The Department of Theatre and Dance strives to promote the artistic endeavors of artists around the world. We encourage students to broaden their understanding of dance by viewing and collaborating with a variety of guest artists and strive to provide a fulfilling and holistic dance experience.
Matthew Cumbie is a dancemaker, educator, and collaborator based in Washington, DC, and is an Associate Artistic Director of Dance Exchange. His artistic research cultivates processes and experiences that are participatory and intergenerational, moving through known and unknown, and bring a poetic lens to a specifically queer experience.
As a dancemaker, a central aspect of Matthew’s research is the opening of process to reflect on the role of our body in navigating the world and its responsibility for catalyzing creative action. In 2016 he began Growing Our Own Gardens, a multiyear project to contend with a growing need for intergenerational LGBTQ+ dialogue. With Dance Exchange, Gardens blossomed into an iterative process that partners with LGBTQ+ organizations in multiple cities to use performance and engagement as a platform to surface stories, struggles, and possibilities of queer communities.
He has been commissioned to create and share performances at places like Dance Place, Bates Dance Festival, the Kennedy Center, Texas State University, and Harvard University, as well as the New York City Roundtable Arts in Education conference and the LGBT Health and Art Making conference, among many others. Matthew’s research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the Arcus Foundation, and the Somerville Arts Council, and has led to engagements with a range of institutions across the country.
His interest in collaborative processes has led him to work with a wide range of artists, whose influences have left a mark and inform his current practice – Liz Lerman, Cassie Meador, Keith Thompson, Sarah Gamblin, jhon stronks, Bebe Miller, Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, Betsy Miller, and Annie Kloppenberg, among others. Matthew began working with Dance Exchange in 2011, shortly after receiving an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University.
Alyson Dolan has been recognized by The Austin Chronicle as a “key modern mover” for the “stamina, concentration, and big jar of real that she brings to the potluck”. As a dance artist and avid collaborator Dolan has presented her choreography at festivals, theaters, schools, parks, islands, and creeks throughout the country. Alyson was Resident Choreographer for Sarasota Contemporary Dance from 2012-2014 and continues to create work with the company on a project basis. She has received two Austin Critics Table awards (Outstanding Dancer 2014, Outstanding Duet 2015), as well as the Jerry MacLauchlin Best in Fest award (254 Dance-Fest) for her work with GRIT Performance, a collaborative dance/music company. Alyson admires the originality of Austin’s artists and feels honored when given the opportunity to add to the spread.
Born and raised in Mexico City, I am a choreographer, dancer, and teacher based in Austin, Texas. My work is inspired by deeply personal experiences and my journey in this world as a woman, a Latina artist, a cancer survivor, and a mother.
I am an impassioned believer in the transformational power of dance, and the irrevocable right of all persons to experience the arts as an expression of our common humanity.
My work has been listed numerous times as one of the top ten dance events of the year by the Austin Chronicle, and I am a three-time winner of the Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Choreographer.
My productions The Materiality of Impermanence and most recently, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees, were honored with awards for Best Dance Concert from the Austin Critics Table.
Heike Salzer is a German performer and choreographer, screendance artist and curator, lecturer and researcher, having lived and worked in several countries.
Under the name of Salts she collaborates with international artists and her screendances, installations and choreographies have been invited to numerous international venues and festivals such as the International Videodance Festival Burgundy (FR), Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema (US), Bang-VII Barcelona Videoart Festival, (SP), Athens Video Dance Project (GR), ATLAS Institute (US) among others.
Heike has had a varied career teaching in vocational and Higher Education. She has been a faculty member at the conservatoires Fontys Dance Academy, ArtEZ Dance Academy, Stedelijk Lyceum (NL) and The Icelandic Ballet School (IS). She set up and chaired the dance department at Teesside University (UK) from 2008-2017. As a visiting lecturer, she has been invited to teach and choreograph at international professional dance institutions such as Dancehallerne (DK), University of Malta (MT), Texas State University (US), Slippery Rock University (US), Icelandic Dance Company and Stichting voor Art and Culture Gelderland (NL). Additionally she has been invited to teach internationally in Iceland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, United States and Malta. Most recently she joined the University of Roehampton as Senior Lecturer in Dance Professional Practice.
Together with Mexican/American artist Ana Baer she founded the screendance company WECreate in 2014, producing collaboratively site-specific screendances, inspired by their travels to extreme landscapes. Their work has been shown in the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Portugal, and the United States.
In 2017 she was invited to join the board of directors of the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema.
Heike graduated as a certified Anna Herrmann Gymnastic teacher/somatic movement teacher in Germany, trained at ArtEZ-Dance Academy (NL) and holds a MA Choreography from the University of Leeds (GB) / Fontys Dance Academy, (NL). She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a PhD candidate by publication.
Darla Johnson a choreographer, teacher, and author was the co-artistic director of Johnson/Long Dance. Johnson founded the Austin Community College dance department and has received three teaching excellence awards. She is the co-director of The JUSTICE Project, a collaborative performance work with co-director Nicole Wesley, that has been presented in Atlanta, Austin, San Marcos, and in Bedford and Newcastle, England. Her most recent publication is as co-author of a chapter published in The Young are Making Their World, Essays on the Power of Youth Culture which documents the process and impact of creating The JUSTICE Project with dancers at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy in Austin.
Tamara Ashley is a choreographer and dance artist based in the UK. She co-directed the performance company Brief Magnetics, with whom she made a series of environmental dance works. For five years, she was the artistic director of dance digital. She has received over 7 grants from Arts Council England. She has also written for dance journals, Choreographic Practices and the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices. Tamara is a yoga teacher, and she holds an MFA and PhD from Texas Woman's University. Tamara runs the MA Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of Bedfordshire, UK.
Sonja Dumas is a performer, choreographer, writer, filmmaker, teacher and arts development consultant who lives and works in Trinidad and Tobago. A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Business School, she recently defended her thesis for her second masters degree – this time a Master of Arts in Carnival Studies at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She is the recipient of several international grants and fellowships for her choreography, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Fellowship in Modern Choreography, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Prince Claus Fund. The first female laureate of Caraïbes en Creation, a project of the French Government, she has performed with and/or choreographed for Trinidad- and New York-based dance companies, including The Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Theatre, The Trinidad Theatre Workshop and Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group. She currently creates work for her own pickup company – Continuum Dance Project. The company explores the contemporary Caribbean aesthetic through the language of movement. She is also a co-founder and co-director of the Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective, a group which produces COCO Dance Festival, one of the largest annual contemporary dance festivals in the Caribbean.
Nathan Montgomery is the founder and director of Syzygy Butoh. While at Prescott College he studied multiple forms of contemporary dance, improvisation, theater and choreography with Delisa Myles, Liz Faller and Jay Ruby. In 1997 he met Diego Piñon who introduced him to Butoh and Ritual Dance. He then traveled to Japan to study and perform with some of Butoh's most influential teachers including Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima and Butoh dance company Sankai Juku. Since then Nathan has developed his own approach to Butoh and Ritual Dance that he teaches and performs throughout the United States and abroad. His work is deeply influenced by his practice of Native American ritual dance and both his teaching and performing are rooted in an intimacy with the Wild in Nature. He believes in dance as a way to touch our indigenous soul as an expression of wholeness in response to the destitution of culture in modern times. His work has been showcased in Mexico, Hawaii, Japan and in many US cities. He has taught Butoh as adjunct faculty at Prescott College and Naropa University and as a guest artist at numerous university and residency programs. He is the co-founder and director of the Boulder International Butoh Festival and the MESA (Movement and Ecology Sanctuary for Art) Project in Ouray, CO.
Ellen Bartel Dance Collective (formerly SpankDance) is an Austin-based contemporary dance company founded by artistic director Ellen Bartel who is continually seeking out, and inspired by, new and evocative ways of presenting dance. The company is dedicated to creating original dance work that asks independent interdisciplinary artist to share contemporary ideas that reflect current issuesCollective within the arts, politics, and the world. The work is shown though projects that may either be site-specific, theatre dance, dance festivals, dance on film, works-in-progress, or improvisation. Our mission is based in the belief that community can be built through dance; be it in the studio, theater, or through education, and in doing this contributes to a more democratic and caring society.
Keith Hennessy is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. He was born in Canada, lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, spectacle, ritual, and social movement as tools for investigating and revisioning political realities. He has an MFA in Choreography and is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at University of California, Davis.
Bonnie Cox is a dance graduate student at The University of Colorado Boulder where she combines the disciplines of dance, performance studies, women and gender studies, and ethnic studies to explore identity in performance, the process of dis-identifying from hegemonic views on marginalized identities, and incorporating post-colonial theories and feminist methodologies into research, pedagogy, performance and choreography. Her present research investigates identity politics and the performance and aesthetics of borders. She currently teaches dance and popular culture, a lecture course that deconstructs the roles of race, class, gender and sexuality in dance phenomena. Bonnie received her BFA in dance from Texas State University in 2011 where she was a student teacher and member of Merge Dance Company. She danced with Diverse Space Dance Theater, Sharon Marroquin, Shay Ishii Dance Company and Nicole Roerick Collective in Austin, Texas. Bonnie has studied with acclaimed choreographers in the U.S., Mexico, and Colombia. She was nominated for an Austin Chronicle critic’s choice award for her production Silence to Power: Dance as a response to trauma, through which she encouraged dance artists to transform trauma and societal pressures into growth and power through performance and choreography.
The school of music, together with the dance division hosted Jennifer Arnone from Colorado March 23-28, 2013. During her residency, she taught 3 traditional Balinese dances, to culminate in an informal showing on March 28. The dances were performed at a later date with a live gamelan orchestra and traditional costumes!
Cecilia Appleton, Mexican Choreographer and Artistic Director of Contra Danza along with company member Yseye Appleton conducted an Artistic Residency at the Dance Division from Saturday, December 8th-December 15th, 2012. The piece created by Cecilia was performed on March 7th, 2013, at the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema.