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, 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.
Jefferson Dancers II, Hip Hop, African
Bunky was born, and now resides, in Portland, Oregon. He began his 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 member of the Northwest African American Ballet for six years. He has performed internationally, and nationally for shows including Nike, Avia, Reebok, and Nordstrom. He is co-founder of Dynasty Dance Zone, and has been teaching 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 with Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre and The San Francisco Ballet.
Cynthia was a principal dancer with 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.
Rachel is a dancer, choreographer and teacher living in Portland, Oregon. She holds a BFA from the University of the Arts in Modern Dance Performance with an Emphasis in Choreography. In Portland she has performed for Tere Mathern Dance, Top Shake Dance, Éowyn Emerald & Dancers, Tracey Durbin, Kristine Anderson, Franco Nieto, Eliza Larson and her own platform for work, Rachel Slater Dance. Rachel's previous work included performance engagements in Philadelphia, North Carolina, up and down the West Coast and Southern France (with the Jefferson Dancers), as well as co-founding and directing a modern dance collective in Philadelphia, Pink Hair Affair. Her choreography has been presented in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the Remix Festival, 12 Minutes Max in Seattle, the Women on the Way Festival in San Francisco, and Pacific Dance Makers in Portland, among others. Rachel was a New Expressive Works Resident in 2013, and a 2014 recipient of the Oregon Arts Commission Career Opportunity Grant. She has recently taught for Northwest Dance Project and Pacific University and is currently teaching for BodyVox Dance Center and Portland Public Schools as a part of Jefferson HS/Middle College's Dance Department. Rachel is very excited to be back at Jeff!
Jefferson Dancers II, Tap, Ballet
Kasia teaches tap and ballet at Jefferson. She was a Jefferson Dancers company member from 1998 to 2002, during which time she performed with the group in Canada; Miami, FL; and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. At 17, she assistant taught for tap master Dr. Leonard Reed (creator of the “Shim Sham”) during his final visit to Portland. Ms. Wilhelmi graduated from the University of Oregon with a BA in Psychology where she competed nationally for two years with the U of O Dance Team, coached by Karl Mundt. She went on to earn her master’s in International Public Health at the University of Sydney in Australia, while furthering her dance training at Sydney Dance Company Studios. In 2012, she spent the year teaching dance and physical education classes at the Taipei American School in Taiwan, where she also took tap classes at Dance Works studio (home to the Taipei Tap Festival). Ms. Wilhelmi now teaches dance classes in multiple styles throughout the Portland Metro area, including through Portland Parks & Recreation, Westside Dance and Gymnastics Academy and Groove Nation Academy. This is her third year as a dance teacher at Jefferson, where she now teaches tap and ballet as well as co-directing The Jefferson Dancers II