One of Britain's leading choreographers, with an international reputation, Christopher Bruce was hailed by the London Times when he assumed the artistic directorship of The Rambert Dance Company, as an artist who "could change the face of British dance."
As a choreographer, Christopher Bruce has shown awareness, idealism and sensitivity rare in dance. During his career, he has choreographed for a wide range of productions including musicals, plays for the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, operas, television, and film. Although his productions have been mounted throughout the world, Mr. Bruce has developed special relationships with a number of companies, including Houston Ballet, Netherlands Dance Theater, Royal Danish Ballet, Cullberg Ballet, English National Ballet, Gulbenkian Ballet, and Le Ballet du Grand Theatre de Gen. Among his best known works are Cruel Garden, Ghost Dances, Sergeant Early's Dream, Intimate Pages, The Dream is Over, Swansong, and Rooster, all of which have been televised.
His most recent works include Three Songs, Two Voices (2005), A Steel Garden (2005), Hush (2006), Shift (2007), Dance at the Crossroads (2007), Ten Poems (2009), Fur Alina (2011), Dream (2012) and Shadows (2014).
Throughout his career Christopher Bruce has received numerous awards including: in 1993, the International Theatre Institute Award for excellence in international dance. This followed a host of other awards throughout a rich career, including the first Evening Standard Award for Dance in 1974 due to his contribution to British dance, both as a performer and as a choreographer and the second one in 1997. Prix Italia (for Television Production of Cruel Garden), 1982; International Theatre Institute Award for Excellence in International Dance, 1993. In 1996, he received the Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement in Ballet. In June 1998, he was named a Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II as part of the Queen's Birthday Honours. De Valois Award for Outstanding Contribution to Dance at Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, 2003; Rheinische Post Theater Oscar for ‘A Evening of Work by Christopher Bruce’ at Theater Krefeld-Mönchengladbach 2004; Best Choreography, Critics’ Circle Awards, 2009. Christopher Bruce was awarded a C.B E in 1998; Honorary Doctor of Art from De Montfort University, 2000; Honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Exeter, 2001; Honorary Life Membership of Amnesty International, 2002. Honorary Visiting Professor, Exeter University 2009.
Alejandro Cerrudo was born in Madrid, Spain and trained at the Real Conservatorio Profesional de Danza de Madrid. His professional career began in 1998 and includes work with Victor Ullate Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theater 2. Cerrudo joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2005, was named Choreographic Fellow in 2008, and became the company’s first Resident Choreographer in 2009. His works are in repertory at companies around the U.S. as well as in Australia, Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands. In March 2012, Pacific Northwest Ballet invited Cerrudo to choreograph his first work for the company, Memory Glow, upon receiving the Joyce Theater Foundation’s second Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance. Additional honors include an award from the Boomerang Fund for Artists (2011), and a Prince Prize for Commissioning Original Work from the Prince Charitable Trusts (2012) for his acclaimed, first evening-length work, One Thousand Pieces. Cerrudo is one of four choreographers invited by New York City Ballet principal Wendy Whelan to create and perform original duets for “Restless Creature,” and he was named the 2014 USA Donnelley Fellow by United States Artists.
José Limón (1908-1972) was a crucial figure in the development of modern dance: his powerful dancing shifted perceptions of the male dancer, while his choreography continues to bring a dramatic vision of dance to audiences around the world. Born in Mexico, Limón moved to New York City in 1928 after a year at UCLA as an art major. It was here that he saw his first dance program:
“What I saw simply and irrevocably changed my life. I saw the dance as a vision of ineffable power. A man could, with dignity and towering majesty, dance… dance as Michelangelo’s visions dance and as the music of Bach dances.”
In 1946, after studying and performing for 10 years with Doris Humphrey and Charles Weidman, he established his own company with Humphrey as Artistic Director. During her tenure, Humphrey choreographed many pieces for the Limón Dance Company, and it was under her experienced directorial eye that Limón created his signature dance, The Moor’s Pavane (1949). Limón’s choreographic works were quickly recognized as masterpieces and the Company itself became a landmark of American dance. Many of his dances—There is a Time, Missa Brevis, Psalm, The Winged—are considered classics of modern dance.
Limón was a consistently productive choreographer until his death in 1972—he choreographed at least one new piece each year—and he was also an influential teacher and advocate for modern dance. He was in residence each summer at the American Dance Festival, a key faculty member in The Juilliard School’s Dance Division beginning in 1953, and the director of Lincoln Center’s American Dance Theatre from 1964-65. Limón received two Dance Magazine Awards, the Capezio Award and honorary doctorates from four universities in recognition of his achievements. He was the subject of a major retrospective exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, The Dance Heroes of José Limón (Fall 1996), and in 1997 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. His autobiographical writings, An Unfinished Memoir, were edited by Lynn Garafola and published in 1999 by Wesleyan University Press.
Penny Saunders (West Palm Beach, Florida) graduated from the Harid Conservatory in 1995. Saunders began her professional career with The American Repertory Ballet under the direction of Septime Webre, and went on to dance with Ballet Arizona, MOMIX Dance Theater and was a founding member of Cedar Lake Ensemble. In 2004 Saunders joined Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and it was during this time in Chicago that Penny began to pursue her choreographic interests. In 2011 Saunders won the International Commissioning Project that awarded her the opportunity to create a piece for Hubbard Street’s second company, and then in 2013, Saunders made her first work on Hubbard Street’s main company. Penny has also made work for The Nexus Project, Owen Cox Dance Group, SFDanceworks, Whim W’Him, The Grand Rapids Ballet, and Neos Dance Theater as a choreographer in residence at the University of Akron. Recently Saunders premiered another work on Hubbard Street’s main company as well as began a three year choreographic residency with the Grand Rapids Ballet where she has received support from The New York City Ballet Choreographic Commissions Initiative. Saunders is so excited to be a part of SFDanceworks and thanks her lovely husband and beautiful son for all of their support.
Born in Adelaide, Australia, Danielle Rowe trained at the Australian Ballet School before joining the Australian Ballet in 2001, where she danced for ten years as a Principal. In 2011, Danielle left Australia to join the Houston Ballet and in 2012 moved again to join the prestigious Nederlands Dans Theater. Rowe has performed in a large variety of works and worked intimately with many acclaimed choreographers, notably Jiri Kylian, Medhi Walerski, Crystal Pite, Wayne McGregor, Paul Lightfoot, Sol Leon and Alexander Eckman. Since moving to San Francisco in July 2015, she has worked with the San Francisco Dance Film Festival dancing in a short film titled Mad Scene 2.0, danced and choreographed for DanceFAR and choreographed for Berkeley Ballet Theater.
James Graham is a choreographer, performer, and teacher originally from Ohio.
James Graham Dance Theatre presents the work of James Graham while also curating the work of others, namely in Dance Lovers, his annual Valentine's show of duets. James Graham Dance Theatre has recently been presented at ODC Theatre, in the Daegu International Dance Festival in South Korea, Joe Goode Annex, The Nourse Theatre and Davies Symphony Hall (commissioned by the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus), at the University of Calgary, Dominican University, National Queer Arts Festival, Kunst-Stoff Arts, Too Much! Festival, Movement Research at Judson Church, The Ohio State University, and in the Golden Gate Park National A.I.D.S. Memorial Grove. In 2017 he received an IZZIE award for Performance in an Ensemble (with Sebastian Grubb) for "Homeroom." In 2015 he received an IZZIE award for Outstanding Achievement in Performance for an Individual (for his Entire Season) and was nominated for an IZZIE in Choreography (for "Guilty Survivor").
Graham was chosen by Ohad Naharin (Batsheva Dance Company) to be a Certified Gaga Instructor and to take part in his pilot training program of international Gaga teachers. He has taught Gaga extensively on the West Coast, in the Midwest, as well as in Canada, South Korea, Germany, Thailand, Sweden, and Israel, as well as many Universities. He is currently on faculty at UC Berkeley, Dominican University of California/LINES BFA Program, Mills College, and teaches weekly open Gaga classes in SF
Graham received an M.F.A. in Dance from The Ohio State University in 2010, focusing on performance, choreography, and video. He graduated from UC Berkeley in 2005 with a B.A. in Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. He has recently worked with Hope Mohr, Lisa Wymore & Sheldon Smith, Joe Goode, and Sara Shelton Mann. www.jamesgrahamdancetheatre. com