Biography



Polly Motley is a dance-maker, performer and collaborative artist. Her MFA from the University of Colorado concerned the interactive relationships of video and performance.  With video-artist Molly Davies, she makes performance installations for stage, museums, galleries, and out-of-theater sites. They use live-feed video to give audiences multiple views of a single action and to magnifiy details of the body. Their projected mixes of live and pre-recorded imagess extend the historical, social and psychological sense of the live performance.

Motley in interested in what people want to do with their bodies.  She teaches What do you want to do, where do you want to do it, and how long to you want to do it?,  Dance Party!!,  Performance and Media (with Molly Davies) and Technique for What?  

She questions how much time performance actions require and works outside the usual time-space constraints of traditional performance, often putting audiences inside the performance environment, inviting them to choose their vantage points. She makes situations in which audience members and performers collectively question the emerging performance.
   
Her work has been presented in New York by the Asia Society, the Baryshnikov Art Center, Danspace Project, The Kitchen, Dance Theatre Workshop, Movement Research, The New York Improvisation Festival, The Jack Tilton Gallery and Zone Chelsea. It has also been presented at  the Hammer Museum, ICA Boston, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Colorado Dance Festival, The Indonesian Dance Festival, Morishita Studios/ Tokyo, Bellet Freiburg/ Pretty Ugly, Mouson Turm Frankfurt, the Flynn Theatre/ Burlington, Vermont, Bates College Museum of Art, The Edge Festival/ San Francisco, the Contemporary Arts Museum/ Houston, and DIVA/Paris. Collaborators include: dancers Steve Paxton, David Brick/Headlong, Barbara Dilley, Cori Olinghouse, Stacy Spence, Dana Reitz, Simone Forti, Diane Madden and James Clouser; composers Charles Amirkhanian, Takehisa Kosugi, Fred Frith, Sean Clute and DJ M. Singe; video artist Molly Davies, and poets Anne Carson and Jack Collom.

Motley's expertise is in the solo dance form, inter-media collaborations, and facilitating others’ performance-making. She has worked extensively in western styles of post-modern and modern dance, classical ballet, improvisation, composition and contemplative dance. She has training in dance ethnology, body-mind centering, dance therapy, Feldencrais, Alexander,  traditional and experimental vocal techniques.

Motley was a guest artist at Naropa Institute where she studied dance ethnology with Allegra Fuller Snyder and worked with Barbara Dilley in improvisation, creative process and contemplative dance. She was Associate Director of James Clouser's Space/ Dance/ Theater in Houston, and was Clouser's choreographic assistant for the Houston Ballet Company, the Pittsburgh Ballet, and the Dallas Ballet.

She has recently taught at Middlebury College, Bennington College, University of Vermont and Johnson State College.  She was a faculty member at the University of Houston, Loretto Heights College/ Regis University in Denver, and Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado.  Her duties at the university level have included advising graduate and undergraduate students, choreographing and directing student and faculty concerts, directing graduate and undergraduate creative projects, initiating and evaluating new courses, inter-departmental committee work, recruitment and fund-raising.

She lives in Vermont with video-artist, Molly Davies.