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2017-2018 Eminent Artists-in-Residence

DTH Teaching Artists

DTH

Charmaine Hunter

Charmaine Hunter is known as an astute dance educator, choreographer, director, manager, extraordinary dancer and producer.

She began her formal dance training at the Hartford Ballet School under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Uthoff, Academy Director EnidLynn and teacher Truman Finney.

Through the support of Michael Uthoff and Enid Lynn, Charmaine moved to New York City to study with Arthur Mitchell Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem while continuing her formal education at the Professional Children’s School. Her teachers included Karel Shook co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem,Frederick Franklin, Suzanne Farrell, Tanaquil LeClerque, Carmen De Lavellade, Mary Hinkson,Alvin Ailey,and William Griffith just to name a few. She rose through the ranks quickly from the position of company apprentice to corp-de-ballet eventually becoming principal dancer and one of the company’s leading ballerinas.

She electrified audiences with her performances in a broad spectrum of roles. She is best known for her role as The Firebird choreographed by John Taras ( Ballet Master with American Ballet Theater) and Medea, choreographed by Michael Smuin (former Artistic Director of San Francisco Ballet.) Additional ballets include Fall River Legend by Agnes De Mille, Billie The Kid, Le Biche, Voluntaries by Glen Tetley, and a long list of Balanchine ballets just to name a few.

Among the highlights of Charmaine’s career are command performances for European royalty and historic engagement at London’s Royal Opera House. She also performed for luminaries such as Quincy Jones, Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela, Cicely Tyson, President and Mrs. Clinton, President and Mrs. Bush, Mr. and Mrs. Colin Powell, just to name a few.

In 1988, as principal dancer, Charmaine was invited to perform in the former Soviet Union as part of the United States Cultural Exchange Initiative. During this historic visit, Charmaine with Dance Theatre of Harlem was inducted into the prestigious Kirov museum featuring Miss Hunter as one of the principal dancers representing as Cultural Ambassador to the United States.

In 1992, Dance Theatre of Harlem again made history by traveling to South Africa for an unprecedented six week tour before the end of Apartied. DTH was the first American dance company to perform in South Africa after the 30 year cultural ban was lifted. She performed to sold-out houses and to unprecedented integrated audiences in several townships.

During her 25 year career with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, she had opportunities to affect the arts in the U.S. particularly for people of color. Concomitantly spearheading an educational program with the company’s founder Arthur Mitchell, Charmaine taught in some of the country’s poorest township. The program was created specifically for young people with little to no opportunities. The now famous Dancing Through Barriers, DTH’s outreach program had its start in Johannesburg South Africa, three weeks previous to the company’s opening at the Johannesburg Civic Auditorium.

In November 2000, as both principal dancer and the company’s Ballet Mistress, Charmaine traveled to China as teaching artist and principal dancer, teaching master classes at various schools around China. In addition to giving China its first performance of the Firebird, Charmaine conducted extensive outreach and educational activities in Beijing and Shanghai.

In January 2001, Ms. Hunter was invited to Canada by Mirvish Productions the Toronto based Production Company to direct the resident show Disney’s The Lion King at the Princess of Wales Theater. She held this position for 3 years until the production closed tomoved to Amsterdam Holland.

Ms. Hunter relocated to Las Vegas Nevada after being offered a position in Casting with the Cirque du Soleil. She served as the organization’s talent scout for dance as well as teacher for the artists currently in the productions on the Strip. She was also invited to teachthe artists classon the production of ‘A New Day’in the Coliseum atCaesars Palace which featured Celine Dion.

Charmaine then Co-founded the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater with dancer Bernard Gaddis formerly of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. LVCDT is a multi-cultural institution that attracts professional dancers and students from around the world. With financial assistance from various grants and foundations this non-profit organization will provide and inspire young people especially those living in poor communities to live their dreams and reach for the stars. There are several facets to the organization. Each component will carry a solid commitment to enrich the lives of young people and adults of the community, be it through the art of dance, music, theatre, or multi-media.

After the launch of Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theater (LVCDT), Ms. Hunter was appointed the position as teaching artist with Disney Musicals in Schools through Disney Theatricals and Wolftrap Early Childhood Education through the arts with The Smith Center of Performing Arts and The Kennedy Center. She traveled nationally training classroom teachers how to incorporate and utilize dancein the curriculum expanding on the STEAM programs. Her position as teaching artist, lead to many other opportunities which carved another path in directing and management.

Most recently, Charmaine has returned to the professional concert dance world after accepting a full time faculty position as Upper School Principal with Texas Ballet Theater. She directs the Professional Division and teaches in the Academy of Texas Ballet Theater in Fort Worth, Texas under the guidance and leadership of Ben Stevenson O.B.E. Artistic Director ofTexas Ballet Theater and Director Emeritus of Houston Ballet.

Tai

Tai Jimenez

Tai Jimenez, a native of New York City, began her dance training with Joan Millen Mesh and went on to study at the School of American Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Laguardia High School, with Madame Gabriella Darvash and Ken Ludden. She was a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School Ensemble before joining DTH, where she became a Principal Dancer. Her repertory included the title roles of Giselle and Firebird as well as numerous works by George Balanchine, and ballets by Glen Tetley, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Frederick Ashton, Bronislava Nijinska, August Bournonville, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King, Robert Garland, John Alleyne, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, Dwight Rhoden and others. Later, Ms. Jimenez joined Boston Ballet as a Principal. There she originated a role in Mark Morris’ Up and Down, and was also seen in Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Jorma Elo’s Carmen, Balanchine’s Serenade andA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nijinska’sLes Nocesand Asaf Messerer’s Spring Waters. She has appeared as a guest artist with the New York City Ballet and companies across the United States.

She made her Broadway debut as Ivy Smith (Miss Turnstiles) in the 1998 revival of On the Town, directed by George C. Wolfe. Ms. Jimenez originated the roles of Fran in Maria Irene Fornes’ Letters from Cuba and Ysabel in Debbie Allen’s Soul Possessed. She was a featured dancer on the Academy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors and in pop superstar Prince’s Rave Unto the Year 2000. Ms. Jimenez played the role of Mela in the film One Last Dance starring Patrick Swayze.

The versatile Jimenez is also a teacher and choreographer. She was a choreographic assistant in the feature film The Game Plan, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She currently teaches at  The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Harvard University and Phillips Academy, Andover. She has been featured on the cover of Pointe magazine, in Dance Teacher Magazine, and her writing has appeared in both Pointe and Dance Magazine. She writes a blog about spirituality and dance at taijimenez.com. After retiring from performing as a ballerina, Tai took a long hiatus from the stage. She dances again in her own improvisational style as Black Light.

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Dept. of Theatre and Dance

Dept. 3951

1000 E. University Avenue

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-5100

Email: jchapman@uwyo.edu

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