pure and authentic
Nicola Bennett grew up in Spring, TX and began her dance training at an early age. She studied ballet, jazz and lyrical throughout childhood and into high school, where she was an officer with the Klein Bearkadettes. Nicola’s focus shifted to modern dance upon entering Texas State University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2008. Bennett studied Erick Hawkins technique under the instruction of LeAnne Smith, Michelle Nance, Kaysie Seitz-Brown and Pat Stone. She went on to apprentice with the department in contact improvisation and modern dance, and received several scholarships, including the Orchesis Dance Scholarship and the Joan Hays Achievement in Choreography Award. During and after her time at Texas State, Nicola was a member of Orchesis Dance Company and Merge Dance Company, both based in Austin, TX. Upon moving to Houston, Nicola started adult modern at TADA, with Donna K. Frogge. The rest is history. She serves as a founding member of Ascend Dance Collective and acts as dancer, choreographer and co-director, alongside Frogge. Nicola is excited to announce that she’ll be transitioning into the role of artistic director for Ascend 2018-2019 season. Her work continues to evolve, but stays rooted in Hawkins, with an emphasis on improvisation and elements of Chance Choreography, influenced by Merce Cunningham. Bennett’s repertoire has been featured in Mind the Gap 6.0, Best of the Fringe 2018 and her latest piece, Fluid Play will be part of Anything Goes in the Houston Fringe Festival, September 16th, 8pm at Match In Midtown. She will be performing Suchu Dance in their showcase, also during the Fringe Festival, September 6, 7 & 8.
Adam Castaneda is a dancer, writer, and administrator living in Houston. He is the Executive/Artistic Director of the Pilot Dance Project, a non-profit arts organization with the mission to empower and transform communities through innovative dance, theater, and visual art. He currently performs with the Pilot Dance Project, Suchu Dance/Jennifer Wood, and Bones and Memory Dance/Heather VonReichbauer. As a Pilot Dance Project company member, he has performed in evening-length works by Ashley Horn, jhon r. stronks, and Jennifer Mabus. He is excited to be performing in the next Pilot Dance Project work, an original dance narrative about the life and work of Edgar Allan Poe by choreographer Heather VonReichbauer, to premier in March 2018.
Allen LaPoint is a Senior at University of Houston, pursuing a BFA in Dance, planning to graduate in spring of 2020. LaPoint has trained in ballet, modern, jazz, African, colorguard, drill and contemporary dance. LaPoint has danced under the direction of many choreographers including Holly Davenport, Teresa Chapman, Becky Valls, Karen Stokes, and Toni Valle. In the past LaPoint has presented original works at numerous places including Barnstorm Dance Festival and University of Houston. LaPoint is currently a third year member of the University of Houston Dance Ensemble and after graduation will attend at Texas Women's University and continue his dance education while pursuing his MFA in dance.
Holly Moran was born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa. At 18, she left the Midwest and received her BFA from the University of Arizona where she majored in Dance Performance. After college, she spent a year dancing on The Majesty of the Seas for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Upon returning to dry land, Holly was a featured soloist for 6 years with Center Dance Ensemble, a Graham based Modern dance company in Phoenix. Being a talented singer and actress, Holly has had the privilege of performing in numerous main stage theatrical productions. Now playing the role of 'Mommy' to her two children, Holly has added outreach programs, choreography, direction, flow arts, and instruction to her bag of tricks. Holly and her family moved to the Katy area 6 years ago and she is thrilled to continue pursuing her passion for dance performance.
Carlos Perez is a sophomore at the University of Houston, working towards a B.A. in Dance. He started dancing at the age of 13 in ballet, modern, and contemporary. Carlos has also taken part in theater, choir, and color guard. Carlos was the dance soloist for Cypress Independent Colorguard 2017. His choreography has been showcased at UH Goes to the MATCH, Lone Star College Cyfair Dance Concert 2017, and ACDA South-Central Conference 2018. Carlos has performed in works by George Staib and Paul Appleman. Carlos is a current company member of 6 Degrees Dance and Suchu Dance, two contemporary companies based in Houston, TX.
Originally from Mexico City, Lysette Portano has been dancing since she was 6. She began dancing professionally in Mexico City with different companies and festivals such as Foco al Aire Producciones, as well as with renowned choregraphers Oscar Ruvalcaba and Vicente Silva.
Lysette recently moved to Houston and has performed with Freneticore, Psophonia Dance Company and from this year on she´s excited to be part of Suchu Dance. Lysette holds a degree in International Affairs from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. In her free time she loves to spend time with her loved ones, travel, watch a good movie, read, or just hang out outside in nature.
Julia Rubio began her dance training in Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop at the age of 10. Rubio earned her A.A. from Houston Community College where she received a dance scholarship and was invited to attend the American College Dance Festival. Her original choreography was performed at On the Edge Choreographers Showcase. Rubio’s performance credits include Central Dance Ensemble, Movement Evolution, Houston International Festival, Akwaaba Dance and Drum Festival, and American College Dance Festival. She has recently graduated cum laude from the University of Houston, earning her B.A in Dance with a Minor in Interdisciplinary Arts. Her original choreography “Grasp” and “Meraki” was performed in “Emerging Choreographers Showcase” as well as in “UH goes to the Match”. She continues her work as a freelance artist, choreographs for Quinceañeras and is a company member of Holding Space Dance Collective.
Jennifer Wood (Suchu Dance Founder, Artistic Director, Choreographer) - Like a lot of dance producers, Houston’s Jennifer Wood has had her hands in just about every aspect of her field. Wood’s immersion into choreography began during an extended stay in Philadelphia, at the height of the “everything can be dance” vs “let’s get back to hard core technique” phenomenon. Shortly after returning home to Houston, she got into producing her own work and the work of others in the grass roots “zine” mood of the ’90’s, and by 1993 she started showing in venues around Houston, significantly the famed CSAW and other alternative locations and by 1994 started her own space in Montrose. Throughout the remainder of the ‘90s, she hosted programs in her space and in various venues in the city. Her company, Suchu Dance, was founded officially at the end of that era in 1998 with a performance at TemplO and has continued to be a driving force of her creativity, inspiring the formation of an even larger space on the edge of Downtown Houston. Throughout the years, the look and feel of Jennifer’s productions took on subtle changes, ingested new inspirations, and gravitated toward full blown evening events while remaining pared down in their own way.