The two decided while sitting at Dan’s kitchen table that afternoon that they would continue singing together and, in the spirit of inclusion and good times, would work with presenters to try and make all of their concerts sensory friendly.
Inspired by their artful modern-day all-ages folk music and their commitment to accessibility, the Kennedy Center commissioned Claudia and Dan to create a theater piece for young audiences. Night Train 57: A Sensory Friendly Comic Folk Opera premiered in October 2017 and has been performed several times since.
Their love of songs and communal music-making lead to a publishing deal with the Quarto Group USA and the result, a songbook entitled Dan Zanes’ House Party: A Family Roots Music Treasury, was released in late 2018. This has opened the doors to many new conversations with parents, educators, music therapists, and fellow musicians about how to work together to create a healthier, more musical (and ultimately, more festive), society.
While taking on these projects, Claudia and Dan have continued to bring their music to family shows, school workshops, community singalongs, and folk festivals throughout the U.S. and into Canada. They take their commitment to accessibility and inclusion with them wherever they go.
And – the icing on the cake – in the midst of it all they were married!
You’ll be amazed as a regular pen does weird things or money turns inside out, he’ll even teach you a couple of tricks that you can do.
In addition to heading up the Gang, Nickie likes to do and be many other things. Nickie holds a K-12 Theatre/Dance license and loves sharing the joy of performing arts with her "kids." She is also a freelance performer and loves being on-stage, singing and dancing her heart out. Nickie has been seen on many Twin Cities stages, most notably at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre where she has been in 18 productions. In addition she loves learning new things and is currently studying happiness and kindness.
One of Robin's greatest passions is her divinely inspired artistry and collection of multi-ethnic fashion dolls. In 1995, she launched RealTouch: A Celebration of Soulful Dolls, which presented her original re-styled fashion dolls, handcrafted furnishings and accessories (hats), stationary, and photography of the lifestyle scenes. Over the past 25 years Robin has used the RealTouch “community” in motivational presentations to promote the "power of play" and creativity, nurture positive self-esteem, and inspire the appreciation of ethnically diverse images and life-styles.
Lastly, a thank you to my wonderfully supportive family and Renee Guittar. I truly couldn’t do it without you.
Suchitra is the recipient of a 2015 Knight Arts Challenge award from The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, a 2016 “Next Step” grant from the McKnight Foundation, and 2017 and 2018 “Folk and Traditional Arts” grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board.
Suchitra founded Kala Vandanam in 2002 in St. Paul, MN with the vision of creating and presenting Bharatanatyam works that celebrate the tradition while embracing the aesthetics of our changing world. Through Kala Vandanam, she is committed to education, performance, and outreach to share the beauty of Bharatanatyam through Kala Vandanam’s work and presenting high caliber touring artists.
Suchitra holds a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and an MBA from the University of Texas-Dallas. After an extensive career in several industries, she co-founded a start-up toy company, Enlivenze LLC, in 2012. In addition to her passion for the arts and business interests, she volunteers her time support leadership development, and science and math education for girls.
Trần Thị Minh Phước has been recognized for her work bridging cultures and introducing the culture of Vietnam to the mainstream community. She is very proud to have her first book “Vietnamese Children’s Favorite Folktales” published in 2015 by Tuttle Publishing.
Tyler was born and raised in Bloomington, Minnesota and graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead with a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts. In 2011, he was awarded a scholarship to study at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, California.
Since 2011, Tyler has worked and played with the Guthrie Theater, The Ordway, Children's Theater Company, Hennepin Theater Trust, Theatre Latte Da, History Theater, Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, Illusion Theater, Flying Foot Forum, 7th House Theater, Actors Theater of Minnesota, Circa Productions, Newton Theater, Minneapolis Musical Theatre, HUGE Theater, Got It Made Productions, Studio206, and Artistry (Bloomington Civic Theatre).
In 2016, Tyler launched Trademark Theater, a Twin Cities based company devoted to the creation, development, and production of new theatrical productions.
Tyler is also a founding member of Bearded Men Improv, a long-form experimental improv troupe that performs weekly at HUGE Improv Theater as well as all over the country during various comedy festivals and tours.
Tyler is an on-camera and voice over talent for NUTS, ltd. a Twin Cites based talent agency. He is also a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association.