maria gillespie      artistic director / choreographer


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mission  / artistic statement



Mission Statement

Oni Dance is an organization of artists that provides creative collaboration, performance, and movement education as the formula for furthering the growth and cultural impact of contemporary dance theater.

Oni Dance’s artistic director and its members determine to engage and educate the public in the integration of dance, theater, music, film, and movement-based practices.

The mission of Oni Dance is to ensure that dance retains a vital position in the social rituals of daily life of though classes, workshops, collaborations and public performances.



Artistic Statement

Oni Dance creates vibrant and idiosyncratic dances that inspire both emotional and kinetic insight. Oni Dance serves as a social medium to propel our community into a realm where the psyche and intellect co-exist with the challenges and gifts of humanity: the body. Our daily practice is in the art of creating dances, training, and collaborating to establish an exchange with our community which directly fortify the performing arts experience. The result from this exchange is the presentation of cutting-edge movement and new theatrical ideas; thus enlightening, mirroring, and commenting on the magnificence of humanity to the public.

Through public performances, workshops, and artistic collaborations, Oni Dance challenges and educates the regional community in the vernacular and aesthetics of contemporary dance. Oni Dance shares with and educates its audience in literal and poetic encounters that illuminate the human experience.

In making dances, the point of genesis for creating and sharing art lies in movement: the heart of human communication. Utilizing various dance techniques, improvisation, and collaborative composition, the members of Oni Dance hope to reveal issues that communicate the power, beauty, complexity and expressive volumes of the body and human interaction. In addition to dance promotion and education, Oni Dance also seeks to create and present art that invites psychological inspiration to alter the initial meaning of movement material.

Utilizing virtuosic and highly nuanced movement language, Oni Dance creates and pursues work that invites the viewer to expand their vision of what movement expression can encompass. Oni Dance thrives on creating movement that throws the limbs off the body, devours space, rides on momentum, and dives off center. Aesthetically ranging from poignant and tender to raw and far-flung, the work of Oni Dance is centered in creating intricate theatrical environments, which expose and represent the multi-faceted layers of the human psyche.








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"She exudes a feral energy. Her four dancers charged about with the same electricity, which is good way to tell that she’s a terrific director, too."

(Laura Bleiberg,
Orange County Register)


the company


artistic statement

artistic director