DIANE MCNEAL HUNT/
DIANE MCNEAL HUNT (Founding Artistic Director), Choreographer, Master Teaching Artist and Performer, is recognized as one of the leading dance artists in the AZ and Southwest dance community. As Artistic Director/Choreographer for ELEVATE DanceWorks, her choreography has been selected to showcase locally and nationally.
Diane lives a full, rich career as a dance artist serving as Resident Choreographer, Outreach Education Director and Performer for Center Dance Ensemble. Diane’s original works are featured as part of this resident Modern Dance company’s season at The Herberger Theater Center, in downtown Phoenix.
Diane’s career as a Performer spans from 1986 to present, with Center Dance Ensemble, A Ludwig Dance Theatre. Her company MarDi Dance Company, co-created in 1983 with husband/dance partner Mark Vanek, performs annually in Dia de los Muertos Festivals throughout Arizona, featuring Diane’s original choreography inspired by dramatic masks created by internationally acclaimed artist Zarco Guerrero.
She was also a founding company member of Desert Dance Theatre (1980).
Some highlights of her performance career include performing original works of Cliff Keuter, Elina Mooney, Marion Kirk Jones, Ann Ludwig, Beth Lessard, Fran Cohen, Amy Ernst, Kelly Roth and as guest performer with Scorpius Dance Theatre, Semaphor Dance and John Goodwin’s Dime-A-Dance Company.
An invited Guest Choreographer, Diane's works have been performed by Dulce Dance Company, Nicole Olson & Dancers, Kaleidoscape Dance, InSpiritus Dance Company,
Chandler-Gilbert Community College, Scottsdale Community College and Convergence Ballet Company.
At the HEART of Diane’s work remains a devotion to Arts Education as Assistant Director/Master Teaching Artist for AZ Wolf Trap and Dance Director at Desert View Learning Center.
Inside of me stirs a driving energy and artistic curiosity to discover the movement language that captures the fierce energy and exquisite beauty that is alive in my focal concept, “Forces of Nature”. I’ve enjoyed a thriving career in the Arizona dance community for 35 years, performing, teaching and choreographing. Highlighting my career is an inspiring artistic collaboration with world renown mask maker, Zarco Guerrero. For over 30 years, our artistic visions combine to yield visually striking, masked dances. I have reached a full circle moment in my creative journey as I create new life for masks that I performed in years ago and breathe new life into masks that are being specially created for this project. As Artistic Director of ELEVATE DanceWorks, I will be working with a company of 10-14 dancers, creating a collective of solo, duet, small and full group works that source from the forces of Earth, Fire, Water and Wind. Some of the dances will include masks and others will be expressed through movement alone. It is my aesthetic choice to make dances that are driven from the "inside out" and I continually challenge my dancers to find their internal “fire” to physicalize the movement and express the intention of the choreography. Artistically, my challenge is to seek clarity in the movements I design, resulting in dances that allow for genuine presence and authentic expressiveness from my dancers. My creative process digs for strength in visual design, clarity in movement dynamics and authentic inner involvement from the performing artist. I believe, through my clarity of intent, the movement and genuine performance of the choreography provides a clear and visceral experience for the audience. As a selected [nueBOX] Residency Artist, I am grateful to have studio space provided so my company and I may share depth in an exciting and creative rehearsal process. We look forward to the work-in-progress showings for the public and participating in discussions that give transparency to the creative process. All of this continues to inform my work as a passionate dance artist.