• Sara Pearson and Patrik Widrig â€“ artistic directors of PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER since 1987 â€“ have gained an international following for work that transforms the familiar into the mysterious, the subversive, and the intimate. Creating and presenting "American dance theater at its funniest and most compelling "[NZZ, Switzerland], they have toured extensively throughout the US, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and New Zealand.
• In New York City, their work has been produced by the major dance venues including Lincoln Center, the City Center Fall for Dance Festival, the Joyce Theater, Central Park SummerStage, DTW, the Kitchen, Danspace Project at St. Markâ€™s Church, P.S. 122, The 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Project, and Dancing in the Streets. Foundation support includes the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, NPN, the Rockefeller, Altria, Harkness, Jerome, Joyce Mertz-Gilmore, Oâ€™Donnell-Green, Puffin, Swiss Center, Sequoia, and Lifton Family Foundations, the American Music Center Live Music for Dance Program, the Asian Cultural Council, Arts International, and the USIA/USIS.
• Video specials have appeared on the national television networks of India, South Korea, Mexico and Greece.
2011-12 engagements include the development and premieres of five new works: Oashisu (Oasis) with an original score by James Nyoraku Schlefer; Drama, with an original sound score by Lauren Burke and the appearance of opera singer Madeline Miskie; KrĂ©, KrĂ©, KrĂ©, a University of Maryland re-choreographing of a work originally commissioned by the Daejeon City Dance Company in South Korea in 2009; a solo created by Patrik for Lauren Withhartâ€™s MFA thesis they are of threaded glass.; The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling, a new talk/dance solo by Sara; and tours to Chile for company performances and a commission by OTUX Dance Company; to China for a residency at Beijing Normal University; to Switzerland for a commission by Tanz Projekt Ost; the Bates Dance Festival; the first Queens College Cross-Cultural Festival; Connecticut College; and performances at Dance Place and the Velocity Festival in Washington, DC.
• In 12 evening-length works and over 30 smaller company, duet, and solo works for the stage, Pearson and Widrigâ€™s choreographic aesthetic extends far beyond the body. The audience is as likely to see 300 oranges, swirling arcs of salt, or a 200lb block of ice being smashed - images that delightfully shock the senses and awaken the heart â€“ as they are to be irresistibly drawn in by their
"electrifying, lush, and delightful" dancing (Dance Magazine) and their "extremely original" movement vocabulary (Calcutta Times, India).
• Through dance, text, and video, the ideas they explore range from the socio-political Unmoored (Love Letters to New Orleans) [â€śHeart-wrenching and wryly comic.â€ť [The Washington Post], and Do You Remember?, to the intense and virtuosic Drama, to the contemplative Oashisu (Oasis), to the hip and outrageous KrĂ©, KrĂ©, KrĂ©, to the lush they are of threaded glass., to Sayonara, Dear, a stylishly minimalist ode to aging, to the poetic Thaw [â€śCarries enough everyday magic for several productions.â€ť Eva Yaa Asantewaa), to the mystical
The Return of Lotâ€™s Wife ("unfolds with the pulsating rhythm of a carefully crafted poem - one part Woody Allen narrative, one part prayer." [The
Daily Gazette, Schenectady, NY]), to the historical Alpsegen [in which Widrig takes a critical look at his native Switzerlandâ€™s role during WWII), to their early, emotionally charged duets Partners Who Touch, Partners Who Donâ€™t Touch and Heimweh (homesick), to the "Most amazing! Most enjoyable!" (The New York Times) Ordinary Festivals, which has been seen by over 20,000 people on three continents.
• In their acclaimed site-specific installations and community performance projects, habitual assumptions of what art is, where art happens, and of who participates, are broken wide open. These projects have taken them from rowboats in Central Park to the Great Lawn at Jacobâ€™s Pillow to the Eiun-In Buddhist temple in Kyoto to the modern architecture of I. M. Peiâ€™s Portland Museum of Art and to Wave Hill, the bucolic estate in the Bronx. Their most recent site-adaptive work, Paradise Pond, was a 90-minute colorful visual feast celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Bates Dance Festival. The work was described by festival director Laura Faure as "the most creative, transformative, visually beautiful and successful production we have ever mounted in our 25 year history."
• Elizabeth Zimmer of the Village Voice wrote of their site-adaptive extravaganza A Curious Invasion: "In over a decade of watching Wave Hill events, Iâ€™ve never had such a good time. It really was perfect." ACI has been performed at Gilsland Farm Audubon Sanctuary, Falmouth, ME, commissioned by the Bates Dance Festival; Wave Hill, Bronx, NY, co-commissioned by Dancing in the Streets and Wave Hill; Dartmouth College, commissioned by the Hopkins Center, Hanover, NH; and at Connecticut College.
• Collaborations with composers have formed a vital part of Pearson and Widrigâ€™s artistic vision and include music created by Obie and Bessie award winner Robert Een, James Nyoraku Schlefer, Lauren Burke, Andy Teirstein, Philip Hamilton, Carman Moore, and Hollywood composer Carter Burwell, who created "one of the finest scores for modern dance" [Back Stage] for The Return of Lotâ€™s Wife.
• With a deep sense of humanity at its core, their work remains at the cutting edge, making connections between seemingly disparate worlds and continually exploring the most central issues of art and life â€“ those that divide us and those that, through a subtle shift in understanding, have the potential to unite us.
• Pearson and Widrig have been full-time associate professors at the University of Maryland College Parkâ€™s School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies since 2009.
•Pearson and Widrig are world renowned master teachers of sentient technique, inspired improvisation, and innovative choreography. As guest artists they have conducted numerous residencies at New York University, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Utah, Wesleyan University, UW Madison, Keene State, Oberlin and Antioch Colleges, the Bates Dance Festival, the Laban Centre in London, the Chang Mu Arts Center in Seoul, Korea, the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico, the New Zealand Schools of Dance in Auckland and Wellington, Beijing Normal University, and in India at the International Festival of Dance in New Delhi, among many others.
•2013-14 engagements include residencies in Russia (supported by United States Artists at International Festivals, administered by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, and the International Initiatives program of the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies at UMD); the PS21 Summer Festival in Chatham, NY, Sweet Briar College; the creation and performances of a new site/community work in New York City commissioned by the Leon Lowenstein Foundation; and a performance of Oashisu at the Tenri Cultural Institute.
The Village Voice