Mexican Choreographer Claudia Lavista Joins Department as Mellon Resident Artist

In 2011-12, the Music Department is tremendously excited to welcome Mexican choreographer Claudia Lavista as Mellon Resident Artist in conjunction with the new Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry.  Hosted by Music faculty, Claudia will work with our graduate students in composition to craft a dance-music installation called “Visible/Invisible,” using multiple spaces in the Logan Center for the Arts.  Her preparatory visit in May 2011, included presentations in Fulton Recital Hall and the Composition Seminar, set our imaginations on fire!  She is a person of true verve, intelligence, and vision (and as it happens the daughter of past Tinker Professor of Composition, Mario Lavista, whose music she has used for various choreographies!).

Claudia is a dancer, co-artistic director and choreographer of Delfos Contemporary Dance, and a co-director and teacher of the Mazatlan Professional School of Contemporary Dance (EPDM). She has taught classes and workshops in México and abroad. In October 2008 the International Dance Festival “Lila Lopez” in San Luis Potosi granted the EPDM the Raul Flores Canelo Award for its pedagogical and artistic contributions to national dance media.

Claudia started her studies of music and theater at the age of eight, and studied dance at the National System for Professional Teaching of Dance in Mexico City. In 1987 she joined the dance company U,X. Onodanza and was later asked to join Danzahoy Dance Company from Venezuela, where she danced for five years and began her first choreographic work. In 1992 she founded Delfos with Victor Manuel.  She has received numerous awards, including the National Dance Award in 1992, Best Female Dancer at the International Dance Festival of San Luis Potosi in 2005, and Best Female Dancer at the National Dance Awards in 1998 and the 2002. She is a multiple-time recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts and winner of the State Arts and Culture Foundation fellowships. In 2001 the specialized critics selected her as “One of the 10 Best Dancers of the 20th Century” and in 2007 the press named her Best Interpreter and Best Choreographer at the International Dance Festival in Sonora.

In 2007 she was invited as International Visiting Artist at the 25th Bates Dance Festival, supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). Her work “Stone Garden,” created for the North American dancer Andree Scott, received the Award of the Austin Critics Table as “Outstanding Dance Concert” in 2008.  In 2008, The National Endowment for the Arts recognized her artistic development by entering her in the Creators of Art National System.

Claudia has performed in more than 80 choreographies and created more than 30 choreographic works. She has collaborated with theater and opera directors, photographers, video artists, and numerous other artists.  We were lucky enough to have learned about her amazing work when Shulamit Ran participated in a discussion related to a Delfos performance at Ravinia and look greatly forward to reaping further rewards come spring of 2012.

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