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Guest Artists

The Department of Theatre and Dance strives to promote the artistic endeavors of artists around the world. We encourage students to broaden their understanding of dance by viewing and collaborating with a variety of guest artists and strive to provide a fulfilling and holistic dance experience.

Current Season

Bernard Brown

Bernard Brown Headshot

Bernard Brown is an international performing artist, choreographer, educator, scholar and arts activist who situates his work at the intersections of blackness, gender, and sexuality. As Artistic Director of Bernard Brown/bbmoves, a social justice dance theater company, his choreography has been presented in Seoul, South Korea and across the US including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis, Phoenix and New York City, to great acclaim. The dances are often described as thoughtful, captivating, and powerfully exquisite. Through athletic, evocative movement and socially relevant themes, the work coheres the visceral and the cerebral which aims to catalyze change and liberation for all people.

A Lester Horton Award and Westfield Emerging Artist Award recipient, Brown has performed with distinguished artists and companies including David Rousseve/REALITY, TU Dance, Shapiro & Smith Dance, Doug Elkins Dance Company, Donald McKayle, Rennie Harris, Kamasi Washington, Vincent Patterson, Rudy Perez, and was invited to perform with Mikhail Baryshnikov in Robert Wilson’s “Letter to a Man” with choreography by Lucinda Childs. Bernard had a twenty year tenure at Lula Washington Dance Theatre, where he was principal dancer, rehearsal director and assistant to the Artistic Director, Lula Washington. Other career highlights include restaging McKayle’s canonical “Games” for the Kennedy Center's Masters of African American Choreography, performing on the Daytime Emmy’s, in Penumbra Theater’s “Black Nativity,” Donald Byrd’s “Harlem Nutcracker,” and being the titular principal dancer in Nike’s “12 Miles North: The Nick Gabaldon Story,” the first documented Afro-Mexican American surfer.

Bernard earned his MFA from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and BFA from SUNY Purchase. He is published in the peer-reviewed dance journal, Dancer-Citizen, with a recent publication in The Activist History Reviewin 2020. He has presented his scholarship on blackness, queerness and post-modern dance at conferences across the US. Bernard has been featured in the New York Times and Los Angeles Times for his activism. Previously, Bernard has been faculty at UCLA in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance and the School of Theater, Film and Television, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. A recent Artist-In-Residence at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Bernard has also conducted residencies and master classes in Israel, Brazil and across the US including American College Dance Association, the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference and at a multitude of public schools throughout Los Angeles Unified School District. He is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Sacramento State University and a Certified Dunham Technique Instructor candidate. The Los Angeles Times has called him "...the incomparable Bernard Brown..."

He is part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

Claudia Fragoso

Claudia Fragoso Headshot

Claudia Fragoso is an actress and researcher whom graduated with a Degree in Acting, of the National School of Theater Arts of the INBA. She also earned a Master in Arts Teaching and a Doctorate in Art and Culture at the University of Guadalajara. She is currently a full-time professor at the Popular School of Fine Arts of the Universidad Michoacana San Nicolás de Hidalgo of the Bachelor of Theater. 

She has participated as an actress in institutional and private theater productions, radio broadcasting and television acting. Her latest theater productions include, It Is Not Flower Season (2018), In Radio Drama (2019), Handbrake (2014-2015), La Casa De Bernarda Alba (2013), Camerino, project benefited by Art Education 2011, and INBA (2012-2013).

She is also a member of the Academic Body of Performing Arts (CAAE).


She is part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

Rocio Luna



Rocio Luna is a dancer, choreographer, and researcher with 20 years of professional experience in contemporary dance. She has been interested in developing an epistemology for dance that considers the voice of the creators to recover the linguistic knowledge of the dance culture. Her creative work involves the site specific in relation to digital media and the stimulus provided by the viewer. Luna holds a PhD in Art and Culture in the Conacyt quality program from the Universidad de Guadalajara (titled with honorable mention), a master’s degree in Arts Teaching and a bachelor’s degree in Choreography of the National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. Since 1999, she has worked as a full-time professor and researcher in the Bachelor of Dance of the Popular Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo where she is a founding member of the Academic Body of Performing Arts.

She is also a member of the Academic Body of Performing Arts (CAAE).


For more information on Rocio Luna, visit


She is part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

Kim Olson

Kim Olson Headshot

Kim Olson is the Choreographer and Artistic Director of the Denver based modern dance project SWEET EDGE founded in Boulder in 2001.  Her live performance and collaborative video work has been featured throughout Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Japan, Mexico, Scotland, Spain, Trinidad and the US. Olson teaches at venues and festivals nationally as well as internationally and was most recently guest faculty at CU Boulder Department of Dance for 2012-13.

Her work has been commissioned by Denver Art Museum, Naropa University, Mariposa Collective, Iowa State University (for American College Dance Festival), the Ballet Nouveau, Dance-Forms Inc., Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Aspen Eco-Fringe Festival, Texas State University and Tanzcompagnie Giessen for TanzArt Ostwest, among others. 

Olson moved to Colorado in 1997, having worked in New York City where she toured internationally as a member of the renown Stephen Petronio Company and performed nationally with Randy Warshaw Dance Company and Donna Uchizono Company. Olson holds a BFA from the Ohio State University.  Upon arrival on the Front Range, she became an outreach artist for Think 360 Arts, providing arts integrative programming for students and educators, and adult professional development trainings. 

SWEET EDGE has performed at feature events in Colorado such as:  Denver Arts Week, Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts; Colorado Business Committee for the Arts Business for the Arts Awards; Biennial Mile High Dance Festival; Boulder Fringe Festival; Aspen Eco-Art Festival; National Performing Arts Convention; Create Denver; DAM Grand Opening; and DIA’s Terminal Kings. Current collaborative projects include those with dance videographer Ana Baer, filmmaker Caren McCaleb, composer Jeff Mohler, and Butoh artist Nathan Montgomery of Syzygy Butoh.

Olson and SWEET EDGE have received generous support from the: Colorado Creative Industries, Scientific and Cultural Facilities District, Boulder County Arts Alliance, Boulder Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Kentucky Arts Council, Consulate of Guatemala and from numerous organizations and individuals on the Front Range.  Olson has been awarded “Best Emerging Choreography”, “Best Choreographer” and “Best Female Dancer” nominations at the infamous Monaco Dance Forum Nijinsky Awards.  The company has twice been invited to perform at the prominent international tanzmesse nrw in Dusseldorf, Germany and was honored with CATV’s Best Experimental Video Media Award, in collaboration with Ana Baer.  SWEET EDGE was awarded the 2012 Summer Residency at work | space Denver at the Laundry on Lawrence and Olson has twice received the ATLAS Innovator Residency with ATLAS Theatre, Boulder for 2010 and 2014.

She is part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

Natalia Reza

Natalia Reza Headshot


Natalia Reza is a dancer, choreographer and artistic director. 

She earned a Master’s in human development and a Bachelors by the National College of Contemporary Dance. She attended high school at the Center for Artistic Education in the City of Querétaro, México. She owns a diploma in Choreography by Interactions from Bodies in Dialogue at the San Agustín Arts Center, Oaxaca. She was a solist dancer of the National Ballet of Mexico under the Direction and Choreography of Guillermina Bravo. She has been a dance and gender columnist for El Cambio de Michoacán and for Ágora Politica and has collaborated with Diario Provincia in the Culture Section. She has participated as a choreographer of the First and Second Generation of the National Dance Registry. Beneficiary of various programs such as: José Limón Institute within the Teaching Contemporary Limón workshop; Artistic and Cultural Projects of the Mexican Youth Institute; the Mexican Center for Music and Sound Arts; National Network of Audiovisual Poles of the Mexican Institute of Cinematography; In addition to state programs such as Co-Investments for the Artistic Production of Michoacán and Stimuli to the Creation of Querétaro.


She is part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

Adriana Rovira

Adriana Rovira Headshot

Adriana Rovira is an actress, narrator, teacher, theater director, and researcher. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Theater from the National School of Theater of the National Institute of Fine Arts, and with a master’s degree in Didactics from the Arts from the Inter-institutional. She also earned a PhD in Art and Culture from the University of Guadalajara (PNPC). She is currently a Full Time Research Professor in the Theater Degree of the Popular Faculty of Fine Arts of the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, where she carries out research projects related to independent, community and participation theater in the city of Morelia. Among the stage productions that he has directed as a result of his academic work at UMSNH, the following stand out: Entrañas y Entresijos, a collective creation of the CAAE, El tiempo de Planck, by Fernando Bercebal, La Cantante Calva, by Eugene Ionesco and Incendios and Pacamambo, by Wahdy Mouawad.

She is also a member of the Academic Body of Performing Arts (CAAE).


She is part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

The Academic Body Of Performing Arts


The Academic Body of Performing Arts or Cuerpo Académico de Artes Escenicas (CAAE) is an Academic college belonging to the Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, which seeks to develop and disseminate knowledge through the creation and interdisciplinary research from the performing art and the teaching-learning processes of theater and contemporary dance.

Founded in 2008, it has four founding members, two dance specialists, Dr. Alejandra Olvera Rabadán and Dr. Rocio del Carmen Luna Urdaibay and two in theater, Dr. Claudia Fragoso Susunaga and Dr. Adriana Elena Rovira Vázquez, recently (2019) joins Mtra. Natalia Reza, specialists in dance, for artistic-academic work. During its existence, the college has concentrated its efforts on the development of theoretical and practical research on processes of creation, teaching, production and dissemination of the performing arts. CAAE is currently focusing its efforts on the publication of 3 books on pedagogy of the performing arts, the consolidation of his collaboration networks, the evaluation of the programs in which it participates and its next evaluation in PRODEP.

They are part of the Merge 2020-2021 season.

Past Seasons

Cecilia Appleton

Two dancers on stage

Cecilia Appleton, Mexican Choreographer and Artistic Director of Contra Danza along with company member Yseye Appleton conducted an Artistic Residency at the Dance Division from Saturday, December 8th-December 15th, 2012. The piece created by Cecilia was performed on March 7th, 2013, at the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema.

Jennifer Arnone

The school of music, together with the dance division hosted Jennifer Arnone from Colorado March 23-28, 2013. During her residency, she taught 3 traditional Balinese dances, to culminate in an informal showing on March 28. The dances were performed at a later date with a live gamelan orchestra and traditional costumes!

Tamara Ashley

Tamara Ashley is a choreographer and dance artist based in the UK.  She co-directed the performance company Brief Magnetics, with whom she made a series of environmental dance works.  For five years, she was the artistic director of dance digital.  She has received over 7 grants from Arts Council England.  She has also written for dance journals, Choreographic Practices and the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices.  Tamara is a yoga teacher, and she holds an MFA and PhD from Texas Woman's University.  Tamara runs the MA Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of Bedfordshire, UK.

Ellen Bartel

Ellen Bartel Dance Collective (formerly SpankDance) is an Austin-based contemporary dance company founded by artistic director Ellen Bartel who is continually seeking out, and inspired by, new and evocative ways of presenting dance. The company is dedicated to creating original dance work that asks independent interdisciplinary artist to share contemporary ideas that reflect current issuesCollective within the arts, politics, and the world. The work is shown though projects that may either be site-specific, theatre dance, dance festivals, dance on film, works-in-progress, or improvisation. Our mission is based in the belief that community can be built through dance; be it in the studio, theater, or through education, and in doing this contributes to a more democratic and caring society.

Bonnie Cox

Bonnie Cox is a dance graduate student at The University of Colorado Boulder where she combines the disciplines of dance, performance studies, women and gender studies, and ethnic studies to explore identity in performance, the process of dis-identifying from hegemonic views on marginalized identities, and incorporating post-colonial theories and feminist methodologies into research, pedagogy, performance and choreography. Her present research investigates identity politics and the performance and aesthetics of borders. She currently teaches dance and popular culture, a lecture course that deconstructs the roles of race, class, gender and sexuality in dance phenomena. Bonnie received her BFA in dance from Texas State University in 2011 where she was a student teacher and member of Merge Dance Company. She danced with Diverse Space Dance Theater, Sharon Marroquin, Shay Ishii Dance Company and Nicole Roerick Collective in Austin, Texas. Bonnie has studied with acclaimed choreographers in the U.S., Mexico, and Colombia. She was nominated for an Austin Chronicle critic’s choice award for her production Silence to Power: Dance as a response to trauma, through which she encouraged dance artists to transform trauma and societal pressures into growth and power through performance and choreography. 

Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie is a dancemaker, educator, and collaborator based in Washington, DC, and is an Associate Artistic Director of Dance Exchange. His artistic research cultivates processes and experiences that are participatory and intergenerational, moving through known and unknown, and bring a poetic lens to a specifically queer experience. 

As a dancemaker, a central aspect of Matthew’s research is the opening of process to reflect on the role of our body in navigating the world and its responsibility for catalyzing creative action. In 2016 he began Growing Our Own Gardens, a multiyear project to contend with a growing need for intergenerational LGBTQ+ dialogue. With Dance Exchange, Gardens blossomed into an iterative process that partners with LGBTQ+ organizations in multiple cities to use performance and engagement as a platform to surface stories, struggles, and possibilities of queer communities.

He has been commissioned to create and share performances at places like Dance Place, Bates Dance Festival, the Kennedy Center, Texas State University, and Harvard University, as well as the New York City Roundtable Arts in Education conference and the LGBT Health and Art Making conference, among many others. Matthew’s research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities, the Arcus Foundation, and the Somerville Arts Council, and has led to engagements with a range of institutions across the country.

His interest in collaborative processes has led him to work with a wide range of artists, whose influences have left a mark and inform his current practice – Liz Lerman, Cassie Meador, Keith Thompson, Sarah Gamblin, jhon stronks, Bebe Miller, Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, Betsy Miller, and Annie Kloppenberg, among others. Matthew began working with Dance Exchange in 2011, shortly after receiving an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University.

Alyson Dolan

Alyson Dolan has been recognized by The Austin Chronicle as a “key modern mover” for the “stamina, concentration, and big jar of real that she brings to the potluck”. As a dance artist and avid collaborator Dolan has presented her choreography at festivals, theaters, schools, parks, islands, and creeks throughout the country. Alyson was Resident Choreographer for Sarasota Contemporary Dance from 2012-2014 and continues to create work with the company on a project basis. She has received two Austin Critics Table awards (Outstanding Dancer 2014, Outstanding Duet 2015), as well as the Jerry MacLauchlin Best in Fest award (254 Dance-Fest) for her work with GRIT Performance, a collaborative dance/music company. Alyson admires the originality of Austin’s artists and feels honored when given the opportunity to add to the spread. 

Sonja Dumas

Sonja Dumas is a performer, choreographer, writer, filmmaker, teacher and arts development consultant who lives and works in Trinidad and Tobago. A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Business School, she recently defended her thesis for her second masters degree – this time a Master of Arts in Carnival Studies at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. She is the recipient of several international grants and fellowships for her choreography, including the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Fellowship in Modern Choreography, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Prince Claus Fund. The first female laureate of Caraïbes en Creation, a project of the French Government, she has performed with and/or choreographed for Trinidad- and New York-based dance companies, including The Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Theatre, The Trinidad Theatre Workshop and Reggie Wilson’s Fist and Heel Performance Group. She currently creates work for her own pickup company – Continuum Dance Project. The company explores the contemporary Caribbean aesthetic through the language of movement. She is also a co-founder and co-director of the Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective, a group which produces COCO Dance Festival, one of the largest annual contemporary dance festivals in the Caribbean.

Matthew Farmer

Matthew Farmer is currently the Chair of the Dance Department at Hope College, the Co-Artistic Director of R.G. Dance Productions and the Co-Artistic Director of H2 Dance Co. Formerly the Head of Dance at Anderson University, Farmer has had great success as a director, educator, choreographer, performer, and author. Farmer has appeared in Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Magazine Online, and Dance Magazine. Matthew received his MFA from the University of Michigan, and he received his BA in Theatre and Dance from Hope College. As a soloist, company member or guest performer he has performed in multiple cities throughout the United States and Europe, and has had the privilege of working with and/or performing works by Peter Sparling, Jon Lehrer, Avi Kaiser, Sergio Antonino, Merce Cunningham, Laura Dean, Matthew Thornton, Doug Varone, and many more. As a master teacher and choreographer his works and classes have been produced by Eastern Michigan University, Anderson University, Western Kentucky University, Chicago National Association of Dance Maters, Southern Association of Dance Masters, Dancer’s Inc., On Tour dance conventions, Blue Lake International Ballet Ensemble, Interlochen, Wellspring/Cori Terry an Dancers, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Hope Summer Repertory Theater, Next Step Dance, Musiker Productions, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and many more.

Keith Hennessy

Keith Hennessy is an award-winning performer, choreographer, teacher and organizer. He was born in Canada, lives in San Francisco and tours internationally. His interdisciplinary research engages improvisation, spectacle, ritual, and social movement as tools for investigating and revisioning political realities. He has an MFA in Choreography and is a PhD candidate in Performance Studies at University of California, Davis.

Darla Johnson

Darla Johnson a choreographer, teacher, and author was the co-artistic director of Johnson/Long Dance. Johnson founded the Austin Community College dance department and has received three teaching excellence awards. She is the co-director of The JUSTICE Project, a collaborative performance work with co-director Nicole Wesley, that has been presented in Atlanta, Austin, San Marcos, and in Bedford and Newcastle, England. Her most recent publication is as co-author of a chapter published in The Young are Making Their World, Essays on the Power of Youth Culture which documents the process and impact of creating The JUSTICE Project with dancers at the McCallum Fine Arts Academy in Austin.

Sharon Marroquin

Born and raised in Mexico City, Sharron Marroquin is a choreographer, dancer, and teacher based in Austin, Texas.  Her work is inspired by deeply personal experiences and her journey in this world as a woman, a Latina artist, a cancer survivor, and a mother.  

She says," I am an impassioned believer in the transformational power of dance, and the irrevocable right of all persons to experience the arts as an expression of our common humanity."

Her work has been listed numerous times as one of the top ten dance events of the year by the Austin Chronicle, and she is a three-time winner of the Austin Critics Table Award for Outstanding Choreographer. 

Her productions The Materiality of Impermanence and most recently, Las Cuatro Estaciones: A Story of Human Trees, were honored with awards for Best Dance Concert from the Austin Critics Table.

Nathan Montgomery

Nathan Montgomery is the founder and director of Syzygy Butoh. While at Prescott College he studied multiple forms of contemporary dance, improvisation, theater and choreography with Delisa Myles, Liz Faller and Jay Ruby. In 1997 he met Diego Piñon who introduced him to Butoh and Ritual Dance. He then traveled to Japan to study and perform with some of Butoh's most influential teachers including Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima and Butoh dance company Sankai Juku. Since then Nathan has developed his own approach to Butoh and Ritual Dance that he teaches and performs throughout the United States and abroad. His work is deeply influenced by his practice of Native American ritual dance and both his teaching and performing are rooted in an intimacy with the Wild in Nature. He believes in dance as a way to touch our indigenous soul as an expression of wholeness in response to the destitution of culture in modern times. His work has been showcased in Mexico, Hawaii, Japan and in many US cities. He has taught Butoh as adjunct faculty at Prescott College and Naropa University and as a guest artist at numerous university and residency programs. He is the co-founder and director of the Boulder International Butoh Festival and the MESA (Movement and Ecology Sanctuary for Art) Project in Ouray, CO.

Andy and Dionne Noble (NobleMotion Dance)

Andy Noble and Dionne Sparkman Noble (NobleMotion Dance) are long time collaborators who have been entertaining dance audiences for almost 20 years. Andy Noble is an Associate Chair/Professor of Dance at Sam Houston State University. He also serves as the Associate Artistic Director of the Dance Gallery Festival - Texas. Dionne Sparkman Noble is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Sam Houston where she directs the graduate program. Together they direct the Houston based dance company, NobleMotion Dance, that was twice named Houston’s Best Dance Company by the Houston Press. Recently Andy and Dionne worked closely with Academy Award winner John Ridley to create original choreography for the Emmy Award Winning and Golden Globe Nominated ABC TV show American Crime. Their work has been presented at New York’s Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Seattle’s On the Boards, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C to name a few. Andy and Dionne have both been recognized as among Houston’s 100 Most Creatives and they teach each year in Lucca, Italy at the international dance intensive Dance Italia.

Heike Salzer

Heike Salzer is a German performer and choreographer, screendance artist and curator, lecturer and researcher, having lived and worked in several countries.

Under the name of Salts she collaborates with international artists and her screendances, installations and choreographies have been invited to numerous international venues and festivals such as the International Videodance Festival Burgundy (FR), Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema (US), Bang-VII Barcelona Videoart Festival, (SP), Athens Video Dance Project (GR), ATLAS Institute (US) among others. 

Heike has had a varied career teaching in vocational and Higher Education. She has been a faculty member at the conservatoires Fontys Dance Academy, ArtEZ Dance Academy, Stedelijk Lyceum (NL) and The Icelandic Ballet School (IS). She set up and chaired the dance department at Teesside University (UK) from 2008-2017. As a visiting lecturer, she has been invited to teach and choreograph at international professional dance institutions such as Dancehallerne (DK), University of Malta (MT), Texas State University (US), Slippery Rock University (US), Icelandic Dance Company and Stichting voor Art and Culture Gelderland (NL). Additionally she has been invited to teach internationally in Iceland, The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, United States and Malta. Most recently she joined the University of Roehampton as Senior Lecturer in Dance Professional Practice.

Together with Mexican/American artist Ana Baer she founded the screendance company WECreate in 2014, producing collaboratively site-specific screendances, inspired by their travels to extreme landscapes. Their work has been shown in the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Portugal, and the United States. ​

In 2017 she was invited to join the board of directors of the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema.

Heike graduated as a certified Anna Herrmann Gymnastic teacher/somatic movement teacher in Germany, trained at ArtEZ-Dance Academy (NL) and holds a MA Choreography from the University of Leeds (GB) / Fontys Dance Academy, (NL). She is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a PhD candidate by publication.