SIDRA BELL || THE PLAYGROUND NYC
THE PLAYGROUND NYC
Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway NYC
Entrance 53A Chambers
The Playground NYC allows dancers to experience various choreographic styles and ideas, engage with a new community of dancers, and gather resourceful information and inspiration from the array of choreographers involved. In turn, established choreographers are paid for their creative investigations, are given free space to explore new movement with professional dancers, and are provided with the opportunity to establish relationships with new dancers and fellow choreographers.
Sidra Bell is currently a Master Lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, an Adjunct Professor at Ball State University in Indiana, was artist in residence at Harvard University, was an Adjunct Professor at Georgian Court University and was an Adjunct Professor at Barnard College in New York City. She has a BA in History from Yale University and an MFA in Choreography from Purchase College Conservatory of Dance. She was a University of Minnesota Theater Arts & Dance Cowles Visiting Artist and an artist in residence at Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle).
Bell has won several awards, notably a 1st Prize for Choreography at the Solo Tanz Theater Festival in Stuttgart, Germany in 2011 for Grief Point. and a 2015 National Dance Project Production Award from the New England Foundation for the Arts. Additionally, NEFA awarded the company a Production Residency for Dance. The collaborating soloists on works she created also won performance awards for two different solos at the Stuttgart Solo Tanz Theater Festival (1st and 2nd Prizes respectively). The company was one of 25 recipients of the Dance Advancement Fund from Dance/NYC in 2017. Her work has been seen throughout the United States and in Denmark, France, Austria, Bulgaria, Turkey, Slovenia, Sweden, Germany, China, Canada, Aruba, Korea, Brazil, and Greece. The company was lauded as #1 in Contemporary Dance by the Pittsburgh Examiner in 2014 for garment, in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's 2010 Best in Dance for ReVUE, and in the 2012 Year in Review in ArtsATL's notable performances for Nudity. February 3 was named SIDRA BELL DAY by Mayor Thomas Roach in the City of White Plains, NY.
Bell has received many commissions from institutions and companies internationally and created over 100 new works notably for BODYTRAFFIC, Ailey II, The Juilliard School, Harvard University, Boston Conservatory, River North Dance Chicago, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Sacramento Ballet, Ballet Austin, Alonzo King's LINES Ballet School, LEVYdance, Robert Moses' KIN, METdance, University of Minnesota, Point Park University, Visceral Dance Chicago, Springboard Danse Montréal, Uppercut Dansteater (Denmark), and Motto Dans Kolectif (Turkey) to name a few. Bell was a cultural ambassador in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014 and 2015 (made possible by Movement Research, Trust for Mutual Understanding, and Derida Dance Center). In 2015 she collaborated with the internationally acclaimed women's chorus Karmina Slovenica in Slovenia.
In 2012, Bell was commissioned as the choreographer for the feature film TESTset in San Francisco during the height of the AIDS crisis in 1985 written/directed by Chris Mason Johnson (Frankfurt Ballet/White Oak Project). TEST was awarded two grand jury prizes from Outfest.The film had many screenings at festivals worldwide, including The Seattle Film Festival, Frameline37 (San Francisco), Outfest (L.A.), Berlinale, and New York City Lincoln Center's NewFest Festival. The movie is enjoying a theatrical release and was a New York Times Critic's Pick. It is currently available on VOD, iTunes and Netflix. Other commercial work includes casting and event coordination for MTV, Revlon, BookAFlashMob, Interview Magazine with photographer Billy Kidd and stylist Katie Burnett, NOWNESS with director Jovan Todorovic & all:expanded, Daisies Art Fair with director Sandra Winther & all:expanded, fashion photographer Lloyd Stevie & stylist Alison Mazur, and New York Times' T Magazine (New York Times' Style Magazine).
Bell is a sought after master teacher and her alternative pedagogy, Contemporary Systems-an interior & material approach was featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine and Dance Studio Life Magazine. She has taught her unique creative practice at major institutions for dance and theater throughout Canada, Europe, South America, and the United States. She was one of the inaugural choreographers at University of North Carolina School of the Arts Professional Studies Program and a founding collaborator of the Movement Invention Project. She was also the inaugural teaching artist at University of the Arts Sophomore Coaching Performance progress where she has led a teaching team under her pedagogical methods since 2012. The company was an inaugural collaborative partner of Ball State University's charter program Innovation2Impact made possible by the Provost Office and an Immersive Learning Grant. I2I was a three phase program bringing BSU students to NYC and the company to Indiana for an immersive learning experience. In addition to extensive master classes at institutions for dance and theater Bell's workshops have been presented internationally by STEPS NYC Contemporary Masters, SpringboardX, University of North Carolina School of the Arts Professional Studies Program, Movement Invention Project, Broadway Dance Center, Danskappellet Copenhagen Denmark, Gibney Dance Center, Peridance Capezio Center, The Ailey School, Mark Morris Dance Center, Velocity Dance Center Seattle, Visceral Dance Chicago, International Festival of Goainia Brazil, Derida Dance Center Bulgaria, Motto Dans Kolectif Istanbul, Alonzo King LINES Ballet Dance Center, ODC School San Francisco, YoungARTS Miami, Harvard Dance Center, Yale University, Dancing Grounds New Orleans, MODAS Alberquerque, Karmina Slovenica Slovenia to name a few. She is the Creative Director of the award winning MODULE a New York City based immersive laboratory for movement and theater artists.
Photo Credit : DAVID FLORES