Amy Hall Garneris a native of Huntsville, Alabama, and a graduate of The Juilliard School. Her work has been praised internationally and commissioned by Ailey II, ABT Studio Company, Collage Dance Collective, The Juilliard School, The Ailey School, Barnard College, The University of the Arts, Columbia Ballet Collaborative, Point Park University, and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Recently, she has received virtual commissions from BalletX, Dance Theatre of Harlem, the Guggenheim Museum’s Works & Process Digital Series, ABT Studio Company, Boulder Ballet and a virtual collaboration between Miami City Ballet and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. She personally coached Grammy Award winner Beyoncé, providing additional choreography for The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour. Theatrical choreography credits include: The Color Purple (Milwaukee Repertory Theater) and Invisible Thread, associate choreographer (Second Stage Theater, NYC). In 2018, she was selected to participate in Alvin Ailey’s New Directions Choreography Lab supported by the Ford Foundation. Garner was one of the first recipients of the Joffrey Ballet’s Choreography of Color Award (now titled Winning Works). She is an adjunct professor at New York University’s New Studio on Broadway at Tisch School of the Arts. Currently, Ms. Garner is a Virginia B. Toulmin Fellow at The Center for Ballet and the Arts.
Portrait by Luis Alberto Rodriguez
Omar Román De Jesús (Bayamón, Puerto Rico) is a recipient of the 2020 Jacob’s Pillow: The Ann & Weston Hicks Choreography Fellowship. He has been commissioned twice by Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico to create work for the International Dance Festival of Puerto Rico, where he was awarded the Ambassador of Dance medal. Omar has won choreographic competitions including the Joffrey Academy of Dance’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition and the Whim W’Him’s Choreographic Shindig. He has received awards including the Audience Award at The Dance Gallery Festival, 1st place prize at the Reverb Dance Festival and the Parsons Dance GenerationNOW Commission for their 2017 Joyce Season. He has also created work for Bruce Wood Dance, Jacob Jonas The Company, and educational institutions like The Ailey School, Kennesaw State University, James Madison University and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. His work was recently presented at Chop Shop: Bodies of Work Contemporary Dance Festival and will be presented at the upcoming: PRISMA International Dance Festival in Panama, the Jerusalem International Choreographic Competition, the Palm Desert Choreography Festival and ENDANZANTE in Medellín, Colombia.
Originally from Houston TX, Michelle Manzanales is a choreographer, dedicated dance educator of 30 years, and co-founder of the Latinx Dance Educators Alliance. The Director of Ballet Hispánico’s School of Dance since December of 2016, Michelle previously led the organization’s professional company as Rehearsal Director & Artistic Associate for seven seasons.
Her choreography “…isn’t just about one girl’s experience; it applies to everyone, of any gender, and of any culture,” said CriticalDance. Manzanales’ current commissions include new works that will premiere in the Spring of 2022 for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Oregon Ballet Theater, and Montclair State University.
Michelle’s work for Ballet Hispánico, Con Brazos Abiertos, described as a “savvy but deeply sincere meditation on her Mexican American background” (-Marina Harss, New York Times), premiered in 2017 and has since toured worldwide to critical acclaim including its feature at New York City Center’s 2018 Fall for Dance Festival.
Other acclaimed works by Manzanales include If by Chance… which “unspooled dreamily atop and between the tables” of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (-Courtney Escoyne, Dance Magazine), was created and performed for the Jerome Robbins Dance Division 75th anniversary Gala in December 2019. Her homage to Frida Kahlo, Paloma Querida, was hailed a “visual masterpiece” by Lucia Mauro of the Chicago Tribune and was described by the Chicago Sun-Times as a “gorgeously designed, richly hallucinatory, multi-faceted vision of the artist.” Sugar in the Raw (Azucar Cruda), was also applauded by the Chicago Sun-Times as “a staggering, beautiful, accomplished new work.”
Originally from Cocoa Beach, Florida, Peter Chu is a distinguished artist who strives to push the physical bounds of dance. He began his training as a competitive gymnast, later nurturing his artistry at Dussich Dance Studio where his evolution into dance began. As a BFA student at The Juilliard School (under the direction of Benjamin Harkarvy), Chu was pushed further as a technical mover and began an explosive journey into choreography. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Hector Zaraspe Prize for Choreography.
Chu is a remarkable and multi-faceted artist. As a performer, he has danced with BJM _Danse and EZdanza, as the lead in Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts music video, in Celine Dion’s Vegas spectacular A New Day, and with Crystal Pite’s company Kidd Pivot.
In 2008, Chu formed a Las Vegas project-based company—chuthis. His multi- disciplinary dance company combines innovative lighting and sound with live contemporary movement. In 2018, chuthis. presented paper cuts in an empty bag at Zuiderstrandtheater in The Hague, Netherlands, as a part of the Shortcuts XL program, and was the company in residence at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School & Camp. A part of the mission of chuthis. is to provide movement education programs for the next generation of artists. Through the chuthis. Movement Intensive, an annual summer event, and chuthis. Moves, a 2-3 day custom workshop for both national and international dance schools, the chuthis. team fosters technical/artistic development and mind/body familiarity while igniting an adventurous side of dance.
Chu has been an honoured recipient of choreographic awards & commissions, including the Hector Zaraspe Prize, A.C.E. Capezio Award, & Hubbard Street
Dance International Commission Project. He was also named a Blodgett Distinguished Artist by Harvard University for 2018. Additionally, Chu has served as the Rehearsal Director for Nederlands Dans Theater 2, and as a Guest Rehearsal Director for NDT1.
Chu has created works for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Staatstheater Augsburg, Germany, Charlotte Ballet, Charlotte Ballet II, Orlando Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street 2, Giordano Dance Chicago, So You Think You Can Dance, Naomi
Stikeman’s Çaturn, Houston MET Dance, New Dialect, SALT Contemporary Dance, The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Point Park University, Nederlands Dans Theater Summer Intensive, Springboard Dansé Montreal, SUNY Purchase, Western Michigan University, & Brigham Young University Contemporary Dance Theatre, among others. Teaching highlights include Harvard University (Guest Lecturer), HSPro, Springboard X | shift perspective, Axis Connect, Hubbard Street Studio Series, The Dance Teacher Summit, and Movement Invention Project.
This season, Chu has premiered new works for Giordano Dance Chicago and Gibney Dance Company, and was the choreographer for Cirque du Soleil’s Vitori in Malta. Later in 2020, he will also premiere a creation for Paul Taylor Dance Company, and develop a new work with his own company, chuthis.