Project Artistic Director; Co-Director, City Dance Theatre
Dance Director/Recreation Specialist,
Richmond Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities
Annette Holt has over thirty years of experience teaching dance to children. Before returning to the United States, where she originally trained, Ms. Holt was a professional dancer and actress in England. Ms. Holt's teachers included Marie Rambert, Frederic Franklin, Jones/Haywood and Leon Fokine. Among her many dance credits are the Ballet Rambert, the Royal Albert Hall, "Hello Dolly" in London's West End (starring Mary Martin) and the title role in Sir Bernard Delfont's "Cinderella."
Ms. Holt first taught at the Maryland Ballet Center, (the training division of the Maryland Ballet) as well as for the Urban Services Cultural Arts Program (Model Cities) in Baltimore. She also directed and choreographed the first full-length African-American production of "The Nutcracker" in Baltimore, featuring 250 community dancers, with guest artistes Virginia Johnson and Ronald Perry from the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Mayor William Donald Schaefer proclaimed an "Annette Holt Day in Baltimore" for her work with inner-city children.
Her other teaching credits include Ballet Mistress for Baltimore Dance Theater, Virginia Commonwealth University (Adjunct Faculty), the Richmond Ballet Center for Dance, Virginia State University (Adjunct Faculty), and numerous workshops for the National Endowment for the Arts, Very Special Arts Virginia and VAHPERD.
Ms. Holt began teaching dance classes for the city in 1979. Her vision was to enable the youth of Richmond to participate in quality dance training at an affordable price, and, through the art of dance, prepare the students to attend university and become contributing citizens of the future. Over the years, the program has served more than 18,000 children. The current schedule boasts sixty-five dance classes a week for youth aged three and up, and a dance faculty of fourteen instructors.
City Dance Theatre was established in 1996, with Ms. Holt and Rodney Williams as Co-Directors. In the summer of 2000, Ms. Holt and Mr. Williams were honored to be joint recipients of the prestigious Theresa Pollak awards, sponsored by Richmond Magazine, and awarded for their combined services to the youth of Richmond.
WILLIAM ELDRIDGE, Ph.D.
Project Musical Director; Composer, Ebo Landing
William Eldridge is a composer of concert and electroacoustic music, as well as music for film, dance and other media. After attending VCU, Boston Conservatory and the University of Michigan, he earned a Ph.D. in composition and theory at Harvard University where he was awarded the Variell Fellowship. While at Harvard he served as Ivan Tcherepnin's Teaching Fellow in the Electronic Music Studio.
His composition teachers included Leslie Bassett, Leon Kirchner, Donald Martino, Earl Kim, and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. He studied electronic music with George Balch Wilson and Ivan Tcherepnin and computer music with Barry Vercoe at MIT.
The composer's concert and computer music has been heard in Italy, the Netherlands and across the United States. His film and radio music has been presented at film festivals in Boston, New York, Aspen, Los Angeles and elsewhere, and broadcast on national radio and television networks in Britain, Germany, Japan, Canada and the United States. Performers of his works have included Ursula Oppens, Leslie Amper, Ralph Richardson, Andrew Mark, Neil Anderson, Bion Tsang, Sue-Ellen Hershman-Tcherepnin and the Cambridge Symphony.
Dr. Eldridge has taught composition, theory, music technology and 20th-century music history at Tufts University, Salem State College and Virginia Commonwealth University where he founded the VCU Electroacoustic Music Studio. He has written articles about computer music, edited a widely-used textbook on MIDI, and worked in the media industry as an animation voice director, audio editor, sound designer and composer. He is currently a freelance composer, private music teacher, and sound engineer.
Choreographer, Ebo Landing
Willie Hinton, a native of New York, began dancing at the age of 16 at the Enloe Gifted and Talented High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.
After graduating, Willie attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, where he received his BFA in dance. Willie has toured nationally as well as internationally with the Rebecca Kelly Dance Company (New York), Jubilation's Dance Company (Brooklyn), the Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO), and Dance Kaleidoscope (Indianapolis).
Mr. Hinton has taught at the National Dance Institute in Santa Fe, NM, Estudio de Ballet in Bolivia, South America, and elsewhere in the U.S. He is presently on the staff of the School of the Richmond Ballet and the "Minds In Motion" Program. He also teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and the City Dance Program and has presented Master Dance classes at the University of Richmond.
ROBERT L. WILSON III
Composer, Call to Worship
Robert Lee Wilson III is a composer and educator based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1979. Wilson attended Virginia Commonwealth University where he majored in Music Composition and directed the Black Awakening Gospel Choir. At VCU he studied composition with William Eldridge and Dika Newlin, a pupil of Arnold Schoenberg. After graduating in 2002, Wilson attended New York University's Tisch School for the Arts where he earned an M.F.A. in Musical Theatre Writing. He then scored a musical, "A Shelter in Our Car", which was produced Off-Broadway in 2007. The show received rave reviews in the New York Times, New York Post and Variety magazine. The composer currently teaches orchestra and chorus in the Virginia Beach public school system and serves as the music director for a large Virginia Beach congregation.
Choreographer, Call to Worship; Co-Director, City Dance Theatre
Rodney Williams received his BA in music from the College of William and Mary, with a minor in dance. He is a nationally known master teacher, presenting workshops throughout the country for schools and for other educators. Mr. Williams formerly taught for the Richmond Public Schools, and was selected as "Teacher of the Year" for his work at Blackwell Elementary School. He is currently a professor of dance and Director of the Dance Department at Longwood University in Farmville.
In his work for City Dance Theatre, Mr. Williams has choreographed numerous dance pieces, many of which have received first-place trophies in the DanceAmerica National Finals Competitions.
He is also a judge for several Ms. America state pageants, and a judge and master teacher for the Dance Olympus organization, (which includes the DanceAmerica competitions). In 2001 and 2007, Mr. Williams was the recipient of the "College Dance Educator of the Year" award from the Virginia Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. He was a finalist for the National Dance Educator of the Year award in 2008. In 2000 he was awarded (jointly with Annette Holt) the Theresa Pollak award for his contributions to Dance and to the youth of Richmond.
Composer/Saxophonist, Lonesome Night
Darius Jones, an alto saxophonist, composer and producer, joined the New York music community in 2005 after studying at Virginia Commonwealth University. He comes from a diverse musical background that has led to his unique, alternative and soulful approach to music. Mr. Jones has composed and performed in a wide variety of areas such as electroacoustic music, chamber ensembles, contemporary jazz groups, free jazz groups, modern dance performances, and multi-media events.
Mr. Jones has performed in Italy, France, the U.S. and Canada. He currently works with such bands as the Cooper-Moore Trio, Mike Pride's From Bacteria to Boys, Nioka Workman's House Arrest Band, William Hooker's Bliss Quartet, Trevor Dunn's Proof Readers, and Period. His band Little Women with Travis LaPlante, Ben Greenberg, and Jason Nazary recently went on a national tour to promote the release of their first record, "Teeth", on Sockets and Gilgongo Records. In New York, Mr. Jones has produced records for Korean jazz vocalist Sunny Kim and country-folk artist Mary Bragg.
Choreographer, Lonesome Night
Thomas Ragland began training with the City Dance Program at the age of seven, and later danced as a member of City Dance Theatre. At the age of thirteen he was chosen for the role of the "Nutcracker Prince" with the Richmond Ballet. Always a magnetic performer, he won many national first-place awards in DanceAmerica competitions, most memorably in the solo created for him by Rodney Williams, 'Buked and Scorned. He continued his training at the School of the Richmond Ballet.
At the age of seventeen, Mr. Ragland was one of the select few to be accepted (out of 800 applicants) into the Julliard School's Summer Intensive Program. Since then, he has risen from the position of trainee to a full member of the Richmond Ballet, where he continues to grow as a performer.
Mr. Ragland has choreographed numerous short pieces for City Dance Theatre's Spring Concerts. Lonesome Night will be his first full-length work for the company.
ROBERT MACKAY, Ph.D.
Composer, Electroacoustic Hip-Hop piece
Robert Mackay completed a degree in Geology and Music at Keele University in 1995, studying electroacoustic composition there with Michael Vaughan. He then earned a Ph.D. in music composition at the University of Wales under the supervision of Andrew Lewis. Currently he is Lecturer in Creative Music Technology for the University of Hull.
Dr. Mackay's work has gained international recognition in the form of prizes and mentions, including the Bourges "Synthése" Festival (1997 and 2001) and the EAR99 Prize from Hungarian Radio (1999). His pieces have been performed across Europe and the UK (including BBC Radio 3) as well as Australia, New Zealand and America, with several performances at the University of Richmond's 3rd Practice Festival.
As well as composing in various genres, Mackay is an actor, singer and instrumentalist. He has performed in productions all over the UK, and has made several radio and television appearances.
He plays and writes in a number of bands and ensembles, including the Welsh Hip-Hop collective Tystion, and recently collaborated with John Cale of the Velvet Underground on music for the film "A Beautiful Mistake".
Choreographer, Electroacoustic/Hip-Hop piece
Will Sterling began dance training at the age of 14 at the Chamber Ballet in Williamsburg, Virginia. He went on to receive the Artist Merit Award from the Virginia School of the Arts and was a Regional Dance America scholarship recipient. He trained with the Contemporary Ballet Theater, Allegheny Ballet Company and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. Mr. Walker danced professionally with the Richmond Ballet for four years. He has also danced with Starr Foster Dance Project, Chris Burnside and Dancers and Charisma Dance Theater, and has guest taught and performed throughout Virginia and beyond. Mr. Walker is in his tenth year of teaching Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Latin, Flamenco and Techno Hip-Hop at Henrico County High School's Center for the Arts and The School of the Latin Ballet Of Virginia. He is the Junior Company Director and a professional company member of the Latin Ballet Of Virginia.