Rachel Dodson

Dance Artist, Educator, Choreographer, and Performer

My creative research investigates the intersection of dance, history, and diversity through a cultural lens to reveal aspects of human interaction and questions of identity. As our current socio-political climate demands forward momentum on the subject of inclusion, my work often returns to historically rooted hegemonic belief systems hidden in the continued misrepresentation of differing identities or cultural heritages. Through a diverse approach to dance making, film production, and performance installation I seek to instigate conversation and social activism rooted in the relationship established between the work and the viewer.


My choreography is motivated and informed by my academic and movement research often focusing on the ways in which historical threads inform contemporary structures of power and questioning the interplay this has on the individual.  Structures of power such as patriarchy, racism, heteronormativity, and industrialization which converge to colonize the body by defining rigid parameters of normative aesthetics and preferences and marginalize the ability to maintain an unobstructed sense of self. Through reflexive research and a somatic approach to movement development, I aim to give voice to the unheard allowing dancers and viewers to delve beyond carefully constructed layers of identity to confront personal truth. By bringing the internal experience into external expression, movement development becomes a springboard for deepened authenticity where the space between seeking and knowing is ripe for exploration.


As an interdisciplinary multi-media artist, the utilization of video, projection, lighting, and often props, create a rich atmosphere of visual layering supporting the wide variety of themes I explore within the movement. Original soundscapes add a unique aural experience to my work heightening the experience in which abstraction of sound and motion both find safe haven.  Through these various forms I am permitted to call the viewer as a co-author my work, inciting unanticipated associations and offering an element of chance to challenge personal perception and assumptions. Aesthetically, one can expect to see the line and form of my classical training integrated with my more heavily studied contemporary techniques embroidered by post-modern threads. 


Presently my work ranges from the context of the theatre in the round to museums, libraries, community centers and the proscenium stage. My movement vocabulary is rooted in western dance--focused primarily in classical ballet and modern techniques.  When coupled with my experience as a feminist, Jewish-American, fluid, female choreographer and artist in the dance field--I have a uniquely informed perspective that permits me to vacillate between relatable cultural themes and perspectives, while illuminating and revering difference as an opportunity for growth and deepened understanding.  Leaning in to listen, learn, and share lived experience I hold space for potentiality in personal and communal expansion and enrichment.