Deborah Jinza Thayer

Deborah Jinza Thayer

Creator/Director of Jinza Dances/Movement Architure

After spending the first six years in Japan and Southeast Asia, Deborah Jinza Thayer grew up in Brooklyn, New York.  She graduated from Johns Hopkins University and received an MFA in Dance at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.  Based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, she has created over 60 original works and presents her work as Movement Architecture which explores movement in structured environments.  The work strives to create altered metaphorical spaces which request an embodied reflection of both our internal and external worlds.

Some of the awards include being a two-time semi-finalist for France’s Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis (Bagnolet) in 1999 and 2001, and receiving a 2010 SAGE Award for Choreographic Concept and Design.  Fellowships include a 2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers,  2006 Associate Artist Residency at Atlantic Center for the Arts, and a 2010 Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Fellowship. She has received additional support from the Minnesota State Arts Board (1999, 2002, 2009, 2014), American Composers Forum (2006, 2011, 2014), and Jerome Foundation (2006).   She has been teaching since 1993 and currently teaches somatics, technique and composition at Zenon Dance Company and School in Minneapolis.

Deborah is a certified Movement Therapist and Somatic Educator, GYROKINESIS® and GYROTONIC® EXPANSION SYSTEM instructor, and GLOBAL SOMATICS™ practioner.   She maintains a one-on-one movement training practice in St. Paul, MN.

Resume/CV

 Deborah Jinza Thayer

jinzathayer@mac.com

Education

  • George Mason University, M.F.A. in Dance, 1997
  • Johns Hopkins University, B.A. Natural Sciences, 1984

Grants and Awards 

  • Artist Initiative Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board 2014 & 2009
  • Music for Dance commission, American Composers Forum, 2014 & 2011
  • Profile on Minnesota Originals, MN Public Television, Feb 2013
  • 2010 SAGE Award for Concept and Design, Ode to Dolly, the sheep, inter alia 
  • Blacklock Nature Sanctuary Artists Fellowship, 2010
  • Jerome Foundation Travel Grant 2006
  • Dance USA Access Scholarship to attend the 2006 National Roundtable in Portland, Oregon
  • McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers, 2004
  • Grant from the University of Minnesota College of Liberal Arts for the Best Feet Forward Series,
  • January 2002 & 2003
  • Semi-finalist in the Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis
  • (Bagnolet), January 2002
  • Career Opportunity Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board, January 2002
  • Grant from Target Stores for the Best Feet Forward Series, January 2002
  • Semi-finalist in the Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis
  • (Bagnolet), January 2000
  • Video Documentation Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board, March 1999
  • Excellence in Academic Endeavors, George Mason University, May 1997
  • Excellence in Choreography, George Mason University, May 1997
  • Travel  & Research Grant, George Mason University, to attend International School of Theatre
  • Anthropology, Copenhagen, Denmark, May 1996
  • Tuition Grant, George Mason University (1994-97)

Commissions and Residencies

  • Associate Artist residency at the Atlantic Center of the Arts, Florida, 2006
  • All that Glitters, Music in Motion Program, Commission by American Composer’s Forum with the
  • James Sewell Ballet Company, Minneapolis, May 2006
  • Leave the Baby in the Car, Choreographic Workshop with the James Sewell Ballet Company,
  • Minneapolis, March 2005
  • My Little Cyborg, Momentum: New Dance Works, Commission from the Walker Art Center and the
  • Southern Theater, Minneapolis, July 2002
  • Biped Anomalies, Commission from the Macalester College Dance Company, St. Paul, April 2000

Full and Shared Concerts

  • McKnight Fellowship Concert, The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, October 2007
  • Best Feet Forward Series, The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, February 2004
  • Prime Time/Best Feet Forward Series, Shared Concert, Barbara Barker Center for Dance, University
  • of Minnesota, (UMN), Minneapolis, January 2003
  • Momentum Series, commissioned by the Walker Art Center and the Southern Theater,
  • Shared Concert, Minneapolis, July 2002
  • Best Feet Forward Series, Full Concert, Barbara Barker Center for Dance, University of Minnesota,
  • (UMN), Minneapolis, January 2002
  • Afflictions, Entanglements, and Associations, Full Concert, Minnesota Fringe Festival,
  • Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, August 2001
  • Future Perfect: The Modern World, Full Concert, Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, March 2001
  • Afflictions, Entanglements, and Associations, Full Concert, Red Eye Collaboration,
  • Minneapolis, April 2000
  • I.V. and Violet: Memory, Madness, and Mayhem; Shared Concert, Minnesota Fringe Festival,
  • Music Box Theatre, August 1999
  • Latex Lounge & Other Fabrications, Shared Concert, Red Eye, Minneapolis, March 1999
  • Squeezeplay, Shared Concert, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Minneapolis, October 1998
  • Stolen Circuitry, Shared Concert, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Loring Playhouse, Minneapolis,
  • July 1998
  • Trilogy of Dances, Full Concert, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, May 1999

Choreography

  • Acntarctica (septet), collaboration with Chris Strouth (composer) and Paris 1919,  Asia Ward (visual artist), Public Functionary, Minneapolis, Feb 2014
  • Safe as Houses (septet), collaboration with Chris Strouth (composer) and Paris 1919, Hennepin Theatre Trust, Minneapolis, September 2014
  • Diana Takes a Swim (solo and quartet), Tekbox, Minneapolis, November 2014
  • Itch (groupwork for 5), Fringe Festival/Southern Theater, Minneapolis, August 2013
  • Hilary’s Assignment (quartet), Twin Cities/Montreal Échange, Tekbox, Mpls, Feb 2013
  • Groove No. 1 (trio), Twin Cities/Montreal Échange, Tekbox, Mpls, Feb 2013
  • Ode to Dolly, the sheep, inter alia (full-evening work), a dance-installation,
  • California Building, Minneapolis Dec 2009
  • Dougieland 60, (full-evening work), collaboration with visual artist Douglas Padilla,
  • California Building, Minneapolis Sept 2009
  • Admittance (groupwork for eight), collaboration with composer Matthew Smith, The Ritz Theater, Minneapolis, December 2008
  • Diana Takes a Swim (solo), Studio 303 Montreal, QC, October 2008
  • Today as We Know It (duet), Studio 303 Montreal, QC, October 2008
  • Bizarre Mating Ritual (duet), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, Oct 2007
  • All that Glitters (groupwork for eight), St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, St. Paul May 2006
  • Leave the Baby in the Car (sextet), choreographic workshop with the James Sewell Ballet Company,
  • Minneapolis, March 2005
  • Meet the Nation (quartet), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, February 2005
  • Molecular Variations (solo), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, February 2005 
  • Fractal Scapes (groupwork for eight), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, February 2004
  • Valence (quartet), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, February 2004
  • Pretty in Pink (solo), Minnesota Dance Festival, The Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, MN, April 2003
  • Site-specific work (quartet) for Gandhi-King-Ikeda Exhibit, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public
  • Affairs, University of Minnesota (UMN), February 2003
  • Lilly and her Split Ends (quartet), site-specific work, Barbara Barker Center for Dance, University of
  • Minnesota (UMN), Minneapolis, January 2003
  • Femme Fatale (quartet), site-specific work, Barbara Barker Center for Dance, UMN, January 2003
  • The Blob/Gaggle of Girls (sextet), site-specific work, Barbara Barker Center for Dance, UMN,
  • January 2003
  • Falling (groupwork for eight), site-specific work for the Earth Charter Summit, Carlson School of
  • Management, University of Minnesota (UMN), October 2002
  • My Little Cyborg (groupwork for seven), commissioned by the Walker Art Center and the
  • Southern Theater, Minneapolis, July 2002
  • The Last Egg (groupwork for nine), Barbara Barker Center for Dance, UMN, January 2002
  • A Tenuous Evolution (trio), VIII Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-
  • Saint-Denis (Bagnolet), University of Texas at Austin, January 2002, Red Eye Collaboration, March & August 2001
  • The Viewing Room (quartet), Barbara Barker Center for Dance, UMN, January 2002,
  • Walker Art Center, June 2001,Theatre de la Jeune Lune, May 2001
  • Movement design for The Red Death, a play by Lisa D’Amour, Red Eye Collaboration,
  • September 2001
  • Falling Through Time (solo), Gus Lucky Art Gallery, July 2000
  • I’m OK, You’re OK (sextet), Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, March 2001, Zenon Student
  • Concert, Minneapolis, July 2000
  • Biped Anomalies (group work for nine), Macalester College Dance Company, St. Paul, MN,
  • April 2000
  • Refractions of Self (duet), Barbara Barker Center for Dance, UMN, January 2002; Red Eye
  • Collaboration, April 2000
  • Ether (trio), Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, April 2000
  • Afflictions, Entanglements, and Associations (sextet), Barbara Barker Center for Dance, UMN,
  • January 2002, Red Eye Collaboration, April 2000 & August 2001
  • Forever and Ever (duet), Music Box Theatre, Minneapolis, August 1999
  • Slamming Through the Gateway (trio), VII Rencontres choregraphiques internationales de Seine-
  • Saint-Denis (Bagnolet), University of Texas at Austin, January 2000; Concordia University, St. Paul, MN, October 1999; Music Box Theatre, Minneapolis, August 1999
  • Unforgiving (quintet), Zenon Student Concert, Minneapolis, July 1999
  • Glue #1 (quartet) Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, March 1999
  • Glue #2 (quartet) Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, March 1999
  • Latex Lounge (duet) Red Eye Collaboration, Minneapolis, March 1999; Center for Arts
  • Education, Golden Valley, MN, Oct 1998; Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Minneapolis,
  • Oct 1998
  • Cocktail Divertissements (trio) Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis, July 1999, Red Eye Collaboration,
  • Minneapolis, March 1999; Center for Arts Education, Golden Valley, MN, October 1998;
  • Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Minneapolis, October 1998
  • Astroturf (duet) Minnesota Fringe Festival, Loring Playhouse, Minneapolis, July 1998
  • Perch (45 minute group work for eleven) George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, May 1997
  • Luna (group work for eleven) Fairfax Ballet, Herndon, Virginia, June 1996
  • Perch (quartet) Mid-Atlantic Regional American College Dance Festival, Raleigh, North Carolina,
  • Spring 1996; George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, November 1995
  • Saltimbanco (group work for nine) Fairfax Ballet, Herndon, Virginia, June 1995
  • Little Wing (solo) Fairfax Ballet, Herndon, Virginia, June 1995
  • Cicada (duet) George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, May 1995
  • Untitled (solo) George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, May 1995
  • Chiaroscuro (group work for eight) George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, April 1995
  • Movement design for The Love Talker, a play by Deborah Pryor, directed by Lynnie Raybuck
  • George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, October 1994
  • Flip Fantasia (quartet) Fairfax Ballet, Herndon, Virginia, June 1994
  • Cannonball (group work for six) Fairfax Ballet, Herndon, Virginia, June 1994
  • Apple Pie Republic (group work for eight) George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, April 1994
  • Respirare (solo) George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, November 1993
  • In a Bar, On a Bar (duet) T.W.E.E.D. Emerging Artists Series, Crowbar, New York City, June 1992
  • Spiritus (trio) Dance Space, New York City, October 1990
  • Trilogy (group work for five) Dance Space, New York City, February 1990

Performance

  • Diana Takes a Swim (solo), Studio 303 Montreal, QC, October 2008
  • Today as We Know It (duet), Studio 303 Montreal, QC, October 2008
  • Biped Awakening (solo), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, October 2007
  • Have Gun Will Shoot (solo), Directed by Rosy Simas, The Ritz Theater, Minneapolis March 2007;
  • Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis, August 2006
  • Molecular Variations (solo), The Southern Theater, Minneapolis, February 2005
  • If Andy Warhol Were My Dad (solo), Directed by Rosy Simas, Red Eye Theater, Mpls, April 2004
  • Pretty in Pink (solo), Minnesota Dance Festival, The Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul, MN, April 2003
  • The American Way, a project of Future Perfect, collaborative improvisation with composers
  • Chuck Zwicky and Aaron Barnell, Bryant Lake Bowl, March 2002
  • Gender Box, conceived and directed by Heidi Geier/ Soft-Eyed Collaborations, Red Eye
  • Collaboration, March 2002
  • Collaborative Improvisation with composer Patrick Maun and videographer John Akre,
  • Mulch, Intermedia Arts, October 2000
  • Miss Biracial UpperMidwest 1984, written and directed by Heather Wilson, Intermedia Arts,
  • September 2000
  • Circle Around the Island, a play by Marcus Quiniones, Theater Mu, Southern Theater, Minneapolis,
  • April 1999
  • Coffee and Oranges in a Sunny Chair, Choreography by Susan Shields, George Mason University,
  • Fairfax, Virginia, May 1997
  • A Chinese Village, an operetta by Director/Librettist Susan Galbraith and Composer Robert Johnson,
  • The In Series at Mount Vernon College, Washington, DC, November 1996
  • Vulva in Boy, a play by Diana Son, directed by Lynnie Raybuck, George Mason University, Fairfax,
  • Virginia, December 1995
  • The Sky is Falling, Choreography by Doug Elkins, George Mason University, Fairfax VA, Nov 95
  • Bite the Wax Tadpole, Choreography by Doug Elkins, George Mason University, November 1995
  • Passage, Choreography by Kari Margolis, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, April 1995
  • For Harry, Choreography by Kevin Campbell, George Mason, Fairfax, Virginia, April 1994
  • The Shores of Magh Mell, Choreography by Marta Renzi, George Mason University, Fairfax,
  • Virginia, April 1994
  • Various group works by Maureen Fleming, Kampo Cultural Center, New York City, December 1992
  • Various works by Patricia Bardi, outdoor festivals in Tuscany, Italy, July 1991
  • Times Past, Choreography by Laurie DeVito, Dance Space, New York City, October 1990
  • Doin’ Things Together, Choreography by Michele Miller, Dance Space, New York City, Oct 1990
  • The Fruit of the Vine, Choreography by Ruth Klotzer, Merce Cunningham Studio, New York City,
  • June 1989
  • Journey Home, Choreography by Diane McCarthy, Dance Space, New York City, May 1989
  • Mujeres, Choreography by Graziela Kozak, Peridance, New York City, May 1988

Teaching Experience

  • Instructor, Zenon Dance School, Minneapolis, 1998-to present
  • Dance Composition, Beginning, Intermediate & Advanced Modern, Beg & Int Ballet
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Minnesota, February 2005, Advanced Modern Technique
  • Guest Lecturer, Behind the Beat (workshop for composers and choreographers),
  • American Composers Forum, Minneapolis, November 2002
  • Guest Lecturer, Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, November 2002
  • Guest Lecturer, George Mason University, September 2001
  • Graduate level Advanced Teaching Seminar, Composition
  • Guest Lecturer, Urban Retreat for the Arts Conference, sponsored by Annenberg,
  • Minneapolis Public Schools and the Perpich Center for Arts Education, August 2001
  • Mentor of Contemporary Dance Technique and Composition, Mentor Connection,
  • Intermediate School District 287, Eden Prarie, MN, September 2000 to May 2001
  • Artist-in-Residence, Sixth Grade Theater Project/Red Eye Collaboration,
  • Lake Harriet School, Edina, MN, May 2001
  • Guest Instructor, St. Cloud University, December 1999
  • Beginning and Intermediate Modern
  • Instructor, Dance Arts Centre, Eden Prairie, MN 1999-to 2002
  • Beginning & Intermediate Ballet
  • Teaching Experience (cont’d)
  • Adjunct Faculty, George Mason University, 1995-97
  • Dance 101 – Dance Appreciation (Teaching Assistant), Dance 125 – Beginning Modern,
  • Dance 131 – Beginning Jazz, Dance 231 – Intermediate Jazz
  • Instructor, Russell School of Ballet, Chantilly, Virginia, 1993-96
  • Beginning and Intermediate Modern, Dance Composition, Anatomy & Injury Prevention,
  • Total Body Conditioning and Alignment Principles, Beginning and Intermediate Jazz

Training

  • Ballet Minneapolis:  Becky Stanchfield (1997 to present)
  • New York City:  Sara Neece (1989-92), Jan Miller (1990-93), Jocelyn Lorenz (1989-91),
  • Igal Perry (1984-87), Graziela Kozak (1986-88), Nancy Mikota (1985-88), Joel Dabin (1984-86),
  • Benjamin Harkavey (1985-86)
  • Jazz New York City:
  • Lynn Simonson (1989-92), Laurie DeVito (1990-92), Katiti King (1990-92),
  • Michele Assaf (1985-87), Michael Owens (1985-87)
  • Modern
  • Minneapolis:  Erin Thompson (Summers 1998-99, 2000)
  • Washington, DC:  Karen Studd (Laban/Bartienieff, 1993-97), Buffy Price (1995-96), Deborah Riley (Cunningham- based, Fall 1994)
  • New York City:  Joy Kellerman (Lewitzsky based, 1985-93)
  • Butoh
  • New York City:  Maureen Fleming (1992, Spring 2000, July 2001)
  • Body-Mind-Centering
  • Minneapolis:  Suzanne Rivers (2001 -2005)
  • Vocal Dance
  • Tuscany, Italy:  Patricia Bardi (July 1991)
  • Movement Theater
  • Minneapolis:  Kari Margolis (April 1995, October 1997- May 1998)
  • Washington DC:  Erica Batdorf (November 1995)
  • Tuscany, Italy:  Antonello Mendolia (July 1991)
  • ActingWashington DC:  Lynnie Raybuck (1994-1995)
  • New York City:  Karen DiMauro (Fall 1987)
  • Certified in Gyrotonic Expansion System
  • Certified in Global Somatics
  • Certified Somatic Movement Therapist and Movement Educator (ISMETA)

Administrative Experience

  • Panelist, Cultural Collaborations Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board, 2014
  • Panelist, Artist Initiative Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board, 2010 & 2011
  • Panelist, Fellowship for Dancers, Mcknight Foundation, 2010
  • Panelist, Arts Activities Grant, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council 2011
  • Advisory Group Member, Minnesota Dance Mapping Project, Dance USA, February 2006 to present
  • Board Member, Frogtown Artists Co-op, St. Paul, MN, March 2004 -2005
  • Panelist, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Individual Artist Fellowship Program, June 2001 &
  • June 2003
  • Board Member, DanceToday (formerly Minnesota Dance Alliance), Minneapolis,
  • January 2000 to August 2003
  • Publicity Associate, Dance Theater Workshop, New York City, February 1989 – August 1992