Thursday – February 14th, 2019
7:30 pm @ Wise Theatre

Doll’s Eyes

Choreographers & Performers: Michelle Nance, Kaysie Seitz Brown, Nicole Wesley, and Ana Baer
Margarita Clan
Music: Max Richter

Blending dance, video projection, and theatrical elements, Doll’s Eyes will strike a minor cord to the dominant cultures most essential conversations regarding gender, identity, materialism, fashion and consumption. Direction and video production by Ana Baer; scenic and light design by Cheri Prough DeVol.

Margarita Clan is a Collaborative Arts Production group exploring the intersection of dance, video, music, light, and scenic design. The group is housed in the Department of Theatre and Dance at Texas State University, San Marcos, TX.

The GRID [Excerpt]

Choreographer: Rafael Chavez
Company: Human Nature Contemporary Ballet
Performers: Jose Barraza, Sarah Fuentes, Francisco Melendez, Kimberly Morris
Music: Glassworks by Philip Glass – Opening & Opening (Reworked By Christian Badzura)

Artist’s Statement: GRID (Gay Related Immune Deficiency) was the given name to the disease we now know as AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). During the early 1980s, the first identified cases of AIDS were seemingly correlated to gay men. This along with the long held stigma against homosexuality led to the public referring to the disease as GRID, gay cancer, or even the gay plague. AIDS is a disease caused by the HIV virus. It does not discriminate against gender or sexual orientation. The GRID is a contemporary ballet that draws inspiration from the raise of reported HIV/AIDS cases in El Paso County from 2010-2014. As of 2014, over 80,000 persons were known to be living with HIV in Texas. We hope that by presenting this piece we can bring awareness to our community. We want to spark a conversation and spread love not the stigma.

Human Nature Contemporary Ballet (HNCB) is a local dance company from El Paso, TX, founded by Rafael Chavez and Jose Barraza. The company aims to use dance as a way of self-expression that captures the stories of our time. Ballet forms the foundation for our movement, and our unique style takes inspiration from Contemporary Dance, Martial Arts, and Gymnastics. We push to show the humanity behind the art and remove the mystique placed on dance. Our goal is for our audience to see the dancers as people, not as the ethereal beings often portrayed in classical ballet. Dance is something that transcends language and connects us not only as people but as humans.

Humanity Against the Cards

Choreographers & Performers: Cylene Walker-Willis and Jessica Murphy
Company: Brave Productions and Brave Art Dance Theater

Artist’s Statement: Humanity Against the Cards explores Jessica and Cylene’s trust in each other and their Type A struggle to sort and make sense of even the most bizarre prompts and situations. The work presents itself as informal play as the dancers experiment within an outlined structure of improvisational scores and verbal interaction between each other and a set of Cards Against Humanity Cards.

Cylene Walker-Willis is an educator, choreographer, and artist. She graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Master of Fine Arts in dance. Walker-Willis has a passion for facilitating community dance projects. In 1998 she helped build Second Man Ministries, a local liturgical dance and drama company, as a performer. She then became its director in 1999, directing and producing plays, musical dramas, and dances until 2003. Walker-Willis works at Dance Star Productions as Ballet Coordinator/Instructor as well as teaching dance at Oklahoma State University. Most recently Walker-Willis has presented her research at the World Dance Alliance 2017 Global Summit in July. She will return in 2019 to the World Dance Alliance America’s Conference to present choreography and her current research on making work about anxiety. Walker-Willis is the owner of Brave Productions and Creative Director of Brave Art Dance Theater in Stillwater, Oklahoma where she has been producing work for the past four years.


Choreographer: Brandon Ray Alba
Performers: Melanie Elliot, Alejandro Molina, Emily Ann Juarez, Sarah Fuentes, Karen Valles, and Paola Joana Carrera
Music: Spark by Niklas Paschburg (Edited for the performance)

Artist’s Statement: Journey: an act of traveling from one place to another.

Brandon Ray Alba is a performance artist, choreographer, and artistic director. He is the co-director of FAWNZ Dance Company, the artistic director of Moon Collective, and the associate director of K.B. Theater. He holds a bachelors of fine arts from UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) and is planning on pursuing a Masters of Fine arts in choreography. Brandon has a great interest in collaboration and has most recently collaborated with Jesus Lopez ( in three projects: Echo (2018, TX) In This Light | There Is Silence (CA, 2019) and Hard Candy (TX, 2019). To find out more about his work visit his website



Choreographer: YeaJean Choi in collaboration with dancers
Company: kNOwBOX dance
Performers: YeaJean Choi and Martheya Nygaard
Music: “VAPOR HUSK” by Donovan Jones

Artist’s Statement: “Welcome to the laboratory of max; a different interpretation of maximum movement.” THE MAX is a long term on-going choreographic research to find the unconscious moment when you are in the process of moving. 

The dance artists YeaJean Choi and Martheya Nygaard launched the social media-based company, kNOwBOX dance, to connect interdisciplinary art, technology, and artists, and to re-envision the process of art making. Choi creates multimedia and site-specific performances through sensing methods to re-envision existing spaces. Originally from Seoul, Choi earned her BFA in Korean Dance from the SungKyunKwan University and receive MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. Her choreography and dance films have been presented internationally. Currently, Choi is a full-time professor and a coordinator of dance at Universidad de las Américas Puebla. Nygaard cultivates distortion as an aesthetic philosophy, expanding possibilities for what dance can be. She earned her BFA in Dance at Sam Houston State University and receive MFA in Dance from TWU in 2018. She has presented her work both nationally and internationally. Currently Martheya is an Adjunct Professor of Dance for Tarrant County College Southeast Campus and Dallas County Community College Eastfield Campus. Martheya is a professional dancer for Out On a Limb Dance Company and Jordan Fuchs Company.


Choreographer & Performer: Leanne Rinelli
Music: “Aria” by Balanescu Quartet

Artist’s Statement: Skin. Natural. Masculine. Feminine. Curves. Muscle. Folds. Stretch. Soften. Inhabit.

Leanne Rinelli is an Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Texas at El Paso and the co-director of Mountain Movement Dance Company. Leanne received her B.A. in Dance from the University at Buffalo and her M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from SUNY Brockport. She has danced with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II (Dayton, OH), Janet Reed and Dancers (Buffalo, NY), the Bill Evans Dance Company (Rochester, NY), KDiehl Danceworks (Rochester, NY) and STEAMROLLER Dance Company (San Francisco). Leanne has presented her choreography internationally with Dance-Forms Productions in Guatemala, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Croatia, and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. She has a passion for nurturing dancers’ well-being, which led her to attain her C-RYT 200 Yoga Alliance certification.

A Cultural Revelation; One People One Cry

Choreographer: Lamaiya Lancaster
Company: L-Theory Collective
Performers: Anna Erdman, Alana Fuchs, Carissa Holmes, Lamaiya Lancaster, Michelle Stone
Music: “Hawaii ’78” by Tavana, “Earth” by Merkaba, “Peaceful Place” by Tavana, “Permanent Holiday” by Mike Love

Artist’s Statement: Through music and movement we seek to ignite a revelation that reaches across cultural, racial and societal barriers, uniting us as one people with one cry. “I won’t be manipulated, mind-controlled and inundated. I will seek the Revelation, make my life a celebration. I will be the change I’m seeking, manifest the words I’m speaking. I refuse to be imprisoned, I will make my own decisions…Take back the knowledge, take back the power, humanity don’t let this be our final hour.” Mike Love

Lamaiya Lancaster received diverse dance training in traditional and cultural disciplines at San Diego School for Creative & Performing Arts and Fort Wayne Dance Collective and earned her B.A. in Cultural Studies, M.A. in Adult/Community Education and Executive Development for Public Service. Lancaster directed the Summer Dance Showcase-Hawaii collaborating with Convergence Dance Theatre and Middle Eastern Dance Artists of Hawaii, presented on adult learning theories, dance education and diversity in dance at the American Association for Adult/Continuing Education Conference, Hawaii International Conference on Education, Ball State University’s Diversity Research Symposium and presented on the history of American Social Dance at University of Science and Technology of Shanghai, Shanghai, China, Xi’an International University, Xi’an, China & Henan Normal University, Xing Xong, China. Currently, Lancaster is adjunct dance faculty at College of Lake County and Co-founder of L-Theory Collective where her dedication to inclusion through community engagement in dance is realized.

Almas Flotantes

Choreographer: Gabriel Nieto
Company: So Def Nation
Performers: Eder de Jesús Arrasquito Barrios and Harumi Paula Lopez Gallardo
Music: A Filleta-A Paghjella di l’impiccati

Artist’s Statement: “Almas Flotantes” is a contemporary dance proposal which was assembled in collaboration with the Venezuelan artist Gabriel Nieto. Encounter of two people from different places who, when observing each other, connect in an unwise way, where the fusion of anger, desire and animal instinct are attracted physically and spiritually. When two souls have related their karma through the centuries an aggressive and intuitive interaction is created, becoming an aggressive energy. Finally, both parties decide to face each other to death.

So Def Nation is an interdisciplinary collective composed of artists focused on the language of urban dance, acrobatics, martial arts and contemporary dance. The purpose of the group is to rescue the identity of Mexican urban dance by creating a hybrid between contemporary language and urban language, seeking new forms of movement, creation and expression.

Rhythmic Vocabularies

Choreographer: Jenise Akilah Anthony
Performers: Joyce Edwards, Owen Edwards, Isaiah Harris, Ebony Vasquez
Music: “Umhome” by Miriam Makeba & “Canto Tribale” by Ecosound

Artist’s Statement: Rhythmic Vocabularies is an ensemble contemporary African work that uses live and recorded music to explore the interaction of movement and rhythm.This fusion work is influenced by traditional African and Caribbean Folk dance movement with varied modern dance technical facets. The work highlights the marriage of Western and African dance cultures in a dynamic and athletic choreographic piece.

Jenise Akilah Anthony, a native artist of Trinidad and Tobago, is an Assistant Professor of African Dance and Artistic Director of the Sankofa African Dance & Drum Ensemble at the College at Brockport, State University of New York. She has been a dance educator and choreographer for over 10 years, working both nationally and internationally. She is renowned for her African Diaspora dance work and tutelage that is hinged on both traditional and contemporary African dance genres such as West African, Caribbean Folk, Modern Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Modern. Ms. Anthony served as a Teaching Assistant, Guest Teaching Artist and Adjunct Faculty member of Coppin State University (Baltimore, MD), Tarrant County College (Tarrant County, TX), Texas Christian University (Ft Worth, TX) and Texas Woman’s University (Denton, TX). She continues to extend her vibrant tutelage beyond her campus, offering contemporary and traditional African dance classes and choreographic work through teaching residencies, recruitment classes at colleges and high schools and at Regional conferences such as the American College Dance Festival (ACDA). Ms. Anthony’s versatile teaching style and choreographic expertise are attributed to her extensive academic study in dance education, in conjunction with her rigorous training and performance experiences with varied dance companies and master teachers in Trinidad, the United States and the African continent. Through her work with companies like Dance Place in D.C., Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn and Dallas Black Dance Theatre, she has been privileged to study with professionals like Carla Perlo, Jamal Gaines, Marcia Howard, Sylvia Soumah, Kim Abel, Milton Myers and the late Baba Chuck Davis. As a longstanding member of the Bandan Koro African Drum & Dance Ensemble in Dallas, TX, she also trained intensively with esteemed native West African master instructors such as Mohammed Diaby, Youssouf Koumbassa, Mouminatou Camara, Djeneba Sako, Karamoko “Moko” Camara, Jean-Claude Lessou and Weedie Braimah. With proficiency in a myriad of dance genres, Professor Anthony’s work passionately focuses on fusing all her trainings to develop and share contemporary dance practices within the African Diaspora. She is committed to extending this culture in workshops and performances at home and abroad. She continues to travel nationally and internationally building her dance repertoire and continues her performance and educational practices working with students and dance professionals.

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