Artistic Director - The Jefferson Dancers, Jazz, Ballet
Steve, 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 as a Second Avenue Dance Company member. 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 recently received the Community Engagement Award from dance presenters Paul King and Walter Jaffe of Whitebird. He is exceptionally 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 worldwide, 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 is dedicated to ensuring that The Jefferson Dancers will continue influencing future generations.
Jefferson Dancers II, Hip Hop, African
Bunky was born and now resides in Portland, Oregon. He began training at Tubman and Fernwood Middle Schools and continued dancing at Jefferson High School. He is a Jefferson Dancer alumnus and trained in ballet, jazz, tap, modern, African, hip-hop, step, and gymnastics. Bunky was also a Northwest African American Ballet member for six years. He has performed internationally and nationally for shows including Nike, Avia, Reebok, and Nordstrom. He co-founded Dynasty Dance Zone and has taught dancers of all ages extensively for the past 17 years. He currently teaches jazz, hip-hop, and African at Jefferson High School. Bunky prides himself on giving back to the community and is known for his dynamic, energetic, and inspirational presence.
Cynthia teaches ballet at Jefferson. She began her career at Ballet Pacifica under Lila Zali. She was the youngest to receive a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend the School of American Ballet in New York City. Cynthia also received full scholarships to attend the Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and The San Francisco Ballet.
Cynthia was a principal dancer with the Chicago City Ballet and Chicago Lyric Opera under Maria Tallchief before joining The Boston Ballet as a soloist under the direction of Violette Verdy. There, she partnered with Rudolph Nureyev in his production of Don Quixote. Her repertoire includes classical ballets such as The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Romeo and Juliet, Paquita, The Four Seasons, Les Sylphides, La Sylphide, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Graduation Ball, La fille Mal Gardee, Don Quixote, Prince Igor, The Stone Flower, Sylvia, Pas de Quatre, Carmina Burana and numerous Balanchine ballets such as The Firebird, Pas de Dix, Who Cares, Symphony in C, Concerto Barocco, Jewels- Rubies, The Four Temperaments, Faust, Valse Fantasie, Donizetti Variations, Afternoon of a Faun, Divertimento No. 15.
Cynthia has been teaching ballet, coaching, and doing choreography in the Portland area for 28 years, including ten years as Artistic Director of Portland Community Ballet. She teaches all levels of ballet.
Lauren Smith was born and raised in Southern California and has been dancing since age three. After training, performing, and participating in prestigious dance competitions and conventions throughout her childhood, she earned a B.A. in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. Since receiving her degree, Lauren has pursued a deeper knowledge of the body through studying Ashtanga Yoga and becoming a certified personal trainer. In 2011, Lauren co-founded the Tongue Dance Project with Stephanie Gilliland and has been dancing and performing in the company consistently since its creation. Lauren has been teaching and coaching dance for over 17 years, focusing on instilling a deeper knowledge of the art of dance passionately to hundreds of students throughout the U.S., including working for non-profit organizations, private studios, and conservatories as well as being on the faculty for both Dance and Musical Theater at Idyllwild Arts Academy for seven years. Lauren moved to Portland, Oregon, in 2017, and since her arrival, she has been dedicated to enriching and supporting the local dance community in every way possible. Lauren was the Co-Founder/Director/Teacher at FLOOR Center for Dance, is the current Director of Contemporary at Steps PDX, and has earned a Master’s in Education from Portland State University. Lauren is excited to work at Jefferson High School, where she teaches Modern and Jazz.