Benjamin Levy

"For me, the actual dance and the choreography and the movement is just a vessel."
-- Benjamin Levy

View Spark segment on Benjamin Levy. Original air date: July 2007. (Running Time: 6:50)

With a body of work noted for its pulsing athleticism and intelligent composition, Benjamin Levy has become one of the Bay Area's most sought-after choreographers, creating a style marked by personal inspiration distilled into pure movement.

In his 2007 work tentatively called "Bone Lines," Levy translates into dance the story of his own family, Persian Jewish immigrants who fled Iran during the religious revolution of the 1970s. Levy brings Spark inside the process of creating this piece premiering at the Jewish Community Center in San Francisco. For this production, he collaborates with his five-member troupe along with designers Colleen Quen and Rick Lee and composer Keeril Makan, whose original score will be recorded by the Kronos Quartet.

Born and raised in California, Levy studied dance as a teen, appearing with Janet Roston's Advanced Dance Theater Group at Beverly Hills High School. His love of dance solidified when he encountered the work of Martha Graham as a student in the dance department at the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned his bachelor's degree.

As a dancer, Levy has trained with such noted Bay Area choreographers and teachers as Janice Garrett, Ellie Klopp and Robert Moses. He has also performed with Marni Woods's Bay Area Dance Repertory Company and the Lula Washington Dance Theater, and he spent two seasons as a company member of the Joe Goode Performance Group.

His creative and choreographic spirit, however, led him to form his own company, LEVYdance, in 2002, while he was still at UC Berkeley. The following year, the young company made a splash with its residency and performances during ODC Theater's "House Special" series, for which he created LEVYdance's acclaimed "Holding Pattern." The very next year, Levy was named among the "25 to Watch" artists by "Dance Magazine."

Within only five years, Levy's company garnered national attention, appearing not only throughout the Bay Area, but also at the Joyce SoHo in New York, at the Dance Place in Washington, D.C., and with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Minimalist Jukebox Festival. Described by "Dance Magazine" contributor Heather Wisner as "a balance of brain and brawn," Levy's work buzzes with life and intensity.

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