Spring 2013 Artist Biographies
Faye Driscoll is a Bessie-award winning choreographer and director who strives to investigate new forms of theatrical experience aimed to provoke feeling, stimulate the senses and activate the mind. She is interested in expanding ideas of what dance is and creating work that is both entertaining and socially and politically engaged. Driscoll has been called "a startlingly original talent" by the New York Times and "the most promising performing artist of her generation" by the Weekly Standard. She has choreographed four evening-length works with commissions from The Kitchen, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Dance Theater Workshop, American Dance Festival and HERE Arts Center. Her work has been supported by a National Dance Project NEFA production and touring award, a Jerome Foundation grant, multi-year support from the Greenwall Foundation and a LMCC Fund for Creative Communities grant. Driscoll has received commissions from the Zenon Dance Company and Barnard College, and was a 2011 Choreographic Fellow at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, and a recent Artist-in-Residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center and Headlands Center for the Arts. She has collaborated extensively with theater artists including Young Jean Lee, Cynthia Hopkins, Taylor Mac, Jennifer Miller and NTUSA. Her video work was exhibited in Younger than Jesus, the first of several signature triennials at the New Museum. Driscoll has been an adjunct professor at Bard College and NYU’s Playwrights Horizon’s Theater School. Her work has toured to the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Fusebox Festival, and UCLA, and has upcoming tours to the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, CounterPULSE, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the American Dance Festival, and The Yard. Driscoll’s work deals with the daily narratives of human experience in unpredictable and complex ways. She seeks to unhinge the viewer from their comfort zone in order to unearth parallel possibilities for being. She does this by laying bare the “id” while simultaneously embracing humor, seduction and rigor.
Francesca Harper blends original choreography, dance, music and film to create groundbreaking works that are category-defying. Harper was raised in New York City, where she studied at the School of American Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet School, The Ailey School, and under Madame Darvash and Barbara Walczak. After performing with the Dance Theater of Harlem, she danced as a principal in William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt from 1994-1999. Since returning to the States in 2000, Harper has performed in several Broadway productions including Fosse, The Producers, The Frogs, and The Color Purple. She played the role of Helene opposite Molly Ringwald in a national tour of Sweet Charity, and the role of Judith originated by Judith Jamison in a revival of Sophisticated Ladies. As a singer and lyricist Harper has released singles in Europe and Japan. In November 2003, her single “Would I?” was released on Powerhouse Records. In 2006, she released her debut solo album Modo Fusion with 10 original tracks of soul-inspired R&B and electronica. Francesca also recently worked as a ballet consultant for the feature film, "Black Swan," by Oscar Nominated Director Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, who went on to win an Oscar for her work.
Harper’s choreographic career began while still in Germany, where she choreographed a full evening work for the Holland Dance Festival. She has since choreographed works for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Oakland Ballet, Hubbard Street II, Tanz Graz, Point Park University, University of Richmond, and her own company The Francesca Harper Project, which has become the platform for her own artistic vision: classical dance forms deconstructed and fused with cutting-edge text, music, film and video. Her original hybrid work was first seen in 2000 at the Cherry Lane Theatre, as part of 50 minutes with Harriet and Phillis, a collaboration with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Margo Jefferson and composer Paul Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. She premiered her critically-acclaimed one-woman show The Fragile Stone Theory at the 2002 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Francesca’s work, Documotion : ONE - Rave, was requested to be performed at the 50th Anniversary of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center at the Apollo Theater by Judith Jamison. Her Company was also honored to perform excerpts from William Forsythe's work, Limb's Theorem, at the Denise Jefferson Celebration at the Apollo Theater in November, 2010.
The Francesca Harper Project debuted in August 2005 with the sold-out premiere performance of MODO FUSION at The Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York City, and went on to perform a week-long run of MODO FUSION during the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Festival in March 2006. Company members have also been active performers in MODO FUSION LOUNGE (the music-based cabaret version of MODO FUSION), performing alongside Harper at venues such as Makor and Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. The Francesca Harper Project has been featured at The Joyce Theater, Solstice: Dancing at the Crossroads in Times Square, sponsored by Dancers Responding to AIDS, The Apollo Theater, New York City Center, The Ailey Citigroup Theater, the Holland Dance Festival. Harlem Stage, Bloomberg Culture Series, Central Park Summerstage and Venice Biennale.
Heidi Henderson, the artistic director of elephant JANE dance, was the 2000 and 2005 recipient of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts Choreography Fellowship for excellence in the field.
Her work has been performed at the South Bank Centre in London, in New York City, and at many venues in New England including Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival. Her piece “Skirt” was selected for inclusion in the New England Choreographer’s Showcase at the International Festival of Arts and Ideas at Connecticut College. In 1997, she was invited to perform two solos in The International Festival of Dance in Taegu, Korea.
Heidi has danced in the companies of Bebe Miller, Nina Wiener, Peter Schmitz, Sondra Loring, and Paula Josa-Jones. She has been on the faculty at the Bates Dance Festival, DanceSpace Inc. in NYC, NYU’s Tisch Dance Summer Festival, Amherst College, Colby College, Hampshire College, The University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Roger Williams University.
Heidi is a contributing editor at Contact Quarterly: A Journal of Moving Ideas. She has recently published Growing Place, a book of interviews with artists from the Bates Dance Festival.
Heidi received her B.A. from Colby College and her M.F.A. from Smith College.
At Connecticut College, Henderson teaches Modern Technique, Improvisation, Dance Anatomy/Kinesiology and Dance Writing.
BILL YOUNG (winner of recent Guggenheim and NY Foundation for Arts Awards) discovered dance through contact improvisation while studying music at Oberlin College. He showed early work in San Francisco while dancing with Margaret Jenkins, and later moved to New York City where he danced with Douglas Dunn, Randy Warshaw, and Merce Cunningham (on video).
In 1988 he established Bill Young and Dancers, which has been presented in New York City at the Joyce Theater, DTW, The Kitchen, Danspace Project, PS 122, Movement Research, Symphony Space and the 92nd St. Y (among others), and on repeated international tours, including performances in Austria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Canada, Italy, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Finland, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela.
Now an international group of artists (with recent and current dancers hailing from the US, Greece, Germany, Africa, China, Albania and Venezuela), the company has received support from the Guggenheim Foundation, NYSCA, the NEA, New York Foundation for the Arts, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, the Mary Duke Biddle, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore, Harkness and Greenwall Foundations, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Artslink, the Suitcase Fund, the State Dept., the Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding.
Bill has created over 70 works; his commissions include new works for the Estonian National Opera Ballet, the Zenon Dance Company, Bratislava Dance Theater, the Madach Theater (Budapest), DanceArt Hong Kong, the Core Performance Group (Atlanta), the Wildspace Dance Company (Milwaukee), Compagnie de Danse L'Astragale (Montréal), Teória de Gravedad (Mexico), and Pennsylvania Dance Theater. He has taught in Universities and Festivals in the US, Europe, Latin America and Asia, and has served as a panelist for Artslink, DTW, ACDFA and NYFA.
Fall 2012 Artist Biographies
Nora Chipaumire was born in Mutare, Zimbabwe and currently lives in New York City. She has studied dance in many parts of the world including Africa (Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, and South Africa), Cuba, Jamaica and the U.S. A graduate of the University of Zimbabwe's School of Law, she holds an M.A. in Dance and M.F.A. in Choreography and Performance from Mills College (CA).
Ms. Chipaumire is a 2011 United States Artist Ford Fellow. She is also a two-time New York Dance and Performance (aka “Bessie”) Awardee: in 2008 for her dance-theater work, Chimurenga, and in 2007 for her body of work with Urban Bush Women, where she was a featured performer for six years (2003-2008) and served as Associate Artistic Director (2007-2008).
Her works include Visible (2011), commissioned by Harlem Stage and created in collaboration with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar for an international cast of independent performers; I Ka Nye (You Look Good) (2010), created and performed with choreographer Souleymane Badolo and musician Obo Addy; Silence/Dreams (2010), created and performed with Fred Bendongue and named one of the ten best dances of 2010 by the New York Times dance critics; lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break, gukurahundi (2009), created and performed with the legendary musician, Thomas Mapfumo (selected as Best Dance Concert of 2011 by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette); Marriage between zones 3, 4 and 5 (2009) which premiered at the Flea Theater in NYC; Becoming Angels, (2009), a commission for Dance Alloy (Pittsburgh, PA); bismallah (2009), a commission for The Barnard Project (NYC); A Hidden Duet (2009), a collaboration with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; Poems (2007) an evening of solos; and Chimurenga, her first work to tour nationally. She is featured in several films, including Dark Swan (dir. Laurie Coyle, 2011); the award-winning, Nora (dir. Alla Kovgan & David Hinton, 2008); and the documentary Movement (R)evolution Africa (a story of an art form in four acts) (dir. Joan Frosch & Alla Kovgan, 2006).
She is currently working on MIRIAM, an evening-length dance theater piece commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for presentation at BAM’s Next Wave Festival 2012. For more information about this project, please visit www.mappinternational.org.
Beth Gill is a Queens-based artist, who makes contemporary dance and performance in New York City. She has accumulated a body of work that critically examines issues relating to the fields of contemporary dance and performance studies, through an ongoing exploration of aesthetics and perception. Ranging from short-term improvised structures to long-term choreographed performances, her work has been commissioned by The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, The Chocolate Factory Theater and Dixon Place as well as performed internationally.
Beth is a 2012 Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship recipient. In 2011 she was awarded two New York State Dance and Performance “Bessie” Awards for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and the Juried Award for the choreographer exhibiting some of the most interesting and exciting ideas happening in dance in New York City today. Her most recent work Electric Midwife was named one of the ‘Best Dances of 2011,’ by Time Out New York, as was her previous work what it looks like, what it feels like for 2008.
Beth is one of seven choreographers profiled in Michael Blackwood’s documentary New York Dance: States of Performance, which premiered in the Lincoln Center Dance on Film Festival in 2010. The documentary continues the focus of his two highly regarded previous documentaries: Making Dances: Seven Post-Modern Choreographers (1980) & Retracing Steps: American Dance Since Postmodernism (1988).
As a contemporary artist her work has received attention and fueled responses within academia. Most recently her work has been included and taught within the University of Illinois’ Dance Department’s curriculum, and published in MIT’s distinguished performance journal The Drama Review.
Gill’s mission is to use the experience of dance, theatrical design and sound within the framework of live performance to shift the way we see, sense and understand the space around us. Her choreographic body of work uses a timeless and rigorous investigation of form as an entryway into explorations of contemporary dance ideologies, which seek to reflect contemporary societal concerns.
Juliette Mapp is a New York based dancer, choreographer and teacher. Her teaching is influenced by her twenty-year study of the Alexander Technique both in England in the United States and her on-going studies of Kinetic Awareness with its creator, Elaine Summers. Juliette's somatic teaching is also inspired by her studies of Skinner Releasing with its creator, Joan Skinner. Juliette's teaching is catered to the individual student and she is invested in helping each dancer uncover their full physical and personal potential through movement. Juliette has taught throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. She has been on the faculty of Hunter College, George Washington University, Fordham University, and most recently was a guest teacher at Bard College. Juliette danced for choreographers Deborah Hay, John Jasperse, Vicky Shick, Jennifer Monson, Stephanie Skura, Orjan Andersson, Pat Graney and others. Juliette's choreography has been presented in New York at Danspace Project and the former Dance Theater Workshop, now New York Live Arts. Juliette curated the critically acclaimed 2010 Dancespace Project Platform, "Back to New York City". Juliette has received two New York Dance and Performance Awards (i.e. "Bessie's), one in 2002 for her dancing, and another for her choreography, in 2008.
Reggie Wilson (Artistic Director, choreographer and performer) founded his company, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, in 1989. Wilson draws from the movement languages of the blues, slave and spiritual cultures of Africans in the Americas and combines them with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he calls “post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances.”
His work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), UCLA Live (Los Angeles), The Flynn (Burlington, VT), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Dance Umbrella (Austin, TX), Summerstage (NYC), Linkfest and Festival e’Nkundleni (Zimbabwe), Dance Factory (South Africa), Danças na Cidade (Portugal), and Festival Kaay Fecc (Senegal), The Politics of Ecstasy (Berlin, Germany).
Wilson has traveled extensively: to the Mississippi Delta to research secular and religious aspects of life there; to Trinidad and Tobago to research the Spiritual Baptists and the Shangoists; and also to the Southern, Central, West and East of Africa to work with dance and performance groups as well as various religious communities.
Wilson is a graduate of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1988, Larry Rhodes, Chair) He has studied composition and been mentored by Phyllis Lamhut; Performed and toured with Ohad Naharin’s NY-based company before forming his own Fist and Heel Performance Group. He has lectured, taught and conducted extended workshops and community projects throughout the US, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. He has served as visiting faculty at several universities including Yale, Princeton and Wesleyan Universities. He is the recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance’s McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001). Wilson is also a 2002 BESSIE-New York Dance and Performance Award recipient for his work ‘The Tie-tongued Goat and the Lightning Bug Who Tried to Put Her Foot Down‘ and a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. He has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project and Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop. Most recently, in recognition of his creative contributions to the field, Wilson was named a 2009 United States Artists Prudential Fellow and is also the 2009 recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in Dance.
His collaborative evening-length work, The Good Dance – dakar/brooklyn had its World premiere at the Walker Art Center in November 2009 and NY premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2009 followed by a ten city US tour. Presently he is working on theRevisitation an evening of works to be presented at New York Live Arts March 14th- 17th. His work (project) Moseses Project will be part of the BAM Next Wave Festival 2013.