Raja Feather Kelly
Raja Feather Kelly
the feath3r theory (TF3T) is a New York City-based dance-theatre-media company that produces the work of Artistic Director and Choreographer Raja Feather Kelly. As a collaboration of dancers, actors, filmmakers, musicians, photographers and designers, TF3T explores pop-culture and current cultural phenomena, building original performances that skillfully combine, deconstruct, and reimagine elements of dance, visual media, fashion, drag, standup, vaudeville, and narrative theatre.
The mission of the feath3r theory is to challenge its audience (and its creators) to collectively interrogate — and celebrate — its shared relationship to human empathy and personal ethics as expressed in (and distorted by) popular media. The work of TF3T is virtuosic, expansive, radical and surreal: large-scale pop-culture phenomena shaped into an overwhelming, over-saturated Gesamtkunstwerk in which artists and audiences alike experience their shared humanity.
the feath3r theory was founded in 2009 when Artistic Director Raja Feather Kelly premiered a movement solo dedicated to his interest and infatuation with the life and work of Andy Warhol, titled FANMAIL. The number 3 in TF3T speaks to the equal importance of dance-theatre-media in the work. The main pillar of Andy Warhol’s philosophy that gives impetus for Raja is the quotes “It’s the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look how you feel about it.”
Choreographer/Director Raja Feather Kelly is the artistic director of New Brooklyn Theatre. In 2009, he founded the dance-theatre-media company the feath3r theory. The two companies merged in 2018. Raja is a Creative Associate at The Juilliard School, and has been awarded a Creative Capital Award (2019), a National Dance Project Production Grant (2019), a Breakout Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (2018), Dance Magazine’s inaugural Harkness Promise Award (2018), the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography (2016), and is a three-time Princess Grace Award winner (2017, 2018, 2019). He was born in Fort Hood, Texas and holds a B.A. in Dance and English from Connecticut College.
Raja has been named as the 2019–2020 Randjelović/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist at New York Live Arts and is an inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. Raja has also been awarded a New York Dance Performance “Bessie” Award, a Bessie Schonberg Fellowship at The Yard, a DanceWEB Scholarship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowship, a HERE Arts Fellowship, 2018 Creator-in-Residence at Kickstarter, and a Choreography Fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU.
Over the past decade he has created fifteen evening-length works with his company the feath3r theory to critical acclaim. Most recently, UGLY (Black Queer Zoo) at The Bushwick Starr, and We May Never Dance Again® at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn. Professionally, Raja has performed with Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, David Dorfman Dance, Kyle Abraham|Abraham.In.Motion, and zoe | juniper. He has also managed a number of dance companies: Race Dance, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, zoe | juniper, and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group.
Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, and New York Theatre Workshop and Playwrights Horizons. Kelly is the 2019 SDCF Joe Callaway Award Finalist for outstanding choreography of A Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons) and Fairview (Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama). Frequent collaborators include: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Lila Neugebauer. Other theatre credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical (Town Hall), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (SohoRep), Everyday Afroplay (JACK), GURLS (Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theatre), Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen), Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop), Fireflies (Atlantic Theatre Company), If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Choreography), The Good Swimmer (BAM), and Faust (Opera Omaha).