Creators & Consumers of Our Own Art
Our mission is simple: Preserve and nurture classical dance by collaborating with various artists, dancers, and non-dancers, to produce work that subverts traditional norms often associated with the ballet world.
Our vision is clear: Give ballet a voice and a chance at achieving longevity in the post-postmodern world by unifying and enabling classically trained artists.
Freaks With Lines® (FWL) is a Los Angeles based dance project created by Susan Vishmid that serves as a platform to showcase both independent and collaborative works between professional dancers and other creatives in various disciplines. Dancers are FREAKS who live, eat and breathe solely to create LINES, which are then ultimately analyzed, scrutinized and re-synthesized. Dance is a self serving art form. Freaks With Lines® are the creators and the consumers of their own art.
The quest for perfection is every dancer's story. Every day is a hunting expedition for the most perfect line we can possibility create with our bodies because the body is our sole vehicle for expression. The story, no matter how abstract, is always contained in the lines.
We are beautiful freaks manufacturing stories via cohesion of lines in and through space. We lurk amongst the generic population ready to appease ourselves first and foremost and any other voyeurs bold enough to accept the invitation to our mobile variety "Freak Show."
THE STORY IS IN THE LINES...
photo shoot with Pete Black
Dancers: Sadie Black & Susan Vishmid
Photo: Pete Black
photo shoot w/Eric Friedlander
Dancers: Sadie Black, Hannah Kenne & Susan Vishmid
Photo: Eric Friedlander
photo shoot w/Eric Friedlander
Dancer: Hannah Keene
Photo: Eric Friedlander
photo shoot w/Eric Friedlander
Dancer: Sadie Black
Photo: Eric Friedlander
Artistic Leadership & Company Members
Creative Director, Choreographer, Dancer, Executive Producer
Susan Vishmid is Freaks With Lines® Artistic Director and Choreographer. At age four, Susan began her early training at the Westside School of Ballet and through scholarships continued her pre-professional training at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, San Francisco Ballet School and The Rock School.
Susan's professional ballet career includes Pennsylvania Ballet, Santa Fe Opera, San Diego Opera, Chicago Festival Ballet, Napoles Ballet Theatre, California Contemporary Ballet, City of Angels Ballet, California Riverside Ballet, Key West Ballet, Coast City Ballet and San Gorgonio Ballet. Susan had the privilege of working with some of today's most esteemed choreographers including Kenneth von Heidecke, Nicola Bowie, Jodi Melnick and Kitty McNamee in Samson & Delilah, Aida, A Masked Ball, Romeo & Juliette, Capriccio and La Traviata respectively.
Susan enjoys teaching and coaching ballet dancers at all levels, especially adult beginners at Align Ballet Method where she is on the faculty. Her deep understanding of anatomy and body mechanics sets her teaching style apart and allows for detail-oriented and easy to follow instruction - perfect for ballet beginners. Susan is also a certified yoga and Pilates instructor. Susan is a USC alumna (cum laude) with a BA in Communication and Philosophy.
Dancer, Choreographer, Co-Producer
Sadie Black is a freelance artist from and based in Los Angeles. She dances currently with Barak Ballet, Clairobscur Dance, Luminario Ballet and Raiford Rogers Modern Ballet. She has been a guest artist, dancing principal roles in The Nutcracker with Pamela Hayes Classical Ballet, Southern California Ballet Theater, & Pacific Dance Center. She trained with Riverside Ballet Arts, Houston Ballet Academy, and the School of American Ballet. She has been a company dancer with Texas Ballet Theater, Columbia City Ballet and Los Angeles Ballet.
Sadie is a choreographer and ballet teacher for students of all ages including adults and a yoga, barre and fitness teacher. She created a barre fitness class, “Ballet Fit Body” which she currently teaches at Equinox. Sadie is also a ballet coach for students competing at Youth America Grand Prix and other several dance competitions. This is Sadie's second season with the Freaks.
Production Manager, Co-Producer
Eric Friedlander is the production manager for Freaks With Lines, and despite having the grace and movement vocabulary of an errant hippopotamus, he has steadily co-piloted FWL's business and marketing initiatives since its founding in 2018, as well as contributed to the company artistically from behind the lens.
Originally from New York, Eric grew up in Houston, TX where he graduated Strake Jesuit College Preparatory in 2002, recognized for achievement in musical performance and broadcast production. In 2006, Eric graduated from American University in Washington, DC with a BS in Audio Technology, and began freelancing. His resume of events includes the 44th Inauguration, Times Square New Years Eve celebrations, and The Dew Action Sports Tour. Eric joined Harman Professional, in 2011, and relocated to Los Angeles in 2014. In multiple product management and business development roles with HPro, Eric provided global support of JBL's live sound offerings and drove a number of national and international strategic marketing efforts,
Launching his own business, Tower 21, LLC in 2018, Eric now serves as a nationally touring audio engineer, systems designer, and has engineered a number of immersive audiovisual installations. Additionally, Eric is the CTO and co-founder of Acoustic Research Systems (ARS), an aerospace testing startup.
Hannah Keene of Wellesley, Massachusetts began her training at the Boston Ballet School from the age of 5 to 17 before joining Boston Ballet II for two seasons. She then danced with the Kansas City Ballet for three seasons and joined the Los Angeles Ballet in 2017. This is Hannah's second season with the Freaks.
Originally from Seattle, Adam Bloodgood is a graduate of Pacific Northwest Ballet School where he trained for 12 years under the direction of Francia Russell, succeeded by Peter Boal. Adam has performed as a principal guest artist in every major region of the country in addition to dancing as a full-time company member with Ballet Idaho, Dayton Ballet and City Ballet of San Diego. Adam has performed leading roles in work by George Balanchine, Stephen Mills, Peter Anastos, W. Earle Smith, Betsey Wistrich, and Karen Russo Burke, among others.
In 2017, Adam originated the role of Romeo in Contempo Arts Productions’ Romeo and Juliet in Los Angeles. Adam Bloodgood also works as a musician, journalist and entrepreneur; he is the guitarist for Floating Pockets, editor/correspondent for Public Occurrences Network, a Pacific Northwest based publication, and host of Clear Perspective with Adam Bloodgood, a talk show web-series.This is Adam's third season with the Freaks.
Originally from Italy, Ottavio has been performing in dance productions, operas, television shows and musicals in Italy, Qatar, Oman and the U.S., hitting some of the most prestigious stages of the world including the MET, Walt Disney Music Hall, The Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, The Royal Opera House of Muscat, The Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and The Pasadena Playhouse.
Ottavio has performed principal roles in repertory ballet such as Firebird, Swan Lake, Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and a modern production of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Body Parts, QatarMarine Festival, I Promessi Sposi the musical, Lo Spettacolo Dell’Acqua and many more. Ottavio also worked in many operas as a dancer and actor such as Prince Igor, Moise et Pharaon, Die Zauberflöte, La Boheme, Hansel and Gretel, Madame Butterfly, Tosca, Nabucco, Rigolettoto. This is Ottavio's second season with the Freaks.
AJ Abrams was born in Long Beach, CA. Growing up, he trained with Anthony and Terri Sellars of Orange County Dance Center and Keith and Linda Clifton of Clifton Dance Project. Other training included schools all over the US such as Pacific Northwest Ballet, The Rock school of Pennsylvania Ballet and School of American Ballet. Mr. Abrams started his professional dance career under the direction of Stephen Mills at Ballet Austin. During his time in Austin he was given the opportunity to dance principal roles such as Albrecht in Giselle, Sugar Plum Cavalier in the Nutcracker and a featured role in Balanchine’s Who Care’s.
After leaving Ballet Austin, AJ started his freelance career in Los Angeles. He has worked with Luminario Ballet, Barak Ballet, Festival Ballet Theatre and Ballet Red. He has also been featured in music videos with Coldplay and Florence and the machine. Most recently, he danced and traveled the world aboard a cruise ship with Royal Caribbean Cruises. Now, back in Los Angeles Mr. Abrams has been asked to join the new emerging company Freaks with Lines as a dancer/choreographer/ballet master. This is AJ's first season with the Freaks.
Miss Lebowski began dancing at the late age of 13. Michelle later went on to train with the Joffrey Ballet and the Colorado Ballet. She has performed and learned excerpts of ballets such as Paquita, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Esmerelda, Prince Igor, Bournaville's Conservatoire, Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht, and Arpino's Viva Vivaldi. The first company Michelle had the chance to perform with was the Indianapolis Ballet. She performed in the corps de ballet of ballets such as: Balanchine’s The Four Temperaments and Serenade, The Nutcracker, Paquita, Carmen, and Swan Lake.
Today Michelle is currently dancing with two companies, LA Dance Moves and Freaks With Lines in Los Angeles. While establishing herself as a freelance dancer in LA, she has also enrolled in business school as well. In the fall of 2019 she created the company Ballerinas of Los Angeles. There she has cultivated a safe and diverse community of ballet dancers throughout Los Angeles. Her goal is to provide a spotlight for ballet dancers in Los Angeles that would provide work for members in her community. This is Michelle's first season with the Freaks.
Breanne Wilson grew up in Calgary, Alberta and received a BFA in dance from the University of Arizona School of dance with a complimenting minor in Business. She now resides in Los Angeles and is represented by Go 2 Talent Agency. Most recently, Breanne returned from performing in the 25thAnniversary production of Art on Ice in Switzerland touring the country with Aloe Blacc, Rebecca Ferguson, Bligg and Bastian Baker. Other recent credits include La Traviata with LA Opera performing as a Principal dancer and Singin’ in the Rain with McCoy Rigby Entertainment where she performed the iconic dance role of “the girl in the green dress” originated by Cyd Charisse. Before moving to Los Angeles,Breanne was fortunate enough to perform as a company member with Odyssey Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City for three years. She performed several principal roles with the company and completed 3 European tours performing throughout Germany, Switzerland and France. Following her time with Odyssey, Breanne also performed as the lead aerialist in King Triton’s Concert where she played Ariel at Tokyo Disney Sea.She has danced works by George Balanchine, Sean Cheesman, Spencer Liff, Kitty McNamee, Mia Michaels, Larry Keigwin, Gary Chryst, Ann Reinking, Sherry Zunker, Bonnie Story, Ernie Flatt, Garrett Smith, and Derryl Yeager. This is Breanne's first season with the Freaks.
Sofia was born in Malibu, California and began her dance training at the age of seven at California Dance Theatre in the Conejo Valley and has performed in a variety of classical ballets and original productions with CDT's performance company, Pacific Festival Ballet. Before graduating in 2016, Sofia spent her summers studying with Joffrey Chicago, Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, Northwest Dance Project, Ballet X, and SALT Contemporary Dance. Sofia attended SUNY Purchase College in the Conservatory of Dance as a Ballet Major and Psychology Minor and has performed classical works including George Balanchine's Concerto Barocco, in addition to original contemporary productions like Norbert De La Cruz III’s Lunar.
After completing her collegiate education, Sofia joined Indianapolis Ballet as a trainee in their Professional Level Program, where she focused more specifically on the Balanchine Style. Sofia performed in George Balanchine 's Who Cares, The FourTemperaments and The Nutcracker, as well as a variety of original choreography ballets by Victoria Lyras. Sofia has performed around the world from her hometown of Southern California to New York City to France with Festival Dansez Maintenant and Eastern Europe with the Estonian National Ballet. She now resides in Los Angeles, furthering her dance experiences and passions. This is Sofia's first season with the Freaks.
Musician & Composer
Matthew is a versatile musician and composer hailing from outside of Jacksonville, Florida, and a newcomer to the West Coast. An accomplished classical pianist, ballet accompanist, and graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Matthew now focuses on producing and composing electronic music, whether it be with his retro-inspired electropop duo TWINKIDS, film score or dance music partnerships, or on his own instrumental, neo-classical projects. Matthew is also a passionate music educator, teaching piano, music production, and music theory at all levels, and more recently developing emerging artists’ live sets and sounds.
TRILOGY OF RELATIONS
Presented through the lens of ballet, Trilogy of Relations is an exposition on three different iterations of love. Freaks With Lines dancers entice us into three pas de deux playing on themes of elation, manipulation and flirtation.
Filmed in the gritty, concrete-ensconced core of Downtown Los Angeles, Trilogy of Relations exemplifies Freaks With Lines' unique ability to produce raw and engaging performances anywhere, anytime. In typical Freak fashion we continue creating and consuming our beloved craft while tempting you the voyeur to accept the invitation to experience our work.
Hannah Keene & AJ Abrams
Susan Vishmid & Adam Bloodgood
Sadie Black & Ottavio Taddei
Choreography: Susan Vishmid & Sadie Black
Music: Cole Porter, Matthew Young, Erik Satie
Nilus Cogus is a contemporary ballet film about surveillance featuring six dancers and a "machine" called Nilus Cogus. The film is a balletic commentary on the age of surveillance and how ubiquitous it has become. The interplay between humanity and technology renders us as cogs inside of an unstoppable machine that is itself being manipulated by some greater and unknowable phenomenon. In spite of our beliefs on the matter this horrifying new reality is here to stay.
SURVEILLANCE IS SCARY!
AJ Abrams, Michelle Lebowski, Sofia Rochin, Ottavio Taddei, Susan Vishmid and Breanne Wilson
Choreography: Susan Vishmid & Sadie Black
Original Music: Matthew Young
Original Costumes: Tiffany Smith of Supuhrdesigns
Film & Editing: Meryl Coker
Sound & Photography: Eric Friedlander
Lighting Design: Meryl Coker, Sadie Black, Eric Friedlander and John Pennington
SPECIAL THANKS TO ARC PASADENA
Live passionately and show your support for Freaks With Lines®.
Your donation will go towards:
Projects and Collaborations
Production Fees (costumes, lighting, music and venues)
Freaks With Lines is Fiscally Sponsored by the Pennington Dance Group, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Please note FWL (Freaks with Lines) when making a donation through Pennington Dance Group.
All donations are fully tax-deductible.