Danceworks: Current Rhythms

Feb. 24 – Mar. 5, 2017 // Josephine Louis Theater
Artistic Direction by Joel Valentín-Martínez

This year’s annual dance showcase entitled “Current Rhythms” will feature exciting and innovative choreography that displays an entertaining and thought-provoking range of choreographic styles and techniques. Invited guest choreographers include Eduardo Vilaro, artistic director of New York City’s acclaimed Ballet Hispanico, and Onye Ozuzu, a performing artist, and current dance faculty and Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago. The show will also include two new works by faculty members Jeff Hancock and Joel Valentín-Martínez.

Artistic Director: Joel Valentin-Martinez
Choreographers: Jeff Hancock, Onye Ozuzu, Joel Valentin-Martinez, Eduardo Vilaro
Costume Designers: Amanda Gladu and Sanja Manakoski
Lighting Designer: Anthony Forchielli, Joseph Franjoine, Jessica Neill, and Matt Sharp
Sound Designer: Aaron Quick

Joel Valentín-Martínez (Artistic Director and Faculty Choreographer) was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He initiated his theater/dance training at American Conservatory Theater, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet, Rosa Montoya's Bailes Flamencos, Oakland's Dimensions Dance Theatre, and San Francisco State University. From 1990-2003, he was a member of Garth Fagan Dance (Tony Award Winner) and toured with the troupe throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Since 2003, Mr. Valentín-Martínez has devoted his time to teaching at the university level and developing his own choreography projects. His work with Fulcrum Point-New Music Project, Misplaced Flowers (2010) and Tlatelolco Revisited (2008) were both commissioned by Luna Negra Dance Theater and premiered at the Harris Theater in Chicago. He choreographed the musical adaptation of Sandra Cisneros' The House on Mango Street (2009) at the Steppenwolf Theatre. He has developed choreography for the Joel Hall Dancers and John Jota Leaños' multi-media performance Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta (2008), which has been performed at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, throughout California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Valentín-Martínez is also the Artistic Director of Valentín Projects. Current projects include: The Living Lakes, a collaborative dance-theatre performance with Anita Gonzalez about Black/Native/Latino migrations along the Midwestern Great Lakes. Prior to joining Northwestern, he taught dance at Arizona State University and the University of Rochester. Valentín-Martínez earned a B.A. in Dance Studies from the State University of New York and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jeff Hancock (Faculty Choreographer) was a founding member of River North Dance Chicago, has danced for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Dance Kaleidoscope, and Same Planet Different World Dance Theater, where he was a Co-Artistic Director. He has appeared in many productions with the Lyric Opera of Chicago. WEST SIDE STORY, SONG AND DANCE, OKLAHOMA, ROMEO AND JULIET, and Disney are some of the tours he has been a part of, nationally and internationally. Recent choreography: RID OF THEM at the Chicago Cultural Center, ELLIPSIS Northwestern University Danceworks, GRAPES OF WRATH at Northwestern University, IMPOLITE SOCIETY at The Kennedy Center, MISS SAIGON at the Paramount Theatre. He has created work for River North Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street 2, Columbia College, Northwestern University, the Edinburgh Festival, Same Planet Different World, The Dance COLEctive, Pegasus Players, and Ohio Northern University among others.

Onye Ozuzu (Special Guest Choreographer) is a dance administrator, performing artist, choreographer, educator and researcher currently serving as Dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Columbia College Chicago. She has been actively presenting work since 1997. Her work has been seen nationally and internationally at The Joyce Soho (Manhattan, NY), Kaay Fecc Festival Des Tous les Danses (Dakar, Senegal), La Festival del Caribe (Santiago, Cuba), Lisner Auditorium (Washington, DC), McKenna Museum of African American Art (New Orleans, LA), as well as many anonymous site-specific locations. She has performed locally in Chicago at Hamlin Park Summer Sampler, with Red Clay Dance in La Femme, and in the Afro-Latin@ Summer Dance Intensive at Columbia College Chicago. She has been Artist in Residence at EarthDance Workshop and Retreat Center, Bates Dance Festival, Chulitna Wilderness Lodge and Retreat, and Camp Merveilles. Her collaboration with jazz composer Greg Ward, TOUCH MY BELOVED’S THOUGHT, premiered at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park (Chicago, IL)—a live dance and music performance in honor of Charles Mingus and commissioned by Links Hall and Constellation. Recently, Ozuzu was selected as a 2016 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist.

Eduardo Vilaro (Special Guest Choreographer) a first generation Cuban-American, began as artistic director of Ballet Hispanico in August of 2009, becoming only the second person to head the company since it was founded in 1970. Mr. Vilaro has been part of the Ballet Hispanico family since 1985. As a dancer with the Ballet Hispanico Company, he performed throughout the U.S., Latin America and Europe and assisted founder Tina Ramirez with the development of dance education residencies. Mr. Vilaro’s passion for dance and Latino cultures began in the Southwest Bronx, where a role in a school musical ignited his journey. After training throughout New York City in dance institutions such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center and the Martha Graham School, Mr. Vilaro received a BFA in dance at Adelphi University under the direction of Norman Walker. In 1999, he received an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago and was a recipient of their Albert P. Weissman Award. Upon his graduation from Columbia College, Mr. Vilaro founded Luna Negra Dance Theater in Chicago, a company which served as a springboard for Latino dance throughout the Midwest. Under his ten-year artistic direction, Luna Negra amassed a distinguished repertory of works by Latino choreographers such as Ron De Jesús, Vicente Nebrada, and Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. Mr. Vilaro’s own choreography is devoted to capturing the spiritual, sensual and historical essence of the Latino cultures. He created over 20 ballets for Luna Negra and has received commissions from the Ravinia Festival, the Chicago Sinfonietta, the Grant Park Festival, the Lexington Ballet and the Chicago Symphony. He has collaborated with major dance and design artists as well as musicians such as Paquito D'Rivera, Susana Baca, Luciana Souza, and Tiempo Libre. In 2001 he was a recipient of a Ruth Page Award for choreography, and in 2003 he was honored for his choreographic work at Panama's II International Festival of Ballet. In 2011, Mr. Vilaro premiered Asuka, his first work for Ballet Hispanico, “an unexpected interpretation of [Celia] Cruz’s music…high-energy and colorful” (Chicago Dance Digest). Mr. Vilaro was an associate professor at the Dance Center of Columbia College and has served on the board of directors of Dance/USA. He has also served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. He was a guest speaker at the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Leaders and the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, and continues to speak to the growing need for cultural diversity and dance education.


Adult $25
Seniors (62+) $22
Area Educator $22
NU Faculty/Staff $20
Full-Time Student $10
NU Student $6/Adv. $10/Door

February 24 – March 5
2:00PM SUN

Please be advised that the piece entitled “With My Fact to the Wall” contains fog/haze and “Her Words Masquerades as Me” contains disturbing content.