T H E C O M P A N Y
Formed in 1988 to perform the work of David Roussève and bring avant-garde socially committed dance/theater to unexpected audiences, REALITY has performed in venues ranging from the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival; Lincoln Center; Cal Performances’ Zellerbach Hall; UCLA Live’s Royce Hall; Columbia College; Jacob’s Pillow; On the Boards; Diverseworks; Yerba Buena Center; Gammage Hall; Walker Art Center; PS 122; the Kitchen; Highways; England’s South Bank Center, Dance mbrella, and Birmingham Repertory; Paris’ American Center; Lyon’s Biennale de la Danse; and in Brazil in Rio, Sao Paolo, and Bahia.
Artistic collaboration is core to REALITY and for it’s three works for BAM’s Next Wave Festival the Company collaborated with: Ysaye Barnewell of Sweet Honey in the Rock (Urban Scenes/Creole Dreams); jazz/hip hop Grammy nominee Me’Shell N’degeOcello (The Whispers of Angels); and Tony-winning lighting designer Beverly Emmons (Love Songs).
In 2001 the company presented Roussève’s full-length solo The Ten Year Chat, called “One of the Ten Best Performance Events of 2001” by the LA Weekly. In 2005 the company performed in Roussève’s dance for camera Bittersweet, which the NY Times called a strong contender for the Lincoln Center Dance On Camera Festival’s “ Best of Festival” Award. In 2009 the company toured Rousseve’s latest work Saudade: An ode to ‘bittersweet’ layering Portuguese fado, time-jumping narratives from southern African America, video imagery, a surreal set design, and postmodern and world dance (African, Indonesian, South Asian). For performances at UCLA Live REALITY was awarded the 2009 LA Horton Award for “Best Company Performance”. National touring of “Saudade” saw the company’s debut performances at Jacob’s Pillow, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and Peak performances.
Building an informed and involved public audience for contemporary performance is central to REALITY and the company has an extraordinary breadth and depth of experience in planning and conducting educational and engagement activities with communities including women, at-risk youth, African American, and people with HIV/AIDS.
David Roussève is hailed from coast to coast for his highly original form of expressionistic dance theater that masterfully blends elements of dance and performance art with African American traditional and pop cultures. As Artistic Director of REALITY he has created thirteen full-length works. For his choreography of Love Songs Roussève was awarded a “Bessie” Award.
Roussève received a Guggenheim Fellowship to create his latest work for REALITY: Saudade, which toured nationally and received the 2009 LA Horton Awards, for “Best Choreography”. Roussève’s other awards include a Bessie Award for the choreography of “Love Songs”, Cal Arts/Alpert Award in Dance, two Irvine Fellowships, seven consecutive NEA Fellowships, “First Place: Choreography” at the IMZ Int’l Dance Film Festival, and another Horton Award for his evening-length solo The Year Chat.
David’s commissions for other companies include works for Dancing Wheels; Ririe-Woodbury; Cleo Parker Robinson; Ballet Hispanico (with salsa great Eddie Palmieri); Atlanta Ballet (with a live performance by the 100-membrer Morehouse College Glee Club); and Houston Ballet (with a live playing of Copland’s Appalachian Spring). In 2006 Roussève spent 7 weeks in Tashkent,
Uzbekistan creating Ecstasy of the Pomegranate for Ilkhom Theater company.
In 2011 David directed, wrote, and co-choreographed the dance-for-camera Two Seconds After Laughter, filmed in Java with the support of the Indonesian Institute of the Arts. His 2005 dance film Bittersweet screened at LA’s Dance Camera West and was part of a sold-out Lincoln Center showing at the Dance on Camera Festival. Other works for film include Pull Your Head to the Moon (commissioned and aired nationally by PBS), Demetria Royals’ documentary Brothermen (aired nationally on PBS), and choreography for Positive: Life with HIV (five segments aired nationally on PBS). David’s writing has been published in collections by Bantam Books and Routledge Press and he was twice a screenwriting Fellow in the prestigious Sundance Feature
Film Development Lab.
In 1996, David joined UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance where he is Professor of Choreography. He served as Chair from 2003-2006. He has also served on the faculties of Princeton University, Bates Dance Festival, Columbia College, Randolph-Macon, and UC Berkeley Extension. In 2004 David became the first artist to sit on the Board of Directors of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.