BODYART is a highly collaborative dance company that creates work for non-traditional spaces. Always site-inspired and interdisciplinary, BODYART projects aim to create new visual dialogues that incite conversation and community discourse. At its core, BODYART values multi-platform collaboration and visual storytelling that interrogates process, narrative, and space.
BODYART believes interdisciplinary collaboration provides us the opportunity to interrogate bench arts and practices that have historically excluded those with differing aesthetic and/or cultural values. Through multi-platform collaboration we can begin to deconstruct the impact of hierarchical and homogenous artmaking practices that have led to the formation of divisive narratives surrounding the arts, limiting access and/or the desire to create.
BODYART believes it is an arts organization’s responsibility to interrogate oppressive narratives and co-author new ones that are more inclusive and comprehensive. Storytelling is powerful if not pervasive, and the narratives we create together can inform new perspectives that ultimately change our relationship to each other and ourselves.
BODYART creates work that is site-inspired and specific, believing that space and architecture should act as co-author. And while the space informs the work, BODYART also acknowledges the value of presenting work in non-traditional spaces as a means to increase access and equity in the arts. Traditional venues among the European disciplinary arts have historically excluded those based on gender, sexuality, race, and socioeconomic status. In an effort to continue our practice of interdisciplinary and inclusive artmaking, BODYART is committed to creating work in non-traditional spaces that encourage inclusion and accessibility.
Cultural Equity and Inclusion Statement
BODYART is committed to serving the global community to increase diversity, equity, inclusion and access to the arts. We believe that art is a human right, and that every person should have the opportunity to make and experience it.
BODYART defines diversity as those belonging to any community and/or culture that has been systematically barred or limited access to resources. Including (but not limited to) those marginalized due to class, socioeconomic and/or geographic background, ability, age, gender, sexuality, faith, and/or race.
BODYART believes that cultural pluralism is not only an asset to the arts, but imperative to its survival. BODYART values inclusive artmaking, collaboration, and performance practices and strives to devise work that reflects this. With each project BODYART evolves its comprehension of diversity and equity. As we grow and develop we acknowledge and look forward to forthcoming lessons that will challenge our perspectives. BODYART celebrates progress and the expansion of understanding and compassion.
BODYART was established by Artistic Director Leslie Scott in 2006 when the company won acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for its inaugural piece, An Hour About An Hour. BODYART’s focus on interdisciplinary artmaking was established shortly thereafter at the Ailey Citygroup Theatre in New York City, where the company collaborated with video artist and former Wooster group member, Reid Farrington. Dance and video converged again in BODYART’s sophomore piece, Limbo, featuring collaborations with video artist Patrick Lovejoy, composer Charles Seich and composer collective W4. The piece premiered at New York City’s Dixon Place, consequently earning the company an invitation to present at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas. In 2015 BODYART sought collaboration with celebrated video artist Sofy Yuditskaya in what would be known as Thread. The piece premiered at the Irondale Arts Center in Brooklyn, New York, which led to the company’s return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe the following August as part of Summerhall’s curated festival season. The company’s most recent piece, hymn + them, premiered in New Orleans at the Peter and Paul Performance Center, an 1861 gutted and renovated cathedral. hymn + them earned the company a nomination for the 2019 Tribute to the Classical Arts Award for Outstanding Dance Presentation. The piece was later presented at the international JOMBA! Dance Festival in Durban, South Africa, where the company received recognition for excellence in cultural diplomacy from Mayor Zandile Ruth Thelma Gumede of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
The company’s commitment to process deepened with the establishment of the Pillar Program, a community arts educational program established in 2008 from funding received by the Queens Arts Council. BODYART has since established The Decay Project, an engagement series that works with local communities to create short dance films inspired by their abandoned or decayed spaces. From natural disasters to years of neglect, The Decay Project collaborates with local artists and residents to investigate their relationship to these disused spaces. Most recently, BODYART’s The Decay Project was invited to the Body Festival in Christchurch, New Zealand, to work with local students at Hagley College to speak about their experiences following the 2011 earthquake that leveled the Christchurch Arts Center, culminating in the film (Re) Build.
While most of BODYART’s work is site-inspired, the company began investigating site-specificity with WALK, a traveling dance piece commissioned by the Queens Botanical Garden for the Queens Arts Express festival. And following the success found in The Decay Project films, BODYART partnered with Beautify Earth and The Pico Development Fund of Santa Monica, California to create the film, Legal Canvas. The company worked with local graffiti artists to change the relationship between businesses and residents to the Pico Corridor. Legal Canvas was featured in American Dance Abroad, subsequently leading to BODYART’s invitation to be an American delegate at Tanzmesse. BODYART’s most recent site-specific work, Maison, featured the most ambitious multi-platform collaboration to date. BODYART recruited local dancers, actors, musicians, choreographers and a chef to create an immersive mobile dining event. Maison merged dance, theatre, video, and architecture to create a singular experience around a local residence in the Broadmoore neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana.
BODYART has performed all over the world, on stage and on screen, in churches and barracks, in abandoned buildings and private residences, on the streets and under water. To date, the company has created ten site-inspired works, four site-specific works, and five dance films. BODYART has performed at numerous venues and festivals including Joyce SoHo (NY), Theatre for the New City (NY), Dixon Place (NY), the Baruch Performing Arts Center (NY) Triskelion Film Festival (NY), RedCat (CA) and more. BODYART continues to investigate interdisciplinary storytelling and its relationship to process and performance, and space.
Founding Artistic Director
Leslie Scott is a researcher of movement in the studio, classroom, screen, and sidewalk. Working in both traditional and non-traditional spaces her work has been performed in notable venues and sites from LA, NYC, Dallas, St. Louis, Edinburgh, and New Zealand. Scott has been an educator at the Center for Cultural Innovation teaching Creative Entrepreneurship, marketing and branding workshops to artists and has been a Guest Artist and Teacher at leading Universities and Institutions across the country. As an International producer for dance, Scott has organized festivals across the globe for more than ten years. She holds a BFA in Modern Dance with an emphasis in photography from Texas Christian University and an MFA in Choreography from CalArts. Scott is also certified sommelier and enjoys incorporating all five senses into her choreographic projects. www.lesliescott.org
" Ferocious and raw movement by Ms Scott continues to showcase American contemporary dance at it's best . "
/ S t a r T e l e g r a m /