STEVE GONZALES, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
A native of Honolulu, Hawaii, started dancing and acting at Jefferson Performing and Visual Arts High School in Portland, Oregon, under the direction of Mary Vinton Folberg. He performed with the Jefferson Dancers for three years then went on to perform with Pacific Ballet Theatre (now Oregon Ballet Theatre) in 1986. Mr. Gonzales continued his dance training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was a member of the Second Avenue Dance Company. At NYU, he worked with directors and choreographers: Jenny Way from Twyla Tharp, Kevin Wynn, Elisa Monte, and Stephen Petronio. He also choreographed several pieces for Second Avenue Dance Company members and collaborated with other choreographers at NYU. He performed Charles Wiedman’s role in the Humphery-Wiedman retrospective performance of New Dance Variations and Conclusions, presented at the Danny Kale Playhouse in New York. He began dancing with MOMIX Dance Theatre just days after graduating from NYU in 1994.
Under the direction of Moses Pendleton, he has performed MOMIX’s entire repertoire all over Europe, Canada, South America, Australia, Israel, Greece, Russia, Japan, and the United States, including their annual season at the Joyce Theater in New York. In addition to performing, he has also taught master classes worldwide, performed live for several television shows in Spain, Italy, Germany, and for the BBC in London, has appeared in numerous European fashion magazines, and has assumed the responsibilities of rehearsal director, choreographer, and company spokesperson to ambassadors and dignitaries around the world. Mr. Gonzales was featured in Michael Curry’s World Premiere Production of Spirits in 2001. He worked closely with choreographers Moses Pendleton, David Parsons, Trey McIntyre, Jamey Hampton, Ashley Rolon, and Sylvia Hase.
Along with performing, he collaborated with Stumptown Productions and choreographed A Chorus Line and The Wiz, in which he received a Drammy for Best Choreography. Mr. Gonzales was recently awarded the Community Engagement Award from dance presenters Paul King and Walter Jaffe of Whitebird. He is extremely proud of having a small part in making Portland, our community, a better place.
As the artistic director of The Jefferson Dancers for the past 16 years, Mr. Gonzales has taken the Company to perform all over the world including England, France, Germany, Italy, and China. In addition to bringing in cutting-edge choreographers, he has set new and exciting works on the Company, including Rhythm is the Key, Primitive, Cancao Do Mar, Eye of RA, Time Signatures, IMPACT, Tantango, Aquatique, Endorphin, Escape Velocity, Chapter One, Anima Vita, and Chaotic Beauty which were performed in the gala concerts at the National High School Dance Festivals in Long Beach, CA, Miami, FL, and Philadelphia, PA. He credits the program at Jefferson with exposing him to the dance world, and ultimately launching his career. He is determined to see the program flourish to its greatest potential, and dedicated to ensuring that The Jefferson Dancers will continue to influence generations to come.
TERESA PERRIN, COSTUME SPECIALIST
is a costume designer and educator. Constantly making art from an early age, she always wanted to be an artist. Her mother taught her to sew and never cringed when she deconstructed (and then reconstructed) her clothing. As a Fine Arts major at the University of Oregon, she was a seamstress in the costume shop for the University Theatre and studied fiber arts with a focus on surface design. After graduating, she worked for a tailor, Ruth E. Couture, in Eugene and later transplanted to the east coast to sew costumes for the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and paint silk for a small apparel business. In 2007, she received her MAT in Art Education at Tufts University in collaboration with the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. During that time she taught fashion deign at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School and art classes at MFA Boston. Returning to Portland, she continued to teach elementary and middle school art as well as coordinate experiential learning opportunities at the Forest Grove Community School where she taught for many years.
As Costume Specialist, Teresa collaborates with choreographers, creates costumes, manages the costume collection and works closely with the dance faculty and dancers. She feels very fortunate to be in this role, a true synthesis of her expertise and interests. She is thrilled to be supporting the Jefferson Dancers and to have the opportunity to run a student-centered costume shop at Jefferson.
JENNY WHITEMAN, COMPANY MANAGER
Jenny Whiteman has been the Jefferson Dancers Company manager for the past 4 years and a Pilates instructor for over 20 years. She is also the mother of Ana Paloma, a senior Company member. After graduating from the UO, Jenny moved to New York to pursue her passion for dance. Instead, she fell in love with Pilates and became a certified instructor in 1999. She has continued training with Cara Reeser and completed the Kathy Grant Heritage Training Program in 2021. In her 20+ years of teaching she's had the pleasure of apprenticing with Kathy Grant, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and working with National and world champion cyclists, dancers and clients in need of rehabilitation at her, and husband, Kirk Whiteman's cycling and Pilates studio in SE Portland.
Working with the dancers over the past few years has been an inspiration! They work so hard and find joy performing for the community. We are all so happy to be back and look forward to our Spring performances at the Newmark April 23rd and Company auditions June 6th!
BUNKY HOLDEN-WILLIAMS, FACULTY
Bunky Holden-Williams was born and now resides in Portland, Oregon. He began his training at Tubman and Fernwood Middle Schools, and continued dancing at Jefferson High School. He is a Jefferson Dancer alumnus, trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, African, hip-hop, step, and gymnastics. Holden-Williams was also a member of the Northwest African American Ballet for six years. He has performed internationally and nationally for shows including Nike, Avia, Reebok, and Nordstrom. He is co-founder of Dynasty Dance Zone and has been teaching dancers of all ages extensively for the past 17 years. He currently teaches jazz, hip hop, and African at Jefferson High School. Holden-Williams prides himself on giving back to the community and is known for his dynamic, energetic, and inspirational presence.
Holden-Williams is the Artistic Director of Jefferson Dancers II.
RACHEL SLATER, FACULTY
is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. She is a Jefferson Dancer Alumna and holds a BFA from the University of the Arts in Modern Dance Performance with an Emphasis in Choreography. Slater is the Co-Artistic Director of Muddy Feet Contemporary Dance with Suzanne Chi.
In Portland, she has performed for Rachel Erdos (IL), Franco Nieto, Minh Tran & Company, Tere Mathern Dance, Carla Mann, Tracey Durbin, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, Sara Parker/TedX and her own platform for work, Rachel Slater Dance. Slater’s previous work includes performance engagements in Philadelphia, North Carolina, up and down the West Coast, Australia and France. Her choreography has been presented in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Remix Festival, 12 Minutes Max in Seattle, the Women on the Way Festival in San Francisco, Pacific Dance Makers, and both the National and Regional High School Dance Festivals, among others. Slater was a New Expressive Works Resident in 2013, a 2014 recipient of the Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant and a 2019 Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Choreographic Resident in Alberta, Canada.
Most recently, Slater was seen performing in Minh Tran & Company’s world premiere, Anicca. She currently teaches for Jefferson HS/Middle College’s Dance Department and BodyVox Dance Center. Rachel´s dance film, Unfolding, was screened at 23 film festivals worldwide in 2019, including appearances in Greece, France, Mexico, Portugal, Romania, Argentina and New York City! Her second dance film will be premiering Fall 2020. Slater loves working with both companies at Jefferson and has been honored to create work on the Jefferson Dancers the past two years.
CYNTHIA TOSH, FACULTY
Cynthia Tosh teaches ballet at Jefferson. She began her career atBallet Pacifica under Lila Zali. She was the youngest to receive a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet in New York City. Tosh also received full scholarships to attend Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The San Francisco Ballet. Tosh was a principal dancer with Chicago City Ballet and Chicago Lyric Opera under Maria Tallchief before joining The Boston Ballet as a soloist under the direction of Violette Verdy. There, she partnered with Rudolph Nureyev in his production of Don Quixote. Her repertoire includes classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Paquita, The Four Seasons, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Graduation Ball, La Fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Prince Igor, The Stone Flower, Sylvia, Pas de Quatre, Carmina Burana, and numerous Balanchine ballets such as The Firebird, Pas de Dix, Who Cares, Symphony in C, Concerto Barocco, Jewels-Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Faust, Valse Fantasie, Donizetti Variations, Afternoon of a Faun, and Divertimento No. 15.
Tosh has been teaching ballet, coaching, and choreographing in the Portland area for 34 years, including ten years as the artistic director of Portland Community Ballet. She teaches all levels of ballet.
Oluyinka Akinjiola, Faculty
Oluyinka Akinjiola, is a dance faculty member at Jefferson High School Middle College for Advanced Studies and the Artistic Director of Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theater. After receiving her MFA in Dance Choreography & Performance she founded Rejoice! Rejoice was built as a platform to create Black contemporary dance work with movement foundations from Africa and the African-Diaspora. Her choreography focuses on complex identities, histories and futures of Black communities. Prior to PPS, Oluyinka was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Reed College and SUNY The College at Brockport, a three year guest artist for the Sankofa African Drum & Dance Ensemble; her work was featured in the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference (Washington D.C. and Los Angeles), Carnaval 2014 (Salvador, BA, Brazil), TEDxMtHood, and Newmark Theater among others. Most recently, Oluyinka received the Oregon Dance Education Organization's teacher of the year award win 2020.