Tania Isaac named a 2011 Pew Fellow

Tania Isaac: From Les Enfant to the international stage.

Those who follow the Arts would be well acquainted with the growing acclaim associated with the name of Saint Lucian dancer/choreographer Tania Isaac, on the North American Arts circuit.  Ms Isaac, whose early development in the discipline began with Saint Lucia’s Les Infants Dancers, moved on to study professionally in the United States. A graduate [honors] of University of Wisconsin, she received her MFA from Temple University, where she was a teaching Assistant and University Fellow. Over the last decade, Isaac’s career has maintained an upward trajectory with the latest being her receipt of the prestigious Pew Fellowship in the Arts Award (PFA) for 2011.
PFA is a program of the Pew Center for the Arts & Heritage, with a focus on the performing, visual and literary disciplines within the state of Philadelphia. Up to 12 fellowships of $60,000 are awarded annually to artists whose work exemplify talent and artistic innovation and continuously reflect “excellence, imagination, and ongoing creative exploration and growth.”
Through these substantial fellowships, PFA aims to raise the visibility of the most talented individual artists in the Philadelphia area, who are “poised to take full advantage of what the fellowship has to offer to significantly impact and advance their work.”
Tania Isaac’s selection was based on her current work deemed to be potentially groundbreaking.  “Open Notebook” is an exploration of creative method which is a way of turning a room into a laboratory of investigation and participation in multiple forms. She developed this project during a 2006 residency at the Maggie Allesse National Center for Choreography. Her Company – Tania Isaac Dance – is known for its unusual highly physical movement vocabulary framed by compelling social and personal narratives.
“I fell in love with the idea that moving could be intellectual practice in itself. I enjoy the messy and exhausting process of bringing things to life,” said Ms Isaac.”
Tania Isaac has spent her career working towards a model of performance and conversation that seeks to span and deepen her interest in aesthetic, cultural and academic practices. That career has been fueled by demand for her singular approach to the creative and teaching process that continues to chart new directions in student, artist and audience interactions while producing artistic work that has received stellar reviews from both critics and viewers.
Honoured as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch” (2006), Tania Isaac has been faculty at Bates College Dance Festival, Resident Artist at Painted Bride Art Center in Philadelphia, and a US/JAPAN Exchange Artist through Philadelphia Dance Projects, Dance Theater Workshop and the Japan Foundation. She has received grants from the Independence Foundation, Dance Advance (a program of the Pew Charitable Trusts), The National Performance Network, the Leeway foundation, the Harlemstage (formerly Aaron Davis Hall) Fund for New Work and commissions from Bates Dance Festival, Dance Place and the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.
She is a former Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts and a former member of David Dorfman Dance, Rennie Harris Puremovement and Urban Bush Women. In 2006, she became choreographic fellow at MANCC, creating a template for a new working process ‘open notebook’, that is acknowledged creating unprecedented forums for social activism and artistic dialogue. In partnership with Francisca Plummer of Saidi Consulting (Saint Lucia), Tania was also the co-developer of Imprint: Dialogues of a generation, a social action program geared towards developing conversations between youth and their community.
In 2007, she successfully launched the “Incontext” series, which combined her performance work with lecture series in economics and humanities concerns directly related to the research and content of created work. She has conducted presentations as a Commonwealth Speaker with the Pennsylvania Humanities Council (PHC); presents workshops and classes; creates new work and tours internationally.
“Helen, Heaven & I”, a personal essay tracing the history and evolutions of Social dance forms in Saint Lucia and their impact on her choreographic work, was published as part of an Anthology “Caribbean dance: Continuity and Creativity in Island Cultures” Edited by Susanna Sloat (University of Florida Press-2010). In addition, with  “Fluid Performance Dynamics: Caribbean Movement Aesthetics in a Post-Modern Frame” presented in
2008 at the International Conference of Arts and Humanities, she began her developing research into creating direct links between movement, physics and linguistics, creating new teaching and performance models.

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