Sara Pearson has been associate professor of Dance at UMD since 2009, and co-artistic director of PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER since 1987. PWDT has gained an international following for work that transforms the familiar into the mysterious, the subversive, and the intimate. Creating and presenting "appealingly subversive, engaging, wry, and deeply affecting work” (The Washington Post), the company has toured extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and New Zealand. Their work has been produced by major dance venues including Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the City Center Fall for Dance Festival, the Joyce Theater, Central Park SummerStage, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, the Bates Dance Festival, and internationally at London’s Dance Umbrella; the Festival Internacional de Danza in Lima, Peru; New Territories in Glasgow, Scotland; the Chang Mu Arts Center in Seoul, South Korea; Beijing Normal University in Beijing, China; the Darpana Academy in Ahmedabad, India; and two tours throughout Switzerland. Financial support includes funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Performance Network, the Maryland State Arts Council, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Rockefeller, Altria, Harkness, Jerome, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore, Leon Lowenstein, O’Donnell-Green, Puffin, Swiss Center, Sequoia, and Lifton Family Foundations, the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program, the Asian Cultural Council, Arts International, and the USIA/USIS. Professor Pearson is a recipient of the American Choreographer Award and the first Dance Connect Commissioning Project from Dance Metro DC, which included a grant and performances on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage and at the Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival in Spring 2013. Performance and residency engagements in 2013-14 include a company tour to St. Petersburg, Russia, to teach and perform at the Open Look Festival (this tour is supported by a generous grant from the TDPS International Initiatives Fund and the Fund for United States Artists at International Festival, administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation); the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage; the opening of the newly renovated Dance Place in Washington, DC; the PS21 Summer Festival in Chatham, NY; a new site work in New York City commissioned and supported by the Leon Lowenstein Foundation; a performance at Sweet Briar College; and a performance at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York City. In 2012, PWDT created and performed four new company works: Be Still, My Heart and Take Me With You at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; the site-specific work A Curious Invasion/Middlebury, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Mahaney Arts Center at Middlebury College in Middlebury, VT; The Razor’s Edge, in collaboration with Compañia OTUX and performed at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile; and Ja!Ja!Ja!, a work for a company of Swiss dancers for the bi-annual TanzPlan Ost festival and tour throughout Switzerland. Current PWDT company members include TDPS Dance students and alumns Graham Brown (MFA ’13), Robin Neveu Brown (MFA ’15), Bethany Disque (BA ’13), Tzveta Kassabova (MFA ’09), Stephanie Miracle (MFA ’14), Betty Skeen (MFA ’10), Connor Voss (BA ’13), and apprentices Jonathan Hsu (BA ’15) and Nicole Turchi (BA ’15).
BA, Music/Dance, University of Minnesota, 1971; Nikolais Louis Dance Lab (1973-74); Alexander Technique/Somatic Training, Regina Wray, Ann Rodiger, Judith Blackstone (1976-96)
Co-Artistic Director, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER (1987-present); Martha Clarke (1987); Sara and Jerry Pearson Dance Company (1980-86); Murray Louis Dance Company (1975-80); Nikolais Dance Theatre (guest artist 1974-76); Nancy Hauser Dance Company (1967-73)
15 full-evening dance theater works, 30+ solo and duet works. New York City: Lincoln Center, Joyce Theater, City Center Fall for Dance Festival, Central Park SummerStage, Symphony Space, Japan Society, DTW, The Kitchen, Danspace Project, P.S. 122, The 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Project, Dancing in the Streets, Tenri Cultural Institute, and the NY Improvisation Festival. USA: Bard College, Bates Dance Festival, Clarice Smith Center, CAC (New Orleans), CEC (Philadelphia, PA), Flynn Center (Burlington, VT), Hopkins Center (Hanover, NH), Jacob’s Pillow, Kaatsbaan Arts Center (Tivoli, NY), Kennedy Center, Omaha Summer Festival, The Painted Bride (Philadelphia, PA), Portland Museum of Art (Portland, ME), Redfern Arts Center (Keene, NH), Rutgers University, Wagontrain Project (Lincoln, NE). International: Algeria, Austria, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, England, Finland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Greece, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Peru, Scotland, Slovakia, South Korea, Switzerland, Tunisia, Wales. Choreographic Commissions: TanzPlan Ost (Switzerland), ADF, Bates Dance Festival, Daejeon City Dance Company (South Korea), Pacific Northwest Ballet (Seattle), OnSite Performance Network, Dancing in the Streets, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Redfern Arts Center, Wave Hill. Guest Teaching: The Juilliard School, Laban Centre London, NYU, Connecticut College, Hunter College, Montclair State University, UMT Missoula, Middlebury College, Movement Research, Oberlin, Skidmore, Tulane, UUtah, VCU, Wesleyan, UW Madison, Vassar.
Honors and Awards:
American Choreographer Award (1990), NEA grants (1983-2009), New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (1989), New York State Council on the Arts grants (1986-2009), Rising Visionary in the Arts Award, SUNY Stony Brook (1996), First Prize, International Choreographic Competition, Nyon, Switzerland (1982).