2018 Distinguished Achievement in Dance Awards
Honoring Bonita Weisman and Rosi Docal Pizzuto
You are cordially invited to join us for Award Ceremony and Reception
Sunday, October 14, 2018 4pm to 6pm
Upward Hartford, 20 Church Street, Hartford, CT
Tickets: CDA members free (reservations required) Non-members $15
Bonita Weisman has been teaching, performing and choreographing in Hartford since 1983. Growing up in Manhattan enabled Bonita to study with such notables as Bonnie Bird, Mary Anthony, June Lewis, Louis Falco, Nat Horne, James Truitt, Pepsi Bethel, Sophie Maslow, Anna Soklalow, Carol Fried, Simone Forti and Judson accompanist, Philip Corner. In addition to technical dance, Bonita’s movement training has included studies in dance therapy at the New School, expressive therapy at Leslie College, Laban Movement Analysis and folk and social dance styles.
Although she danced at SUNY Purchase, she received her BA in literature. Bonita was in the first class of 300 freshmen to enter Purchase. She was attracted to being a pioneer and it took a lot of improvisation on everyone’s part to create a new school; Bonita was the first student ever allowed to write a poetry manuscript instead of a scholarly thesis. Her improvography almost always utilizes text and spoken word that illustrates the marriage of her love of words and love of movement. Her first “real” jobs were in the field of publishing both in New York City and Boston.
In the Hartford area, she has taught at Connecticut College, Trinity College, the Performing Arts Academy and the Hartford Conservatory. In the 1980s Bonita became an Affiliated Artist at the Charter Oak Cultural Center in Hartford where she continues a strong connection in performance and collaboration. With dancer Evan Williams, Bonita founded Hundred Feet Dance Project in order to bring master teachers in dance and related fields to teach weekend workshops. At that time Bonita was also associated with Real Art Ways under then executive director Joseph Celli. Currently Bonita is an adjunct professor at the Hartt School of the University of Hartford.
In Boston, Bonita was a dance/movement specialist in the Arts Alive program at the Institute of Contemporary Art. She created and taught workshops entitled “New Ways to See’ that utilized the body as a vehicle for understanding visual art. Bonita facilitated the nation’s longest running “free dance” in Cambridge for several years. Bonita received multiple grants in order to produce large site specific dance works. She also taught contact improvisation, modern, and ensemble improvisation at the Institute of Contemporary Dance and movement forms at the Boston cyclorama. While in MA she performed with a women’s improv collective called, “RIVER,” several small modern companies and Mandala Folk Dance Ensemble which toured the Northeast. (Including Carneige Hall).
Bonita’s main focus is improvisation, creative process and inclusiveness in movement experiences. She has been facilitating a movement jam called, “Don’t Come Prepared” for over 30 years that is open to everyBody. In recent years she has found joy playing rubboard with several zydeco bands, (who knew?) notably River City Slim and the Zydeco Hogs. When she is not dancing or playing she is busy helping others on their path to wellness as the owner of West Hartford Massage Therapy. Bonita continues to improvise at transitioning away from mothering her two amazing sons, Daniel 31 and Zach 25. Some of her goals in her 64th year on this planet are to continue practicing the art of possibility, attempting to live her truth and learn how to let go of everything she doesn’t need and still hold on to her center. And… wait patiently for grandbabies.
Rosi Docal Pizzuto
Ms. Docal is originally from Havana, Cuba and has been teaching dance in Connecticut schools and studios for 35 years. Her early dance education was at the Scuola di Danza Brenda Hamlyn in Florence, Italy and at the School of the Hartford Ballet. She received her BA degree from Trinity College in Hartford CT, and completed post graduates studies at the School of the Hartford Ballet Vaganova based Teacher Certificate Program. In 1983, upon completion of this program, she joined the faculty of the School of the Hartford Ballet working with such dance masters as Enid Lynn, Wang Shao Pen, Michael Uthoff, Truman Finney, and Diane Fleming. She taught in the Pre-Ballet, Adult and Pre-Professional divisions of the school and was the children’s rehearsal director for Mr. Uthoff’s Nutcracker. In addition, she was one of the original faculty members of the Dance Program for City Youth-a scholarship based dance program established to bring the joy of dance to 3rd and 4th graders in Hartford public schools.
When the school was renamed School of Dance Connecticut, Ms. Docal continued her teaching career at the school working alongside Kirk Peterson, Franco DeVita, Raymond Lukens, Alla Osipenko, and Susan Brooker. Additionally she was director of the Junior Performance Ensemble.
In 2005, Ms. Docal joined the faculty of the Hartt School Community Division, University of Hartford when it absorbed the School of Dance Connecticut. She continued to teach for the Hartt School Community Division under the leadership of Miguel Campaneria, Samantha Dunster, and Carol Roderick. Throughout the years, she has mentored many college students enrolled in the Dance Pedagogy Program at the Hartt School, University of Hartford, preparing them for teaching careers in dance.
Ms. Docal has taught and inspired many students who have gone on to pursue professional dance careers. She is thrilled to be able to continue to share her love of dance with students at School of Ballet Hartford.