Dana Lawton is a tenured faculty member at Saint Mary’s College in the Performing Arts Department, a faculty member at Shawl-‐Anderson Dance Center, and Co-Director of the Enchanted Ridge Dance Retreat. A founding member of Bay Area’s acclaimed dance company, Janice Garrett & Dancers (Garrett+Moulton), Dana has had the honor of performing works by Joe Goode (Joe Goode Performance Group), Randee Paufve (Paufve Dance), Nina Haft (Nina Haft & Company), Rebecca Salzer (Rebecca Salzer Dance Theater) and Cathy Davalos (Davalos Dance Company) among others. Lawton was awarded Outstanding Performer in the 2000 Vision Series, for her own solo choreographic performance, and nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award (Izzy) for her performance in Garrett’s Wayfarers in 2002. Awarded Artist-In-Residence at Berkeley’s Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in 2006, she founded Dana Lawton Dances as a way to expand her own working process from individual choreographer to director of a full company. Over the past thirteen years Dana has been invited to present work at the Isadora Duncan Awards Ceremony, San Francisco; The Work Gallery, Brooklyn, New York; The Dallas Hub Theater in Dallas, Texas; and a variety of Bay Area festivals including the Women on the Way Festival, COUNTERPulse’s 2nd Sundays Series, Dance Mission’s Harvest Festival, the Vision Series, the Pilot and Flight Series at ODC, Summerfest Dance, the San Francisco International Arts Festival and, most recently, at the Flight Deck’s Artist-In-Residence, a new theater in downtown Oakland, CA. Dana’s artistic leap from individual choreographer to director of a dance company came in 2011 when she embarked on a two year project produce an entire evening of work to a score of original music. This project culminated in Beyond This Moment at the Ashby Stage, Berkeley in October of 2013, which was highly praised in Bay Area publications and sold out well before opening day. DLD was invited to tour to Santa Barbara at the Center Stage Theater in January 2014, which also sold out before the performance dates and received rave reviews from dance critics and audience members. The company has also toured sections of Beyond This Moment at the Royère de Vassivière Festival in Chamberet, France in July of 2014. Dana Lawton Dances “HOME” premiered in April 2015 at the Flight Deck in Oakland, CA. and toured to the Crescent Arts Center in Belfast, N. Ireland in July 2015.
Michael Armstrong received his bachelor’s in Dramatic Art-‐Dance from UC Berkeley and toured with their resident company for three years. Mr. Armstrong has danced with Nancy Karp & Dancers, Joan Lazarus/Dance and Robin Greenberg’s Dance Current and has been a member of DLD since 2010.
Leah Curran joined DLD in 2012 and has been involved in the Bay Area dance community both as a performer and administrator since 2007. Ms. Curran is the Director of Operations of Oakland Ballet Company and also works with choreographers Aura Fischbeck, Leigh Riley, Rebecca Ann Wilson, Gretchen Garnett and Troy Macklin.
Garth Grimball hails from North Carolina where he received his BA in Anthropology and Dance, performed with Asheville Ballet for five seasons, Reyes Dance Company for one season, Terpsicorps Theatre of Dance for one season, and was the recipient of the NC Stage Catalyst Series grant and featured in the NC Choreographers Showcase. He moved to the Bay Area to get his MFA in choreography and performance from Mills College where he performed original and repertory works by Merce Cunningham, Mel Wong, Molissa Fenley, Sheldon Smith, Sonya Delwaide, and Katie Faulkner. In addition to performing with DLD since 2014, he is a founding member of Wax Poet(s) performance collective. In his free time he love to eat, sleep, read, and stretch.
Leah Hendrix-Smith graduated in 2013 from St. Mary’s College of California, with degrees in Dance and Creative Writing. While a student, she had the great honor of performing at The Kennedy Center, Washington D.C., for the 2010 American College Dance Festival. Since college graduation, Leah is working and dancing in the Bay Area. She is proud to be learning and performing with companies and choreographers, Rogelio Lopez, Stranger Lover Dreamer, Jessie Barber and Tyler Eash. She is thrilled to be a new member of Dana Lawton Dances.
Jerry Lin has performed at the Kennedy Center as part of the National College Dance Festival, performing choreography by Janice Garrett. He has also been featured in an internationally know dance film “Chicken Boy,” choreographed by Jia Wu and directed by CarriAnn Shim Sham. Mr. Lin has been dancing with DLD since 2007.
Rebecca Johnson started her modern dance training on the East Coast in 1985 with Moving West Dance Company and went on to earn BA degrees in Dance and English Literature from Rutgers University. She trained in NYC under Val Suarez and relocated west in 1999. She has danced with Nina Haft & Company and Paufve Dance for over a decade and is honored to have joined ahdanco and Dana Lawton Dances in 2013. She is the Managing Director of Shawl-Anderson Dance Center.
John McConville has danced for Victor Anderson, Sally Streets, Robbie Nichols, Janet Johnson and James Newton as well as Douglas Dunn and the NYU Music and Dance Ensemble. Mr. McConville has choreographed two of John Craig Cooper’s Operas under the direction of Broadway Director, Tom O’Horgan and has been an ongoing performer with Wing-it! Performance Ensemble since 1990. He holds a Masters in Divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, CA with an emphasis in dance in liturgy. He taught dance for over ten years in Bangkok, Thailand, establishing a Dance Program at the International School Bangkok and teaching Choreography at Chulalongkhorn University. John joined DLD in 2013.
Colin MacDowell began dancing in London in the 70’s and has worked with Sally Silvers, Bill Colemen, Kate Foley, Betsy Hulton and Janet Lilly. His own work has been presented at PS 122 in New York and the Picnic House in Brooklyn. Mr. McDowell joined DLD in 2012.
Robin Nasatir has been performing professionally since 1980. In her earlier career, she was a founding member of Mobius Dance company and then worked with various bay area choreographers and in New York City with Amy Rosen and Company. More recently, she has performed with Ruth Botchan Dance Company since 2008, including tours to Poland and New York. She has been performing with Dana Lawton Dances since 2010.
Vera Schwegler was in the dance film “Chicken Boy” made by Jia Wu and Cari Ann, which has been released to enthusiastic audiences both in domestic and international festivals. She performed at the Kennedy Center for the 2010 American College Dance Festival and worked with Janice Garrett and Charles Moulten on their production of “The Experience of Flight in Dreams” in 2011, for which the cast was nominated for an Isadora Duncan award. During all of August 2011 she participated in the world renowned Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has been dancing for Dana Lawton since 2007.
Jennifer has been dancing and teaching in the Bay Area for over 25 years. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Exercise Science, and her Master’s Degree in Kinesiology from Saint Mary’s College. Jennifer holds a Horton dance pedagogy certification from the Ailey School, New York, as well as a comprehensive pilates certification from Body Arts and Sciences. She has taught dance, pilates and anatomy/kinesiology in public and private institutions, and is currently the MFA in Dance Program Coordinator at Saint Mary’s College. One of her performing highlights includes being invited to India by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations to perform the works of Yasmen Mehta. Jennifer has had the privilege of dancing with a variety of choreographers including Yasmen Mehta, Patrick Makuakane, Patricia Banchik and Dana Lawton. She has been dancing the works of Dana Lawton since 2003.
Ted Curran is a singer, guitarist, bass player, digital DJ, and electronic musician with over 25 years experience performing in various styles and venues. Ted first performed with Dana Lawton Dances on their 2014 France Tour. Ted’s musical creations (as well as his graphic design and web development portfolio) can be found at TrueSchool Creative.
Arwen Lawrence is a vocalist, dancer and player of traditional Latin American rhythm guitars. Lawrence toured and recorded with Grammy-winning L.A. mariachi heavyweights, Los Camperos de Nati Cano, performing in New York’s Lincoln Center, Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall and Guadalajara’s Teatro Degollado. Lawrence also performed throughout Mexico as a lead vocalist of Jorge Saldaña’s “Nostalgia”. For 15 years, Lawrence is co-director, vocalist and dancer of Latin American music ensemble Cascada de Flores. “She does not sing for of our ears, she knows how to reach deeper into our souls” Jorge Saldaña (Canal 11, Mexico)
Jorge is guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, educator and culinary phenomenon. From Mexico City, he was raised in the art of the Flamenco guitar, accompanying dancers from Mexico and Spain in important venues throughout Mexico. Now in the San Francisco Bay Area, he is an indispensable part of the Bay Area’s Flamenco community. He has been part of notable groups such as the innovative quintet Potaje, and is musical director and guitarist of Virginia Iglesia’s Flamenco Dance Company. Mr Liceaga is co-founder of Latin American music ensamble Cascada de Flores of 15 years. Jorge also composes and arranges music for recordings and performances of children’s music.
Sean McCue, founding member of the alternative rock band Summercamp, landed a recording contract with Madonna’s Maverick Recording Company in 1996. Summercamp released their debut album “Pure Juice” in 1997 and Mr. McCue’s track “Should I Walk Away” became a no. 1 hit in Japan. Sean has toured the United States, Europe and Japan with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Tonic, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Third Eye Blind, and Rage Against the Machine. His music has been featured on television with an on-screen appearance in the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and in film (Baseketball, Double Take). Sean has been collaborating with Dana Lawton since 2009.
Stephanie Webster is a San Francisco based marimbist and composer. Miss Webster earned a B.A. in Performing Arts: Music with an emphasis in composition from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2012 and an M.M. in Composition from the SF Conservatory of Music in 2014. She is currently pursuing an M.M. in Marimba Performance at the SF Conservatory of Music in the studio of Jack Van Geem. Miss Webster’s compositions have been played by Composer’s Inc., the Jupiter Chamber players and various members of the SF Symphony and SF Opera Orchestra. Miss Webster’s recent performances include the opening of the SF Symphony’s venue SoundBox under the artistic direction of Michael Tilson Thomas and Reich’s “Drumming” with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players with Steve Schick. She teaches mallet percussion and dance for the John Swett Unified School District and the Blue Devils Organization.
Dina Zarif began singing in chorus as a youth in Iran. She continued training as a classical vocalist when she moved to the United States. A member of Stanford Symphonic Choirs since 2011, her most recent collaborations have been with the Stanford Pan-Asian Music Festival, The “Ardaviraf’s Report ” a theater project with the Stanford Persian Studies Department, The Darvag Theater group, in addition to performing solo recitals at City College of San Francisco. Dina received her MA in Landscape Architecture. This is the first time Dina has collaborated with DLD.
Linda Baumgardner (Lighting Designer)
Linda Baumgardner has been blessed to work with DLD as the company’s resident Lighting Designer and Production Manager since 2009. Designs for DLD include: Beyond This Moment, Ashes, Inside, Horsethief Lake, Coasting, Del Mar, Meet Me at the Shenanigan and Who is She? Additional lighting design credits include: Volver for The Latin Ballet of Virginia; Wonderland for the San Francisco Circus Center; Time Sensitive and The Fortune Project: Complete Works for Ragged Wing Ensemble; A Wintery Mix and Six Questions for Davalos Dance Company; Okeanos Intimate and The Perfect Flower for Capacitor. Currently she is Chair of the Board of Directors for Ragged Wing Ensemble; Director of MFA Dance: Design and Production at Saint Mary’s College; and Resident Lighting Designer for the Saint Mary’s College Dance Company. She holds an MFA in Theatre: Design and Production from California Institute of the Arts, and a BA in Performing Arts from Saint Mary’s College.
Rogelio Lopez (Set/Costume Designer)
Rogelio Lopez was a Lester Horton Nominee and winner for Set Design in A Girl Falling Toward The Sky (Keith Johnson’s work 2007) and won “Best Student Design” at the United State Institute of Theater Technology (USITT). Rogelio was Resident Set Designer for California State University Long Beach, dance department for five years and was Assistant Technical Director for Martha B. Knoebel dance theater. Beyond This Moment (2013) was the first time Rogelio and DLD collaborated, and he is excited to work with DLD on HOME.
Jia Wu (Video Designer)
Jia Wu is a choreographer, performer, dance filmmaker and dance educator. She has been invited to participate in the Tanztheater 3 Wochen mit Pina Bausch festival in Germany. Jia’s works have been presented in more than 14 countries and 4 continents. As a founding choreographer of Los Angeles Movement Arts. most recently, her dance film “Chicken Boy” was included into American Dance Festival – Screendance Festival Anthology DVDs . Her solo dance theater piece, “MAMA-MEDEA” was presented in “Dance Diaspora Festival”, the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (CATR) Conference and in the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD) 2013. Jia is an Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California in the Performing Arts Department and holds an MFA in Choreography from UCLA and a BFA in choreography and Performance from Beijing Dance Academy.