David Vega Chavez (Guest Choreographer – deceased), with numerous television, musical theater, motion picture, and dance credits, is a well known name in New Mexico. He has appeared and worked with the likes of Anne Bancroft, Mel Brooks, Sammy Davis Jr., John Travolta, Liza Minnelli, Juliet Prowse, Rachael Welch, Florence Henderson, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, The Osmonds, The Jackson Five, Larry Kert, George Chakiris, Ringo Starr, Sonny and Cher, Bruce Willis and, in 1984, a Royal Command Performance in Scotland. He has created, directed and choreographed fourteen full-length ballets with over seventy smaller pieces, which have been performed as far away as South Africa, Australia, Canada, and London‘s Covent Garden. With the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra, he directed and choreographed Time and Again Barelas, the opera, West Side Story, Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Petrouchka. With the J.D. Robb Foundation, David directed/choreographed the opera Little Jo.
Matthew Diamond (Guest Choreographer) performed for choreographers such as Louis Falco and Jose Limon. His career as a choreographer, both free-lance and for his dance company, DIAMOND brought his work to Jacob‘s Pillow, Carnegie Hall, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music as well as to Europe, Israel and the U.S. In an effort to expand his scope he focused his career primarily on directing, which has brought him an Oscar nomination, four Emmy Awards, three Director‘s Guild Awards and the Humanitas Award. He has directed many music specials as well as a long list of dramatic programming including numerous episodes of prime time television such as Desperate Housewives, Eureka and Ugly Betty. He was nominated for an Academy Award and a Director‘s Guild Award for his feature documentary, Dancemaker, about the world of choreographer Paul Taylor. Among many honors the International Documentary Association named it Best Feature Film.
Krista King-Doherty (Guest Choreographer) is a nationally recognized teacher and choreographer. She received her training at Ballet la Jeunesse in Los Angeles, CA under Natalia Clare and with her mother, Kathie Fishback Anthony. As a student, Krista performed with The Joffrey Ballet at the Greek Theatre in CA. She has taught ballet, pointe, jazz, and contemporary dance at Fishback Studio of the Dance in NM for the past 15 years and is part of the Fishback family. Krista coaches for national dance competitions and has won numerous overall high score, technical and choreography awards. Since 2005, Krista has had students qualify in both solos and ensembles for the prestigious Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. Her students have won the Youth Grand Prix award, the Hope Award, and overall awards in contemporary divisions at YAGP. Prior to returning to NM in 1995, Krista worked as an international fashion model in Europe, USA, Asia and Australia for 10 years.
Robbie Mackey (Guest Choreographer) began his career in the entertainment business at the young age of 4 as a dancer. He has studied intense company dance in New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. Over the years Robbie has taught thousands of young aspiring dancers all over the country as well as in Europe, Japan and China. For the last 20 years, Robbie has choreographed and directed numerous live events including 2 Super Bowl Half-Time Shows starring New Kids on The Block, Patti La Belle and Tony Bennett; and countless television specials with such stars as Mariah Carey, Brian Setzer, Tom Hanks, Nell Carter, Rita Moreno, Sandi Patti, Betty White, Carol Channing, Michael Feinstein and Tommy Tune. International television credits include the National Lottery Show for BBC in London, the Grand Opening of Disneyland Paris, the Grand Opening of Hong Kong Disneyland and the 15th Anniversary of Disneyland Paris. Most recently, Robbie Co-Directed and choreographed “Illuscination” for Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Robert Mirabal (Guest Artist), a two-time Grammy Award winner, lives with his family at the foot of the sacred Taos Mountain in northern New Mexico. Maintaining a traditional life, keeping the centuries-old customs of the Taos Pueblo people, Robert has been described as a Native American “Renaissance man” – musician, composer, painter, master craftsman, poet, actor, screenwriter, horseman and farmer – and he travels extensively playing his music all over the world. If you live a traditional life you see things differently—spiritually and musically. His first flute came when he was 18 with money he borrowed from his grandmother, and shortly afterward he had the opportunity to meet Native American flute player R. Carlos Nakai who greatly influenced him. When they met Nakai looked at Mirabal’s hands and laughed. He said, “I have that same scar. It’s the scar of the flute maker.” In the years since, Robert has continued the evolution of his flute making and has also become an accomplished novelist, poet, craftsman, composer, dancer, actor, painter, sculptor, concert performer and recording artist. His dozen albums of traditional music, rock and roll, and spoken word present a contemporary view of American Indian life that is unequaled. Whether as a composer, songwriter, or musician, Robert has won many honors including two-time Native American Artist of the Year, three-time Songwriter of the Year, a 2006 GRAMMY Award for Sacred Ground, and his 2008 GRAMMY Award for Johnny Whitehorse Totemic Flute Chants, blending all of Robert’s influences into a musical landscape that conjures up both the historic and contemporary West. His 2002 breakthrough PBS Special, Music From a Painted Cave is unsurpassed in Native American theatrical expression. He is also the author of A Skeleton of a Bridge – a book of poetry, prose, and short stories, and most recently his book, Running Alone in Photographs – a memoir laced with gritty, introspective prose, that opens a window to a palpable experience of life in the Pueblo through the voice of Robert’s alter-ego Reyes Winds. He says, “My music is informed by the ceremonial music that I’ve heard all my life. What I create comes out of my body and soul in a desire to take care of the spirits of the earth.” A leading proponent of world music, Robert has merged his indigenous American sound with those of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, tapping into a planetary pulse with a style that defies categorization. He says, “My travels have provided me with experiences that I could have never imagined, and exposed me to a global sound and a global voice.”
Tommy Panto (Guest Soloist), an Atlanta native, started dancing at the age of eleven and began his training with the Dance Theatre Southwest under the direction of Patricia Dickinson. At the age of 15 he moved to the east to train in a full time setting with the Baltimore School for the Arts and the School of American Ballet. After graduating Tommy moved to Los Angeles where he trained and studied with Marat Duakayev of the Kirov/Kirov Academy, and Patricia Neary of NYCB until his acceptance to Atlanta Ballet. Last season he had the pleasure of dancing Don Quixote in John McFall’s Don Quixote, the premier of John McFall’s Firebird, and Christopher Hampson’s Sinfonietta Giocosa.
John O. Perpener III (Guest Choreographer) holds a doctorate degree in performance studies from New York University, is a dancer and dance historian. “Dr. Perpener’s contributions to the African Diaspora performativity and aesthetics as a scholar and stage dancer transcend genres of cultural and intellectual production,” said Akin Ogundiran, the chair of the UNCC African Studies Department. Perpener also holds a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University. His performance career includes touring with the Harford Ballet Company, the Maryland Dance Theater and the D.C Black Repertory Dance Company. Additionally, he is the author of “African-American Concert Dance: The Harlem Renaissance and Beyond.”
Vladimir Conde Reche (Guest Choreographer), a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, received his BFA from The Julliard School and MFA in choreography from the University of Iowa; danced with Cisne Negro Dance Company, Ballet Stagiun, and was a guest artist for other companies. Vladimir has performed, choreographed and taught all over the globe. Among the countries where he has worked are Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Colombia, England, Germany, Italy, Mongolia, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, the United States and Uruguay. With his extensive training in ballet and his background in Graham, Limón, and Taylor techniques, Vladimir teaches technique classes that align traditional with contemporary techniques, applying the necessary approaches to guide young dancers of the current generation toward the demands of present performance arenas. As a choreographer Vladimir frequently collaborates with composers, costume, set and lighting designers; he choreographs for students and professionals in the contemporary, ballet and theatrical idioms (plays and musicals), some of his most recent creations are in dance films. Vladimir chooses to comment on current issues engaging collaborators, performers and audience members using traditional and/or contemporary language. Vladimir has been an influential dance master and choreographer in Albuquerque, frequently and consistently teaching and choreographing for local studios and institutions. He has been a faculty member for the Dance program at the University of New Mexico since 2008, also serving as Department Chair and Head of the Dance Program.
Jock Soto (Guest Choreographer), who is half Navajo Indian and half Puerto Rican, was born in Gallup, New Mexico, and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. At the age of five, he began studying ballet with local teachers after seeing a television special featuring Edward Villella in the Rubies section of George Balanchine’s Jewels. Mr. Soto continued his studies at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of New York City Ballet. While at the School, Mr. Soto danced the role of “Luke” in Peter Martins’ The Magic Flute, which was choreographed for the School’s 1981 Workshop performances. That year, Georges Balanchine invited him to become a member of the Company’s corps de ballet. In June 1984 he was promoted to the rank of soloist, and one year later, he became a principal dancer. Mr. Soto’s extensive repertory includes featured roles in many of George Balanchine’s ballets, including Agon, Allegro Brillante, Episodes, Firebird, The Four Temperaments, Rubies from Jewels, Orpheus, and many others. He has danced featured roles in ballets by Jerome Robbins, including Afternoon of a Faun, The Cage, The Four Seasons, and West Side Story Suite, as well as Peter Martins’ Swan Lake, Symphonic Dances, and Valse Triste, and Robert La Fosse’s Concerto in Five Movements. Mr. Martins has created principal roles on Mr. Soto in a number of his ballets, including Fearful Symmetries, Them Twos, and Thou Swell. During New York City Ballet’s Spring 1988 American Music Festival, Mr. Soto originated featured roles in Mr. Martins’ Black and White, Robert Weiss’s Archetypes, Laura Dean’s Space, and Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux’s Five, and performed in Richard Tanner’s pas de deux Sonatas and Interludes. In addition, he originated roles in Miriam Mahdaviani’s Urban Dances; Kevin O’Day’s Huoah; Mr. Tanner’s Ancient Airs and Dances, Operetta Affezionata, and Schoenberg/Wuorinen Variations; Lynne Taylor-Corbett’s Chiaroscuro; Christopher Wheeldon’s After the Rain, Liturgy, Slavonic Dances and several others; and Damian Woetzel’s Ebony Concerto. Mr. Soto has appeared as a guest artist with the Kirov Ballet in Jewels in 2003 and at the Bolshoi Theatre in 2003. Mr. Soto has staged ballets around the world including works by Balanchine, Robbins, Martin, Wheeldon, and many more. His television appearances include five Live from Lincoln Center broadcasts on PBS: “A Choreographer’s Notebook: Stravinsky Piano Ballets by Peter Martins,” “Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Swan Lake” choreographed by Mr. Martins; Ray Charles in Concert, reprising his role in A Fool for You; New York City Ballet’s Diamond Project: Ten Years of New Choreography, dancing in Chiaroscuro, Mercurial Manoeuvres, and Them Twos; and Lincoln Center Celebrates Balanchine 100, dancing in Liebeslieder Walzer. Mr. Soto also appeared in Mr. Bonnefoux’s Five as part of the Guggenheim Museum’s Works in Process series on PBS. He has appeared on seven episodes of Sesame Street. Mr. Soto served as a member of SAB’s permanent faculty from 1996 to 2015. He resides in Eagle Nest, NM with his husband Luis Fuentes and their pet beagle Bandit. Water Flowing Together, a feature documentary on Mr. Soto was aired on PBS in 2006. Every Step You Take, Mr. Soto’s critically acclaimed memoir, was published by Harper Collins in 2011.
Mel A. Tomlinson, Thd. (Guest Choreographer – deceased), has traveled the world and appeared before Presidents and crowned Heads of State. He has been on the faculties of N. C. School of the Arts, Boston Ballet‘s CITYDANCE, Boston Conservatory of Music, Harvard University,and UNC-Charlotte. He has worked with Ray Charles, Josephine Baker, George Balanchine, Maya Angelou, Agnes George DeMille, Arthur Mitchell, and Bill Cosby. He was a Guest Artist with North Carolina Dance Theatre (dancer & choreographer), a Principal Dancer with Agnes DeMille‘s Heritage Dance Theater, a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, a Principal with Alvin Ailey‘s American Dance Theatre, a guest with the Joffrey Ballet, and a member of the New York City Ballet by invitation from George Balanchine. In 1991, NBC made a documentary on Tomlinson entitled “With a Clear Voice.“ He held a doctorate for Christian Psychology and was a phlebotomist, pastor, ASL interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, choreographer, and motivational speaker.