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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Susan Filipiak and Lydia Krienke
2014 master artist and apprentice
Dexter and Ann Arbor (Washtenaw County)
percussive dance

Filipiak Susan Filipiak (left) and Lydia Krienke (right).

Photo courtesy of Susan Filipak

Susan Filipiak grew up watching and learning from dance performers on the television shows of the 1950s and 1960s, especially those appearing on variety shows hosted by the likes of Lawrence Welk, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, and Ed Sullivan. Her mother saw this burgeoning love, and enrolled her in dance classes. In addition to a growing familiarity with American vernacular dance, Susan learned to play the organ (choosing this instead of the accordion), something expected by her Polish-American community. Years of musical study gave Susan a strong foundation and understanding of the musicality of dance. In addition to her dance interests, she holds degrees from Indiana University and the University of Michigan in the History of Art and spent many years working as a curator. Throughout her higher education experience, Susan took dance classes to provide much needed relief from her academic work. This included extensive work with dancers such as Lloyd Storey, Buster Brown, Brenda Bufalino, Dianne Walker, and Heather Cornell. In 1995, Susan opened Swing City Dance studios and, as of 2014, boasts 56 years of dance experience and 32 years of teaching experience.

Susan and Lydia Krienke have worked together for ten years. Lydia began dancing at age seven, and has studied styles including Quebecois step dance, tap, body percussion, and Appalachian clogging. In this apprenticeship Lydia aims to develop a deeper knowledge of cultural and social influences that impact American percussive dance, as well as to build her repertoire of dance styles and techniques.

-Micah Ling

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