David Roussève / REALITY
“David Roussève is one of the most provocative figures on the modern
dance scene: a mult italented artist, a low-key but incisively compelling
performer eloquent in both words and movement, and a choreographer of
wide-ranging imagination. His vibrant theater pieces tend toward
the surreal with occasionally a non-sequitor Dadaist touch.”
The Washington Times
February 9, 2009
About David Roussève
David Roussève is hailed from coast to coast for his highly original form of expressionistic dance theater that masterfully blends elements of dance and performance art with African American traditional and pop cultures. As Artistic Director of the dance/theater company David Roussève/REALITY he has created thirteen full-length works that have toured throughout the U.S., Europe, and South America; including three critically and popularly successful commissions for BAM’s Next Wave Festival: collaborations with Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Ysaye Barnwell (Urban Scenes/Creole Dreams, ’92), jazz/hip hop Grammy-nominee Me’Shell NdegeOcello (The Whispers of Angels, ’95), and Tony-winning lighting designer Beverly Emmons (Love Songs ’99). For his choreography of Love Songs Roussève was awarded a “Bessie” Award.
Roussève received a Guggenheim Fellowship to create Saudade (2009) for REALITY. Saudade explores “bittersweet” as that single moment when the greatest of joy an pain are experienced together. The piece toured to major spaces throughout the U.S. (including REALITY’s debut at Jacob’s Pillow) and received the 2009 LA Horton Award, for Best Choreography. Roussève’s other awards include the Cal Arts/Alpert Award in Dance, two Irvine Fellowships, seven consecutive NEA Fellowships, “First Place: Choreography” at the IMZ Int’l Dance Film Festival, and another Horton Award for his evening-length solo The Year Chat, which LA Weekly called “One of the Ten Best Performance Events of 2001.”
David’s commissions for other companies include works for Dancing Wheels; Ririe-Woodbury; Cleo Parker Robinson; Ballet Hispanico (with salsa great Eddie Palmieri); Atlanta Ballet (with a live performance by the 100-membrer Morehouse College Glee Club); and Houston Ballet (with a live playing of Copland’s Appalachian Spring). In 2006 Roussève spent 7 weeks in Tashkent, Uzbekistan creating Ecstasy of the Pomegranate for Ilkhom Theater company.
In 2012 David premiered his third dance film, Two Seconds After Laughter which he directed, wrote, co-produced, and co-choreographed. Filmed in Java by Stardust collaborator Cari Ann Shim Sham* and with the support of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts, Two Seconds… has screened in India, Mexico, Australia, Egypt, Canada, and across the US. It was a finalist for the Jury Award at Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival and at the New Orleans Film Festival. It was awarded Best Film at the San Francisco Dance Film Festival and the Delta Int’l Film Festival. David’s writing has been published in collections by Bantam Books and Routledge Press and he was twice a screenwriting Fellow in the prestigious Sundance Feature Film Development Lab.
In 1996, David joined UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance where he is Professor of Choreography. He served as Chair from 2003-2006. He has also served on the faculties of Princeton University, Bates Dance Festival, Columbia College, Randolph-Macon, and UC Berkeley Extension. From 2004-07 David was the first artist to sit on the Board of Directors of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.
photo: Valerie Oliveiro