Company: The Foundry
Alex Ketley is an independent choreographer, filmmaker, and the director of The Foundry. Formerly a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet, he left the company to create The Foundry as a platform to explore his interests in alternative methods of devising performance. The company has allowed Ketley the freedom to pursue projects that would be difficult to realize within his commissioning career. A few examples of these are: Syntax, an hour long duet systemically using the mechanics of language as an organizing mechanism; Lost Line researched how the application of environment affects the generation of movement and studied in direct response to California’s diverse physical landscapes; Please Love Me jettisoned the structure of performing in a theater context and was developed with a curiosity about how people genuinely connect and experience artwork; and the No Hero Trilogy which was a multi-year project that explored what dance and performance means to the lives of people living throughout rural America. The Foundry’s diverse work has been enthusiastically received by audiences, the press, and funders.
For his independent work as a choreographer he has been commissioned extensively throughout the United States, as well as projects in Germany and Italy, and has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition, the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur, the Choo-San Goh Award, the Princess Grace Award for Choreography, four Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies, the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Award, the Eben Demarest Award, the National Choreographic Initiative Residency, a Kenneth Rainin Foundation New and Experimental Works Grant, three CHIME Fellowships, a Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation Grant, the Artistry Award from the Superfest International Disability Film Festival, and his work was featured on national television through an invitation from the show So You Think You Can Dance. His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards in the categories of; Outstanding Achievement by an Ensemble, Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, Outstanding Achievement by a Company, and nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.
As an educator he has taught throughout the world and currently holds the position of Advanced Lecturer at Stanford University’s Theater and Performance Studies Department. He was the Resident Choreographer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance for fourteen years until its closure in 2018.
In 2020 he became a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, one of the most prestigious honors in the United States recognizing individuals “who have demonstrated exceptional creative ability in the arts.”
During the pandemic, he and David Maurice created an international choreographic mentorship program in collaboration with The Haven addressing what it meant to be an artist in a time of so much global distress.
Most recently he has been collaborating with his friend Bill Clark, who is an innocent man currently incarcerated on death row at San Quentin State Prison. In 2023 they are co-teaching a class at Stanford called DanceAcution: Performance Practice, Death Row, and the Evolution of Cultural Reform. The class uses Bill’s experience as an incarcerated individual as the platform for the development of new work.