Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Dance 2009

Maria Hassabi

A high angle orange hued portrait of Maria Hassabi. She looks down to the right. She has medium length curly black hair and wears a denim shirt.
  • Choreographer, Performer
  • Born Nicosia, Cyprus, 1973
  • Lives in New York, NY
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  • Additional Information
  • mariahassabi.com

This year, your support had a profound effect on my ability to create work, strengthen the infrastructure of my organization, and cultivate opportunities for my work nationally and internationally... It is a unique program, and represents the very best in arts funding, because it truly allows artists the freedom to grow while continuing to do what we do best: create.

- Maria Hassabi, January 14, 2009

Biography

Maria Hassabi is a choreographer, director, and performance artist.

Her works are presented in theaters, museums, galleries, and public spaces worldwide. Throughout her career, she has had ongoing collaborations with artists from various disciplines. Prior to receiving her 2009 Grants to Artists award, she created Dead is Dead (2004), Lights (2004), Still Smoking (2006), and Gloria (2007). Hassabi's 2009 FCA grant supported Solo (2009) and SoloShow (2009), two evening-length solos that relate to each other and extend her interest in the female body embedded within art history, pop culture, and daily life. Her subsequent evening-length works include Robert and Maria (2010), Show (2011), Counter-Relief (2013), PREMIERE (2013), and the eight-hour-long live installation Intermission (2013). She has also created several short-form pieces and art installations including Chandeliers (2012), the short film The Ladies (2012), and Plastic (2015).

Since receiving her 2009 Grants to Artists award, Hassabi was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (2011) and The President's Award for Performing Arts from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2012); grants from The MAP Fund (2011, 2013), the Manhattan Community Arts Fund (2011, 2013), the Jerome Foundation (2011, 2013, 2014), Creative Capital (2013), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Extended Life Program (2013), and The Mertz Gilmore Foundation (2013). Hassabi represented The Cyprus Republic as part of the Cyprus and Lithuanian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale (2013). Prior to receiving her 2009 FCA grant, her work been supported by the Foundation 2021 (2006, 2007), The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston (2006, 2009), the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by LMCC (2007, 2009), and the National Performance Network Creation Fund (2009).

In 1994, Hassabi received a B.F.A. in Performance and Choreography from California Institute of the Arts. She studied at Merce Cunningham Studios between 1994 and 1996, and she studied release techniques and the Alexander Technique in New York between 1994 and 2003. She is a certified teacher of the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning and continues to teach Pilates, choreography, and dance in New York, throughout the United States, and internationally.

Artist Statement

Over the years, I have developed a distinct choreographic practice centered on the relation of the body to the image—defined by sculptural physicality, extended duration, and aesthetic precision. My work is a practice in abstraction, drawing its strength from the tension between the human subject and the artistic object, the dancer as a performer and as a physical entity. Exercised through the reduction of movement in relation to time, my use of abstraction develops a perception of the body as a fragmented form, and ultimately, as an affecting force. With its distinct slowness and gradual progression, my choreography enables "a waiting," where form is captured and can be contemplated. As images shift, the relation between space, duration, and movement is intensely magnified, and the viewer is given the chance to enter another realm of consciousness and awareness.

- December 2014

A performance still of Maria Hassabi in front of a cream colored brick wall. She wears pants that are the same cream color. In her arms, she holds a bundled carpet which covers her head and torso.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, 2009. Photo by Paula Court.
A performance still of Maria Hassabi wearing cream pants and a cream colored tank top. She lays on the floor, bending her left leg at the knee. A red carpet rests atop her legs.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, 2009. Photo by Paula Court.
A performance still of Maria Hassabi standing, facing away from the camera, leaning towards the left and dragging a thick red carpet behind her.
Performance still from FCA-supported Solo, 2009. Photo by Paula Court.
A performance still of Maria Hassabi laying on a black stage, wearing cream colored jeans and a cream colored tank top. She rests on her elbows and bends back, putting her chin towards the air.
Performance still from FCA-supported SoloShow, 2009. Photo by Paula Court.
A blurred performance still of Maria Hassabi wearing all white and standing in front of a white wall. She puts her weight on her left leg as her right leg extends to the side. Her left arm is bent at the elbow and is close to her ribcage while her right arm is extended out. Her head is throw back and her chin points towards the ceiling.
Performance still from FCA-supported SoloShow, 2009. Photo by Paula Court.
A performance still of Maria Hassabi sitting with her legs out in front of her on the black floor of a stage. She loosk out towards the audience with a pained expression on her face. She wears all tan and had her hair pulled into a bun. Above her, nurmerous stage lights shone slightly, illuminating her in the otherwise dark space.
Performance still from FCA-supported SoloShow, 2009.
Excerpt from FCA-supported SoloShow, 2009.