RISE | 2011

Presented by Guild Incorporated
Landmark Center, St. Paul, MN

Choreographed and Directed by
Vanessa Voskuil

Technical Director and Lights Per Olson

Sound Kevin Springer
Projections Christopher Jopp
Set Paul Herwig with Vanessa Voskuil

Cathy Allen, Erick Allen, Anna Andahazy, Diane E. Anderson, Pablo C. Basques, Robert Borman, Florence Brammer, Lynda Cannova, Kenneth P. Caston, Christine Corley, Michelle Dimeo, Sue Jedd, Alice Ogura, Virginia McBride, Michael Kelly McElroy Ann M. Meyer, Nkechi Njaka, Velleda ScherVee, Alexandre Ferreira Spinelli, Tamara Statz, Holly Sandefer, Teresa Sundermeyer, Eillen Ward, additional performances by Individuals that chose to be anonymous

Artist Liaison Anna Andaházy

Project Ambassadors
Anna Andaházy, Guild Incorporated
Erin Dykhuizen, Guild Incorporated
Tera Kilbride, Volunteer
Kate Mack, Touchstone Assisted Living
Carrie Opheim, MHR – Dakota County
Jarid Rollins, Touchstone
Holly Sandefer, Spectrum Community Health

This program is available for residency.
For more information contact:
Director Vanessa Voskuil


RISE was a celebratory performance event that developed out of Moving Matters, a series of 11 movement and art workshops and rehearsals specifically designed for the mental health population including providers, consumers, their family members and supporters.

The city-wide program was hosted by Guild Incorporated, a mental health service organization and 2011 NAMI “Provider of the Year.” The program drew 60 workshop participants, more than 25 participants in RISE, and close to 250 audience members.

Moving Matters introduced dance as a healing art form and focused on courage, wholeness, growth, and a way to create a safe journey home to wholeness and balance by focusing on the wisdom of the heart. The program accommodated a broad range of ability, age, and experience and created a safe environment in which participants could express, process, and transform profound emotional and healing experiences into a high quality work of art. 

Combining artistic learning and expression with the health-enhancing benefits of movement and music, Moving Matters offered a broad range of health benefits for those who suffer from mental illness.  It demonstrated effectiveness at reducing stress, fears and anxieties, and lessened feelings of isolation, body tension, chronic pain and depression. It increased self-awareness and self-esteem; it helped performers experience links between feelings, thoughts and actions, and to express powerful feelings and action; and it maximized the ability to communicate and manage the feelings that obstruct the development of trusting relationships.

Responses to RISE

“Moving Matters was born out of the Recovery through Creative Expression class at Guild Incorporated.  I crossed paths with Vanessa’s work in the artistic community, which was just astoundingly beautiful, and the reflections that she brought to her dancers and students were just profound. And I thought we could really use this. And I asked her if she would come to teach the movement portion of the class. And the participants just loved it. Before everyone was so scared. ‘What, me dance! No!’ And they left the class realizing they were an artist and a dancer.” 

– Anna Andahazy, Social Rehabilitation Specialist, Guild Incorporated

 “I came back [from Vietnam] with partial amnesia. I had severe post-traumatic stress disorder for many years. I couldn’t speak. I would isolate and shy away from many social gatherings. I’m a visual artist. It is like a performance in itself. I respect anyone who is able to create a performance such as this. I see a lot of things for veterans to get involved . . . .It is inspiring for me and transcending for me. There is something spiritual going on. It is taking a risk. Doing something different. It is unique and fun.

– Vietnam Veteran and Participant in RISE

“My son’s psychiatrist attended [RISE] and stayed for the talkback session afterward.  She was very impressed and could see the value of the arts as part of treatment beyond medication and therapy.”

– Cathy, Participant in RISE

“My overall experience of the workshops and rehearsals was outstanding!”

– Participant in RISE

“The whole experience was healing for me. It helped to bring a bunch of emotions all together in a short amount of time, and I found it to be very powerful.”

– Participant in RISE

“We learned a lot of movements at the workshops that we can use at home to decrease anxiety. My son is asking about other opportunities to participate in something similar.  This has really introduced the arts as a way to boost confidence.  At a time when he is unable to work or attend school he most appreciated being around other people who accepted him for who he is.”

– Cathy, Participant in RISE

“Vanessa was awesome!  I loved her quiet, calming, supportive nature. She helped bring center and oneness to me and also encouraged extending it to the group.  If the opportunity came up I would easily participate again.”

–  Lynda, Participant in RISE

“From the get-go Vanessa was willing to be available for questions or personal help in areas we felt stuck. Vanessa’s creative vision is awe-inspiring and an honor to be a part of. Any time we had questions she took the time to explain where we were confused.”

– Participant in RISE

“Vanessa’s approach to performance is so wonderful in that she helps us to slow down and really be ourselves and be present.”

– Tamara, Participant in RISE, Candidate for Master’s Degree in Mental Health

 “Vanessa’s creativity, vision, enthusiasm, and artistic talents were really the driving force to making Moving Matters a reality. I had the opportunity to work with her on the planning committee and she was always creative and very thoughtful in her decision making process. I appreciated getting to know her.”

– John Murphy, Senior Director of Services, Guild Incorporated

 “We were thrilled to have the opportunity to enrich the lives of the clients we serve, along with their family, supporters and mental health providers. Activities like this program and socialization are meaningful to the recovery process for individuals with mental illnesses.”

– Grace Tanjgerd Schmitt, President of Guild Incorporated

“I understand it was a healing experience for the participants but it was also healing for me just watching.”

– Audience