ABOUT MARTA RENZI

Marta Renzi has made more than 75 dances for her Project Company, as well as creating work for groups across the U.S. and abroad, including the Wagon Train Project in Nebraska, Balletteatro in Portugal - and Ben & Jerry's dancing ice cream flavors.

Her site-specific pieces in locations such as the Guggenheim Museum, Union Station and the Staten Island Ferry, led naturally to her work in video and film. In 1981 YOU LITTLE WILD HEART, to music by Bruce Springsteen, was Marta's first half-hour for television, followed by MOUNTAINVIEW, made in 1989 in collaboration with independent filmmaker John Sayles. Since 2005 she has self-produced over two dozen short videodances, which have shown at film festivals nationally and internationally. Her debut feature film HER MAGNUM OPUS was released in 2017.

As part of a continuing commitment to making dance accessible to a wide audience, Renzi helped inaugurate the "Inside/Out" program of public performances at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and her Project Company makes frequent appearances for free outdoors in public spaces.

In 1992, Marta received a New York Dance & Performance Award (a "Bessie") for her dance VITAL SIGNS, and in 1995 was the first recipient of a Dancing in the Streets award as "a fearless explorer of all manner of unconventional sites, integrating art into everyday life." She was a 2013 Bogliasco fellow at the Liguria Study Center for Arts & Humanities.

Marta has served on the Board of Advisors for the New York Foundation for the Arts and was a consultant for the New England Foundation for the Arts' program "Building Community Through Culture." In 2008 she joined the Board of Directors of Dance Films Association, a 50-year-old member-supported institution based in New York City.

Renzi has taught in Chile and Paraguay through the International Linkages program of the American Dance Festival and and is a seven-time recipient of Choreographic Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her work has been funded by the Jerome Foundation, Metropolitan Life, Con Edison and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. In 2007 she received an SOS grant
from the New York State Council on the Arts to participate in a workshop entitled Dance for the Camera. In August of 2008, Renzi presented a new quartet as part of "Through a Choreographer's Eyes", curated by Martha Myers at The Yard in Massachusetts, and returned for several years subsequently since present new work.

In pre-history, Marta performed with Douglas Dunn & Dancers, in David Gordon's PickUp Company, with Kei Takei's Moving Earth and with Twyla Tharp on the film of HAIR. In theater she has collaborated with William Finn on IN TROUSERS, Andre Gregory in THE PRIMAVERA STRING QUARTET TONIGHT! and with Cecil MacKinnon on Shakespeare's ROMEO AND JULIET performed with the Prokofiev score played live by the Buffalo Symphony Orchestra.

From the Vaults - January 2010

Does anybody ever look at these Archives? I almost hope not, since the last two have been practically improvised. On the other hand, it's fun to look back at the era when I was returning to choreography, but beginning to be more interested in locations and stories than in the movement itself.

This one is from Pro Danza Italia 2004, in Castiglioncello, where I made several quickie site-specific dances, stealing a dancer or two between their classes, rehearsals and trips to the beach. This one was inspired by Nino Rota music - and the tiny little Tuscan building which houses the water pump for the nearby Cafe Limonaia. Lights and music were catch as catch could. Camera by Adolfas Mekas.

And if you're inspired to view more old work, scroll down on this "About Marta Renzi" page and you'll go as far back as 1986, with about one mini-show every 6 months, out of chronological order. So much for "Archive of the Month!"

Archive of the Month - August 2009

Hang on to your hats for this archive; it's a rocky camera ride.  Presenting NOVY CIRKUS, a piece made in 1994 with a group of Slovak dancers and two Americans - much of it improvised -  in an excerpt performed on tour outside the Hall of Justice in Presov, Slovakia.  

Part of the accompaniment is a Slovak/American language tape (how DO they think up these useful expressions?) Now that I'm a "filmmaker" (still those inverted commas), I see how cool it would have been to have the time to more-than-record this...maybe a remake for the camera?

Archive of the Month - May 2009

Did you find your way here from Home?  If so, welcome to "About Marta Renzi", the back pages.  This is where I'll post Archives from now on, as distinguished from New Stuff.  

This one is hungrymouth (click here for Youtube screen) .  It was choreographed in 1996, and in this version is danced by me, Erica Eigenberg, Marta Miller and Deborah Tacon at a 1998 concert at St. Mark's Danspace.

This Archive is related to New Stuff, actually, because as I post this, we're cannibalizing movement from it for the new Fruitlands dance.  What goes around...continues to go around.


Feel free to wander around these back pages. You'll see some older posts, a Filmography with links to the videodances, and biographical information.  All that's missing is baby pictures!

Archive of the New Year

The last "archive of the month" was apparently in - ahem - July, 2008.  Well, here's the archive of the New Year, just in time for the holidays.

A funny little morsel from the 1991 Ladies' Night, featuring long-time collaborators Marta Miller and Deborah Tacon, Janice Mirajanian (my aerobics guru from that era), improviser Jackie Shue, and Holly Poundstone-Corey, who was my backyard neighbor before we danced together...and whose girls Lily and Daphne were later in the cast of Porch Stories!

To the irresistible music of Rahsaan Roland Kirk, shot with way-better-than-average sensitivity by Dean Moss at Danspace Project.

Happy Kwanzichanumas!

Marta Renzi FILMMAKER??


In the past 3 years (of the 30 that I've been a choreographer) my focus has been making videos that include some element of dance. The short dances performed by 10 dancers in RED at Gaga Arts Festival a month ago were a great hit with the live audience. But the idea to develop those site-specific bits was primarily an excuse to shoot some footage of a wonderful location. Happily, the long hours spent organizing dancers, rehearsals, costumes, and sundry logistics to make the shoot/performance possible are doubled in the time I now get to spend editing on my computer at home. And I'm glad to report that re-inventing myself as a maker of dance videos seems to be bearing fruit, as you can see from the assortment of activities below:

PORCH STORIES is being screened Saturday, July 21 at 1:00, as part of the Rural Route Festival at Anthology Film Archives in New York City. The excerpt to be shown features Arthur Aviles and the Boys on Bikes, as part of an afternoon entitled "Young 'Uns"
  • (Rural Route Festival)

  • THAW (the newest) showed in June at Rockland Shorts, as part of the Gaga Arts Festival in Garnerville, New York. Audience response at that event has encouraged me to re-consider the soundtrack to THAW: this re-invention is an ongoing learning process (see below).

    TENDERNESS is a semi-finalist in the Moondance International Film Festival in Los Angeles, coming in September.

    THE WELCOME TABLE was shown recently in a worship service in New Jersey, by a pastor who found word of it on line, and asked for permission to share it with his "diverse, suburban congregation." His statement in the church bulletin encouraged parishioners to "make a special invitation to people who might feel like outsiders to come and sit at the welcome table with us. If you want a vision of what God intends, check out Marta Renzi's film."

    It gratifies me that the videos I make find audiences not necessarily in dance film festivals, but in a wider world, including churches, arts festivals and at non-dance short film fests. Of course, I've gotten the usual slew of rejections, including one distributor who wrote a great letter regretting that there is no market for THAW or PORCH STORIES, though he quite enjoyed watching them. Truthfully, I couldn't agree more!

    Undaunted, I am soon to fly to Vancouver Island for a Dance for the Camera workshop to learn how to make more of them. Under the direction of Ellen Bromberg, and with the support of an SOS grant from the New York Foundation for the Arts, I will spend two weeks immersing myself in the language of videodance. Thus far, I admit I have been largely self-taught, so that my grammar and syntax leave something to be desired. Presumably, when I learn to speak more fluently, I'll still want to talk about something that appeals to an audience that's wider than dance aficionados.

    SOFT SELL




    I recently transferred several ancient works to DVD, to preserve them for posterity. In case we're not around when posterity comes, rather than leave them in a box in my attic, I thought I'd also occasionally post them here. Relic of the Month of is SOFT SELL, which was made while I was pregnant with my son Amos, who turns 21 in August.

    Soft Sell was made in collaboration with sculptor Harry Roseman and writer Daniel Wolff and toured to Massachusetts, Kentucky and Georgia - with every bolt of that amazing set dismantled and re-assembled by us!

    Credits which appear at the end of the video neglect to include the voice of Susan Haskins, reading "I'm Not Very Pretty" as the credits close.