Tania Isaac

2011 Pew Fellow

1/8: Tania Isaac, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.
3/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.
4/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.
5/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.
6/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.
7/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.
8/8: Tania Isaac performing in 2007.

“I am a dancer because I love language and a choreographer because I love conversations and an artist because I never run out of questions.”

Caribbean-American dancer-choreographer Tania Isaac (b. 1975) was named one of “25 to watch” by Dance Magazine in 2006, and her artistry has continued to blossom. She fuses choreography with personal documentary and social commentary and grapples with identity, post-colonial issues, feminism, and juxtapositions of European and African influences, resulting in dances that are elegant, dramatic, and highly accessible. An electric and commanding performer, Isaac earned an M.F.A. in dance from Temple University in 2000 and is an able scholar, having penned articles for publications such as Susanna Sloat’s anthology Making Caribbean Dance (University Press of Florida, 2010).

Her current work is a potentially groundbreaking exploration of creative method she calls the “Open Notebook”—a way of turning a room into a laboratory of investigation and participatory dance. “I fell in love with the idea that moving could be intellectual practice in itself,” says Isaac. “I enjoy the messy and exhausting process of bringing things to life.” Isaac developed the “Open Notebook” further as Crazy Beautiful, an installation at the Painted Bride Art Center in late 2012. For two weeks in December 2012, Isaac was in residence at the MacDowell Colony, with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. She also was the first participant in Ain Gordon’s White Box Residencies project, conducted at the Center. Since receiving her Pew Fellowship, she has also become an assistant teaching professor of dance at Drexel University.


Sruti, The India Music and Dance Society presents the world premiere of Saayujya (The Merging), featuring two of India’s preeminent artists, bharata natyam dancer Priyadarsini Govind and Carnatic musician T. M. Krishna (TMK).

Grants & Grantees

Leah Stein, the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, and composer Pauline Oliveros collaborated on a new music and dance work.

Promoting cultural exchanges between Ukrainians and the global community, Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble seeks to represent the country’s culture through dance.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Charlotte Ford is a Philadelphia-based theater artist who creates slapstick performance art.

Grants & Grantees

Russian folktales and South African music and puppetry united in a multidisciplinary interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s composition for the 1910 ballet The Firebird, featuring The Philadelphia Orchestra, Grammy Award-winning South African vocal ensemble Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and larger-than-life puppets by Janni Younge of South Africa’s renowned Handspring Puppet Company.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Wendy Perron is a writer, dancer, choreographer, and editor-at-large of Dance Magazine. Perron is a former member of the Trisha Brown Company.

Grants & Grantees

FringeArts presented Lucinda Childs’s Dance at its 2010 festival and organized a film series about the life and career of Childs and collaborator Philip Glass.

Grants & Grantees

Iain Low is an architect and a 1993 Pew Fellow.

Susan Lankin-Watts talks about her family’s rich musical legacy, the importance of her audience’s support, and more.

Michelle Heffner Hayes will lead a discussion on the history of flamenco and its cultural significance in its contemporary form.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Emilya Cachapero oversees all of the Theatre Communications Group’s artistic and international programs, including grant programs and special events.