John Allen - Tulane University
Assistant Professor John Allen holds a B.A. in Human Development from Brigham Young University and an M.F.A. in Modern Dance from the University of Utah. While in school he was awarded the Dee Winterton Spirit of Dance Award, the Excellence in Folk Arts Scholarship and the Susan Newton Parsons Scholarship. His professional experience includes dancing as a member of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Stephen Koester and Dancers, and SB Dance. He has also collaborated and performed in original works by choreographers such as Doug Varone, Sean Curan, and Daniel Ezralow. Has most recently been invited to work with such companies as First Physical Theater in Grahamstown, South Africa and Kannon Dance Company in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Jillian Harris - Temple University
Jillian Harris toured nationally with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, performing works by noted choreographers such as Doug Varone and Moses Pendleton. Jillian was also a featured performer in the PBS televised broadcast of Della Davidson’s “Night Story.” Upon receiving her MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she went on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet and Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers. Her choreography has been shown at venues like Joyce SOHO (New York City), Chi Movement Arts Center (Philadelphia), The Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center (Salt Lake City), and Bravo Caffe (Bologna, Italy). In addition to choreographing, Jillian maintains an active teaching schedule, conducting master classes in the United States and abroad. She is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Temple University and a Summer session instructor at Temple University-Rome.
Stephanie Nugent - California Institute of the Arts
Stephanie Nugent, Artistic Director Nugent Dance,
is a choreographer, improviser, and educator making dance theater in Los Angeles. Her work is rooted in collaborations with artists and scholars addressing the social issues surrounding empathy and nonviolence. Recent and upcoming projects include "Undone: androgyne, gender and humanism", participation in the Los Angeles Dance Festival, Santa Cruz Fringe Festival, a dance film with Shel Wagner Rasch and Roberta Shaw, and a commission for the Ririe Woodbury Dance Company.
She has collaborated with celebrated artists/scholars in music composition, improvisation, contact improvisation, dance theater, writing for performance, film and video, visual art, design, and religious studies, receiving honors from the Lester Horton Awards, the Durfee Foundation, the Santa Barbara Arts Fund, University of California -Santa Barbara Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, California State University -Long Beach, California Institute of the Arts, and UCLA’s Hot House residency.
An acclaimed performer, Ms. Nugent has toured nationally /internationally with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Malashock Dance and Company, Victoria Marks and Dancers, Keith Johnson/Dancers and maintains a partnership with contact improviser Shel Wagner Rasch. Nugent holds degrees from North Carolina School of the Arts and California State University -Long Beach. She was an Associate Professor of Dance at University of California Santa Barbara, and is currently on faculty at California Institute of the Arts.
She has received commissions/presentations from The Commune of Padova, Italy, Sushi Visual and Performance Art, Dance New Amsterdam, Ririe Woodbury Dance Company, Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art, New Choreographers of Westchester (NY), Malashock Dance and Company, Santa Barbara Dance Theater, CONDER/Dance (AZ), Highways Performance Space (CA), The Wooden Floor (CA), Los Angeles Dance Kaleidoscope, Big Range Dance Festival (TX), North Carolina School of the Arts, West Coast Contact Improvisation Festival, Looking Left Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara Summer Dance, Anatomy Riot (CA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art, SOMA Fest (CA), Los Angeles Improvisational Dance Festival, Berea College (KY), Minnesota State University-Mankato, and Brigham Young University.
Also an advocate for the arts, Nugent serves as Vice President of Iridian Arts Inc.a non-profit whose mission is to support the creation and presentation of adventurous music and multi-media performing arts.
Damon Rago - Loyola Marymount University
Damon began his formal dance training at California State University, Fullerton in 1988. Upon graduation, he accepted a full scholarship to the University of Utah to pursue an MFA in Modern Dance. While there, Damon was the 1996 winner of the Dee R. Winterton Award for Outstanding Gradate Student and walked straight from graduation to the dance studio and began a two-year stretch with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company.
As a member of RWDC, Damon worked with Murray Louis, David Rousseve, Douglas Neilson, Della Davidson, Keith Johnson, Janis Brenner, and Ming Lung Lang. He also performed in works by Doug Varone, Laura Dean, Ann Carlson, and Creach & Koester.
In 1998, Damon returned to Los Angeles and spent four years a member of the groundbreaking dance company TONGUE, under the direction of Stephanie Gilliland. Since then, he has worked as a freelance performer, with Joe Goode, Loretta Livingston, Maria Gillespie, and as a performer in his own choreography.
In 2002, Damon formed Palindrome Performance Group to begin to develop his own choreographic voice using physicality, humor, emotion, and theatre to tell human stories through dance.
He is a three time Lester Horton Award winner for Outstanding Achievement in Performance, in 2002 for Joe Goode’s Native Son, in 2003 for Loretta Livingston’s Leaving Evidence, and in 2007 for his own Manifold. He was also a winner in 2003 for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for Four Inches to the Left. His choreography has been presented at the Dumbo Dance Festival in Brooklyn, New York, Dance Spectrum LA, the Sola Dance Festival, Highways Performance Space, Loyola Marymount University, California State University, Fullerton, Cal Poly Pomona, Orange Coast College, Citrus College, Scottsdale Community College.
Damon and Ann, his wife since 1993, live in Anaheim Hills. They enjoy a life without children of their own, but are proud to be favorite Aunt and Uncle to Christopher, Owen, Noah, Gracee, Hannah, Olivia and Liam. They also share their home with a cute, but surly, very fat cat named Lotus. She’s generally nice enough to let them stay.
Joan Woodbury - Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company
Company Co-founder and Managing Director Emerita of Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Joan Woodbury is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin. She studied as the first Fulbright Scholar in dance with Mary Wigman in Berlin, Germany in 945 and is a retired professor of modern dance from the University of Utah where she taught for 47 years. Joan choreographed more than 100 works throughout her career, collaborated in the creation of 16 dance videos, and has been commissioned to choreograph by the Conservatoire National in Portugal, Outlet Dance Company in Australia, Desert Dance in Arizona, the University of Hawaii and Juillard School of Music plus many others. She has taught dance workshops and master classes throughout the United States as well as Portugal, France, Yugoslavia, China, Canada, South Africa, Puerto Rico, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, England, Ireland, Singapore and Italy.
Mrs. Woodbury is a recent inclusion in Dictionnaire de la Danse, the prestigious French dictionary of dance. In addition to over a dozen University of Utah research grants, plus a National Endowment for the Arts choreographic grant. Mrs. Woodbury has received other celebrated awards including Honors in the Arts awarded by the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, Utah Governor's Award in the Arts for Arts Education, University of Utah Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Wisconsin Education Department Honorary Alumni Award, the Heritage Award from the National Dance Association, the Salt Lake Mayor's Award and the Cathedral of the Madeleine Award. She has also been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Southern Utah University and an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts from the University of Utah. Presently Mrs. Woodbury's pet project is assisting in the acquiring, reconstruction and performance of the works of American Treasure Alwin Nikolais, and in shepharding the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company into the future through the transference of its leadership from its co-founders, to the capable hands of new Management and Artistic Leadership.
Emmy Thomson - Former Artistic Dir., Ririe-Woodbury
Emmy Thomson danced with the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company for 7 years from 1981 to 1985. She was the company’s Associate Artistic Director from 1999 to 2001. She received her Master of Fine Arts, and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in Modern Dance from the University of Utah, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude, was President of Orchesis, on the Dean’s List, received the Elizabeth Hayes Scholarship and the Dee R. Winterton Award. She was the Department Chair of Dance at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota where she directed the Macalester Dance Ensemble and taught at several National College Dance Festivals. Emmy was head of the dance department at Apple Valley High School from 1991 to 1997 and took the dance program from 30 students to 170 in five years. She recently spent a summer in India where she taught dance to 190 children from 10 leprosy colonies in Tamil Nadu, tutored them at the Rising Star Outreach School, and was a medical assistant to their families in the colonies. She has been a dance specialist at Waterford School for the past 12 years. Emmy recently certified in 2 rigorous, creation/inquiry-based educational workshops taught by the Lincoln Center Institute in preparation for her new position at Alianza Academy in the Salt Lake Valley. She has been teaching dance at South Valley Creative Dance in Sandy, Utah for the past 5 years. Emmy has taught the Ririe-Woodbury teachers workshop for several summers and worked with high school dance companies all over the state setting choreography and teaching at the Park City Dance summer intensives for 5 years. Spending time with dance teachers is one of Emmy’s favorite passions.
Kay Andersen - Southern Utah University
Professor Andersen received his Master of Arts degree at New York University . He resided in NYC for 14 years. From 1986-1997 he was a soloist with the Nikolais & Murray Louis Dance Co. With the company he performed worldwide, participated in the creation of important roles, has taught at the studio in NYC and presented workshops throughout the world. With the department at SUU he choreographs, teaches improvisation, composition, modern dance technique, tap dance technique & is co-advisor for the Orchesis Modern Dance Club. He has choreographed for the Utah Shakespearean Festival and continues to teach and choreograph both domestically and internationally.
Kate Crews-Linsey - Former Ballet West Soloist
Kate started her ballet career dancing with Kansas City Ballet for five seasons and in the year 2000 she moved to Salt Lake City where she danced with Ballet West. Kate danced through the ranks retiring as a Soloist in 2010. During her career she danced on many famous stages such as the Kennedy Center and City Center in New York. Currently she is teaching yoga full time and leading InBody Outreach, using yoga as part of therapy programs for local charities.
Jamaika - Salt Lake Capoeira
Jamaika is an experienced Capoeira teacher, performer and musician, is from Northeastern Brazil, the birthplace of Capoeira. He won the Brazilian Capoeira Confederation Championship in 1996, 97 and 98.