Susan Rethorst

2014 Pew Fellow

1/5: Susan Rethorst, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/5: Susan Rethorst. Photo by JJ Tiziou.
3/5: Rehearsal for Then by Group Motion Dance Company and Susan Rethorst. Photo by Jacques-Jean Tiziou.
4/5: Rehearsal for Then by Group Motion Dance Company and Susan Rethorst. Photo by Jacques-Jean Tiziou.
5/5: Susan Rethorst’s Little by Little, 1995. Photo by Dona Ann McAdams.

“The world doesn’t need me to make a dance. I need to make things.”

Susan Rethorst (b. 1951) is an internationally renowned choreographer and teacher of choreography. Her work is process-based, beginning with premises of space and people, rather than a formal framework. Rethorst also infuses emotion and character into her choreography by inviting and accepting moments of serendipity throughout the development of each piece. “[My work] has a cinematic sense that ‘something happens,’” says Rethorst. “I work not from the thematic or from theory or any other ‘aboutness,’ but rather a trust in the body’s mind.” Rethorst’s work has been presented at major venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, and Danspace Project. In 2013, her work was the subject of a Center-funded retrospective at Bryn Mawr College, Susan Rethorst: Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind. Her past honors include the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ Grants to Artists Award, and a “Bessie” New York Dance and Performance Award for Choreography, as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

In March 2013, Rethorst engaged in a conversation with fellow choreographer Bill T. Jones, moderated by Lois Welk, director of Dance/USA Philadelphia, and organized and produced by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The two dancer-choreographers, who are the same age, discussed their distinct practices and the evolution of the field.


Grants & Grantees

The Painted Bride commissioned composer, bandleader, and jazz drummer John Hollenbeck to create and perform a new work with his Large Ensemble.

Grants & Grantees

In addition to company productions, Group Motion hosts regular improvisational movement workshops, which allow the public to employ dance as a language of expression.

Grants & Grantees

WXPN’s yearlong project explores the origins and evolution of zydeco, a form of African-American roots music that blends Creole traditions, blues, and R&B.

In an essay excerpt accompanying a series of programs related to the performances of After the Rehearsal/Persona, theater editor and critic Tom Sellar describes Ivo van Hove’s affinity for complex characters, his commitment to text, and his ability to transcend traditional disciplines.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Ezra Shales is an art historian, curator, and artist whose research, publications, and exhibitions explore the intersections of design, craft, and art in modern and contemporary culture.

Performance artist Zachary Fabri will present a performance work consisting of a series of walks and performative actions exploring the process of mourning in response to African American murders.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Hazami Sayed is the founder and executive director of Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

Conceived by Co-Artistic Director Dito van Reigersberg and directed by Dan Rothenberg, this new work builds on Pig Iron’s longtime fascination with characters that live on the margins of society.

We speak to choreographer and dancer Jumatatu Poe who has produced such provocative, experimental dance works as the Center-funded Private Places.

Grants & Grantees

Philadelphia Dance Projects has grown into an organization focused on presenting performances and workshops to challenge and develop local artists.

Grants & Grantees

Tina Morton (Pew Fellow, 2010) left a career as an X-ray technician to pursue documentary filmmaking.

Grants & Grantees

Linda Cordell is a visual artist and a 2003 Pew Fellow.