“Zany…endearing…”  - Cleveland Plain Dealer


“Enchanting…”  - The San Diego Story


“Unique moving art” - Tom Mulready, Cool Cleveland









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Sarah Morrison

Director & Choreographer


2015 contributing creators and performers:

Fatima AbuZahrieh, Heather Baur, Jenni Hankey, Taliesin Reid Haugh, and Hope Schultz

Interns: MaryPat Dorr and Luibomyr Shyndak

Lighting Designer: Trad A Burns

Photographer: Bob Perkoski


Since 1997, MorrisonDance has integrated the art of movement within cross-disciplinary collaborations, continuously challenging the traditional understanding of dance.  The small non-profit dance company gets its unique strength from performers trained in a variety of movement arts willing to stretch their abilities through presentations in alternative venues and through experimental presentations combining nature, technology, and other artistic disciplines.  MorrisonDance works to create viscerally aesthetic presentations, and has developed unique creative partnerships with organizations such as BrainMaster and NASA, allowing them to explore new marriages between art and science.  Recently honored by the ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG foundation, MorrisonDance was granted 3 years of support through the anonymously nominated and unsolicited SEED grant in honor of their work with the community.  This is no ordinary dance company.

The mission of MorrisonDance is to inspire and cultivate public awareness of the art of dance through performances and cross-disciplinary collaborations.  To provide, promote, and participate in educational and outreach programs that increase the awareness of dance and that encourage community cultural and artistic endeavors; to research and develop integrated and cross-disciplinary teaching and presentation methods for dance; and to create opportunities for artists and performers of various media, augmenting the accessibility of dance as a performing art.












Sarah Morrison has been training in dance since the age of 5, and began her professional performing career as a teenager with Lee Harper and Dancers in Atlanta, Ga.  She relocated to Cleveland upon receiving a four-year scholarship from Case Western Reserve University for her dance choreography in 1992.  After four intensive years at Case, Morrison graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Arts degree in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Theatre Arts (dance concentration) and psychology, with a minor in Biology. 

On September 4th, 1997, Morrison began her choreographic career with “Leaping Into the NET,” the world’s first live online broadcast of a modern dance concert, and her company MorrisonDance was born.  Morrison is the 2009 recipient of the Ohio Arts Council Award for Excellence for her choreography.  Through her work with MorrisonDance, she has been awarded funding from Neighborhood Connections, a program of the Cleveland Foundation; the Puffin Foundation; the Ohio Arts Council, and Case Western Reserve University.  Her collaborations with NASA have been internationally recognized by the associated press, and her creative impact on the community has been locally honored through proclamations by the city of Cleveland, the county of Cuyahoga, and the state of Ohio.  Recently, MorrisonDance was anonymously nominated for a SEED grant from the Rauschenberg Foundation in NYC to continue their creative work in the Midwest, with the assistance of three years of financial support.

In addition to choreographing over 50 original dance works for professional productions, Morrison has taught courses in dance, sensation and perception, and sport psychology at colleges including Case Western Reserve University, University of Akron, Cuyahoga Community College, Notre Dame College, Cleveland Institute of Music, and Universidad de Verecruzana.  Morrison has additionally shared her passion for dance through cross-curricular courses offered to PK-12 students at schools and community centers throughout Northeast Ohio as a roster artist and Master Teaching Artist with the Center for Arts Inspired Learning (FKA Young Audiences of Northeast Ohio). 

Morrison has also collaborated with the department of Psychological Sciences at Case and Boston University in research examining visual perception in Alzheimer’s disease funded by the National Institutes of Health.  Her scientific work has been published in various scientific journals including Cortex and Vision Research, in the book Vision in Alzheimer’s Disease, and has been presented at conferences nationally and internationally.



Trad A Burns is a lighting and scenic designer based in Boston.  His career has spanned theatre, dance, amusement parks, as well as architectural and retail lighting.  Designing over 400 productions during the last two decades, his varied work has been seen around the world.  Designs include works for Cincinnati Ballet, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet British Columbia, Washington Ballet, Spectrum Dance, Ballet Hawaii, Verb Ballets, Inlet Dance Theatre, MorrisonDance, New York Theatre Workshop (NYC), The Public Theatre (NYC), La Mama ETC (NYC), HERE (NYC), Classic Stage Company (NYC), The Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cedar Point, ValleyFair, Knott’s Berry Farm, Kings Island, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Japan, Disney Sea, Disney Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Universal Studios Florida & Japan, Woodstock Ice Productions, and The Family of Charles M. Schulz.  


photos by Jonny Reise from our performance at the Nature Center for Shaker Lakes, Ohio
Fatima AbuZahrieh (Cleveland, OH) began dancing professionally with Cleveland’s SAFMOD performance ensemble in 2007.  A trained gymnast, Fatima has found her way into the dance world and has performed on stage, as well as in site-specific venues with MorrisonDance, the Looking Glass Project, All Go Signs, the Bridge Project, Microscopes and Megaphones, Vis a Vis with Maree ReMalia and Kalindi Stockton, A love A kiss A death and other R. Washington projects.  Fatima has taught gymnastics for over 20 years in Berea, Ohio. She graduated from Baldwin Wallace College and Cleveland Marshall College of Law, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and the honor of Juris Doctor, respectively.  She is licensed to practice law in Ohio, and is also a court appointed Guardian Ad Litem in the Juvenile Court. 
Heather Baur (Cleveland, OH) has been teaching, dancing and choreographing for the past 15 years.  She holds a Dance Education Licensure from Kent State (OH) and is a graduate of Bowling Green State University (OH) where she obtained her B.A.  Science and Education. Other educational experience includes studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and the University of Urbino in Italy.  After college she performed in NYC with The Vissi Dance Theater and acted as The Assistant Dance Director at St. Joseph’s Magnet Arts High School.  Upon  her return to Cleveland she spent five years dancing with MorrisonDance.  Heather then relocated to Maine where was a principle dancer with Collective Motion and Sonar Dance. In Maine she also helped produce and direct the New England Dance Project. She taught at Berwick Academy, and started a dance/yoga program at Falmouth High School.  Heather has been commissioned to choreograph and perform works in NYC, Cleveland and in Maine.  Her experience extends internationally in Israel at the Yitzhak International Arts Gathering.  Heather has returned again to her hometown, where she continues to perform with MorrisonDance.
Jenni Hankey (Cleveland, OH) began her dance training at the age of four with New Castle Regional Ballet, where she had the opportunity to travel to festivals with Regional Dance America, a national association for pre-professional ballet companies.  She attended the Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts in Erie, PA and then received dance and academic scholarships to continue her dance education at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.  Later, she earned her degree from Ball State University, majoring in architecture and minoring in technical theater.  Her true passion is in teaching, to positively influence the lives of children, which led her to open her own ballet school, Pulse Dance Studio.  She started the school in 2011 in Bedford, OH where she produces the annual, “Nutcracker Ballet,” as well as a spring story-ballet for her students.  In addition to teaching and choreographing, she enjoys sewing costumes for her students and designing set pieces for her shows.  She is excited to be performing in her first season with MorrisonDance!
Taliesin Reid Haugh (Cleveland Heights, OH) grew up in Cleveland’s art community. His dance training and experience includes Hawkins style modern dance with YARD under the direction of Bill Wade, Horton technique and ballet under Michael Medcalf, Stiltwalking and aerial circus techniques with SAFMOD, Breakdance/hiphop with Ground Effects and the Chosen Few crew, and 16 years of Afro-Brazilian acrobatics dance and percussion with Capoeira Narahari. Taliesin has performed in 5 countries including Greece as a member of UNESCO’s Conseil International de la Dance in 2006. His side interests include ancient languages, martial arts, history, theater, carpentry, cooking, latin dance, bicycling, and rock climbing. He is finishing his B.A. in Anthropology at Cleveland State, and works in the Theater department where he performed in a Bollywood version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Playhouse Square. Taliesin has worked with Morrison in many community endeavors including Parade the Circle at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and joined MorrisonDance as a performer in 2010.

Hope Schultz (Cleveland, OH) grew up in an artistic family on Cleveland’s near eastside, she was exposed to many different styles of music and movement from a very young age. She has studied various forms of dance, and through the years immersed herself in diverse performing arts, which has influenced her style as a performer and choreographer. She started working with SAFMOD Performance Ensemble in 1996 as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, later becoming Movement Director and Educational Coordinator for the company in the years 2004 through 2008.  In 1997, Hope performed in MorrisonDance’s world premiere of LEAPING INTO THE NET!, and has worked with MorrisonDance as a performer and contributing creator on various projects. Hope continues to perform, choreograph and teach throughout Ohio, and is currently teaching and training the Pilates Method.

Bethany Nesta (North Royalton, OH) began her training at the age of three, and continued dancing and competing in North Royalton until attending the University of Akron, where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance under Andrew Carroll, Cydney Spohn, MaryAnn Black, Tom Smith, and Robin Prichard. While training at Akron, she worked with guest artists including Doug Varone and Dancers, Paul Taylor 2, David Parsons- Parsons Dance Company; Nora Chipaumire- Urban Bush Women, Arturo Fernandez- LINES Ballet, and Amy Miller of Groundworks Dance. After graduation, Bethany went on to perform in parades at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida dancing in the Disney’s Electrical Light Parade, Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade, and Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade. Upon her return to Ohio, Bethany has performed with SMAG Dance Collective (Dayton), and has worked with MorrisonDance since 2012 as a performer, contributing creator, educator, and education and outreach coordinator.