Houston Contemporary Dance Company
Founder, Executive and Artistic Director
Marlana is originally from Massachusetts and graduated from Point Park University in 2001 with a BA in Dance. Marlana is the former Artistic Director of Met Dance, where she held various positions for seventeen years. Under her direction, Marlana’s vision and leadership catapulted the company to new levels of excellence and growth while holding tightly to the company’s long tradition of diversity and versatility in its dancers, choreographers, collaborators, and content. Marlana is the President & CEO of the Institute of Contemporary Dance Houston which houses Houston Contemporary professional concert dance company and HC2, a youth training company. Marlana is a member of Dance Source Houston, Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) and Dance USA, spending 2009-2012 as an emerging leader at both APAP and Dance USA. She was awarded the Dance USA Leadership Mentee Fellowship for the institute of training in 2012 and was a mentor for the same program in 2019. She also recently completed her three-year tenure as a Dance USA Board of Trustee member and Artistic Director Council Chair. Marlana has also served in collaboration with the Houston Arts Alliance, Fresh Arts, Dance Source Houston and is also a part of the SPA’s Educational Committee. As a performer, Marlana has danced and generated roles in a range of works by renowned choreographers and artists. Marlana is also a guest teacher and an award-winning choreographer for her students in Houston and throughout the United States. She has choreographed for the City of Houston, Levi's and Walmart, Mercury Ensemble, Apollo Chamber Players, Houston Chamber Choir, Houston Symphony, TUTS, University of Houston, Sam Houston State University and Lamar University. She lives in Sugar Land, TX with her husband Ben and her two adorable daughters Olivia and Evie.
Master Teacher, Choreographer
Former member of the Batsheva Dance Company in Israel, and the New York dance companies of Gus Solomons, Pearl Lang, and Paul Sanasardo. He has performed solos by Viola Farber, Beverly Blossom, Anna Sokolow, Murray Louis, Charles Weidman, and the role of death in the Kurt Jooss classic ‘Green Table’. Established Douglas Nielsen Dances in 1982.
Internationally known teacher, choreographer, performer, director. Residencies abroad include the Centre National de Danse Contemporaine (Angers/France), L'ecole-Atelier Rudra Bejart Lausanne (Switzerland), Dansens Hus (Copenhagen), The Beijing Dance Academy (China), University of Chili (Santiago), Palucca Schule (Dresden, Germany), University of the Americas (Mexico).
Former full-time dance faculty at California Institute for the Arts, California State University Long Beach, and Professor at the University of Arizona School of Dance.
Nielsen has been a guest teacher and choreographer at more than 40 universities throughout the United States and abroad.
In 1988, he helped introduced and establish modern dance in Guangzhou, China. He continued to accept international assignments in Argentina, Chile, Czech Republic, Brazil, Estonia, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, and Russia. Additionally, he has traveled, and taught in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, England, Scotland, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Mexico.
Widely recognized for his lifetime achievement as a performer, choreographer, teacher, and director, Recipient of the 2003 Lester Horton Dance Educator Award for excellence in teaching, and the 2007 ADF Balasaraswati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching. He has received four choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Arizona Commission on the Arts.
Nielsen has served on adjudication panels for ACDA in Texas, Idaho, Georgia, Kansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Ohio, California, and Virginia.. He has also served as a distinguished panelist for the Los Angeles Music Center Spotlight Awards, The National Association for the Advancement of the Arts, the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the McKnight Foundation, and the NEA Learning in the Arts Dance Panel.
Douglas Nielsen in LOSING YOU (2016). Photo by Ed Flores
Douglas Nielsen, photo by Theodore D.Robinson, 2019
Peter G. Kalivas
Master Teacher, Choreographer, Consultant, Musician
Peter G. Kalivas is originally from Long Island, NY where he discovered music and dance through his Greek roots. Formally, he studied dance at The University of the Arts and Pennsylvania Ballet (Philadelphia), then at both The Joffrey Ballet and The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater school (NYC) where he was invited to join Ailey II. Notably, as a dancer he was an original member of Sean Curran Company (NYC) originating now well known roles in Mr. Curran's acclaimed works which premiered at The Joyce Theater and Jacob's Pillow American Dance Festival appeared on every US and international tour 1997-2002. Peter was also Mr. Curran's understudy for his "Bessie" award winning solo works which he performed on several tours and in NYC at the Victory Theater where his performances were described as "witty, sublime and spot on" by The NEW YORK TIMES. As a choreographer his work has been produced, presented, commissioned in 20 countries including: The Jacobs Pillow American Dance Festival, Le Festival D’Avignon France, Dance Platform Turkey Istanbul/Ankara, American Dance Abroad Europa, The Dance in Taiwan Festival, Stamping Ground Australia, Dance Kaleidoscope Los Angeles and at The Ailey Citicorp Theatre and Florence Gould Hall New York City.
His choreography has been presented world wide on some of the most respected stages including Jacob’s Pillow, Le Festival D’Avignon France, Festival Musica e Arte Italy, Dance Platform Turkey, The Stamping Ground Dance Festival Australia and The International Dance Festival/Asia in Taiwan among many others. His work has been commissioned by both Ballet and Contemporary/Modern companies and is in the repertory of The National Ballet of Peru housed at the Museo de Nacional in Lima, The State Opera Ballet/Astana in Kazakhstan, Petite Danse in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, The Kansas City Contemporary Dance Company, The Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, The Nanette Brodie Dance Theater Long Beach, Amalgamate Dance Company in New York City and City Ballet of San Diego among others. The Los Angeles Dance Festival, The City Contemporary Dance Festival Hong Kong and ArtMoves San Diego.
In addition to being an original member of Sean Curran Company in New York City premiering roles at The Joyce, The Duke and The New Victory Theaters, St. Mark’s Church and during National & International tours and has danced for Judith Jamison, Donald Byrd, Pearl Lang, The Iwanson Dance Company, the Bavarian State Opera Ballet of Munich, Germany, Malashock Dance & Company and The San Diego Ballet among others. Peter co-choreographed the off-Broadway show “Kilt” starring Tovah Feldshuh and several theatrical tours, TV Specials for Dick Clark, European Television, the Diversionary Theater, and assistant choreographed at The San Diego Opera.
Recipient of multiple grants and fellowships in support of his work, he holds two honorary Master of the Arts Diploma’s through the Ministers of Education Peru and Kazakshtan, is a Senior Cultural Specialist and Envoy through dance for The US Department of State originating and directing mutual exchange projects in Central Asia, Asia, Africa, Central and South America and a Fulbright Scholar in Dance Education and Cultural Appreciation with research completed at Kyung Hee University, Seoul, S. Korea. He has guest taught and choreographed at many of the major arts institutions including New York University, Boston Conservatory, CalARTS, New World School of the Arts, North Carolina School of the Arts, Virginia School of the Arts, The Jacob’s Pillow Institute and abroad including The State Ballet Turkey in Istanbul, Pinneapple Dance in London, TanzZentrum S.E.A.D in Salzburg, Austria, Taiwan School of the Arts in Kaoshiung and on.
His company, PGK DANCE! (The PGK Dance Project) is in residence at La Vie Dance & Culture on the border of Linda Vista and Point Loma where the company’s classes and rehearsals are open to the public to engage discourse and appreciation for the training and creative process. In San Diego Peter produced the series’ “4 x 4 x Floor” hosted by Bluefoot Bar & Lounge and “The Movement” at Queen Bee’s Arts & Cultural Center in North Park and ”Dance Moves” in Temecula at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater in Association with Temecula Presents where local and regional companies and choreographers regularly shared their work and actively learned about and participated in audience development for dance and community engagement.
Since 2009 biannually he produces ”San Diego Dances”, presenting local, regional and national professional dance of all styles in alternative spaces including storefronts, warehouses, hotels, galleries and more in cooperation with local businesses as a way to keep dance performance affordable, available and relevant to audiences today.
From 2012 - 2018, he and his company produced Dance on the EDGE for Mission Federal Credit Union’s ArtWalk in LIttle Italy, he has presented lectures, interviewed artists and assisted with the development and facilitation of CHOREOLAB for The La Jolla Music Society during their annual dance series and remains a highly sought after master teacher, choreographer and consultant on audience development and community collaboration.
Lastly, a professional musician as well (Voice, Piano, Composition) trained at The Governer School of the Arts New York, Bennington College, VT., The University of the Arts Music minor, Mr. Kalivas appeared on Broadway as Mr. Mistofelles in ‘CATS’, several national tours including ‘West Side Story’, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, was featured in ‘Bowzer’s Original Rock N’ Roll Party in Atlantic City and can be heard on ‘Bowzer’s Rock N’ Roll Party’ “LIVE in New Zealand Concert Tour Album as one of three Stingrays. Peter has sung as a part of the group ‘Bowzer & The Stingrays’ since 2001 at major venues and arenas throughout the US and abroad including performances for Mayor Bloomburg of New York City, and alongside many important artists including Billy Preston (the 5th Beatle), Leslie Gore, Ronnie Spector and Jay Black among others. Recently, in San Diego Peter proudly sang ‘A Song for You’ at The Garfield Theater while Viviana Alcazar performed his choreography by the same title for OUTREACH THROUGH DANCE who raised important funds for The Make A Wish Foundation.
Peter’s vocals and his choreography for “A Song for You” were re-created, re-imagined through guest appearances featuring Ron “RJ” Davis for the San Diego Repertory Theater’s mounting of “Beachtown”, an interactive theater production situated in a fictitious town in the midst of a pandemic where the audience helps decide how to recover, identify and resolve the historic socio-economic disparities, systemic inequities such an event reveals and how to move forward together as one community.