Verb Ballets is proud to welcome choreographer Loretta Simon to the studio the week of August 12- 16, 2019. Simon graduate of Youngstown State University has been working in Europe for the last eighteen years. After studying at Houston Ballet, she created her own company, Simon Dance Theater, noted for the dance video drama Idol Time. She is an award-winning performer and choreographer and as a passionate teacher she has been on faculty at Cleveland School of Arts and Cleveland State University. She has most recently as a freelance choreographer. In 2018 Simon conceived a piece for Ravel’s Shéhérazade with the vocal accompaniment of operatic singer Persephone Abbott. She is at Verb Ballets studio to restage and adapt the work Shéhérazade Retold on the company.
Shéhérazade Retold is a reconceived tale of a woman inspired to become a warrior. She embodies self-sacrifice and empowerment. Shéhérazade distracts the sultan, night after night, using her intelligence and guile to engage him and preserve herself and others. Not just a fascination with the oriental and exotic culture, it is a story of forbearance, enlightenment, and heroism. The company premiere will feature live accompaniment by the musicians of the Chamber Music Society of Ohio. The Akron premiere will take place at Tuesday Musical’s Fuze Series on October 10, 2019 at EJ Thomas Performing Arts Hall.
A graduate of Youngstown State University with a minor in dance, Loretta studied at the American University Summer Dance (Wolf Trapp) program with members of both Merce Cunningham and Twyla Tharp companies. She continued her studies at Ballet Western Reserve and later the Houston Ballet. In Texas, she set up the Simon Dance Theater and created a dance video drama “Idol Time” inspired by a video dance workshop with Lynn Taylor-Corbette. A passionate teacher as well as performer and choreographer, she taught at the Cleveland School of Arts, chaired the dance department and also served as the assistant artistic director for the dance company of the Cleveland State University. During this period, she received a choreographic grant from the Ohio Arts Council for personal artistic development. She worked with Dr. Darwin Prioleau, now professor of Dance at Brockport College SUNY (“A Woman’s Thing”) and created two works with Courtney Laves Mearini, founder of City Ballet of Cleveland, and previously lead dancer at Atlanta Ballet, South Carolina Ballet Theater and Cleveland Ballet. One of those works – “Through a Veil” was performed at the Cain Park Outdoor Theater. After moving to Europe in 2001, Loretta set up Pilates for Everybody, offering training and therapy, but continued to work with dancers in the performing field. Her recent work includes choreography – Still Passings and coaching and choreography for Godinnen – an Asian dance group; coaching ballroom competitors in partnering and artistic interpretation. In 2018 she conceived and realized a piece for Ravel’s Shéhérazade, “Shéhérazade Retold”, with the vocal accompaniment of operatic singer Persephone Abbott.