Ensemble of Susan Rethorst's 208 East Broadway. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
In January 2013, after recently relocating to Philadelphia from New York, choreographer Susan Rethorst met with Pew Fellows to speak about her own work and process. The retrospective project Inquiring Mind/Choreographic Mind at Bryn Mawr College, supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, serves to introduce local audiences to Rethorst's influential work.
Susan Rethorst, born in 1951 in Washington D.C., began modern dance studies at an early age. Tutorials with Judith Dunn at Bennington College laid the groundwork for Rethorst's artistic sensibility. Since 1975, Rethorst has steadily created dances out of New York City. Starting in 1995, she has also been active as a choreographer and teacher of choreography throughout Europe and Scandinavia. Rethorst's work has been presented by the Museum of Modern Art; The Kitchen; Dance Theater Workshop; Danspace Project at St. Marks; the Holland Festival; Spazio Zero Rome; the Kunsthalle Basel; the Aix-en-Provence Festival; and Jerusalem's Room Festival, among others. A documentary of her teaching methods and philosophy is currently in production at La Caldera in Barcelona.
Rethorst has been the recipient of many grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (1979–89, 1992–95), as well as support from the New York State Council on the Arts (1979–83), the Foundation for Contemporary Performance (1988 and 2003), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1989, 1993), the Ernie Pagnano Memorial Fund (1991), the Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundation (1992), and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1999). In 2008, Rethorst received her second Bessie for 208 East Broadway: Suitcase Dreams, and in 2010 she received the prestigious Alpert Award.