the choreographer

direct headshotOriginally from Colorado, Elizabeth Dishman studied Voice Performance and Dance at Emory University, and began choreographing professionally in 1996. She earned an MFA in Choreography from The Ohio State University, and in 2001 founded Dishman + Co. Choreography in Atlanta. She moved to New York City in 2005 and embraced the city’s dares and inspirations, deepening her aesthetic voice while raising two small children, and striving to stay marginally sane. She has presented over 30 dance works at venues across the U. S. such as BRIC Studio, Gibney Dance Center, 100 Grand, Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater, Triskelion Arts, 7Stages Theatre, Schwartz Center for Performing Arts and The Beam Theater. Elizabeth has received numerous grants and fellowships, and her probing and keenly crafted choreography has been described by critics as “complex skeins and cerebral dreams”, “bodies in rigorous concentration”, and “playful and provocative…raw humanity seeps in”.

Seeking junctures between the abstract and theatrical, the universal and deeply personal, Elizabeth offers a robust dedication to both form and expression, delving into the dark and light of humanity while maintaining a staunch commitment to aesthetic truth and pure visual interest. Her collaborative process draws dancers, musicians and video artists into freshly realized forms that she sculpts into potent kinetic scenes filled with nuance and personal subtext. She often explores relational whiplash and themes of paradox, taking a wry look at cynicism, or playing with intermingled notions of the earthly and divine. As devil’s/angel’s advocate, she wrestles within the boundaries of an idea and turns it inside out through arresting physical and theatrical scenarios, unraveling dense assumptions to see what startling softnesses or crucial knots are nestled there.

She is indebted to the lovely and generous collaborators, performers, donors and audience members who have united over the years to support her visions and enable them to thrive; to her husband David, for his bedrock support, and to her sons Leif (9) and Orion (6), for providing a bottomless reservoir of good material alongside a good laugh.


the company

About the company CLAYsmallDishman + Co. Choreography is a Brooklyn-based non-profit dance organization creating contemporary dance theater works by Elizabeth Dishman and collaborators. In theatrical and pure movement modes, Dishman + Co. cultivates deep touch points with aesthetic and personal vitality through humanistic choreography that probes the elusiveness of live performance in search of lasting things. Emotionally and visually resonant works serve a broad audience through performance, educational and outreach events, providing gracious encounters with enduring themes that empower and revel in the human spirit.