Anne Van Gelder
Jill Brammer Ware
University Dancers 29th Annual Spring Concert
Photo credit: JC Dhien
Stefanie Batten Bland
Stefanie Batten Bland (Choreographer) adds to Mary Batten and Ed Bland's artistic legacy of writing and music with her own layer of dance.
Recognized as a 2010-12 Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist in Residence and a Jerome Robbins "NEW Fellow," and a 2011/12 Cambridge Who’s Who! of Professionals and Entrepreneurs, she has danced for Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Pal Frenak, Georges Momboye, Pina Bausch Tanz Theater Wuppertal, Lar Lubovitch, Julie Taymor and Angelin Preljocaj, among others.
SBB created Company Stefanie Batten Bland in 2008 in France so that she might better investigate the human condition and our relationship within the natural world.
The troupe has performed live and via dance cinema, throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the States.
SBB has pieces on Ailey II, Danceland of Singapore, Zenon Dance Company of Minneapolis and is currently guest choreographer for Transitions Dance Company of London.
Photo credit: Erik Alberg
Steven Iannacone, dancer/teacher/choreographer, performed and toured internationally with Nikolais Dance Theater (NYC) and the Phyllis Lamhut Dance Company (NYC). He has also worked with Murray Louis, Louis Falco, George Faison, Talley Beatty and Vinette Carrol and is active as a guest artist and solo performer. He is a Co-Artistic Director and founder of dANCEpROjECt, a resident company at the Knickerbocker theatre in Holland, MI, and also “InTheBody” an international collaborative choreography project based in Europe. He performs, choreographs and tours regularly with both companies and has had his work produced in Belgium, France, Italy, Israel, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Sweden and throughout the USA. His solo “MEAT” was featured at the Festival of Dance and Non-Verbal Communication in St. Vincent, Croatia; his solo “Unwritten Letter” was danced at Dance Box in Osaka, Japan; the solo “WHITE” was performed at Town Hall in Tokyo; his “V.I.P.” won 3rd Prize as the “Best Solo in Belgium”; and his solo “Darkness” was presented at EXPO 92 in Seville, Spain. He served as Artistic Advisor to GrossoModo in Queretaro, Mexico and set his “BOLERO” on the company who performed with the Queretaro Philharmonic Orchestra. He has twice been designated the civic honor of “VisitanteDistinguido” by the Office of the Mayor of the City of Queretaro for facilitating cultural exchange between Mexico and the USA. He is a frequentguest artist with Next Step Dance in Miami and is a guest artist in residence at “TheRoof” in Duisburg, Germany where he creates and performs in collaboration with Avi Kaiser (Israel) and Sergio Antonino (Italy) working in the European dance theter genre. Together they have produced the full evening “Nightshift” and the site specific “Rheinorange” on the banks of the Rhein River for the Wilhelm Lembruck Museum. Steven has had faculty appointments at Ballet Akademien (Goteborg, Sweden), the Vlaamse Dansacademie (Brugge, Belgium), the Catholic University L.N. (Brussels, Belgium) and the Escuela de la Ballet Folklorico (Mexico City, Mexico). Presently he is an Associate Professor of Dance at Hope College where he has been teaching since 1995. He credits his early training and career with Alwin Nikolais as the foundation for his teaching, performing and creative work. Beyond the principles of Shape,Time, Space, Motion, Nikolais’ philosophy of the “unique genius” and the genderless exploration of abstraction along with his own research of the universal gesture are standards that inspire and inform his work. He recently presented “Desde el Jardin” (danced by Alicia Diaz and Matthew Thornton) to critical praise at the Nikolais Alumni Centennial Concerts at Hunter College in NYC.
Stephanie Rankin is a dancer/choreographer from Levittown, Pennsylvania who graduated from Hope College with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Dance Performance/ Choreography. While studying at Hope, she had the pleasure to be a member of Strike Time Dance Company, an educational dance company that taught West Michigan Elementary Schools about dance styles and elements, and of dANCEpROjeCt, where she served as rehearsal director for “…sur la table..” for two seasons. She has had the opportunity to train under Sharon Wong, Crystal Frazier, Maxine DeBruyn, Matthew Farmer, and Linda Graham and to be involved in the creation and performance of works by Anne Rene Petrarca, Angie Yetzke, and Steven Iannacone. She is currently working with Mikella Bryant + Dancers as a collaborator and artist.
Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann
Stephanie has over 20 years of teaching experience. She has been the head of The Joffrey Ballet’s trainee program and The Ruth Page Dance Centre’ s jazz department, as well as jazz faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio and Giordano Jazz Dance School. Ms. Martinez also spent two years in New York City as the head of the lower school dance department for the exclusive Spence School. Upon returning to Chicago, she frequently serves as a guest master teacher at world-renowned dance companies such as Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, River North Dance Chicago, The Gus Giordano Jazz Dance World Congress, Thodos Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Same Planet Different World, Chicago Dance Crash, Elements Contemporary Ballet, as well as traveling to teach at Company C in San Francisco and the Nanjing University in China. She has served as guest faculty at Northwestern University, Columbia College, and Ball State University and is currently in residency at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.
Stephanie has created original works as well as assisted some of the masters. She was the assistant to Broadway legend Ann Reinking in setting the Fosse Trilogy on Thodos Dance Chicago, as well as assistant to the choreographer of Spiderman on Broadway, Daniel Ezralow. Her original choreography has been set on the Joffrey Academy trainees, Thodos Dance Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theater’s 10th anniversary at The Harris Theater, Same Planet Different World, Elements Contemporary Ballet, Columbia College, Ball State University, Chicago Dance Crash, Ron De Jesus Dance, Northwestern University and currently Virginia Commonwealth University.
Ms. Martinez has been a featured dancer on stage, film and television. Stephanie was also a featured dancer for Diana Ross’s appearance in the 2006 World Cup opening ceremonies. She had a 15-year run as principle dancer of River North Dance Chicago, where she was awarded the coveted Ruth Page Award, was the principle dancer for productions of The Merry Widow and Manon at The Lyric Opera of Chicago, and a special guest performer for The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Stephanie has also performed with Concert Dance Inc., Luna Negra Dance Theater, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance, Ron de Jesus Dance, Same Planet Different World and was in the cast of Swing at The Marriott Theatre.
Aaron Smith is from Garden City, Michigan and studied at Wayne State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree as a Dance Major. Creating feeds Aaron’s soul, choreographic assistant to River North’s award winning Dancer/Choreographer, Stephanie Martinez. Mr. Smith has created and assisted works for Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, Virginia Commonwealth University, Dance in The Parks, Shenandoah University, Columbia College, Elements Ballet, University of Richmond, Chicago Dance Crash, Washington & Lee University, Northwestern University, Ball State University, Henry Ford Community College, and Episcopal High School. Aaron served as the Maggie Allesee Dance Workshop’s Co- President and participated as a choreographer, dancer, and company member (2009-2011). He is the choreographer of "Deterior” which was a finalist at the American College Dance Festival Association, gala performance (2011). Aaron was a Maggie Allesee Department of Dance Talent Scholarship recipient all four years at Wayne State University. Smith dances for Ron De Jesus Dance in Chicago with solo performances at the Joyce Soho in New York City (2010), and at The Joffrey Studios in Chicago (2011), and other various performances including Chicago’s Dance for Life performance (2011) and “Leather Tongues” (2013). Danced for Detroit’s artLab J Contemporary Dance in its opening season. He has been the Resident Supervisor at the Complexions Detroit Summer Intensive the past two years, working with legendary Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson and Meg Paul. Aaron attended Joffrey Ballet School’s Summer Intensive, and Joffrey’s Jazz and Contemporary Program in New York City (2009), on full scholarship. Cast as a dancer in the SAG film, “Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” (2009). Mr. Smith has worked with several Guest Artists like Larry Keigwin, Ron De Jesus, Sonya Tayeh, Peter Carpenter, Ray Mercer, Janis Brenner, and Nicholas Leichter.
Photo Credit: Miguel Anaya
Alicia Díaz, originally from Puerto Rico, is co-founder of Agua Dulce Dance Theater, with movement artist Matthew Thornton. Her choreography has been presented in the United States, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina, Spain, and Mexico. She toured nationally and internationally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Donald Byrd/The Group, Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater, Andanza Compañía Puertorriqueña de Danza Contmeporánea, Alice Farley Dance Theater, and Contemporary Motions, as well as numerous independent choreographers. In 1997, Díaz co-founded en la brega dance company with Puerto Rican dancer and choreographer Ñequi González, and she co-directed Rubí Theater Company—an artistic collective dedicated to creating works pertinent to Latino experiences in the U.S.—from 2000-2004.
Film and dance for the camera projects include Sand (independent film by Steven Dean, 1996), Yucuninu (a site-specific film by Alison Dobbins, 2009), Yucuninu: The Development of a Dance (documentary by Alison Dobbins, 2009), Grain of Sand: A Dance for the Camera Project (2009), and The Seed and the Gardener (by Kim Su Theiler, 2009).
In recent years, she has collaborated with dance artists Marion Ramírez and Thayer Jonutz, choreographer Steven Iannacone, percussionist Sebastián Guerrero, and composer Bill Sallak. She is co-founder of Art Farm—a collective that investigates movement and video with Matthew Thornton, sound designer Oliver Lyons, and video artists Alexis Raskin and Kim Su Theiler.
Alicia is Assistant Professor of Dance at The University of Richmond. Prior to coming to UR, she was Assistant Professor of Dance at Hope College, Assistant Professor/Artist-in-Residence at Kent State University, and has been a guest artist-teacher at The American College Dance Festival, Rutgers University, University of Michigan, New York University, Henry Street Settlement, and Festival Internacional Danz’aquí in Puerto Rico.
Photo Credit: Marisol Díaz
Matthew Thornton grew up in Northeast Ohio training movement theater with James Thornton’s Acting Ensemble Program. Thornton studied dance at Hamilton College and holds a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin. There he was introduced to contact improvisation, and began training capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art hidden in dance. He has since trained with numerous martial artists including Wayne Chandler, Michael Goldstein, Roberto Sharpe and Wilson Pitts.
Matthew Thornton performed internationally with Pilobolus Dance Theater in concert dance, commercial work, talk shows, and at the 79th Academy Awards, and he is a master teacher of the Pilobolus Method. Other companies include Steven Iannacone, Jody Oberfelder, Freespace Dance, Alice Farley Dance Theater, and Contemporary Motions. Thornton was an Assistant Professor of Dance at Hope College, and he joined the Theatre and Dance Department of the University of Richmond in Fall 2011, where currently teaches Capoeira Angola, Non-traditional Partnering, and Chi-Gung.
Thornton co-founded Agua Dulce Dance Theater with dancer and choreographer Alicia Díaz. Agua Dulce has performed and given workshops in colleges, high schools and festivals, traveling to Mexico, Puerto Rico and across the U.S., including the 2006 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out Series. Agua Dulce recently collaborated with choreographer Steven Iannacone in “Desde el Jardín,” performed in the Alwin Nikolais Centennial Alumni Concert in NYC. Current Collaborators include video artists KimSu Theiler and Alexis Raskin, composer Oliver Lyons, musician Andy Mcgraw and dancers Thayer Jonutz, Marion Ramírez and Junwoong Kim, with whom they will premiere a new work Fall 2013 at the University of Richmond. Their work “The Seed and The Gardener” was presented in the 2011 Dance Films @ The Flea Festival.
Agua Dulce Dance Theater was co-founded by Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton in New York City in 2006. Their work draws from contemporary dance, movement-theater, martial arts, chi-gung, improvisation, and an interest in outdoor and site-specific projects.
Agua Dulce has performed at The Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series, Blue Curtain Music and Dance Summer Festival, The New York Dance Parade, The Vissi Dance Theater Dance in America Series, Hathaway Brown School, Sneak Reviews @ the Cleveland Public Theater, The Old Grand Rapids Public Museum, The RAD Festival in Kalamazoo, MI, The Wealthy Theater in Grand Rapids, MI, Hope College, and in El Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro, Mexico. Their collaboration with video artist KimSu Theiler “The Seed and The Gardener” was presented in the 2011 Dance Films @ The Flea Festival. Díaz and Thornton also recently collaborated with choreographer Steven Iannacone in “Desde el Jardín” performed in the Alwin Nikolais Centennial Alumni Concert in NYC.
Other ADDT collaborators include percussionist Sebastián Guerrero, instrumentalist Bill Sallak, video artist Alexis Raskin, and sound designer Oliver Lyons.
ADDT was Artist-in-Residence at the Holland Area Arts Council, MI. while Díaz and Thornton were assistant professors of dance at Hope College from 2009-2011. In fall 2011 they joined the dance faculty at The University of Richmond.
Anne Van Gelder
Ms. Van Gelder, Assistant Director of Dance, Artistic Director, University Dancers holds degrees from Virginia Intermont College and the University of Utah in Choreography and Pedagogy. She performed throughout Virginia and Utah and has served as ballet mistress/régisseur for several companies. As a dancer, she worked with Alun Jones, Li-Chou Cheng, Ford Evans, Conrad Ludlow, Richard Munro and Tom Pazik among others. She taught beginner to advanced levels of ballet technique at the University of Utah, Virginia Intermont College and the Willam F. Christensen Center for Dance. She regularly gives master classes at the American College Dance Festival and recently gave a workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Fine Arts. She has also created choreography for Theatre Bristol, Park City Shakespeare Festival, the Ogden Symphony and the Roanoke Symphony. Her research interests lie in historic dance and she continues to study dance regularly, including Baroque dance workshops in NYC with historic dance experts. Ms. Van Gelder’s choreography has been seen throughout Virginia and Utah and at Richmond she worked with artists of the Saratov Academic Youth Theatre on their US premiere production of The Humpbacked Horse, featuring dances she re-set. She created choreography for these URP&D productions: Wings, The Tempest, Fiddler on the Roof and The Chairs and The Bald Soprano directed by Italian director and filmmaker, Paolo Landi. She appeared as Hedy in UR’s 2009 production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, directed by Walter Schoen. Most recently, Ms. Van Gelder served as period movement stylist for the URP&D production of Moliere’s The Learned Ladies.
Anne Van Gelder teaches Productions Studies, Dance History-Theory, all levels of Ballet technique and Jazz technique classes.
Annette Hull (Student Choreographer, Junior Dance Major) is a junior double majoring in Sociology and Dance. Annette began training in classical ballet, jazz, and tap at the age of three in Hancock, Maryland. While in high school at Mercersburg Academy, she danced for four years under the direction of Denise Dalton and performed one of Dalton’s works at the Regional High School Dance Festival in Norfolk, Virginia. This is Annette’s third year as a member of University Dancers and her first time choreographing for the company.
Nathan Watwood (Student Choreographer, Dance Minor) is a junior double majoring in Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Physics and minoring in dance. Nathan began dancing at the age of 9 in the Richmond outreach program for area 4th grade students, Minds in Motion. He continued dancing with Minds in Motion for four more years on its featured performance group Team XXL. At the age of 12, Nathan began studying at The School of Richmond Ballet, training in classical ballet, jazz, modern, and musical theater. After training at The School of Richmond Ballet for six years, he came to the University of Richmond on scholarship and joined University Dancers as a first-year student. This is Nathan's first time choreographing and he will be presenting his work in the University Dancers annual spring concert Spaces Between and at the American College Dance Festival at George Mason University in March 2014.
Anne Van Gelder
Jill Brammer Ware