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Colin Connor


Choreographer - Director - Educator

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Colin Connor


Choreographer - Director - Educator

“The most striking piece was Colin Connor’s Streets and Legends… Fascinating”.     Jack Anderson, The New York Times

“A work both majestic and elegiac…The power of News Falls Like Rain is that it has the ability to evoke some of the reality of our own lives.” Bill Gale National Public Radio

“His work marries the best elements of classical form with the freedom and expressiveness of modern dance… The overall feeling for the observer is one of exhilaration and awakening.”   Leona Baker, Style Weekly

 

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Biography


Biography


 

Born in London, England, Mr. Connor’s dance career spans performing, teaching, choreographing and directing dancers. He was appointed as the Artistic Director of Limón Dance Company in July, 2016.

After beginning dancing in Canada, he was a soloist with the Limón Dance Company for eight years, guest performed with several other companies, and toured extensively with his own work. His dancing prompted responses such as “wheels and pitches like a sun falling through the heavens” in the New York Times, and “achieving moments of great beauty and showing that intensity of movement which is characteristic of really fine dancers” in Spain’s El Pais. He has always been committed to the idea that dancers are creative artists and that dancing is the act of drawing from a large range of influences, musical, literary, sensory, social and scientific, to bring attention back to the visceral communicative power of the human body.
Mr. Connor’s over fifty choreographic commissions span the worlds of contemporary, ballet and flamenco companies, and his works have been presented at numerous venues across the Americas and Europe, including the Momment’Homme Festival in Montreal (The Survivor,) The Holland Festival in Den Hague (Absence is Never Far,) the Festival Internacional de Danza Contemporanea in San Luis Potosi, Mexico (The Rosegarden,) the Joyce Theater in New York (Vestiges and Streets and Legends,) and The Kennedy Center in Washington DC (Corvidae.) His Full Sail - in praise of storms won Sarasota Ballet’s International Choreography Competition. He was also a winner of the Charleston Ballet Theatre’s Fountainhead Choreography Competition, has twice been a guest choreographer at both The Yard and The Carlisle Project, and was invited to be in residence at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography for a creative process with the Limón Dance Company.
His work includes radical collaborations that mine aesthetic juxtapositions such as Solea and the Winds, a Contemporary / Flamenco evening which toured for three years across Europe, and garnered wide acclaim such as “Succeeded in an impossible mission – Bravo!” in Dance Europe, and What the Waitress Saw, a deconstruction of a diner with Emmy award winning theater designer, Charles Schoonmaker; intimate works like Near Ruins, a duet evening work with Risa Steinberg, which prompted Jennifer Dunning to write in the New York Times: “It comes as something of a relief these days to see movement treated as a sufficiently expressive medium", and News Falls Like Rain, a solo for Debra Noble that drew from National Public Radio: “majestic and elegiac… it has the ability to evoke some of the reality of our own lives", works for ballet companies including Streets and Legends for Richmond Ballet called “a witty and successful blend of the traditional and the contemporary” in Dance Magazine, and Flaws in the Glass(“Touching, thoughtful and inventive…brings the ballet vocabulary to a new context” – Union News) for Hartford Ballet . Other collaborations include work with bluegrass band The Biscuit Boys, and many other artists. ARENA, his film collaboration of his choreography of the same name with director Natalie Metzger won the 2015 award for best experimental film at the California Women’s Film Festival.
Mr. Connor has mounted works for Pennsylvania Dance Theater, Atlanta Ballet, Finland’s Damaru Dance Company, Hartford Ballet, Pick of the Crop, LA’s American Repertory Dance Company, Dayton Ballet, the Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Ballet Pacifica, Risa Steinberg solos, Ballet Theatre of Maryland, the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theater and the ABT Studio Company among others. Most of his commissions have been retained in repertories for subsequent seasons. He has created five works each for the Island Moving Company and the Richmond Ballet. The Juilliard School has commissioned three works, and he has also choreographed for numerous other important training centers including the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, Boston Conservatory, and NYU/Tisch School of the Arts.


As an educator, Mr. Connor has been on the faculties of The Juilliard School, New York University (where he also worked as a choreographer and movement teacher for the Theater Department’s Classical Studio,) and the City College of New York (where he was also Choreographer in Residence.) On leave for 2016/2017, Mr. Connor has been full-time faculty at the California Institute of the Arts for thirteen years. He has been a guest teacher at many of the finest training centers in the world including the London School of Contemporary Dance, the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, Jacob’s Pillow, Dresden’s Palucca Schule, the Joffrey Summer Workshop, The Dance Studio in Novosibirsk, Russia, and the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem. His August is being presented at Jacob's Pillow this summer, and,this fall, his Corvidae will be performed in Germany and the U.S. as he begins his time as the Artistic Director position at the José Limón Dance Foundation.

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Works


A few examples of previous works from Colin's repertoire

Works


A few examples of previous works from Colin's repertoire

For more visit the Media page

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Creative Philosophy


Creative Philosophy


 

I am fascinated by the idea of bodies falling through time.


For me, dance is rooted in the mystery of how we live in our physical beings. It is an ongoing investigation of perception, both of dancers and audience, and based on how, in the end, all human experience is felt through the senses. With lives increasingly mediated by various technologies, art which focuses attention back to the completeness of how we live in our bodies becomes ever more essential.  I draw from a broad range of influences, musical, literary, social and scientific, all used to point back to our bodies, what they can tell us of ourselves, and how they can affect us.  


In kinetic terms, I am curious about dynamics and momentum above all, and the play of rhythm that is the constant result. I explore a consciously wide range of movement, and focus on the layering of that range and the interplay of different dimensions, particularly in the realms of scale, different modes of moving, and the way time is felt.
Individual works are based on questions about things I find mysterious and compelling. Through finding some preliminary answers, I develop root concepts, and discover more questions and unknowns further down. With my collaborators, dancers and others, the process of generating a piece becomes a kind of communal archeology, all of us looking for shards and hints that can help lead us to a world we can all commit to. And it is the collisions of our points of view that continually reignite the investigations, and clarify the underlying concepts.
Although I have a very strong sense of the direction of the search, the shape and the movement of a work develop in the studio through a continual back and forth between the dancers and myself. Their sensibilities and imaginations are as essential to the process as their physical abilities. Everything goes through an ongoing conversation that includes given movement, individual re-invention, task based exploration, improvisation, and the focusing or culling of the material that emerges. The entire process is, in its very essence, about the act of dancing, as an investigation as much as an expression.


In the distant past, dance and dancing were used to confront the unknown and dancing was looked to for its uniquely intimate and visceral qualities. Now, in a very different time, my goal is to uncover that kind of porous, articulate and powerful dancing, and it is still those frontiers of the unknowns in our own experience that fascinate me. I endeavor to make work that bears palpable witness to our lives on the edge of the unknown.

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Colin Connor

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