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Photo: Kristina Zaidner.
Christopher Rudd is a Jamaican born dance-maker and 2019 Guggenheim Choreography Fellow who blends contemporary ballet with contemporary circus to speak to relevant social issues. He began dancing at age nine in Miami, Florida through the Armour Dance Theater’s Scholarship Program, led by Ruth Wiesen. At 11, Rudd became the first Black child to dance the title role in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, an accomplishment for which ABC’s Peter Jennings named him Person of the Week in 1991. He graduated from New World School of the Arts High School and attended Dance Theatre of Harlem Summer Intensive for four summers on full scholarship.
Rudd envisioned creating dance from early on. He was fortunate to have trained and worked with a variety of artists and companies which helped develop him as a multi-faceted choreographer. He has performed with Carolina Ballet where he was a founding member, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens de Montreal, and Alberta Ballet. He was honored to work on the creation and dance for Cirque Du Soleil’s Zaia, their first resident show in Asia.
Rudd has performed in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and with The Metropolitan Opera for three seasons, as well as guested with Pennsylvania Ballet. Throughout his career he worked with a wide range of choreographers such as Mats Ek, Shen Wei, Diddy Veldman, Christopher Wheeldon, Mauro Bigonzetti, Margo Sappington, Mark Morris, Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Donald Mahler, Tyler Walters, and Robert Weiss. He also has been featured in works of George Balanchine, Jiří Kylián, William Forsythe, José Limón, Ohad Naharin, and Jean-Christophe Maillot.
Rudd created the groundbreaking Touché for American Ballet Theatre’s virtual Fall Gala in 2020. Touché had its stage debut in 2021 at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for American Ballet Theatre and its European debut in Rome, Italy at Auditorium Parco della Musica for Les Etoiles Gala 2022. Rudd has also choreographed for the Alvin Ailey School Summer Intensive, Columbia/Barnard University, Earl Mosley’s Institute of the Arts, Duke University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Dance Now! Miami, Alberta Ballet’s Workshop, Harlem Stage’s E-Moves, Ballet Divertimento in Montreal, and Muiktheater Vorarlberg in Austria. His works have been seen live in New York, Florida, Connecticut, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, Canada, France, Trinidad and Tobago, Burkina Faso, Ecuador, and Italy.
In addition to being the first recipient of The New World School of the Arts Alumni Foundation’s Inspiration Grant, Rudd has been awarded grants from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New Music USA, American Dance Abroad, Career Transition For Dancers, Harlem Stage’s Fund for New Work, World Learning Global Development and Exchange, U.S. Embassy Burkina Faso, and Arts Envoy, a program supported by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.
Rudd was honored to be a 2019/20 New Victory Theater LabWorks Artist at the New Victory Theater in New York City and their inaugural LabWorks Launch Artist. He has also been awarded residencies from Tofte Lake Center, Kaatsbaan, STREB Lab for Action Mechanics (twice), Vendetta Mathea La Manufacture in Aurillac, France, Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture through the CUNY Dance Initiative, and received a Works & Process at New Victory Theater Bubble residency at Kaatsbaan.
He founded RudduR Dance in 2015 to create works of high artistic merit and as a platform to better the world through dance. The company blends contemporary ballet with different genres of dance including contemporary circus and theatricality to speak to social issues. RudduR Dance presented works on four continents in four years and made its SummerStage debut by participating in a globally accessible Juneteenth Tribute on June 19, 2020.