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Summer Dance Intensive Workshops

WEEK 1   JULY 7-10, 2014    
Urban Latino with Ana Maria Alvarez

"(Alvarez's work) promises a glance at how young Latinos see themselves in a contemporary Urban context...both an edgy examination and a joyous celebration of community."

- The San Francisco Bay Guardian

Urban Latino Practices with Ana Maria Alvarez

JULY 7-10, 2014  | MTWR | 10:30AM–12:20PM
Requirements: Must be enrolled in Modern I/II and Ballet I/II. Limit: 20 participants
The Dance Center, Theater @ 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL 60605
Tuition: Included in Full Summer Dance Intensive Package for credit-seeking students.
Not open to community students.

Urban-Latin@ Dance Styles Workshop Led By Ana Maria Alvarez

JULY 7-10, 2014 | MTWR | 1:00pm–4:00pm
The Dance Center, Room 300 @ 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL 6060

CONTRA-TIEMPO Artistic Director, Ana Maria Alvarez, of will share the company’s unique signature dance form: Urban Latin Dance, which is based on principals of Salsa fused with urban street styles such as hip-hop, Afro-Cuban dances rooted in the African Diaspora, and contemporary dance fundamentals. The workshop will feature principles of leading and following, improvising in pairs, groups, and small learning communities. Pulling from the Rueda (Cuban Salsa) participants will work around concepts of 'compassionate partnering' and movement metaphor. This workshop is designed to engage and push participants to explore new ideas about moving, partnering, improvising and working as community. Participants will leave feeling inspired, productive, engaged, communicating better and with barriers broken down! Participants should wear comfortable clothing and be warmed-up.

Requirements: Must be enrolled in Modern I/II. Limit: 20 participants
Tuition: $250 (Community Students); Included (Credit-Seeking Students)
>Community Students: Register here.

ANA MARIA ALVAREZ (Artistic Director, Choreographer and Dancer) After receiving a BA in Dance and Politics from Oberlin College, Alvarez moved to New York where she became the Dance Specialist at The Center for Family Life in Brooklyn. There she taught, danced and choreographed for several years, before moving to Los Angeles in 2002. Alvarez received her MFA in Choreography from UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures, where she currently teaches. Alvarez collaborated with teachers and researchers to create a dance program at UCLA's Lab Elementary School, which became the foundation for CONTRA-TIEMPO's arts education program. CONTRA-TIEMPO is currently partnering with many schools throughout Southern California, integrating dance in their educational curriculum. Alvarez has received numerous awards and recognition from the arts world and beyond, including Brooklyn Arts Exchange's Artist in Progress Award and from The Association of Performing Arts Presenters Emerging Leaders Institute, The Los Angeles City Council of District 11, The Durfee Foundation, The Flourish Foundation, Festival Internacional de Teatro de Los Angeles' (FITLA) and Instituto de Cultura de Puerto Rico, among others. Recognized as a "Rising star of the dance world" (Backstage NY 2002), Alvarez is inspired to continue to develop and share her artistic vision with the world through CONTRA-TIEMPO's dynamic work.

WEEK 2   JULY 13-18, 2014

SYMPOSIUM: Roots and Routes: Afro-Latinidad in Motion Symposium

As an integral part of the Afro-Latin@ Summer Dance Intensive at Columbia College Chicago, the symposium gathers local and international scholars and artists to explore dance and music in the Afro-Latin@Diaspora.

MONDAY, JULY 14, 2014 | 9:00AM–5:00PM | Columbia College Chicago School of Media Arts, Room 105
Tuition: FREE and open to the public. Advanced registration is encouraged.


Classes in Afro-Latin@ Dance Styles
Ninety-minute classes taught by special guest artists

JULY 15-18, 2014 | 9:00AM- 3:45PM
The Dance Center @ 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL 60605
Tuition: $300 (Community Students); Included in Full Intensive Package (Credit-Seeking Students).
Community Students for Classes only package: Register here

TUESDAY, JULY 15, 2014

Bomba y Plena | Taught by AfriCaribe | 9:00AM-10:20AM
Afro-Cuban | Taught by Victor Alexander | 12:30PM-2:00PM  
Salsa | Taught by Blanca Aviles | 2:15PM-3:45PM 


Samba | Taught by Dill Costa | 9:00AM-10:20AM 
Afro-Brazilian | Taught by Tosha Alston | 12:30PM-2:00PM  
Capoeira| Taught by Joshua Granger | 2:15PM-3:45PM 


Bomba y Plena | Taught by AfriCaribe | 9:00AM-10:20AM
Afro-Cuban | Taught by Victor Alexander | 12:30PM-2:00PM  
Salsa | Taught by Blanca Aviles | 2:15PM-3:45PM 

FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014
| Taught by Dill Costa | 9:00AM-10:20AM  
Afro-Brazilian | Taught by Tosha Alston | 12:30PM-2:00PM  
Capoeira  | Taught by Joshua Granger | 2:15PM-3:45PM 

Evaristo “Tito” Rodriguez created AFRICARIBE in 2000 in an effort create an organization in Chicago that would have the unique intent of celebrating the African influence in Puerto Rico and other countries of the Caribbean. His vision came to fruition in the form of an umbrella organization that provides educational and cultural programming through four main programs. These are the academy through which professional dancers and musicians teach traditional drumming and dance of several Puerto Rican Bomba rythyms; the performance ensemble that prepares and presents various styles of folk music from Puerto Rico and the Caribbean through song, dance, drums and other percussive instruments; the production company which will be responsible for annual events including folklore conferences; and the education department that will provide workshops and lectures by members of the organization and other invited professionals. 

VICTOR ALEXANDER (Choreographer, Dancer and Teacher) is a native of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. He trained at 
the National Dance School in Havana and was a principal dancer for the National Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba for ten years. He has studied with distinguished teachers such as Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis and Jeffrey Bullock from the United States. Victor has toured and danced throughout Europe, the United States and the Caribbean and has participated in dance festivals such as the American Dance Festival at Duke University, the Holland Dance Festival in Amsterdam and the International Dance Festival in Germany. He was the first prize-winner of the Fourth National Union of Writers and Artists Contest in Cuba in 1992. Victor has danced with Hedwig Dances since 2002 and has also performed with Luna Negra Dance Theater; Concert Dance Inc (CDI); the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2008. He has also danced with the Houston Grand Opera and was nominated for an Emmy Award as a Dancer (2008) with the Ruth Page Foundation’s production of Billy Sunday. In 2009, Victor toured to China with CDI and taught at the Nanjing Normal University. In 2012, Victor was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artists Grant and became a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist. He has assisted London Choreographer Litza Bizler and has become the Artistic Director of the Contemporary Program at State Street Dance Studio. This year, he was honored by DANCE Magazine as “25 to watch 2013,” and has become the Director of the Ruth Page School of Dance.

TOSHA “AYO” ALSTON, a quintessential Brooklynite, was raised in a family of highly skilled artists and musicians. At the age of five; she embarked upon an impassioned arts odyssey which has evolved into the dynamic theatrical style of dance, combined with acting, drumming and singing that has become her signature. Ayo recalls that it was when approaching adolescence she found her passion, joy and salvation in West African dance and Orisha culture. Since that time, her journey has been one of meteoric artistic exploration, technical development, and growth. It’s fitting that she has taken the name Ayo, the Yoruba word for Joy; something she was often called growing up. Ayo has both performed and studied with such dance luminaries as M’Bemba Bangoura (G’Bassikolo), Moustapha Bangoura (Le Bagatae), Mouminatou Camara (Les Ballet Africains), Diedre Dawkins (DishiBem), Baba Chuck Davis (AADE), the late Baba Olkuose Wiles (El Shabazz Djembe & Dance Orchestra), and Rosangela Silvestre (Silvestre Technique), to name a few. Under the Artistic Direction of Amaniyea Payne, Ayo grew into the role of Dance Captain for Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago and an emerging choreographer showcasing her first major drum/dance piece entitled, Ayo’s Dream, for two consecutive annual concert seasons. Ayo’s residual performance with Muntu has allowed her expression of love for humanity and creativity to flow throughout the city and around the world. In 2009, Ayo birthed the Ayodele Drum and Dance community; a teaching organization created for women to affirm their self-confidence and strength in our communities. Through travel, research and performance, Ayodele personalizes African music and dance in order to effectively infuse our children with cultural wealth. Ayo, following in the footsteps of dance giants like Katherine Dunham, Judith Jamison, Jawolle Willa Zollar and Debbie Allen, will figure prominently in the future health and vitality of choreography, education, and performance for generations of dancers to come.

BLANCA AVILES has had a passion for movement and dance for as long as she can remember. She grew up with natural desire to move. As a teen she was drawn to the art of Egyptian style Belly Dance. She trained and performed for several years. At age 16 she began dancing through Gallery 37 and gained a scholarship to Homer Bryant Multi-Cultural Pre Professional Program. There she intensively studied ballet, Horton style modern, hip-hop, jazz, Latin dance and flamenco. In 2003, she enrolled in Columbia College, Chicago, and pursued her BA in Dance, graduating in 2006. During her college years she performed in works by Choreographers; Lisa Gonzalez, Julia Rhoads (Lucky Plush) and Bebe Miller, as well as performing at the 2005 American College Dance Festival. In college Blanca began a six-year journey to intensively train in the Brazilian Martial Art Fight Dance: Capoeira. She traveled around the nation to study with the best Master teachers in both Capoeira and Samba. Her passion for Capoeira has greatly influenced her performance and teaching style. After college, Blanca grew as a choreographer putting on various shows throughout the city. Her self-produced work was shown at Links Hall: Breaking Ground. She directed A Latin Dance Production at Indiana University. Blanca also performed with Clinard Dance Theater in the contemporary flamenco work: Jondo Portraits. Her passion for Latin Dance led her perform with Latin dance companies: Latin Rhythms and Urban Vibe; traveling and performing in various cities including: Miami, Orlando, New York, Puerto Rico, Bermuda.

DILL COSTA Raised in Rio de Janeiro, (pronounced ‘Jill’) Dill is the one of the only experts in Samba and Afro-Brazilian dance and Brazilian performances. As a regular dancer in some of Brazil’s best known escolas de samba (samba ‘schools’), where hundreds of musicians and dancers come together for one of the greatest festivals on Earth. Dill is a performer in Chicago, and represents the authentic Carnaval music that is part of Brazil’s rich musical legacy. She has held many titles in samba schools including, ‘Queen of the Percussion Section’. Besides samba, Dill is an expert in Jazz dance (Brazilian style), Afro-Brazilian dance, Modern dance, and Brazilian Folk Dance (Frevo, maracatu, axe and coco). She has lived in Chicago for 13 years, and since 2005, has been teaching the Art of Brazilian Dance at the Old Town Folk Music School of Folk Music, the Evanston Escola de Samba, the Gingarte Capoeira Studio and the Group Axe Capoeira. Dill has also taken the art of Brazilian Dance to other spaces, such as: workshops at Northwestern University, Illinois Western University, Chaturanga Holistic Studio and many other Festivals of Latin culture, throughout the city of Chicago.

JOSHUA GRANGER (Professor Morrao), a native Chicagoan, began training in capoeira with Gingarte capoeira in 1994. Joshua began teaching capoeira in 1997 to the youth in his community on the south side of Chicago. In 2001, his classes expanded, reaching communities throughout the city of Chicago. In 2006, Joshua began traveling and performing capoeira, samba and traditional Afro-Brazilian dances, spreading the richness and culture of Capoeira. After living and studying in Brazil for six months, he founded The Chicago branch of the Cordao De Ouro Capoeira Training and Performance Group. Joshua received his Professor Level cord in 2009, and continues to spread the knowledge of capoeira to children and adults by teaching workshops and weekend classes.


WORKSHOP: Performance Workshop led by Blanca Aviles & Tosha Alston

JULY 15-18, 2014 | 4:00PM–6:00PM
Credit-seeking students will have the opportunity to perform alongside other local Chicago companies in a formal showcase during the closing performance event on Friday, July 18, 2014.  Performance opportunity is not guaranteed for community students. Priority will be given to credit-seeking students.

The Dance Center, Room 300 @ 1306 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago IL 60605

Tuition: $250 for Community Participants    
Included in Full Intensive Package (Credit-Seeking Students) 


> About Blanca Aviles

> About Tosha Alston


Find out full details on tuition for degree-seeking students as well as community/non-credit participants.

A limited number of scholarships are available for students and interested community members. Please contact Raquel Monroe at if you are interested in more information.


Register online, or register through packages by calling 312-369-8330.
For more information:
Call 312.369.8300 | email