Collaborative Direction  /  Independent Projects and Direction


The Foundry

Early Works


The Foundry was co-created in 1998 by Alex Ketley and Christian Burns as a vehicle to explore the intersection of dance with mixed-media art, installation, and contemporary ways of devising performance. Along with a number of collaborating artists the company was jointly directed from 1998-2003. During this period a variety of evening length performances were created with a constant interest being how the application of various environments affects the generation of movement. These projects were enthusiastically received by audiences and critics, as well as being supported by some of the Bay Area's most influential artist residencies and funders. 

The Foundry, a multimedia dance company, has made some seriously beautiful dances.
— San Francisco Guardian, 2000

From 2004 until now the company has grown under the direction of choreographer and filmmaker Alex Ketley. During this period The Foundry has explored some of the furthest reaching projects in Ketley's career. The company allows Ketley, in collaboration with the artists, to explore projects that would be difficult to realize within his commissioning career. A few examples of these projects are; Syntax, an hour long duet systemically using the mechanics of language as an organizing mechanism, Lost Line was developed by researching and filming improvisation throughout California's diverse landscapes, Please Love Me which jettisoned the need to perform in a theater context and was developed with a curiosity about how people truly connect and experience artwork, and the No Hero Trilogy which was a multi-year project that explored what dance and performance means to the lives of people living throughout rural America.

What exists as a constancy over the life of the company is the idea to engage in projects that start from a platform of instability. A commitment that how the company grows artistically is from working on projects where the artists understand very little about how the process will unfold, and that there are mechanisms within the research that add constant disruption to the development of the work.

Each project is pursued with the desire to feel genuinely confused, lost, and exposed within the process, with the hope that something new can be found. And that through the sifting of all the different accumulated material a new work can be built that points to something richer than a performance solely developed in a studio setting.