Danse Lumière presents A Conversation with Sidra Bell on April 8, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. at the Martha Graham Studio Theatre, 55 Bethune Street, NYC. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5372130by phone at 1-800-838-3006, or in person at the Martha Graham Studio Theater box office on the day of the event.
Danse Lumière Artistic Director Kathryn Roszak will discuss the rise of female leadership in dance with choreographer Sidra Bell, followed by a brief presentation of Bell’s work. Bell was invited by Roszak to be part of the Women Directors, Choreographers, and Composers Award given to Wendy Whalen, Associate Artistic Director of New York City Ballet, in New York City in October 2021.
The evening will also feature a special tribute to videographer Nan Melville, who was scheduled to film the event but died unexpectedly. There will be a presentation of his work in his honor. “We are in the midst of a time of great change in the dance community,” Bell said. “Bringing more women into leadership positions is just the first step in a larger journey.”
As the founder of the annual residency for female directors, choreographers and composers, Roszak believes residencies are a crucial step in bringing women to the forefront of the industry. “This residency highlights choreographic and musical works and women’s leadership,” Roszak said. “We help women artists to further develop their work while giving them more opportunities and visibility.” Bell’s presentation of work will be performed by Company artists Madison Hicks, Mio Ishikawa, Kimie Parker, Uma Shannon, Gilbert T Small II and Chance William.
Savage Birds (World Premiere, 2008, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, NYC)
POOL (Excerpt, World Premiere, 2011, Dance Theater Workshop, NYC)
random stars (World Premiere, 2020, Dance Theater Lab at Purchase College, Purchase, NY)
Inside (World Premiere, 2013, The Joyce Theatre, NYC)
Kathryn Roszak trained as a dancer on Ford Foundation scholarships at San Francisco Ballet and the School of American Ballet in New York. Ms. Roszak performed for many years with the San Francisco Opera Ballet and danced with the San Francisco Ballet and the San Antonio Ballet.
Ms. Roszak trained as an actress through the Advanced Training Program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has performed, choreographed and/or taught at the American Conservatory Theater as well as the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Opera Center, Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Symphony with Kent Nagano, San Jose Opera, Sacramento Opera , at the Oakland and Marin Operas. She has created and produced original works for the Goethe Institute and the Mozart Festival in San Francisco, the Artaud Theater, the Cowell Theater and Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.
In 1995, Ms. Roszak founded Danse Lumière (known as Anima Mundi until 2006) and has since specialized in the creation of her own original productions. Her unique approach brings new audiences to classic art forms by blending and innovating across the disciplines of dance, literature, music, visual arts and theatre. Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaborations have included working with Kabuki master Shozo Sato; choreographer Alonzo King; playwright Velina Hasu Houston; musicians Mazatl Galindo from Mexico and Ailu Gaup from arctic Norway; composer Gordon Getty; and writers Gary Snyder, Michael McClure and Maxine Hong Kingston.
Ms. Roszak teaches at UC Berkeley and was a dance specialist for Cal Performances. She writes for Dance Magazine, Theater Bay Area and the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ms. Roszak was invited to be artist-in-residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California, where she also served on the choreography jury. She produces the annual residency of women ballet choreographers there.
Ms. Roszak’s work has been featured in the San Francisco Bay Area by the University of San Francisco and the Asian Art Museum and in New York by La MaMa ETC, Scandinavia House and 92nd Street Y. Internationally, her work has been presented by the Copenhagen Festival, Denmark, Les Amis du 7, Dijon, France, and her choreographic work in Norway has been supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate. Scholarships and awards selected by Ms. Roszak include Ann and Gordon Getty, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and Laurance S. Rockefeller.
Sidra Bell’s career spans almost 20 years and she is currently a lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and recently an artist-in-residence at Harvard University. She has also held adjunct and lecturer positions at Ball State University in Indiana, Marymount Manhattan College, Georgian Court University in New Jersey, and Barnard College in New York.
She has a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University and a master’s degree in choreography from Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. She was a visiting artist in Cowles Theater and Dance Arts at the University of Minnesota and artist-in-residence at the Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle). Her work was featured in the Contemporary Repertory: Dance Authorship in the 21st Century course at Harvard University.[A dance technique and choreographic repertory class that focused on contemporary traditions and the repertory of three choreographers, engaging in the current discourse of contemporary dance.] Bell was the 2019 recipient of the CPR-Center Performance Research Gala in New York. Keynotes and presentations have included CalArts, The Juillard School, Yale University Master’s Tea (Silliman College), Yale Club of New York, Harvard University, MIT (Hacking Arts New Media Panel), University of Oklahoma, Kinetech Arts San Francisco, The Spence School (AM Perspectives), Gibney Dance Center, Ball State University, Cornish College, Yale The Mellon Forum of Life, University of Texas at Austin, Yale Alumni in Dance, Marymount Manhattan College, Studio @ 550 Boston with JCC Newton and University of Colorado at Boulder.
Bell has won several awards, including a 1st prize for choreography at the Solo-Tanz Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany in 2011 for Grief Point. and a 2015 National Dance Project Production Award from the New England Foundation for the Arts. In addition, NEFA awarded the company a production residency for dance. The soloists collaborating in the works she has created have also won interpretation prizes for two different solos at the Solo-Tanz Theater Festival in Stuttgart (1st and 2nd prize respectively). The company was one of 25 Dance Advancement Fund recipients from Dance/NYC in 2017. Their work has been seen in the United States and in Denmark, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovenia, Sweden, Germany, China, Canada, Aruba, Korea, Brazil and Greece. The company was hailed as #1 in Contemporary Dance by the Pittsburgh Examiner in 2014 for Apparel, in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette 2010 Best in Dance for ReVUE, and in the 2012 Year in Review in ArtsATL’s Outstanding Performances for Nudity. February 3 was named SIDRA BELL DAY by Mayor Thomas Roach of the City of White Plains, NY.
Bell has received numerous commissions from international institutions and companies and has created over 100 new works including BODYTRAFFIC, Ailey II, The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Boston Conservatory, River North Dance Chicago, NYU Tisch School of the Arts , Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Austin, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet School, LEVYdance, Robert Moses’ KIN, METdance, University of Minnesota, Point Park University, Visceral Dance Chicago, Springboard Danse Montréal, Uppercut Dansteater (Denmark) and Motto Dans Kolectif (Turkey) to name a few. Bell served as Cultural Ambassador in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014 and 2015 (made possible by Movement Research, Trust for Mutual Understanding and Derida Dance Center). In 2015 she collaborated with the internationally renowned women’s choir Karmina Slovenica in Slovenia, and before the pandemic she was to return with her company for the final production. She is the first black woman to create a new work for New York City Ballet in October 2020.
In 2012, Bell was commissioned as choreographer for the feature film TESTset in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS crisis in 1985 written/directed by Chris Mason Johnson (Frankfurt Ballet/White Oak Project). TEST received two Grand Jury Awards from Outfest. The film had numerous screenings at festivals around the world, including Seattle Film Festival, Frameline37 (San Francisco), Outfest (LA), Berlinale, and NewFest Festival at Lincoln Center in New York. The film enjoyed a theatrical release and was chosen by the New York Times Critics’ Pick. It is currently available on VOD, iTunes and Netflix. Other commercial work includes casting and event coordination for MTV, Revlon, BookAFlashMob, Interview Magazine with photographer Billy Kidd and stylist Katie Burnett, NOWNESS with director Jovan Todorovic, Daisies Art Fair with director Sandra Winther, fashion photographer Lloyd Stevie and stylist Alison Mazur, New York Times New T Magazine (New York Times Style Magazine), Granary 1 Magazine and Paris Fashion Week for Baserange.
Bell is a sought-after master teacher and her alternative pedagogy, Contemporary Systems – an interior and material approach has been featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine and Dance Studio Life Magazine. She has taught her unique creative practice at major dance and theater institutions in Canada, Europe, South America and the United States.
SIDRA BELL DANCE NEW YORK (founded in 2001) is an internationally recognized boutique of prolific movement illustrators based in New York that presents and promotes an innovative and progressive canon of dance theater in the fields of ideas, surroundings and (im ) possibilities. www.sidrabelldanceny.org