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Susan Hadley, choreographer


(Compiled February, 2000)


Susan Hadley was raised in Columbus, Ohio and received her Master's Degree in dance from The Ohio State University. In 1981 she became a member of Senta Driver's company HARRY and performed for four years both at home and abroad. She assisted Ms. Driver in mounting Resettings on the Pennsylvania Ballet. Of her work with the company Tobi Tobias wrote "Driver's ideal woman is embodied ... by Susan Hadley, a spirited, handsome creature. She's a combination of Gloria Steinem and Wonder Woman." (New York Magazine)

In 1985 Hadley sang and danced in the reconstruction of Meredith Monk's Quarry at La Mama. Later that year she joined the Mark Morris Dance Group, with whom she has performed at the Next Wave Festival, on Dance In America, and throughout the United States and Europe. She has created original roles in Morris' Dido and Aeneas, Mythologies, Pieces en Concert, and L'Allegro. "Susan Hadley's strong, resilient presence has held its own not only in ensemble performances but in duets with the enigmatic Morris as well," wrote Otis Stuart (Interview Magazine)

Hadley left the Mark Morris Dance Group in order to pursue her own work, in collaboration with composer Bradley Sowash. In 1991 she served as Rehearsal Director for the Baryshnikov/Morris White Oak Dance Project. In 1992 she set Morris' Marble Halls on The Ohio State University Dance Company. In 1994 she was Mr. Morris' Rehearsal Assistant during the creation and premiere of The Office for Zivili.


Hadley and Sowash began making works together in 1983. Caught In The Middle, created in collaboration with visual artist Ann Hamilton, premiered at P. S. 122 in New York City in 1985. "Caught In The Middle was an epic piece of vivid dancing and powerful, sometimes surreal imagery, expertly blended with Sowash's score." (Burt Supree, The Village Voice)

In 1987 Reunion premiered at P.S. 122 and has been subsequently presented at the Whitney Museum of Art and at Sullivant Hall in Columbus. Of Reunion The Columbus Dispatch critic Barbara Zuck has written, "Symmetry, balance, beauty and a benevolent realism toward the human race - all elements of the classical viewpoint - describe this work. The trappings, the means of expression may be contemporary, but the attitude is that of an old soul."

In 1990 Semper Fi premiered at Mershon Auditorium for The Ohio State University Dance Company. Barbara Zuck wrote in The Columbus Dispatch "Sowash's music unleashes an army of sinister minimalist sounds, a perfect backdrop for the twitching nerves of the choreographer."

In May 1991 the Wexner Center for the Arts commissioned and premiered Portraits In Blue, which also toured to Dance Theater Workshop in New York City. This work transformed the theater in the Wexner Center into a nightclub, with live jazz music by Sowash's quartet.

1992 saw the creation of Companion Piece, " a beautiful and mighty statement on sisterhood and human solidarity" (Jay Weitz, Dance Space). Companion Piece subsequently toured throughout Ohio, and Carolyn Jack of The Plain Dealer wrote that it "explored the relationships of women with rare originality and remarkable fluency... [revealing] Hadley's musicality and her striking ability to add dimension to her art with innovative expressions of emotion."

The last few years have included a wide array of projects including Near Miss, a celebration of ten years of collaboration between Sowash and Hadley at the Vern Riffe Studio Theatre, featuring Near Miss, "a superbly out-of-whack duet" (Burt Supree, The Village Voice), danced by Hadley and John Giffin; the choreography Love! Valour! Compassion! at Contemporary American Theater Company (CATCO); four works staged or created for BalletMet Columbus; and in 1998 the world premiere of Blue Grass, choreographed for the dynamic Hubbard Street Dance Company of Chicago.

Hadley performs in much of her own work as well as the work of Victoria Uris and John Giffin. She created the role of Emma Borden in Giffin's acclaimed Fall River Follies, and she recently appeared in his East Market Gardens at CATCO. She is a founding Artistic Director of Five Minds Inc., and she serves on the faculty of The Ohio State University's acclaimed Department of Dance.


Choreography to August 1999


 1983 Passing By music by Sowash. Subject of cable T.V. program. Moving Arts Company
 1985  Mad. Avenue music by Sowash. Dance Theater Workshop
   Au Courant music by Sowash. Brooklyn Dance Marathon
 1986  Lullaby music by Sowash. The Field, American Music Week
   Caught In The Middle in collaboration with Sowash and visual artist Ann Hamilton. P.S. 122 featuring: Near Miss, Fields, Tell Me Why
 1987  Reunion with Sowash. P.S. 122. Evening featuring: Timepiece, Brothers, Lullaby, Slapdance, Reunion
 1988  Wheel Of Fortune with Sowash. The Field, New York
 1989  l'Incoronazione di Poppea music Monteverdi. Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, Brussels, Belgium
   Tell Me Why (Rework) Theater West Virginia
 1990  Semper Fi with Sowash. University Dance Company, Columbus 
 1991  Portraits In Blue with Sowash. Wexner Center, Columbus
 1992  Homage with Sowash. Lancaster Arts Festival
   Companion Piece with Sowash. Third Avenue Performance Space. Full evening featuring: Angels, Team, Campfire, Eve, Working, Conversation, Passing, Companions.
 1994  Before I Wake Vern Riffe Center
 1995  Trio For Men music by Brahms. Vern Riffe Center
 1996  Commonplace music by Tormis. University Dance Company
   Love! Valour! Compassion! C.A.T.C.O.
   Trail Of Broken Hearts music by k.d. lang. BalletMet, Columbus. Vern Riffe Center
 1997  Succession for Maria Capitano
 1998  Blue Grass music by Mark O'Connor, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Chicago
   Solitaire music by Arvo Pärt, University Dance Company, The Ohio State University
 1999  Evening Air music by Aaron Copland, BalletMet Columbus. Capitol Theatre


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