Artistic Director Sean Dorsey
2020 DORIS DUKE ARTIST
DANCE/USA ARTIST FELLOW
awarded 5 ISADORA DUNCAN DANCE AWARDS
“lush, expansive dance … poignant” (PBS-KQED)
“trailblazing” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“evocative, compelling, elegant” (LA Weekly)
“epic work … powerful, moving, hilarious” (Miami Herald)
“visually stunning, emotionally rich, and profoundly timely … one of the nation’s most visionary choreographers” (Bay Times)
Sean Dorsey is a San Francisco-based choreographer, dancer, writer, teaching artist and cultural activist. Recognized as the U.S.’ first acclaimed transgender modern dance choreographer, Dorsey has toured his work to more than 30 cities across the US and abroad – and taught with his explicitly trans-positive pedagogy in more than 35 cities.
Dorsey is a 2020 Doris Duke Artist and an inaugural Dance/USA Artist Fellow. He has been awarded five Isadora Duncan Dance Awards and the Goldie Award for Performance. In 2009, Dorsey was named in Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch;” in 2019, he became the first openly-transgender person on the cover of Dance Magazine.
A longtime social practice artist, Dorsey creates his works over 2-3 years in deep relationship with/in community. Dorsey’s dances are powerful explorations of human experience – a fusion of full-throttle dance, luscious partnering, intimate storytelling and theater. Highly physical, accessible, rooted in story, and danced with precision and guts and deep humanity, Dorsey’s works have been praised as “exquisite…poignant and important” (BalletTanz), “trailblazing” (San Francisco Chronicle) and “evocative, compelling, elegant” (LA Weekly).
As a teaching artist, Dorsey leads workshops, classes and DREAM LABS with a trans-positive pedagogy – and centers and celebrates gender non-conforming and trans bodies, voices and aesthetics.
Dorsey has been awarded support by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, National Performance Network, Dance/USA, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, California Arts Council, Creative Work Fund, Fleishhacker Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation and Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.
Dorsey has been awarded commissions from American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Dance Place (Washington DC), Queer Cultural Center (San Francisco), 7 Stages (Atlanta), Maui Arts & Cultural Center (Maui), Velocity Dance Center (Seattle) Highways Performance Space (Los Angeles), The Theater Offensive (Boston), Links Hall (Chicago), Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission and James Irvine Foundation.
Sean Dorsey Dance’s new multi-year project THE LOST ART OF DREAMING will explore expansive Future thinking and imagination.
Through movement research, community conversation, online video postcards, DREAM LABS and a world premiere performance at Z Space (San Francisco) in December 2021, the project will challenge longtime fatalistic American constructs that deny our communities the space to dream about our own Futures. Join our email list for updates!
Dorsey’s most recent previous work was BOYS IN TROUBLE – a timely and urgent commentary on contemporary masculinity. These powerful dances place a trans and queer lens onto intersectional questions of embodiment, violence, Black queer love, whiteness, shame and posturing. Dorsey led his company on a 20-city international tour of this work between 2018-2020 … traveling from New York to Maui to Stockholm. The project toured with trans-positive dance workshops, community conversations and open classes.
BOYS IN TROUBLE is a fusion of full-throttle dance, risk-taking theater, raw emotion, irreverent humor, exquisite queer partnering and intimate storytelling … all performed with Sean Dorsey Dance’s signature technical precision, guts and deep humanity.
In turns powerful, explosive, irreverent, devastatingly honest, sensual and humorous, BOYS IN TROUBLE is a groundbreaking trans and queer examination of American masculinity’s deep roots in Trouble.
Dorsey’s previous works include a trilogy of works exploring our contemporary relationships to censored, buried or forgotten parts of LGBT history: THE MISSING GENERATION (2015), The Secret History Of Love (2012), and Uncovered: The Diary Project (2009).
THE MISSING GENERATION is a powerful dance-theater work that gives voice to longtime survivors of the early AIDS epidemic. The show is a love letter to a forgotten generation of survivors – and is based on oral history interviews that Dorsey recorded with transgender and LGBT survivors across the US. These people’s voices and remarkable real-life stories are featured in a lush, multi-layered soundscore – along with original music by a team of composers and Dorsey’s own writing/narration. THE MISSING GENERATION toured to 17 cities across the US and Canada.
THE MISSING GENERATION has been praised as “heartbreakingly beautiful … profoundly relevant to all generations” (Bay Times) and “gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and spirit-lifting” (Portland Sun Journal).
Dorsey’s previous evening-length work The Secret History Of Love completed a tour to 20 cities across the US. The Secret History Of Love reveals the underground ways that LGBT people managed to find love and survive in decades past, despite tremendous obstacles. Dorsey created the work by recording oral histories with LGBT elders and conducting archival research across the US.
Dorsey’s other works include Reply Here (2010), Lost/Found (2007), Bullied (2007), the evening-length suite of dances The Outsider Chronicles (2006), In Closing (2006), Creative (2006), 6 Hours (2005), Second Kiss (2005), Red Tie Red Lipstick (2003), and a small class of words (2002).
Dorsey has collaborated with artists and collectives including Sins Invalid, Lana and Lilli Wachowski (Directors, The Matrix, Cloud Atlas), and Anohni (formerly Antony and the Johnsons). Dorsey danced with Lizz Roman and Dancers from 2000-2006.
Dorsey is the founder and Artistic Director of Fresh Meat Productions, a San Francisco-based arts organization that invests in the creative expression and cultural leadership of transgender and gender-nonconforming communities. Fresh Meat creates and commissions new work, presents performing arts programs, conducts education and engagement, and advocates for intersectional justice and equity in the Arts.
Fresh Meat Productions’ programs include: the popular annual FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL of transgender and queer performance (June), resident company Sean Dorsey Dance’s home season concerts and touring performances, FRESH WORKS! commissions, national community residencies, and arts programs for emerging transgender artists and arts organizations.
Fresh Meat Productions is invested in the liberation of all communities — we stand for trans/gender justice, racial justice, disability justice, immigrant justice, economic and social justice, and understand these as intersectional movements.
WHAT THE PRESS ARE SAYING:
“lush, expansive dance … poignant”
(San Francisco Chronicle)
“evocative, compelling, elegant”
“epic work … powerful, moving, hilarious”
“visually stunning, emotionally rich,
and profoundly timely … one of the nation’s
most visionary choreographers”
“exquisite…poignant and important”
(New York Dance Insider)
“poignant…heartbreak and eloquence”
(San Francisco Chronicle)
“boundlessly gifted…flawless dance”
(Bay Area Reporter)
“eloquent, poignant, lyrical”
(Philadelphia Dance Journal)
(Boston Bay Windows)
“wonderfully imaginative and powerful”
“gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and spirit-lifting”
(Portland Sun Journal)
“deeply felt, splendidly shaped…aches with beauty and grief”
(San Francisco Bay Guardian)