Current Board of Directors, Beverly Blossom Foundation
Michael Blossom, the son of dancer/choreographer Beverly Blossom and actor/poet/writer Roberts Blossom, was born in New York City and grew up in Urbana, Illinois. He took care of Beverly for the last few years of her life in Chicago, and while he was a fan of her performances all his life, only upon her death in 2014 did he realize that the trove of materials she left behind was far too rich and important to neglect or throw away. Currently the owner of a retail fashion boutique in Chicago, Florodora (where Beverly was a regular customer) he also has past experience as a database designer for an art cataloging system at the Art Institute of Chicago. He plans to combine his knowledge of Beverly's work with his expertise to turn Beverly's legacy into something useful to the dance community and beyond, with the help of BBF's board members.
Pat came to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1973, six years after Beverly Blossom joined the faculty, and served as department head and producing director for department concerts from 1977 until her retirement in 2001. She worked closely with BB for seventeen years and had the pleasure of performing in two of her works--Kitsch and Brides. She was instrumental in organizing the exhibits of Beverly’s photographs, props and costumes at UIUC in November, 2015, both in the Music and Performing Arts Library and at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Her service to the profession includes leadership in the American College Dance Festival Association, the Council of Dance Administrators, and the National Association of Schools of Dance. Professor Knowles was the recipient of the 2005 Alma Hawkins Award for Excellence in Dance Education, awarded by the Council of Dance Administrators. She resides in Urbana, IL.
Peter McDowell is Managing Director of four-time Grammy-award winning sextet Eighth Blackbird. Eighth Blackbird, a vibrant Chicago-based nonprofit organization and touring ensemble, recently completed a unique and highly successful year-long residency at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and received a prestigious $400,000 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Peter is an arts manager and speaker who has built a 20-year career working with high level performing artists and arts organizations. He has held leadership positions at Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, New York’s Opera America, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, and is Founder of Peter McDowell Arts Consulting, a company that provides the performance field with public relations, website development and career coaching. He holds degrees from the University of Illinois and from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; serves on the board of the Beverly Blossom Foundation and is a documentary filmmaker, currently in production with Jimmy In Saigon - www.jimmyinsaigon.com. He was recently named a 2016-18 DeVos Institute Fellow, where he is one of 13 arts managers from six countries to be selected for this highly competitive program that provides practical training in arts administration in Washington DC for four weeks each summer. www.petermcdowell.com
Henning Rübsam is the artistic director and choreographer of SENSEDANCE. Since 1992, he presents annual New York seasons with his company and has toured within the US and as far afield as Peru, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and his native Germany. Rübsam is on faculty at The Juilliard School (since 2006) and is a visiting guest artist at Texas Academy of Ballet (Carolyn Bognar, director). He produced the BEVERLY BLOSSOM MEMORIAL GALA at The Kaye Playhouse in NYC in honor of his late mentor on November 1, 2015.The rehearsal process of his new collaboration “And There was Morning” with composer Beata Moon was one of the first projects to be selected for documentation by the Contemporary American Dance Museum. He received his M.A. in dance education from Hunter College and earned his B.F.A. degree in dance from The Juilliard School, where mentors included Martha Hill and Elizabeth Keen. While at Juilliard, he performed as the Faun in the Nijinsky/Debussy ballet, worked extensively with Anna Sokolow, and toured internationally with the Limón Dance Company. Upon graduation he founded his own ensemble SENSEDANCE and continued to dance with many other choreographers. During his tenure with Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance, Rübsam had the good fortune to have been taken under the wing of the delightful Beverly Blossom. He danced in her company in the 1990's and currently performs her duet "Invitation" as well as her solo "Shards."
Douglas Nielsen first met Beverly Blossom in 1982. They appeared on the same program at the Krannert Center, University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana), and quickly recognized their mutual love of theater, dance and flea markets. For the next eight years, Nielsen returned to UI as a guest artist, and in honor of Beverly’s retirement, Nielsen performed Beverly’s solo INCH, (November 9,10,11, 1989). Later (January 3-5, 1992), in New York, Beverly and Douglas pooled their resources to present a shared program at the former Dance Theater Workshop, NYC. The program included a premiere collaborative duet (FOUR BITS) – a duet Nielsen performed without Beverly entitled LOSING YOU - on the tribute to Beverly Blossom program at the Kaye Playhouse, NYC (November 1, 2015). Beverly and Douglas remained friends and colleagues from the first day they met - until the day Beverly passed. Douglas was honored to offer a eulogy at Beverly’s funeral, and feels privileged to serve on the BBF board.
Nielsen is a former member of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel and the Gus Solomons, Pearl Lang, and Paul Sanasardo dance companies in New York. He has performed solo works by Viola Farber, Beverly Blossom, Anna Sokolow, Murray Louis, and Charles Weidman. Nielsen has served on adjudication panels for The American College Dance Association; distinguished panelist for the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards, The National Association for the Advancement of the Arts, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the McKnight Foundation, and the NEA Learning in the Arts Dance Panel. Nielsen is the recipient of four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Performing arts fellowship with the Arizona Commission on the Arts.