Standing Ovations from Over a Thousand


Inlet’s Emily Stonecipher in a scene from “What Do You Do With An Idea?” Photo: Stephen Bivens

This past month was definitely one for the books (pun intended). On March 21st, Inlet performed the world-premiere dance theatre adaptation of “What Do You Do With An Idea?” (based on the NY Times Bestseller children’s book) in the Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square. The morning matinee was filled with students from all over the greater Cleveland area and Akron as the first ever audience to see the show. They laughed, they oh’d and awe’d, and they had an absolute blast watching the visuals, hearing the music, and following the story of one brilliant idea (Inlet’s Katie McGaha) and the child (Inlet’s Kevin Parker) who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. Some adults were even moved to tears! Then, the 7:00pm performance was open to the public and the reactions were almost the same. This show brought out the child in all of us, both performers and audience members, and it roared through the theatre. After a rousing standing ovation, several children immediately lined up for the Q&A following the show. After some very honest, and hilarious, questions and observations, the night concluded out in the lobby for a book signing with Author Kobi Yamada. (Yamada authored the 3-part series, “What Do You Do With An Idea?,” “What Do You Do With a Problem?,” and “What Do You Do With a Chance?”). Yamada and his family were flown in from Seattle for the premiere and were just speechless with how the production had evolved since the first sketches were created over 3 years ago. If you unfortunately missed this show, check out this REVIEW written by Melia Krau-har for Broad World Cleveland!

In addition to Yamada and his publishing/gift company, Compendium Inc., Inlet has several others to thank:

  • Daniel Hahn–Vice President of Community Engagement & Education of Playhouse Square
  • Ian Petroni–Scenic Designer
  • Trad Burns–Lighting Designer
  • Lindsay Carter–Stage Manager
  • Kristin Wade–Costumer
  • Dee Perry–Voice Over
  • Jeremy Allen–Composer
  • Robin Van Lear–Prop Design
  • Inlet Board Members & Donors–Prop Assistance
  • Libby Koba–Inlet Managing Director
  • Stephen Bivens–Photographer

Without the help of these incredible individuals, this production would not have been possible. Inlet is blessed to be surrounded by a community of artists who are willing to dedicate and commit so much time and effort to visions they believe in. This book, and its message, need to be read and heard everywhere–we all have great ideas, and believing in them is how we will change the world (spoiler alert)! People believed in Inlet to premiere this work, and now it’s only a matter of time before it’s performed again. So, stay tuned for where you can see “What Do You Do With An Idea?” next.


Cast of “What Do You Do With An Idea?” with (from far right) Author Kobi Yamada, Inlet Founder & Exec/Artistic Director Bill Wade, Stage Manager Lindsay Carter, Inlet Managing Director Libby Koba (below), Lighting Designer Trad Burns, & Vice President of Community Engagement & Education of Playhouse Square Daniel Hahn. 


2018 Spring/Summer Performance & Education Schedule

Spring has sprung several performances for Inlet Dance Theatre, the Inlet Trainee & Apprentice Program, and the students participating in Inlet’s various educational programs. Below is our very full schedule and the need-to-know for all those performances, as well as our education performances and opportunities. And if you can’t make it to one of these, stay tuned as there will probably be more added in time!

Education Schedule

Performance Schedule


Photo: Brooke Trisolini Photo; courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow Dance

Spend the Summer with Inlet Dance Theatre!


Inlet Dance Theatre will be holding auditions for our upcoming 2018-2019 season. We are looking for professionals and students who are teachable, willing, and able to assimilate into our organizational culture and aesthetic. Inlet is a modern dance company with a technical base grounded in Hawkins-based release technique, Pilobolus-based nontraditional partnering, and a collaborative creative process that relies on improvisation skills. Inlet is equally strong in education programming as it is in performing concert and special event work. The company seeks highly skilled dance artists with a desire to educate as well as perform. For more information, click here.

Summer Scholarship Fund

Each summer, Inlet holds the annual Inlet Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) and every year students from all over the country, and even internationally, join us for a summer of unforgettable dance-making and memory making. Inlet values the diverse group of students that come to Cleveland, and want to make the opportunity accessible to all! That’s where YOU come in. Both SDI and SDI Jr. are right around the corner, and we look to our supportive network each year to help us with a scholarship fund. If you are interested in helping us provide an amazing summer for all kinds of students, follow this link to our donation page: We appreciate the continued support!

NEW: Inlet’s Summer Dance Intensive Jr.


Just like Inlet Dance Theatre’s longstanding Summer Dance Intensive (SDI), Inlet’s Summer Dance Intensive Jr. focuses on creating a supportive community for young dancers ages 6-11, exposing students to the collaborative dance-making process, and increasing technical and performance skills.

This 1-week intro camp includes improvisation-based movement games, modern technique, creating new choreography and more! This camp will culminate with an informal showing for family and friends.


2018 Tuition (includes an Inlet shirt designed specifically for the students):
Half Day 9am-12:30pm: $250/wk
Full Day 9am-4pm: $400/wk
After-care 4-6pm: $15/day

**LAST MINUTE Registration: ANY registration or tuition payment made after May 31, 2018 will be subject to a $50 fee.

SDI JR Faculty:
Faculty for the Summer Dance Intensive Jr is comprised of the professional dancers and instructors of Inlet Dance Theatre. All instructors are First Aid Certified and have completed extensive background checks. To learn more about the Company Members go to

SDI Jr Location:
SDI Jr is being held at The Music Settlement’s Early Childhood Education building in University Circle. Situated on the edge of the Case Western Reserve Campus and walking distance from Museums and Restaurants, it’s an ideal, safe and convenient location. FREE on-site parking. The building is a Nut-Free Facility.

CLICK HERE for more information

REGISTER TODAY if you are ready to MOVE!

*Inlet Dance Theatre reserves the right to cancel our Summer Dance Intensive 18 JR if enrollment is too low. Registered students will be notified by June 1, 2018 and will be fully refunded.

Inlet’s Summer Dance Intensive ’18

24300954_10155831649360688_6534356009978881442_nBeginning every June since 2001, Inlet Dance Theatre hosts a Summer Dance Intensive program. This dance program for ages 12+, focuses on creating a supportive community of dancers, exposing students to the collaborative dance-making process and increasing technical and performance skills, specifically in Pilobolus-based Nontraditional Partnering, performance improvisation and Hawkins-based Modern. This program allows students to experience being a part of a collaborative professional contemporary dance company.

Inlet’s Summer Dance Intensive is dedicated to teaching much more than dance. Inlet’s annual Summer Dance Intensive (SDI) is the perhaps the best example of the company’s mission of “using dance to further people”. Students of various ages, races, skill sets and socio-economic backgrounds travel to Cleveland from international & regional locations to learn about dance, alongside local talent. The award-winning Inlet educational model is renowned for instilling lessons in teamwork, trust, respect, empathy, self-discipline, social interaction and self-confidence within students. During the 4.5 week program, Inlet SDI students not only receive premier training in dance technique and performance, but also discover a period of personal growth and character development.

> Modern Technique (Erick Hawkins-based release technique)
> Pilobolus-based Nontraditional Partnering
> Performance Improvisation
> Collaborative Choreographic Process (the dance-making process that Inlet employs)

The program culminates in 2 performances at Cain Park Evans Amphitheater (Cleveland Heights, OH), where students will premiere an ensemble piece, an all-male or all-female piece, as well as performing a live improvisation alongside the company.

Important Information
WHEN: June 27 – July 27, 2018

PRICE: 2018 Tuition (includes an Inlet shirt designed specifically for the students):

  • Full Program (4.5 weeks) – $1250
    • Includes over 157 hours of dance instruction, multiple performance opportunities, costuming, and an Inlet shirt
  • Half Program (2.5 weeks) – $550
    • June 27- July 13, 2018
    • Includes over 87 hours of dance instruction, an informal performance opportunity, and an Inlet Shirt

Last Minute Registration – Full ($1300) or Half ($600)
Register and/or complete payment after June 13th

*Space is limited – secure your spot now with a $100 deposit by May 1, 2018.*


  1. Super Early Bird: $75 OFF Full Program or $50 OFF Half Program
    Register before Dec 31, 2017 and complete payment by Feb 1, 2018.
  2. Early Bird: $50 OFF Full Program or $25 OFF Half Program
    Register before Feb 1, 2018 and complete payment by May 1, 2018.

LIMITED PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE! All scholarships are based on talent and financial need. Students interested in scholarships are required to apply for the scholarship and attend an audition. Contact the office for more information: OR 216-721-8580.

For more info, CLICK HERE

Or if you’re ready to DANCE, REGISTER TODAY

Notes from the Author, Kobi Yamada — “What Do You Do With An Idea?”

As you know, Inlet Dance Theatre will premiere “What Do You Do With An Idea?” a dance theatre adaptation of the New York Times bestselling children’s book by Kobi Yamada, illustrated by Mae Besom (©Compendium, Inc). The production is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. It is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, or too difficult.


We are excited to announce that author, Kobi Yamada, will be at the world premiere and will be holding a book signing following the show! We chatted with Kobi earlier this year and wanted to share some of that conversation with all of you:

Inlet: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Kobi Yamada: I honestly never set out to be a writer. I love words. I love words that inspire. So I guess it inevitably happened that, in my desire to make a positive difference, I became an author.

I: What is your favorite part of your job?

KY: Working with the amazing people at Compendium. My daughter often jokes with me that I don’t go to the office, I go to the playground.

I: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

KY: Just the responsibility of knowing that so many people are counting on me for their livelihood. It is not overly stressful but I take that trust and responsibility seriously.

I: What is something you never imagined would happen as a writer?

KY: I never thought my children’s book would have inspired a world-class dance performance. It is thrilling to see how ideas build on ideas.

I: What inspired you to write “What Do You Do With An Idea?”

KY: It was born out of a desire to help kids, and really people of all ages, to see that ideas are fragile when they are new. They can be killed with criticism, an eye-roll or an exhale. I think it’s important for us all to see the value of our own ideas and to also be kind and supportive of the ideas of others.

For more, you’ll have to come see the show! 

Using Inlet’s distinct aesthetic, “What Do You Do With An Idea?” was choreographed by the company’s Founder and Executive/Artistic Director, Bill Wade, in collaboration with the cast. The original score is by Jeremy Allen with Dee Perry’s voice providing narration. Scenic design is by Ian Petroni and costuming by Kristin Wade. The show is coproduced via the LAUNCH performance creation residency program of the Community Engagement & Education Department of Playhouse Square (Cleveland, OH).

Buy your TICKETS today! They are only $10 so make sure you purchase soon.

Inlet Dance Theatre’s

“What Do You Do With An Idea?” Premiere 

Where: Ohio Theatre at Playhouse Square

When: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 7:00 P.M. 


Ohio Arts Council’s Creative Aging Residency — “Building CLE”

We hear many stories throughout our lives about historical places, events, and things that make up our neighborhoods and cities. But, rarely do we actually get to meet those people who made the history happen. Cleveland, OH, like any other city, is full of stories, memories, and livelihoods that are worth sharing. Inlet Dance Theatre has the privilege of telling some of those stories; stories from the individuals who literally helped in the building of Cleveland.


Elysium Ice Skating Rink excerpt from “Building CLE.” Photo: Suzanne Sherbundy & Nadder Abboushi

For the 2nd year, Inlet has received funding from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) for the Creative Aging Ohio initiative. This program provides funding to Ohio-based organizations dedicated to creating hands-on arts experiences tailored to the needs and interests of older adults. With the funding and professional learning opportunities, this initiative will help create and expand programs that engage older adults in the visual arts, dance, music, writing, and theatre. The initiative’s goal is to help older adults age more healthfully and renew their purpose and talents through the arts.

Last year, Inlet started the project at Judson Manor in University Circle. We gathered stories, memories, and what are considered “Cleveland staple moments” and collaborated with the dancers in the studio to create what became a 7-section multi-media dance theatre work (which premiered at Cleveland Public Theatre’s Dance Works 2017 series last May). Through referencing monumental Cleveland images such as Rodin’s The Thinker, Dr. Crile’s first successful blood transfusion, the Elysium Ice Skating Rink, LeBron James, and Superman, we quickly got feedback that we were far from done! By receiving a second round of funding from the OAC, Inlet is now back at Judson Manor, but also at Judson Park, gathering what other memories make up the history of Cleveland.
This year, we kicked off the residency with 2 exposure concerts at both Judson Manor and Judson Park showing the residents the video performance of “Building CLE,” and performing the “Elysium Ice Skating Rink” section live. In early February, we toured The Cleveland History Museum | Western Reserve Historical Society’s newly opened exhibit, “Cleveland Starts Here®” sponsored by the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Foundation with some of the residents from both locations chatting about the various displays representing Cleveland’s history.  We immediately followed that group tour with our first story circle.  As we suspected, the “Cleveland Starts Here®” exhibit sparked a lively conversation with Judson residents.
Now, for the next couple of months Inlet’s Exec/Artistic Director Bill Wade with the assistance of Joshua Brown, Nicole Kapantas, & Katie McGaha, will continue these conversations with the residents resulting in the premiere of the finished project in the rotunda at The Cleveland History Museum: Western Reserve Historical Society. Not only does this opportunity truly allow Inlet to create art with the Judson community, by the Judson community, and for the Judson community, but it can also provide a a visual performance representation of Cleveland history for students of all ages. All of this is made possible by the Ohio Arts Council, Judson Park, Judson Manor, and all of the Inlet members.
Stay tuned for the premiere date!

Why Inlet? — Ashley Champa

IMG_4397Inlet is in the middle of its 17th season! There are many reasons to celebrate the life of the organization, and we are going to start by celebrating the lives that have been impacted by Inlet Dance Theatre. This article is “Why Inlet?” because no matter why, how, or when people were involved with Inlet, they have a story to tell and an experience worth acknowledging.

This month, meet Ashley Champa, a senior at Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin High School in Chardon, OH, and is a longtime student of Inlet Dance Theatre’s Summer Dance Intensive and Student Ensemble Program at The Music Settlement:

I’ve chosen Inlet as my place of training for 6 years now because I know there is not another company quite like them. Inlet isn’t your average modern dance company; they are a family. At Inlet, you’re never just a number. In addition, they will tell you they take their craft very seriously but not themselves, and they push for you to do the same. At Inlet, there is never a dull moment. Each day is full of laughter and smiles that never leave your face while learning way more than you ever expected you could. In my perspective, the laughter along with the relationships you make makes the learning process easier and more fun. Inlet expects you to work hard but they do it out of love because they want to encourage you to do better and be the best you can be. Inlet has helped me get to a point where I feel nothing is impossible. It’s just that some things will take more time. Boundaries are pushed and process is made.

I have had a lot of personal success dancing with Inlet which is another reason why I have stuck around for so long. Throughout each summer I can feel myself getting not only stronger and more flexible, but more confident. I’ve built bonds with a lot of other people with the same goal as me through working together as a team. I know that they really want me to succeed just as much as I do. 

 Inlet Dance Theatre gives you numerous opportunities to dance not only with and for each other but also at many events. In my past years at Inlet I have had the opportunity to dance at the lantern festival at the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art’s 100-year anniversary, Cleveland Public Theatre, Cain Park and many more. My proudest performance with Inlet Dance Theatre though was when they gave their Summer Dance Intensive students the opportunity to perform at the Republican National Convention at Public Square in Downtown Cleveland in 2016. That is definitely an experience not many people can say they got to perform at. It was also an eye-opening experience because on our side there were people working together to entertain and create art while the other side of the square was a very different story.

 My proudest educational moments are always in Non-Traditional Partnering when I achieve something I would have never thought I could do. Inlet members always tell you to just say yes and trust. When you finally do just that, the sky becomes the limit.

 I encourage everyone to take a class at Inlet with an open mind because I guarantee it’s not like anything you have ever done before. I truly love it more than I can explain. Once you try Inlet, you won’t want to leave, EVER!

Ashley Champa 

Why Inlet? – Maribeth Van Hecke

Inlet is in the middle of its 17th season! There are many reasons to celebrate the life of the organization, and we are going to start by celebrating the lives that have been impacted by Inlet Dance Theatre. This article is “Why Inlet?” because no matter why, how, or when people were involved with Inlet, they have a story to tell and an experience worth acknowledging.

20170828-20170828-5S4A8245.jpgHere is Maribeth Van Hecke, a veteran dancer of the Inlet Trainee & Apprentice Program!

“When I left undergrad I was looking for an experience and a community that would continue my growth as a performer, artist and individual. As a modern dance student interested in concert dance work, I highly valued collaboration, being part of the creation process and learning how to create work that moves audiences. Even more, equally a writer and a dancer, I was interested in lacing scripts into large productions, and work that defied genre. At the time, these goals sounded vague. I had intentions to move west, or maybe stay near my family in Chicago, or better yet stay in West Michigan where many of my friends were.

So after graduation, when I came to visit my best friend who lived in Cleveland and we decided to go to the Inlet audition, I was not expecting to call my mom that next afternoon to say, “Mom, I think I’m moving to Cleveland.” Better yet, I was not expecting to get the email that I was accepted into the program when I was spending the weekend in Portland, OR.

I am now in my second year of the Inlet Trainee and Apprentice Program (ITAP), and when I walk into the Inlet studio, I am not only welcomed into a world class dance environment, but I am re-welcomed into a family that is continually growing. At its root, Inlet Dance Theatre is an organization that creates and performs professionally, works with students of all neighborhoods and engages with its community like a family, using the strengths of each member to further all people.

As a member of the training program and a valued member of the family, I get to be a part of these goals week by week by training in the studio next to my mentors, assisting in outreach classes around the city, and performing with my family of dancers I have made through collaborating, creating and moving audiences together with an expectation that my work is furthering other people when I do it well. In all of that, the family of Inlet pushes me to train harder and move up faster, create material that produces clear ideas, and perform at a level that I did not have access to while training in undergrad. I am watching the creation of large productions be made from the ground up, and I get to be a part of it.

One of my favorite pieces to perform is 3 (Women), which is a trio inside the evening length work Easter Island Memoirs. This piece is about a community of women who are continually leaning on and pulling on each other, and everything they do is connected to one another. We have had the opportunity to perform this multiple times this season, and it is one of my favorites because it is a great representation of a healthy community and support system. Being inside of one is incredibly life-giving, but to showcase the effectiveness of this kind of community can be important for an audience to see and understand. When an audience can witness that kind of love and understanding, they have a better chance of creating it for themselves.

It is taxing physically, mentally, spiritually, and of course financially to be a student of dance. But when I chose Inlet, it was because I believed that the mission was bigger than I was, and that I believed that I could be a valuable member of the family. If nothing else is clear, there is a clear call when you walk into the Inlet family: that we are here to serve people through dance.”

Maribeth Van Hecke