Anita Gonzalez, director/choreographer
(photo credit: Julie Lemberger)
Anita Gonzalez is a director, choreographer, and performer whose works have appeared at Lincoln Center Out-of- Doors (New York), Dance Theater Workshop (New York), Colorado Dance Festival (Colorado), Tribeca Performing Arts Center (New York), The Dance Place (Washington DC), and other performance venues. Her work fuses African-American and Latin American movement vocabularies into commentary on today's contemporary lifestyles. One critic, describing her work, writes:
"[In] the charming solo Scat Spirit … the choreographer herself appeared as a contemporary woman out for a stroll. Arrested in mid path by the voice of an unseen power, she was knocked off balance and impelled to begin a dance of luscious, hip swiveling joy. Here Gonzalez made an authoritative statement, subtly integrating elements of tradition into the fabric of everyday life." (Robert Johnson, Star Ledger)J ennifer Dunning of The New York Times describes Ms. Gonzalez as "a vibrant, powerful stage presence."
Currently Ms Gonzalez is developing a performance work called Cigar Memories about the Afro Cuban cigar workers of Tampa at the beginning of the twentieth century. She recently completed work on The Mother Courage Project with Demetria Royals and Robbie Mc Cauley, an experimental collaboration that was supported by a NEA Multidisciplinary Grant and a Rockefeller Multi-Arts Production grant. Other recent projects include Migrant ImagiNations at the Joyce Soho Theater in New York City (1999) a performance art work that fuses text, movement, and visuals into a shifting collage of migration experiences. The portable project, designed as an open-ended presentation, incorporates migration stories from each of the communities where it is presented.
In 1998 Ms. Gonzalez directed and developed choreography for Tiye Giraud's Sugar Tit a musical theater play about black women, service, and servitude. This production toured to several national venues. She also collaborated with Ms Giraud to create Mojo for the Millennium, a dance suite choreographed to a set of Giraud's songs. Tribeca Performing Arts Center commissioned Anita to direct and choreograph Hola Ola a dance theater piece about Caribbean immigrant women. Yanga, conceived and directed by Ms. Gonzalez in 1994 is a dance narrative work about black slave resistance in Mexico. The solo performance art work Totem, conceived, choreographed, and performed by Anita Gonzalez, was filmed by Diamond/Royals Productions and appears in their documentary film, "Conjure Women." Two short works -- Sueño Nuevo and Guerreros -- created and directed by Gonzalez for the Honduran theater company Teatro la Fragua continue to tour theaters and villages in Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Spain. Anita was an original member of Urban Bush Women, the African American Women's ensemble and performed with that company for the first five years of its existence.
An Assistant Professor at Florida State University School of Theatre, Ms. Gonzalez earned her Ph.D. in Theater/Performance Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997). She has written book reviews and articles about multi-cultural performance for The Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Dance Research Journal, and Women and Performance. She is currently working on a book-length project about the Urban Bush Women. Ms. Gonzalez has received numerous academic and professional grants including two Senior Scholar Fulbright Awards, a New York Foundation for the Arts Artists Fellowship, and a US/Mexico Rockefeller Exchange grant.
Other recent works by Gonzalez
Ai Asai, dancer
(photo credit: Julie Lemberger)
Ai Asai had her early training in ballet with Sanae Mizuta and modern dance with Klara Murakami in Tokyo, Japan. In the United States, she studied ballet with Denise Vogt in St. Paul, Minnesota, and continued modern dance training at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met Anita Gonzalez while pursuing her BA degree in history. Asai was a Li Chiao-Ping dance company member in 1997 and 1998.
Tiyé Giraud, musician
(pictured: Tiyé Giraud and Anita Gonzalez
photo credit: Evans Ward)
Tiyé Giraud (vocalist/percussionist/writer) was asked to perform her music at the 1999 Nantes Jazz Fest in France. She was commissioned by Diamond/Royals Productions to compose the music soundtrack for the film Conjure Women. In 1994, she wrote, performed in, and toured in her first performance art piece Dirty Dishy Divine. Her most recent performance art work, Sugar Tit!, was performed at Dance Theater Workshop (DTW), New York in 1998 and is currently touring. She is founder of Hoss Hed Ju-ju, which features cross-cultural and original music. An original member of Women of the Calabash and a founding member of LadyGourd Sangoma, Giraud has toured as a guest artist and vocal coach with Urban Bush Women and was musical director for their Bessie award-winning piece Praise House. She was composer for Vasilevski/Zollars Song of Lawina and Robbie McCauleys A Tempest. She was musical director and composer for choreographer Martha Bowers Safe Harbor, a site-specific work about immigration that took place along Brooklyns historic Pier 41.
She was selected by Brooklyn Academy of Music to participate in their 1989 New Music America!. She has performed throughout the US in her one-woman show, Hokumbe and with Performance Space 122s Field Trips in 1996 featuring original compositions. Her voice can be heard on Kurt Vonneguts Ice 9 Ballads, and she has performed and recorded with Odetta, Olu Dara, Bob Telson, and Hassan Hakmoun. Her music was featured in Germany, Paris, Amsterdam, and Prague while touring with John Cale (1996), formerly of the Velvet Underground, and David Soldier as well as on their numerous recordings. She was a contributing writer in 1998 for Planet Musician, a book by Julie Lyon Lieberman.
Giraud has been the recipient of grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, Special Underwriting Research and Frontier Fund, the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and Meet the Composer. She has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, Lower Manhatten Cultural Council and Pyramid Arts Council. She was an artist representative for three years for the National Performance Network and is currently serving as a music curator for Dance Theater Workshop
Wanjiru Kamuyu, dancer
(photo credit Julie Lemberger.
From Migrant ImagiNations)
Wanjiru Kamuyu holds a BBA from Eastern Michigan University, an MFA in dance from Temple University, and is currently dancing with Urban Bush Women, New York. Kamuyu began her training in Kenya and upon arriving in the United States, she studied at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, American Dance Festival, and Philadanco. She has also worked with other choreographers, including Sean Curren, Henry Roy, Carol Morriseau, Biza Sompa, and Marlies Yearby. Kamuyu premiered her solo work, Cleansing Spirit, as part of the Sista Diva Soothsayer series at the Painted Bride in Philadelphia. She has also taught dance in the community through the Americorps program in Michigan and Urban Bush Women Summer Dance Institute in Tallahassee, Florida.
Nicole Rosenblum, dancer
(pictured Ai Asai and Nicole Rosenblum
photo credit Julie Lemberger. From Migrant ImagiNations)
Nicole Rosenblum, a New Jersey native, majors in dance and psychology at Connecticut College. She previously attended NYUs Tisch School of the Arts Dance Conservatory for a year, where she performed in works by Deborah Jowitt and Julie Forecast. She has participated in the Limon Summer Institute, International Dance Festival, and Bates Dance Festival for two years. She performed The Envelope by David Parson restaged by Gail Gilbert. She also performed in works by Gabriela Medina, Sean Curran, Dwight Rohden, and Desmond Richardson, Kevin Wynn, and Anita Gonzalez.
Carrie Sandahl earned her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in theatre research and is currently an Assistant Professor at Florida State Universitys School of Theatre. Sandahls scholarship focuses on the relationship between representation and issues of cultural identity. Her directing and solo performance pieces often consider the intersections and conflicts between disability politics and feminism. Recent performance projects include Stumbling Blocks: An Experiential Installation, which was performed with nearly one-hundred participants with disabilities in Washington, DC, and That!, an anthology of student performance art. She was featured in the award-winning video documentary Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back by Brace Yourself Productions. Sandahl is co-editing with Philip Auslander a book entitled Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance for the University of Michigan Press and published articles appear in Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, Theatre Topics, and Disability Studies Quarterly. She was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Humanites Summer Institute grant for intensive research in the field of disability studies.
Tosh Sheridan, music
Tosh Sheridan graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Jazz Composition. While in Boston, Sheridan composed and performed original music for jazz, rock, and contemporary bands. He has written music for solo guitar, string quartets, rock bands, and seventeen-piece jazz orchestras. Sheridan is an active faculty member at The National Guitar Workshop in Connecticut and currently plays in Sky Blue, a blues/jazz, rock band in the New York area.
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