A Choreographic Mind

Taught by Susan Rethorst

August 1319, 2017



Susan Rethorst teaching ~ Photo by Sarah Keough

I teach from the point of view that making dance is an end­less quest with ever-shifting ground. I encourage fueling the work with one's questions; I do not consider plans or themes to be prerequisites. I teach in a conversational mode; my exercises are proposals in action. I am interested in giving students the ability to recognize and access states necessary to creat­ing dance — intuition, perception, cognition, interi­ority, emotional distance, spontaneity, pleasure, will, reflec­tion, humor.

My own interests focus on the nature of move­ment and its communication, how it operates as a phenomena; this fuels my aesthetic and methods. I present composition initially from this point of view, and my exercises propose ways of perceiving and proceeding that engage these ideas. But at the same time I am interested in creating an environment in which each student can locate her/his aesthetic and goals in the larger picture of dance's many mini cultures.


Susan Rethorst has created dances out of New York City since 1975, Her work has been presented by The Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, The Downtown Whitney Museum, among others, and throughout the U.S. Internationally, her work has been produced by The Holland Festival, Spazio Zero Rome, The Kunsthalle Basel, The Aix-en-Provence Festival, among others.

Rethorst was among the first to receive a New York Dance and Performance Award ("Bessie") for Outstanding Achievement in 1985. In further recognition of her choreo­graphic achievements, she has been the recipient of many grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1979–1989, 1992–1995), and from the Creative Artist's Public Service Program (1979), the New York State Council on the Arts (1979-1983), the Foun­dation for Contemporary Performance (1988 and 2003), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1989,1993), the Ernie Pagnano Memorial Fund (1991), the Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundation (1992), and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1999). In 2008, Rethorst received her second Bessie for 208 East Broadway: Suitcase Dreams, and in 2010 she received the prestigious Alpert Award.


Contact susanrethorst@gmail.com for more information.

Apply for this workshop now:  Workshop Registration Form — Summer 2017


The 2016 Susan Rethorst Workshop


Back row: Jonathan Trejo, Chaesong Kim, Andy Russ, Ruth Grauert, Ben Swenson-Klatt, Susan Rethorst, Tyler Rai, and Ellen Oliver; Front row: Anabel Sagrero, Sofia Engelman, Eliza Malecki, Hope Goldman, Shaina Cantino, Kate Seethaler, and Dylan McLaughlin ~ Photo by Dylan McLaughlin