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JoAnna Mendl Shaw

JoAnna Mendl Shaw, Artistic Director

JoAnna Mendl Shaw is known for her large-scale site specific works. The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Choreographic Fellowships, numerous grants and choreographic commissions, Shaw has choreographed for ice dancers, in-line skaters, gymnasts and equestrians. Her dance work has been presented in New York and at venues and commissioned by dance companies throughout the States and in Europe. In 1998 Shaw launched The Equus Projects, a performance company that merges dance with equestrian artistry.


The Equus Projects has created large commissioned works for The Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University, The Myrna Loy Center for the Performing Arts, Saratoga Arts Festival, NYC River to River Festival and Heifetz International Music Festival, Bates Dance Festival, New York State DanceForce, SUNY Potsdam and theater dance works for Colorado State University, ArtStart, in Rhinelander WI, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, site works for SUNY Potsdam, the Pullman District in far south Chicago, and numerous works for their training barn, Majoda Stables in Moorestown,NJ. In 2023 the company began touring its dance-theater work Interspecies Journey, a merging of live dance, narrative storytelling and film footage from its documentary, IMPRINTED. Interspecies Journey is a trio of Equus dancers that has been performed in NYC, Philadelphia, Fort Collins Colorado, Tampa, FL  and a solo show in Jefferson NY and Welfleet MA.


Shaw has taught on the faculty at The Juilliard School, in the Ailey /Fordham BFA program Marymount Manhattan and NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She has also taught at Montclair State University, Princeton University and Mount Holyoke College and as a Guest Artist at numerous other colleges and universities throughout the States. Most recently Shaw was a Visiting Adjunct Professor at Stanford University, teaching Physical Listening for Physicians in the Stanford School of Medicine and Choreography in the Theater/Dance Department.


Shaw's international teaching and choreographic commissions include residencies in Austria, Canada, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Scotland, Switzerland, Sweden, Wales and Yugoslavia. Shaw spent seven years as a choreographic mentor for the Swiss Gymnastic Federation and has coached choreography for the Swiss Olympic Gymnastic Dance Team.


Shaw established her career in the Pacific Northwest, founding and directing Danceworks Northwest for 10 years, as Guest Artist faculty at the University of Washington and full time faculty Cornish College. Shaw played a leadership role in arts advocacy for the Pacific Northwest, receiving a 1986 Special Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts.


Shaw holds a BA from Mount Holyoke College and an MFA in Dance from the University of Utah. She is a Certified Movement Analyst in the Laban/Bartenieff work.She is the author of PHYSICAL LISTENING, A Dancer's Interspecies Journey first published in 2021 and a newly edited version just released in April 2024.

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