Biographies: Pre and Post-Show Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group


Reggie Wilson (Artistic Director, choreographer and performer) founded his company, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, in 1989. Wilson draws from the movement languages of the blues, slave and spiritual cultures of Africans in the Americas and combines them with post-modern elements and his own personal movement style to create what he calls "post-African/Neo-HooDoo Modern dances."

His work has been presented nationally and internationally at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco), UCLA Live (Los Angeles), The Flynn (Burlington, VT), Contemporary Arts Center (New Orleans), Dance Umbrella (Austin, TX), Summerstage (NYC), Linkfest and Festival e'Nkundleni (Zimbabwe), Dance Factory (South Africa), Danças na Cidade (Portugal), and Festival Kaay Fecc (Senegal), The Politics of Ecstasy (Berlin, Germany).

Wilson has traveled extensively: to the Mississippi Delta to research secular and religious aspects of life there; to Trinidad and Tobago to research the Spiritual Baptists and the Shangoists; and also to the Southern, Central, West and East of Africa to work with dance and performance groups as well as various religious communities.

Wilson is a graduate of New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1988, Larry Rhodes, Chair) He has studied composition and been mentored by Phyllis Lamhut; Performed and toured with Ohad Naharin before forming his own Fist and Heel Performance Group. He has lectured, taught and conducted extended workshops and community projects throughout the US, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean. He has served as visiting faculty at several universities including Yale, Princeton and Wesleyan Universities. He is the recipient of the Minnesota Dance Alliance's McKnight National Fellowship (2000-2001). Wilson is also a 2002 BESSIE-New York Dance and Performance Award recipient for his work The Tie-tongued Goat and the Lightning Bug Who Tried to Put Her Foot Down and a 2002 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow. He has been an artist advisor for the National Dance Project and Board Member of Dance Theater Workshop. Most recently, in recognition of his creative contributions to the field, Wilson was named a 2009 United States Artists Prudential Fellow and is also the 2009 recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in Dance.

His latest evening-length work, The Good Dance – dakar/brooklyn had its World premiere at the Walker Art Center in November 2009 and NY premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2009 followed by a ten city US tour.

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Claudia La Rocco’s recent and ongoing collaborations include projects with the performance company Findlay//Sandsmark, the sound artist Martijn Tellinga, the choreographers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener and the composer Phillip Greenlief. La Rocco founded, which won a 2011 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant and focuses on criticism as a literary art form. A member of the Off the Park poetry press, she contributes frequently to the New York Times and She is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts’ graduate program in Art Criticism and Writing, and teaches at such institutions as Princeton University, Arizona State University and Movement Research. La Rocco is a research fellow for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and documenter/evaluator for The Hatchery Project. She has had residencies at Mount Tremper Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts and, currently, LMCC’s Process Space on Governors Island. She serves on the board of the Poetry Project. A book of her selected writings will be published by Badlands Unlimited in fall 2014.

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Emily Coates directs the dance studies curriculum at Yale University. She is also a dancer and a writer. She has performed internationally with New York City Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp Dance, and Yvonne Rainer. Career highlights include dancing three duets with Baryshnikov, in works by Mark Morris, Karole Armitage, and Erick Hawkins. At NYCB, she was among the last generation of dancers to work closely with Jerome Robbins. Her choreographic work has been presented at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Jacob's Pillow, Cornell, Harvard, St. Mark's Church, in Performa, and by Ballet Memphis, among others. Most recently, she served as choreographer for The Soldier’s Tale, co-produced by the Yale Schools of Music and Drama at Zankel Hall in Carnegie Hall, with stage direction by Liz Diamond. Her essays have appeared in the Performing Arts Journal, Theater, and the Huffington Post. With particle physicist Sarah Demers, she created the science-art video “Three Views of the Higgs and Dance” and is co-authoring a book on physics and dance, forthcoming from Yale University Press. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English and holds an MA in American Studies from Yale.

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