab Dance Theatre, Texas Christian University's Ballet Ensemble and Modern Lab Dance Company.

Charles was a fellowship recipient at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre where she was selected to perform in Carl Paris' summer choreography workshop. While at the Ailey School, she trained and studied with Katherine Dunham, Ann Marie Forsyth, Sylvia Waters and many others. She served as founder and principal instructor of Discovering Dance (Atlanta), and was a modern dance and mathematics instructor in the Atlanta Public School System for ten years.
Charles moved to Minneapolis in 2000 where she turned her focus towards arts education. She worked as assistant principal and co-principal at Perpich Arts High School and she was the founding Director/Principal at Main Street School of Performing Arts for six years. She is currently Artistic Director of the Karen L. Charles Threads Dance Project - a professional contemporary ballet company.

Mackenzie Beck-Esmay


Mackenzie Beck-Esmay graduated summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota's BFA Dance Program. Currently, Mackenzie is dancing with Eclectic Edge Ensemble and Alternative Motion Project, teaching dance to enthusiastic students at Ballare Teatro, Tonka Dance Works, and The Children's Theater, and working as a program counselor in a group home with vulnerable adults. She is honored to be a founding company member of Threads Dance Project, and thrilled to be dancing with the company for her third season!

Karen Christ


Fresh from the farm, Karen Christ, an Iowan Native, is a graduate from the University of Iowa with a BFA in Dance. She has had the honor of performing works by Jose Limon, Jaime Camarena, and Carl Flink among others. This is her second season with Threads Dance Project.

Michala Cornell


Michala received her BFA in Dance, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Minnesota in 2007. She is a STOTT Pilates Certified instructor who teaches in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas. Michala feels extremely blessed to be a founding member of Threads, and also performs with Alternative Motion Project.

Karen Gullikson


Karen Gullikson began dancing in high school at Main Street School of Performing Arts in Hopkins, MN. Karen has performed works by Linda Lehovic, Paul Taylor, Maggie Bergeron, Shapiro & Smith, and House of John Mark. She recently choreographed and performed in ASTROLIBRARY at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Jennifer James


Originally from Sioux Falls, SD, Jennifer was trained and taught dance at Main Stage Ballet and Dance Academy. In May of 2011 she graduated from Minnesota State University - Mankato with a BS in Dance and Sports Medicine. While there she had the privilege to perform works by choreographers such as Alan Sener, Gabe Masson, Mary Fitzgerald along with many others. Jennifer has also performed in several dance concerts with MNSU as well as choreographed a solo on herself which was then taken to ACDFA in 2011 and was selected to be in the Gala concert of the festival. Upon graduation she worked with The Ordway in their productions of "Cinderella". Currently she works at Pure Barre and teaches dance at Dance Express in Mankato, MN. This will be Jennifer's second season with Threads Dance Project and she couldn't be happier to be a part of this close knit family.

Kara Motta


Kara Motta graduated with a BFA in Dance at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She has performed works by Time Track Productions, TU Dance, Urban Bush Woman, Marciano Silva Dos Santos and House of John Mark. In the past year she has collaborated with The Mysterium's Garage Based Performance platform, a group of young artists in NE Mpls who have produced two productions: All Is Discovered Escape While You Can and Snuggles for Art-O-Whirl. She and Margaret Johnson recently created and performed a duet at the American College Dance Festival Association in Madison, Wisconsin, a work they will expand into a full length performance for Fringe 2013. Kara will continue to choreograph in collaboration with other artists in the Twin Cities area as well as explore the endless possibilities of her mental, physical, and emotional body. Look out for promotional material on The Mysterium's fall production and Kara's full length show. She would like to thank Eric, Margaret and Timothy for being the loves of her life.

Julie Muskat


Julie Marie Muskat has moved 14 times, lived in 9 places, and loves bunnies. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the inaugural class of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet BFA Program in San Francisco, CA, and of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. She is a musician and a writer, and a dancer who believes everyone is a dancer. She has taught dance for all ages across the United States, Israel, and Italy, and her choreography has been set and performed nationally and internationally. She has danced with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company in Israel and Compagnia AiEP in Milan, Italy. She was most recently the Assistant Director of Revolution Dance Theatre in Ohio, and still regularly returns to perform as a guest artist with the company. A newcomer to Minnesota, she dances choreographs, and teaches across the Twin Cities.

Aneka Starlashay


Aneka Starlashay McMullen is a native of Minneapolis. She graduated from the Dance Magnet program at North Community High School and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from The Ohio State University. Aneka has over 30 years of dance experience and has been blessed to both work with and study under some of the great talents in the dance world such as: Colleen Callahan (Maria, Colleen & Kids-now Young Dance), Ananya Chatterjea (Women In Motion-now Ananya Dance Theatre), Ben Vereen, Bill T. Jones (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Co.), Karen Woods (Merce Cunningham Dance Co.), Ronald K. Brown (Evidence Dance Co.), Jawole Willa Jo Zolar (Urban Bush Women), Boogaloo Sam & the Electric Boogaloos (Creators of "Popping") & Don Campbell; The Untouchables (Creator of "Locking"), Brian Green and many, many more. Currently Aneka performs, instructs & choreographs for many wonderful people & organizations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul (and surrounding areas) dance community & public school system. She is the Founder of Epitome - No Question: a Hip Hop dance co. dedicated to returning the focus of Hip Hop culture to it's community-conscious roots through dance-theater. Miss Aneka Starlashay is also very pleased to be performing with Threads Dance Project for a second season!

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