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PEDRO ALEJANDRO DANCE AND DANCERS:

PEDRO ALEJANDRO is a choreographer and videographer with a longstanding interest in mixed-media performance.  He has been the artistic director of Pedro Alejandro Dance & Dancers (PADD) since 1987, which, until 1997, existed as a New York City-based dance company with a founding cast of performers.  In its present form, PADD exists as a project-based pick-up company, operating out of New Haven, CT.  Perdo’s works are staged in both outdoor and indoor environments, and provocatively tease the social and artistic habits that favor the privatization of the theatrical experience.  His dances have been performed in galleries, museums, lofts, building walls, parks, storefronts, community centers, inside the confines of a suitcase, a moving tub, stairs, lobbies, gymnasiums, on bikes, and in large and small theaters. Performances exist in all forms – as caravans, processions, multi-media installations, video dances, and conventional theater performances.  Pedro has worked with transgender and inter-generational performers – Carry-me-on (2009), to find, to follow (1998),  LoLa’s Lament (1993); Chinese and Korean elders – Dis-placed (1995) and KCProject (2002); children performers, blind musicians – Strike Match (2009), and with at large performers of all ages and backgrounds, both in the United States and abroad.  For more information, see full Choreographic Chronology.

PERFORMANCE:

Pedro’s dances have been seen in experimental and at large venues, including The International Festival of Arts & Ideas/Village of Villages (New Haven, CT); EDANCO (Dominican Republic); AFEST/Nippon Kan Theater (Northwest Asian-American Theater, Seattle, WA.); HERE (NYC); Dixon Place (NYC); Mulberry Street Theater (NYC); Link’s Hall (Chicago); Falling Bodies (Northampton, MA); Ten Again (Austin Arts Center, CT); The Ladylike Performance Festival (Chicago, IL); The Moveable Beast Dance Festival (Museum of Contemporary Art/Chicago, IL); The Cleveland Experimental Dance Festival (OH); The Richard Bull Performance Loft (NYC); and Jacob’s Pillow: Inside/outside (Lee, MA).   Pedro has been the recipient of grants, awards, and commissions from Meet the Composer (1995), The McMillan Professorship in Arts & Technology at Eastern New Mexico University (1996), Gotham Group Dance Company (NYC, 1996), Open Flight Deck (Seattle, WA, 2005), S.E.E.D.S. (Somatic Experiments in Earth, Dance, and Science, Earthdance,Deerfield, MA, 2010) and Foundry Nights (Berkeley, CA, 2012).  In addition to his longstanding use of structurally improvised videography for live, place-specific performance, Pedro has created dances for the camera that have been showcased in Canada and Argentina.  In 1994, the Dance Notation Bureau documented his irreverent ‘NUN BETTER,’ which featured a cast of men in medieval nun’s drag.

TECHNIQUE:

For Pedro, Faber/Cunningham, Limón and Tharp technique have provided a traditional technical foundation.  Intensive study with Nancy Topff (Psoas Release: The First Generation, NYC, 1987-1992), Lucy Venable (Alexander, Feldenkrais, Somatics, Ohio State University, 1989-92), Richard Epstein (Iyengar Yoga, NYC, 1987-1989), and intensive yoga study (1978-ongoing) led him to question the use of tension as an organizing principle in movement construction, and allowed for the deeper investigation into movement as an integral practice.  Pedro’s interest in dance as restorative behavior led him to trouble assumptions about dance technique as an imitative form and tension as the edifying accomplishment of the human intellect.  His technique “Off-Kilter Centeredness’ © 1987 evolved from both the staging of site-specific work, and from the study of post-and-modern compositional continuities.  For Ballet and Gymnastic Studies see LinkedIn Profile.

COMPOSITION AND IMPROVISATION STUDIES:

Pedro studied structured improvisation under Joyce Morgenroth at Cornell University (1981-86). He was research subject for her work and appears on the first book on the subject still in print under her name.  Pedro studied dance composition with Bessie Schoenberg (Dance Theater of Harlem, 1986-88/ Berlin School & Bauhaus Comp.), June Finch (Cornell University/Cunningham-Cage-Farber), Sarah Rudner (Rudner-Tharp Comp, Movement Research-American Ballet Theater, ’88-‘89), Richard Bull and Deborah Hay (GLSP, ’95-’97, Wesleyan University), Anna Sokolow (Mary Anthony Studios, ‘ 86-’88/ German Ausdtrucktanz) and Vickie Blaine (Horst-Graham-Laban continuities, Ohio State University, ’89-’92). Pedro was a Cornell Tradition Fellow and studied Filmdance under Lana Wilkinson (dance) and Marilyn Rivchin (film), which both used a structural approach for the composed image.  He was an integral member of Katrina Hazzard-Gordon’s, Diaspora Dance Theater (1981-85), author of Jookin.  Her socio-anthropological orientation to Afro-Caribbean choreography and social theory became a major influence in his approach to making dances and theorizing about cultural production.   He inherited from Schoenberg and others the German composition tradition, which he has fused with Caribbean and American Post-Modern practices and termed, Post-visualist Dance Composition and Social Theory. His seminal book on the subject is forthcoming, Choreographycking, For The Margins, a Post-visualist Ethnography of Dance Composition.  He has continued Schoenberg’s and Morgenroth’s post-lingualist structuralism in the Department of Dance at Wesleyan University, which was jointly founded by Schoenberg and Cutler.  His composition studies, ballet training, and improvisation begin at age three under his mother’s tutelage, Bienvenida Pimentel Almanzar Metz(ler) de Rodriguez.

CURATION:

Pedro has been presented at Earthdance, (Deerfield, MA), Eastern New Mexico University, Trinity College, and Ohio State University.   At the Conservatorio Nacional de Danza in the Dominican Republic, he assisted with the international programming of Encuentro Internacional de Danza Contemporanea (EDANCO, 2006),  where he was presented as the event’s honoree for his artistic contributions as a choreographer and exemplary leader in the field of dance worldwide. At EDANCO, he taught composition workshops to students and professionals at the National Conservatory of Dance, as well as collaborated with Marisha Kazeniak of the Vermont Caribbean Institute (VCI) in laying the groundwork for various United State/Dominican Republic educational dance exchanges and socio-economic justice projects.  He also worked with Dr. Edis Sanchez of the National Conservatory of Music (ongoing collaboration), as well as the Dominican Blind Association, and Museo del Hombre (Dominican Museum of Mankind).

Since 2016, Pedro has launched his own curatorial project in New Haven called “Foot-Notes” at the Foot Notes Performance Loft, a PADD Production. “Foot-Notes” works to promote and disseminate the work of emergent and established artists. Through “Foot-Notes”, PADD provides quality choreographic mentorship and performance venue access for intergenerational artists at all stages of their career.

If you are, or if your company is, interested in being mentored and presented at “Foot-Notes”, please send a letter of introduction and recommendation to pedroalejandrodance@gmail.com.

TEACHING:

Pedro was a faculty member of Trinity College’s Theater and Dance Department, and chaired the Dance Department at Wesleyan University for 12 years.  Pedro is the first Latino immigrant to head a major university Dance Department in the United States.  Pedro currently teaches Dance Ethnography, Composition, Technique, and Site-Specific Performance at Wesleyan University.

WRITING:

Suiting the Empire: Baroque Line-Design and Choreographic Imagination (2011)
Presented at: A Common Ground Conference/ Granda Spain

The iconic figure of a body, image, gesture, or shape is composed by a particular quality and shape of the line-form that ushers its trace into a recognizable picture or stylistic habit. Everywhere we see Louis XIV portrayed and the habits of his empire culture for example, there appears the imprint of the straight line on his body, the movement culture championed by him and his dancing masters, the social affairs of courtiers, and their artistic proclivities on and off the stage. This paper discusses some the ideas that territorialize the Baroque line and its process of tension on (French Baroque) empire bodies for the “art of the theater” tradition. The visuality of Baroque dancing bodies and their architectures converge on today’s aesthetic bodies and shape this paper’s leading questions: Just exactly what is being designed, stylized, formalized, and actualized through the ecology of the body when we compose dancing in the image of the Baroque imagination?

AWARDS:

Pedro is the 2008 recipient of the Summer Research Mellon Fellowship for his research in the Dominican Republic on the ecologism of dance practice in the Caribbean.   He is the 2009 Arts Council of Greater New Haven Awardee: Enduring Spirit, “which pays tribute to the enduring spirit; without which there would be no ascendant visionaries among us today, no artistic luminaries to celebrate tomorrow.  The award honors those who have felt the pull of inspiration and embraced the role of influence.”