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Kathy Westwater

New York, NY         

Kathy Westwater, 2017 recipient of the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, is a New York-based choreographer who has pursued experimental dance forms as a dancer and choreographer since 1985. Described by Dance Magazine as “bloodless and fascinating” and by The Brooklyn Rail as “at the limits of the human,” her work responds to the societal landscape in which it manifests itself 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); 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). 

Developed in New York City, her dance work has been seen since 1996 in many places, including Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Dance Theater Workshop, Movement Research at Judson Church, Brooklyn Museum, Franklin Furnace, Danspace Project, Joyce SoHo, 92nd Street Y, Dixon Place, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Performance Space 122, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Pratt Institute, Reed College, Summer Stages Dance Festival, and New York City Parks, among others. Her media dance work has been cited in The Drama Review and The Guerilla Guide to Performance Art, and is archived in the Walker Art Center’s Mediatheque Archive.

Westwater has received commissions from Lumberyard, Temple University, Dance Theater Workshop and Danspace Project; awards from Puffin Foundation, Franklin Furnace Fund, Meet the Composer, and New York Foundation for the Arts; and residencies from Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Petronio Residency Center, Djerassi, Movement Research, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance, The Field, Millay Colony for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Pratt Institute. Westwater was named an Anchor Artist by the Joyce Theater Foundation in 2011 and 2018. Early career support included space grants from 92nd Street Y and Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and a fellowship from Summer Stages Dance Festival.

Westwater’s work is informed by early studies with Simone Forti, Dana Reitz, and Sara Rudner. In 1991 and 2011, she performed in Simone Forti’s seminal work, “Slant Board.” In 2012, she performed in Steve Paxton’s “Satisfyin’ Lover” and “State” at the Museum of Modern Art. From 1991–1999 she performed in the multimedia works of choreographer Merián Soto and visual artist Pepón Osorio. Westwater received an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was awarded the Bessie Schoönberg Scholarship, and a B.A. from William and Mary. Since 2000, Westwater has been a guest faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College.

Anywhere (excerpt)

“Anywhere” asks how a dance might engage with, and itself be, a monument. It’s world premiere was September 16 &17, 2016 in Conwell Dance Theater at Temple University and it’s New York City premiere April 19-22, 2017 at Brooklyn Studios for Dance. “Anywhere” is performed by five dancers to Henryk Górecki’s “Symphony No. 3” and Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream.” It features a unique relationship between movement and sound through a sound integration design by Architect Seung-Jae Lee.

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