Webster Dance Guest Artists 2012-2013

Maurya Kerr to set choreography for 2013 concert

maurya kerrMaurya Kerr danced with Alonzo King LINES Ballet from 1994-2006, dancing previously for Pacific Northwest Ballet and Fort Worth Ballet. She is currently a freelance artist and has been a principal guest artist with several projects, including Joanna Haigood's Zaccho Dance Theatre, and Alex Ketley's The Foundry. She is a senior faculty member for the LINES Ballet Training Program and Summer Program, and adjunct faculty with the LINES BFA at Dominican, teaching ballet, choreographing, and setting King’s works. She also teaches workshops nationally, as a visiting guest artist at Hollins University, as faculty for The School at Jacob's Pillow's 2012 Contemporary Program, and as part of the LINES Ballet Discovery Project, an outreach program that uses movement to foster diversity and inclusion within dance education.

In 2010, Maurya founded tinypistol, a San Francisco based dance company. She is a winner of the 2011 Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition, and will be creating a work on HS2 in residency at University of North Carolina School of the Arts in early 2012. Maurya premiered Quarry Hymn with Ballet Nouveau Colorado in Spring 2011, and returned in Fall 2011 to create Groundling in collaboration with visual artist Sarah Wallace Scott. In June of 2011, the Aspen Fringe Festival presented a full evening of her work, including the commissioned premiere of BUCK, which was also performed in July 2011 as part of San Francisco's WestWave Dance Festival 20th Anniversary Gala.

March 29 - Graham Technique Master Class with Tom Smith

Tom is Professor of Dance at the University of Akron, holds an MFA in Dance from the University of California at Irvine, and is a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company where he performed nationally and internationally, as well as on PBS’ Great Performances “Dance in America” series. In addition to Martha Graham, he has worked with Donald McKayle, Tom Evert, and Joan Lombardi. Mr. Smith’s choreography has been featured several times by the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet as well as by regional companies and musical theatre. As a teacher he has recent national and international experience in Hong Kong, Denmark, and The People’s Republic of China. He also owns the Pilates Gym, The Tom Smith Studio, in Akron.

April 18 - Graham Technique Master Class with Amy Piantaginni

Amy trained at the Boston Conservatory and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, where she received scholarships from the Gregory Peck Foundation and as a Finalist for the Coca-Cola Award for Artistic Excellence. Amy completed the Two Year Certificate Program at The Martha Graham School as well as the teacher training program and participated in the Martha Graham Teacher Training Workshop held this past Spring as part of her ongoing continuing education.  She is a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, in which she danced many soloist roles including "Satyric Festival Song" and "Conversation of Lovers".  Amy also has danced for the companies of Javier Dzul and Richard Move.  Most recently she has performed with James Robey Dance Theater and Edgar Cortes Dance Theater.  Amy's teaching experience includes numerous schools throughout New England, including the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in NYC and the Hartt School/University of Hartford.  She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Ashford University and also teaches yoga, Pilates, and conditioning for dancers.

Jennifer Huffman and Omar Olivas to set choreography for WUDE 2013 performances

huffyJennifer Huffman, "Huffy," is from the small town of Festus,Missouri. When Jennifer was 5 years old, she discovered a bunion on her right foot that enabled her to jump higher than the other girls. She spent most of her time upside down, dancing and flying through the air as she traveled and competed in dance and Sports Acrobatics all over the country. Jennifer then attended Webster University in St. Louis where she received a BFA in dance and was awarded the Edward Chase Garvey Memorial Scholarship for three consecutive years. As a professional,Jennifer has performed with such distinguished groups as Webster University Dance Theatre, David Dorfman's Dance Out of Seasons, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal's The Nucracker, The Slaughter Project, Paul Taylor 2 in Esplanade, Move,Inaside Chicago Dance, NegliaBallet's Nutcracker, and MusicalFare's original written "American Rhapsody". Jennifer was a founding company member of LehrerDance in Buffalo, New York and toured the U.S. with them for 3 years. She has also used her 11 years of teaching experience to travel across the country teaching master classes and setting works of LehrerDance, as well as becoming a Modern Dance Instructor for Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. She has choreographed works for Orange County High School for the Arts, Impulse Dance Festival, Atrek, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and University at Buffalo. Jennifer still spends most of her time upside down and is starting her third season of traveling the world with Diavolo Dance Theater. 

omarOmar Olivas was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. He began his training at Saint Joseph Ballet under the artistic supervision of director, Beth Burns. Omar graduated as a Haggerty and William Gillespie Scholar (BFA Dance) from the University of California,Irvine, where he was a dancer with Donald Mckayle’s student repertory dance company, Etudes. He began his professional dance career as a member of Jenny Backhaus’ dance company, BackhausDance. Omar has danced at the Conservatoire de Paris, where Donald Mckayle premiered Remember Journey, and in Tammy L. Wong’s About Last Night for the Esplanade’s da:ns festival in Singapore. Aside from dancing Omar has choreographed for Orange County High School of the Arts, Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, and La Salle College of the Arts, in Singapore. Omar currently teaches ballet and modern throughout the Orange County and is a guest performer for Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company and BackhausDance. Omar enjoys his many adventures with his current family, Diavolo Dance Theatre.