A native of Wisconsin, Jennifer Ilse first studied dance in a professional setting in Duluth, Minnesota. She then moved to Eugene, Oregon, to continue her studies at the University of Oregon. In Eugene she also studied with the Eugene Ballet under Susan Zadoff of Ballet Russe, at the Musical Feet school of tap, and performed four seasons with the Dance Theatre of Oregon under Marc Siegel and Pamela Lehan-Siegel, formerly of Ballet West and Ballet Trockadero.
Ilse later moved to Minneapolis to forge a place for herself in that city's dynamic experimental and formal dance scene. After arriving in Minnesota, she came into contact with Herwig and became a founding member of Off-Leash Area; since then, Ilse has brought her technical expertise and passion for physical expression from dance, theater, music, and competitive sports to each work the company produces, developing a unique vocabulary that draws from a variety of formal and personal sources. She has also worked as a performer and collaborator with several choreographers in Minneapolis, including 6 years of work with Gerry Girouard.
Ilse has also worked as an educator, teaching ballet, tap and modern dance classes for both adults and children and leading dance and theater workshops in a variety of settings. She received 3 Artist Initiative grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board, was commissioned by the O’Shaughnessy in 2010, and was part of the prestigious Regional Dance Development Initiative in 2011, and an MRAC/McKnight Next Step Grant in 2015.
She has frequently taught her specialized class in inverted dance work for professionals at Zenon Dance School, TU Dance, and elsewhere, that incorporates acrobatics, capoeira, yoga, and modern and contemporary dance vocabularies.
For 35 years Paul Herwig has worked as an actor, director, writer and artist in the U.S., Canada and France, creating interdisciplinary performance with an emphasis on visual theater, physical performance, and a reoccurring special interest in mask.
In Canada Paul performed with a variety of professional theatres, including the Theatre Francais de Toronto, the Young People's Theater, and the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, as well as a variety of regional and summer theatres. In Europe Paul performed with several companies in France, Hungary, and Scotland, and at the prestigious Edinburgh and Avignon Fringe Festivals.
Paul was awarded a 2009 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship, received a 2010 Sage Award for Design in Dance, has received two Artist Inititaive grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board in 2007 and 2014, received a 2012 MRAC Next Step grant, and a 2013 Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant.
Paul graduated and received his diploma from the Jacques Lecoq International School of Movement and Theatre in Paris (1981-1983), one of the most important schools for western mask and movement work in the world. Paul has taught over two hundred Mask & physical theater workshops for universities and professional companies.
For two years he taught “Mask and Movement Improvisation for the Dancer and Actor” in the Macalester Dance & Theatre Department. In Canada Paul worked as a mask and movement coach for the Young People’s Theatre of Toronto, the Great Canadian Theatre Company, and participated in five artist-in-residency programs with secondary schools in Ann Arbor and Toronto, and periodically offers his Performance+Design workshops.
Jennifer Ilse solo in Expedition of Coat (and me)
A dance performance about a young anime super-heroine in an arctic landscape who faces and overcomes a metaphoric wall of self doubt to voyage into her future...
Paul Herwig solo in The Knave of Knives (2012)
An installation-performance about the karmic comeuppance of an evil man who led an evil life...