posted February 10, 2011

Hope Dance Faculty Featured in Oakland University Concert

Hope dance faculty members Alicia Diaz and Matthew Thornton are performing through the "Professional Artist Series" of Oakland University in Rochester on Saturday, Feb. 12.

The concert, "Unbounded Edge," is taking place in the university's Varner Recital Hall, at 8 p.m.

Through the series, the university brings nationally and internationally known professional artists to its music, theatre and dance performance seasons.  In addition to Diaz and Thornton, the February 12 concert will feature Patterson Rhythm Pace Dance Company, Mise en Place Dance and Shifting Sol.

Diaz and Thornton have been assistant professors of dance at Hope since 2009.  Wife and husband, they are co-founders of Agua Dulce Dance Theater.  On Friday, Dec. 3, they performed in a work choreographed by faculty colleague Steven Iannacone presented during the "Nikolais Centennial Alumni Concerts" at Hunter College in New York City.

Agua Dulce has performed and given workshops in colleges, high schools and festivals, traveling to Mexico, Puerto Rico and across the U.S., including the 2006 Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out Series. Currently Agua Dulce is in collaboration with Hope dance affiliate company dANCE pROjECt, and creating a site-specific dance on video with Alison Dobbins.

Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Diaz holds a M.A. in Dance and Choreography from the Gallatin School of Individualized Studies at NYU and a B.A. in Art, Culture and Society from EugeneLangCollege of the NewSchool for Social Research. She has danced nationally and internationally with companies such as Complexions: A Concept in Dance, Donald Byrd/The Group (Harlem Nutcracker), Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theater. Her choreography has been presented in New York, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Kansas, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina, and Spain.

Thornton grew up in Northeast Ohio and began his training studying movement theater with James Thornton's Acting Ensemble Program. He studied dance at HamiltonCollege, and transferred to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned a B.A. in English. There he was introduced to contact improvisation, and began training capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art hidden in dance. Thornton performed internationally with Pilobolus Dance Theater in concert dance, commercial work, talk shows, and at the 79th Academy Awards. He has worked as a performer and teacher for Pilobolus since 2003, and continues to work as a freelance artist teaching the Pilobolus Method, in addition to performing and creating for Pilobolus Creative Services. Previous dance companies include Jody Oberfelder, Freespace Dance, Alice Farley Dance Theater, and Contemporary Motions. Prior to becoming an assistant professor of dance, he had been a visiting lecturer/artist at Hope since 2005.

More information about OaklandUniversity's Professional Artist Series and the concert are available via the university's website, www.oakland.edu, and ticket information is also available at the university's Varner Box Office, which can be called at (248) 370-3013.