STEPHEN PETRONIO (Artistic Director/Choreographer)
Stephen Petronio is an acclaimed American choreographer, dancer, and artistic director known for his innovative and boundary-pushing work in contemporary dance. Born in 1956 Newark, New Jersey, Petronio has made a significant impact on the dance world through his unique artistic vision and his commitment to pushing the limits of movement and expression.
Petronio began his dance training at the age of 18 after attending Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. where he honed his skills as an improviser and dancer studying with Steve Paxton and developed a deep appreciation for the avant-garde and experimental nature of contemporary dance. Petronio went on to become the first male dancer with the Trisha Brown Dance Company. His experiences with these influential figures in the dance world had a deep impact on his own choreographic voice.
In 1984, Petronio founded the Stephen Petronio Company, a contemporary dance company based in New York City. Touring and performing throughout the world, the company quickly gained recognition for its bold and visually stunning performances that combined elements of modern, ballet, and postmodern dance. Petronio’s choreography challenged traditional notions of movement and explored themes of sexuality, gender, and identity.
Over the years, Petronio has collaborated with a wide range of artists and musicians, including Rufus Wainwright, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and Anish Kapoor and Cindy Sherman, further expanding the interdisciplinary nature of his work. He has also created dances for numerous other companies around the world, including the Frankfurt Ballet, Lyon Opera Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Petronio has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career, including the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in Choreography and the Doris Duke Artist Award. His work has been celebrated for its technical virtuosity, emotional depth, and its ability to challenge and provoke audiences.
He has collaborated with numerous visual art icons, including Cindy Sherman, Anish Kapoor, Robert Longo, Stephen Hannock, and Teresita Fernandez, and with Janine Antoni, several discipline-blurring projects, including the video installation Honey Baby (2013), with composer Tom Laurie and filmmaker Kirsten Johnson; and most recently Ally, in collaboration with Anna Halprin and Adrian Heathfield, which premiered at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia in (2016). Petronio and Antoni were the 2017 McCormack Artists-in-Residence at Skidmore College, where they showed their series of installations, Entangle. The Juilliard School commissioned him to create a work, #PrayerForNow, on their fourth-year students for the New Dances Edition 2019. Petronio’s memoir, Confessions of a Motion Addict, is available at Amazon.com. His latest limited-edition book, In Absentia, features entries from his journals written in quarantine at the Petronio Residency Center, paired with never-before-seen studio and behind-the-scenes photos by Sarah Silver and Grant Friedman.
In 2014 he conceived Bloodlines, an initiative to honor the experimental Judson pioneers that have inspired him and Bloodlines(future) to nurturing the next generation of dancers and choreographers. He established the Stephen Petronio Residency Center in 2017, a research and development facility immersed in protected Catskill forests of upstate New York that provides rare opportunity for artists to develop and their personal creative growth.
Stephen Petronio’s contributions to the field of contemporary dance have had a lasting impact on the art form. His fearless exploration of movement, his commitment to collaboration, and his relentless pursuit of innovation have solidified his place as one of the most influential choreographers of his generation.