Mutual Dance Theatre

The resident company of Mutual Arts is called Mutual Dance Theatre. The organization also presents other dance companies, but MDT specifically refers to artists living and working in Cincinnati with the Company.

Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers is the result of a 2021 merger between Contemporary Dance Theater (est. 1972 by Jefferson James) and MamLuft&Co. Dance (est. 2007 by Jeanne Mam-Luft). Both organizations began as performing troupes, but in the early 1990s, CDT dissolved its resident company and focused on presenting out-of-town artists while continuing to support local artists in various ways.  Today, in its 50th season (adopting numeration from the elder organization), the name Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers emphasizes collaboration, connectedness, and commonalities across individuality. The organization has combined both priorities: growing a virtuosic and viable local company while also bringing nationally-significant art to Cincinnati’s residents.

CDT has presented over 200 dance productions and founder Jefferson James was a recipient of the Scripps Corbett Lifetime Achievement Award. MDT has received awards and accolades from Cincinnati Magazine, CityBeat, and the League of Cincinnati Theatres. In 2015, the Enquirer’s David Lyman named MDT (as MamLuft&Co. Dance) amongst only two other, behemoth organizations (Cincinnati Ballet and Alvin Ailey) as having performed the most “exceptional moments in dance” in Cincinnati. CityBeat editorial staff named the Company the “Best Company Pushing the Envelope” locally in 2012.

MDT’s Company Members have come from across the country — from Utah to Massachusetts over the years. Guest choreographers have included Sarah Gamblin (Bebe Miller Dance Company), Amii Legendre (Pat Graney Company), Cody Szarko (Visceral Dance Chicago), John Litzler (River North Dance Chicago), Kristin O’Neal (Core Dance), Betsy Miller, Elisa de la Rosa, Leslie Dworkin, Jefferson James (Contemporary Dance Theater), Victor Lewis, Jr. (of PHILADANCO!), and Sidra Bell of Sidra Bell Dance New York.

Now booking touring

Jeanne Mam-Luft

Jeanne Mam-Luft is the Artistic and Executive Director of Mutual Dance Theatre and Arts Centers, which she partly founded as MamLuft&Co. Dance in 2007 (later merged with Contemporary Dance Theater, founded by Jefferson James in 1972). Mam-Luft holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from Texas Woman’s University and a Bachelor of Architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. Mam-Luft studied at both American Dance Festival and Bates Dance Festival on full scholarships, as well as Carnegie Mellon’s acclaimed School of Drama, Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and Point Park University. Her training includes Sarah Gamblin (Bebe Miller Dance Company), Mary Williford-Shade (Dance Alloy), James Caton (Ballet Metropolitan), Melissa M. Young and Nycole Ray (Dallas Black Dance Theatre), Ming-Lung Yang (Trisha Brown Dance Company), Tatiana Baganova (Provincial Dances Russia), and many others.  Mam-Luft was the Assistant Director of Contemporary Dance Theater for 4 and a founding member of Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance. She is certified in Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau (NY) and is also a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional. As an artist-producer, Mam-Luft has produced dozens of evening length and 60+ shorter works (35 of which she was lead choreographer). She was the first and only dance artist to be named a Cincinnati Arts Ambassador Fellow in support of an original dance-for-camera she choreographed, filmed, and edited. She served on the board of OhioDance (the state-wide organization for dance) for 6 years. She has been a grant panelist for both the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was raised in Texas after her family escaped the Khmer Rouge genocide. Most of her works are inspired by her family’s experiences. As a choreographer, her interests lie mostly in human connections and how that is portrayed through spatial relationships. She has guest-taught and/or set work on students at Texas Woman’s University, University of Cincinnati, Wittenberg University, Northern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, Tarrant County College, and Kent State, where she was an artist-in-residence in 2016.

Hannah Williamson

Hannah Williamson is a 7th-season performing Company Member, as well as the Rehearsal Director and a choreographer in Mutual Dance Theatre. She is a 2017 graduate of Wright State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance — Magna Cum Laude. Her senior choreographer project White Shores received the Adjudicated Choreography Award and was performed in the 2017 faculty concert alongside Testament, choreographed and set by Dwight Roden and Clifford Williams of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, which she also had the honor of perofrming in.

Williamson’s works created after her studies were selected for presentations, including two choreographic residencies with Columbus Modern Dance Company, Contemporary Dance Theater’s Area Choreographers Festival (2018 and 2021), Mutual Dance Theatre’s New Dance Laboratory, and Yes! Virginia Dance Festival. Williamson also received a commission from MDT for the creation of Variations in a Brainstorm (2021), a half-evening of work. She was honored to be chosen to teach Advanced/Intermediate Modern for Wright State’s prestigious dance program in the fall of 2022. She has recently been hired as an adjunct professor for the college’s advanced musical theatre program and was also honored with the opportunity to create original work for the school’s faculty concert.

Ms. Williamson is also a performer in the company.

Claire Dieringer
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Claire Dieringer is a 2016 graduate of Kent State University, from which she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Magna Cum Laude. Claire also studied at American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina with numerous teachers in multiple styles from all over the world. Claire has worked professionally as the Director of the Dance Program at Lake Bryn Mawr Camp in Pennsylvania. In 2017, Claire joined Mutual Dance Theatre (when it was MamLuft&Co. Dance) after training in New York. She was hired full-time as the organization’s Education and Outreach Coordinator and now holds the role of Studio Director and Programs Manager. Claire oversees the daily operations of Mutual Arts Centers’ education and academy programs in both Hartwell and Clifton. In 2019, she performed in Géographie, a multi-week installation by French choreographers Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan) at the Contemporary Arts Center, as well as in the Area Choreographers Festival (Contemporary Dance Theater). Most recently Claire’s choreographic works have been chosen to be presented in the Synergy Dance Series and at Northern Kentucky University’s Dance ’24 performance. Claire is so excited to be dancing with MDT for her seventh season!

Linda Garza
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Linda Garza is a 2022 graduate of Miami University where she received her Bachelor of Science in both Chemical Engineering and Engineering Management. During her time at Miami, she also earned minors in environmental engineering and dance. Prior to joining Mutual Dance Theatre, Linda was a member of Miami University’s Dance Theatre (under Lana Kay Rosenberg) where she performed in a variety of pieces by both student and guest choreographers. Some of her favorite pieces from her time in the company include “A Pep Talk for This Life” choreographed by Bessie-winning and internationally-acclaimed Joanna Kotze and “The Kids Are(‘nt) Alright” choreographed by Liza Torrence. More recently, Linda performed at the 2023 OhioDance Festival in “The Blue Room” choreographed by Mutual Dance Theatre’s Jasmine Snellen. Linda is so excited to have the opportunity to dance with Mutual!

Kaleigh Hampton
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Originally from Louisville, KY, Kaleigh Hampton began her training in ballet, Limón, Graham, jazz, and tap dance. She then went on to receive her Bachelors of Arts in dance and Bachelors of Science in exercise science from Western Kentucky University. During her time in college, Kaleigh spent her summers at Complexions, Hubbard Street, and New Dialect. Additionally, she was awarded the Faculty Undergraduate Student Engagement Grant and presented a choreographic work about how gravity affects anatomical structures within different dance genres. Kaleigh is excited to be starting her career at Mutual Dance Theatre!

Ana Hart

Born in Osijek, Croatia, Ana Hart joined Mutual Dance Theatre in 2021. During this time, Ana has performed works by Sidra Bell, Victor Lewis Jr. (PhilaDanco! The Philadelphia based dance company), Steven Evans, Jasmine Snellen, Rowan Salem, Hannah Williamson, Glenda Figueroa, and Gabriel Martinez. Ana has also performed works by Terrence Marling, Braeden Barnes, Adeline “A” Else, Christian Warner, Matt Pardo, Gregory Dolbashian, Ryan Corriston, Stephanie Liapis, Darla Stanley, and Chien-Kuei Chang (Chang Dance Theatre). Ana also performed with Rosie Herrera Dance Theatre as a featured soloist. Ana expanded her training and artistry through the b12 Berlin Workshop Festival. She has also  attended the GroundWorks DanceTheater Winter Intensive, the Sidra Bell Dance New York Summer MODULE Satellite, and the American Dance Festival. Her choreography has been presented at the inaugural Synergy Dance Series as well as the OhioDance Festival. Her work has been described as “cinematic” and “dynamic and dimensional.”

Ana graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Arts in Media Arts & Design with a concentration in Interactive Design. Ana’s cross-disciplinary interest in design and dance serves MDT through her role as Marketing Manager.

Evelyn Lackney

Evelyn Lackney received her Bachelors of Arts in dance and communication studies from Western Kentucky University. Originally from Danville, KY, Evelyn danced with the WKU Dance Company and had the opportunity to work with various choreographers across various styles. During her time in Bowling Green, KY, Evelyn was trained by artists at Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, New Dialect, and Mutual Dance Theatre. Additionally, Evelyn has choreographed multiple modern works that were adjudicated and presented. Her choreographic pieces are known for their emotional storytelling, inspired by the belief that art exists in everything. She is thrilled to be joining Mutual Dance Theatre!

Celeste Kennington

Celeste Kennington is a dancer and choreographer based in Cincinnati, OH.  She graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in dance from Wright State University.  There, she studied under distinguished faculty and mentors such as Teressa Wylie McWilliams, Ashley Walton-Pabst, Gina Walther, Gregory Robinson, and Erin Robbins. During her time at Wright State she had the opportunity to present a section from her senior thesis, “Lure”, at their annual arts gala fundraiser.  Also during her time at Wright State, she danced with with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s second company for the 2021-2022 season.  During her time there she got to dance alongside the main company and work under choreographers such as Shonna Hickman-Matlock, Elizabeth Ramsey, Countess Winfrey, Matthew Talley, and Amy Jones.   Additionally she premiered her original work “Anesidora” on Suttle Dance Detroit in June 2023, and her work “Fleshed Out” at Synergy Dance Series II. Celeste is beyond grateful and excited for the opportunity to train and understudy with Mutual Dance Theatre this season!

Paloma Perez-Rojas

Paloma Perez-Rojas is a Latina artist of a Chilean and Mexican family. Graduating from the University of California, Irvine in 2023, she earned a BFA in Dance Choreography, BFA in Dance Performance, and a BA in Education Sciences. Studying under the direction of Choreographers Lar Lubovitch, Kate Skapertowska, Charlotte Griffin, (Contemporary), and Cyrian Reed (Hip Hop), she became deeply inspired and interested in the endless play of energy that is offered in dance practice. Paloma developed her energetic curiosity through her University-funded Thesis research production “——“ along with her choreographic projects, “Tidal”, “Meek”, and “Before the Beginning”, staged at UC Irvine. Upon graduation, she was awarded the “Beth L. Koehler” to recognize her contemporary participation, high-creative achievement, and academic performance. Since graduating, Paloma moved to Berlin, Germany. There, she expanded her movement language through contemporary performance and hip hop experiences. Performing a Johannes Wieland original work, she also battled in the “Strongest Connection’s” first battle. Battling a blend of House, Memphis Juking and Contemporary dance, her love for freestyle has transformed her approach to dance. She studied with BeMarvel in Waving, Tutting, and Grooves, continuing to augment her body’s language. Before moving to San Diego to become a substitute teacher for students aged 4-18, she founded an organization on Instagram called @iDANCEchannel. With a purpose of contributing to making dance an inclusive, diverse space, she recruited more than 20 dancers from all parts of the world to create educational videos for aspiring dancers. Seeing how dancers from Togo to Greece could relate and care for one another only motivated her to participate in social media further. Now, as @the.dancing.channel, she shares her dance journey hoping to create a community of support for dancers of all kinds. Paloma is very grateful to be continuing to fuel her curiosities through her first season as Resident Company member of Mutual Dance Theatre.

Caroline Nymberg

Caroline Nymberg was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. As a young dance student, she studied at Cincinnati Ballet, San Diego Ballet, and Company E. She graduated magna cum laude from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance. During her time at university, she had the honor to perform and work with esteemed artists, including Bill T. Jones, Hope Boykin (Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre), Karen Reedy, Rob Kleinendorst, and Christopher D’amboise (for whom she was a rehearsal assistant). She is a third-year company member with Mutual Dance Theatre and has performed in works created by Sidra Bell and Victor Lewis Jr.

Courtney Ziegelmeyer

Courtney Ziegelmeyer hails from Northern Kentucky and recently graduated from the University of Michigan. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the School of Music, Theater, and Dance as well as a Bachelor of Science in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology. She has studied and taught a wide variety of movement techniques, including ballet, Modern (Graham and Humphrey), jazz, contemporary, tap, and acrobatics: skills which she uses as a faculty member at Mutual Arts Center. As a performer, she has had the honor to dance in works such as Chair Pillow, Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor, Studio A, Will You Die With Me?, and Cuca Deluxe by world-renowned choreographers Yvonne Rainer, Doris Humphrey, Jennifer Harge, and Carols Pons Guerra, as well as participate in diverse concerts and festivals, including Arts in Color, A World Beyond, and Oakland Dance Festival. As a choreographer, she has collaborated in many creative processes including collaborations with chamber musicians. She is eager to share her passion for movement and the musculoskeletal system through new opportunities and experiences. Ziegelmeyer is a third-year member of Mutual Dance Theatre’s company.

Presented by Mutual Dance Theatre and the Jefferson James Contemporary Dance Theater Series

Blue13 Dance Company

OCT 25-26, '24
ARONOFF CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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Mutual Dance Theatre in Up-Close: Nature/Nurture

DEC 6-14, '24
MUTUAL ARTS CENTER HARTWELL
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Presented by Mutual Dance Theatre and the Jefferson James Contemporary Dance Theater Series

Whim W'him

MAR 7-8, '25
ARONOFF CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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Mutual Dance Theatre in Modern Mix '25

MAY 30-31, '25
ARONOFF CENTER FOR THE ARTS
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2024-2025 Sponsors

Our work is supported in part by: individual donors, big and small; the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign; the National Endowment for the Arts; and state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council. To support Mutual Dance Theatre’s important work that keeps the genre of Modern Dance in Cincinnati, please visit mutualdance.org/support