Pennington Dance Group
Company Headshots and Bios
John Pennington, artistic director of Pennington Dance Group and ARC Pasadena, also serves as co-director of the Lewitzky Dance Gallery and s a member of both the theater and dance faculty at Pomona College and the dance faculty at Cal-State University Long Beach. Pennington enjoyed a 14-year career with the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company as a performer and master teacher. He then went on to be a guest artist, independent choreographer and educator before establishing his own award-winning dance group in 2000. The New York Times reviewed his work at the Ailey Citigroup Theater stating: “Wielding a voluminous silver-gray cape, Mr. Pennington made a powerful case for an antiquated style, the taut images striking both on their own and as tantalizing evidence of their influence on Graham.” Dance magazine also noted: “John Pennington’s powerful rendition of the German expressionist’s Tänze vor Gott (Dance before God) was a welcome addition. In his commanding gestures, including sweeping a huge cape to conceal or reveal himself, and accusatory pointing at the audience, he struck me as a cross between Carabosse and Martha Graham in Lamentation.” Educated at Northwestern University, California Institute of the Arts (BFA), and Hollins University (MFA), Pennington’s dedication to education includes workshops and curriculum development for the Los Angeles Unified School District, Fowler Museum, MOCA and Armand Hammer Museum. He served as an Annenberg Scholar in Dance Education for Inner City Arts LA and served on the Board of Directors for the Los Angeles Dance Resource Center and the Artist Committee for Dancers Responding to AIDS. Pennington is the recipient of several grants and awards from the Princess Grace Foundation, California Community Foundation, Goethe Institute, Durfee Foundation, Dance USA, Los Angeles County Arts Program and a HOTHOUSE choreographic residency. He is honored to be the recipient of five Lester Horton Awards for achievement in dance including the award for Excellence in Teaching. He received a Backstage West Garland Award and a L.A. Weekly Theater nomination for achievement in choreography. His oral history essay was featured in When Men Dance: Choreographing Dance Across Borders edited by Jennifer Fisher and Anthony Shay, published by Oxford University Press.
Danae McWatt, a Minnesota native, has trained in modern, ballet, jazz, and hip hop starting at an early age. In 2010, she graduated with her BA in Dance Science from Cal State University Long Beach and has had the pleasure of working with Lorin Johnson, Susan McLain, John Pennington, and Andy Vaca. Her professional dance career started with Los Angeles based choreographer, Regina Klenjoski, as a member of Regina Klenjoski Dance Company from 2010 to 2014. McWatt’s experience and love for dance inspired her to teach Pilates and she received her Body Arts and Science International certification in 2012 under the mentorship of Karen Clippinger. While currently working and residing in the Long Beach area, McWatt has been able to pass on her knowledge as a dance coach and choreographer for Renaissance High School for the Arts. McWatt is excited as she enters her 5th season with Pennington Dance Group.
Montay Romero was born in San Diego, California, and has been an avid participant in the arts from a young age. Heavily involved in music, Montay sought further forms of self expression which he had the opportunity to explore while attending the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. After coincidently stumbling into a dance studio on campus, he soon found himself actively seeking dance education, which he continued at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where he received his BFA in dance. Romero, who was originally accepted to the University as a vocal major, changed his path upon arrival. He chose to honor the strong calling and deep connection he felt towards dance. Currently a resident of Los Angeles, California, Montay is continually refining his relation to dance as an art form, a means of expression, and an opportunity to explore self.
Li Chang Rothermich is a native of Taipei, Taiwan. She studied at the National Institute of Arts in Taipei, as well as Graham and Limón techniques, ballet, and Chinese theatre movement. Rothermich danced with the Cloud Gate Contemporary Dance Theatre in Taipei, City Contemporary Dance Company in Hong Kong, and with the Los Angeles based Lewitzky Dance Company. She has received international critical acclaim for her performances in lead and starring roles while touring through America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Rothermich has been happy to work with the PDG since 2004.
Edwin A. Sigüenza resides in the Inland Empire and began his training at University of California Riverside, where he received his B.A in Dance and Theater in 2013. Since then, Edwin has traveled to San Francisco, San Diego, and Tijuana to further his training as a dancer and choreographer. He is honored to have worked with extraordinary choreographers like; Jean Isaac, Brenda Way, Bill Irwin, Jill Voznick, Victoria Koenig, Susan Rose, Joel Smith, Hope Morh, and talented grad students. Additionally, Edwin has collaborated with Crystal Sepulveda, and Wendy Rogers. This is his fourth year dancing with the PDG.
Michael Szanyi, originally from Las Vegas, Nevada is a Humanities Fellow at The Webb Schools where he teaches American Society, Psychology, and Dance. He has a Masters in Applied Social Psychology and Evaluation and Bachelors in Psychology and Dance. Szanyi also teaches modern dance at Pomona College and the Inland Pacific Ballet. This is his 7th year working with the PDG.
Annalee Traylor is from Huntsville, AL. and graduated high school with a concentration in contemporary dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. She went on to receive her BFA with honors from Point Park University in 2010, where she was also a founding member of the critically acclaimed August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble (Top 25 to Watch in Dance Magazine) under the direction of Greer Reed. Annalee has had the honor to work with various renowned choreographers including: Robert Battle, Donald McKayle, Earl Mosley, Christopher Huggins, Kyle Abraham, Sidra Bell, Kevin Wynn, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Kevin “Iega” Jeff, and Camille A. Brown. Relocating to Los Angeles in 2014, she continually performs with C. Eule Dance, Clairobscur Dance Company, BrockusRED, LA Rock Opera, and is so grateful and excited to be a part of Pennington Dance Group’s 15-year anniversary. She is dedicating her performance tonight in memory of her brother Patrick Traylor.
Tom Tsai, originally from Taipei, Taiwan, has been dancing with Pennington Dance Group since 2011. As a solo artist, Tom has presented work throughout California and New York, and internationally in Sweden, Portugal, the Netherlands, and at Sadler’s Wells in London. He previously competed with Instant Noodles Crew, and also dances with Laurie Cameron & Company. Tom teaches at the Pomona College Department of Theatre and Dance, and has also taught Modern floor work technique and Breaking classes and workshops in California, New York, the Netherlands, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand.