Kathy Westwater

Kathy Westwater, 2017 recipient of the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, has choreographically pursued experimental dance forms since 1996. Her work, described in The Brooklyn Rail as “at the limits of the human,” responds to the societal landscape in which it manifests by reimagining the body's movement potential.

With an eye to contemporary experience, Westwater’s major works have explored the built environments of monuments (“Anywhere,” 2016), and landfills and parks (“PARK,” 2009-2013); phenomena of war and pain (“Macho,” 2008); intersections of human and animal culture (“twisted, tack, broken,” 2005); psycho-physical states of fear (“Dark Matter,” 2002); and interactive virtual environments (“The Fortune Cookie Dance,” 1999).

Her work has been presented at New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, 92nd Street Y, Joyce SoHo, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Franklin Furnace, Dixon Place, Performance Space 122, Movement Research at Judson Church, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Summer Stages Dance Festival, Reed College, Pratt Institute, Temple University, and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Her work “The Fortune Cookie Dance” is cited in The Drama Review as one of the earliest online interactive dances and is archived in the Walker Art Center’s Mediatheque Archive.

Westwater has received commissions most recently from Lumberyard and Temple University, and from New York Live Arts and Danspace Project; and awards from Foundation for Contemporary Art, Puffin Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, Meet the Composer, and New York Foundation for the Arts. This year she is one of three inaugural artists at Petronio Residency Center, and is the recipient of numerous past residencies, including Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Temple University, Djerassi, Movement Research, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, iLAND, The Field, Millay Colony, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Pratt Institute. In 2018 Westwater was named an Anchor Artist by the Joyce Theater Foundation. Her earliest support included grants from 92nd Street Y and Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and a Summer Stages Dance Festival fellowship.

Westwater has performed in the work of Simone Forti, Steve Paxton, and, for nine years, Merián Soto & Pepón Osorio. Since 2001, she has taught at Sarah Lawrence College. She is currently making a solo for former New York City Ballet Principal Wendy Whelan.

Visiting Artist | January 21 - February 3, 2018

Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part

In her latest evening-length work Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part, choreographer Kathy Westwater explores pain and the body, including the pain of others. Having begun this exploration over twenty years ago, in this latest investigation Westwater invites dance artists in the work to consider their personal experiences of pain and trauma. While contemplating if it is possible to fully express the experience of one’s own pain — and its opposite, bliss — or to fully grasp that of others, the cast of dancers responds to and celebrates the profound music of post-minimalist composer Julius Eastman.

The premiere of Rambler, … will feature performances by dancers Ilona Bito, Thomas DeFrantz, Alex Romania, Rakia Seaborn, Paul Singh, Stacy Lynn Smith, and Westwater, with a special appearance by musician and composer M Lamar. Additional collaborating artists are architect Seung Jae Lee as set designer, lighting designer Roderick Murray, and dramaturg Melanie George.

Dance artists in this project will also look beyond their personal experiences through two creative workshops they will teach within a community of Black, gay men in Jackson, Mississippi where an AIDS/HIV epidemic is currently occurring. There they will share through workshops and an open rehearsal of Rambler, … how in this project they process pain so that participants too might explore creativity as a response to pain, and the forms of oppression, racial and homophobic, that have contributed to the circumstances underlying the epidemic. These activities will be hosted by Southern Echo, a community organizing group in Jackson with historic roots in the civil rights movement. 

During her residency at MANCC Westwater will complete the final stage of research for this work, addressing how we express what may seem inexpressible, how experiential phenomena give rise to embodied form, and how we encounter beauty. As a part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative, Westwater and her collaborators will be joined by writer Allie Tepper.

Rambler, Worlds Worlds A Part will premiere at New York Live Arts February 14, 15 & 16, 2019 as part of the Lumberyard in the City Series, and then will be shared with audiences in Jackson, MS. 

This residency is supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

  • Photos Coming Soon
Collaborators in Residence: Ilona Bito, Thomas DeFrantz, Alex Romania, Rakia Seaborn, Paul Singh, Stacy Lynn Smith [Dancers], Roderick Murray [Lighting designer], Melanie George [Dramaturg], Allie Tepper [Writer]

World Premiere

Neil Greenberg

To The Things

December 5 - 15
The Chocolate
Factory, (NYC)


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