Committee Members 2012-2013
Laura Elaine Ellis
Patricia (Gigi) Jensen
Sue Li Jue
Virginia (Ginny) Matthews
Biographies of the Isadora Duncan Dance Award Committee Members for the years 2012-2013. For more information about the committee, read about our policies.
Gail Barton began teaching at San Francisco City College in 1980 & was hired full time in 1990 as the Folk & Ballroom Dance Specialist. In addition to directing the Folk & Ballroom Dance Teams, she has taught Jazz, Ballet, Modern, & Tap, and served 2 terms as Dance Coordinator. For the SF Ethnic Dance Festival, she served as audition judge/panelist on many occasions, as well as the California Arts Council Dance Panel, CDEA Vice President, and on several Dance Company Boards. Her performing experience includes nine years as dancer, choreographer, assistant director of Khadra Ethnic Music & Dance Ensemble & Pacific Ballet, (under the direction of Alan Howard). She worked as a “super” with American Ballet Theatre, National Ballet of Canada & Stuttgart Ballet.
Laura Elaine Ellis is a dancer, educator, choreographer, and producer. Currently, she is a principal dancer with Dimensions Dance Theater, and she is co-founder and executive director of the African & African American Performing Arts Coalition, co-presenters of the Black Choreographers Festival: Here & Now. Through AAAPAC, Ellis is presenting a new program – Men of Color Dancing – offering high-school and college students master classes, workshops, and networking opportunities with locally and nationally known choreographers and master teachers. Ellis is the Executive Director of the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation dedicated to awarding young performing artists the opportunity to train in pre-professional programs. She is on faculty of the Dance and Theater Departments at The Athenian School and California State University, East Bay. Ellis has served on the advisory boards for SF Arts Education Project, Robert Moses’ Kin, and Stepology. She has served on grant panels for Theatre Bay Area’s CASH Grant, the SF Arts Commission, and as an advisor for the HAAS Foundation. She currently serves as a board member for CounterPULSE.
Patricia (Gigi) Jensen, who was born in Colombia, has studied Argentine tango & folkloric dance for fifteen years with Argentine maestro Pampa Cortes. She assists Cortes in his classes, teaching & performing with him in various US cities, and abroad. She dances with Ballet Pampa Argentina. Ms. Jensen is known as a teacher, emcee, host of Argentine cultural events, as a judge for Carnaval San Francisco, grant panelist for Theatre Bay Area, community representative for San Francisco Grants for the Arts, and the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.
Sue Li Jue, dance educator and Artistic Director of Facing East Dance & Music, has been presenting contemporary dance in the Bay Area since 1986. In 1999 she debuted her Oakland-based, all Asian female company and soon after premiered the Izzie-winning production, Rice Women, followed by 3 other full length works. The company celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009. Her work as been performed in Bay Area venues and festivals both large and small, nationally and internationally. Ms. Li Jue is in her 26th year as a Lecturer in Dance in UC Berkeley’s Physical Education Program and holds a BA in dance from UCLA, a Master of Fine Arts degree in dance from Mills College.
Virginia Matthews began her dance career at Sarah Lawrence College under the mentorship of Bessie Shoenberg and trained at The Merce Cunningham Studio in N.Y.C. She was a founding member of The Margaret Jenkins Dance Co. in San Francisco, and served as school director of The Margaret Jenkins Dance Studio. She continued her professional career as co-artistic director of Dances for 1 and 2 which toured throughout the United States, Europe, Turkey and Israel. Founding her own dance company in 1983, she choreographed over 40 works which were performed throughout the S.F. Bay Area. Concurrently she taught dance at The College Preparatory School in Oakland from 1972 to 1994. Since moving to Sonoma County, she has worked extensively with youth and adults at her dance studio, Downtown Dance/Art Space, The Santa Rosa H.S. Artquest program, Analy High School and The Sebastopol Community Center as well as guest performing and teaching at Sonoma State University. She founded All City Dance, a teen dance company and created the 3Generations Dance Project, a multi-age performing company encompassing ages 8 to 60. She is also a founding member of SoCo Dance Theatre, an alliance of professional and pre-professional dance artists of Sonoma County. Her critically acclaimed choreography continues to be performed in S.F., Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. She has served on the Board of Directors of The Dance Coalition (the original S.F. Bay Area dance service organization) and was chairperson of The Isadora Duncan Dance Award Committee for 3 of the 5 years she served on the committee. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts award for choreography.
Katherine McGinity, her love of dance began as a teen and developed into a career as a professional ballet dancer for Eugene Ballet, State Street Ballet and Inland Pacific Ballet, as well as opera and musical theater companies. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and has worked as an actress in Hollywood on feature films and sitcoms. Her involvement with the dance community also extends to project management of art outreach programs, company management and backstage tech work for local companies. Katherine is passionate about dance education, and has taught ballet and movement to all ages for over 15 years. She is also a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst. In 2005, she moved to the Bay Area to earn her BA in Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley, and is completing her MA in Dance at Mills College. Katherine enjoys performing in local theater and dance productions, and most recently performed at the Walking Distance Dance Festival at ODC. In the next few years Katherine looks forward to pursuing a PhD in Dance Studies and teaching at the university level.
Dennis Mullen is a Professor of Business at City College of San Francisco. He was the Izzies Chair from 2006 – 2009, and Co-Chair in 2005 and 2011. He has a background in ballet and currently sits on several non-profit boards. He has several oral history dance interviews in the collection at the San Francisco Museum of Performance and Design. He is currently serving as the Chair of the Izzies Committee.
Dennis Nahat trained with Martha Hill, Martha Graham, José Limon, Donald McKayle, Anna Sokolow, Antony Tudor, and Louis Horst. Nahat performed with City Center Joffrey Ballet and, as a principal with American Ballet Theater. Nahat co-founded the School of Cleveland Ballet in 1972 and Cleveland Ballet in 1976. In 1983 Nahat assumed sole Artistic Directorship and in 1985 created the co-venture between San Jose, California and Cleveland, Ohio. Known as San Jose Cleveland Ballet, it later became Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley and in October 2000, Ballet San Jose. His choreographic credits extend from ballet to Broadway, television and film. Nahat’s groundbreaking ballet BLUE SUEDE SHOES, set to 36 songs of Elvis Presley received two Emmy nominations its PBS broadcast series. Until January 2012, Nahat served as founding executive director/artistic/director/choreographer of his ballet company for 40 years. He has served as Artistic Director of New York’s US DANCenter for the Creative and Performing Arts’ ballet program and among the many awards he has received the Dance Master of America Award for Lifetime Achievement in July 19, 2008. Currently he is chairman of the newly formed Silicon Valley International Arts Competition. He unveiled his new TheatreVentures International School and Productions in April 2012. He is currently creating a new production in China entitled YULAN, a multi media international cultural extravaganza, premiering October 2012.
Corrine Nagata has recently returned to the Bay Area and currently teaches Horton technique for the LINES/ Dominican University Bachelor of Fine Arts program. After attending San Francisco School of the Arts and the North Carolina School of the Arts, she graduated in the Advanced Placement Program. She spent eight years in New York teaching at The Ailey School, Dance Theatre of Harlem and for New York City Ballet’s Jacques D’Amboise. While in New York, she founded Nagata Dance which brings dance classes and performances into the public schools. Nagata Dance currently serves two schools in Harlem New York and five in San Francisco. Locally, Corrine has danced for Janice Garrett and Reginald Ray Savage.
Katherine Nauman is originally from NYC, where she was an active performer, educator and assistant to her mentor, Horton master teacher, Milton Myers. Since relocating to San Francisco in 2008 she has taught Horton master classes and lectured at UC Berkeley and SF State University, and serves on faculty for Shawl-Anderson Dance Center and the LINES Ballet Training Program. Katherine founded the Bay Area Horton Collective, is Co- Director of the Alonzo King LINES Dance Center and performs with Anne-René Petrarca/Sculpted Motion.
Molly Rogers, a San Francisco native, currently serves on the faculty of the Lines Ballet Training Program and Summer Program where she teaches dance history. After completing her Masters degree in Dance at the University of California, Irvine, she worked as a lecturer in dance history at UC Irvine and as a guest artist at Windward High School inLos Angeles. In addition to her academic teaching she has received choreographic commissions from Scripps College, Windward High School, and the Lines Ballet BFA program at Dominican University.
Jane Schnorrenberg received her BA in Dance from Mills College and her MFA in Choreography at UC Davis. She has performed and toured in the companies of HT Chen (NYC), DanceArt Co. (UK/US), Lily Cai (SF), Tracy Rhoades’ Exploding Roses, Nancy Karp + Dancers and numerous other San Francisco Bay Area companies. Jane was a longtime dancer/collaborator with her beloved friend and mentor, the late Della Davidson. She and Kegan Marling continue to play and collaborate in their shared company called SPOON.
Abby Stein has trained in modern, jazz, ballet, and tap and grew up performing dance and musical theater. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2003, she has been committed to studying, performing, teaching and producing belly dance in its many styles and related forms – from American fusion to Middle Eastern folkloric and everything in between. Her other dance passions include choreography, dance history and movement analysis. She graduated with honors from UC Berkeley where she double majored in Dance and Performance Studies and Near Eastern Studies. Awarded the campus-wide Haas Scholars Award for her honors research project and thesis on belly dance in the United States, Abby also received her department’s two highest awards for scholarship, the Ogden Undergraduate Prize in Theater History and the Julia Payne Memorial Award for Dance Scholarship. She is currently exploring salsa and other forms of social dance. Her professional background is in marketing, event production, arts administration and resource development for nonprofits.
Ray Tadio trained at the Alvin Ailey School in New York and danced with the Ailey 2, Joyce Trisler Dance Company, and David Rousseve. He choreographed for the Ailey 2 Company, Requisite Dance SF, Pori Dance Co. of Finland, & National Ballet Academy of The Netherlands. He specializes in the Horton technique and was awarded the Le Huit d’Or in France in 1995 for excellence in jazz and contemporary dance. He is an Assistant Professor at San Francisco State University.
Yaelisa is the artistic director and choreographer for the renowned Caminos Flamencos Dance Company, one of the most celebrated flamenco companies in North America. A second generation artist, Yaelisa was surrounded from birth by the rhythms, gestures and culture of this art form in its purest form, where her unique improvisational abilities began to fluorish. She spent many years living and working in Spain and has performed with many of its finest artists including Alejandro Granados, Antonio “El Pipa,” Manuel and Antonio Malena, Domingo Ortega, Enrique “El Extremeno,” Yeye de Cádiz, Mateo Soleá, El Junco, Juan Ogalla, Geronimo, Felipe Maya and others. Her choreographic abilities were recognized in Spain when she became a finalist in the Certåmen de Coreografía in Madrid, and since her return to theU.S., she has established herself as an award-winning figure in the flamenco world. Yaelisa has performed, choreographed and directed in the mediums of film, video, theater, and has crossed over as a guest artist or collaborator in several modern dance companies. She is the recipient of an Emmy Award for Choreography, NEA Fellowships, an Isadora Duncan Dance Award, and other recognitions. Considered a master teacher of all aspects of the flamenco art, she has trained and developed dancers for her company and some who have become professionals in Spain or elsewhere. Yaelisa is also the co-founder and artistic director of the international New World Flamenco Festival in Irvine, California, where she curates and creates original and conceptual programs for the Irvine Barclay Theater. Yaelisa’s vision and curatorial skills provide the groundwork which makes the NWFF unique from most flamenco festivals as an artistic project.
Hentyle Yapp is a choreographer and was a professional dancer for contemporary companies in Taipei and New York. He is currently a PhD student in Performance Studies at UC Berkeley and holds a B.A. from Brown University, in French Literature & Premedical Studies, and a J.D. from UCLA School of Law, specializing in Critical Race Theory & Public Interest Law.