Maida Withers

photo of Maida Withers
Title:
Professor of Dance
Faculty:
Full-Time
Email:
[email protected]
Website:
Personal Dance Company Website

Bio

Maida Withers was born in Kanab, Utah and was able to define her career with early experiences with legendary artists including Mary Wigman and Folkwangschule (Germany), Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham, Erick Hawkins, Anna Halprin, Welland Lathrop, Hanya Holm, and, most importantly, John Cage. Professor Withers was an important player in establishing radical notions in the dance revolution in the 1960s and this significant work continues her interest in experimentation and collaboration, dance improvisation as performance, creation and presentation of works on site, art as social and political activism, and the integration of dance and interactive technologies. Beginning with performances of herself on projected video on stage as early as 1970, her international work is driven by social and political consciousness, featuring rotating loudspeakers, laser beams, wireless cameras, cyber worlds, video installations video feedback, and is always accompanied by original music created and performed live. As a groundbreaking artist, Professor Withers was one of the first artists to combine live performance in a responsive laser environment (in collaboration with Rockne Krebs) and one of the first to interact in real time with dancers wearing the Emotiv Helmet to capture expressive brain waves of the dancer to interact and alter 3-D projected animation “live” on stage.

At GW, Professor Withers designed and implemented the dance programs for the BA, MA, and MFA degrees and is currently the Artistic Director for the Dance Program Performance Season. She teaches courses including Dance Improvisation, Trends in Performance Art, and dance Composition. She is the mother of four adult children and two Russian/American grandchildren.

 


Recent & Current Work

In addition to teaching, Maida Withers has created a significant body of work for Maida Withers Dance Construction Company since 1974, including over 100 dances for stage, site, and film funded by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Rockefeller Fund, CEC Artslink, Virginia Commission on the Arts, US Department of State and others.

In February 2018, Professor Withers premiered the politically charged multimedia work, DIGG, in a joint concert with Kei Takei from Tokyo. Also in 2018, for the 60th Anniversary celebration of the Exhibition Center in Kyiv, Ukraine, she created an evening length work for 18 dancers.

 


Distinctions

Professor:  Purdue University, Howard University, Rick’s College

Board Member

Maida Withers Dance Construction Company, President and Artistic Director (1974 - present)

Founder/Curator: DC International Improvisation Plus+ Festival (1995-2010)
Amazing Earth Festival, Kanab, Utah - Founding Board Member (2008 – present)

International Celebration Conference, Board Member (1992 - 1998)

Washington Project for the Arts - Founding Board Member, Program Chair (1978 – 1985)

Kennedy Center - Committee on Programs for Children and Youth, Education (1979 – 1981)

National Endowment for the Arts - Artists in School, Specialist and Review Panel (1973-1979)

 

Awards
▪  DC Mayor’s Arts Award “Special Recognition” Kennedy Center, 2014

▪   Nominee - Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Teaching Award, 2010
▪   John Muir Award, Environment Film Competition in Recognition of Excellence in
    Filmmaking, Yosemite International Film Festival, Yosemite, California - Film: TUK, 2009      
▪   Dancing in the Desert, Las Vegas, Nevada - Lifetime Achievement Award, 2009
▪   Key to the City of Kanab, Utah - Mayor’s Award for Distinctive Contribution, 2009
▪   Nominee: GW:Oscar and Shoshana Trachtenberg Teaching Award 2009

▪   Cultural Envoy - U.S. Department of State and US Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya, 2008

▪   Dance Place Lifetime Educator’s Achievement Award, Washington, DC, 2007
▪   Metro DC Dance Award Outstanding Overall Production– Large Venue, Kennedy Center, 2006

▪   DC Mayor’s Arts Award Excellence in an Artistic Discipline, Kennedy Center, 2005
▪   Virginia Commission for the Arts and Humanities, Choreographer’s Fellowship, 2003

▪   Pola Nirenska Award for Exceptional Creative Contribution, 2001
▪   The George Washington University Columbian Professorship Award, 1999
▪   The George Washington University Service Award, 1999
▪    Other: National Endowment for the Arts Choreographers Fellowship; NEA Inter Arts; NEA Visual Arts in Performing Arts; Dilthey Fellowship for Creative Collaboration; Fulbright;

Washingtonian Magazine Award to Outstanding Women, others.

 

Performances

100 works created through a collaborative process; touring:
Washington, DC

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
Lisner Auditorium
Carter Barron Amphitheatre
Dance Place
Smithsonian:  Renwick Gallery and American History Museum; Renwick Gallery / Grand Salon National Air and Space Museum and the Einstein Planetarium; International Gallery of Art
Theatre Roosevelt Island
Holy Rood Cemetery, Georgetown, Washington, DC
U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, World War II (Iwo Jima), Arlington, VA
Washington Project for the Arts
Corcoran Gallery of Art
Joe’s Emporium
Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre, GW
Fringe Festival, Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, DC
International Improvisation Plus+ Festival, Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre 1995-2010
Hilda Thorpe Artist’s Studio Gallery, Alexandria, VA
Prince George’s Public Playhouse,  Riverside, Maryland
Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic Site and Freedom Plaza, Washington, DC

USA
Lincoln Center, Great Dance in the Bandshell, Damrosch Park, NYC
Amazing Earth Festival, Kanab, Utah
Alwin Nikolais 100th Anniversary Celebration, Hunter College, NYC
Alvin Ailey Theatre, NYC
Columbus Gallery of Art, Columbus, Ohio
Nikolas Leichter Studio, NYC
Utah State Arts Festival, Library/Theatre, Salt Lake City, Utah
Four city tour: Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta
Dancing in the Desert, Las Vegas, Nevada

 

International Tours / Performances
Akademie der Kunst Festival, Berlin, Germany
31st Festival d’Inverno UFMG, Teatro Nacional, Ouro Preto, Brazil

Aula Magna Theatre, Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela
Beam Theatre, Tokyo, Japan
Munye Theatre, Seoul, Korea

Universidad Metropolitana de Caracas, Caracas, Venezuela
Teatro de la Danza, Mexico City, Mexico
Bodies of Influence, 10th Anniversary School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam.

Jooksan Festival, Ansong, Korea

K.A.C. International Exchange Modern Dance Festival, Taejon, Korea

Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong

Guangdong Dance Company, Guangzhou, China

Theatre Dunois, Paris, France
International Russian Congress, Norilsk, Russia
Luna (Moon) Theatre, Moscow, Russia

Ballet and Opera House, Isadora International Dance Festival, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia Zagrebi Festival! Zagreb, Croatia
Lenin Museum, Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, Russia
Kuala Lumpur Ballet Company, Kuala Lumpur, West Malaysia

Barents SPEKTAKEL, Kirkines, Norway
TOUCH 3 Festival, Arkhangelsk, Russia
Universidad Anhembi Morumbi, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Northern Lights Festival, Tromsø, Norway
2nd International Conference on Art and Technology, Brasilia
Hoam Theatre, Korean Arts Council International Modern Dance Festival, Seoul, Korea

Taejon Cultural Center, Taejon, Korea
Eco ’92, United Nations Earth Summit, Museo de Arte Moderno – Rock Garden, Rio de Janeiro;
Sugarloaf Mountain, City Stage
Side Step International Dance Improvisation Festival, Zodiak Center for Dance, Helsinki, Finland
International Festival of Dance, Mexico City, Mexico

IV International Dance Conference and Festival, Bytom, Poland with performances City Plaza,

Placu Sejmu Slaskiego, Katowice, Poland; Kazimierz ul Szeroka, Kracow, Poland

Akademie der Kunst Festival (Academy of the Arts) Berlin, Germany
National Dance Festival, Volgograd, Russia
Art Angar Center for Contemporary Art, 15th Century Solovetsky Monestary (Gulag) and other locations, Solovki Island, Russia

 

Dance Films

Park City Film Music Festival, Park City, Utah

Int’l Video Dance Festival of Burgundy, France

Artisphere Dome Theatre, (Dance Films) Arlington, VA

Istanbul International Dance Film Festival, Istanbul, Turkey

FinnUS – Finland and USA Exchange; Embassy of Finland. DC

Danslenz, New De Istanbul International Dance Film Festival, Istanbul, Turkey lhi, India

Yosemite International Film Festival - recipient of the John Muir Award for Outstanding Filmmaking

Wollumbin Film Festival, Wollumbin, Australia

Get Reel in Moab Film Festival, Moab, Utah

DC 2008 Independent Film Festival, Washington,

IMZ Dance Screen, Frankfurt Germany

III Sao Carlos Video dance Festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Women Make Movies VIII, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

Women In Film Festival, Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

DC 1990 Rosebud Film Festival

United Nations Eco ’92 Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as part of events sponsored by 100 International Artists for Ecology.

Cable TV

Metro-Arts Program, Fairfax, Virginia.(severl performance videos)

Perfect Moment at WPA Documentary: Withers interviews patrons viewing controversial Mapplethorpe exhibition at Washington Project for the Arts. Footage appeared on Oprah and USA newscasts.

Dance, Dance, Dance (30-min each) Maida Withers narrator. Ten-part dance series by NBC-TV, Washington, DC; Televised in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, St. Louis, and D.C.

 


Performances

Maida Withers has toured & engaged in collaborative projects in over 20 countries with more than 13 projects in various cities in Russia since 1996 and more than 8 projects in Brazil including the first international Earth Summit, Eco'92. Her projects and tours are often sponsored by Embassies and the Department of State.

International performances & residencies include:

  • UK
  • France
  • Poland
  • Norway
  • Ukraine
  • The Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Russia
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • China
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico
  • Venezuela
  • Costa Rica
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Kenya
  • Others

Her films have been shown in festivals and exhibitions in:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Mexico
  • UK
  • Germany
  • USA in Colorado, Utah, Virginia, and DC

 


Education

BA in Dance & Theatre, Brigham Young University
MA in Dance, University of Utah