ArtBark International

 photo by Barbara Parmet


Artist Biography
The Kelly Twins (Misa and Stephen) are joined at the heart and creative hip these days with a broad and eclectic creative skill set. They have collectively manifested over 150 dance, music , visual art, and performance art projects over the past 20 years with a great deal of joy and artistic excellence. Their latest project, ArtBark International, was co-founded with Mojca Majcen in 2012 building on 25 years experience as Stephen Kelly music, 15 years as SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre, and 15 years of Majcen’s professional experience as an award winning dancer based in Slovenia. Recent highlights include producing the Affinity Festival, and touring to New York, Vienna and Paris for the Raw Matters ADaPT Special Festival. They very much look forwards to producing a tri-city ADaPT Festival in 2013 with events planned in New York, Pasadena and Santa Barbara and a week-long residency at the Dragon’s Egg in Connecticut at the end of May where they will reunite with Mojca Majcen to move their Alma Karlin project forward and keep repertory alive.

Company Biography

Our Mission:
Through innovative artistic leadership foster connections with global artistic resources promoting regional, national & international pathways of opportunity for working class artists globally and locally nurturing cross-cultural exchange, artistic excellence, and increased arts tourism.

Our Values:
We seek to be the change we wish to see in the world harnessing our life work as artists fostering tolerance, and mutual understanding between individuals and across nations through the arts. Our values grow and evolve as we grow and evolve.

ArtBark International builds on our 15 years experience as SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre (founded by Misa Kelly), the 25 years of experience of Stephen Kelly Music, and the over 10 years experience of Europe based ballerina and contemporary dancer Mojca Majcen. Collectively they have manifest over 150 projects with a high level of success and critical acclaim.

Our present activities embrace innovative ways of organizing that serve to shift the paradigm of how professional artists organize and how success is measured staying abreast of how the arts industry is evolving via our ADaPT Festival Series, the Affinity Project, and our Community and Educational Outreach Programs.

We make positive use of the power of the internet using skype, facebook, dropbox, and YouTube for project planning, networking, rehearsals & are beginning to integrate it into our performances.

Press Quotes:

Misa Kelly
“Kelly, a woman slight in stature, proved an overwhelming and formidable presence on stage in her work which used her own vocalizations in a psychological journey.”
Steven Woodruff- Dance Plug

“Kelly’s pieces – especially Nadar Sabe Mi Llama el Agua Fria – explored the coexistence of athletic genius and disability in the same body, while maintaining an insistence on aesthetic appeal.”
Rebecca Joley - L.A. Yoga Magazine

“Under No Certain Circumstance” by SonneBlauma Danscz Theatre of Santa Barbara, danced by Misa Kelly and Weslie Ching, was an audience favorite. There was no accompanying music and thegrunts and sounds of the two dancers offered a comedic air to a dance that expressed anger,frustration, and cooperation.”
Barbara Ransom – Life in L.A.

“At once tragic and heroic, innocent and all-knowing, the persona Kelly presented here was as fascinating as the piece was gorgeously multilayered”
Justine Sutton - Noozhawk

Stephen Kelly
“Superb on-stage performance by Stephen Kelly”
Los Angeles Times
“a brilliant trio.”
Charles Donelan - Santa Barbara Independent

“This piece should tour to every college in America as an example of good choreography.”
Amanda Hart – producer of MixMatch Dance Festival

Mojca Majcen
"Mojca Majcen is a modern ballerina with an incredible power of physical expression, strong performing and acting skills. Her dance expression is conquering stages and the audience around the world and promoting the Celje and the Slovenian culture far beyond our borders.

Without doubt Mojca Majcen is one of the most distinctive dancers from Slovenia, her virtuosity and passion for dancing will help her to dance in the future on many world stages and will continue to promote the Celje and the Slovenian culture."

“Majcen’s the kind of dancer you can’t stop watching: Her exquisite technique is matched by a spellbinding presence. Whether she’s slapping the floor or firing off an above-the-head jeté, she’s in complete command. It’s only when other dancers join her onstage that you realize she’s hardly more than five feet tall."
Elizabeth Schwyzer – Santa Barbara Independent

Artist Statements

Stephen Kelly
The artist takes us out of this world to return us to it, in love with its beauty and mystery. To share this journey with others – whether audience, or creative partners – is an arduous but joy-filled service.
Misa Kelly
It shifts – as I shift, morph, evolve.

To spite the ever shifting in the ephemeral now there are a few things
those consistently float to the surface when I rework my artist

It is true, that I create – because if I don’t, I’m miserable.

It is also true, that with wild and reckless abandon I embrace the
honesty and integrity of the lifework I feel compelled to manifest – a
creative being passionate about balancing being of service to others
with selfishly pursuing what brings me the greatest joy in life. I feel
most connected and vibrant when I am performing, drawing,
improvising, writing, in nature, snorkeling on Santa Cruz Island,
hosting dinner/art parties, camping, gardening, travelling, playing
with the cat, skyping with collaborators and loving the love of my life
and fellow co-creator Stephen Kelly.

It is also true that I am somewhat a child of the 60s and am a bit of a
rebel and love playing the role of the trickster and mischief maker
while weaving daisy chains in my imagination. I am keenly interested in breaking down the walls of the
religion of art in order to enable the ordinariness of the creative process to be more accessible to the
human species.

I observe that I am a survivor and have harnessed the power of my lifework to alchemically, shamanically
and cathartically shift stories that are best left untold and best expressed through movement art, poetry,

I also observe that I love interpersonal growth, change, honesty, integrity, and value communication,
friendship, compassion and tolerance.

What do you hope to gain from this experience?

We hope to build wonderful new bridges of opportunity for fellow creators and to have a GREAT time reconnecting with old friends and making new acquaintances. We hope to take our creative work to the next level.

Have you participated in Festivals before? If so, what worked and what didn't work for you? What would you like to see more or less of?

Yes - they've all been great - what I've loved most is having time to chat with other artists and to eat together in that we find this very growthful.

Verbal Description of Work

We have several ideas in the works, and will share this with the community as things evolve.  Stephen and I are waiting to see how the rest of the Festival fleshes out and then will choose work that best fits the collective expression.