Swenson in Fimmine
- Tim Agler
Sarah Swenson is a self-defined neo-modernist, and works from a fusion of classical modern dance techniques, theatre, and improvisation. She founded Vox Dance Theatre, a company of women, in 2004. Joyfully committed to the values of classical modern dance, Swenson is known for her compelling use of visual counterpoint, marrying modern dance classicism with a variety of musical forms and traditions. Her deep appreciation and love of music has launched much of her repertoire of the past decade, as has her multi-ethnic heritage. Sarah's works are crafted and steeped in the feminine experience, yet spring from themes of universal appeal. Using a compelling range of musical sources, including live music, Vox Dance Theatre's diverse humanist repertoire transcends gender and age, and offers audiences a rich and entrancing experience. Sarah's signature work, Fimmine (Women), which premiered at the Toronto International Dance Festival, is the centerpiece of Vox Dance Theatre's repertoire.
Sarah received her early training at New York University, later studying at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, where she danced leading roles in Ailey III. She became Rehearsal Director of Ailey III in 1990, teaching and coaching repertory work for seven years, including the 2nd and 3rd company roles in Ailey's beloved Memoria. She is a fourth generation teacher of the Lester Horton Dance Technique and taught in the Professional and Junior divisions of The Ailey School,
as well as Horton for Actors, Ballet, and Pilates. She was also an Assistant Teacher in the New Visions Dance Project, a dance and music class for visually impaired adults, and has worked with the hearing-impaired, cerebral palsy, and head and spinal cord injury victims. She is the former Director of Dance Education at The Wooden Floor, a groundbreaking after-school dance program for low-income youth, whose innovative approach has become a national model. Sarah studied the Pilates Method of Exercise for ten years with Pilates Master, the late Kathleen Stanford Grant. She also taught the Lester Horton technique at Ballet Hispanico before leaving New York in 1996.
In addition to the concert stage, Sarah has choreographed for film, opera, and musical theater, and is a professional repertory and movement coach. Sarah is currently on the faculty of Irvine Valley College, is the Chair of Modern Dance at The Colburn School and has taught at Loyola Marymount University, Orange County High School for the Arts, CSU Fullerton, and CSU Long Beach, where she received her MFA in Performance and Choreography in 2000. She is currently collaborating with composers Alessandro Girasoli, Carl Stone, New Zealand Arts Laureate John Psathas, Italian musical artists Enzo Fina and Roberto Catalano of Musicantica, and Yuval Ron of The Yuval Ron Ensemble.
Straddling the modern and post-modern worlds, Swenson remains a hybrid independent dancer/choreographer, with ties to American post-modern mavericks Simone Forti and Rudy Perez in Los Angeles, with whom she has been working since 2004.
With Dewarren Moses at the Ailey School, 1985.
Photo - Maya Wallach