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Ensemble Dance Works

April 1-3, 2016
Ensemble Dance Works 2016

2016 Outstanding Dancer: Gillian Bowen & Gaby Luna
Joanna Friesen Scholarship: Liannet Madrazo
Recognition in Choreography: Josh Eguia
UDT Leadership Award: Thu-Mai Nguyen

The Dance Program has two student scholarships.  The Joanna Friesen Dance Scholarship Fund was created in the spring of 1998. The Scholarship fund honors Joanna Friesen’s twenty years of service in dance at University of Houston. This scholarship is given in recognition for outstanding work to sophomores and juniors in the program.  

We also have a new scholarship fund through a generous endowment by Judy and Walter Jones. The Patsy Swayze Scholarship Endowment will grant scholarships to incoming students that demonstrate exceptional promise.

Your contribution to these funds helps emerging dance artists to achieve their dreams. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to either of these funds, please send your check made out to School of Theatre & Dance (memo: For Joanna Friesen Scholarship Fund or  For Patsy Swayze Scholarship Endowment):

Mail to:
School of Theatre & Dance
University of Houston
CWM Center for the Arts
Houston, TX 77204-5071

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 4pm
ENSEMBLE Auditions in Melcher 230
For more information visit:

Dance Production Faculty: Toni Valle
Light Design and Technical Supervisor: Jonathan Middents
Stage Managers: Tatiana Kane, Holda Torres
Assistant Stage Manager: Sarah Backer, Anissa Trevino
House Manager: Joel Aguilera
House Crew: Tamerras Leonard
Assistant House Manager: Chelsea Ferrron
Light Board Operators: Liz Nguye
Sound Board Operator: Brittany Vargo
Electricians Alicia Plaza, Christian Gill
Deck Crew: Eduardo Arizpe, Heather Benson, Aerron Ellison, Michaela McGraw
Costume Mistress Rachel Redding
Wardobe: Andi Dinehart, Andie Rennie

There will be two brief 15-minute intermissions.

Any taping, filming, recording or broadcast of this play is strictly prohibited. Please turn off all phones and other electronic devices as a courtesy to other patrons and to performers.

Act I:

Smiling Calm

Choreographer: John Beasant III
Lighting Designer: Lynsey Manley
Music: O’Superman by Laurie Anderson
Text written and performed by: John Beasant III
Performers: Gillian Bowen, Joshua Eguia, Liannet Madrazo,
Hasina Sadiwala, Kara Stenz, Holda Torres, Kryztal Vasquez


Name of Choreographer: Jacqueline Nalett
Lighting Designer: Leah Smith
Music: "Can't Swim " Instrumental by At The Phone Booth; "Gravity" Instrumental by Eimeral Sol/ Analogue Escape
Performers: Gabriela Luna, Liannet Madrazo, Somya Gupta, Ariel Montemayor, Thu-Mai Nguyen, Hasina Sadwala, Brittani Watts


Name of Choreographer Toni Leago Valle
Lighting Designer: Rigel Nunez
Music: “Walking and Falling” by Laurie Anderson
Performers: Gillian Bowen, Josh Eguia, Gaby Luna, Ariel Montemayor

When is pretend gonna end

Choreographer: Jane Weiner
Lighting Designer: Josh Jacobs
Music: Marketa Volfikova, Sam Cooke, Laurie Anderson, John Lennon
Performers: Gillian Bowen, Gaby Luna, Liannet Madrazo, Somya Gupta

Act II:


Choreographer: Becky Valls
Lighting Designer: Jean Gonzalez
Video by Camilo Gonzalez
Music: Art of Noise, Octopus Project
Performers: Gaby Luna, Michaela McGraw, Brittani Watts

Hello Mary...

Choreographer: Teresa Chapman
Lighting Designer: Thomas Murphy
Costume Designer: Cody Hoeppner
Music: “Thirty Incoming” by The Books
Performers: Gillian Bowen, Josh Eguia, Gaby Luna, Liannet Madrazo


Choreographer: Karen Stokes
Lighting Designer: Thomas Murphy
Music: “Vzedny den” by Branislav Kostka
Performers: Gillian Bowen, Josh Eguia, Somya Gupta, Gaby Luna,
Liannet Madrazo, Ariel Montemayor, Hasina Sadiwala, Brittani Watts



John Beasant III is a first year Assistant Professor of Dance at the University of Houston. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he also works as an independent dance artist, teaching, performing, and presenting his own dances with various companies, universities, and festivals throughout the globe. While a resident of New York City of over fifteen years, John was a former member of Doug Varone and Dancers (2001-2010), served as a guest artist with The José Limón Dance Company (2008-2011), and has also made numerous appearances as an actor and singer for the stage, television, and film. Other company credits include: Shapiro and Smith Dance, Gallim Dance, Keith Johnson/Dancers, Company XIV, Brian Brooks Moving Company, the Music Theater of Wichita, the Aquila Theatre Company, and The Metropolitan Opera. Some choreography credits include: The University of Utah, the School of Dance at the National University of Costa Rica, and the Juilliard School for the Performing Arts. John’s work was recently accepted to perform as part of Dance Source Houston’s Barnstorm Dance Fest this summer on June 16th and 18th at the Barn.

Teresa Chapman is an Associate Professor at the University of Houston where she teaches dance technique, aesthetics, dance kinesiology, and pedagogy.  As a performer in Houston, she has worked exclusively with Karen Stokes Dance and on occasion has performed in works by many other Houston-based choreographers.  In the past, she has danced for artists in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC (Liz Lerman Dance Exchange), and New York (KDNY).   Chapman is also an independent choreographer.  Her work has been commissioned by the University of Nebraska, West Virginia University, UC Santa Barbara, and Bucknell University. She has received funding from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, multiple internal UH grants, and external funding from Houston Arts Alliance Individual Artist Project and Fellowship grants to support her work.  In 2010, she was the recipient of the Ross M. Lence Teaching Award for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.   In 2011, she was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure at the University of Houston.  Chapman received her MFA in Dance from California State University, Long Beach.

Jacqueline Nalett is adjunct dance faculty at UH and Rice University where she recently received the Frank W. Bearden Award for Teaching Excellence. She has been an independent choreographer and performer for many years and last year produced her first evening length concert at the Barn called "Tales From the Nickel."  She is also a dance teaching artist with Young Audiences of Houston.  Her choreography has been presented at Wortham Center, Cullen Theater in downtown Houston, Big Range Dance Festival, Houston Fringe Festival, UH, Rice, Mount Holyoke College, American College Dance Festivals in New England and Texas, and the Houston Jewish Community Center's Summer Series. As a performer she has danced in her own works at Big Range Dance Festival, Houston Fringe Festival, jhon r. stronks’ Venturing Out Series and performed at Miller Outdoor Theatre in the work of Teresa Chapman. She received her B.A. in Dance and Visual Art from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. 

Karen Stokes is a choreographer and educator. As a choreographer, Stokes has premiered eight evening length projects, and over 40 repertory works that have performed in Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Toronto, and Sweden. Stokes is the Artistic Director of the non-profit company Karen Stokes Dance. In January 2013, Stokes’ company was the first dance company to receive a Masterminds award by Houston Press. In both 2014 and 2015 the Houston Press named Stokes “Best Choreographer in Houston.”  In 2011, Stokes received a commission from the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts for her collaboration “The Secondary Colors” with composer Bill Ryan. More recently she received an Innovation Grant from the Mitchell Center for the Arts for her 2015 project “Sunset at White Oak Bayou.” Stokes is a ten-time recipient of Houston Arts Alliance grants, including a 2013-2016 capacity building grant for her company.  In 2008, she was co-recipient for the 2008 Buffy Award in Best Evening Length work category (Hometown) for 2003-2008. Stokes dance for camera project “Gallery Construction 1” received “Editor’s Choice” for best video from Dance Magazine in March 2012.  Stokes’ choreography has been recognized by grants from the Houston Endowment, the Hamman Foundation, the Anchorage Foundation, the Clayton Fund, various corporate matching grants, and numerous individual donors.  As a dancer, she has performed with David Gordon, Larry Clark, and Stephan Koplowitz. As an educator, Stokes is a Professor at the University of Houston.  Stokes has won the Distance Education Teaching Award at University of Houston, the ACHE Teaching Award, and the Ross M. Lence Teaching Award.  She is currently working with her company KSD on “DEEP: Seaspace,” a Houston-based project.  Go to for more information.

Becky Valls, Associate Professor of Dance, teaches dance history, dance education, and modern technique at UH where she received the Ross Lence Teaching Award. From 2007-2013 she choreographed a series of evening-length works  titled Memoirs of the Sistahood, with sculptor Babette Beaullieu of New Orleans and film maker Deborah Schildt of Anchorage. Her choreography has been presented by Diverse Works, Barn Storm Dance Fest, Big Range Dance Festival, Chrysalis Dance, JCC Dance Month, Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance (4x),  Stephen F. Austin University, Rice University, and San Jacinto College. She has also created choreography for Core Performance Company in Atlanta, and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. Her solo Red Square has been performed in Tempe, Chicago, New York, and Houston. In 2015, Valls collaborated with UH engineer/neuroscientist, Dr. Pepe Contreras-Vidal in research titled Your Brain on Dance. Red Square was performed in a brain cap as part of the Blaffer Innovation Series at UH and at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C. The solo has been performed by Teresa Chapman, Anastasiya Kopteva, and Valls. Since 2010, Valls has conducted research at the K-5th UH Charter School focusing on how children deepen their reasoning of science through dance.  She also tours two programs though Young Audiences that teach science through dance that are performed by Toni Valle and Kate Rash. Valls received her MFA degree in Choreography from Sarah Lawrence College, NY.

Toni Leago Valle is Artistic Director and choreographer for 6’.   Valle received a B.A. in Dance, from University of Houston in 2000.  Valle has received two Individual Artist Grants from Houston Arts Alliance to produce It’s All Relative in 2002 and again in 2007 for tetris, that premiered in January 2009.  Valle presented Interview for a Date/I Take My Clothes Off at the Big Range Dance Festival for the preview of CRACKED, her second evening length concert that premiered in 2006 as a recipient of the DiverseWorks Artist Residency.  Her choreography has been seen at DiverseWorks, JCC, University of Houston, San Jacinto College, HSPVA/Houston, Freneticore Theatre’s Fringe Festival and various art openings and outdoor events.  In 2010, Valle premiered her new dance company, 6’ in Baptism. In 2012, Valle co-produced and co-choreographed Regifting Lions with Catalina Alexandra and Lynn Lane.  Valle is a current member and Company Manager of Karen Stokes Dance, Becky Valls' Memoirs of the Sistahood Series, and Becky Valls & Company for Young Audiences.  Since 2000, Valle has performed with Karen Stokes Dance, Dancepatheatre, Psophonia Dance Company, Divergence Vocal Theatre, Chapman Dance, Suchu Dance and Vault. Valle has been featured in numerous concerts, including Natural Acts in Artifical Water and Open Book, Open House by internationally known choreographer Stephan Koplowitz, A Weekend of Texas Contemporary Dance, and Marta Lichlyter’s A Thin Line as part of the University of Houston’s Choreography in Action series on PBS.  Valle is an adjunct faculty at University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance, where she teaches Dance Production, Marketing for Entrepreneurs, and Aesthetics of Dance, and is head of production for both the spring and fall dance concerts.

Jane Weiner graduated from Bowling Green University with a degree in deaf/elementary education and a minor in dance. She worked with the Doug Elkins Dance Company for a decade of fine dancing, touring and experiences before her move to Houston, TX in 1996. She presently is the director of Hope Stone, Inc., and Artistic Director of Hope Stone Dance. Jane founded Hope Stone with a dream of unlocking the innate creativity of children and adults and improving their quality of life through the performing arts. Jane also founded and directs Hope Stone Kids, an arts outreach program for children 2-18 years old in Houston, that uses master teachers in dance, theater, music, photography, spoken word and yoga to empower and educate youth. Hope Stone Kids was created to help meet the artistic and emotional needs of underserved and at-risk students. “I see the void and want to help fill it,” Jane says. Jane also founded the Pink Ribbons Project in 1995 and was the executive director from 1997-2002.

Jane has set her work on the Alley Theater, Houston Ballet II, Stages Repertory Theater, the Houston Children’s Museum, as well as many high schools and universities and has collaborated with the Houston Symphony, the CAMH, and the Asia Society. She was a finalist for the Cal Arts/Albert Award for Dance in 2001, awarded the CACHH general fellowship grant for 2002, the Houston PBS Speaking Women’s Health Conference Honoree 2004, the Surgical Society of Oncology’s James Ewing Layman Award, the Jung Center Award for 2005, DiverseWork’s Artist of the Year 2011, and was a speaker at the 2012 TEDx Houston and 2013 TEDx TAMU.

At present Jane continues to run Hope Stone, Inc. creating a vision of Art for All, work on projects with her company as well as schools and companies nationally. She is married to the wonderful Eric Mallory, and has three cat children, Houston, Riley and Spot-ika.

UH Dance Ensemble

Gillian Bowen began her dance training at the age of five at the Eastern Virginia School for the Performing Arts in Williamsburg, Virginia. After moving to Houston, Gillian continued to train at RAFA with Milana Leban and Misha Bart, and later with Kathleen Waltz at Houston International Ballet. After a summer intensive in Maine with the Bossov Ballet Theater, Gillian joined the year-round program dance program at The Maine Central Institute. While there, Gillian studied under Andre Bossov. In her senior year of high school Gillian danced with Peter Stark’s Next Generation Ballet. Gillian is currently attending University of Houston, working towards a B.A. in dance and a minor in education.

Joshua Eguia is an actor/dancer in the UH SOTD BFA actor training program. Most recently he has worked with Suchu Dance, as well as with the UH dance program.  This is the second year Josh will be appearing in the Emerging Choreographers Showcase, after performing in 'You, me and we' choreographed by Anasheh Paritai last year. After graduation Joshua plans to go to New York and pursue a career in Theatre and Musical Theatre, as well as become a master of the FOSSE style.

Somya Gupta is currently a junior at the University of Houston. She is pursuing a media productions major with a dance minor in hopes of working with a touring professional dance company after graduation. She has explored much of the Houston dance scene and has trained in ballet, modern, and gaga most recently. Somya hopes to return to Chicago, New York, Europe, and LA for further dance training. 

Gaby Luna is a senior at the University of Houston studying Kinesiology- Exercise Science. She has already tasted a bit of what the dance world has to offer; she has performed with SoReal Dance Crew, Suchu Dance, Align Dance Theatre, No boundaries Dance Company, and Chris Huston. She traveled to San Diego this past summer to compete at BodyRock with her crew, and has recently performed at the Houston Fringe Festival. She had the opportunity to study dance at STEPS Performing Arts Center, and received an internship at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She also modeled for Dance Spirit Magazine in 2011. In addition to dancing, Gaby has had the privilege to cheer for the University of Houston Cheerleading squad for the first two years of her undergrad. Gaby loves working with children and had the pleasure to work with them at Children’s Memorial Hermann in the medical center. She hopes to pursue her career in Sports Medicine.

Liannet Madrazo is a senior at University of Houston, studying dance and majoring in kinesiology. She has been dancing since the age of 6, in a small studio called Marixa’s hall studio in La Habana , Cuba. Later on, in the age of 8 she started dancing with Tony Menandez Dance Company. She was also accepted to the national school of arts before coming to Houston, TX. Throughout her high school dance training she danced under Keisha Breaker. She has danced for suchu dance company, Aliene Maps, and Urban Souls. She has also done a music video for Alicia Miles called “Smile in the moon.”

Ariel Montemayor was born in Houston, Texas. She received an Associates of Arts in at San Jacinto College where she studied under Diane Bedford and Dr. Patricia Haselbarth. Ariel is currently studying for her Ba in Dance and Education at the University of Houston School of Theater and Dance. She has performed with pre professional dance companies, San Jac Dance Pac and the UH Dance Ensemble. She has also performed professionally as a guest with Karen Stokes Dance Company. Ariel also finds interest in production sets. She has worked as Stage Manager for Freneticore and worked sound for Vault Houston. Ariel will pursue Dance Education in high school drill team after graduating. 

Thu-Mai Nguyen is a contemporary dancer studying at the University of Houston. She started her modern dance education at Lamar High School in 2008. She has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is completing her B.A. in Dance while performing with UH’s Dance Ensemble where she has trained under Karen Stokes and Teresa Chapman. She is also a youth leader for the Vietnamese community through the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) network. She has been practicing hip-hop and traditional dance with VSA since 2011. Upon graduating in May, she will be travelling internationally to study dance in various environments including Europe and Asia. Thu-Mai believes that the art and power of dance should be accessible to all and aims to spread dance to the underserved communities. 

Hasina Sadiwala is working towards a BA in Dance at University of Houston. She has danced ever since she was little but didn't join a professional dance company until she came to America 11 years ago. She was on the Kempner High School Brigade dance team for one year. Hasina has also been trained in Bollywood in Mumbai, India and got an opportunity to perform on stage with a well known singer. She has been qualified in Bollywood, Hip hop and Contemporary dance. Hasina has taught to groups of all ages at Naach Houston Inc., a Bollywood-based dance company. Hasina wants to own a studio and instill her knowledge in future generations.

Brittany Watts is a junior at University of Houston, majoring in Dance.  Watts figure skated for ten years and was a member of varsity color guard in high school. After graduation Watts plans to perform with Houston's local dance companies for a few years and then return to college for a Masters in Dance.  Watts would like to teach at University Of Houston.

Guest Performers

Michaela McGraw is a sophomore at the University of Houston and is majoring in dance. She began her ballet training at the age of two at Bonnie Cokinos School of Dance in Beaumont, Texas. She performed with Beaumont Ballet Theater in Cinderella for seven years until she moved to The Woodlands, Texas at the age of twelve. She transitioned her ballet training to Boni’s Dance & Performing Arts Studio Inc. and performed in The Nutcracker every year until she graduated high school. At thirteen years old, Michaela knew she wanted to pursue her career in dance when she discovered hip hop. Soon after, she began choreographing hip hop and contemporary solos and performed at many competitions. During her junior year of high school, she joined Boni’s En Toure, a competing dance team that provided her extensive training in hip hop, jazz, and contemporary. For two years, she trained over twenty hours a week and attended several intense dance conventions and master classes from well-known choreographers such as Peter Chu, Sonya Tayeh, Napoleon and Tabitha D’umo, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, and many more. In 2013, she was awarded “Most Improved Dancer” by Boni’s En Toure and was also awarded “Most Theatrical” from Joseph Conrad Creagh for her unique solo performance titled UNKoWN.  From 2014 to 2015, she taught ballet, jazz, and hip hop at Texas Academy of Dance Arts (TADA) in the Woodlands, Texas. Her main focus now getting her dance degree.

Kara Stenz is a senior working towards her BA in dance at University of Houston. Kara trained in ballet at Christian Dance Center until the age of 18 and since then has immersed herself in modern, jazz, and contemporary styles. Kara has been a member of His Company Int. for a decade and is passionate about glorifying God and blessing others through contemporary and ballet movement. With His Company she has traveled overseas to Europe to take part in many church outreaches as well as performing alongside European dance companies.  At University of Houston, Kara has trained under Karen Stokes, Teresa Chapman, Courtney Jones, and Becky Valls. She was a member of the UH Dance Ensemble, the pre-professional performance group focused on preparing them for the professional dance field. 

Upon graduation, Kara hopes to find performance work in local Houston dance companies and continue to grow, as well as diversify, her own technical training. She plans on getting her teacher's certification and use her dance degree to teach the arts in schools and one day develop and create a ballet program in a private school.

Holda Torres began her training in Mexico City under Paloma Zepeda Novelo. She began her classical training in cuban technique and then studied at the Royal Academy of Dance, training in Classical Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Tap, Flamenco, Capoeira and Mexican folklore.  Holda was a member of the pre-professional company, Allegro Ballet of Houston, under  Glenda Brown, Peggy Girouard and Vanessa Brown. With Allegro, Holda performed at the Regional Dance America Convention and internationally with Young Tanzsommer tour in Austria. Holda has performed as a soloist in Venezuela Mia, Venezuela Nuestra and America Latina with DAPA. Holda recently shared the stage with Angel Laza performing  the main roles in Mi Colombia in Indianapolis with Colombian Folkloric Ballet (2014). Holda also  performed the role of  Michaela alongside Maria Fernanda Urbaez in DAPA and Intempo Dance’s version of Bizet's Carmen.  Holda has worked with choreographers Jairo Lastre, Paula Weber, Joe Iste, Rocio Braggiato, and Lauren Garson and studied with Laura Alonso, John Magnus, Thom Clower, Lynn Wallis, Ana Jurado, Albert Cataffi, Leslie Jane Pessemier and Paul Hodgins. Holda completed her Certificate for Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS) Program in 2014 under Rocio Braggiato and is now a registered R.A.D teacher. Holda is pursuing a B.A. in Dance at the University of Houston.

Kryztal Vazquez is a San Antonio native currently studying Dance and Business Administration at the University of Houston. She will be graduating in Spring 2016 and hopes to share her passion for dance with others, especially underprivileged children. Her dance interest began at a young age at Earle Cobb Dance Studio, studying ballet, tap, and jazz. She participated in their competition team and furthered her dance career as a twirler and color guard captain for Winston Churchill High School.  She has won regional, state, and national titles for individual and team competitions in twirling under the National Baton Twirling Association Division and currently represents the University of Houston as the Feature Twirler. She has recently studied dance and stage production under Karen Stokes, Teresa Chapman, Rebecca Valls, and Toni Valle at UH.  Upon graduation, Kryztal hopes to perform, teach, and continue her dance education through an MFA program.

Light and Costumes Designers

Josh Jacobs (Lighting Designer) is a first year MFA majoring in Technical Direction. Josh received his BFA from the University of Texas at Arlington under the direction of Daniel Archibald. Josh has been Technical Director for many shows including: Intimate Apparel, Into the Woods, A Streetcar Named Desire, Government Inspector, A Zookeepers Journal, and Fiddler on the Roof. While his main passion is technical directing, Josh loves all aspects of the theatre including Stage Management; The Pajama Game, Big Love, Mavplays 2014 Theatre Festival, Big River, Scenic Design; Seven's a Crowd, Superhero, and Sound Design; Angels Inc. and Dream.  In his free time, his wife has he use his technical skills in carpentry and painting to enhance their new home here in Houston."

Jean C. Gonzalez (Lighting Designer) is a first year MFA Design student. He is a recent graduate of University of Texas at Arlington where he majored in Theater, specializing in lighting and scenic design. Lighting designs include Gruesome Playground Injuries, multiple Dance concerts, and Skin; scenic designs include Bus Stop, The Liar, VHS Tapes and a Greyhound Bus, The Magic Flute (assistant). He is an active USITT (United States Institute for Theater Technology) member where he serves as the Vice Commissioner for Student Affairs in Scenic Design and will chair a session at the upcoming national conference in Cincinnati.

Cody Hoeppner (Costume Designer) is a senior BFA production major with a focus in costuming. He costume designed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, as well at the 10 Minute Play Festival for the past two years. He also served as the assistant costume designer for Peace in Our Time, The Philadelphia Story, and The Lotus Gun. He is the Makeup and Wig Supervisor at Moore’s School of Music. After graduation, Cody plans to move to Los Angeles to pursue work in costuming and take on the west coast!

Lynsey Manley (Li​ghting Designer) is a second year MFA lighting design student from the New Orleans area. Since getting into theatre at the age of four, Lynsey has been involved in over 245 productions both on and off stage/camera. Her most recent credit was as the Projections Assistant for the All New Play Festival at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX. 

Thomas Murphy (Lighting Designer) is a professional lighting and scenic designer based in Houston, TX and third year graduate fellow in lighting and scenic design at the University of Houston. Recent credits include 39 Steps at Queensbury Theatre, How I Learned To Drive at Obsidian Theater/Landing Theatre Company, The Altruists at The Rice Players, Intimate Apparel, Fuente Ovejuna, Bus Stop, Playboy of the Western World, Philadelphia Story, and Blood Wedding at the University of Houston. He has designed for a number of dance companies in Houston and has been a regular fixture designing and consulting for Diverseworks. Thomas has assisted on productions at The Palazzo Theater in Las Vegas, Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Alley Theatre and a number of other theatre companies in the Houston and Austin areas. Thomas is dedicated to the creation of great art and collaboration with his colleagues. He also spends his time writing and creating visual art.

Rigel Nuñez (Lighting Designer) is a first year Graduate student here at the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance. Her focus is in both Technical Direction and Scenic Design. She earned her BA in Theatre Arts at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) in 2008. After that she became the Assistant Technical Director at UIW, the TD at The Overtime Theatre and designed scenery for both. San Antonio designs include If I Can't Have You No One Can, Eleemosynary, The Happy Couple, Dr. S. Battles the Sex-Crazed Reefer Zombies and Life; Or a Reasonable Approximation Thereof. She's freelanced as a Scenic Carpenter for companies like the Alley Theatre and the Lookingglass Theatre. Locally she designed scenery for Guys and Dolls at Pearland High School.

Leah Smith (Lighting Designer) is a first year MFA costume design major. Leah received her BFA from Western Michigan University. Previous costume design credits include: The Liar, (Quintero Theatre, UH) Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Pride and Prejudice, and Macbeth (Williams Theatre, WMU), Tony and Tina’s Wedding (Cityscape Kalamazoo), The Wedding Singer (Comstock Center Stage Theatre), and Fame Jr. (Battle Creek Junior).

UH SOTD Dance Program Faculty

Karen Stokes, Professor
Teresa Chapman, Associate Professor
Becky Valls, Associate Professor
John Beasant III, Assistant Professor
Lauren Cohen
Jeanne Doornbos
Jackie Nalett
Melissa Noble
Firat Ozsoy
Leslie Scates
Sophia Torres
Toni Valle