b. 1950 Nacogdoches, Texas

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO
Master of Fine Arts in Choreography, 1992

University of St. Thomas, Houston, TX
Bachelor of Science in Religious Education, 1974

Polly Motley began making dances in 1974. 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 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 in Burlington, Bates College Museum of Art, the Edge Festival/ San Francisco, the Contemporary Arts Museum/ Houston, and DIVA/Paris. Collaborators include: dancers Steve Paxton, Dana Reitz, Simone Forti and James Clouser; composers Charles Amirkhanian, Takehisa Kosugi, Fred Frith and DJ M. Singe; video artist Molly Davies, and poets Anne Carson and Jack Collom. Motley's current work is focused on performance installations for museums and out-of-theater spaces. She also makes dances for a diversity of dance/ theater companies and teaches performance-making and improvisation in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Motley was Associate Director of James Clouser's Space/ Dance/ Theater in Houston, and served as Clouser's choreographic assistant for the Houston Ballet Company, the Pittsburgh Ballet, and the Dallas Ballet.

She has served on the faculties of the University of Houston, Loretto Heights College, Regis University in Denver, and Naropa University in Boulder. She was a guest artist at Naropa University where she studied dance ethnology with Allegra Fuller Snyder and worked with Barbara Dilley in improvisation, creative process, and contemplative dance. Motley earned an MFA from the University of Colorado with a thesis on the interactive relationships of video and performance.

She lives in Vermont and has developed partnerships with presenters and arts organizations in her home area working to enhance the cultural vitality of the underserved local communities.


Museum & Gallery Performances

River Arts, Morrisville, VT
Critical State  

Helen Day Art Center, Stowe, VT
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie 

Baryshnikov Art Center, New York, NY
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie

Flynn Center for the Arts, Burlington, VT
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie, with Diane Madden

River Arts, Morrisville, VT
3 works in progress with NYC and Malaysian guest artists

Alliance for the Visual Arts, Lebanon, NH
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie

MassMoCA/ Regional Dance Development Initiative
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie

DIVA/ Paris
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie

Bedford-Stuyvesent Event Center, Bronx, NY
Go Tell Aunt Rhodie

Asia Society, New York, NY
Traditions, Inventions and Exchange a collaboration with Mugiyono, Kota Yamazaki, Molly Davies

Zone Chelsea, New York, NY
Drawing From the Body, a performance/installation with video by Molly Davies and sound by DJ M. Singe

Smith College Fine Arts Department, Northampton, MA
Drawing From the Body

The Kitchen, New York, NY
The Mirror of Simple Souls, an intermedia installation with images by Molly Davies, text by Anne Carson and sound by Fred Frith

Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans
Drawing From the Body

MousomTurm, Frankfurt, GR
Drawing From the Body

Jack Tilton Gallery, New York, NY
Drawing From the Body

The Kitchen, New York, NY
You Can Sing Anytime, multimedia collaboration with Molly Davies and Charles Amirkhanian

Boulder Center for the Arts, Boulder, CO
The Bale Light Stories, with installation by architect, Vaida Daukantas

University of Colorado Art Gallery, Boulder, CO
Ladder, with installation by Vaida Daukantas, video by Janice Tanaka

Spark Gallery, Denver, CO
Articulating the Spark Space, with installation by Vaida Daukantas

Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX
My Fair Lady, performance/installation

Other Performances

2009 Atlanta, Georgia - Charmed Romantics, quintet for CORE Performance Company

2007 Canaldanse, Paris - Large Open House, with Olivier Besson and Mike Vargas

2004 Danspace Project, NYC - Dancing the Numbers, solo evening

2002 Indonesian Dance Festival, Jakarta - Field, solo

Ballet Freiburg/ Pretty Ugly, Freiburg, Germany - Director, The Dancer’s Mind

1997 The Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, NYC - evening of new works

Flynn Center for the Arts, Burlington, VT - Apple, with Simone Forti

1995 Indonesian Dance Festival, Jakarta - set by Molly Davies, sound by Charles Amirkhanian

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Lee, MA - Folk Dance; Stand By Your Man

Morishita Studios, Tokyo - Waiting: Walking and Standing

1993 Dance Theater Workshop, NYC - Indigenous Culture, solo evening

Edge Festival San Francisco, San Francisco - Stand By Your Man and Point of Rescue

1992 The Naropa Institute, Boulder - DeChirico’s Daughter, with Molly Davies and Takehisa Kosugi

 Justus Liebig Universitat, Giessen, Germany - Night of the Senses, directed by Molly Davies

Pepsico Summerfare, SUNY Purchase - Suspect Terrain with Dana Reitz (director), Steve Paxton, Laurie Booth, Jennifer Tipton, and Hans Peter Kuhn