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Guest Artists

Christian von Howard

Christian von Howard is the Artistic Director of the VON HOWARD PROJECT, a contemporary dance company based in New York City. As an international artist, he has worked with many dance artists such as Fred Benjamin, Fernando Bujones, and Daniel Gwirtzman, and his choreography has been produced in venues across the globe including Europe, South America, Asia, and throughout the US. Christian is an Associate Professor at Montclair State University, on faculty at the Alvin Ailey School, and serves as the Northeast Regional Director of the American College Dance Association. He holds advanced degrees from the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University and Tisch School of the Arts, NYU.

Abby Zbikowski

Juried Bessie award winning choreographer Abby Zbikowski created her company Abby Z and the New Utility in 2012. Abby Z and the New Utility have been presented by the Gibney Dance Center, Movement Research at Danspace Project, the Abrons Arts Center, and the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College in upstate New York, and the FuseBox Festival in Austin, Texas, with upcoming shows at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Zbikowski is an Assistant Professor of dance at the University of Illinois and on faculty at the American Dance Festival. She is an inaugural Caroline Hearst Choreographer-In-Residence at the Lewis Center of the Arts at Princeton University(2017-2019) and has been in residence at Bates Dance Festival, American Dance Festival, and S.L.A.M.(Streb Lab for Action Mechanics). She has taught at the Academy of Culture in Riga, Latvia as part of Movement Research’s Global Practice Sharing. Abby has studied intensively at Germaine Acogny’s L’École de Sables in Senegal, holds a BFA in dance from Temple University and an MFA in dance from Ohio State University, where she worked closely with mentors Bebe Miller and Vickie Blaine. As a performer she has worked with Charles O. Anderson/Dance theater X, Vincent Mantsoe, and the Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project.

Francisco Aviña

Francisco’s training started at Orange County High School of the Performing Arts and continued at Alvin Ailey.  He worked as a dancer in such projects as: Celine Dion’s A New Day at Caesars Palace,  Newsies-the Movie , Batman and Robin, Michael Jackson’s Sisterella, Fame L.A the TV series,The World Billboard Music Awards. He danced for Elton John, Bette Midler, Janet Jackson, and numerous corporate industrials such as Adidas, Canon, Nike, Reebok, Asics, Nintendo and Aveda. Moving to Chicago he began his company career with Hubbard Street 2 for 1 year, moving to River North  for 1 year, and subsequently into Hubbard Street for 3 seasons. He has also worked with  Lucky Push Production’s under the artistic of Julia Rhoads. His choreography credits include Giannai Versace fashion show in Singapore, 10th Annual American Choreography Awards in Los Angeles, Nickolodeon’s Kid’s Choice Awards with Justin Timberlake, three pieces for Hubbard Street 2 in which one he won a national choreography competition.

Working in Mexico City he choreographed  for TV Azteca Disney’s High School Musical La Seleccion  and Yo Mexico which was a multi media production celebrating the bicentennial anniversary of Mexico’s independence and the centennial anniversary of its revolution with more than 350 artists including dancers, aerialists and musicians. It was performed in the Zocalo at the foot of the National Palace and viewed by over 1.5 million people. He completed the first piece set on Danceworks Chicago entitled “Track 4” under the artistic direction of Julie Nakagawa. He has choreographed for Chicago dance companies such as Luna Negra, Thodos Dance, Ron de Jesus Dance and the Joffery’s second company. Francisco received the “Outstanding Choreography Award” at the Youth America Grand Prix competition.  Francisco is also the resident choreographer for “Digital 9″ in Shibuya Tokyo where he periodically sets new works for a cast of over 60 artists. Currently Francisco is the Artistic Director of Danza Tres in Mexico City, were he over see’s the artistic direction of large mass live event’s as well as television and theatre projects.

Summer Lee Rhatigan