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NYTimes, Siobhan Burke 2014

ellen cornfield

Ellen Cornfield has received support for her work from

numerous organizations, including from the Asian Cultural
Council for her repeated trips to Japan, the Low Road
Foundation, Meet the Composer, MCAF among others. She
performed with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for
over eight years, touring the world and earning a reputation as
one of the foremost Cunningham dancers of her generation.
Growing up a tomboy in Virginia she became interested in
dance at an early age, when her mother sent her to study ballet
in her elementary school cafeteria so that she would gain more
poise. She became serious about dance at the University of
California at Berkeley, where she both studied and then taught
Graham technique. Her move to New York City cemented her
path as a dance artist.
She formed Cornfield Dance in 1989 to support her
choreographic investigations, and has traveled with her
company throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Japan,
bringing her elegant and distinct choreography to new
audiences, performing in theaters, universities, as well as
outdoor and public spaces.
She has choreographed dances for many institutions, including
schools (Montclair State University, Hofstra University,
Dartmouth University), dance companies (Scranton Civic Ballet,
Reflex Dance Company Holland), and organizations (92nd Street
Y Commissioning Series, Buskers Fare NYC, Lincoln Center Outof-Doors Festival, Jos Limon Company residency project).
She has been on the faculty at the University of California at
Berkeley, and has been a guest artist at North Carolina School
for the Arts, Ohio State University, Dartmouth University, SUNY
Purchase among many others. Her teaching in Europe includes
for for various dance companies, including Rambert Dance
Company London, Charles le Rois Dance Belgium, and Groupe
Emile Dubois France.

Ellen Cornfields choreography exemplifies the exhilarating combination of heart and intellect, performed by dancers who
are among the most proficient technical and kinetically expressive dancers around. The company has
toured nationally and internationally, to France, England, Holland, Poland, Russia, and Japan. Cornfields works revel in
the use of space, time and geometric relationships, creating a defined container filled with movement mixing elegant,
robust, and at times quirky material, interspersed with surprising details suggesting stories that never become literal or
obvious. The dances have rigorous structures that carry a pleasure all their own. Intelligence and humanity shine
Cornfields interest in making her work available to a wide spectrum of audience has been realized in much of the
companys work, with performances in alternative spaces - gardens, museums, plazas - as well as inside traditional
theater spaces. International venues for her choreography include the International Dance Festival in Bytom, Poland (four
times), the C. Munch Theatre, Paris, The Place Theatre in London, the OPEN LOOK Festival, St. Petersburg, Russia, and
three venues in Japan over a two-week tour, with performances in Tokyo and Okayama.

p de detour
Pas de Detour (2014 - 2015)
Choreography: Ellen Cornfield
Music: Andreas Brade
Costumes: Rene Kurz

Time: 60 minutes, 10 minute section available

Performers: 4 Dancers

The opening duet [was] a powerful

combination of parallel movements that
claimed the entire floor, where they seemed
to levitate instead of just leaping.
Martha Sherman, danceviewtimes 14

Pas de Detour, an evening-length dance for three plus Ms. Cornfield, deals with the idea of
obstacles, as we experience them in our lives, and the ways they can seemingly detour and derail
us. These blocks can be our own emotions or the inevitable unplanned, unexpected life events.
This work physicalizes these ideas, sporting a robust and voracious movement vocabulary that
bullets through the space at breakneck speed, then dissolves into a fluid, sinuous vocabulary.
Within this highly physical language Cornfield utilizes choreographed facial expressions, inserted
with surgical precision to enhance and emphasize a specific moment. Pas de Detour establishes a
rich movement tapestry, ranging from a kinesthetic whirlwind to the details of our inner lives.

Performance Venue Possibilities

Appropriate for stage and studio.
Photos: Steven Schreiber

small stages
Small Stages (2013)
Choreography: Ellen Cornfield
Music: Andreas Brade
Costumes: Ellen Cornfield

Time: 32 minutes
Performers: 3 Dancers, 2 non
dancing performers

Small Stages was most compelling ...

why bother with a theater, when you
can do so much with a platform the
size of your bathroom?
Siobhan Burke, New York Times 14
Small Stages, a work for five performed on and around a 6' X
6' stage, zooms into close-up, framing the development of
relationships in small stages attraction and courtship, a
solitary figure relating to an empty chair, the negotiation and
tussles built into a long-term relationship, the playfulness
among friends. With humor, exuberance, conflict, passion, and
tenderness, this work creates a large canvas in a small space, a
landscape of human emotion and interactions.

Performance Venue Possibilities

Suited to any venue - stage, studio, alternative/site-specific,
outdoor locations, neighborhood cafes.
Photos: Bottom Left - Aaron Booher, all other - Steven Schreiber

furniture suite
Furniture Suite (2012)
Choreography: Ellen Cornfield
Music: Andreas Brade
Costumes: Ellen Cornfield
Time: 28 minutes
Performers: 2 Dancers

...a crisp duet, moving in and out of

parallel turns and elegant high leg lifts.
Martha Sherman, danceviewtimes 14

Slinking and slicing through the space, two women perform a

mercurial study in kaleidoscopic emotions, juxtaposing recognizable
everyday movements and situations with dance phrases full of
unexpected twists and turns. The dance language is interspersed
with idiosyncratic muscle movements a hip twitchspringy jumps
hands (as) fluttering accents. In one section the women wrap
themselves on, around and over two sturdy stools, extending the
sense of pixie play. This duet beguiles and provokes, providing an
ever-changing portrait of the two women and their interactions.

The furniture
created a channel
for gentle humor
Martha Sherman,
danceviewtimes 14

Performance Venue Possibilities

Appropriate for stage, studio, or alternative space
locations. Originally performed in a hotel lobby.
Photos: Steven Schreiber

Small Stages was most compelling...thirty-six square feet can barely contain one
dancer, let alone three, and when the trio occupied the platform together or in
pairs, they charted interweaving pathways with exciting precision, never sacrificing
the fullness or directness of their movement to the confines of the squarewhy
bother with a theater, when you can do so much with a platform the size of your

New York Times July 2014 Siobhan Burke

Ellen Cornfield didnt need much space, much set, or much hoopla. Her small
company of excellent dancers moved to graceful and distinct choreography, adding
just enough humor to make it feel like a genuine celebration. Cornfieldpaid
tribute to (Cunninghams) discipline and energy in her choreography, but she
humanized the work with tender underlying jokes and human expression, triggering
connections among the dancers as characters in vaguely told stories.

Danceviewtimes October 2014 Martha Sherman

lively dancesfluency of kinetic invention spinning from (Cornfields) fertile

Solomons Says October 2014 Gus Solomons

Cornfield Dance gives us dancing! a kinetic balance between grace and
athleticism that makes clear their passion and spot-on training.
iDanz, 2009
interesting program sponsored by the Art & Tech Department --> Dance for a
Small Room. portrayal of dancers interacting with each other and the musicians
in their confined space (beautifully situated in the Babbio Atrium with a backdrop
of the New York skyline), it developed meaning into relaying the idea of
confinement, not solely physically, but societally and psychologicallyit was a good

Art & Tech Newsletter, Stevens Institute of Technlogy, 2008

Fault Lines combines visual clarity with an ongoing springiness. People leap
across the space. Women race toward men and are whirled off their feet The
accomplished dancersmove on strong, articulate legs. Cornfield skillfully varies
their big, bold patterns breaking out a trio here, a duet event there, a burst of
individual steps.

Village Voice, 2007

(The dancers move) less by intent than by instinct the way birds feeding alone
will suddenly flock and fly up at change in the wind. Their forays are rich and full of
variety from wild allegro to serenity in the blink of an eye.

Village Voice, 2002

Rich choreographic imagination. youthful passion and energy.

Zachodni Newspaper Poland, 1998

Cornfield Dance has an internal power generated from the abstraction of the
choreography. It was fascinating. I was intoxicated from the combination of the
tension and release of the dancing, as I drank in the space and time the dancers
created through their bodies.

Dance Magazine Japan, 1997

Cornfields dances frankly celebrate the highly trained dancer as an exemplar of
human thought, ingenuity, and vitality its invigorating to see complex movement
that can surprise us with unexpected dynamic shifts or startling collusions of
individuals and body parts Every gesture is elegantly rendered and the
product of elegant choices.

Village Voice, 1996

tour/residency activities
Cornfields illustrious career as a dance maker, master teacher, and premiere dancer for Merce
Cunningham establishes the scaffolding upon which the range and content of the tour/residency
activities are built, tailored to meet the needs of each specific community.

(click on categories for more information)

Alternative Venues, indoors and outdoors
Stage & Studio Venues
Breathing & Alignment
Aesthetics and the work of Merce Cunningham
Video for Dance
Music for Dance

Creative for Dancers
Creative for Adults (including non-dancers)
Creative for Children
Joan Finkelstein
Executive Director of the
Harkness Fdtn for Dance
(Former Director of Dance @
92nd Street Y)
A marvelous dancer/
choreographer.Ms. Cornfield
has developed her own unique
aesthetic vision.(She) is a
teacher with long experience.
She is articulate about the work
and encouraging but
demanding with her students.
The results are real progress in
technique and performance.

For Booking Information:

Kathy Emanuelson
Board of Directors Scranton Civic

Stormy Brandenberger
Hofstra University, Drama and
Dance Department

Ellen Cornfields premier was a

one of a kind dance experience
for Scranton and the Civic
Ballet Company I must
emphasize the incredible
opportunity for every local
performer Each and every one
came away experiencing
artistic growth and education.

What has made your class so

special is the creative and
insightful choreographic
experience you provided to the
students. As I watched the
students participate in creating
their own phrases, discussing
and showing their work, solving
problems and determining the
rhythm, spacing and sequences
to produce a complete
presentation, I thought of how
important this creative aspect
is; and how rarely it is seen in
most classes. The students
were very luck to have the
opportunity to study with you.

Reba Adler
Former Professor Dance History
@ Hunter College
"It was a real treat to have you
in class last week! The students
were delighted; several also
said to me that they loved your
SOOOOO much again for
making the art of dance come
to vibrant life for them and for