Lois Welk

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Lois Welk, Artistic Director of 171 Cedar Arts Center in Corning, NY was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. As a student at the University of Buffalo, a performance by dance legend Daniel Nagrin inspired her to major in Dance. Following Buffalo, Welk spent several years at the Dance Dept. of SUC at Brockport where Richard Bull became her mentor. From 1973-1979, she co-directed the American Dance Asylum, with Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane then based in Binghamton, NY. In 1979, Lois Welk joined the dance faculty of 171 Cedar Arts Center teaching Modern Dance and Creative Movement. When the Executive Director resigned in 1988, Welk became Executive Director. As Director the programs grew dramatically among them satellite programs, dance residencies, The Courthouse Jazz Series and Making Real the Dream: A Celebration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1997, the Board named Lois Welk Artistic Director and added a Managing Director Patricia Marti as the organization moved into a capital campaign and expansion project. The campaign has exceded it's goal and the expansion project is moving forward. Lois Welk continues to teach Modern Dance at 171 Cedar and to thousands of school age children through in-school programs. She also continues to direct the American Dance Asylum, a project based dance company that produces her innovative site-specific and community-oriented productions. Exploration of site-specific choreography has long been a major focus throughout her career, producing such events as the popular series, The Parking Ramp Dances, as well as the Hiawatha Island Dance, with the assistance of the Experimental Television Center. She is a recipient of a Choreography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, an Arts Partnership Award from the Chemung Valley Arts Council and a 1998 Governor's Arts Award. Lois Welk is a member of DanceForce, The New York State Task Force for Partnerships in Dance.