Deborah Black is an American dance and theatre artist, writer, and teacher. Currently she is working with Artists Rise Up New York, creating theatre for social change.
She was based from 2013-2016 in Europe where she was on the faculty of the Fontys Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Tilburg (NL). Projects there included Wijland (Tuning People, BE), Edda/Voluspå (YMIST Company, NO), and began creating a dance theatre autobiographical solo performance. Additionally, she worked with Arjan Gebraad (NL), Rita Vilhena (PT/NL), Marc Fievet (FR), Natasha Nixon (UK), and Mary Pearson (UK/US).
In early 2007 Black, a classically trained dancer and choreographer, was given feedback her choreography was theatre, not dance. Not knowing what that meant, she began to seek theatre training. Now Black’s teaching and performance practice includes Viewpoints improvisation, Suzuki-based acting training, and post-modern movement and dance styles. In addition, she is the only teacher to be based in Europe of the Three Pillars System of Expression based on the research of 19th Century artist and thinker, François Delsarte. Through teaching and creating work, Deborah seeks to understand the intersections not only between dance and theatre but also Classical and Post-modern techniques so they can best serve the performer and the work’s message.
She hosts private workshops for students of theatre, dance and music from across Europe. Past teaching includes master classes at James Madison University, University of South Florida, Skidmore College, Rowan University, BodyDynamics Maastricht, Drama School London, Wisper (BE), and substituting at NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing. She also teaches Viewpoints for dancers at Circle Dance (Rotterdam, NL).
While living in New York City from 1998-2013, Black performed in Ann Hamilton’s exhibition, An Event of A Thread, at the Armory as an associate artist with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company. Dance credits include adapting and performing locally and internationally, two commissioned solos of Deborah Hay; and dancing in the works of Susan Rethorst, Anneke Hansen, Lorelei Bayne, Naomi Goldberg-Haas, and Fitzgerald and Stapleton.
It was in New York that Black’s focus shifted to working collaboratively. Her work with Margot Basset, Davina Cohen, Karl Cronin, Isaac Everett, Geneviève Beth Grady, Caroline O’Meara, Kinderenvandevilla and Sasha Welsh have been presented at the TANK (NY), Judson Church (NY), Lucky Trimmer Tanz Performance Serie (DE), ArToll (DE), Fort 8 (BE), Roulette (NY), Joyce SoHo (NY), Manhattan Repertory Theatre (NY), Dixon Place (NY), Earthdance (MA), AUNTS (NY) and more. Black, together with Karl Cronin received funding from the Jerome Foundation in 2010 to travel to Childress, TX to research the town, the people, and its landscape.
Black studied the Alexander Technique with June Ekman (2006-2013), continues to study Delsarte with Joe Williams (2011-present), and has trained with the SITI Company (2010-2013). She received a BFA with honors in dance with a second major in art history from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts (1999-2002).
From 1999-2012, Black also worked as a costume maker and wardrobe professional on nearly twenty Broadway shows, several television series, a handful of films, and a few ateliers. Her costume designs have also been featured in the choreography of Cherylyn Lavignino, Davina Cohen, Anneke Hansen, The Dance Department of Sarah Lawrence College, and six international collaborations at the American Dance Festival. Needless to say, she learned a lot about theatre and collaboration fulfilling these roles.