"The dancers’ movements…. are transformed into something simultaneously beautiful and fraught."
Risa Jaroslow & Dancers
"Risa Jaroslow choreographs as if her mission were to explore the common needs and visions that bring people together." -The Village Voice
Risa Jaroslow's lush choreography and stunning visual landscapes are alive with compassion and humor. Jaroslow examines the questions at the core of human experience, threading the answers through choreography that is at once earthy and soaring, transcendent and rooted in the everyday. Communities emerge and dissolve and a simple gesture blooms into a magnificent metaphor. What sets the company apart is its ability to weave together the experiences and movement of people from firefighters and midwives to survivors of domestic violence to Jaroslow's company of accomplished dancers.
Risa Jaroslow & Dancers has performed throughout the United States and Europe, including: Dance Theater Workshop (New York, NY); The Danspace Project (New York, NY); Central Park Summerstage (New York, NY); Jarson-Kaplan Theater (Cincinnati, OH); Dublin Dance Festival (Dublin, Ireland); and Open Look Festival (St. Petersburg, Russia).
Risa Jaroslow has been making and performing dances since 1974. Until recently she was based in New York City where her company Risa Jaroslow & Dancers performed at the major venues for new dance as well as nationally and internationally. Since 2013 she has been based in the Bay Area of northern California where she continues to dance, choreograph, teach and mentor.
Jaroslow has taught technique, composition, and repertory at colleges and universities including Mills College, Sonoma State University, Adelphi University, Trinity College, Pratt Institute, and CW Post College. She has conducted extended residencies with Kannon Dance in St. Petersburg, Russia, and the dance departments at University of Maryland and American University. From 1993 to 2002 she conducted a yearly residency in Bytom, Poland.
In 1988, Jaroslow created Arts at University Settlement, a neighborhood arts program serving New York City's Lower East Side and the downtown dance community. Jaroslow ran the program until 1999, raising funds to renovate Speyer Hall for rehearsals, classes and performances for the Lower East Side and other communities. The program and theater space she created continue to serve as a resource for the neighborhood and for downtown dance and performance artists
Jaroslow is dedicated to including diverse communities as participants and audience. Using the distinctive series of teaching techniques she has developed, she engages dancers of all levels and people of all ages and abilities. She has worked with The New York Society for the Deaf; The Initiative for Women with Disabilities; The Welfare Rights Initiative; Project FIND, serving senior adults; The Lower East Side Girls Club, serving pre-teen girls; Youth Enrichment Services, serving gay and lesbian youth; and Voices of Women and Dwa Fanm, serving survivors of domestic violence.
Her work has been supported by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Ford Foundation, The Trust for Mutual Understanding, Arts-Link, the Jerome Robbins Trust, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Phyllis C Wattis Foundation, the City of Oakland and New Music USA, among others. She has been a New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, and in 2005 was the first Jerome Robbins Fellow at the Liguria Study Center in Bogliasco, Italy.
My dance-making process begins with questions. In the studio, the dancers explore the questions through movement, take the answers and stretch them, turn them into daring partnering, whirl them through space and arrange them in patterns across many bodies. I include both the incredible virtuosity of highly trained dancers and the unique and deeply human contributions of non-trained movers in my work. By combining them, I aim to create a rich, complex picture that is resonant with all kinds of audiences.