B.A. in Liberal Studies/ Dance Certificate from Portland State University
M.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from University of Wisconsin-Madison
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Sandra Mathern has been dancing and creating work for over two decades and has an ongoing commitment to working collaboratively and in improvisation as a performance form. Her interest in collaboration stems from a desire to share and exchange ideas and discover connections, and lies in a concern with combining disparate ways of perceiving and expressing. Work with interactive environments is a recent focus, as she finds collaboration and improvisation to be innate to work with digital technology. An interest in site-based work has also influenced her process and shifted her perspective. She has had the pleasure of performing and collaborating with many veteran improvisers including Peter Bingham, Karen Nelson, K. J. Holmes, Chris Aiken, Rebecca Bryant and David Beadle as well as Butoh artist Katsura Kan. Her study of improvisation has spanned from Contact to Ensemble Thinking, with many artist/teachers including Danny Lepkoff and Nancy Stark Smith, Julyen Hamilton, Nina Martin, and most recently Barbara Dilley. She finds curious the moment-to-moment choices that are revealed by what has come before and directed by the natural forces acting upon the body, finding this aspect of improvisation and the challenge of composing in real-time, an oft-rewarding experience. Her work focusing on collaboration and improvisation, and interdisciplinary projects, has incorporated video-projected backdrops, live music, poetic text, and set designs and have included artists of many disciplines: video artist David Bryant, installation artist Maureen Ciaccio, printmaker Ron Abram, poet James Harms, and many composer/musicians. Sandra has co-created several evening-length concerts, including a concert of solo works, She Moves in Circles Knowing; a six-part collaborative improvisational work, Anatomy of Memory, presented around the United States; Habitats, a collaboration using images and sound produced and presented in Chicago, Columbus, and Newark, OH. A more recent collaborative effort is with Group MIX, a group of artists working in music, media and visual arts. Their work, Contained, is an installation performance piece created for solo performer, 4 large moving screens with projected imagery and an interactively controlled environment. This work toured to Dartington College in the UK. Sandra completed an Artist Residency under Wally Cardona at the Atlantic Center for the Arts July 2010. She received an Individual Excellence Award in Choreography from the Ohio Arts Council for 2010, has twice received Individual Artist Fellowships in Choreography, and has been awarded over twenty grants for her work from the Ohio Arts Council, Arts Midwest, Target Stores, Greater Columbus Arts Council (OH), Wisconsin Arts Board, and the Portland Oregon Arts Commission, among others. Recently, she has been a guest artist at the Texas Dance Improvisation Festival, Purdue University, University of Texas-El Paso and Grinnell College. At Denison she teaches modern/postmodern technique, improvisation, choreography, and production. A native of the Pacific Northwest, she received her BA from Portland State University and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.