CATHERINEMARIE DAVALOS is a Chicana choreographer. Her work emerges from her Mexican voice using a feminist, Latina, and Chicana perspective. Her dances uncover the coalescence and contradictions of identity, question heteronormativity and patriarchy, and challenge the current political climate of hatred, fear and violence toward the “other”. Growing up in California with brown skin makes you both invisible and the target. This informs her multI-layered dances. Davalos seeks collaborative artists who have an interest in the same aesthetic arena. She is interested in diversity rather than uniformity. Her company consists of nonconforming bodies, races, and sexual identities. This intersectionality informs her work. Davalos continues to serve the Latino community by making dances that speak from a different voice and move through a contemporary lens.
The Davalos Dance Company has been presented at various venues across the country since its inception in 1994. In 2016, the Davalos Dance Company had the pleasure of performing their site-specific work Oh the MOON! in Panicale, Italy. They will return in 2018 with Radical Acts of Love. In November of 2017, the Davalos Dance Company was presented at the 4th annual Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers with an excerpt from Radical Acts of Love called Nowhere to Hide, a dance about migration.
The Davalos Dance Company has been honored with the generous support of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Faculty Development Office of Saint Mary’s College of California. Their work has been praised in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, DanceViewTimes.com, the Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. Due to her art and activism, Davalos was named one of ten international artists in Artist OF NOTE: The Immigrant Issue, Spring 2014.
Professor Davalos has been the Director of Dance at Saint Mary’s College of California for the past 20 years. The dance program includes a traditional undergraduate program for young dancers, an undergraduate program for professional dancers known as LEAP, and a graduate division which offers an MFA in Dance: Creative Practice, and an MFA in Dance: Design and Production. She received an MFA in Dance from California State University, Long Beach.
ROBERTA CHÁVEZ – dancer
Roberta grew up in Hawaiian Gardens, California, where she began dancing at the age of five. She has performed with Davalos Dance Company, MoBu Dance Group, Terry Sendgraff Aerial Dancers, Dance Ceres, Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project, and Maica Folch. She has also performed with the sketch comedy troupe Kasper Hauser at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. She is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Performing Arts at Saint Mary's College of California.
ROGELIO LOPEZ – dancer
and costume designer
Rogelio is a dancer, dance instructor, choreographer, costume, lighting, and scenic designer. He earned his MFA in dance at California State University Long Beach where he graduated with honors in 2005. Since then he has been guest faculty and choreographer at Wild Wood Secondary School, Cerritos Community College, Loyola Marymount University, San Jose State University, Modesto Junior College, California State University Fresno, Dominican University of California, Sonoma State University, West Texas A&B, and California State University East Bay. Presently he is an Assistant Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California, and teaches regularly at Shawl Anderson Dance Center. His choreography has been presented at The American College Dance Festival, in Gala Performances and in National Performances at The Kennedy Center. He has had the pleasure to dance professionally for Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company, Keith Johnson and Dancers, Holly Johnston’s Ledges and Bones, Hope Mohr, Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Nina Haft, Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, the Davalos Dance Company, and is currently working on his second project with Randee Paufve. Rogelio also recently founded his own company Rogelio Lopez & Dancers. Rogelio has won three Lester Horton awards for outstanding achievement in dance in the Los Angeles area, two as a dancer and one as scenic designer. His collaborations with CatherineMarie Davalos inform the gay, immigrant, Latino experience.
EDGAR MENDEZ – dancer
Edgar is the newest member of the Davalos Dance Company. Upon college graduation he became a professional dancer with the company Stranger Lover Dreamer and recently performed in Paul C’s Homeroom Journal. Edgar continues to study dance in the Bay Area. He is a San Francisco native and a graduate of Saint Mary's College in 2013 with a split major in Dance and English. Throughout his four years as a member of the Saint Mary's College Dance Company, he performed in pieces choreographed by CatherineMarie Davalos, Rogelio Lopez, Bliss Kohlmyer, Elizebeth Randall, and Shaunna Vella to name a few. He entered college as a first generation student and is humbled by the support he found in his dance community at Saint Mary's College. He never pictured his life to end up in a dance-centered career. He strives to live his life creatively, unlimited by what is available.
ANDREW MERRELL – dancer
Andrew is a dancer and choreographer. He has been commissioned to choreograph works for Santa Ana College and Cerritos College. Andrew has also shown his own work at Randee Paufve's 8x8x8, The Garage, and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center. He is one of the artistic directors for the dance collective Stranger Lover Dreamer (with Shaunna Vella and Elizebeth Randall). In addition to the Davalos Dance Company, Andrew has danced professionally with Keith Johnson and Dancers and Holly Johnston’s Ledges and Bones. Since moving to Oakland in 2010 with his husband and frequent dance partner Rogelio Lopez, he has had the privilege to work with many Bay Area choreographers, such as, Catherine Galasso, Abigail Hosein, Nina Haft, and Deborah Slater. Andrew is currently earning his MFA in Creative Practice from Saint Mary's College, where he also teaches yoga and modern dance technique. He graduated from California State University, Long Beach with a BA in Dance in 2008. From there, he completed a yoga certification through Laughing Lotus in San Francisco.
ELIZEBETH RANDALL – dancer
Elizebeth is a performer and teaching artist from Santa Cruz, CA who has been active in the Bay Area dance community for many years. She is a founding member of the Davalos Dance Company. Elizebeth has performed and toured internationally with other companies including: Deborah Slater Dance Theater, Liss Fain Dance, Dance Ceres, Paco Gomes & Dancers, and Margot Parsons' Dance Visions. She is currently performing with Paufve Dance while also choreographing and performing for Stranger Lover Dreamer, the dance theater collective she co-founded in 2013. Elizebeth has taught ballet, modern dance, and improvisation at Boston Ballet School, Endicott College, San Francisco State, and numerous studios and public schools. She is presently on faculty at Saint Mary's College and Shawl-Anderson Dance Center. Elizebeth's choreography and teaching philosophy are centered around the transcendent nature of the body as an expressive tool and the unique power of dance to connect, inspire, and transform. She holds a BA in Dance from San Francisco State University and an MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied on full scholarship.
ZAQUIA MAHLER SALINAS – dancer
Zaquia Mahler Salinas, a native San Diegan, is a performer, dance maker, and teacher. After completing her BA in Dance with Honors from UC Santa Barbara, she returned to San Diego and has been a company member and teacher with Jean Isaacs’ San Diego Dance Theater since 2012 where she has the opportunity to perform works by various choreographers, both in the theater and at site-specific events. She is committed to the evolution of her teaching and her artistry and recently earned her MFA in Dance: Creative Practice from Saint Mary’s College of California. As a choreographer, Zaquia has received awards and recognitions for dance works she has presented at events such as Kinesis Santa Barbara, World Cultures Program at San Diego City College, UC San Diego’s ArtPower!, SDDT’s Young Choreographer’s Showcase and Prize, San Diego International Fringe Festival, and San Diego Dance Theater’s Trolley Dances. Her works include various evening-length pieces, several shorter works, as well as dance films. Currently, she is invested in sharing her most recent work, an immersive dance film experience the loneliest part of here is now, an intersection of her Palestinian, Chican@, and female self. For more about Zaquia and her work, please visit her website: zaquiasalinas.com.
SHAUNNA VELLA – dancer
and rehearsal assistant
Shaunna is a choreographer, performance artist, teacher, program director and community organizer that has created work in the Bay Area for 18 years. As a queer-femme and Jewish identified artist, she views performance creation as ritual; a place for healing, transformation, spiritual and political inquiry, and community building.
Shaunna is a co-director of the Oakland-based dance collective Stranger Lover Dreamer that creates experimental dance theater projects. Her choreography and performance installations have been seen at Counterpulse, ODC Theater, Dance Mission Theater, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, The Garage, Studio 210, Ashby Stage, The Flightdeck, Temescal Arts Center, as well as open spaces and unexpected corners. As a dancer, she has created and performed works with the Davalos Dance Company, Rogelio Lopez and Dancers, Anne Bluethenthal and Dancers, Liss Fain Dance, Paufve Dance, Courage Group, Agora Dance Project, Dance Ceres, and Deborah Slater Dance Theater. Shaunna is the Director of the LEAP (Liberal Education for Arts Professionals) Program and a full-time professor at Saint Mary’s College of California. She teaches youth and open adult classes at Shawl-Anderson Dance Center in Berkeley. She holds an MFA in Dance: Creative Practice and BA in Psychology and Dance: Performing Arts from Saint Mary’s College.
HAILEY YAFFEE – dancer
Hailey began her dance training at the age of 10 in her hometown of Lakeport, CA. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saint Mary’s College with a B.A. in Performing Arts: Dance. As a SMC Dance Company member, she had the pleasure of performing “Fast Brass” by Janice Garrett at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. During the summer months of her college years Hailey studied at the Laban Conservatoire of Dance in London and at the Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Upon graduation, she received the Performing Arts: Louis LeFevre Award. Professionally, Hailey has danced with Davalos Dance Company, Jia Wu Dance Theatre, Diablo Theatre Company, Woodminster Summer Musicals, Jumpin’ at the Sun Dance Company and in various short films and music videos.
DAVID FRANKLIN – composer
Composer and multi-instrumentalist David Franklin believes music is one of humanity’s most powerful tools for healing, and he hopes his music will inspire listeners to connect more to themselves and others. Franklin, who also is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Northern California, just released his 9th album.
Songs of Potential Embrace (March, 2017) is the soundtrack of compositions David created to accompany performances of San Francisco dance troupe, Rogelio Lopez and Dancers. This album has been receiving airplay in the United States and abroad and made the Top 10 on the international Top 100 Zone Music Reporter Chart in April, 2017. David wrote, recorded and performed all of the sounds on this album which features guitars, pianos, vocals, and more, as well as “found sounds”, such as telephones ringing and babies crying. This record is available on iTunes and wherever music is sold. David’s prior album, Playing With Shadows (March, 2015) was a successful instrumental new age album which featured renowned bassist Michael Manring. Acoustic guitars and pianos fill this melodic album, which spent two months in the Top 10 of the Zone Music Reporter Chart. This album was nominated for various awards.