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Donna sternberg

My art stems from my core belief that we are here to create, in whatever form that may take. My creation takes the form of dance because there is something so elemental in movement that it reaches into my bowels and connects me with something primordial and universal. This is why I am a choreographer, because through the sinews of my muscles and the grist of my bones I can begin to create a language that knows no boundaries and unites me with forces I can only dimly sense.

My body has an intelligence and wisdom that I try to understand and reveal in my creations. It is an archetypal wisdom that other bodies also have, and this is the basis for our communication. Movement for me is the most basic form of communication, because to move is to be alive. Through movement I can speak directly to the core of another, my connective tissue and cellular matter transmit a language of energy that weaves a web between us.

How I develop this language of non-verbal communication is my artistic journey. How I meld it with my core belief, that as human beings we have similar wants and desires and are more alike than not, is my artistic challenge. How I continue to refine my movement style to express my ideas and emotions is my artistic struggle. How I find moments where everything merges into one seamless river of creativity is my artistic success.

My artistic development and my personal development are conjoined: they are both the result and expression of my insatiable artistic, emotional and intellectual curiosity. Consequently, I have approached the study of movement from many different perspectives, utilizing various forms of dance, yoga, movement therapy and through scientific study of human physiology, kinesiology and anatomy leading to certification from the American College of Sports Medicine. I am interested in the interplay of science and art, believing that both spring from the same font of creativity and can influence and inspire each other. My work is interdisciplinary and based on building bridges and making connections between dance and science. From the movement of celestial bodies to the history of man’s flight, from the subatomic relationships of particles to quantum physics, from an investigation of human’s paradoxical relationship with the natural world to how perception and memory shape our sense of reality, interpreting scientific principles form the basis for my work. I intentionally build partnerships with artists, cultural organizations, scientists and science institutions to find innovative ways to bring the exciting discoveries of science to a larger audience through dance in collaboration with other art forms. Concurrent with these interests has been a life-long study of spirituality, world religions, philosophy, psychology and cultural anthropology. I have also been greatly influenced by travel, being immersed in different cultures and environments sharpens my senses and stimulates the flow of creative ideas.

I have been inspired by countless other artists, their work and writings have served to both generate ideas for dances and been incorporated into them. For over 30 years I have collaborated with artists of other disciplines—musicians, visual, digital and theatre artists, and poets. The best of the these collaborations have pushed me into regions I would not have gone myself, the worst have led me to examine what my art means to me and where I want to or don’t want to go with it. All have been learning experiences that have helped to clarify my artistic vision and lead me forward. I believe that collaborations that combine the strengths of each artist can have a power and depth that is greater than one artist can have on their own and I continue to seek these experiences for my own personal and artistic growth.

Movement that soars through space connects me with the vastness of the cosmos. The juxtaposition of human bodies connects me with the geometrical world of shape. The tiniest shaking of a finger connects me with the microcosm of quantum physics. My art connects me with who I am and with the creative forces that surround me every moment of every day. It’s all about creation and connection.

Donna Sternberg began her professional dance career performing in an Emmy nominated dance program entitled “Glimmerings”. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she co-founded the Mixed Motion Dance Company, where she choreographed, performed and taught throughout California, Oregon and Washington states. Desiring to work with artists of other disciplines, Ms. Sternberg moved on to become Artistic Director of Dance Collaborative, where she choreographed and performed solo and collaborative concerts. In 1985 she founded Donna Sternberg & Dancers, a modern dance company, to express her vision of the communicative power of movement. The company is based in Santa Monica, California. She has danced in the companies of Donald Byrd, Mary Jane Eisenberg, Dance/LA and TNR: Moebius, performed with the Long Beach Opera and in video and television productions.

Ms. Sternberg has professionally premiered over 70 works since 1975 throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico; several have been collaborations with artists of other disciplines including composers, visual artists, poets, actors and digital media. Her choreography has been critically acclaimed for its “exceptional ability to communicate through pure movement” (Los Angeles Times). She has choreographed seven full-evening works, the most recent in 2011entitled Dis-Illusions, a collaboration composer Ken Christianson. Ms. Sternberg has been commissioned to create works for the California Science Center, Dance Moving Forward Festival, California Choreographer’s Festival, Catlin Gabel School in Oregon, Valley College and the Alleluia Dance Theatre. She was nominated for the Dewar’s Young Choreographer’s Award, Horton Award and was named one of the most outstanding choreographers in Los Angeles in 2005 and 2007 by the Beverly Hills Outlook. She has received support for her work and dance company from the California Arts Council, California Council for the Humanities, National Performance Network, Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Department, Culver City Cultural Affairs Commission, Los Angeles County Arts Commission, National/State/County Partnership, Pacific Bell and the Amgen Foundation. She has participated in adjudicated dance festivals such as Dance Kaleidoscope, Festival of Solos and Duets and Dance Moving Forward in Los Angeles, California Choreographer’s Festival in Laguna Beach and Summerfest in San Francisco. Donna Sternberg & Dancers has been featured in Dance Magazine, Dance Spirit and on PBS station KCET’s Life and Times program.

In 2006 Ms. Sternberg was chosen to participate in an artist residency program at the Julia and David White Artist Colony in Costa Rica. She was selected to head the dance program at the first Visual and Performing Arts Summer Institute conducted by the Santa AnaUnifiedSchool District in June 2002. Ms. Sternberg served as Artist in Residence at UC Irvine in July 2001 as part of the California Dance & Movement Workshop for Dance Educators. She and her company have been resident guest artists at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico for the past ten years. Ms. Sternberg has taught in private studios, primary and secondary schools and colleges. These include UC San Diego, Pierce College, Cal State Los Angeles, and in colleges on the West Coast (CA, OR, WA). She has also taught as part of Performing Tree, an arts-in-education organization and as a movement specialist on the National Endowment for the Arts Artists-in-Schools Program. Ms. Sternberg was appointed to the Santa Monica Arts Commission in December 2001 where she continues to serve.

works by Donna Sternberg

L.A. Woman Project Documentary, 2013

Kate Crash