CHARLES SLENDER-WHITE, Artistic Director
Everyone has a body, and everyone dances in some way. Dance, as the most universal art form, has the unique capacity to engage, reflect, and inform human experiences from all cultures and all backgrounds. Because of this, the art of dancing contains within it a particular ability to communicate and share across barriers of language, physical ability, and cognitive aptitude. All acts of dancing are expressions of a shared humanity.
I believe in the power of art to change lives and societies for the better. And, I believe that equitable working conditions for collaborators are necessary for making the best art possible. These two beliefs form the foundation of FACT/SF, which operates as a platform for developing my own work, supporting collaborators in their respective practices, and sharing our creations with as many people as possible.
My choreography is guided by a formal approach to craft, technical competency, legible composition, and in-depth research. Rather than starting from a place of wanting to show or demonstrate a set of ideas to the audience, I begin with a set of questions. These questions, arising from my own personal experience in the world and/or conditions I observe in society, inform the research I undertake, the performance formats I utilize, and the creative approaches I employ. Because my work always begins from a place of curiosity and unknowing, my aesthetics shift depending upon the project itself. This has led me to create ballets en pointe, dance-theatre installations, contemporary dances in-the-round and for the proscenium stage, and site-specific works for non-traditional spaces.
To remain artistically inspired and challenged, projects are conceived by considering which formats I have not yet explored, which modalities of work-making I have not yet attempted, which points of departure I have not yet taken. Rather than replicating the success of a past project, I seek new challenges with my work and with my collaborators.
Charles Slender-White began his career with Provincial Dances Theatre in Yekaterinburg, Russia. His choreography embraces technical formalism with regular injections of quirk and wit, while incorporating the risque, the macabre, and the unexpected. He has worked as a dance artist throughout North America, Europe, and Russia, and in Hong Kong and Australia. Slender-White is one of 28 Countertechnique Teachers worldwide. In addition to extensive studies with Anouk van Dijk, he spent a year in mentorship with Elizabeth Streb via CHIME Across Borders at the Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab. Slender-White completed his undergraduate degrees in Dance & Performance Studies and English Literature at UC Berkeley, and received additional early training at Berkeley Ballet Theatre and the American Dance Festival.
Charles Slender-White has performed, made choreography, and taught in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Poland, Latvia, France, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hong Kong, and Australia. He founded FACT/SF in 2008. His choreography embraces technical formalism with regular injections of quirk and wit, while incorporating the risque, the macabre, and the unexpected. Slender-White is one of 28 Countertechnique Teachers worldwide. In addition to extensive studies with Anouk van Dijk, he spent a year in mentorship with Elizabeth Streb via CHIME Across Borders at the Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab, and received additional early training at Berkeley Ballet Theatre and the American Dance Festival.
Slender-White has created dozens of works with FACT/SF. Notably, Remains (2017), Platform (2017), (dis)integration (2016), Relief (2015), Invidious (2014), Falling (2013), POv.3 (2011), and The Consumption Series (2010). His work has also been commissioned by the US Department of State, Derida Dance (Sofia, Bulgaria), ODC Theater, CounterPulse, Electric Works Gallery, College Preparatory School, Dialogue Dance Company (Kostroma, Russia), Acid Rain and the Chelyabinsk State Pedagogical University (Chelyabinsk, Russia), and the Yekaterinburg University of the Humanities (Yekaterinburg, Russia). In 2007, The Fringe Club (Hong Kong) presented three new works Charles developed in collaboration with Emily Woo Zeller. In 2006 and 2007, Charles performed with Provincial Dances Theatre in Yekaterinburg, Russia, under the direction of Tatiana Baganova. With Provincial Dances he toured internationally, taught company and master classes, and collaborated on the creation of new works.
In addition to his work as a choreographer and performer, Charles has taught at the ODC School, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Shawl-Anderson Dance Center, CSU East Bay, the University of San Francisco, Chunky Move (Melbourne), Love-In (Toronto), Circuit-Est (Montreal), and L’Artere (Quebec City), Derida Dance (Sofia, Bulgaria), Station Service for Contemporary Dance (Belgrade, Serbia), and the American Dance Festival.
Charles graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, with degrees in English Literature and Dance & Performance Studies. While at Berkeley, Charles received the Chancellor’s Eisner Award for “highest achievement in the creative arts” and the Hickman Undergraduate Scholarship for “continued excellence and achievement in dance.”
Photos: Kegan Marling