"I am a dancer because I love language and a choreographer because I love conversations and an artist because I never run out of questions."
Caribbean-American dancer-choreographer Tania Isaac (b. 1975) was named one of "25 to watch" by Dance Magazine in 2006, and her artistry has continued to blossom. She fuses choreography with personal documentary and social commentary and grapples with identity, post-colonial issues, feminism, and juxtapositions of European and African influences, resulting in dances that are elegant, dramatic, and highly accessible. An electric and commanding performer, Isaac earned an M.F.A. in dance from Temple University in 2000 and is an able scholar, having penned articles for publications such as Susanna Sloat's anthology Making Caribbean Dance (University Press of Florida, 2010).
Her current work is a potentially groundbreaking exploration of creative method she calls the "Open Notebook"—a way of turning a room into a laboratory of investigation and participatory dance. "I fell in love with the idea that moving could be intellectual practice in itself," says Isaac. "I enjoy the messy and exhausting process of bringing things to life." Isaac developed the "Open Notebook" further as Crazy Beautiful, an installation at the Painted Bride Art Center in late 2012. For two weeks in December 2012, Isaac was in residence at MacDowell, with support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. She also was the first participant in Ain Gordon's White Box Residencies project, conducted at the Center. Since receiving her Pew Fellowship, she has also become an assistant teaching professor of dance at Drexel University.