Jonah Bokaer is an award-winning choreographer and media artist. He has dedicated a short lifetime to expanding possibilities for live performance through choreography, digital media, crossdisciplinary collaborations, and social enterprise, in the United States and internationally.
Education: Originally from Ithaca, NY, Bokaer trained in dance at Cornell University, and subsequently graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts as a North Carolina Academic Scholar (Contemporary Dance/Performance, 2000). Recruited for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company at the unprecedented age of 18, Bokaer pursued a parallel degree in Visual & Media Studies at The New School (2003-2007), where he received the Joan Kirnsner Memorial Award. Additional studies in media and performance occurred at Parsons School of Design, NYU Performance Studies, and through self-taught explorations into digital media and 3D animation: such studies led to the development of a rare, multi-disciplinary approach to choreography, addressing the human body in relation to contemporary technologies.
Dance: Bokaer has worked with Merce Cunningham (2000–2007), John Jasperse (2004–2005), David Gordon (2005-2006), Deborah Hay (2005), Tino Sehgal (2008), and many others. He has also interpreted the choreography of George Balanchine as restaged by Melissa Hayden. Bokaer is also a frequent choreographer for Robert Wilson (2007–Present).
Choreography: Bokaer’s work has been presented widely throughout venues in the United States and abroad, including Cornell University, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, Dixon Place, La Mama ETC, P.S. 122, Symphony Space, the ISB (Bangkok), Naxos Bobine, Studio Théâtre de Vitry, and La Générale (Paris), Les Subsistances (Lyon), La Compagnie (Marseille), La Ferme Du Buisson (Marne-la-Vallée), De Singel (Beligum), International Tanzmesse NRW (Germany), PSi (Copenhagen), Kunsthalle St. Gallen (Switzerland), and others. Upcoming engagements in 2009 include the Attakalari Performance Biennale (Bangalore), Salon Tudor (Santiago), and a new commission from the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, D.C.)
Awards: Bokaer has been honored with a Human Rights Award (Public Volunteerism, 2000), a fellowship from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Dance & Media, 2005-2006), the inaugural Gallery Installation Fellowship from Dance Theater Workshop (2007), and one of four national Dance Access Scholarships from Dance/USA, with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (2007), and the Alumni Achievement Award from North Carlonia School of the Arts (2009). Additionally, Bokaer recently accepted the Special Citation at the New York Dance & Performance/BESSIE Awards, for the arts organization Chez Bushwick (2007); his last choreography “The Invention Of Minus One” was also awarded a BESSIE for original lighting design by Aaron Copp (2008). He’s also a 2008–2009 Young Leader of the French American Foundation, and is the first dance artist to have been awarded.
Activism: Under the leadership Bokaer in 2002, a group of artists and choreographers formed Chez Bushwick, an adventurous arts organization that has significantly impacted a new generation of dance artists, choreographers, and performers in the United States, and beyond. Founding artists developed a series of public programs that have become emblematic of a new way of working in New York City: across borders, across disciplines, employing variable aesthetic signatures, and overturning divisions between choreographer, curator, producer, and audience member. Through strategies of collaboration, activism, and public dialogue, these cultural strategies have achieved economic amnesty during a challenging real estate and funding climate in NYC. Chez Bushwick was recently awarded by the Rockefeller NYC Cultural Innovation Fund (1 of 16 awards). www.chezbushwick.net
Social Enterprise: Bokaer is a Co-Founder of CPR – Center for Performance Research, a newly formed nonprofit organization in collaboration with John Jasperse/Thin Man Dance. CPR is located at 361 Manhattan Avenue in Williamsburg, and offers a singular new development for the performing arts in Brooklyn’s first L.E.E.D.-certified green building of its kind. This 4,000 square foot arts facility is an-artist driven initiative: the new development aims to provide affordable space for rehearsal and performance, innovative arts programming, education and pedagogical engagement with the communities of New York City and abroad, as well as a dynamic new model for sustainable arts infrastructure in dance and performance. During a real estate climate that threatens to displace the arts from maintaining permanent and affordable space in NYC, CPR offers a pioneering approach to civic development, and advocacy for performance at the community level. www.cprnyc.org
Writing: Bokaer's writings have been published in Artwurl, The American Society for Alexander Teachers, Critical Corresondence, DIAL Magazine, Goldrush Dance Magazine, ITCH, Movement Research Performance Journal, and NYFA Current.
Daniel Arsham| Sculptor (2009)
Charles Atlas | Filmmaker (2003)
Liubo Borissov | Surveillance Designer (2007)
Anne Carson | Writer (2008)
Michael Cole | Video Artist (2006-2008)
Peter Coles | Sculptor (2008)
Collective Opera Company | Original Opera (2006)
Aaron Copp | Lighting Designer (2008)
Merce Cunningham | Choreographer (2000-2007)
Loren Dempster | Composer (2005–Present)
Robert Gober | Sculptor (2005)
Marisela La Grave | Intermedia Events (2003)
Christian Marclay | Composer (2008)
Isaac Mizrahi | Composer (2008)
Snarkitecture | Scenographers (2010)
Robert Wilson | Theater Artist (2007-Present)
* FAUST, By Charles Gounod (Teatr Wielki, Polish National Opera, 2008)
* AÏDA By Giuseppe Verdi (Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Italy, 2009)
* KOOL: Suzushi Hanayagi (Guggenhiem Museum, New York City, 2009)
* CONFINES (IVAM: Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia, Spain, 2009)