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2021-2022 Choreographers

Choreographer: Angelica Burgos

Angelica Burgos Angelica Burgos is of Dominican-Armenian heritage. She received an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University in Florida. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the LEAP Program with Saint Mary’s College of California and is an ABT Certified Teacher, having successfully completed all of ABT Teachers National Training Curriculum. Over the 16 years of her performing career, she has danced with the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago under Gerald Arpino, Sacramento Ballet under artistic directors Ron Cunningham and Carinne Binda, Ballet Hispanico under founder Tina Ramirez and in West Side Story on Broadway in the 2010 revival. She has worked with artists such as Pedro Ruiz, Margo Sappington, Ramon Oller, John Clifford, Annabelle Ochoa Lopes, Val Caniparoli, Trey McIntyre, Septime Webre, Dwight Rhoden, Graciela Daniel, Sergio Trujillo, and Ron Cunningham. Additionally, she has taught for Western Kentucky University for three years and the University of Richmond. Burgos’s choreography has been commissioned by the Western Kentucky University spring performance and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Freshman Repertory course concert. Her choreography has competed at the 2020 and 2021 Youth America Grand Prix and Universal Ballet Competition. Burgos’s television credits include Setting the Stage (PBS, 2007), 20th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards (NBC), and the PBS documentary, Pedro Ruiz Coming Home (2011). Burgos is fluent in Spanish, Russian, Armenian, and English languages.

Photo credit: Kerry B Smith

Choreographer: Alicia Díaz

Alicia DíazAlicia Díaz joined the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Richmond in 2011. She teaches contemporary dance, improvisation, and choreography. Her decolonizing and inclusive pedagogical approaches are rooted in her commitment to activate dance as a tool for social change and the premise that the body is a site of knowledge that informs how we act in the world. Alicia is co-director of Agua Dulce Dance Theater, creating works for concert dance, museums, and site-specific locations. As a Puerto Rican contemporary dance artist in the diaspora Alicia’s choreographic work speaks to issues of memory and identity, migration, colonialism, and the legacy of slavery. Alicia has performed professionally with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Andanza: Puerto Rican Contemporary Dance Company, Donald Byrd/The Group, Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Maida Withers Dance Construction Company, and numerous independent choreographers. Her own choreographic work has been presented in the United States, Spain, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina, and Mexico. Alicia holds an M.F.A. in Dance from The George Washington University and she held teaching positions at Kent State University and Hope College prior to joining UR.

Choreographer: Starrene Foster

Starrene FosterA Richmond native, Starrene Foster is a choreographer, dance educator and the Artistic Director of Starr Foster Dance. Starrene has been recognized as one of Richmond’s Most Prestigious 25 Arts Innovators,The Top 40 under 40 and is the beneficiary of the 2003 VCU Star Alumni Award where she is presently in her nineteenth year as an adjunct faculty member. Starr Foster Dance is the recipient of the Theresa Pollak Award for Artistic Excellence, has been featured on PBS's Virginia Currents, and for the last 16 years, has produced the highly recognized Mid-Atlantic Choreographers Showcase which provides other dance artists opportunities to present work. She has received grants from the Virginia Council for the Arts for her teaching and community outreach, as well as many commissions to create new dance works for universities, professional dance companies and independent artists. Starrene teaches and lectures throughout the country for various festivals and dance organizations, is an advocate for enriching the world with more art and is dedicated to mentoring young artists. Her choreography has been presented nationally which include: The Philadelphia Fringe Festival (PA), The Jack Guidone Theatre (DC), SUNY Buffalo (NY), The New World School (FL), Old Dominion University (VA), Cornell Unive ity (NY), James Madison University (VA), Dance Charlotte (NC), The Goose Route Dance Festival (WV), the Demetrius Klein Dance Festival (FL), University of Maryland, The Richmond Ballet (VA), University of Richmond (VA), Scranton Cultural Arts Center (PA), Baltimore Theatre Project (MD), The Lorton Workhouse (DC), International Festival of Music, Big River Dance Festival (WV) and the Festival of Choreography (NC). As a dancer, Starrene trained under many dance greats including Betty Jones, Jeff Slayton, Tatiana Akinfieva, and at the Neubert Ballet Institute. She has had the pleasure of performing works by Mark Taylor, Doug Varone, Sharon Kinney, Ronald K. Brown, Mark Dendy, Pewan Chow (Hong Kong), Raul Parro (Mexico), among many others. In addition to her faculty position at VCU, Starrene is in her 15th year as faculty at the Richmond Ballet.

Photo credit: Barbara Shore

Choreographer: Juel D.Lane

Juel D.LaneJuel D. Lane is a dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, and one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch.” Most recently he won Celebration of Dance: Choreographer of the Year and Best Choreography for Live Performance for Ailey II’s Touch & Agree. He has performed nationally and internationally with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence, and currently dances with Bessie Award winning Camille A. Brown & Dancers. In 2012, Lane became the first Black independent Atlanta-based choreographer ever to be commissioned by the Atlanta Ballet, choreographing Moments of Dis for the company. Lane was selected to participate in the 2015-2016 Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation New Directions Choreography Lab. Lane’s dance on film, The Maestro was featured on He recently choreographed on Ailey II and Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Lane was last seen as a dancer in the Emmy Award winning TV special, Jesus Christ Superstar Live on NBC. He was recently awarded The University of North Carolina School of the Arts Chancellor’s Alumni Artpreneur of the Year Award, Southwest Arts Center Young Innovator Award and Best Music Video for Bronze Lens Festival. Currently his film, Touch & Agree is being screened at multiple film festivals!

Photo Credit: Travis Geter Photography 

Choreographer: Peter Pucci

Peter Pucci Peter Pucci is a Lucille Lortel Award winner and Drama Desk Nominate for Outstanding choreography for Queens Boulevard (the musical). Peter also received a Drama Desk Award for his work on The Orphans' Home Cycle. Peter graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a BFA in Modern Dance. Peter was a principal dancer and rehearsal director with Pilobolus Dance Theatre for nine years. While with Pilobolus, Peter toured and taught worldwide, made several film and television appearances, performed on Broadway, collaborated on many Pilobolus pieces, before forming his own company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers. Pucci Plus performed in New York City, including five seasons at The Joyce Theater.

Peter has choreographed many commissioned works for The Joffrey Ballet; other commissions include Ballet Arizona, Ballet Hispanico, Colorado Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet, Alberta Ballet and Ballet Met. He has also served as movement director for many theatrical productions including Sam Shepard's The Late Henry Moss, True Love, Fool for Love, Merry Wives of Windsor, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Importance of Being Earnest and Renard for the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.

Upcoming commissions include a new ballet for the New Mexico Ballet Company and a new ballet for the =Texas Christian University’s School of Classical & Contemporary Dance. Recent dance company commissions include, a NEA funded production of Migration, a group work for 50 dancers to the music of Dawn of Midi, Dream On By with music by Paul Simon for the State Street Ballet in California and new ballets for Dance Theater of Harlem> and the Joffrey Ballet Ensemble in New York City.

Peter has also directed two dance films, Swag n' Bach: A Path to Choreography and In the Garden that premiered at the Jacob Burns Film Center. His third dance film Exuviae will premiere this fall. Peter is a Trustee Host for the Dance on Film Series at Jacob Burns and has been a Guest Choreographer/Movement Director at the Juilliard School of Drama.

Photographer: Nate Brigham

Choreographer: Eric Rivera

Christian von Howard

A native of Puerto Rico, Eric Rivera earned an MFA in choreography from SUNY Purchase College. During his performing career, he danced with Ballet Hispanico of New York for 13 seasons, where he helped create over 20 original works. He also performed with Minnesota Ballet as a principal dancer, Ballet Theater of Pennsylvania, Ballet Teatro Municipal de San Juan P.R., Danza Jazz de San Juan, and West Side Story's European tour. He has appeared as a guest artist in different companies such as Connecticut Ballet, Thomas Ortiz Dance, Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico, Westchester Ballet, and Brooklyn Ballet. Eric had the pleasure of performing choreographies of Ann Reinking, Mark Morris, José Limon, Kenneth McMillan, Margot Sapinton, Graciela Daniel, Kevin Wynn, Vicente Nebrada, Talley Beatty, and George Balanchine.

His works have been presented by Dance Iquail, Ashani Dance, Ballet Contemporaneo de Camaguey Cuba, Convergence Ballet, Ciudad Interior, L2 Dance Theater, Owensboro Dance Company, CSU Fullerton, Western Kentucky University, University of Richmond, Orange County College, Purchase College, Jacksonville University, University of Mississippi, ULL, Virginia Commonwealth University, ACDA South, ACDA Baja Region, ACDFA Gala at Little Rock, AR, NY Summer Stage and the show They Called it Rock. His television appearances include PBS' Setting the Stage, NBC's 20th Hispanic Heritage Awards, Hispanic Day Parade with Brenda Blackmon, Puerto Rican Day Parade with Ernie Anastos, and the documentary Pedro Ruiz Home Coming, among others.

Currently is an Associate Professor of Dance at VCU. Eric taught at Western Kentucky University as an assistant professor where his works were funded by grants from WKU Research and Creativity Activity Program (RCAP). In his creative work as well as in his teaching, he is constantly exploring ways in which to dialogue with and share his Hispanic heritage. Mr. Rivera is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teachers Training Intensive in Primary through level seven of the ABT National Training Curriculum.

Choreographer: Anne Van Gelder

anne van gelder

Anne Van Gelder, Faculty, Department of Theatre and Dance, Director of Dance, and Artistic Director of University Dancers holds a B.A. from Virginia Intermont College and an M.F.A. from the University of Utah, in Performance, Choreography, and Pedagogy. Ms. Van Gelder performed and served as ballet master in companies in Virginia and Utah. As a dancer, Ms. Van Gelder worked with a variety of educators and choreographers from all over the world including Alun Jones, Conrad Ludlow, Richard Munro, Tom Pazik, and Stanley Zompakos. At the University of Richmond, Ms. Van Gelder has worked with Stefanie Batten Bland, Kanji Segawa, Jacquline Buglisi, Bill Hastings, Billy Seigenfeld, and Francesca Harper, among others. Her choreography has been performed in collaboration with UR ensemble-in-residence, Eighth Blackbird. She has taught all levels of classical ballet technique at the University of Richmond, the University of Utah, Virginia Intermont College, and the Willam F. Christensen Center for Dance. In Utah, she served as Dance Instructor/Choreographer for gymnasts who were members of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team. Ms. Van Gelder also taught jazz dance in Utah and Virginia and created choreography for Theatre Bristol, Park City Shakespeare Festival, and the Ogden Symphony. She continues to study dance regularly, including workshops in New York where she enjoys studying historic dance. Ms. Van Gelder has created various works for University Players & Dancers, including collaborations with colleagues in the Department of Music. She worked with the Saratov Academic Youth Theatre and has created choreography for the following UR Players & Dancers productions: Wings, The Tempest, Fiddler on the Roof and The Chairs and The Bald Soprano directed by Italian director and filmmaker, Paolo Landi. She has lectured on dance history at the VMFA and regularly teaches at the American College Dance Association conference. Ms. Van Gelder teaches Productions Studies, Dance History-Theory, and all levels of ballet technique. Ms. Van Gelder considers her study of dance and pedagogy ongoing. She is a member of CORPS de Ballet International, Golden Key International Honour Society, and Alpha Psi Omega Dramatic Honorary Society.

Photo credit: Dixon Christian