Founded in 2004 by choreographer Nichole Canuso, Nichole Canuso Dance Company (NCDC) is dedicated to creating performance experiences that embrace and address the complexity and contradictions of humanity. Projects often sit at the crossroads of movement, visual art, and theater. NCDC brings dance out of conventional spaces to engage audiences in adventurous ways. The company is currently exploring the interfaces of live, embodied presence with emerging technologies that challenge our definitions of human relationship. Collaboration and community partnerships fuel the work in both process and performance.
All of the work is created through ensemble processes. The content of these projects embrace the values and lives of the people involved and the synergy created between audience and performer. We aim for a range of bodies in the work, finding inspiration from the dissonance of each performer’s energy, presence, and physical tendencies. Each partnership and environment we work in influences the trajectory of the work.
Past projects include an exploration of separation and connection on both personal and epic scales featuring two performers separated in physical space who converge in a third cinematic space (Pandæmonium, 2016), a solo piece which questions, constructs and transforms the outlines of Canuso’s memories as she builds and takes apart her house (Midway Avenue, 2014), an immersive performance for 6 audience members at a time led via headset (The Garden of Forking Paths, 2017, The Garden, 2013); a collaboration with 6-piece band The Mural and The Mint (As the Eyes of the Seahorse, 2009); a hybrid of dance, installation, and cinema (TAKES, 2010); and a performance that roamed the halls and stairways of an historic Philadelphia church building (Wandering Alice, 2008).
NCDC has been presented by FringeArts (Philadelphia. PA), New York Live Arts (New York, NY), The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at University of Maryland (College Park, MD), Dance Theatre Workshop (New York), The Wilma Theater’s DanceBOOM! Festival (Philadelphia, PA), DancePlace (Washington, D.C.), Judson Church Movement Research Exchange (New York, Philadelphia), Links Hall (Chicago, IL), Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival (New York, NY), the International Festival of Art and Ideas (CT), HERE Arts Center (New York, NY), Velocity Founders Theater (Seattle, WA) and several colleges and universities nationwide.
Residencies include Headlands Center for the Arts (Sausalito, CA), the MacDowell Colony (St. Peterborough, NH), the BILATERAL Budapest / Philadelphia Dance Artist Residency Exchange (Budapest, Hungary), The Orchard Project (Saratoga Springs, NY), Maggie Alessee National Center for Choreography (Tallahassee, FL), Millay Colony for the Arts (Austerlitz, NY), the Swarthmore Project (Swarthmore College, PA), the Choreographer’s Project (Susan Hess Dance Studio, Philadelphia, PA), and Amherst College (Amherst, MA).
NCDC has been funded by The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Wyncote Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the William Penn Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Knight Foundation, the Samuel S Fels Fund, and the Suzanne Roberts Foundation.
In addition to working on NCDC’s choreographic projects, Canuso has collaborated extensively with other dance and theater companies, most notably with Headlong Dance Theater where she was a company member for 12 years. Work with Pig Iron Theatre includes the creation and performance of a three-woman clown play FLOP, preparation for which involved intensive clown training in Paris, France. Other companies include Karen Bamonte Dance Works, Group Motion Dance Company, Big Mess Theater, The Arden Theatre, Theater Exile and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Festival. In 2008/2009, Canuso worked with physical theater master Bill Irwin, as a creator/performer in The Happiness Lecture, which premiered at The Suzanne Roberts Theatre. When possible, Canuso teaches classes to the local dance community, focusing on physical connection and ensemble listening skills. Teaching work includes master classes and commissions at Drexel University, Bryn Mawr College, University of Texas, Austin, the University of the Arts, AXIS Dance Company and The American Philosophical Society Museum. She is currently on faculty at Headlong Performance Institute (HPI) and Pig Iron School for Advanced Performance Training (APT).
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