Karen Bernard, photo by Aaron Purkey
Karen Bernard is a choreographer and interdisciplinary solo performance artist based in New York City. She began studying dance at age three with her father, Steven Bernard, a company member with 20th century pioneer, Charles Weidman. She grew up in a household which incorporated her father’s dance school, with students crossing through the family space, so performance art has been deeply engrained throughout her life. As an artist and the Founder and Director of New Dance Alliance (NDA), she performs, teaches, lectures and serves on advisory panels across the U.S., Canada and Europe. This cross-pollination strengthens an ongoing social dialogue among international artists, one that exemplifies her lifelong commitment to performance. That commitment is fully brought to life in NDA’s justly-renowned Performance Mix Festival.
Between 1986 and 1998, Bernard presented a series of solos in collaboration with Dia Center for Arts and went on to be presented at The Kitchen and Performance Space 122 (It Could Have Been Different) and Danspace at St. Mark’s Church and Dance Theater Workshop (Blue). These solos mark the passages of her life experiences as daughter, wife, mother and artist – “spellbinding performer with unusual themes.” Jennifer Dunning, New York Times. In 2004, incorporating old video footage, conversational text, and popular music, Bernard received critical acclaim for Removed Exposure, which premiered at Dixon Place in New York and went on to the Festival of New Dance in St. John’s, Newfoundland; Women in Transition, a festival in Vienna; then was remounted at Here Arts Center in New York. A handmade book of the same name, Removed Exposure, was co-created with Canadian bookmaker Gray Fraser. In 2006, Totally In Love premiered at The Kitchen – “lusty,” said Deborah Jowitt in the Village Voice and in 2008 Surfing The Shadow premiered at Joyce SoHo. From 2008-2012 she created Ouette developed through The Field and residencies at Bogliasco, Earthdance, Silo, White Oak and Wassard Elea and work-in-progress showings at Dixon Place in New York. Highlighted performances of Ouette included the Rhubarb Festival in Toronto, Joyce SoHo in New York and the Festival of New Dance in St. John’s Newfoundland. She has been awarded a Movement Research Artist in Residence and received a BAX 10 award for her invaluable service to artists in the founding and development of the Performance Mix Festival. Bernard is a USAProjects Artist.
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