AESTHETIC AND LANGUAGE
Sidra Bell Dance New York (SBDNY Inc.) is a New York City contemporary dance company presenting innovative, provocative, and kinetic dance theater works. Bell is an sought after voice in contemporary dance with a strong female vision creating works that ignite the imagination and explore the complexities of the human condition. Bell excavates the psyche and themes that are life affirming. The company's repertoire is haunting, emotionally transporting, complex, articulate, sensual, and highly physical. The company has become known for atmospheric, unconventional, spectacular, and forward-looking works that push past dance’s traditional vocabulary, venues, and boundaries. The vocabulary is elegant, fantastical, tonal, and darkly romantic with original themes and larger than life characters. The content is highly textural and plays with the natural and unnatural worlds as well as synthetic and organic tones.
PROCESS & ENVIRONMENT
With a process that values research over product the company has created several installation and theater pieces including site-specific works Chimeras (Stella Adler Studio of Acting), House Unrest (The Gershwin Hotel), Combustion (a street ambush with Avant Magazine), the award winning Conductivity (a duet for dancer Shamel Pitts and up and coming actor Robbie Sublett, graduate of NYU/Stella Adler) and the groundbreaking Beautiful Beast. The Other Face a large scale dance theater work commissioned by the New York City's historic Duo Theater. The company has attracted a new generation of dancers and artists of the highest technical level with incredible charisma and intellect.
Bell received First Prize for Choreography at the 15th Internationales Solo Tanz-Theatre-Festival in Stuttgart, Germany (2011), Germany for the solo Grief Point. Dancer Moo Kim received First Prize for Performance in the work. In 2009 Bell's other seminal solo work Conductivity received Second Prize for Performance at the Stuttgart Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival for dancer Shamel Pitts. Bell has received several creative residencies at The Duo Theater, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York Live Arts,Inception to Exhibition, and Dance Theater Workshop.She has received creative awards from the Puffin Foundation, The American Music Center Live Music for Dance, and the Patrica Kerr Ross Award from New York Foundation for the Arts. She was selected as a young choreographer for two consecutive years for Spring Board Danse Montreal where she was in residence and created works that were presented at Montreal's Usine C and Place des Arts. The company was lauded in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette's 2010 Best in Dance for the critically acclaimed full length ReVUE. Critic Jane Vranish wrote: “It was a ReVUE unlike any other, a blend of vaudeville, Fellini and Cirque du Soleil. Ms. Bell proved that she had her finger on the future of dance where ballet and hip-hop coexist on the same plane.”
Presentations of the company include the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out Series, Symphony Space, Skirball Performing Arts Center, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Ballet Builders, The Harlem Stage E-Moves Series, Tangente (Montréal), The Gershwin Hotel, The Riverside Theatre at Riverside Church, Stella Adler Studio of Acting’s M.A.D. Series, danceNOW, The Duo Theatre, City Center Studios, Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance, Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center, Reverb Festival, Baryshnikov Arts Center, Chutzpah! Festival at The Norman Rothstein Theater (Vancouver), Baruch College Performing Arts Center, Joyce SoHo, New York Live Arts and Dance Theater Workshop (Residency & Commissioning Program) to name a few.
With an emphasis on imagery and film as a means to capture and focus the work through various lenses the company has collaborated with many young photographers and designers in New York City. Most recently Bell collaborated with photographer Jubal Battisti on a unique 80-page collection of photographs entitled PERSONA that features the works of the company and 24 spectacular contemporary dancers. Through Battisti's lens the dances have gained multiple perspectives and vantage points. His eye offered a fresh, painterly, and intimate take on the choreography. His approach allowed Bell's dancers to be human and natural giving him the freedom to capture extravagant and timeless imagery.
COMMUNITY & FAMILY
Sidra Bell Dance New York began as a community initiative in Harlem, NY. Bell, a graduate of Yale University and native New Yorker, was awarded a grant from the Yale Entreprenurial Society to found the company that was initially based at The Joseph P. Kennedy Center in Harlem. For three years the company hosted sold-out seasons featuring live jazz ensembles directed by gold/platinum award winning producer and composer Dennis Bell at the center. The company also hosted dance and theater classes for youth on Saturdays. The daughter of artist and educators Dennis and Claudette Bell, Bell was raised in an environment that fostered collaboration, creation, community activism, education, and artistry. Bell frequently collaborates with her father most recently on high profile commissions for The Juilliard School, Ailey II, Ballet Austin, National Choreographers Initiative and The Sacramento Ballet. Refrain for a Broken Chorus featured an original score by Dennis Bell played by The Juilliard Jazz Ensemble and danced by The Juilliard Dance Ensemble at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater The duo of Bell & Bell also received an award from The American Music Center Live Music for Dance Fund for a new work SHRINES (bodies) that premiered at Baruch Performing Arts Center with the SUMMIT String Quartet. It is Bell's mission in life to continue the long tradition of her family of sharing art with people from all walks of life.