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David Roussève / REALITY



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David Roussève (choreographer, writer, director and performer) is a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University (Politics, Theater and Dance, and Africa Studies) and a 2004 Guggenheim Fellow. Roussève is Artistic Director/Choreographer for David Roussève/REALITY, a dance/theater company of seven performers that has toured extensively throughout the US. Europe, and South America, including three commissions for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.  In 2001, for REALITY Roussève created his first solo evening in over ten years, The Ten Year Chat, which toured in the US and the United Kingdom and was named “One of the Best Performance Events of 2001” by The LA Weekly.  In 2005 Roussève created the dance-for-camera Bittersweet for REALITY, the first work for camera he directed as well as choreographed and wrote. Bittersweet was screened at both of the U.S.’s preeminent dance-film festivals:  New York’s Dance on Camera Festival (where it had a sold-out screening at Lincoln Center in 2006) and L.A.’s Dance Camera West Festival.  David’s 2009 work for REALITY, Saudade, toured nationally and received two L.A. Horton Awards including “Best Choreography of 2009”.  David’s latest dance film for REALITY, Two Seconds After Laughter (Director, Writer, Co-Choreographer), was shot in Java and will premiere in 2012 at Lincoln Center as part of the Dance on Camera Festival.  In 2013-14 REALITY will premiere Roussève’s new evening-length dance/theater piece Stardust.

Roussève’s commissions for other companies include works for the Houston Ballet (performed with a live playing of Appalachian Springs); Salt Lake’s Ririe-Woodbury; two works for Ballet Hispanico (one in collaboration with Salsa great Eddie Palmieri); the Atlanta Ballet (with a live performance by the 100-member Morehouse College Glee Club); two works for Pittsburgh’s Dance Alloy (one in collaboration with Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Ysaye Barnwell); and two works for Denver’s Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theater.  In 2005 David premiered two commissioned works: Walking on Clouds (commissioned and performed together by two Cleveland companies:  Dancing Wheels, comprised of differently-abled performers, and Cleveland Contemporary, comprised of African American performers); and Jumping The Broom, created for Giselle Mason’s No Boundaries Project, juxtaposing the ban on slave marriage with the contemporary ban on gay marriage. In 2006-7 David spent seven weeks in Tashkent, Uzbekistan choreographing Ecstasy of the Pomegranate for Ilkhom Theater Company in collaboration with the company’s late Artistic Director Mark Weil.  Ecstasy… is based in part on the life and visual art of Russian-Uzbek artist Usto Mumin, and chronicles the now-gone Uzbek tradition of ‘bocha’ (often called ‘geisha’) boys.

The choreographer’s work for film and video also includes Pull Your Head to the Moon… tales of Creole Women (created in collaboration with director Ayoka Chenzira, commissioned by PBS’ Alive TV and aired nationally), the documentary Brothermen (by director Demetria Royals and aired nationally on PBS), and the choreography for Positive: Life With HIV (five hour-long segments aired on PBS).  He participated twice in the Sundance Institute’s prestigious Feature Film Development Labs as a Screenwriting Fellow, and recently completed the feature screenplay version of his dance/theater work Urban Scenes/Creole Dreams.

As a writer Roussève wrote the book for the Billy Strayhorn/Luther Henderson Musical Rose Colored Glasses (commissioned by LA’s Center Theater Group).  Roussève’s writing has also been published in Bantam Press’ Rants and Raves from Today’s Top Performance Artists, and Rutledge Press’ Envisioning dance on Film.
In addition to the Guggenheim, David’s awards include the Cal Arts/Alpert Award in Dance, “First Place Screen Choreography” at the IMZ Int’l Dance Film Festival, a Creative Capitol Fellowship, a New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Award, three L.A. Horton (dance) Awards, two Irvine Fellowships in Dance, a California Arts Council Choreography Fellowship, seven consecutive fellowships from the NEA, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

In 1996 David Roussève joined UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.  David served as Department Chair 2003-6 and is currently Professor of Choreography. 




photo: Yi-Chun Wu