A Philadelphia-based modern dance company is traveling to Punxsutawney to perform their work Falling Up downtown on the sidewalks on June 27 and 28. Performances will begin on Main Street at 3 p.m. on Thursday June 27 and are free to the public.  See below for a complete list of times and locations.

Dancers Chloe Marie Newton, Harlee Trautman, Katherine Kiefer Stark, Marisa Illingworth and Sean Thomas Boyt slide spiral, jump, and fall along wood boards laid out on the sidewalk.  Composer Ajibola Rivers provides live accompaniment on the cello.  This is part of a five-city dancing-in-public spaces tour across Pennsylvania.

Falling Up invites the audience to watch up close as the dancers push the boundaries of the small performance space, move in and out of relationships, and try to find ways to help and be helped by each other.

Katherine Kiefer Stark, Artistic Director of The Naked Stark dance company, grew up making the drive from Philadelphia to Punxsutawney every summer to visit her grandmother.  Losing her grandmother this year, she realized she did not want to lose Punxsutawney, too.  “I connect with the world through movement:  making meaning, sharing ideas, and asking questions in the dances I make.  I envision rooting my work with The Naked Stark in the broader Pennsylvania community.  This summer, with support from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, I am taking the first step towards that dream.”


Thursday, June 27

  • 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Main Street

Friday, June 28

  • 11 a.m. and 12 p.m. Main Street
  • 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Library Sidewalk


Founded in 2009, The Naked Stark is a Philadelphia-based modern dance company that supports the development and presentation of socially conscious, socially critical, and socially engaged work by Artistic Director and founder, Katherine Kiefer Stark.  This work is not limited to the final product; it is embedded in the collaborative creative process, the programming we offer, and the relationships we build.  Through performances, movement practice, workshops, shared showings, and community events, The Naked Stark works to make dance-making, dancing, and dance-viewing sustainable, approachable and accessible.

The Naked Stark’s dance pieces are highly physical.  Featuring complex partnering, dynamic floorwork, and momentum-based movement that propels Katherine and others through time and space.  The dance pieces are created through an inclusive collaborative process in which the artists can safely explore complex power structures and intense physicality.  She is thrilled to be collaborating with Ajibola Rivers, Chloe Marie Newton, Harlee Trautman, Marisa Illingworth, and Sean Thomas Boyt on The Naked Stark’s current project Actor and The Leading Lady / Falling Up.

The Naked Stark’s work has been supported by grants from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (2014, 2015, 2017-19), FringeArts (2012), and the University City District (2015) and has been presented along the East Coast and in Chicago by organizations including First Person Arts Festival, Philadelphia (2013), Capital Fringe, Washington DC (2016), Salty Lark Dance, Chicago (2017), and FringeArts, Philadelphia (2012).



Katherine Kiefer Stark is a Philadelphia-based dancer, educator, and the artistic director and founder of The Naked Stark.  Rooted in the philosophy that the world is socially constructed, Katherine’s work aims to examine her conscious and unconscious contributions to the status-quo and spark thought and conversation amongst the audience.  Her movement practice is founded on release-based movement techniques, which appreciate and make space for the uniqueness of each mover’s body, emphasize understanding initiations and pathways and are practiced through discovering how one’s own body moves within the movement.  Katherine received her MFA in choreography from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and her BA in dance from Connecticut College.  In addition to her work with The Naked Stark, Katherine is Adjunct Faculty at Bryn Mawr College, dancing with Paige Phillips, and Vervet Dance, and raising two children with her partner Ben.

Ajibola Rivers is a cellist, composer/songwriter, educator and arranger from Lafayette Hill, Pennsylvania.  He is an accomplished and eclectic artist, performing regularly with an assortment of musicians from many different genres.  After completing his music performance degree at Boyer College of Music and Dance in 2016, he was accepted for the pilot year of the IRIS Orchestra Artist Fellowship Program in Memphis, TN where he did extensive work in underserved communities of the Shelby County School District.   He has many questions about the role of art and the artist in our society and he is finding answers in a number of ways, including artist fellowships working in underserved communities, and intercultural events throughout the tri-state area.

Chloe Marie Newton is a dance and visual artist from California. She currently resides in Philadelphia where she received her BFA in dance from the University of the Arts in May 2017. Chloe is currently interested in creating collaborative work in hopes to translate the powerful personal histories each individual carries and how important it is to use art to navigate life.

Harlee Trautman is a movement artist and sculptor currently residing in Philadelphia, PA, after time spent in Southern Louisiana where she received her BFA in Sculpture. Since arriving to Philadelphia, Harlee has had the opportunity to work professionally with The Naked Stark, Asya Zlatina & Dancers, Opera Philadelphia, and Archedream for Humankind. Harlee’s most recent creations have been showcased at the Iron Factory (Philadelphia), Tattooed Mom’s (Philadelphia), Grounds for Sculpture (Hamilton, NJ), as well as on display at the Philadelphia International Airport’s D terminal.

Marisa Illingworth is a dance artist in Philadelphia, PA. She received her BFA in dance from The University of the Arts in 2017.  Since graduating, she has taken great pleasure in performing for local artists such as Shannon Murphy, Meredith Stapleton, Haylee Warner, Sean Thomas Boyt and Katherine Kiefer Stark. She values a heightened sense of emotional, social, and political awareness in physical practice and in everyday life, and is very excited to continue learning, questioning, and collaborating with fellow artists in Philadelphia.

Sean Thomas Boyt is a dancer and dance-maker based out of Philadelphia. He currently dances for The Naked Stark, Nora Gibson Contemporary Ballet, Vervet Dance, and Anne-Marie Mulgrew & Dancers Company; collaborates with percussionist Dr. Andy Thierauf as stb x at (awarded artist in residence at Soundspace 1525); and works on projects with Dana Powers-Klooster, Lauren Linder, Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Ballet 180, Antonia & Artists, SKI BALL, Meredith Stapleton, and Kat J. Sullivan.  Sean enjoys collaboration with other artists and working with video, improvisation, and text.  As a choreographer, he operates under the phrase, “Dance like no one likes you.”  Sean’s work has been presented across the US at various mixed bills, concerts, universities, and tours.

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