Dance Festival Faculty
Stephen D. Hankey
E. Clayton Cornelious
Paul A. Dennis
Jennifer Muller - Special Guest
Jennifer Muller has been an influence in the dance world for over 40 years. With her visionary approach to dance/theater, innovative multi-discipline productions incorporating spoken word, live and commissioned music, artist-inspired decor, and unusual production elements, Muller has defied convention and created a distinct signature style, educational approach, and philosophy.
Artistic Director of Jennifer Muller/The Works since its inception in 1974, she has created over 100 pieces-including 7 full-evening productions - and designed lights, decor, and costumes as Stageworks. A playwright as well as a choreographer, she has created innovative multi-media productions that incorporate spoken dialogue in live performance in an accessible and evocative way. With a history of notable collaborations, she has worked with such artists as Keith Jarrett, Keith Haring, and Yoko Ono.
In 2007, The Joyce Theater awarded Ms. Muller with a special Commissioning Grant to create Bench, the signature premiere for The Works 35th Anniversary. In fall 2009, she choreographed Esther at the New York City Opera. During The Works' recent engagement at FENDAFOR 10 (Festival Internacional de Dança de Fortaleza), Ms. Muller was awarded the 2010 Trophy of Cultural Responsibility, in recognition of her invaluable contributions to promoting contemporary dance throughout South America.
Her early signature work Speeds was recently commissioned by the University of California-Santa Barbara, funded by an American Masterpieces: Three Centuries of American Genius grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The University also convened a scholarly conference and retrospective art exhibition "Transformation & Continuance: Jennifer Muller & the Reshaping of American Modern Dance, 1959 - Present," celebrating her prolific career - dancer, choreographer, artist, educator.
Commissions for 23 major repertory companies in 9 countries include Nederlands Dans Theater, NDT3, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ohio Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Ballet du Nord, Tanz-Forum Köln, Ballet Contemporaneo de Argentina, Aterballetto, Ballet Jazz de Montreal and Israel's Bat Dor, to name a few. An award-winning choreographer, Ms. Muller's theater and opera credits include The Public Theater, NY Stage & Film, Second Stage, and the New York City Opera, working with such directors as Des McAnuff, Ken Elliot, Mark Linn-Baker and Christopher Mataliano.
Internationally renowned as a consummate teacher and mentor of creative talent, she has headlined workshops in creativity, collaboration, and choreography in France, England, Switzerland, Holland, Italy, Spain, Argentina, and the US, as well as teaching Muller technique worldwide. Ms. Muller is one of the only choreographers of her generation to have developed a personalized technique, one that is informed by principles adapted from Taoist energy system concepts and Chinese philosophy. As well, she has developed unique programs in creative thinking and non-verbal communication entitled the Creative Mind/Whole Body Workshops. Alumni of The Works teach her techniques, establishing accredited programs worldwide. Muller Polarity Technique is featured in the publication and video TANZTECHNIK, a comparative study of seven unique contemporary dance techniques, also including Limon and Cunningham techniques. (Release date: February 2011.)
Dance has been Ms. Muller's passion and creative voice since she was a child. Creating pieces since age seven, she began dancing professionally at age 15 as a member of the Pearl Lang Dance Company. These formative years were followed by nine years as Principal Dancer with the José Limon Company (during which she graduated from The Juilliard School) and 7 years as Associate Artistic Director of the Louis Falco Dance Company. Now, as a result of years of productive creativity, her work has been seen on stage in 41 countries and on television in the US, Spain, The Nederlands, Germany, France, Russia, Costa Rica, Australia, China, and Japan. Ms. Muller was honored by being chosen as a founding member of the World Arts Council - the only American representing the dance field.