“…the sensation of shifting from soft to hard is palpable, along with an investigation of line that is not only visual but sonic…gives the pedestrian body a rare inner drama…Ms. Welliver’s many plots is how she makes room for fantasy in formalism” Gia Kourlas, New York Times
Gwen Welliver is a choreographer and performer recognized for her range across formats from performance installation to opera. Her works in dance and drawing explore the expressive potential of line and figure in the mutable spaces that separate abstraction from representation
Welliver has created forty-four choreographic works for the stage, galleries, and opera houses including seven evening-length productions. She is a Bogliasco Foundation Fellow (2020), Baryshnikov Arts Center Bogliasco Foundation Joint Fellow (2020), Van Cleef and Arpels Bogliasco Special Fellow in Dance (2020), New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) Fellow in Choreography (2013), and a New York Dance and Performance ‘Bessie’ Awardee for Sustained Achievement in Dancing with Doug Varone and Dancers (2000). She has been a part of the New York City dance community since 1990 and holds an MFA in Choreography from Bennington College.
Welliver’s new works and research have been supported by over seventy awards, commissions, and residency sources including the following organizations and venues: American Dance Festival, Bogliasco Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop Studio Series Commissioning and Creative Residency, Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, Florida State University Office of Research, Gibney and the Howard Gilman Foundation, La MaMa, Lincoln Center Festival, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Mellon Foundation creative residency at Center for Performance Research, Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, Movement Research, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Program, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Live Arts, New Music USA, Opening Nights and the Martha Graham Dance Company, PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art (MIT Press), Spoleto Festival USA, and the Suitcase Fund.
As Rehearsal Director for the Trisha Brown Dance Company (2000–2007), Welliver oversaw the company repertory, remounted Brown’s choreography for opera at La Monnaie/De Munt and Festival d’Aix-en Provence, and directed the revival of seminal works for the touring exhibition Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961–2001. Her choreography for opera premiered in Jennifer Wen Ma’s contemporary production, Paradise Interrupted, at the Spoleto Festival USA, with additional performances at Lincoln Center Festival, Singapore Festival of Arts, National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Taipei National Theatre and Concert Hall, and the MGM Cotai Theater.
Teaching has been central to Welliver’s practice as a creator. She has taught extensively in academic, cultural, and conservatory settings around the world—at venues as varied as the American Dance Festival (North Carolina, NYC, Santiago, 1999–2017), Performing Arts Research and Training Studios – P.A.R.T.S. (Brussels), and Movement Research (NYC, 1997–2017). Currently on the School of Dance faculty at Florida State University, she has also served on the faculties at Sarah Lawrence College (2011–2015), the Experimental Theater Wing at New York University (2015, 2014) New York University’s Department of Dance (2009–2011, 1995–2000), Barnard College (2010), and Bennington College (2013, 2012, 2007–2009).
Welliver serves on the New York Foundation for the Arts Artist Advisory Committee and as a leader in the NYC dance community by offering advisement, mentorship, and teaching to her peers and emerging artists through programs such as: Bessie Schonberg Laboratory for Composition; CLASSCLASSCLASS; Teachers Teaching Teachers (TTT); the Joyce Soho Editing Advisor program; Bennington College’s Fieldwork Term; Movement Research Open Performance; Gibney’s Choreographer in Residence mentorship program.