TU Community Dance
Tuesday: 12:30 - 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 12:30 - 7 p.m.
Thursday: 1 - 6:45 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Towson University Department of Dance is pleased to work in collaboration with Chicago's renowned Ruth Page Center for the Arts in celebrating the ballet pedagogy of the Cuban National Ballet School.
The Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the mission and vision of its founder, international dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community. With a primary focus on dance as a critical art form, its programming ensures that children and dance artists have a place to train, work and perform at the highest level of excellence. Under the aegis of The Ruth Page Foundation, the Ruth Page Center has for over 46 years committed its resources to a unique combination of artistic programs that impact over 40,000 children and adults. The Center’s mission not only serves artistic development but also community development. There is no other organization like it in Chicago housed within a single entity with this history, commitment and impact. Located just steps from Michigan Avenue's Magnificent Mile, Chicago's shopping, dining and cultural mecca, the historic 1927 building in which The Center resides sits on a lovely tree-lined street in the heart of the Gold Coast.
A well-respected and nationally recognized center for dance in Chicago, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts been training professional dancers, presenting and promoting the finest dance performances in the city, and mentoring small to mid-sized arts organizations who call The Center home. Founded by Chicago icon and internationally-renown performer, choreographer and dance patron, Ruth Page, The Center reflects her vision of supporting dance excellence in Chicago. Emanating from the Illinois heartland, the visionary work of Ruth Page influenced the growth of theater design, opera-ballet, and dance. She achieved worldwide recognition as a true pioneer of dance in America by creating at the forefront of social, political and artistic issues. As a prominent force in the Chicago arts community, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts continues that legacy through its initiatives and programs that nurture the artform of dance, and by being an arts incubator for emerging and established artists and organizations. Chicago's first ballet company, Chicago Ballet, had its roots here. Lookingglass Theater and Chicago Shakespeare Theater have both called The Center home before moving on to establish their own venues.
Alexander’s keen insight, experience and a dedication to the craft come from an international dancing, choreographic and teaching career. A native of Pinar del Rio, Cuba, he was trained at the prestigious Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) in Havana, graduating in 1992 with a degree in Modern and Cuban folkloric dance. As a student, his exceptional talents were recognized in 1992 when he won first place for dance in the 4th National Union of Writers and Artists in Havana. He went on to be a principal dancer for the prominent Danza Contemporánea de Cuba from 1992 to 2002, where both his technical talent and expressive dance style gained national prominence. Alexander has studied with distinguished teachers such as Donald McKayle, Chuck Davis, and Jeffrey Bullock and has performed throughout Europe, Asia, the Caribbean and the United States. Since relocating from Cuba to Chicago in 2002, Alexander has performed with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, Hedwig Dances, CDI/Concert Dance Inc, and Luna Negra Dance Theater. While with CDI, Alexander was a featured artist in the 2008 Emmy Award-nominated production of the re-envisioned Ruth Page’s Billy Sunday on PBS. While with Hedwig, Alexander was a dance artist in the 2016 Emmy-nominated film Arch of Repose.
His teaching experience is extensive, encompassing local, national and international dance institutions. Of particular importance to Alexander is teaching in outreach programs that bring dance to youth. Recent outreach programs include Dance Art (2007–2010) and the Elementary Dance Scholarship Program (2010–2011) within the Chicago Public Schools. Included in Dance Magazine’s prestigious “25 to Watch in 2013” list, Alexander is known for his riveting stage presence as he mixes formidable technique he gained in the rigorous training ground of Cuban dance schools with facility at theatrical interpretation. In 2012, he was one of four choreographers selected for the Lab Artists Program, a one-year program of the Chicago Dancemakers Forum that focuses on the development of new choreography. In addition to the Chicago Dancemakers Forum grant, he has also received a fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council for his work, Line of Sighs and was selected as one of the 2013 Novel Affair Artists selected by The Ragdale Curatorial Board. In December of 2013, Line of Sighs was highlighted in the Chicago Tribune’s “Top 10 Best Dance Performances of 2013.”
Recently Alexander was one of the choreographers chosen to participate in Chicago’s Afro-Latino Festival 2014 with his work Among us. Additionally in 2014, he was selected to participate in Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s choreographic initiative, The International Commissioning Project, which provides residencies to choreographers, offering them the opportunity to create original works for HS2’s dancers and to conduct master classes. Alexander is currently the Director of the Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago, Illinois.
Maray Gutierrez Ramis is a native of Havana, Cuba where she trained at Escuela Nacional de Arte – the prestigious National School of Dance. For 10 years, she was a principal dancer for the internationally acclaimed Danza Contemporánea de Cuba and worked with esteemed choreographers Giovanni di Cicco, Donald McKayle, Joaquin Sabaté, Jan Linkens, and Marianela Boán (Founder of DanzAbierta), among others. She has performed throughout Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean, as well as, for British television and the Venice Opera. Maray has performed at the American Dance Festival; The International Dance Festival in Berlin, Germany; The Holland Dance Festival; and the International Ballet Festival in Genoa, Italy. Since relocating to Chicago, she has danced with Hedwig Dances, Luna Negra Dance Theater, CDI/Concert Dance Inc; the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Houston Grand Opera. She received an Emmy-nomination in 2008 for her performance in the PBS Documentary of “Ruth Page’s 1947 groundbreaking ballet cartoon”, Billy Sunday, presented by CDI/Concert Dance Inc. She was also a featured performer in the dance film, Arch of Repose, produced by Hedwig Dances in 2009. Maray was named Artistic Associate of Hedwig Dances in 2007. Maray was selected by “See Chicago Dance” as one of the 10 Top Women in 2006 for her choreography of, Eterno Despertar, for Luna Negra Dance Theater. Other choreographic credits include three new pieces she created for Hedwig Dances, and works for Ballet Hispanico of New York (2010) and Milwaukee Ballet II (2013). Maray has taught at Hedwig Dances; Faubourg School of Ballet; School of DanceWest Ballet; Southeast Missouri State University; Kansas State University; and, the Milwaukee Ballet School.