Faculty & Staff Directory
Xan Burley
Assistant Professor
School of Theatre + Dance/Dance

XAN BURLEY (she/her) is a choreographer, performer, teacher, and arts administrator who was based in New York City until 2018. Burley performed, toured, and taught nationally and internationally with Doug Varone and Dancers from 2012-17, dancing on stages such as the Joyce, BAM/Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Metropolitan Opera. She continues to act as répétiteur for many of Varone’s seminal works and most recently staged his Bessie Award-winning 2006 piece Boats Leaving with her partner Alex Springer. She has also had the pleasure of working with artists such as Nancy Bannon, Daniel Charon, Jeanine Durning, Shannon Gillen, Angie Hauser, Shannon Hummel, Donnell Oakley, and Tami Stronach, among others.

Burley’s choreographic research is first and foremost a dialogic exchange with Alex Springer, her creative and life partner, with whom she has been working since 2005. Together they co-design a plural enterprise grounded in co-creative performance-making. They, in collaboration with artists across disciplines, situate movement in visual and sonic environments to yield something shareable. This includes dances for the stage and camera, site-specific work, interactive multi-media installation, community engagement, and teaching. In addition, they frequently collaborate with sound, visual, and performance artist Will Owen.

Burley and Springer’s work has been presented in NYC and elsewhere by Movement Research at the Judson Church, Danspace Project, NDA’s Performance Mix Festival, Joe’s Pub, the 92Y, the TANK, MATA Interval at the Museum of the Moving Image, Gowanus Art & Production, the American Dance Festival (NC), Smith College’s Theatre 14 (MA), the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (MA), Trinity College (CT), Rhode Island College, and the Dance Complex (MA), among others. With Springer, she has received support for the development of their creative work through a Jacob’s Pillow Research Fellowship and site-specific commission, the Marble House Project Artist Residency, a yearlong artist residency at University Settlement in NYC, and space grants from Gibney Dance, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and Triskelion Arts. Their evening-length transdisciplinary project for North was created as recipients of Center for Performance Research’s Technical and Production residency and with support from CPR’s Mertz Gilmore Late Stage Production grant. Burley and Springer have been commissioned to create performance work for many  university and college dance departments and repertory companies throughout the U.S. including the University of Michigan, James Madison University (VA), Skidmore College (NY), Ohio University, and Zenon Dance Company (MN), to name a few.

They have created numerous dance films, including daylighting (2009), which won the Silver Award in DFA’s 24-Hour Challenge. An Ostrich Proudly (2011) was featured on Hulu in TenduTV’s Essential Dance Film and was the subject of a scholarly article by Priscilla Guy titled Where Is the Choreography? Who Is the Choreographer? Alternate Approaches to Choreography through Editing. Their choreography also appears in the feature-length film Frances Ha (2013), which was later screened at the Boondock Film Society (NY) with a coinciding site-specific performance of Burley’s duet never only one.

Burley’s academic appointments have included a Teaching Fellowship at Smith College, a Teaching Artist-in-Residence position at the University of Maryland, and as guest faculty at Purchase College and Wesleyan University. She has been on faculty at the Bates Dance Festival, Gibney, USDAN Summer Camp for the Arts, Poly Prep Performing Arts Camp, PAVE Academy, and Cora School for Dance, among other professional, pre-professional, and youth dance programs. She and Springer have taught master classes in Contemporary Technique, Partnering, Composition, and Improvisation throughout the U.S. Burley recently presented a paper on heterotopic place-making in dance performances at the Dance Studies Association 2019 conference.

Burley holds an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College and received bachelor’s degrees in Dance and English from the University of Michigan. With Springer, she was honored with the 2015 Emerging Artist Alumni Award from Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. www.xanandalex.com

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