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Susan Rethorst

New York, New York

Born 1951, Washington, D.C.

In the last few years I have come across the following words that I find useful in attempting to articulate what I do -

quiddity - the essence of a person or thing; what makes a thing what it is...what makes a movement what it is

qualia - the ineffable in experience, that for which there is no substitution, for which description will always fall short, that which can only be known through experience, (i.e. the smell of thyme, that twirly arm thingey movement done by that person in that place at that moment in the dance)

inwit - from old english; in from interior, wit from knowledge

I believe dance acts on us. I am interested in working with how and why it acts on us; its effect/affect.

The ways I work are immediate and intuitive, collaborating with circumstances, trusting my ideas and self to manifest through the choices I make.

I ask myself in the studio what is this movement doing? How is it acting on me? Where does it take me, leave me? What does it dictate about what else there should be? What is it, its nature? What does it bring to my conscious self and how? How is it that it lays bare who I am, what I think, what I know?

In my work, I rely on these ineffable dimensions of movement; the extraordinary phenomenon that we study every day as we decide who to talk to, where to sit on the bus and what we think; we read every situation through movement. To make performance out of this aspect of our nature, this phenomena, is what fascinates me.

1974 B.A., Dance, Bennington College

Choreographer, Writer, Teacher


2001 Behold Bold Sam Dog, Danspace Project at St Mark's Church, New York, NY

1992 Picture This, The Kitchen, New York, NY

1989 Beau Regard, Dance Theater Workshop, New York, NY

1985 Sons of Famous Men, PS 122, New York, NY

1979 Long Sleepless Afternoons, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY


1999 Stealing Influence and Identity, Movement Research Journal, New York, NY.

2003 Dailiness, Choreographic Encounters. Institute for Choreography and Dance, Cork, Ireland.


1999 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

1992-94, 1979-1988 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships

1985 "Bessie" New York Dance and Performance Award for Choreography

Year Awarded 1988, 2003
Category Dance