David Shimotakahara has been a member of the Atlanta Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet, Kathryn Posin Dance Company, and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. He performed with Ohio Ballet under the direction of Heinz Poll from 1983-1999, and served as rehearsal assistant from 1989-1999. From 1989-97, Shimotakahara founded and was director of New Steps. This acclaimed dance project offered a variety of programs that stimulated the creation and growth of new choreography in Northeast Ohio. In 1998 he founded GroundWorks Dancetheater, based in Cleveland, OH, dedicated to creating, producing, and presenting new work in dance, in collaboration with nationally and internationally renowned dance makers and artists across disciplines.
Shimotakahara has choreographed for opera and theater with the Cleveland Opera, Great Lakes Theater Festival, and the Dallas Theater Center. He served on the Carlisle Project advisory panel in 1996, and numerous other panels including the Ohio Arts Council, Illinois Arts Council, the Mid Atlantic Arts Alliance, McKnight Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
He has received seven Individual Artist Fellowships for Choreography from the Ohio Arts Council from 1996 to 2012. In 1998, he received a McKnight Foundation Fellowship from the Minnesota Dance Alliance to create new work in the Minneapolis/St. Paul communities. In 2000, Shimotakahara was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize for Dance, and in 2002 his work with GroundWorks DanceTheater was voted “One of 25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine. In 2007, he received the OhioDance award for Outstanding Contributions to the Advancement of the Dance Artform, and in 2008 was a recipient of the first COSE Arts and Business Innovation awards as the founder of GroundWorks DanceTheater. In 2010 and 2014 Shimotakahara was awarded Creative Workforce Fellowships, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture, funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
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