THE CHOREOGRAPHERS
Each season features the work of at least two professional guest choreographers. Interested professional choreographers should download the Guest Choreographer Submission Guidelines & Application. Applications will be considered for current and future season commissions.

Past season choreographers have included:

JENNIFER HUFFMAN
(www.diavolo.org)
Influencia Perpetua | 2012-2013 Season 

Jennifer Huffman, "Huffy," is from the small town of Festus, Missouri. When Jennifer was 5 years old, she discovered a bunion on her right foot that enabled her to jump higher than the other girls. She spent most of her time upside down, dancing and flying through the air as she traveled and competed in dance and Sports Acrobatics all over the country. Jennifer then attended Webster University in St. Louis where she received a BFA in dance and was awarded the Edward Chase Garvey Memorial Scholarship for three consecutive years. As a professional, Jennifer has performed with such distinguished groups as Webster University Dance Theatre, David Dorfman's Dance Out of Seasons, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal's The Nutcracker, The Slaughter Project, Paul Taylor 2 in Esplanade, Move, Inaside Chicago Dance, NegliaBallet's Nutcracker, and MusicalFare's original written American Rhapsody. Jennifer was a founding company member of LehrerDance in Buffalo, NY and toured the U.S. with them for 3 years. She has also used her 11 years of teaching experience to travel across the country teaching master classes and setting works of LehrerDance, as well as becoming a Modern Dance Instructor for Canisius College in Buffalo, NY. She has choreographed works for Orange County School of the Arts, Impulse Dance Festival, Atrek, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, and University of Buffalo. Jennifer still spends most of her time upside down and is starting her third season of traveling the world with Diavolo Dance Theater.

OMAR OLIVAS
(www.diavolo.org)
Influencia Perpetua | 2012-2013 Season
Beyond Comprehension | 2009-2010 Season

Omar Olivas was born and raised in Santa Ana, California. He began his training at The Wooden Floor (formerly known as Saint Joseph Ballet) under the artistic supervision of director, Beth Burns. Omar graduated as a Haggerty and William Gillespie Scholar with a BFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a dancer with Donald McKayle's student repertory dance company, Etudes. He began his professional dance career as a member of Jennifer Backhaus' company, Backhausdance. Omar has danced at the Conservatoire de Paris, where Donald McKayle premiered Remember Journey, and in Tammy L. Wong's About Last Night for the Esplanade's da:ns festival in Singapore. Aside from dancing, Omar has choreographed for Orange County School of the Arts, Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville, and La Salle College of the Arts, in Singapore. Omar currently teaches ballet and modern throughout Orange County and is a guest performer for Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company and Backhausdance. Omar enjoys his many adventures with his current family, Diavolo Dance Theatre.

ZAK RYAN SCHLEGEL
(www.facebook.com/AXIIIOM)
Bunker | 2012-2013 Season 

Zak Ryan Schlegel, originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, moved to California in 2008 to pursue a career in dance and has been working with Backhausdance since December 2010. He is currently pursuing a BFA in Dance Performance at Chapman University where he has received awards in both outstanding performance and choreography. In 2008 Zak had the opportunity to perform a reconstruction of Bella Lewitzky's Pietas restaged by her daughter Nora Reynolds. Since moving to California, Zak has been working in multiple performance disciplines, from concert, commercial, and film to modeling, performance art, and cabaret. Zak has worked with GMUNK, Nina Mcneely, Lisa Eaton, Mecca Vazie Andrews, Kitty McNamee, and Ryan Heffington in a wide variety of styles and venues. Some professional credits include Echo Park-based band We Are The World, Gallimaufry & Greene, TEDx, Flash on the Beach, Former Ghosts, FLAUNT Magazine, Bess NYC, Rouge Cabaret, and Britney Spears. In addition to performing, Zak teaches at West Coast School of the Arts in Costa Mesa.

JENNIFER BACKHAUS
(www.backhausdance.org)
Goldberg | 2011-2012 Season 

Jennifer Backhaus is the Founder and Artistic Director of Backhausdance, Orange County's award winning contemporary dance company. Jennifer was included in OC Metro's 40 Under 40 in 2009 and was recently honored by Chapman University as Alumni of the Year for her success with Backhausdance. As a choreographer, Jennifer's works have been commissioned and produced by the Los Angeles Ballet, Orange County Regional Ballet, the McCallum Theatre, Segerstrom Center for he Arts, Utah Regional Ballet, Chapman University, Mount San Antonio College, Santa Ana College, Impact Dance Theater, TDC of the Bay Area, and Brigham Young University, among others. Many of Jennifer's works have been honored by Regional Dance American and her piece Disintegration was selected for national performances with the American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. For Backhausdance she has created fifteen pieces, three of which (Sitting on January, Love and Other Impossibilities and Shift) have received multiple Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography. At the McCallum Theatre's Dance Under the Stars Choreography Festival, Jennifer has been the recipient of three consecutive choreography awards for her work with Backhausdance. Jennifer is currently a member of the full time dance faculty at Chapman University where she teaches Modern Dance Technique, Dance Improvisation and Introduction to Dance Studies. She is also a teaching artist for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts' education programs where she shares her love for dance and choreography with local students in public and private schools across Southern California.

RACHEL PACE
mechanics of... | 2010-2011 Season 

Miss Pace completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance with an emphasis in choreography at the University of California Irvine where she graduated magna cum laude in June 2009. There she had the opportunity of studying under Loretta Livingston, Donald McKayle, Jodie Gates, and Lisa Naugle. Also, she has attended summer intensives with ODC, the Jose Limon Dance Company, and the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. She was awarded Best Choreography of her graduating class and last September presented a piece at the MixMatch Dance Festival in Venice, CA and more recently showed a piece at Jimmie Defore Studio’s “Pulse” concert in Costa Mesa. She also trained and performed for two seasons with Orange County's professional modern dance company Backhausdance under the direction of Jenny Backhaus.

BLYTHE BARTON
(www.blythebartondance.com)
Standing Still | 2009-2010 Season 

After receiving her BFA in Dance from Chapman University and then her MFA in Dance from Florida State, Blythe moved back to California to dive head first into the dance scene. Through her bi-coastal training she has performed with many incredible choreographers; Sean Green, Rudy Perez, Gerri Houlihan, Lynda Davis, Wallie Wolfgruber, Katie Stevenson-Nollet, and Alan Danielson. She is in her first season with San Diego Dance Theater and also performs with Malashock Dance. She has won awards for outstanding student performance and choreography and had the opportunity to present her work at the American College Dance Festival. She currently teaches in the San Diego Dance Theater School and serves as Administrative Assistant. She is excited to contribute to the San Diego dance community, setting choreography and performing in venues throughout Southern California.