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Independent Projects 1

Past PRojects




Independent Projects 1

Past PRojects



independent Projects & Foundry



No Hero (Deep South) Part 3

Deep South is the final work in the No Hero Project trilogy exploring what dance and performance means to the lives of people in rural parts of the United States. This project was researched in the rural South with Miguel Gutierrez.



POEM was conceived as a triptych of three sections that are all interrelated. It is the culmination of a decades worth of ideas exploring different ways that movement creates a sense of visual traction with an audience.


The Gift of Impermanence

Dance Film by Alex Ketley
Commissioned by AXIS Dance

Winner of the 2015 Superfest Film Award


Commissioned by Ballet Leipzig

"For his work Arena, the dancers are in the middle bathed in light….bare…unprotected…literally surrounded by the onlookers. It starts with a lone dancer and then explodes as the others enter the arena. Throughout (the work) we examine self and that self in relation to others, whether it be as part of a group or in our personal relationships. "

The Radiant Ocean

Commissioned by the Julliard School

Alex Ketley spent a fall creating a new work for the advanced students at the Juilliard School. In certain ways while building the piece he was trying to push against what he saw as a prevalence in the contemporary dance world towards sensationalism and spectacle. He had long worked with movement systems that require an incredible attention to detail because of their subtileness, and he applied some of these ways of working to this work.

Swan Lake: Recalibrated

Swan Lake: Recalibrated was commissioned by Stanford University and was a collaboration between the school’s students, The Foundry company members, media artist and composer Les Stuck, and California poet Carol Snow. The idea behind the piece was not to create a contemporary interpretation of the narrative, but rather to look at Swan Lake as an enduring cultural artifact.

No Hero (Vermont) Part 2

Supported through a month residency at Vermont Performance Lab, The Foundry developed the second part of the No Hero Project. In contrast to Part 1, the West, where the company traveled to a new town every day, in Vermont the company remained immersed in one community for more time. This allowed them to dig deeper into the relationships they made with strangers, which then led them to the idea of having these community members perform with The Foundry.



Midnight Drifter

Created during Ketley's residence as Visiting Professor and Artist at Florida State University. He was interested in how a singular work could be recalibrated in different contexts. On one hand it was a large group piece created to be interactive with an audience in a non-Theater space, and then also experimented with as a stand alone film.


No Hero (West) Part 1

No Hero is a study on our country and all its tremendous diversity, beauty, confusion, and stratification economically and socially. On curiosity of what it means to be a dancer, choreographer, and artist in this culture, Ketley felt he could no longer only create dance in the hidden confines of a dance studio. This led him to explore what it means to make work and challenge himself by traveling extensively throughout rural America and creating dance in the shopping malls, mountains, hotel lobbies, cities, peoples homes, rural towns, etc. The piece is a follow up to Please Love Me, in asking in a much broader sense what is connection through art to the everyday lives of Americans?

Recipient of the National Eben Demarest Award


Five Objects (in Isolation & Solitude)

Commissioned by NYU Tisch School of Dance. In the fall of 2012, Ketley was curious about different modalities of impact in performance. From the ecstatic body to the stark and deliberate. Also in the construction of the overall work, he was interested in having the arc of the work purposely shattered into five separate performance objects.


Terra Incognita: Revisited

Tired of the shared festival format of presenting work, the four choreographers involved in this project decided to instead just try and collide their different styles and work processes and create a single unified piece. It was an experiment and a research project primarily that ended up, as a bonus, having really interesting performance results. The work ended up folding the process in on itself, exposing all the beautiful moments, starts and fits, frustration, elation, and the general lostness of creation.

Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Choreography


Alex Ketley and BNC Director Garrett Ammon were talking in a previous season about a platform or performance where it was encouraged for choreographers to do and present what was most outlandish in their interest. Ketley decided to costume the dancers in “panda” outfits as a device to allow himself the freedom to not think so critically about work, and let the more free and euphoric ideas come to the forefront without immediate editing and self evaluation. The work “Happiness” still retains a sense of rigor and structure, but also supposes that ecstatic happiness and joy can be a profound statement in and of itself.


The Offering

BNC Colorado initiated a project where Colorado based visual artists would create new work in collaboration with national choreographers. Ketley collaborated with renowned photographers Mark Sink and Kristen Hatgi. He was drawn to the work they do with a 160-year-old camera and a technique called collodion wet plate photography, where the image is literally seared onto a piece of treated glass. The images inspired the project to look at time, antiquity, and ritual.

Please Love Me

Please Love Me explores how jettisoning the idea of the audience-performer relationship in the traditional sense creates the question: what is left of this interaction? In that question, Ketley became more conscious of the struggles and nuance of connection generally, how personal connection is complicated and full of many different changing landscapes. Please Love Me explores loss, humor, frailty, rage, exuberance, and the feeling that performing artists can feel quite estranged from society generally. 

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Independent Projects 2

Independent Projects 2


Rauschen 13

Created for BodyTraffic
Music by: Porter Ricks and Phillip Jeck
Performed by: Tina Berkett, William Briscoe, Miguel Perez, Julie Shulman

Kill The Anthem

Created for BNC Colorado. This work is a euphoric piece moving off the platform of punk pop music. Ketley wanted to explore huge blurting forms of expression, and liked moving through the tension that while pop music seems light frivolous and fun, when it's good, there is actually a lot of underlying complexity and rigor.


Created for Ballet X

"Alex Ketley’s mesmerizing Silt expressed more about the human condition than most playwrights achieve with two hours of text.

— Broad Street Review


This Act of Three Collisions

Alex Ketley was selected as one of three finalist for BNC Colorado’s inaugural 21st Century National Choreography Competition. He decided to do a work where he collided three seemingly disparate elements. The first is the dance that he made, the second was a piece of music composed by Tar@JMB, and the third was an edit of footage taken from a harsh contemporary Mexican film. The combination of the three each juxtaposed against each other created an odd tension. The work was also an experiment to see if he could work with both dance and video in a commissioning structure.

If Ever (an ocean) relinquished

Created for Dance Works Choicago. 
This work was created in a modular function; it can be danced either as a long and rigorous duet or as a group piece with multiple intertwining connections. It was also made as a vehicle for emerging composers to have an avenue to work with dance. The piece was choreographed to music by burial, and then later put up on the internet without music where composers could download the piece and score it however they wanted. As the piece toured, composers were then picked from these submissions and their music was used to accompany the work.

To color me Different

Created for AXIS Dance Company
Winner of the 2008 Isadora Duncan Award for Best Ensemble Performance
"This is not a duet about being disabled; it's about the perils of attraction and trust." — The San Francisco Chronicle


"The theory that dance can express the inexpressible has rarely been so adeptly illustrated." — Voice of Dance

The wish for Even Ground

Created for North Carolina School for the Arts & Hubbard Street Dance Chicago 2
Recommissioned by DanceWorks Chicago (2008)



Drift was commissioned by Ballet Met for their 30th Anniversary. For this celebration, the Ohio based company brought in choreographers from all over the world for a single day to have them create a work that would be presented to an audience that evening. Alex Ketley deeply believed in this project because it felt like a company taking a risk and also believing in revealing the process of creation to the audience. Alex went with nothing prepared and had five hours to create the new work. Working this intensely under this construct proved to be very rewarding. The piece is a double duet, created for four outstanding dancers in the company.


"The phrasing throughout is amazingly extended and supple; the performers resemble silken threads that seem to double back on each other. And the tone, while intense, never seems combative, or even mildly hostile. A sense of teamwork, of uncommon trust, of shared goals dominates. You can’t take your eyes off them, even to glance behind their backs at the projections." —Voice of Dance

Created by Alex Ketley & Christian Burns


Independent Projects 3

Independent Projects 3



Ketley had been working throughout the year with many different ways to collide and destroy structures and movement. Careless was the end result of all these various studies. The piece is extremely physical, and looks at ballet being eroded with the violence of the dancers being overly driven. For Ketley at the time, it was a very important piece artistically and certainly set him in new directions choreographically.

The marking of apology

Created for Robert Moses KIN

"Four women, in punky skirts by Rita DiLorenzo Black Label, seem to know a lot about martial arts, grabbing each other about the heads and shoulders and leaping and dancing with legs that look in flight like swords. Or sometimes hammers." —San Francisco Chronicle

Inaugural Princess Grace Award for Choreography

Lost Line

Choreography and video projection: Alex Ketley

"Not the least of Lost Line’s appeal — structurally simple with good timing as it was — came from the theoretical questions Foundry projects often raise... Can we bridge different realities? What role do scale and context play in our perceptions? How do we make that leap from one imaginative realm into the next? Of course, no answers were forthcoming except for the ones you provided yourself. That’s the fun of this kind of program: well formulated intriguing questions create their own reward." — Dance View Times


Second Memory

Second Memory was commissioned by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and was funded in part by a national Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography. The work was the first collaboration that Ketley did with former Frankfurt Ballet composer Les Stuck. The piece ventured into lots of different processes and in the end felt like an odd collision of temperaments. Though Ketley felt the work ultimately didn’t work as a whole, it did teach him a tremendous amount.


Poetry and System by Carol Snow

"It proved to be an engrossing, eminently playful experience. You witnessed the mind at play, bodies at play. The piece skimmed over the top of its elaborate substructure like a dragonfly over a sun speckled pond. Ketley’s sophisticated use of space — with large scale trajectories complementing piled on formations in which details just about tumbled over each other—nicely contrasted with Snow’s more evenly animated in-place reading."
— Dance View Times


Within Once

Created by Alex Ketley, Christian Burns, Andrea Basile, Nick Yagoda, and Maurya Kerr
Music, video, text, and dance were created by the full company.

The company had a month long residency in a bucolic part of Martha’s Vineyard on the East Coast of the United States. The piece reflected on many things, most notably the recent division between co-founders Christian Burns and Alex Ketley, but also became a reference to what felt like existing in a fairytale. Much of the work was created throughout the island, and documented with video, and then re-contextualized to be used in performance. 

Created by Alex Ketley & Christian Burns with The Foundry

Trace Fulfillment

Created for Hubbard Street 2

"Trace Fulfillment defined the prevalent theme of youth in its gorgeous vitality being subjected to the troubles of its age and turmoil of our times. — The Village Voice


Joygame is an evening length video project that Alex Ketley and Christian Burns created after they separated their five year collaboration. After spending so much time looking at the interface of live dance and recorded and projected video, the two wanted to see what it meant to do a full evening length video work. They also wanted to explore humor. The piece roams through many different emotions, from humor, the heroic ideals of ballet, art jargon, and loss, and the complications of friendship.

Created by Alex Ketley & Christian Burns

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Early Works

Early Works

Early work




The fleshing Memory

The Fleshing Memory is about memory, about loneliness. Its narrative is no less powerful for being anything but linear. “The Fleshing Memory” is also dazzling choreographically, calling for bravura dancing as well as extraordinary concentration."

"The look of the piece by Christian Burns and Alex Ketley was both simple and impressive. The Forum’s vast floor space, with the audience on risers against the four walls, bore large video screens in two corners. Under each screen was a mountain of crumpled pink paper that from a distance looked like a field of poinsettias past their prime." — San Francisco Chronicle

Created by Alex Ketley & Christian Burns




Sea Green and Blue Already Rising

Commissioned By Alonzo King for his LINES Ballet
Choreography: Alex Ketley and Christian Burns

"An industrial styled multimedia look at the short voyage from loss to insanity. Set to text and music by Derek Powell, Sea Green blurred the line between theatricality and reality, projecting photographs that morphed into video footage." —Dance Magazine

Created by Alex Ketley & Christian Burns




Current Form

The second part of what eventually would become a trilogy, Current Form looked at the California Coast for its initial inspiration. The piece was almost entirely created outside of traditional dance studios and was presented both in traditional theater settings as well as Gallery Spaces.

Created by Alex Ketley,  Christian Burns and Sandra Stringer




Salt Flat Pieces

Alex Ketley and Christian Burns drove from San Francisco to the Bonneville Salt Flat on the Utah Nevado border and spent a week videotaping and improvising in the desert. This was the first project that they pursued, and it ended up staging the direction for a five year exploration about how the environment affects the generation of movement. The piece is lonely, stark, beautiful, and young.

Created by Alex Ketley & Christian Burns