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Danse Lumière presents a conversation on Women Choreographers with Sidra Bell

April 8, 2022

Danse Lumière presents a Conversation with Sidra Bell on April 8, 2022 at 7:00pm at the Martha Graham Studio Theater, 55 Bethune Street, NYC. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5372130, by 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’s Artistic Director Kathryn Roszak will discuss the surge of women in leadership in dance with choreographer Sidra Bell, followed by a brief presentation of Bell’s work. Bell was invited by Roszak to be a 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 of 2021.

“We are in the midst of a period of great change in the dance community,” said Bell. “Bringing more women into leadership positions is just the first step in a larger journey.”

As the founder of the annual Women Directors, Choreographers, and Composers Residency, Roszak believes residencies are a crucial step to bringing women to the forefront of the industry.

“This residency highlights choreographic, musical works and leadership by women,” said Roszak. “We help women artists further develop their work while giving them greater opportunity and visibility.”

Kathryn Roszak trained as a dancer on Ford Foundation scholarships at San Francisco Ballet, and at the School of American Ballet in New York. Ms. Roszak performed for many years with the San Francisco Opera Ballet and has danced with San Francisco Ballet and San Antonio Ballet. Ms. Roszak trained as an actor in the Advanced Training Program of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. She has performed, choreographed and/or taught at the American Conservatory Theater as well as Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Francisco Opera Center, Shakespeare Festival, the Berkeley Symphony with Kent Nagano, Opera San Jose, Sacramento Opera, Oakland and Marin Operas. She has created and produced original works for the Goethe Institute and the San Francisco Mozart Festival, Theatre Artaud, the Cowell Theatre, 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 classical art forms by blending and innovating within the disciplines of dance, literature, music, visual art, and theater. Cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaborations have included working with Kabuki master Shozo Sato; choreographer Alonzo King; playwright Velina Hasu Houston; musicians Mazatl Galindo of Mexico and Ailu Gaup of Arctic Norway; composer Gordon Getty; and writers Gary Snyder, Michael McClure, and Maxine Hong Kingston. Ms. Roszak teaches at U.C. Berkeley and served as the dance specialist for Cal Performances. She’s written for Dance Magazine, Theatre Bay Area, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Ms. Roszak was invited to be an Artist in Residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California where she has also served on the Choreography panel. She produces the annual Women Ballet Choreographers Residency there. Ms. Roszak’s work has been presented in the San Francisco Bay Area by the University of San Francisco and by The Asian Art Museum and in New York City by La MaMa ETC, Scandinavia House, and by the 92nd Street Y. Internationally her work has been presented by Copenhagen Festival, Denmark, Les Amis du 7, Dijon, France, and her choreographic work in Norway was supported by the Royal Norwegian Consulate. Ms. Roszak’s selected grants and awards include Ann and Gordon Getty, Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation, and Laurance S. Rockefeller.

Sidra Bell’s career has spanned for close to 20 years, and she is currently a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and a recent artist-in-residence at Harvard University. She has also held Adjunct Professor and Lecturer positions at Ball State University in Indiana, Marymount Manhattan College, Georgian Court University in New Jersey, and Barnard College in New York City. She has a BA in History from Yale University and an MFA in Choreography from Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. She was a University of Minnesota Theater Arts & Dance Cowles Visiting Artist and an artist in residence at Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle). Her body of work was featured in the Harvard University Theater, Dance & Media course Contemporary Repertory: Dance Authorship in the 21st Century[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 Honoree at CPR-Center Performance Research’s Gala in New York City. Feature speaking engagements 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 (A.M. 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, notably 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. Additionally, NEFA awarded the company a Production Residency for Dance.The collaborating soloists on works she created also won performance awards for two different solos at the Stuttgart Solo-Tanz Theater Festival (1st and 2nd Prizes respectively). The company was one of 25 recipients of the Dance Advancement Fund from Dance/NYC in 2017. Her work has been seen throughout the United States and in Denmark, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovenia, Sweden, Germany, China, Canada, Aruba, Korea, Brazil, and Greece. The company was lauded as #1 in Contemporary Dance by the Pittsburgh Examiner in 2014 for garment, in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette’s 2010 Best in Dance for ReVUE, and in the 2012 Year in Review in ArtsATL’s notable performances for Nudity. February 3 was named SIDRA BELL DAY by Mayor Thomas Roach in the City of White Plains, NY. Bell has received many commissions from institutions and companies internationally and created over 100 new works notably for 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 was a 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 acclaimed women’s chorus 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 ever to create a new work for New York City Ballet in October 2020. In 2012, Bell was commissioned as the choreographer for the feature film TESTset in San Francisco during the height of the AIDS crisis in 1985 written/directed by Chris Mason Johnson (Frankfurt Ballet/White Oak Project).TEST was awarded two grand jury prizes from Outfest. The film had many screenings at festivals worldwide, including The Seattle Film Festival, Frameline37 (San Francisco), Outfest (L.A.), Berlinale, and New York City Lincoln Center’s NewFest Festival. The movie is enjoying a theatrical release and was a New York Times Critic’s 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 & stylist Alison Mazur, New York Times’ 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 & material approach was featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine and Dance Studio Life Magazine. She has taught her unique creative practice at major institutions for dance and theater throughout Canada, Europe, South America, and the United States.


April 8, 2022


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