Artistic Director Darryl Thomas
toured throughout the world as dancer and artistic collaborator in the world-renowned Pilobolus Dance Theatre, receiving an Emmy for his 1996 Kennedy Center performance of the Pilobolus work “Untitled”, starring annually in the Company’s sold-out New York performances, and performing in the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Thomas has collaborated with Pilobolus on commercial television projects such as the 2006 award-winning Hyundai television commercial which featured dancers in silhouette creating a series of images including a Hyundai car. Demonstrations from the commercial were featured television on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Conan O’Brien Show, and the 2007 Academy Awards (Oscars). Thomas danced in Washington, D. C. with Assane Kante’s Kankouran West African Dance Company. He received his Master of Fine Arts in performance and choreography from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He has received grants and awards for choreography from the Hawaii State Dance Council, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Oregon Commission for the Arts, Persis Foundation, and MJI Broadcasting.
Thomas has collaborated on programs in dance for at-risk youth in Florida, Ohio, Connecticut and Oregon in conjunction with local police departments, school districts, churches and high schools for the performing arts. One such program, “Youth At Risk Dancing” (YARD) based in Cleveland, Ohio was awarded the 1999 United States President’s “Coming up Taller” Award given by Hillary Rodman Clinton. In 2001, Mr. Thomas represented Rainbow Dance Theatre at the National Ballet of Senegal in Dakar where he researched indigenous dances and collaborated with National Ballet Costume Designer Djibril Sane on costumes for Act Three of RDT’s Camouflage Trilogy.
His choreography has been featured in the repertory of dance companies spanning the globe from Singapore to Mexico City, D.F., Pusan, South Korea, Taipei, Taiwan, Bangkok, Thailand, Kolkata, India, and Honolulu, Hawaii, as well as many regional companies in the United States. Mr. Thomas has taught as a visiting professor at the University of Florida of Gainesville, Florida, the Centro Nacional De Las Artes of Mexico City, D.F., Studio Dance Tanz of Osaka, Japan and Pusan National University of Pusan, South Korea. Currently Mr. Thomas is Professor of Dance at Western Oregon University where he teaches composition, partnering, Hip Hop, Hawaiian, Salsa, West African and Modern Dance.
Artistic Director Valerie Bergman
danced professionally in New York with many internationally recognized post-modern choreographers including Merce Cunningham, Nina Wiener, Mel Wong, Douglas Neilsen, and Marta Renzi. While with the Nina Wiener Dance Company, she served as principal dancer and ballet mistress, starred in several world premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Dance Festival, and appeared on PBS and Dutch National Television. Bergman has danced as well with The National Ballet of the Netherlands and the Hawaii Opera Theatre Ballet.
In 1991 she founded the Rainbow Dance Theatre (formerly Valerie Bergman Dance Company) in Honolulu, Hawaii where she collaborated with Hawaii’s premiere world-beat band, Cabaseke, and internationally acclaimed Taiko drum master, Kenny Endo. As dancer and choreographer, Bergman has toured throughout Asia, Europe, Canada, Mexico, the mainland United States and the Hawaiian Islands.
She has won awards and grants from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D. C., Oregon Arts Commission, Hawaii State Dance Council, Hawaii State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, Atherton Family Foundation, MJI Broadcasting and the American College Dance Festival. An inspiring dance educator, Bergman has taught in New York for the Finis Jhung Ballet Studio and the Viola Farber Dance Studio as well as the State University of New York at Purchase. Other teaching credits include the University of Hawaii at Manoa, University of Iowa, Studio Dance Tanz of Osaka, Japan, Florida School of the Arts, Western Oregon University. Her signature work, One Village, Many Tribes has been set on numerous university and professional dance companies, including most recently the Danza Contemporanea de Mexico.