Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography

With the goal of supporting the work of American choreographers as they gain prominence on the national contemporary dance scene, ADI’s Solange MacArthur award provides one choreographer per year with commissioning funds, fee-free fiscal sponsorship, strategic marketing and development support, and a full presentation of the commissioned work the following year. The program deepens ADI’s already strong commitment to the development of new works and aims to support artists at a crucial moment in their careers.

ADI Commissioned Artists are selected through a closed nomination process conducted by ADI’s Artistic Advisory Board.

This program is named in honor of ADI’s most dedicated friend and supporter.

New Choreography Award Artists

Raja Feather Kelly

Recipient of the 2016 Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, Raja Feather Kelly was born in Fort Hood, Texas and is the first and only choreographer to dedicate the entirety of his company's work to Andy Warhol. He is the creator of ANDY WARHOL'S 25 CATS NAME SAM; ANDY WARHOL¹S DRELLA (I LOVE YOU FAYE DRISCOLL); ANDY WARHOL'S 15: COLOR ME, WARHOL; ANOTHER 37 REASONS TO CRY (ANOTHER WARHOLIAN PRODUCTION); ANDY WARHOL'S TROPICO; and many short works, all of which have been created and performed throughout various theatres in New York City. For over a decade, Kelly has worked throughout the United States and abroad (Austria, Germany, Australia, United Kingdom, and France) in search of the connections between popular culture and humanity and their integration into experiential dance-theatre. Kelly currently choreographs, writes, and directs his own work as Artistic Director of the feath3r theory, a culture-driven dance-theatre company.

He is a two-time recipient of Jerome Foundation commissioning funds for emerging artists (Dixon Place 2015, Danspace Project 2016), Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant recipient (2013­2015 Paris + Lyon, France), 2016 Dancemapolitan Commissioned Choreographer, 2015 Dixon Place Dance Artist in Residence, LMCC Workspace Resident Recipient, and an Emerging Choreographer residency at Bates Dance Festival. He has been the Guest Choreographer in Residence at Princeton University, University of Maryland College Park, University of Florida, University of Utah, and Middlebury College; the Harkness Choreographer in Residence at Hunter College; 2009 and 2011 Dance Web Scholar (Vienna, Austria); and has received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. Kelly is a 2016 Gelsey Kirkland Academy Artist in Residence.

Kelly can be seen in the work of Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, Rebecca Lazier, and Christopher Williams. He has formerly been a company member with David Dorfman Dance, Zoe | Juniper, Racedance, and PearsonWidrig DanceTheater. Kelly collaborates with Tzveta Kassabova and Paul Matteson. He has had the pleasure of performing in the work of Colleen Thomas and Dancers, and Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion.

He received his BA in both Dance (with honors, concentration in Choreography and Performance) and English (with honors, concentration in Poetry) from Connecticut College.

Raja lives in Brooklyn, New York with loved ones and continues his quest for enlightenment through self-help books and memoirs.

Steven Reker

Steven Reker moved to New York from Arizona in 2006, finding work as a dancer and guitarist on David Byrne's 2008-09 tour, as a composer in Yasuko Yokoshi's dance work, and as a choreographer for Miranda July's film The Future. In 2009, in The Kitchen's Dance and Process series, Reker debuted his own group, People Get Ready, to channel both sides of his creativity. NPR Music has called People Get Ready’s marriage of indie rock melodies and movement “the best mix of performance art and music in decades.” Reker premiered his first hybrid performance production, the eponymously titled People Get Ready, at The Kitchen in 2011. The New York Times wrote that his work had “blossomed into an ephemeral landscape where music works in tandem with movement and lights,” and described the production as “an experience beyond hearing music…or viewing dance.” He has recently served as a guest musical curator for PS122. He headlines a concert in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series on February 27.

Chris Schlichting

Schlichting’s newest work Stripe Tease (working title), commissioned by ADI and co-presented with the National Performance Network (NPN), opens at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in a few weeks. Read more.

Chris Schlichting is a Minnesota-based choreographer and performer creating work that begins with movement impulses and then accumulate carefully measured layers of cultural sources and influences. Believing in a nimble and flexible definition of dance, he strives to unearth compelling examples that strike an uncertain balance between formal investigations and earnest expression; between large-scale spectacle and delicate intimacy; between dance conventions of presentational styles and elaborate ritual to simple moments of exposed vulnerability.

Schlichting was named Best Choreographer in 2013 by Minneapolis-St. Paul City Pages for his work Matching Drapes, which also received two Sage Awards, including one for “Best Performance” and one for “Best Design”. He is the first recipient of the American Dance Institute’s (Rockville, MD) Commissioned Artist award, a new project that provides commissioning funds, fiscal sponsorship, developmental and production support for a new work from one U.S. based choreographer every year.

Schlichting has been presented by venues throughout Minnesota, including the Southern Theater, the Bryant Lake Bowl, the Red Eye Theater, the Walker Art Center and many more; in New York at Danspace Project and as a frequent contributor to CATCH! performance series; at ODC in San Francisco, CA; and at Velocity in Seattle, WA. He frequently collaborates with Morgan Thorson, including performances in "Faker" and "Heaven", both of which enjoyed illustrious tours throughout the U.S. and for "Faker" also in Daejeon, South Korea.

Schlichting’s work has been commissioned by Danspace Project at St. Marks (by Tere O’Connor for Food for Thought, by Judy Hussie-Taylor for the Body Madness Platform), James Sewell Ballet (Ballet Works Project), the Walker Art Center (The Momentum Series, the 25th Sculpture Garden Celebration, and for a new work in the 2014/15 performance season), The Southern Theater, Young Dance, and Zenon Dance Company. He was selected to participate in the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) and the Minnesota Contemporary Dance Platform (MCDP) and for the upcoming Dance USA Conference in June of 2014.