Needle and Galgano have invested in training the company, creating specific roles featuring each dancer’s unique expressive range and honoring their interest and commitment to revitalizing the classics, and creating new, fresh and vital work reflecting the world in which we live. Three varied programs including HEAVEN & EARTH, POWER OF THE DANCE and LEGEND, MYTH and NATURE offer a vast array of dance, music, film, lighting and elaborate costuming. Audiences have been inspired, thrilled, excited, ignited and enthralled by their work including the WALL STREET JOURNAL where they were recently featured for their site-specific work. The company tours, teaches and performs in theatres, festivals, gardens and public spaces as well as Arts-In-Education events where the company outreach extension program has impacted thousands of school children in the metropolitan area.
The Art of Motion Dance Theatre is committed to a unique artistic vision celebrating collaboration. Lynn Needle, former soloist with Nikolais Dance Theatre and Olivia Galgano, former principal Ballet Russe have created original work on the company that has developed into a vast array of repertory honoring the complexities of dance as an art form in the 21st Century. Their work is continually evolving, has a clear aesthetic base and references the classical ballet and modern dance legacies of Ballet Russe and Nikolais. These iconic companies are tour de forces in dance history. Needle and Galgano wish to continue the vision and commitment to virtuosic performance, multimedia and theatricality by collaborating with costume designer, Annie Hickman, lighting designer, Ruth Grauert and various musicians and composers who have created original scores for their work. The AOMDT Boutique Roster includes solos, duets, trios and small group works for 1-5 dancers and features work by additional collaborative relationships including Needle's partnership with Kent Lindemer, former principal Pilobolus Dance Theatre.
AOMDT Artistic Collaborators
Lighting Design: Ruth Grauert
Collaborative Choreographers: Kent Lindemer, M.A. Taylor, and principals of AOMDT
Costume Design & Construction: Annie Hickman
Costume Design: Annie Hickman, Ralph DiRienzo
Dramaturge & Artistic Associate: Stephen Innocenzi
IT Consultant and Web Design: Nikah Fialkoff and Sara Kiter
Arts Administration & Graphic Design: Sara Kiter and Austin Jarred
Photography and Projection: Ruth Grauert, Lois Greenfield, Paige Blinn, Anna Hurt, Sara Kiter, Deborah Michaels, Scott Mitchell, Dieter Steinmeyer
Film/Video Direction & Animation: John Crawford
Original Sound Scores and Arrangements by:
Niel Alexander, Guido Arbonelli, John Colianni, Uli Geissendoerfer, Dinu Ghezzo, Steve Gorn, John T. LaBarbera, Ron Levy, Dr. Linda Marcel, Enki Bello, Larry Newcomb, Stanley Yates, New Jersey Choral Society, Garden State Opera, Ringwood Friends of Music, Jennifer Green, among others
Artistic Director Biographies
Lynn Lesniak Needle, RYT 500 (Founder/Artistic Director Art of Motion, Inc. and AOMDT) earned her B.A. in Dance from Connecticut College where she was the recipient of the Dance Magazine National Award for choreography, adjudicated by Murray Louis, Pauline Koner and Clay Taliafero. Her work COOL WAVE, featured in Dance Magazine was performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and hailed as "a flash of what is happening now...Lesniak has a great theatrical sense...the choreographer is in touch with the times in which we live." Lynn is a former soloist with the Nikolais Dance Theatre where she toured internationally, traveling to six out of seven continents and more than 40 United Sates. She has been influenced by many, including Martha Graham, Twyla Tharp, Luigi, Ann Reinking, and B.K.S. Iyengar, but studied intensely with her mentors Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis at the Dance Lab in New York City. Nik created seminal works on Lynn during her tenure with the company and she began teaching and assisting Hanya Holm. While on tour she was later asked to direct the Nikolais and Louis Dance Lab, a professional studio school of dance in Soho where she arranged for dancers from around the world to study, choreograph, and perform. During this time, Lynn pioneered classes in Pilates-based exercises. Her students included many dancers who have gone on to perform with professional companies and tour throughout the world. Over the years, Lynn has been featured in the PBS documentary Nik and Murray, been photographed by Lois Greenfield, Lizzie Himmel and Tom Caravaglia and has enjoyed collaborating with lighting and costume designers, composers, and poets. She has choreographed numerous works, both site specific and for proscenium theaters throughout the country. In many of these venues, Lynn has set work on the Art of Motion Dance Theatre, a company established after she founded the non-profit studio, Art of Motion, Inc, with Olivia Galgano, her Artistic Associate. Lynn has also worked as an artist-in-residence in the public schools, as a staff developer, and is currently an adjunct Professor of Modern Dance at Bergen Community College. She has dedicated her life to preserving the Nikolais legacy and training future generations of professional dancers. Her most recent collaborations with performance artist and costume designer Annie Hickman, composers Dr. Dinu Ghezzo, John T. LaBarbera, and Steve Gorn and former Pilobolus Principal Dancer, Kent Lindemer have led to the creation of new work exploring nature, the physics of partnering, sculptural shape and complex relationships. Lynn and the AOMDT have been hailed by the Wall Street Journal as "inspired", by Out and About as "absolutely fantastic" and by the fashion blog of Women's Wear Daily as "spectacular".
Olivia Galgano (Artistic Director of Art of Motion, Inc. and AOMDT) directs the classical ballet program at Art of Motion and choreographs excerpts from classical repertory as well as original work. Olivia began her ballet training with the Boston School of Ballet at the age of seven under the direction of E. Virginia Williams. At the age of 16, she became a member of the New England Civic Ballet Company, presently known as the Boston Ballet Company. As a soloist, her performances included Rustic Wedding, which was created specifically for her by Leon Danielian. The work was premiered at the Boston Arts Festival and also performed at the Gloucester Arts Festival. She was then invited to join and became one of the youngest members of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, touring throughout the United States and Canada. Olivia's repertoire included over 50 ballets, and she performed solo roles in such ballets as Coppelia, Swan Lake, Gaite Parisienne, Le Beau Danube, and Sombreros. Her coaches included such renowned artists as Fredrick Franklin, Anton Vilzak, Leon Danielian, and Irina Barovska, all of the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Now a resident of Paramus, Olivia has been teaching in Bergen County and has choreographed a number of original pieces that have been performed at the New Jersey Dance Festival and the Bergen Community Dance Festival. Along with her dedication to teaching and choreographing, she has served as chairperson of the Cultural Committee for the Paramus Schools and has assisted the music department in creating and developing movement into their curriculum. Olivia has been co-owner and artistic director of the Classic Ballet School for over 20 years. The Classic Ballet Ensemble has performed throughout the New Jersey school system and other community facilities. As co-director of Art of Motion, Olivia looks forward to continuing her artistic dedication and endeavors by sharing her love, passion, and expertise with the performing arts community. Olivia Galgano is an Adjunct Professor at Bergen Community College, and recent director of the Ars Nova Annual Concert. Olivia was recently invited to be a guest speaker at the Annual Buckhill Arts Festival in Pennsylvania, and is participating as an alumnus in the Boston Ballet 50th Anniversary Celebration.
Ruth Grauert (Lighting Designer) holds an M.A. from Columbia University and a certificate as dance educator from the Henry Street Playhouse. Having worked for 40 years with Alwin Nikolais, she has designed lighting and served as mentor for many dancers in that discipline. Her published articles are concerned with various aspects of performance aesthetic. Her award-winning poetry deals primarily with man in nature. Ruth's Web site,BearnstowJournal.org, offers articles and discussion forums on dance, poetry, the arts, and the Nikolais aesthetic. When Annelise Mertz, Professor Emerita of Washington University in St. Louis, asked Ruth to write an article about how Bearnstow approached the teaching of the arts for her book The Body Can Speak, the essay "The Common Aesthetic" was Ruth's response and may be read at her Web site.
Annie Hickman (Costume Design & Construction) is perhaps best known as a one-of-a-kind artist, her vision weaving together basketry, costumes, sculpture, movement, dance, and the world of nature, which she then brings to life through graceful dance. Ms. Hickman has developed her craft through a life-time of experience. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s Annie participated in art gallery shows while dancing and creating costumes for clubs, Off-Broadway shows, and party companies (including the infamous LeClique). She also made costumes for Sesame Street Live and for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades. This work culminated with the discovery of her own, individual, artistic voice. Since then she's brought her performance art to a wide range of venues, including The National Theatre in Washington, DC and Lincoln Center in NYC. Her strolling performances have entranced audiences at the Museum of Natural History in NYC, Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA, and The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa. Annie performs solo, as a duo with her partner/husband Allynn Gooen, and — along with companies of dancers (all wearing her costumes)— at Theatres, Festivals, Botanical Gardens, and special events on four continents.