Keely Garfield joyfully participates in the great body of the world as a choreographer, dancer, teacher, and curator. Born in London, and based in New York City, Garfield is the artistic director for her own company, Keely Garfield Dance (KGD), which has been widely commissioned and presented at theaters and festivals nationally and internationally. Alongside her choreographies for KGD, Garfield has made work for other modern dance companies, theater, musicals, ballet, film, site-specific projects, schools and universities. She has collaborated with dancers, actors, musicians, students, children, people with disabilities, young adults in under-served communities, and even animated the movements of mechanical robots and antique puppets. Early on, Garfield made videos at MTV working with artists like Adam Ant, and Herbie Hancock. Highlights include: Deep (The Joyce Theater, NYC), Twin Pines (Danspace Project, NYC), Disturbing The Peace (Zenon Dance Company, MN), Iron Lung (Groundworks Dancetheater, OH), Disturbulance (NYLA, NYC), Sinister Slapstick (Queen Elizabeth Hall, London), My Father Was A Spanish Captain (Tanzmesse, Frankfurt), Scent of Mental Love (A film for Radio Bremen/Canal Arte), Damsel (Dance Theater of Harlem, NYC), Body Wisdom (Rubin Museum of Art, NYC), Gypsy (Sundance Theater, UT), Yeast Nation, The Triumph Of Life! (Perseverance Theatre, AK), and Folk Dance In Gold (The Wooden Floor, CA).
KGD has received commissions and presentations from Celebrate Brooklyn! (NYC), Milwaukee Danceworks (WI), Philadelphia Dance Projects (PA), The Southern Theater (MN), Danse Vernissage (Montreal), and Spring Loaded (London). KGD has been supported with funding from government, foundation and private sources, and has benefited from numerous creative residences and awards and was the recipient of a Gibney Dance DIP Residency. The company consistently receives high critical praise and has garnered four New York Dance & Performance Awards aka “Bessies” (performance, music, lighting, production).
Garfield was awarded a 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, is a NYFA Fellow, and received the Chancellor’s Award from University of Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she obtained her MFA in Choreography. Garfield is often engaged as a professor and visiting artist at colleges and universities, and has made ten original dances for students at Barnard College, Hunter College, Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts, The New School, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, etc. Garfield was curator and host of Dance Theater Workshop’s popular Family Matters series, served as chair of DTW's Artist Committee, and co-authored of The Dancers Forum Compact. Alongside her artistic career, Garfield is an integrative yoga therapist focusing on wellness for dancers, and works in oncology and hospice.
Hailed in The New York Times as an artist, “working at the height of her powers,” Garfield makes dances that are meticulously organized and immediately disrupted. She crafts ritualistic and askew tales characterized by aching and ironic invention. These “mini-epics” are like tumbling stones in an edgy, thrilling stream of consciousness where religion, politics, human nature, and corporality are playfully articulated and warped. For Garfield, making dances is a highly optimistic pursuit as the inevitable dissolution of all thought, all shape, and all particularity of expression necessarily imbues the act of dancing with valor and vitality. Choreography is a vehicle for dancing, and dancing is simply a wind moving through that carries us aloft, alighting here and there. It is beautiful and rare, and is ultimately, just another way for one to know oneself and the world.
Garfield’s new work, PERFECT PIRANHA, will premiere at The Chocolate Factory (NYC), in December, 2017, and will also be featured in Danspace Project’s Platform series in 2018. Currently, Garfield is finishing up a three-part creative residency with The Wooden Floor (TWF), a non-profit arts-for-youth organization in Santa Ana, California. This project culminates with the premiere of Folk Dance In Gold, choreographed by Garfield and performed by the young dancers of TWF at Irvine Barclay Theatre, CA, in June 2017.
A spirit of philosophical inquiry and compassionate concern unites her dedicated engagement in all her endeavors.