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Danceworks 2019 block

March 1 – 10, 2019
Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive

Artistic Direction by Joel Valentin-Martinez
Choreography by Paige Fraser, Jeff Hancock, J’Sun Howard, and Joel Valentin-Martinez

The best of dance at Northwestern University is always on full display each year at the annual Danceworks concert featuring new works in a variety of styles including contemporary, ballet, and jazz. This year’s exciting showcase will feature new works from acclaimed Chicago-based choreographers Paige Fraser and J’Sun Howard, as well as works by Northwestern University dance faculty members Jeff Hancock and Joel Valentin-Martinez.

Estimated Running Time: 2hrs, including intermission

PAIGE FRASER (Guest Choreographer), originally from the Bronx, NY is a young dancer of color who is breaking boundaries and paving her own road. As a child she trained at Ballet Atlantic Academy under the direction of Leslie Otto. She went on to continue training at Professional Performing Arts High School which had a dance program tied to the Ailey School. Throughout her training Ms. Fraser attended many summer intensives all as a scholarship recipient; ABT, DTH, Complexions, Jacobs Pillow, and The Juilliard School. In 2008 Ms. Fraser attended Dominican University/Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet and later transferred/graduated Cum Laude from Fordham University/Alvin Ailey BFA in 2012. Ms. Fraser was a member of Ailey II for the seasons under the artistic direction of Sylvia Waters and Troy Powell. While in AileyII she traveled both domestically and internationally, performing works by Alvin Ailey, Amy Hall, Benoit Swan Pouffer, Donald Byrd, and Troy Powell. In 2013 Ms. Fraser became a founding dancer of Visceral Dance Chicago and is now in her 6th season with the company. She has performed works by Danielle Agami, Harrison McEldowney, Kevin O’Day, Marguerite Donlon, Nick Pupillo, and Sidra Bell. She has been a guest artist with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre, Ruth Page Civic Ballet, and Randy Duncan’s highly acclaimed finale for Dance For Life Chicago . She has appeared in Beyonce’s “Bow Down” 2013 tour opener and in V Magazine’s holiday video featuring model Chanel Iman. Ms. Fraser has been featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, Essence, Lucky, and graced the 2016 cover of both Revolution Dancewear and Streetwise Chicago. Paige can be seen dancing in season three of Empire and in Jussie Smollet’s music video “FUW”.

J’SUN HOWARD (Guest Choreographer) is one of the inaugural Co-MISSION Fellows at Links Hall, a Sybil Shearer Fellow through Ragdale Foundation, nominated to participate in an emerging artist laboratory at Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC), and is one of the inaugural 3Arts Make A Wave grantees. A 2014 Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum Lab Artist awardee, J’Sun’s choreography has appeared at venues such as Links Hall, Northwestern University, Dance Box (Kobe, Japan), Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Sonotheque, Lincoln Square Theatre, Insight Arts/Center for New Possibilities, Epiphany Church, Rumble Arts, Defibrillator Performance Art Gallery, Patrick’s Cabaret (Minneapolis, MN), and Danspace Project (New York City). He has performed for choreographers Malcolm Jason Low, Asimina Chremos, Sara Wookey, Paige Cunningham, Selene Carter but most extensively with ongoing collaborators Darrell Jones and Damon Green in their research of (e)feminized ritual performance, which received a 2013 Juried Bessie Award for Hoo-Ha (for your eyes only). His collaboration, Utopic Monster Theory, with poet Jennifer Karmin has been performed in exhibitions “I Can’t Breathe” at ARC Gallery, “Law and Disorder” at Women Made Gallery, and Small Traffic Press’s production of Poets Theater Festival (San Francisco, CA), and the biennial IN>Time Performance Festival.

JEFF HANCOCK (Choreographer) is a dancer, choreographer, costume designer and teacher. He has choreographed work for the River North Chicago Dance Company, Hubbard Street II, the Edinburgh Festival, Princess Cruise Lines, the Pegasus Players, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, Chicago’s Next Dance Festival, numerous regional companies, and Northwestern’s Theatre and Interpretation Center. He has choreographed and performed in numerous musical theater productions and danced with the Lyric Opera. A founding member and former principal dancer for the River North Chicago Dance Company and a former Hubbard Street Dance Chicago company member, Hancock has been nominated for Ruth Page Awards for performance and choreography and is a grant recipient from the Illinois Arts Council. He was a company member and co-artistic director of Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre. In addition, he has danced with Dance Kaleidoscope, Jan Erkert and Dancers, and guested with the Joe Goode Performance Group, among others. Hancock teaches master classes nationally and internationally, and has also designed and constructed costumes for River North Dance Chicago, Robert Battle, Columbia College, Same Planet Different World Dance Theatre, Shirley Mordine, Ginger Farley, and many others.

JOEL VALENTIN-MARTINEZ (Artistic Director) was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He initiated his theater/dance training at American Conservatory Theater, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Rosa Montoya’s Bailes Flamencos, Oakland’s Dimensions Dance Theatre, and San Francisco State University. From 1990-2003, he was a member of Garth Fagan Dance (Tony Award Winner) and toured with the troupe throughout the United States, Canada, the Middle East, Europe, Australia, South America, and the Caribbean. Since 2003, Mr. Valentín-Martínez has devoted his time to teaching at the university level and developing his own choreography projects. His work with Fulcrum Point-New Music Project, Misplaced Flowers (2010) and Tlatelolco Revisited (2008) were both commissioned by Luna Negra Dance Theater and premiered at the Harris Theater in Chicago. He choreographed the musical adaptation of Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street (2009) at the Steppenwolf Theatre. He has developed choreography for the Joel Hall Dancers and John Jota Leaños’ multi-media performance Imperial Silence: Una Ópera Muerta (2008), which has been performed at El Museo del Barrio in New York City, throughout California, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Valentín-Martínez is also the Artistic Director of Valentín Projects. Current projects include: The Living Lakes, a collaborative dance-theatre performance with Anita Gonzalez about Black/Native/Latino migrations along the Midwestern Great Lakes. Prior to joining Northwestern, he taught dance at Arizona State University and the University of Rochester. Valentín-Martínez earned a B.A. in Dance Studies from the State University of New York and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Creative Team

Costume Designer: Jeff Hancock
Lighting Director: Anthony Forchielli
Lighting Designers: Jackie Fox, J. Arthur Franjonie,  Brian Jordan, Daphne Mauela Angosin Orellana
Sound Designer: Connor Ciesil
Stage Manager: Lindsey Cooke

Performance Schedule

Friday, March 1 at 7:30PM
Saturday, March 2 at 7:30PM
Sunday, March 3 at 2:00PM
Thursday, March 7 at 7:30PM
Friday, March 8 at 7:30PM
Saturday, March 9 at 7:30PM
Sunday, March 10 at 2:00PM

Ticket Pricing

Adult $25
Seniors (62+) $22
Area Educator $22
NU Faculty/Staff/Emeriti $20
Full-Time Student $10
NU Student $6/Adv. $10/Door

Buy Tickets


Episode 1: Meet Paige Fraser

Episode 2: Meet Choreographer and Artistic Director Joel Valentin-Martinez

Episode 3: Meet Choreographer J’Sun Howard

Episode 4: Meet Choreographer Jeff Hancock