CatherineMarie Davalos is a Chicana choreographer. Her work emerges from her Mexican voice and the constant rediscovery of identity. Davalos makes dances that question heteronormativity using a feminist, Latina, and Chicana perspective. Her dances are often multilayered and her passion is to cross many borders and delve into the coalescence and contradictions of being a Chicana and what she calls “a Mexican American Princess.” Growing up in Southern California with brown skin makes you both invisible and the target. Even though the themes of identity, racism and/or sexuality are often present in her dances, she creates dances that have to do with community. She has never had an audition for her company. She prefers to seek people who are like-minded and have an interest in the same aesthetic arena. She is interested in diversity rather than uniformity. Her company consists of all shapes and sizes, races, and sexual preferences. These people inform her work. Davalos continues to serve the Latino community by making dances that speak from a different voice and move through a different lens. Due to her art and activism, she was named one of ten international artists in OF NOTE: The Immigrant Issue, Spring 2014.
Davalos is the full-time Director of Dance and a Professor in the Performing Arts Department at Saint Mary’s College of California. She has been at Saint Mary’s since 1997 when she was hired to develop the dance program. In 2013 the college agreed to create a graduate program in dance offering the first MFA in Dance: Design and Production along with a low residency model MFA in Dance: Creative Practice. The first cohort entered in June 2014. Davalos received a BA in Philosophy and Dance and an MFA in Dance from CSU, Long Beach, where she was honored with the title “Most Outstanding Graduate for the College of the Arts.”
The Davalos Dance Company has been presented at various venues since its inception in 1994. Their latest project is with the first annual Festival of Latin American Contemporary Choreographers. “FLACC supports dance artists of the Latina/o diaspora who are choosing to make dances of the non-traditional, border-crossing, rule-breaking, cutting-edge, curious, experimental, abstract, sensitive, avant-garde, queer, contemporary, hybridized, neo-classical, or revolutionary varieties.” Davalos is a co-founder of this organization. Previous performances for the company include a collaboration with Davalos and Rogelio Lopez for Dia de Los Muertos with the Latin Ballet of Virginia in October 2013. Previously, Davalos created a full evening work titled Volver with Ana Ines King and the Latin Ballet of Virginia, October 2012. They received numerous grants for this dance theatre piece including one from the National Endowment for the Arts. CounterPulse, a San Francisco dance space, produced the Davalos Dance Company for A Wintry Mix in 2012. In addition to choreography by Davalos, this concert also featured the work of company members Rogelio Lopez and Shaunna Vella. In 2011, Davalos had the pleasure of a choreographic collaboration with Rosana Barragán, Dana Lawton, and Jia Wu. Who Is She? premiered at the San Francisco International Art Festival at the Southside Theater in May 2010. The Davalos Dance Company celebrated their 15th anniversary season in 2009 with Six Questions set to live music composed by Martin Rokeach. In 2008, Terrain, premiered in Port Townsend, WA, in a shared evening of dance with world-renowned choreographer and dance teacher Bill Evans. Borders, Spaces and Brown-Eyed Girls (a reconstruction of a 1995 group piece) premiered as a solo in August 2007 at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus, St. Paul, MN. Her trio Finding Equal, was performed at the Cowell Theater in San Francisco, CA with the Vision Series, December 2007. In 2006, Blue Monkeys was created after visiting Guadalajara, Mexico. It premiered at Raw and Uncut, Footloose Dance Studio, San Francisco, CA, was also performed at Centrum Center for the Arts, Port Townsend, WA, and Works in the Works, Berkeley, CA. The company was chosen for the Women on the Way Festival in January 2006 for the full evening work Dreams Suite whichwas created with the generous support of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Faculty Development Office of Saint Mary’s College. January 2005 marked the 10th anniversary of the Davalos Dance Company and they celebrated with a concert at ODC Theater in San Francisco. The concert, Sacral Queens, Latinas, and Dreams was praised by Rita Felciano in DanceViewTimes.com. In January they also performed in the Women of the World Festival at Dance Mission and at the Dance IS Festival 2005, at the Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, in Berkeley. In 2004, they were part of the Printz Dance Project’s performance, Encore 2, in San Rafael, CA and the Saint Mary’s College Dance Company spring concert, Mandala, Moraga, CA. In 2002 they were produced by ODC Theater for Rock, Paper, Song, as part ofthe series, Migrations. This honor was awarded after performing One Size Fits All in Pilot 33 and Moon Dance in Pilot 35. July of 1998 marked the company’s Northern California debut when they performed two new dances for Summerfest/Dance ’98. Later that year, the company performed at Saint Mary’s College with the CLAM series. In 1997 Ms. Davalos received a second multi-cultural grant to perform at the Martha B. Knoebel Dance Theater at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). The first grant was awarded in 1995 for Mixed Company. In 1996 she was presented by Highways (Santa Monica, California) for American But Hyphenated. Highways also presented her full-evening work Borders, Spaces, and Brown-Eyed Girls in 1995. The Davalos Dance Company has performed at Beyond Baroque (Venice, CA) with VIVA for Chicks and Salsa ‘95, the Long Beach Museum of Art (Long Beach, CA) for the Children’s Cultural Festival; Highways for Fierce Tongues, A Celebration of Latina Art & Artists, produced by Luis Alfaro and Monica Palacios; and they performed with Voices In Motion V, at LACE (Hollywood, CA). Ms. Davalos performed at the Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.) when her duet Doblez was chosen to represent the Southwest region at the National College Dance Festival in 1994. She was nominated for the Dance Magazine “Outstanding Choreographer” award for 1994 and the Los Angeles, Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, 1997. The Davalos Dance Company has been praised in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Davalos has been supported by the Zellerbach Family Fund and by the generous support of the Faculty Development Fund of Saint Mary’s College of California.