OCEAN 2017 CAST
Brenda Baez graduated with a Bachelor of Arts as a dance education major from Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. She has studied various dance forms such as: ballroom, ballet, jazz, folk, modern/contemporary, creative, and precision/drill. She works as a full-time classroom teacher at Pearland Junior High West. She has received professional dance training in various dance techniques including those of: Paul Taylor, Merce Cunningham, Nikolais-Louis, Graham, Humphrey, Denishawn, Lubovitch, and Balanchine. She was part of Freneticore from 2014-2015, and performed with Suchu Dance at the 2017 Comedy Dance Festival.
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.
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.
This is Ayan Felix’s first season with Suchu Dance - or with any Houston dance company for that matter. Her dance career started with her first set of fake eyelashes on a Beaumont stage at age 4. Throughout the years she entertained various forms of movement, among her favorites being improvisational techniques and contemporary/modern dance theater. Ayan graduated from Franklin & Marshall College in 2016 with a degree in Neuroscience and a Dance minor. Since moving back to Texas with her graphic novel and wig collection, she has continued to nurture her talent for movement to understand questions about life, the universe and everything. This has taken her towards circus/flow arts and through her first performance with Suchu Dance during the 2017 Comedy Dance Festival. Ayan knows dance (..., graphic novels, and wigs) in all its forms will be an ongoing endeavor as she develops her career in the health field. She is excited to join her fellow cast members of Suchu Dance in "Ocean."
Prudence Sun began her dance training at Mitsi Dancing School at the age of 6. She moved to Beijing, China when she was 12 and continued her dance education there, taking classes in traditional Chinese folk dance, ballet, and performing with her school's dance team. In 2006, she returned to Houston to attend Rice University, where she discovered modern dance through Rice Dance Theatre and earned her degree in biochemistry and cell biology. Unable to contain her enthusiasm for modern/post modern dance, Prudence joined Suchu in 2009. You may also recognize her from works by Ashley Horn. Prudence became a licensed veterinary technician in 2015 and spends her non-dancing hours as a surgery technician at a specialty hospital. When she is not taking care of other people's pets she enjoys lounging at home with her cat, dog, bearded dragon, and husband.
Born in Texas, Sharad Patel has a background in illustration and narrative storytelling. He studied film at the University of Texas in Austin and is now the principal of UFOclub Creative, which helps artists with video and audio production. He first collaborated with painter Shiva Ahmadi on Lotus, an animated short that was exhibited at the Asia Society Museum in New York in 2014.
Patel’s short films have screened at SXSW (Austin) and Raindance (London); his first independent narrative feature film, Somebody’s Darling, won best international feature at Feratum Festival in Mexico in 2016. Patel has taught film history, experimental film production and screenwriting at Eastern Michigan University, University of Houston and Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual arts.
Greg Starbird is a Houston-based lighting designer with additional experience as a master electrician, projection designer, sound designer, and educator. He graduated in 2011 from Trinity University in San Antonio where he double majored in Philosophy and Drama, and from University of Houston in 2014 with a Masters in Fine Arts in Theatre with a focus in Lighting Design. He was born and raised in Houston, and is an Eagle Scout.
Vipul H. Divecha (Suchu Dance Managing Director) –growing up in Houston, Vipul was involved in Theater, Choir and Art in his early years. Vipul studied printmaking and graphic design from The University of Houston. Vipul has worked with Houston arts organizations since 2001 as a visual artist and art director. Vipul is the co-recipient of a 2014 Individual Artist Grant Award from The Houston Arts Alliance. More of Vipul’s short films, drawings and illustrations can be seen in his online portolio at vipdiv.com.
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 fullblown evening events while remaining pared down in their own way.