About Heather Harrington
About Heather Harrington
Heather Harrington graduated from Boston University with a degree in psychology, cum Laude. She then moved to New York City and danced with the Doris Humphrey Repertory Company, the Martha Graham Ensemble, the Pearl Lang Dance Theater, and the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company. Her choreography has been presented by various venues nationally and internationally including Danspace Project’s City/Dans series, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Sitelines series, the Toronto Fringe Festival, Fresh Tracks at Dance Theater Workshop, Rockefeller Center, Boston University, Sky Rink, New Stuff at P.S. 122, Dancing in the Streets at Wave Hill, The Yard, Joyce SoHo, The 92nd Street Y, Downtown Dance Festival at Battery Park, Newsteps at Mulberry Street Theater, the American Dance Guild Presents at Hunter College, Dixon Place, Goose Route Arts Festival in West Virginia, Kean University, and the Center for Architecture. She was a finalist in 18th International Choreographic Competition in Hanover, Germany in 2004 and invited to perform in the Bangkok International Festival of Music and Dance. She has received grants from Meet the Composer, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation, L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation, and the Harkness Space Grant from the 92nd Street Y. She has been a resident choreographer for The Yard’s Bessie Schonberg Choreographers and Dancers Residency, Kaastbann International Dance Center, and the Hotel Pupik series in Austria.
Harrington has created a number of site- specific pieces including Giscard Games for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, across from the New York Stock Exchange on the stairs of Federal Hall Memorial, where dancers depicted the culture of stock traders. At the Center of Architecture, Harrington created a piece celebrating the collaboration between architects and performance artists, and at Wave Hill, she created a trio, Tumble Blue On Me, on the steepest hill for the Dancing in the Streets series. In 2003, Harrington’s evening length work inspired by the character of Lady Macbeth, Imitations of Drowning, was presented by Danspace Project to a live score by Quentin Chiappetta fully utilizing the architecture of the Church with sets designed by Illya Azoroff. The fall of 2014, she was asked to choreograph a site specific piece, Melt at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ for the Outlet Dance project and the in 2013, she created a gun violence protest performance, a part of Art=Ammo at Washington Park in Newark, NJ.
Harrington is also a figure skater, she grew up as a competitive figure skater. Harrington became a figure skating coach and a dance teacher at Sky Rink Chelsea Piers in 1997 where she taught group and private lessons and was a Silver Ice Skating Institute Judge. She also skated, choreographed, and taught for the Ice Theatre of New York, an ice skating company devoted to presenting dance on ice. With Ice Theatre she skated in a duet by Ann Carlson. In 2001, she received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) through Ice Theatre of New York to choreograph a new piece,”Once Again“. This repertory piece was performed in the Company’s Home Season at Sky Rink and in the Concert Series at The Rink at Rockefeller Plaza. She also created a quintet titled the “The Lottery” which I also received a New York State Council on the Arts grant. She was also a figure skating coach, dance teacher, and choreographer for Figure Skating in Harlem, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and the Sports and Arts Program in NYC.
She trained in Pilates and Gyrotonics and is certified by the Kane School of Integration. She has additional certifications in pre- and post- natal Pilates from the Center for Women’s Fitness and The Pink Ribbon Program for Breast Cancer Survivors. She has taught at numerous studios in NYC including Broadway Pilates, Body Evolution, Project Pilates, and Chelsea Piers and currently in New Jersey at Clain Pilates, Core Pilates, and Align Pilates. Her students have included elite skaters, professional dancers, senior citizens, and Parkinson’s disease patients.
Heather Harrington is currently an adjunct professor of Modern Dance and Theory at Kean University. She also teaches modern dance in East Orange to first graders in a special program designed by former Ailey dancer Sharon Miller to bring dance education to grammar schools in East Orange, NJ. Harrington has taught master classes at Rutgers University, DeSales University, Columbia High School, and The Academy of Performing Arts High School in Union NJ.
I am always amazed by how the body can move and function. I realize that it is the one body I will have and that it will carry me through all stages of my life, being altered by age and experience. The immediacy of having my canvas be my body is a kinesthetic experience that becomes a conversation between my life experience and my art. I have danced for both for artistic expression and for self expression. I do believe there is a direct link between our emotions and movement, and I would like to reveal to students the wealth of information that can be obtained either for self expression, self integration, cultural identification, or the pursuit of art.
We move to make our impact on the world and others. I would like to share my knowledge of the body, the art of choreography, and the rich techniques of Martha Graham and Bella Lewitzky. I have had the gift of working with Anna Sokolow, learning and dancing Doris Humphrey’s choreography, dancing with the Martha Graham Ensemble, being personally coached by Pearl Lang on roles that she originated in the Graham repertory, and dancing the last two years in the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company where she choreographed her last solo for me. I feel a debt to these amazing women because of the knowledge that they shared with me and I feel the need to pass it along to another generation. Dance is an art form that relies on this passing of knowledge through people and not through textbooks, documentation, or any form of technology. In an age where we are becoming more and more dependent on technology, dance is a form that brings us back to our essence, our body and our interaction with one another. As life gets noisier and more complicated, I see the importance of stripping away to what makes us move and why.
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique”.
Heather Harrington is a choreographer who explores the inner world of the individual. She searches her body for movement that will reveal an emotional state, finding that when she discovers unhinged, disjointed shapes, it is almost like she has opened her body so much that information is revealed. She weaves movement into psychological stories that speak on a primal, intuitive level working to lead the viewer into a world of memories and dreamlike associations.
Harrington’s choreography comes from a personal place, her body. Her movement history has been informed by years as a competitive ice skater, her college studies as a psychology and philosophy major, and her experience with repertory from the legends of modern dance: Pearl Lang, Martha Graham, Anna Sokolow, and Bella Lewitzky. Harrington’s combination of competitive skating and classical modern training is unique. She explores shape and design in a different way because of the visceral sensations that she receives on the ice by being able to cut through space with ease and constant momentum. Harrington does not use music or stylized phrases of movement to guide her through the development of a piece. She relies on her own exploration of her body around particular themes and emotions. Thus each piece becomes its own unique statement with its own movement language. The audience is drawn into a physical world that leads them into images that trigger particular emotions and thoughts.
Harrington approaches her dances with a vulnerability and abandon that she wants the audience to experience. She feels that the intimate situation of seeing the human body at such close view with no special effects, is something that the modern society needs in order to connect with their humanity and spirituality
2007 – Awarded Residency Performance Program at Kaatsbaan International Dance Center
2006 – Selected as a choreographer for The Yard’s Bessie Schonberg Choreographers and Dancers Residency 2006
2006 – Invited to be a lecturer/performer at the American College Dance Festival at Boston University
2005 – Danspace Project 2005-2006 Commissioning Initiative with the support from the Jerome Foundation
2005 – Commission from Ice Theatre of New York to create a quintet at the Jamestown Residency for their 20th anniversary year
2004 – Invited to perform in the Bangkok International Festival of Music and Dance
2004 – Finalist in 18th International Choreographic Competition in Hanover, Germany
2004 – Commission from The Ice Theatre of New York to create a new skating piece
2004 – Commission from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to create an onsite piece at the Federal Hall Memorial on Wall Street for the Sitelines series
2003 – Danspace Project’s 2003-2004 Commissioning Initiative with support from the Jerome Foundation
2003 – Meet The Composer Grant
2003 – Harkness Space Grant from the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
2002 – Union Street Dance Rehearsal Space Grant
2002 – Residency at the Hotel Pupik in Sheifling, Austria
2002 – Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation Grant
2001 – L.J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation Grant
2001 – Commission from The Ice Theatre of New York through the New York Council on the Arts to choreograph a new ice skating piece
2001 – Commission from Dancing in the Streets to choreograph site specific piece for Wave Hill
2001 – Harkness Space Grant from the 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center
1992 – Full scholarship to the Martha Graham School Trainee program