Christopher Pilafian (Blindspot) has danced on stage, television and in film with choreographers Alvin Ailey, Judith Jamison, Charles Moulton, Louis Falco, Matthew Diamond and others. In New York, after attending The Juilliard School, Mr. Pilafian became a founding member, principal dancer and Associate Artistic Director of Jennifer Muller/The Works, touring throughout Europe, The Middle East, North, Central and South America from 1974 to 1989. His over 40 choreographed works included commissions for Princeton University, Dance Kaleidoscope, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Repertory-West Dance Company, San Diego Dance Theater and Santa Barbara Dance Theatre. He is co-creator with UCSB Professor Catherine Cole, of Five Foot Feat, which was performed in New York City and toured internationally. In 2003 he created The Pilafian Project, commissioned by San Diego Dance Theater. He also collaborated with composer Joel Feigin and visual artist Lane Clark on Thin Skins for Santa Barbara Dance Theatre. With colleague Nancy Colahan, Mr. Pilafian created and performed Dream Dancing at the Glendale’s historic Alex Theater for the American Repertory Dance Company. He also choreographed the recently completed feature film Boy Culture, directed by Q. Allan Brocka. Mr. Pilafian joined the faculty of UC Santa Barbara in 1990.
Valerie Huston began her training in the San Franciso Bay Area with Olga Ziceva, the Christensens of the San Francisco Ballet School, Robert and Carol Hanlin, and Alan Howard. She holds a BFA from the University of Utah. 1976-1985 she directed the Valerie Huston Dance Theatre, a ten-member professional contemporary ballet touring company based in Santa Barbara. She is the recipient of three National Endowment Fellowships in choreography. In 1983 Valerie joined the faculty at UCSB. She has also been a guest instructor at the University of Hawaii, the Fifth International Dance Festival in Hong Kong, and has served as an adjudicator for the Southeast Regional Ballet Festival. She currently seves on the Board of Directors of the Ensemble Theatre Company. She was awarded an Independent Artist Award for Choreography in 1995 by the Arts Fund in Santa Barbara and in 1999 the Lifetime Achievement Award in Dance from Santa Barbara Dance Alliance. In 2001 she was commissioned by Dance Peninsula Ballet and created the work Fandango which premiered at the Norris Theatre, Palos Verdes, on June 9, 2001. In the summer of 2004 she participated in Naomi Iizuka's Theatre Lab and created the work Still Point for Catherine Cole and Nicole Koon. She is currently restaging her work Bobby Sings for Nine for Dance Peninsula Ballet for their spring season.
Juxtapose premiered in 2005 as part of the UCSB Summer Sessions Dance concert. The work is set for nine dancers and is based on the variation of a 12 count dance phrase which is performed by the full group and also separate 12 count phrases for each dancer which are then shown in relation to the group phrase. The work is kinetic and aerial and drives with the same force and intensity as the music - Stampede by Lou Harrison. The piece was recently performed on the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance New Works concert at the Center Stage Theatre in the Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara, California.
Tonia Shimin has performed with The Martha Graham Company in Primitive Mysteries and has toured throughout the USA, Europe and the Mid East with the Jose Limon Company, Pearl Lang Company, and as a soloist with Anna Sokolow’s Player’s Project, Mary Anthony Dance Theater and Repertory West Dance Company. She has created works for The Dance Division of The University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara Dance Alliance, Santa Barbara Dance Theater and the VUS Company in Prague, The Czech Republic. Tonia has taught extensively in the United States and in Mexico, Israel, France and The Czech Republic. Since 1980 she has been on the faculty of the Department of Dramatic Art/Dance at the University of California, Santa Barbara, currently as Professor. Awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Choreography Fellowship and an Individual Artist Award from The County of Santa Barbara Arts Fund among others. Her dance film Passage won a Cine Gold Eagle Award. Both Passage and Who Called Me To This Dance? received honorable Mention Awards. In 2004 her award winning video documentary, Mary Anthony:A Life in Modern Dance premiered at The Dance on Camera Festival, Lincoln Center, New York, to a standing ovation and has since been screened nationally and internationally. Tonia has recently received the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance.
Stephanie Nugent is a choreographer and performer with special interest in dance/theater and improvisational dance forms. She holds a BFA from the North Carolina School of the Arts, a MFA from California State University - Long Beach, and is an Assistant Professor of Dance at UCSB. Ms. Nugent has performed throughout the US and abroad with dance companies including Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Malashock Dance and Company, Della Davidson Dance, Keith Johnson and Dancers, and with choreographers Victoria Marks, Eun Jung Gonzalez, Robin Prichard, Carmela Hermann, Stefan Fabry and Shel Rash among others. In 2000 she established Nugent Dance as a vehicle to support her growing performance repertory including solo dance/theater works, ensemble works, and improvisational structures. She has received commissions from organizations including Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Orange Coast College, and Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, and critical acclaim in publications including Dance Magazine, and Los Angeles Times. Her creative work has been presented at venues including the Capitol Theater in Salt Lake City, UT; Sushi Visual and Performance Art in San Diego; Highways Performance Space, Japan America Theater, Electric Lodge, and Los Angeles Dance Kaleidoscope in Los Angeles; Center Stage Theater, Lobero Theater and Hatlen Theater in Santa Barbara, CA; North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC; Next Stage Theater and A New Generation of Choreographers Showcase New York City, NY. She has been honored with awards including the Santa Barbara Arts Fund’s 2002 Individual Artist Award for choreography and a Lester Horton Award for her performance and collaborative work in Victoria Marks’ “Against Ending.” Recent projects have included One - an evening of solo dance/theater on identity and community, created and performed by Stephanie Nugent, and Rear View Mirror, an evening of live music and dance by Nugent Dance and the Robin Cox Ensemble. Upcoming projects include performances of One in Los Angeles and New York City, and a shared evening by Nugent Dance at Keith Johnson / Dancers at FOCUS Fish Performance Center in Los Angeles, CA. In addition to teaching and performing, Ms. Nugent also serves on the board of Center Stage Theater and is the Vice President of one of Santa Barbara’s newest non-profit companies, Iridian Arts Inc.
Jose Limon (1908-1972) electrified the world with his dynamic masculine dancing and passionately dramatic choreography. As one of the major choreographic figures of American modern dance, Limon worked throughout his career to change the image of the male dancer and bring it to a new stature and recognition. Limon was born in Culiacan, Mexico, on January 12, 1908. When he was seven his family moved to Arizona, and later to Los Angeles, CA. In 1928, after a year at UCLA as an art major, Limon moved to New York to continue his art studies. It was here that he saw his first dance program by the German expressionists Harald Kreutzberg and Yvonne Georgi. Of this concert, Limon said: “What I saw simply and irrevocably changed my life. I saw dance as a vision of ineffable power. A man could, with dignity and towering majesty, dance: dance as Michelangelo’s visions dance and as the music of Bach dances.” Limon enrolled in the dance school of Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, and between 1930 and 1940 performed in most of the works created by his teachers. During this period, he also began to choreograph, formed a small concert group, and danced in and choreographed several Broadway productions. In 1946, with Doris Humphrey as artistic director, Limon formed his own company. Over the following 25 years, he built it into one of America’s most important modern dance institutions. Limon made his first choreographic effort in 1931 and continued making dances until his death in 1972. Many of these works have become classics such as The Moor’s Pavane, There is a Time, and Missa Brevis. He was a key faculty member in the Juilliard School’s Dance Division beginning in 1953, and also directed Lincoln Center’s American Dance Theatre in 1964-65. In recognition of his achievements, Limon was honored with two Dance Magazine Awards, the Capezio Award and honorary doctorates from four universities. In the fall of 1996, he was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, The Dance Heroes of Jose Limon. In July 1997, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. His autobiographical writings were edited by Lynn Garafola and published by Wesleyan University Press as “An Unfinished Memoir.”
Alice Condodina performed as principal dancer with the Limon Dance Company
under the directorship of Jose Limon. Internationally, she is recognized
as a Limon Master Artist, in her role as teacher, reconstructor, and lecturer
on Mr. Limon's dance legacy. Formerly, her New York City based dance company
earned grants from the National Endowment on the Arts, and the New York
State Council on the Arts. In Santa Barbara, she created the Repertory-West
Dance Company, and for twelve years served as Artistic Director, touring
internationally as performer, choreographer, and producer of representative
works by American artists such as Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow, Lucas Hoving,
Louis Falco, Kathryn Posin, and Remy Charlip. The dance company was in
residence at the Dance Division, University of California-Santa Barbara,
where she was professor for nineteen years. The Dance Division, in recognition
of Ms Condodina's artistry, established the Alice Condodina Dance Performance
Award given annually to a student with distinction in performance. As
a choreographer, she created over fifty works. Choreographies set on foreign
companies have been performed in Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Spain,
Italy, and Russia. Ms. Condodina was one of the originators of foreign
exchange for Prague Dance Theatre and the Prague International Dance Festival.
In 2003 her contributions to the city of Santa Barbara in the art of dance
were recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Santa Barbara
Dance Alliance. Currently she works as reconstructor of Limon legacy choreography
for professional dance companies, coaches and lectures with the NYC Limon
Institute's Professional Studies Program, and directs workshops internationally
in Performance Techniques for Dancers, and New Innovations in Choreography.