Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Dance 2003

John Jasperse

A portrait of John Jasperse standing beside a mirror and reflected in it. He has short copper hair and wears thin rectangular black glasses, a black shirt.
  • 2003 Grants to Artists
  • Dance
  • Choreographer
  • Born Washington, D.C., 1963
  • Lives in New York, NY
  • Additional Information

In this ever-changing climate of funding for dance, public support... is becoming increasingly scarce. The support that foundations like [FCPA] provide to the dance world is crucial to the continued health and growth of dance in this country. I am extremely grateful for your support of my Company and myself.

- John Jasperse, 2004

Artist Statement

A central problem in contemporary dance is the degree to which it has become rarefied and dislocated from the culture in which it exists. The need to connect to a broad public is a key challenge; I balance this with my desire to make work which is centered in experimental processes and which seeks to push the boundaries of the form. I do not see these two goals as mutually exclusive. I seek to create experiences that are not defined by entertainment value systems, and which at times can elicit deeply private, personal, and intellectual responses. My work is rooted in a long and sometimes arduous period of exploration and development. I am deeply committed to questioning and critical evaluation as a means of moving forward my own work as well as the development of the form. Currently, issues surrounding the nature of the perceptual process are central to my work.

- 2005


John Jasperse is a dance artist known for combining formal purity with social commentary. His contemporary dance choreography also integrates visual design elements. Under the aegis of John Jasperse Projects, he has created evening-length works as well as various shorter works and projects in collaboration with other artists.

Jasperse's works prior to his 2003 FCPA grant include Madison as I Imagine It (1999), Fort Blossom (2000), Giant Empty (2001), just two dancers (2003), and California (2003). With the support of his 2003 Grants to Artists award, Jasperse premiered Prone at The Kitchen in 2005. This evening-length work featured a commissioned score performed live by composer Zeena Parkins. Since receiving his 2003 FCPA grant, Jasperse has created Becky, Jodi, and John (2007), Misuse liable to prosecution (2007), Truth, Revised Histories, Wishful Thinking, and Flat Out Lies (2009), Canyon (2011), and Fort Blossom revisited (2000/2012). In 2014, Jasperse premiered Within Between, a commissioned evening-length work with an original score by Jonathan Bepler. Jasperse has also created works for other companies including Mikhail Baryshnikov's White Oak Dance Project, Batsheva Dance Company in Tel Aviv, Israel, and the Lyon Opéra Ballet, among others.

Jasperse's work has been presented by major festivals and presenting organizations throughout the U.S. and Europe, as well as Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan, and Panama. In New York City, Jasperse's work has been performed at venues including the Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop/ New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, The Joyce Theater, and Performance Space 122.

Subsequent to his 2003 Grants to Artists award, Jasperse was honored with a Tides Lambent Fellowship in the Arts (2004-2007), a United States Artists Brooks Hopkins Fellowship (2011), a New York Dance and Performance "Bessie," Award for Outstanding Production for Within between (2014), and a Doris Duke Artist Award (2014). Before receiving his 2003 FCPA grant, Jasperse received awards both in the United States and abroad, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1988, 1994, 2000), three prizes in the Rencontres Internationales Chorégraphiques de Bagnolet (1996), the Choreography Prize at the 3rd Suzanne Dellal International Dance Competition in Tel Aviv for Excessories (1996), a Mouson Award by Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt (1997), a Doris Duke Award (1998), a Scripps/ADF Primus-Tamaris Fellowship (1999), and a New York Dance and Performance "Bessie," Award (2001).

Jasperse graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1985. He is Artistic Director/Choreographer of John Jasperse Company, established in 1989. In 1998, Jasperse created Thin Man Dance, Inc., a New York-based not-for-profit organization; in 2003, he created Association Chapitre II in Lyon, France; and in 2009, Jasperse co-founded Center for Performance Research with Jonah Bokaer.

Several people lay on the floor, wearing blue jeans and white slippers. Three people wearing short tunics step over the laying people. In the far background, a person is seen wearing all black and playing an instrument.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
A photograph split horizontally in the middle by a thick black bar. Above the bar, the torsos of three people in purple outfits are seen against a grey background. They lift their left arms above their heads while their right arms are held out at chest height. A distortion filter blurs the middle of their bodies. Below the horizontal bar, the legs of these figures are seen, again distorted by a filter. They step on tip toes. A circular border surrounds the entire photograph and it appears to be constructed from grey pool floats.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
Performers dressed in jeans and white slippers lay on gray pool floats on a black stage floor. Two people wearing colored t-shirts and skirts made of clear plastic and a red belt leap over the people laying down. An audience is visible in the background.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
A photograph taken within a blue bordered mirror and slightly distorted. Three people wearing short grey shorts and primary colored t-shirts stand close together and balance, leaning forward over their front legs and concealing their faces. Behind them, a person wearing pink pajamas lays on a grey pool float.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
Three people wearing beaded tops and short brown shorts move through the center of the scene. The first two people crawl away from the camera on their hands and knees while the third person lays their back on one person crawling away and looks up. Behind the people, inflated clear trash bags are illuminated from below with bright white light.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
An overhead photograph of a performance where three people wearing t-shirts of primary colors and short brown shorts are tangled on the black floor. Two people have their legs tangled together. One of them turns their head towards the ground in exasperation. The other looks longingly at that person but holds the hand of a third person whose is not tangled but seems to be removing one person from the tangle. The photograph is bordered by distorted metallic gray pool floats.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
A photograph split into three sections side by side. Each section is bordered by distorted grey pool floats and contains a person wearing brown shorts and a brightly colored t-shirt laying on their side on the floor with one arm and one leg extended.
Performance still from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.
Excerpt from FCPA-supported Prone, 2005.