Jesus Loves the Little Children...and then what?

Choreographed by Todd Rhoades

Please be advised this performance contains strong language and subject matter relating to sex, sexuality, and religion.

This autoethnographic choreographic work “Jesus Loves the Little Children…and then what?” examines gay queerness in the path of Christian Evangelical conservatism. Through my project’s focus on revisiting memories, recollecting experiences, and reperforming rituals, I am excavating the emotional trauma found in my body. I will use these spiritual deposits in my autobiographical research to investigate what has been held in my body over time. This work re-considers my Christian childhood through the lens of an out, queer, gay man in his mid-forties in an effort to understand my perspective on life and life choices.


Cassidy Banwart
Maddie Bulman
Garianna Clinton-Nelson
Noah Fox
Amya Lopez
Kendra McDaniel
Todd Rhoades
Mikey Rioux


Elizabeth Cerrito
Molly Dahlberg
Sean Harken
Isabel Jenners
Samantha Mayer
Andelyn Sunderman

Artistic Team

"Doxology" - Written by Thoman Ken/Composed by Genevan Psalter in 1674

"Jesus Loves the Little Children" - Written by Clare Herbert Woolston/Composed by George Frederick Root, Published in 1913 

"What a Friend We Have in Jesus" - by Joseph M Scriven in 1855

"Softly and Tenderly" - by Will L. Thompson in 1880

"Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" - by Helen Howarth Lemmel in 1922

"I Surrender All" - Written by Judson W. Van DeVenter/Composed by Winfield S. Weeden, Published in 1896 

"Just As I Am" - Written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835, music by William B. Bradbury in 1849 

"I Need Thee Every Hour" - written by Annie S. Hawks/composed by Robert Lowry in 1872 

"Abide with Thee" - written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1847/Composed by William Henry Monk in 1861

"Just a Closer Walk With Thee" - composer unknown

"Jesus Loves Me" - Written by Anna Bartlett Warner in 1859 

All Music Recorded by Douglas Baker

Todd Rhoades, support provided by Juliana Waechter and Cindy Kubo

Projection Designer/Programmer:
Cat Dooley

Artistic Collaborator:
Allyson Meinders

Rehearsal Assistant:
Cameron Rezabek

Lighting Designer:
Haven Haywood

Music/Sound Engineer:
M Denney

Todd Rhoades

Set Design:
Todd Rhoades, with assistance by Don Schneider and Mike Nolte

So much gratitude to you, Brandon Blazo. Thank you for supporting and encouraging me. Thank you, Mom and Dad for introducing me to God and evolving spiritually with me.


Douglas Baker - Musician
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Douglas Baker is a professional dance accompanist whose hobbies include composition, dance, video games, languages, and various modes of art and craft. He received his BA in Piano and Japanese at the University of Iowa and is currently employed at the university's Department of Dance as well as the Youth Ballet and Community Dance School.

Cat Dooley - Projection Designer/Programmer
Cat Dooley headshot

Cat Dooley (she/her) is a fourth-year undergraduate student studying cinema and art with a certificate in public digital arts. 

Allyson Meinders - Artistic Collaborator
Allyson Meinders headshot

Allyson Meinders, from Sibley, IA, is currently in her second year at the University of Iowa studying a major in dance and a minor in business administration. 

Cameron Rezabek - Rehearsal Assistant
Cameron Rezabek headshot

Cami Rezabek is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa pursuing a BFA in dance. Her current projects outside of Todd Rhoades’s thesis include performing in Dance Gala 2023, choreographing for the 2023 BFA concert, and providing live audio description for the UI Dance Company.

Cassidy Banwart - Performer 

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Cassidy Banwart is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing her BFA in Dance and BA in Interdepartmental Business Studies with an Arts Management emphasis. Cassidy is from Waukee, Iowa. She grew up dancing at the School of Classical Ballet and Dance and performed as a Trainee at Ballet Des Moines. 

Maddie Bulman - Performer
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Maddie Bulman is a 3rd year BFA in Dance on the Pre-Physical Therapy and Dance Pedagogy Tracks. She is from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While at Iowa, Maddie has been a part of UIDC, Graduate Undergraduate Concerts, COCO Dance Festival, independent projects, thesis and dance medicine research, and she will be in Dance Gala in November. 

Noah Fox - Performer
Noah Fox headshot

Noah Fox is a second-year Finance major with a minor in Dance graduating in spring 2026. Noah is from Ankeny, IA, and attended Ankeny High School while studying dance at Ankeny Dance and Performing Arts Academy. 

Amya Lopez - Performer
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Amya Lopez is a senior BFA Dance major with a minor in Business Administration, graduating in spring of 2024. Originally from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Amya attended Badger High School in conjunction with studying dance at The Dance Factory in Delevan, Wisconsin, under the direction of Tina Hansen. While at the University of Iowa, Amya has participated in Dance Gala, UIDC, Graduate Undergraduate concert, multiple graduate students' independent projects, and Thesis productions. 

Kendra McDaniel - Performer
Kendra McDaniel headshot

Kendra McDaniel is a fourth-year BFA on the dance pedagogy and instruction track at the University of Iowa. She is originally from Bondurant, Iowa. During her time at the university, Kendra has been a part of the University of Iowa Dance Company, multiple Dance Galas, MFA Thesis, and independent projects. 

Garianna Clinton-Nelson - Performer
Marianna Clinton-Nelson headshot

Garianna Clinton-Nelson is 3rd year BFA student double majoring in Dance and Radiation Science. Born in Davenport Iowa, she studied dance at artistic intensity dance company before attending school at the University of Iowa.

Mikey Rioux - Performer
Mikey Rioux headshot

Mikey Rioux (they/them) is a choreographer, performer, teacher, and visual artist. They have worked in both Chicago and Seattle. Some of the companies Mikey has performed for are River North Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Lucky Plush Productions, Mordine & Co., Kate Corby & Dancers, Scott/Powell Performance, Lingo, and Salt Horse among others. In 2001 Mikey formed Impetus Dance Theater and served as Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer until 2005. Mikey's visual art has been presented in 30 solo and group shows. Their work is in numerous private collections and also included in The Mary Alice Cooley Print Collection.