2022     Hold

20220128-DSC_0120Hold emerged from reflecting on what is personal but also universal to each of us. The pandemic has brought on a shared global experience that is unprecedented. The work looks at how this upheaval has allowed us to de-center our own narratives and realize our impact on the larger communities around us. Set to Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings,” Hold leaves space for doubt and hope simultaneously. The piece asks what it means to not defeat something, but instead transform ourselves for the better because it remains. Hold orients us inside this present moment with attuned awareness of our humanity and greater connections. Commissioned by Repertory Dance Theatre (Oct 2021 – Salt Lake City, UT), and presented in their concerts Emerge (January 2022) and Sojourn (November 2022).  11 minutes  |  8 dancers

2022    нет войне

126123DC-4B55-4E7D-BA9F-B5B1947A9845As I absorbed the shock of Russia invading Ukraine in late February 2022, I sought to make any sense of the aggression and resulting atrocities against the Ukrainian people. How in 2022, were the Russian people standing behind this? Oversimplifying the situation as good versus evil would have been easier. But as I kept learning, I was better able to contextualize and humanize the variety of Russian experiences under oppressive government. I first heard NPR’s Rough Translation podcast “Letter of Unhappiness” in April, and it fueled the inspiration for this project. I began to see Russians as many stories of self-preservation and denial, trust and distrust, love and loyalty, propaganda and truth, and levels of fighting back inside a system of control. I was drawn to the lived reality of existing inside pervasive Russian propaganda and the acts of subversive protest against those lies. It was especially important to me to find these voices – to support them, share their story, and learn from them during this time of global upheaval and regression.

The title of this piece, нет войне means “no to war” in Russian. This work is an antiwar statement in support of Ukraine, and it’s also a work to help us reflect on our own culture, media consumption, and right to protest. I hope this piece helps us see and hear those fighting inside Russia and help us find more fight within ourselves when it matters. Commissioned by Fem Dance Company (June-July 2022 – Salt Lake City, UT), and presented in their concert State of Flux (August 2022).  35 minutes  |  5 dancers

2021      Strata (dance film)

"Strata" by Kaley PruittA dance film exploring use of layered camera work to choreograph close spatial proximity of dancers not physically possible during COVID-19. The film was shot with no more than two dancers on set at one time, and one dancer was filming remotely in another state.  All proximal spatial relationships of the dancers’ bodies were “choreographed” in the editing process with frame layering. The film medium allowed Pruitt to explore spatial relationships digitally which are unable to exist live due to social distancing. The work explores the tension in being separated physically and emotionally from others while imagining a world of closeness and shared spaces of memory.  Commissioned by Illinois State University Dance Theatre (May 2021 -Normal, IL), and presented in the Milwaukee Virtual Fringe Festival (August 2021 – Milwaukee, WI).  9 minutes  |  5 dancers

2019      Of Nearness

Of Nearness explores the embodiment of power dynamics and psychophysical connection between two people.  The work probes the relationship between movement and time, as it molds the audience witnessing as a catalyst for empathy.  Bringing the audience into the dancers’ experience both mentally and physically, a sound score of recorded narration functions to offer an unknown witness’s inner monologue of personal reflection about the relationship as the work unfolds.  The piece encourages a psychological connection between audience and dancers in addition to the kinetic connection to explore new ways of watching and engaging with dance.  This work premiered in Dancemakers at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (July 2019), and was to be performed for the ACDA North Central Conference at Iowa State University (March 2020), Austin Dance Festival (April 2020) & WIM Dance Festival (April 2020) prior to COVID-19 cancellations/postponements.  [Photo by Mark Frohna]  8 minutes  |  2 dancers

2019      Swept Up

"Swept Up" Photo by Pete Guither

Incorporating 4 hairdryers on 50’ cords, Swept Up utilizes social dance, concert dance and charade asking audiences to re-examine femininity and their expectations of women.  The work questions how females are expected to “perform” socially as well as on stage.  The traditionally feminine icon of the hairdryer constantly shifts during the piece, re-imagined as elements of surprise, personification, play, and even manipulation and power.  On the surface a comical game unfolds, while these women move through ironic scenarios outside of their gender “expectations”.  Swept Up utilizes humor and hairdryers to remake our vision of femininity and reimagine the possibilities of everyday moments we are asked to perform.  This work was commissioned by Illinois State University and premiered in the Westhoff Theatre (April 2019 – Normal, IL).  [Photo by Pete Guither]  20 minutes  |  4 dancers

2019      75 Cents

"75 Cents"

75 Cents utilizes social commentary, spoken text, and humor to question gender bias and the assumptions made of women in the contemporary American workplace.  The title refers to the current pay gap in the United States; on average women earn 75 cents to every 1 dollar earned by men.  The piece upends notions of acceptable displays of public emotion and crafts comedy, irony, and realism in an ironic mashup of relationship and gender.  75 Cents includes performer vocalization and spoken text throughout the work.  Workshopped and public showing in Dancemakers at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (July 2018). Full premiere presented in Embodying the Past, Embracing the Future at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (March 2019).  17 minutes  |  2 dancers

2018      What We’ve Constructed, What We Hope to Build

What We've Constructed, What We Hope to Build

What We’ve Constructed, What We Hope to Build is a communal lens through which we interrogate bias and how it perpetuates unjust systems in our societyThe work was derived from a collective creation process between choreographer, dancers, sound designer and costume designer.  It explores the personal identity formation of the original cast members and how we develop awareness of privilege and prejudice.  The piece confronts America’s struggle with “othering” by questioning and displacing categories society has created.  It seeks to dismantle racial, ethnic, and gender-based assumptions and embody commonality.  The score includes recordings of the original casts’ writing and excerpts of podcasts recorded between 2018-2019.  The costume design centers around outer layer clothing articles shifting throughout the cast.  Jackets, blazers, sweaters and vests are exchanged offstage between sections in hopes of subtly altering the audience’s perception and prior assumptions of each performer as the work progresses.  This work was commissioned by Illinois State University and premiered in the Center for Performing Arts (November 2019 – Normal, IL).  [Photo by Pete Guither]  19 minutes  |  6 dancers

2018       Like Minds

Like Minds

Like Minds takes its inspiration from the space two people inhabit when they deeply understand and depend on one another, but also challenge each other’s opinions and inspirations.  The work explores relationship as a source of connection and also dynamic fluctuation.  The piece shows how each individual needs both extremes of togetherness and individuality to thrive.  Just as magnets have such powerful force unifying them, in one turn, they forcefully repel.  Like Minds embodies the heightened state that close relationships conjure; the work conveys the unspoken intensity in the close friendships, collaborations, and relationships we define ourselves through.  This work was commissioned by Illinois State University and premiered in the Westhoff Theatre (April 2018 – Normal, IL).  It premiered professionally in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s season at Martha Graham Studio Theater in Westbeth Arts (June 2018 – NYC).  [Photo by Stephen Delas Heras]  14 minutes  |  2 dancers

2018       Limitless

Limitless by Kaley Pruitt

Limitless is an exuberant celebration of community and the human spirit.  The original program note inspired the world of the piece: “In our dreams we become grand version of ourselves – we conquer fears, fly to new heights, and live as our most extraordinary selves” (Pruitt).  The movement is inspired by the heightened and exaggerated forms of ourselves that we experience in our dreams.  The work is deeply human, powerful, and tender.  Pruitt was drawn to the very iconic and recognizable Gershwin score as a personal challenge to create to music most audience members would know intimately.  The score fueled a sense of hope and the ability to break out of bounds.  This optimism was in short supply in early 2017 when beginning this choreographic process.  Limitless is an expression of unbridled beauty and the preservation of a communal anthem needed in times of shock, dismay, and disbelief in what surrounds us.  This work was commissioned by Illinois State University and premiered in the Center for Performing Arts (November 2017 – Normal, IL).  It premiered professionally in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s season at Martha Graham Studio Theater in Westbeth Arts (June 2018 – NYC).  [Photo by Stephen Delas Heras]  13 minutes  |  7 dancers

2017        Room for Elephants

Room For Elephants

Room for Elephants explores how we retain structures of remembrance and physical places that held our sense of ‘home’ at one time or another.  The cast manipulates a large 30’x9’ fabric sail throughout the work.  This nostalgic, playful, and otherworldly piece exists in a space of memory, and probes how we hold onto spaces we cannot revisit.  Room for Elephants began as an exploration in maintaining memory of Pruitt’s family home.  Her father was a residential architect, and he designed the home.  He passed away when Pruitt was 23.  Ideas for Room for Elephants began with spatial muscle memory and rebuilding pathways through the house.  The choreography flows in dream like states through rooms and memories.  The finished work came to express Pruitt’s experience of grief and losing her father.  The three women represent herself, her older sister, and mother with the male role being that of her father, who is absent from the last section of the work.  This work was commissioned by Illinois State University and premiered as a works-in-progress in the Westhoff Theater (April 2017 – Normal, IL).  The full professional premiere was in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s season at Triskelion Arts (July 2017 – NYC).  [Photo by Stephen Delas Heras]  24 minutes  |  4 dancers

2017        Through All This & You

Through All This & You

Through All This & You is a fun, lighthearted suite of dances that reveals the subtle, often attempting to be hidden, nuances in human relationships and everyday life.  The work is comprised of nine sections set to popular music spanning the late 1970s to 1990s which can be excerpted for shorter programming.  The dances have luscious moments of ridiculousness and awkwardness, intermingled with heartwarming connections.  The pieces explore the many forms of love, play, competition, care, voyeurism, and how those can coexist and trigger one another.  Through All This & You is a reflection of humanity’s querks, bringing audiences a range of emotions and letting them see themselves in the various scenarios and characters.  From The Clash to Billy Joel to Queen, this work is an audience favorite that celebrates all the moments that make us human.  The full work premiered at Kaley Pruitt Dance’s season at Triskelion Arts (July 2017 – NYC).  It was presented in Dixon Place’s Fast Forward split bill series (February 2019 – NYC).  [Photo by Stephen Delas Heras]  32 minutes  |  4 dancers

2017        Critical Mass 

Critical Mass

Critical Mass revolves around the powerful force of being anonymous, and what the urban landscape allows of the human expressive condition.  The work is incredibly physical, athletic and high energy.  With this work, Pruitt wanted to explore the heightened emotional range people experience in dense urban settings.  While living in New York City she found that there was a critical mass of people that allowed individuals in large crowds to feel unnoticed and therefore display extreme emotional ranges in public like crying, yelling, cheering, laughing, and arguing.  Critical Mass embodies the sensations of living amongst strangers and the empathetic toll of the proximal witnessing of their joys and sorrows.  This work was commissioned by Illinois State University and premiered as a works-in-progress in the Center for Performing Arts (November 2016 – Normal, IL).  The full professional premiere was in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s season at Triskelion Arts (July 2017 – NYC).  [Photo by Stephen Delas Heras]  15 minutes  |  6 dancers

2016        Place & Time


Place & Time creates a visceral experience of the perpetual motion and infinite cycles found in nature.  It is an evening-length work exploring the intricacy, serenity, turbulence and threat of the natural world without human interference.  The work is set on seven women to an original score by composer Kurt Wubbenhorst.  The dance aims to conjure, release, and regenerate the energy of the wilderness as a way to connect human existence back to that power.  Place & Time is a choreographic exploration of natural order and its beautifully complex patterns, systems, and mathematical phenomenon.  This work premiered at The Muriel Schulman Theater at Triskelion Arts in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s 2016 Season (March 2016 – NYC).  [Photo by Erik Carter]  65 minutes  |  7 dancers

2014        Craft


Craft emphasizes the sculpting of movement invention and the inherent dynamic tension of the trio form.  The work is a testament to the evolution of a creative process, and it’s inspired by how we see ourselves reflected in close friends and collaborators.  It is a highly athletic and virtuosic piece, pushing the dancer’s physical capacity to a full extent.  Craft explores complexities of collective groups, how individual inspiration and group creativity merge to build greater outcomes.  This work premiered at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s 2014 Season (September 2014 – NYC).  It was also presented in Triskelion Art’s Summer Shake Up series (July 2014 – NYC).  [photo by Erik Carter]  13 minutes  |  3 dancers

2013 – 2014          Super


Super explores the icons of the superhero and sidekick through the impressions we carry from childhood to adulthood.  It explores real and imagined heroism shedding light on the true heart of perseverance and friendship. The piece takes a journey from reality, into a fantasized comic book adventure and back.  Super depicts how bravery may really be nothing more than having a powerful and convincing imagination.  The work incorporates spoken text and numerous props including five helium balloons, costume elements, and a ream of office paper.  The piece’s full-length premiere was at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center in Kaley Pruitt Dance’s 2014 Season (September 2014 – NYC).  It was also presented in full through Green Space’s Take Root series (January 2017 – NYC). Excerpts have been presented at the Center for Performance Research in Comedic Dance Nights (April 2014 – NYC), Built on Stilts Dance Festival (Martha’s Vineyard, MA) and at In-Sight Dance Company’s 4th Annual Suite Summer Festival (August 2013 – NYC).  [Photo by Sam Polcer] Review in The Stewardship Report – January 2017  35 minutes  |  2 dancers

2008           Being One


Being One traces the path of finding individual voice and regaining human connection. The piece is a window into the turbulent process of self-affirmation.  It explores the deep need for engaging with the people and events around as a means for us to contextualize our own purpose.  This work premiered in Florida State University’s Days of Dance concert series in the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre (2008 – Tallahassee, FL) and was restaged for Kaley Pruitt Dance’s 2014 NYC Season at Manhattan Movement & Arts Center (March 2014 – NYC).  [Photo by Sam Polcer]  9 minutes  |  7 dancers

Past Repertory

2011           Partial Stories

partial stories | photo© Erik Carter

Partial Stories revolves around balancing foreseen and unforeseen changes in life.  It is a coming-of-age story that is interrupted when we are forced to confront realities of what we can and cannot control.  The work deals with how to let contrasting internal and external worlds coexist without tearing oneself apart.  Partial Stories incorporates spoken text, recorded text and live radio.  It was shown at a works-in-progress showing through Movement Research’s Open Showings at Dance Theater Workshop (February 2011 – NYC).  The full premiere was presented at Dixon Place Theater’s Under Exposed series, curated by Doug Post (June 2011 – NYC).  [Photo by Erik Carter]  17.5 minutes  |  3 dancers

2009           Ridgeline


Ridgeline deals with the psychological mountains we build, struggle with, and eventually conquer.  The movement has parallels to the physical exertion of climbing, and the work focuses on spatial patterns reflecting the switch backs of high mountain trails.  Photography of the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Idaho by Hailey Tucker serves as full backdrop projections for the work’s three sections.  This work premiered in Florida State University’s Days of Dance concert series in the Nancy Smith Fichter Dance Theatre (2009 – Tallahassee, FL).  [Photo by Diane Cahill]  11 minutes  |  7 dancers

2007           The Soul Herself

The Soul Herself embodies the overlapping and interchanging patterns of voices in Reich’s score.  The all-female cast exerts power and mysticism as an ensemble.  This work premiered in the Spring Concert at The Boston Conservatory Theater (2007 – Boston, MA).  9 minutes  |  6 dancers

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