Kick-Off Event
Wednesday, June 21
5:30pm Kansas City Public Library Central Branch

Project Description

Tristan Griffin Dance Company is honored to participate in the Art in the Loop Kick-off event. Tristan and his amazing dancers will be presenting two dance works. The first dance is titled “The Art of Letting Go”, which reflects how we as a society hold on to possessions, cling to loved ones, and imprison our spirituality. The other work titled “Variations on Celebration” is a new work featuring each TGDC dancer in four solo dance variations, celebrating the different stages we may go through as humans. Both dances focus on the theme of Celebration and learning to find joy even during hard times. 

The Art of Letting Go (excerpts)
Choreography by Tristian Griffin
Dancers Josue Villeda, Kaitlyn Garnder, Sarah McGuyer, and Simone Davis
Music by Philip Daniel

“The Art of Letting Go” reflects how we as a society hold on to possessions, cling to loved ones, and imprison our spirituality. Within the work’s narrative, the dancers begin to understand what it means to truly practice faith, must learn to let go. “The Art of Letting Go” is originally commissioned by Malashock Dance.

Variations on Celebration
Choreography by Tristian Griffin
Dancers, Kaitlyn Garnder, Sarah McGuyer, and Simone Davis
Four dance variations, celebrating the different stages we may go through as humans.

Solo #1 (Celebration of Gratitude)
Dancer Simone Davis, Music by Tems/ Bob Marely

Solo #2 (Celebration of Peace)
Dancer Kaitlyn Gardner, Music by Miles Davis   

Solo #3 (Celebration of Love)
Dancer Josue Villeda, Music by Donnie Hathaway

Solo #4 (Celebration of Life)
Dancer Sarah McGuyer, Music by Yussef Dayes


Tristian Griffin Dance Company
Tristian Griffin Dance Company is artistically led by Tristian Griffin and accompanied by a small beautiful, strong dance troupe. The Company strives to challenge the audience with thought provoking narratives and conceptually engaging choreography. The foundation of all TGDC ’s work is to rekindle high-caliber dance to the community and to give the marginalized a voice through movement, text, and music. There is an undertone of acknowledging human conditions with pressing questions of how to move toward a solution. The company’s unique voice has been recognized nationally and internationally receiving commissions by Spring to Dance, Charlotte Street Foundation, ArtsKC, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Modern Night at the Folly, Open Stage, American Jazz Museum, Perpetuum Mobile Festival (Belgium), International Dance Festival (Philadelphia), and Malashock Dance Company.
Website |

Simone Davis
Simone Davis began her training at age 4 in Omaha, Nebraska at Adair Dance Academy. While training, she received merit scholarships to Kansas City Ballet, Ballet Chicago, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Dance. During her collegiate career, Simone performed as a guest artist in various dance companies and organizations, including Wylliams HenryContemporary Dance Company, Störling Dance Theater, Tristian Griffin DanceCompany, and Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.  Simone recently graduated from UMKC with a degree in Dance Performance and Choreography and is dancing professionally as a core artist with the performance collective, Quixotic.

Josué Villeda
Josué Villeda is a native of Guatemala. Josué has worked as a teacher, choreographer, and artistic director of Dance Factory, one of Guatemala’s most respected dance studios. Villeda began his career in 2005, training in jazz, hip-hop and funk. His training in Ballet continued in 2012 with the Cuban Ballet teacher Ivonne Martinez, adding Neoclassical to his training. In 2016, Josue became part of the ensemble of the dance company Espiral Danza, working with the choreographers Natalia Cadena and Diego Funes. In recent years Josué has trained with teachers such as Tyce Diorio, Brian Friedman, Tassandra Chavez, Teddy Forance and Nick Meola. His passion for dance has led Josué to leave his country, seeking opportunities in the United States. Now based in Denver, CO, Villeda Joined the Cleo ParkerRobinson Dance company as a member of Cleo II, performing works of Cleo Parker Robinsson, Winifred R. Harris, David Rousséve, Billy Tylor and Milton Myers.
Instagram | @eljosuevilleda

Sarah McGuyer
Sarah McGuyer(she/her) began her dance training with Above the Barre Dance Academy. Currently based in Kansas City, she is working to obtain her BFA, in Modern and Ballet, from the University of Missouri, Kansas City Dance Conservatory. She has had the opportunity to work with renowned choreographers including: Jaeman Joo, Ray Mercer, Michael Blake, DeeAnna Hiet, Gary Abbott, Ronald Tice, Caroline Dahm, Olivia Emert, and Kameron Saunders. She has performed in “Song and Dance” at MTH Theater in Kansas City. Sarah was an apprentice with Rise Arts’ “In Conversation with Merce” and she is an apprentice with Wylliams Henry Contemporary Dance Company. Sarah is always grateful for every opportunity to learn and grow, surrounded by phenomenal artists.
Instagram | @sarah_mcguyer

Kaitlyn Gardner
Kaitlyn Gardner is a freelance contemporary dancer, mover, & artist originally from Tucson Arizona. Kaitlyn has danced professionally in Kansas City since before she graduated from UMKC’s conservatory in 2019. She is happy to be continuing her dance career & exploration under Tristian Griffin’s movement direction.
Instagram | @dancekaitlyn