ABOUT THE COMPANY
Click HERE to view videos by Agua Dulce Dance Theater on VIMEO.
AGUA DULCE DANCE THEATER (ADDT)—co-directed by Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton, ADDT integrates contemporary dance, martial arts, improvisation, and somatic practices to create works that spark the imagination and provoke thought. The company engages in dance making practices that include co-creation, instant composition, and experimentation, through collaborations with artists in dance, theater, video, sound, and lighting for concert dance, museums, site-specific, and dance-for-the-camera projects. By bringing diverse groups of people together, ADDT offers a space for different voices to be heard within a collective endeavor. Recent collaborators include dance artists Marion Ramírez, Jungwoong Kim, Thayer Jonutz, Steven Iannacone, and Maida Withers; video artists KimSu Theiler and Alexis Raskin; sound artist Oliver Lyons; and musicians Andy McGraw, José Joaquín García, and Héctor “Coco” Barez.
ADDT has presented work in Festival Internacional Danz’Aquí, Puerto Rico (2005), Dance in America Series @ Abron’s Art Center (2006), Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Series (2006), Museo de la Ciudad in Querétaro, Mexico (2008), Blue Curtain Music and Dance Summer Series (2008), New York Dance Parade (2008 and 2010), Old Grand Rapids Public Museum (2010), Trip the Light: Ephemeral, Wealthy Theatre, MI (2011), Dance Films @ The Flea Festival (2011), Modlin Center for the Arts (2012), The Food for Thought Series at Danspace Project/St. Mark’s Church (2012), RVA Street Art Festival (2013), Hunts Point Homes at BAAD! (2013), The Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art (2014 and 2016), The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (2015), The Richmond Dance Festival Films Night (2015), Pregones Theatre (2015), Richmond Dance Festival (2015 and 2016), Movement Research at The Judson Church (2016), RADFest (2017), Museo y Centro de Estudio Humanisticos, Universidad del Turabo, Puerto Rico (2017), and Casa de Cultura RUTH Hernandez Torres, Puerto Rico (2017).
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“portrait of an imagined deity” is informed by archetypes of mother, lover, and warrior evoked by different deities present in African diasporic cultures. The music was created in 1979 for the production of Atibón, Ogú, Erzulí by the Puerto Rican mime company Taller de Histriones. This excerpt of the music is used with permission from composer Emmanuel “Sunshine” Logroño. Performed by University Dancers of The University of Richmond at the Alice Jepson Theatre of the Modlin Center for the Arts (2017).
“portrait of an imagined deity” is informed by archetypes of mother, lover, and warrior evoked by different deities present in African diasporic cultures. The music was created in 1979 for the production of Atibón, Ogú, Erzulí by the Puerto Rican mime company Taller de Histriones. This excerpt of the music is used with permission from composer Emmanuel “Sunshine” Logroño. Performed by Alicia Díaz at Princeton University’s Diasporic Body Grammar: An encounter of movements and words, and by Christina Carlotti Kolbin conjunction with an installation by Jeannette Betancourt at the Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanísticos, Universidad del Turabo, Puerto Rico (2017).
There I Go Rising, is a solo created and performed in conversation with Maya Angelou’s poem “And Still I Rise.” The piece explores themes of resilience that integrate complementary opposites—defiance and playfulness, bitterness and reconciliation, pain and triumph. The movement vocabulary references gestures found in dances of the African diaspora, like the Puerto Rican bomba, that have historically served as embodied forms of resistance. Performed at RADFest (2017)
A duet in conversation with the Rodin sculpture The Gates of Hell. Rodin’s recycling of his own work, the use of the deconstructed body to represent the whole and his play with what is present and what is absent, is interpreted through the movement of two bodies contained within a circle. Performed at The Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art at The University of Richmond (2016) and Museo y Centro de Estudio Humanísticos, Universidad del Turabo (2017).
This collaboration between Alicia Díaz and Puerto Rican percussionist Héctor “Coco” Barez is inspired by the Puerto Rican music and dance form bomba, developed during slavery and characterized by the improvisational dialogue between dancer and drummer. The piece is anchored in the sicá bomba rhythm while experimenting with both instrumentation and movement vocabulary that go well beyond the boundaries of the pure form, yet maintaining the integrity of the rhythmic structure at the center of their conversation. Through this methodology, Díaz is investigating the dialogue between tradition and individuality, between the past and the now, and between dance forms and vocabularies that are part of my personal history as a Puerto Rican woman and as a contemporary dancer. Performed at Movement Research at the Judson Church (2016) and Museo y Centro de Estudio Humanísticos, Universidad del Turabo (2017).
Deep Listening is a conversation between movement and sound, between dancer and musician, and between memory and identity. Integrating improvisation and contemporary dance with references to the traditional Puerto Rican music and dance form bomba, this work is the result of an ongoing collaboration between Alicia Díaz and Puerto Rican percussionist Héctor “Coco” Barez. Performed at Pregones Theater (2015), Richmond Dance Festival (2016) and Casa de Cultura RUTH Hernández Torres, Puerto Rico (2017).
An autobiographical solo performance piece created and performed by Matthew Thornton that explores questions of memory and identity through movement, spoken word, and song. Performed at Richmond Dance Festival (2015) and Pregones Theater (2015).
A structured improvisation in collaboration with Puerto Rican percussionist Héctor “Coco” Barez. The piece was created in response to two prints in the Harnett Biennial of American Prints and addressed themes of racial violence in contemporary American society. Performed at The Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art at The University of Richmond (2014).
A film by Alicia Díaz in collaboration with Matthew Thornton. This was a challenging and exhilarating process through which I learned to organize ideas and images through the gaze of the camera lens rather than on my own body. Most importantly, I learned to “choreograph” through the act of editing. Created during the Dance and New Media MFA course at The George Washington University. Screened at the 2015 American College Dance Association (ACDA) Mid-Atlantic Conference at Towson University, March 5-9, 2015 and The Richmond Dance Festival Films Night. Dogtown Dance Theatre, May 1, 2015. Winner of the Richmond Dance Festival Films Night–through an adjudicated process.
passing through (2013)
Co-director, choreographer and performer. This piece emerged from a series of collaborations over the course of two years, initiated by Art Farm, an artistic collective of artists from different media. It is a collaboration between Richmond, New York City, and Philadelphia based artists in dance, music, video, and lighting. The piece explores a process of emerging from darkness into sound, form, and light through ideas of becoming, taking shape, and moving on. This was a shared evening with the award-winning contemporary music sextet, eighth blackbird’s new theatrical work, Columbine’s Paradise.
Co-choreographer and performer of a series of site-specific movement installations that were performed over the course of three days as part of the RVA Street Art Festival—a public art project led by muralist Ed Trask that brought muralists from around the nation and abroad to create work in the old GRTC bus depot with the intent to bring awareness to the pressing current discussion about public transportation in Richmond, VA.
Co-choreographer and performer of site-specific, multi-disciplinary project based at BAAD! (Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance). This project was a collaboration between Agua Dulce Dance Theater (Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton), Catch Me Dance (Marion Ramírez and Jung Woong Kim), and multi-media artist Hatuey Ramos Fermín. Produced by Pepatián (Jane Gabriels). The work was created in conjunction with research interviews and a tour of Hunts Point with: Petrushka Bazin Larse of the Laundromat Project, Arthur Aviles of BAAD!, Kellie Terry of The Point, and Majora Carter of the Majora Carter Group.
Artistic collaborator in the dance-for-the-camera duet created during the 2012 Art Farm residency in Yellow Barn Workshop in Ohio. Art Farm is a collaboration between Agua Dulce Dance Theater (Alicia Diaz and Matthew Thornton), Thayer Jonutz, Kimsu Theiler, Oliver Lyons, and Alexis Raskin. Movement created and performed by Matthew Thornton and Thayer Jonutz. Filmed and edited by Kimsu Theiler.
Co-choreographed by Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton. Conceived as a solo/duet/solo, “algun día…” explores ideas of death/copulation/birth. Set to music by Leonard Cohen, Felipe Pirela, and Tom Waits. Performed at the Food for Thought Series entitled “Urban Conversations: City as Choreographer” curated by Jane Gabriels at Danspace Project in the East Village/St. Mark’s Church (2012) with vocalists Joaquín José García, Leah Thornton and accompanist Jonathan Hardy, Richmond Dance Festival (2015) and Pregones Theater (2015).
Site-specific structured improvisation. Created during the 2012 Art Farm residency in Yellow Barn Workshop in Ohio. Art Farm is a collaboration between Agua Dulce Dance Theater (Alicia Diaz and Matthew Thornton), Thayer Jonutz, Alexis Raskin, KimSu Theiler, and Oliver Lyons. Filmed by Alexis Raskin and Kimsu Theiler.
Artistic collaborator in the dance-for-the-camera duet created during the 2012 Art Farm residency in Yellow Barn Workshop in Ohio. Art Farm is a collaboration between Agua Dulce Dance Theater (Alicia Diaz and Matthew Thornton), Thayer Jonutz, Kimsu Theiler, Oliver Lyons, and Alexis Raskin. Created and performed by Matthew Thornton and Thayer Jonutz. Filmed and edited by Alexis Raskin and Kimsu Theiler.
Conjuring the Wind (2011)
Collaboration between Agua Dulce Dance Theater and the Grand Rapids based percussion band Wazobia. The trio was performed as part of Trip the Light: Ephemeral at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, MI. Performed by Alicia Díaz, Matthew Thornton, and Sarah Breese.
Untitled at Tompkins Square Park (2010)
Agua Dulce Dance Theater presented a site-specific performance at Tompkins Square Park as part of the 2010 New York Dance Parade. The piece performed by six dancers, moves through a series of duets and improvised group flocking.
An Evening of Dance at The Old Grand Rapids Public Museum (2010)
Agua Dulce Dance Theater (ADDT) presented a site-specific performance for the opening of the exhibit “Michigan—Land of Riches: Re-Examining the Old Grand Rapids Public Museum.” Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton collaborated with Hope College Photography Professor Steven Nelson who designed and constructed a spiraling light installation with photo and video components that the dancers moved within, outside, and in relationship to. The group also performed throughout the museum space at large, including an escort of a bison that paraded the museum! On a separate night, ADDT also curated an evening of dance including the work of the dance company Mise en Place—directed by Thayer Jonutz and Amy Cova—, guest choreographer Courtney St. Clair, and ADDT.
Co-choreographed by Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton in collaboration with Hope College students for the Dance 36 Faculty Concert. “Into the Night” explores the idea of emerging from one world into another, and is an experiment in different movement qualities. It was inspired by the Portuguese fado, “As Fontes” (The Sources), interpreted by Mafalda Arnauth. The piece was set on dANCEpROjECt’s fall season and will be set on the student dance company at Oakland University in 2011.
Co-choreographed by Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton in collaboration with 8 movement artists of Agua Dulce Dance Theater. Filmed by Alison Dobbins with additional camera work by KimSu Theiler, Ben Craig and Alexis Raskin. Original music by Bill Sallak. Environmental sound recordings by Oliver Lyons. Costumes by Megan Pitcher. Filmed at Yellow Barn in Northeast, Ohio. Fiscal Sponsorship provided by Yellow Barn Workshops. Trailer is available for view.
A 3-minute dance video created by KimSu Theiler using close-up footage from the garden scenes of “Grain of Sand: A Dance for the Camera Project” Co-choreographed by Alicia Díaz and Matthew Thornton in collaboration with the performers. Premiered at the 2009 dANCEpROjECt season at Hope College. Screened at the 2010 ACDFA conference at Ohio University. Upcoming screening at the 2011 Dance Films @ The Flea Festival in NYC.
A 20 minute documentary by Alison Dobbins following Kent State University Artist-in-Residence/Assistant Professor Alicia Díaz’s creative process as she adapts her dance solo Yucuninu (2001) into a trio (2008) performed by three Kent State University dance students.
Yucuninu (Site-Specific Film) (2008)
A site-specific film adaptation of the original stage solo created in 2001. Music by Lila Downs. Filmed by Alison Dobbins. In collaboration with Matthew Thornton. This film was projected during the annual faculty concert at Kent State University, Excellence in Motion: Dance 08 Faculty as part of a longer stage version of Yucuninu adapted for three dancers.
Agua Dulce at Pettoranello Gardens (2008)
An hour-long outdoor evening performance created from Agua Dulce Dance Theater’s repertory, including “La orilla / The Shore” and “Grain of Sand.” as well as “Desde el jardín / Out of the Garden” choreographed by Steven Iannacone. The concert was created in collaboration with musicians Sebastián Guerrero and Oliver Lyons, and the cast. Performed at Blue Curtain Music and Dance Summer Series at Pettoranello Gardens in Princeton, New Jersey.
Group piece co-choreographed with Matthew Thornton that explores time and transformation. Soundscore by Bill Sallak. Originally performed as a site specific piece in Tompkins Square Park as part of the 2008 New York Dance Parade and as part of an outdoor evening-long performance for the 2008 Blue Curtain Music and Dance Summer Series. In 2009 the piece was adapted for the theater on the Kent Dance Ensemble at Kent State University and on the Shaker Heights Theater Ensemble in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2010 the piece was set on dANCEpROjECT at Hope College. “Grain of Sand” served as the starting point for the 2009 “Grain of Sand: A Dance for the Camera Project” [see information above].
In collaboration with Puerto Rican choreographers Alicia Díaz and Marion Ramírez, Peruvian percussionist Sebastián Guerrero, and Pilobolous dancer Matthew Thornton. Together they develop a dialogue that navigates between music and movement, and between choreography and improvisation. The work evokes the sea as both creator and destroyer, a place where beginnings and endings coexist. The piece was first performed as a duet with Díaz and Ramírez at the Pepatián Bronx Artist Spotlight: Fall Into It 2005 at Lehman Stages of Lehamn College in NYC. Longer versions were performed with Thornton at the Far Out performance series and the First Weekends Series at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) in 2006 in NYC.
Duet co-choreographed with Matthew Thornton with original music by Oliver Lyons and the song “Una palabra” by Cuban songwriter Carlos Varela. Commissioned by Contemporary Motions. Made possible in part by the Winter 2002 Union St. Dance Space Grant and the Artist in Residence Grant at the Capoeira Angola Palmares Center. This piece has been developed and revised through the course of several years. It has been performed in different configurations at Hope College (2002 and 2003), Shaker Heights High School (2002), the Festival Danz’Aquí in Puerto Rico (2003), the Dance in America Series produced by Vissi Dance Theater (2006), Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series (2006), Museo de la Ciudad de Querétaro in Mexico (2008), the Blue Curtain Music and Dance Summer Series, Pettoranello Gardens (2008). In 2009 Díaz and Thornton adapted La orilla / The Shore for a group of 9 dancers for dANCEpROjECt at Hope College. It was performed by Alicia Díaz and Sarah Breese at the Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival in the Wellspring Theater in Kalamazoo, MI (2011). In 2012 Díaz and Thornton adapted La Orilla / The Shore as a trio for University of Richmond’s University Dancers—performed at “Jazzed” at UR and the 2012 Mid-Atlantic American College Dance Festival Conference.
Please contact ADDT for more information on artistic residencies to set works, teach master classes and facilitate workshops at:
Agua Dulce Dance Theater offers:
Contemporary Dance Technique–This class will focus on organic ways of moving while maximizing circular forces, coordinating breath and movement, and moving with an awareness of gravity and momentum. Kneepads recommended.
Capoeira–Students will learn basic movements and sequences of this Afro-Brazilian self-defense hidden in dance form. They will be exposed to the music of capoeira including instruments and songs. The class will culminate in a short “roda” or circle of capoeira where they will “play” capoeira drawing from the material learned in class.
Non-Traditional Partnering–Class begins with a warm up based on the energy work of Chi-Kung where each individual connects with and generates their own internal energy before coming into contact with another body. Students will learn fundamental principles of partnering that will allow them to explore weight-sharing and lifts. The class further explores learned exercises through directed improvisations.
Partner Bodywork–Drawing from elements of partner yoga and thai yoga massage, students will be led through a series of partner stretches and bodywork that will simultaneously relax and invigorate the body. A yoga or pilates mat is recommended.