Steve Gonzales, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, started dancing and acting at Jefferson Performing and Visual Arts High School in Portland, Oregon, under the direction of Mary Vinton Folberg. He performed with the Jefferson Dancers for three years then went on to perform with Pacific Ballet Theatre (now Oregon Ballet Theatre) in 1986. Mr. Gonzales continued his dance training at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he was a member of the Second Avenue Dance Company. At NYU, he worked with directors and choreographers: Jenny Way from Twyla Tharp, Kevin Wynn, Elisa Monte, and Stephen Petronio. He also choreographed several pieces for Second Avenue Dance Company members and collaborated with other choreographers at NYU. He performed Charles Wiedman’s role in the Humphery-Wiedman retrospective performance of New Dance Variations and Conclusions, presented at the Danny Kale Playhouse in New York. He began dancing with MOMIX Dance Theatre just days after graduating from NYU in 1994.
Under the direction of Moses Pendleton, he has performed MOMIX’s entire repertoire all over Europe, Canada, South America, Australia, Israel, Greece, Russia, Japan, and the United States, including their annual season at the Joyce Theater in New York. In addition to performing, he has also taught master classes worldwide, performed live for several television shows in Spain, Italy, Germany, and for the BBC in London, has appeared in numerous European fashion magazines, and has assumed the responsibilities of rehearsal director, choreographer, and company spokesperson to ambassadors and dignitaries around the world. Mr. Gonzales was featured in Michael Curry’s World Premiere Production of Spirits in 2001. He worked closely with choreographers Moses Pendleton, David Parsons, Trey McIntyre, Jamey Hampton, Ashley Rolon, and Sylvia Hase.
Along with performing, he collaborated with Stumptown Productions and choreographed A Chorus Line and The Wiz, in which he received a Drammy for Best Choreography. Mr. Gonzales was recently awarded the Community Engagement Award from dance presenters Paul King and Walter Jaffe of Whitebird. He is extremely proud of having a small part in making Portland, our community, a better place.
As the artistic director of The Jefferson Dancers for the past 16 years, Mr. Gonzales has taken the Company to perform all over the world including England, France, Germany, Italy, and China. In addition to bringing in cutting-edge choreographers, he has set new and exciting works on the Company, including Rhythm is the Key, Primitive, Cancao Do Mar, Eye of RA, Time Signatures, IMPACT, Tantango, Aquatique, Endorphin, Escape Velocity, Chapter One, Anima Vita, and Chaotic Beauty which were performed in the gala concerts at the National High School Dance Festivals in Long Beach, CA, Miami, FL, and Philadelphia, PA. He credits the program at Jefferson with exposing him to the dance world, and ultimately launching his career. He is determined to see the program flourish to its greatest potential, and dedicated to ensuring that The Jefferson Dancers will continue to influence generations to come.
Jenny Whiteman co-manages the Jefferson Dancers and has really enjoyed working with the Company's Artistic Staff this year. A lot of heart goes into keeping this company going!
After graduating from the UO, Jenny moved to New York City to pursue her passion for dance. Instead, she fell in love with Pilates and became a certified instructor in 1999. In her 20 years of teaching she's had the pleasure of apprenticing with Pilates master instructor, Kathy Grant at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, working with National and world champion athletes, clients in need of rehabilitation and dancers. In 2001, Jenny and her husband, Kirk opened a Pilates & cycling studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn and after moving to Portland, reopened in 2008. Their daughter, Ana Paloma traded in her cycling shoes for black socks (and pointe shoes) several years ago and hasn't looked back!
The Jefferson Dancers also work with the talented Dance Faculty at Jefferson High School in class and as guest choreographers.