Niki Cousineau

Niki Cousineau is a Philadelphia based choreographer and dancer and co-director of Subcircle. She is a 2007 Pew Fellow and recipient of grants from Dance Advance, the Independence Foundation and PA Council on the Arts. As a performer Niki works regularly with Headlong Dance Theater and Nichole Canuso Dance Company.                                 

Together, with Jorge Cousineau – a composer/designer, she founded Subcircle in 1998. Their work transforms theatrical and site-specific spaces, merging dance, sound, set design, lighting and film. Whether site-specific or performance for the stage, the work aims to convey to audience and performer alike - an inseparability of performance from environment. Cinematic and introspective, it makes visible and vulnerable the inner lives of characters, citizens, and bodies.

With collaboration at its core, Subcircle at times acts as an umbrella to artists of various media. The company has worked with Carol Brown (London/New Zealand), Zen In The Basement Dance Company (Germany), composer Toby Twining, choreographers Darla Stanley and Gin MacCallum, and actor Geoff Sobelle among others. Some of their works include Just Between Me (2001), Crevice (2003), Somewhere Close to Now (2005) and Only Sleeping (2010).

Subcircle’s work has been performed throughout Germany in Potsdam, Berlin, Dresden and Broellin, where they participated in the Body and Landscape Residency at the International Theater Research Center Schloss Broellin. In Philadelphia, they have been presented in DanceBoom, the nEW Festival, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, and Blindspot 2011. In Spring 2009, their dance film was presented at the Michener Museum as part of the exhibit Lucid Dreaming. In 2010, Niki and Jorge collaborated with Arden Theatre Company’s production of Sunday in the Park with George. In 2011, Subcircle premiered SEED, a duet directed by Carol Brown (New Zealand) with performance design by Jorge Cousineau.         

Dance Advance Partnership | March 26 – April 7, 2012

Choreographic Studies

This residency concluded a year-long reflective process for Cousineau aimed at questioning habits surrounding her own movement invention and opening up a dialogue with others about her creative process. Throughout the year Cousineau worked with several mentors including Belgium-based choreographer Alain Platel, to examine physicality in her work, from improvisation to set material, as a soloist and with other performers. Cousineau continued her reflection on movement creation at MANCC by engaging in a mentorship process with Canadian choreographer and performer Peggy Baker.

During the first week of the residency, Cousineau generated choreographic studies with performer Scott McPheeters. In week two of the residency Cousineau was joined by Peggy Baker (teacher, performer, and artistic director of Peggy Baker Dance Projects), who offered critical feedback, tools, and devices to expand and collapse their physical investigations. In addition, Cousineau, Baker, and McPheeters held an informal showing and dialogue session during an FSU School of Dance Forum. They reflected upon their mentorship processes and experiences, and shared insight into the derivations/manipulations of the material that was shown. 

This partnership project is made possible, in part, with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.

  • Niki Cousineau explores movement invention with performer Scott McPheeters
  • Cousineau and McPheeters experiment with motif variations
  • Embodied research as the focus of Cousineau's Dance Advance Partnership residency
  • Cousineau and McPheeters expand duet material generated to date
  • Cousineau and McPheeters discuss their research with mentor Peggy Baker
  • Revisiting the duet material after suggestions from Baker
  • Baker offers more tools for expanding movement themes
  • Cousineau and McPheeters rehearse variations of set phrase work
  • Cousineau and McPheeters share their movement explorations in an Informal Showing
  • Cousineau and McPheeters perform several sections of material generated while in residence
  • During the showing, Cousineau and McPheeters perform the results of the mentorship process
  • Cousineau noted Baker's keen sensibility for manipulating theme and variation
  • During the residency, mentor Peggy Baker taught master classes for FSU Dance Majors
  • Baker guides students in an investigation of the phrase material
  • FSU BFA Dance students exploring center work with Peggy Baker
  • Baker demonstrates correct anatomical alignment and economy of motion
Collaborator in Residence: Peggy Baker [Mentor], Scott McPheeters [Performer]

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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