Jennifer Muller / The Works
…Artist, Icon, Legend
Jennifer Muller, an influence in the dance world for over 40 years, is known for her visionary approach and innovations in dance/theater, multi-discipline productions incorporating the spoken word, live and commissioned music, artist-inspired decor and unusual production elements. As Artistic Director of The Works, she founded the company in 1974. Over the last 39 years, her vision has led the company to become renowned for its dynamic dance/theater productions, distinctive movement style and technical virtuosity. With the company, she has toured to 39 countries on four continents, performed in 30 states, and self-produced 23 seasons in New York City.
Muller has created over 100 pieces, including seven full evening productions. A playwright as well as a choreographer, Muller is recognized as a "seminal influence on dance/theater." Known for her history of notable collaborations, Muller has worked with such artists as Keith Haring, Keith Jarrett, Tom Slaughter, Yoko Ono and, most recently, Julia Kent and has established long-standing collaborative relationships with Burt Alcantara, Jeff Croiter, Karen Small and Marty Beller. She has designed costumes, lights and decor under the designation Stageworks.
Muller is highly respected in her field. She was honored by being chosen as a founding member of the World Arts Council, one of 30 artists in six disciplines and the only American drawn from the dance field. In 2009, Muller was awarded a commissioning grant from The Joyce Theater’s 25@25 Initiative to create Bench. In 2010, she received the Trophy of Cultural Responsibility in recognition of her invaluable contributions to dance in South America and, in 2011, an American Masterpieces: 3 Centuries of Artistic Genius grant to set her 1974 work Speeds on the UCSB company, accompanied by a scholarly conference, exhibit and publication entitled Transformation & Continuance: Jennifer Muller and the Reshaping of American Modern Dance, 1959 to Present. An internationally-renowned teacher, Muller has developed a personalized technique and innovative programs in creative thinking. TanzPlan Berlin chose Muller Polarity Technique as one of 7 unique contemporary dance techniques for its publication/DVD Tanztechnik 2010.
Invited to create and re-stage pieces for 26 international repertory companies in 9 countries, her commissions include Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ohio Ballet (USA); Tanz-Forum (Germany), Ballet du Nord and Lyon Opera Ballet (France), Aterballetto (Italy), Bat Dor (Israel); Ballet Jazz de Montreal (Canada), Ballet Contemporaneo (Argentina) and Nederlands Dans Theater, NDT3 and, most recently, Introdans (Nederlands) to name a few.
Crossing the boundary into theater and opera, Muller, an award-winning choreographer, has worked in theater productions including those for The Public Theater, 2nd Stage Theater, NY Stage & Film, Juilliard Opera Center and the New York City Opera, working with such directors as Des McAnuff, Ken Elliot, Mark Linn-Baker and Christopher Mataliano. She garnered her first directing credit with the Da Capo Players' production of Peter Maxwell Davis' Le Jongleur… In 2011, she choreographed the new musical The Spiral Show in China.
Internationally renowned as a consummate teacher and mentor of creative talent, Muller is one of the only choreographers of her generation to have developed a personalized technique, Muller Polarity Technique, informed by principles drawn from Eastern philosophy. In addition to teaching Muller Polarity Technique worldwide, she has headlined workshops in creativity, collaboration and choreography in France, England, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Argentina and the US. As well, she has developed unique programs in creative thinking and non-verbal communication entitled the Creative Mind Workshops that are offered to dancers and non-dancers alike.
Above all, dance has been Muller's passion and creative voice since she was a child. Creating pieces since age 7, she began dancing professionally at age 15 as a member of the Pearl Lang Dance Company. These formative years were followed by 9 years as Principal Dancer with the José‚ Limon Company [during which she graduated from the Juilliard School] and 7 years as Associate Artistic Director of the Louis Falco Dance Company. Now, as a result of years of productive creativity, her work has been seen on stage and television in 45 countries.