2018 Choreographers

 

ANNABELLE LOPEZ OCHOA

The Colombian-Belgian ANNABELLE LOPEZ OCHOA has been choreographing since 2003 following a twelve-year dance career in various contemporary dance companies throughout Europe. She has created works on fifty companies worldwide including Ballet Hispánico, Atlanta Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Compania Nacional de Danza, Dutch National Ballet, Finnish National Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Göteborg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, BJM-Danse Montréal, New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, to name a few.

Annabelle’s works have received numerous awards and accolades throughout Europe and the United States. In her first year as a full-time choreographer, she was described as a “rising star of the Dutch dance scene” (NRC Handelsblad). Only seven years later, the Temecula Performing Arts Examiner wrote, "Ochoa is truly a masterful choreographer with an edge for what dance can and should be in this constantly changing industry." In 2012, her first full-length work, A Streetcar Named Desire, originally created for Scottish Ballet, received the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for “Best Classical Choreography” and was nominated for the prestigious Olivier Award for Best New Dance Production the following year. Sombrerisimo, a piece commissioned by New York City Center’s “Fall for Dance” for Ballet Hispánico, was included in Dance Magazine’s “Best of 2013”. She also received critical acclaim for her original work, Broken Wings, created on English National Ballet, being listed as one of the best premieres of 2016 by Dance Europe, Pointe Magazine, and The Guardian.
 

 

 

CARLOS PONS GUERRA

CARLOS PONS GUERRA  is an independent choreographer who has created work on dancers from companies such as Rambert, Northern Ballet, Attakkalari Centre for Movement Arts (India), ENDanza (Dominican Republic), Verve, Elmhurst School of Dance (Associate School of Birmingham Royal Ballet) and more, as well as receiving commissions from international dance institutions such as Sadler’s Wells, The Lowry, Birmingham Hippodrome and the British Council. Carlos founded his company, DeNada Dance Theatre, in 2012, and has created four works for it since. His triple bill for DeNada, Ham and Passion, has had two international tours, playing across the UK, as well as internationally in the Caribbean and Europe. In 2015, Carlos was nominated for the UK Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, in the category of Best Emerging Artist, and in 2016, his company received two nominations for the same awards: “Best Independent Company” and “Outstanding Female Performance (Modern)” for dancer Marivi Da Silva’s role in Carlos’ work, Young Man!.

Carlos was a guest choreographer in Northern Ballet’s 2016 Choreographers’ Lab, has taught internationally at leading conservatoires, and is an associate artist at DanceXchange, Birmingham. Current and future projects include TORO: DeNada Dance Theatre’s Beauty and the Bull, a new full-length work for DeNada, and its subsequent 2018 UK national tour; Penguins, a children’s production for Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Cahoots Theatre Northern Ireland, a new male duet for internationally renown Malaysian dancer Mavin Khoo. Originally from Gran Canaria, Spain, Carlos began his ballet training at the Choreographic Centre of Las Palmas, under direction of Anatol Yanowsky, and at the Royal Conservatoire for Dance of Madrid, before completing his training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.
 
 
                      
 

GUSTAVO RAMĺREZ SANSANO

GUSTAVO RAMĺREZ SANSANO was Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater (2009-2013), and now he combines his work as a freelance choreographer with the direction of TITOYAYA, the company he founded in Spain with Veronica Garcia Moscardo in 2006. Sansano has received numerous awards for his choreography, including first prize at the Ricard Moragas Competition in Barcelona (1997), Prix Dom Perignon Choreographic Competition in Hamburg (2001), and Premio de Las Artes Escénicas de la Comunidad Valenciana (2005). Sansano has been commissioned to create works for many companies such as Nederlands Dans Theater, Compania Nacional de Danza, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Luzerner tanz Theater, Ballet BC, The Hamburg Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Ballet Hispánico, and Luna Negra Dance Theater, among others.

As a dancer, Sansano was part of the most prestigious companies such as Ballet Joven de Alicante, Ballet Contemporaneo de Barcelona, Ballet de la Comunidad de Madrid/Victor Ullate, Nederlands Dans Theater II and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, doing some original works by Jacopo Godani, Hans Van Manen, Jiří Kylián, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Paul Lightfoot, Victor Ullate and many more. Sansano was chosen by the magazine POR LA DANZA for its 15th anniversary as one of the “Fifteen Choreographers to Watch” (2004). While Artistic Director of Luna Negra Dance Theater, Dance Magazine featured Sansano as one of “25 to Watch” (2011) and in 2012, Sansano was named a “Chicagoan of the Year in Arts & Entertainment” by the Chicago Tribune. In June 2017, he was chosen by the APDCV for its 30th anniversary as “Outstanding Valencian choreographer.” He also has created a few operas with Chicago Opera Theater (Andreas Mitisek) María de Buenos Aires, Opera Omaha (James Darrah) Semele, and Bard SummerScape, Iris (James Darrah). Along his time creating, he has worked with Luis Crespo as Set Design for most of his productions. He has also collaborated with artists such as David Delfin, Angel Sanchez, Nicolas Fischtel, Bregje van Balen, and Gelson Amaran, to name a few.                      

 

 

MICHELLE MANZANALES

MICHELLE MANZANALES is a choreographer and dance educator originally from Houston, TX. She began working with Eduardo Vilaro in 2003 as a dancer for his company Luna Negra Dance Theater of Chicago, where she later became Rehearsal Director in 2006 and served as Interim Artistic Director 2009-2010. In 2007, Manzanales created Sugar in the Raw (Azucar Cruda) for LNDT which was applauded by the Chicago Sun-Times as “a staggering, beautiful, accomplished new work.” In 2010, her homage to Frida Kahlo, Paloma Querida, was hailed as a “visual masterpiece” by Lucia Mauro of the Chicago Tribune and was described by the Sun-Times as a “gorgeously designed, richly hallucinatory, multi-faceted vision of the artist…”. This dance isn’t just about one girl’s experience; it applies to everyone, of any gender, and of any culture,” said CriticalDance of Manzanales’s Con Brazos Abiertos (2017).
 
 


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