the artistic director
edited by Justin Scholar
Photo by Linda Källérus
RICHARD ALAN LUGO was born in Westchester, NY, where he began studying martial arts at the age of four. After 10 years of disciplined training he took an interest in musical theatre and dance (jazz, tap, hip-hop), performing a number of featured and principal roles. Having earned a Helen Hayes Theatre Award for The King & I, he set himself on a path to continue pursuing the performing arts.
Rich continued his education at Colorado State University, graduating in May 2009 with a B.A. in Performing Arts, Concentration in Dance (modern, ballet, and choreography). As an on-scholarship member of the CSU Tour Dance Company for two years, he served as an assistant director to Chung-Fu Chang, performing in schools and communities throughout northeastern Colorado. On campus, Rich worked with various guest artists including Gabe Masson, Katie Elliott, Kim Neal Nofsinger, Mary Wohl Haan, and Diavolo Dance Theatre. In 2008 he performed at the American College Dance Festival (Irvine, CA) and at the IX Festival Internacional de Danza Contemporanea Avant Garde (Merida, Mexico).
Choreography was of great interest to Rich early on in his time as a Dance major. Along with performing regularly, he choreographed 14 pieces, three of which were juried by faculty to be performed in main-stage concerts, and as part of the Tour Dance Company repertoire (two solos).
Encouraged by his experiences in Colorado, Rich moved to New York CIty and founded DANSPIEK in 2011. The company was born from his interest in creating an accesible and narrative style influenced by his lifelong movement training. Developing the company has afforded him many opportuntiies to collaborate with professionals in creative and technical fields. He continues to serve as the artistic director.
Currently teaching Dance at Fordham High School for the Arts in the Bronx, he finds himself coming full-circle to his early training as a martial artist. As head of the Dance Department, he continues designing a curriculum that develops student artistry through team-building, peer assessment, and actionable feedback. The classwork culminates in pre-professional dance concerts, and pieces which have been selected for outside performance in the Bronx Borough Arts Festival.
In continuing his artistic path, he has made it his life's mission to impart his visions in refreshing, powerful, and memorable ways.