Guest Artists

2017-2018 Guest Artists

Julie Bata


Julie Bata is a performer, choreographer, educator, and lifelong student of dance and movement. She began studying dances and music of West Africa in 1993, earned her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the State University of New York and her M.F.A. in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. She has performed with Kibola Sougei (NY), co-founded Sundiata Drum and Dance Ensemble (FL), and created and directed Ba Deman Children’s African Dance and Drum Ensemble (FL). Her choreography has been produced by Laney College (CA), Perpetual Motion (OK), Savannah State University, Texas Woman’s University, Tarrant County College, and Triad Dance Ensemble (NY). Ms. Bata was awarded an apprenticeship from Texas Folklife in 2011 to deepen her study of the masquerade dance Zaouli originating from Côte d’Ivoire. She has taught at institutions and festivals throughout the US and is currently a full time dance professor at HCC Central College where she directs the African Dance and Drum Ensemble while choreographing and performing with Lipan Urban African Performing Arts Collective.

Taylor Mitchell


Taylor Mitchell is a Chicago-based dance artist who currently performs, choreographs, and teaches across the United States and throughout Europe. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The University of Arizona, where he received the Creative Achievement Award for numerous works of choreography set upon the UA Dance Ensemble and the Musical Theater Department. Taylor has performed with professional companies in the Chicago area such as Thodos Dance Chicago, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, Cocodaco Dance Project, and other various national projects. Some of his professional choreography credits include DanceWorks Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, Dance In The Parks, Level Dance, and anticipates a Fall 2017 residency with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. This coming Summer 2017, Taylor will showcase his choreography at the upcoming Kieler-Woche Festival (Kiel, Germany) and will teach his unique Contemporary/Jazz classes across Europe. Taylor is easily recognized by his upbeat charisma and is always eager to work and collaborate with fresh new dance artists.

Maray Gutierrez

Maray Gutierrez is a native of Havana, Cuba where she trained at the National School of Dance. She was a principal dancer for Danza Contemporanea de Cuba for 10 years and worked with esteemed choreographers Giovanni de Cicco, Donald McKayle, Joaquin Sabaté, Jan Linkens, and Marianela Boan, among others. She has performed throughout Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean, as well as for British television and the Venice Opera. Since relocating to the U.S., she has danced with Hedwig Dances for 11 years, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Concert Dance Inc; the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Houston Grand Opera. She was an Emmy-nominated dancer in 2008 performing “Billy Sunday” (Ruth Page Foundation) and was selected by “See Chicago Dance” as one of the 10 Top Women in 2006 for her choreography, Eterno Despertar for Luna Negra Dance Theater.

Victor Alexander

Victor Alexander is a native of Pinar del Rio, Cuba. He trained at the National Dance School in Havana and was a principal dancer for the National Contemporary Dance Company of Cuba for ten years. He has studied with distinguished teachers such as Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis and Jeffrey Bullock from the United States. Victor has danced with Hedwig Dances since 2002 and has also performed with Luna Negra Dance Theater; Concert Dance Inc (CDI); the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2008. He has also danced with the Houston Grand Opera and was nominated for an Emmy Award as a Dancer (2008) with the Ruth Page Foundation’s production of Billy Sunday. In 2012, Victor was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Individual Artists Grant and became a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist and was honored by Dance Magazine as “25 to watch 2013,”. Victor is currently the Director of the Ruth Page School Of Dance.

Recent Repertory for the Main Stage performances has included:

A Choreographic Offering (José Limón)
Psalm (José Limón)
Caffeinated (Larry Keigwin)
Sing, Sing, Sing (Gus Giordano/Nan Giordano)
Rush Hour (Robert Battle)
DanceSport (Harrison McEldowney)
Sound Effects (Sam Watson)
Sabor a Mi (Susan Quinn)

New choreography created for the dance ensemble includes works by:

Geoff Alexander (Big Middy Dance Company, STL); Victor Alexander (Hedwig Dances, Chicago); Jennifer Archibald (Arch Dance Company, NYC); Elizabeth George (University of Arizona); Maray Gutierrez (Hedwig Dances, Chicago); Cesar Salinas (Giordano Dance Chicago); Jennifer Weber (Decadance Theatre, NYC)


(573) 986-7492
River Campus Seminary, Room 463

Conservatory of Theatre and Dance
One University Plaza, MS 7850
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701