Rachel Dodson is a performance artist, educator, choreographer, and arts facilitator situated in the Pacific Northwest. Here she offers studio courses in contemporary modern, classical ballet, improvisation and Progressing Ballet Technique to both pre-professional and recreational students. Her community-based classes support participants of all levels and encourage novice and seasoned movers to experience diverse movement practices and somatic modalities while deepening dialogue and communal action towards collaborative art making and movement events.
Dodson holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Somatic Movement The Alexander Technique from the University of Colorado Boulder and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Choreography from the University of California Irvine. She holds additional certificates in Women and Gender Studies and College Teaching from the University of Colorado Boulder and The Healthy Dance Practice certificate from SAFE in Dance International. In 2019 she added a teacher certification in the four tiered program Progressing Ballet Technique, with Marie Walton-Mahon, and is scheduled to begin an intensive study of Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies in New York in 2021.
Dodson's research lives at the intersection of somatic theory, performance studies, queer theory
and history, examining the impact cultural colonization has on the body and its corporeal influence on self-identity and causal relationship to equitable community practices. Using dance as a lens to critically analyze and reveal socially absorbed hegemonic belief systems, she combines improvisational and embodied somatic practices as a means of decolonizing the self. She was recently selected as a creative grant recipient by artsIDAHO and the National Endowment for the Arts to produce a multifaceted female-centered dancework inspired by her original scholarly research.
Dodson has performed with various companies and artists as a soloist, duet, and corps dancer as both a permanent and guest artist for over 20 years--including but not limited to performances with Merce Cunningham, Loretta Livingston, Gesel Mason, Nada Diachenko, Mel Wong, Donald McKayle, Israel "El" Gabriel, Architexture Dance Company, Boston Ballet, and the Gilbert Reed Ballet. Her original scholarly and creative research has been invited for presentation at the Hawaii International Conference in Arts and Humanities and FEM + FEST Feminist Art Festival while movement research has been presented at the Colorado Dance Education Organization and American College Dance Association Northwest Conference in 2019 and 2020. Her choreography has been commissioned and featured nationally and internationally in Kyriat Ono and Herzliya Pituach, Israel; Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Paonia, and Lafayette, Colorado; Templeton, Arroyo Grande, Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo, Irvine, and Santa Cruz, California; Spokane, Washington; and Moscow, Idaho. In 2020 the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts awarded her with a competitive grant to produce "To the Girl I Was: An Annotation from the Margin" which is scheduled to be screened in the Cascadia Dance & Cinema Festival's 'Future in Focus 2021' program.
Photo credits (top to bottom): Wojciech Mochniej, Daniel Beahm