April Sellers

April Sellers has developed a unique, emotive approach to modern dance as dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of The April Sellers Dance Collective, which she founded in 2002. Her dance transforms life’s mundane moments into physical expressions of the struggle to be human. Layering modern-dance technique within everyday gestures and text-based narratives, Sellers creates dance that holds up a magnifying glass to raw and rarified emotions. Sellers’s past works have explored such diverse topics as women’s sexual identity (In Her Place, 2000), the cultural and personal rituals of loss (Unveiling Grace, 2003), and the vulnerability of the material body (The V Project, 2007). Her work has been performed at the Walker Art Center, Minnesota Fringe Festival, Red Eye Theater, and Bryant Lake Bowl. In 2005, The April Sellers Dance Collective was awarded an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Sellers’s work with choreographer Judith Howard on House of Big Love won a Sage Award for Outstanding Performance in 2006. She has also collaborated with poets, painters, filmmakers, and chefs to present groundbreaking works in such spaces as galleries, rooftops, bowling alleys, gardens, and parks. Notably, Sellers has been featured as a dancer in original works by many artists including Laurie Van Wieren, and John Munger.

In early 2011, Southern Theater commissioned two works for the Tandem series of independent choreographers (Instructions to a Fancy Pack and Acceptable Doses, 2011). Her future works will continue to tell stories of humanist expression through movement and text, but will focus more intimately on the subjectivity of the dancers and their alternate points of view. In particular, her use of hyperbolic emotions will aid in the exploration of the female image in popular culture.  Sellers is a 2011 recipient of a McKnight Fellowship in Choreography.

Minneapolis-based since 1997, Sellers moved to Minnesota after graduating with a BFA in Dance from Ohio State University.

Partnership Project: McKnight Artist Fellow | February 25 - March 9, 2013


McKnight Fellow in Choreography April Sellers used her time at MANCC to examine the constructs of identity through the domain of race, friendship, professional relationships, and creative partnering. While in residence, she and Kenna Cottman began exploring these ideas and prospect of a new duet. examining whether or why there is a racial divide between Generation X artists of different races. The jumping off inspiration for this project was the iconic Dan Wynn photograph of Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes holding up the power fist symbol together.  Compelled by the image of Gloria and Dorothy, Sellers used dance to engage in a conversation about feminism and race. Theater artist and choreographer, Laurie Carlos, participated in the residency as a mentor and former MANCC Fellow, Juliette Mapp served as rehearsal director for the residency.

This residency was supported, in part, by The McKnight Foundation in partnership with Northrop Concerts and Lectures.

  • April Sellers and Kenna Cottman
  • Sellers and Cottman in rehearsal
  • Sellers and Cottman in rehearsal
  • Mentor Laurie Carlos discusses material with Rehearsal Director Juliette Mapp, Sellers and Cottman
  • Carlos, Sellers, Cottman and Mapp engage in discussion with MANCC class
  • Laurie Carlos leads MANCC class students and visiting artists in a group exercise
  • Sellers and Mapp in rehearsal
  • April Sellers and Kenna Cottman share material during an Informal Showing
  • Informal Showing
  • Informal Showing
  • Informal Showing
  • Informal Showing

Collaborators in Residence: Kenna Cottman [Collaborating Artist], Laurie Carlos [Mentor], Juliette Mapp [Rehearsal Director].  Slideshow photos by Chris Cameron and Al Hall. 

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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