dendy/donovan projects

dendy_donovan projects, Photo by Patrick Macleod

For their latest multifaceted blend of dance, theater, and truth seeking, Mark Dendy and Stephen Donovan explore what it means to create work with no agenda and start having some fun. In The importance of being Earnest,” an exploration of process, they return to this fundamental basic as they seek to get back into the sandbox and out of their heads.

After finding themselves questioning the work, themselves and asking “what the fuck are were doing”, was is it for: “the artist”, the institutions, the cultural and historical climate, the audience, the grant panel, the critics, the public persona perceived and created, their peers, the past? They decided it was time to clean house and return to fundamental basic – creating work with no agenda and start having some fun. In “The importance of being Earnest” they seek to get back into the sandbox and out of our heads.

dendy/donovan projects – Mark Dendy and Stephen Donovan started collaborating as a company in 2008, to create a dance-theater multi-media company valuing all forms of design and collaboration with a political sensibility and a searing social satire. Obie, New York Dance & Performance (“Bessie”) and Alpert award-winning choreographer, writer, and director Mark Dendy and visual artist, director, and performer Stephen Donovan have been a creative team since 2003 when they worked on the Broadway musical TABOO! Mark as the choreographer and Stephen as Assistant Director.

They have created many original works, conceiving, designing and producing together, namely Andru’s Head at NY Fringe (2004), Golden Belt, set in an abandoned tobacco-processing factory in North Carolina ADF (premiere 2009);Ritual Cyclical, an epic site-specific work for 80 dancers at Lincoln Center Out of Doors/ADF (premiere 2013); Dystopian Distractions! commissioned by DANCEworks at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara (premiere 2014); Labyrinthat Abrons Arts Center (premiere 2014); NEWYORKnewyork @ Astor Place at Joe’s Pub, commissioned by DanceNow NYC (premiere 2015); Whistleblowercommissioned by Dixon Place (premiere 2015) and Elvis Everywherecommissioned by ADF (premiere 2017) Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival (2017), New York Live Arts (2018).

 Mark Dendy has worked in a variety of dance genres ranging from experimental dance and edgy East Village drag to high-end Broadway productions, prominent ballet companies and opera to large-scale site-specific works. Mark Dendy Dance & Theatre was presented at PS 122, the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, The Joyce Theater, Jacob’s Pillow, Lincoln Center, Central Park SummerStage, Kennedy Center and Dance Theater Workshop, as well as numerous national and international venues. Dendy has been commissioned by both modern and ballet companies worldwide, most notably Pacific Northwest Ballet. Mark has collaborated with directors Julie Taymor, Tina Landau, Gabriel Barre, Ellen Hemphill, Rebecca Taichman and Timothy Sheader; writers Neil Simon and Charles Busch; and composers Boy George, Don Byron, Andrew Lippa, Heather Christian, Jim Steinman, and Stephen Schwartz. Commercial theater credits include choreography for Taboo and The Pirate Queen (Broadway); The Wild Party, The Miracle Brothers, and Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well… (Off-Broadway); Pippin, Camille Claudel and Hair (regional and national tours); The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera); Orpheus (NYC Opera); and Rappaccini’s Daughter (Gotham Chamber Opera, NYC). Dendy has received many awards and honors, most notably a Bessie Award, an Obie Award, the National Society of Arts and Letters Sustained Achievement Award, the Herb Alpert Award and the Joe A. Callaway Award, as well as numerous grants.

Stephen Donovan studied Contemporary Art at Nottingham Trent University, specializing in performance and conceptual work, under the leadership of, interdisciplinary artist and social sculpture practitioner, Shelley Sacks and later studied Acting at The Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute where he was a member of Irma Sandrey’s professional class. With dendy/donovan projectsStephen has conceived and developed the work with Mark, created the sets, costumes, videos, sound, performed, produced and managed the company, and with Mark’s encouragement accomplished things he never knew he was capable of.