Amy Yopp Sullivan
Amy Yopp Sullivan is an Associate Professor and Founding Director of The Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning and an Affiliate Faculty for the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics at Stony Brook University. Sullivan choreographs original dance theatre works, develops interdisciplinary research projects and performance collaborations, and creates film/media/movement projects. Sullivan founded the Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning at Stony Brook University in January 2009, creating the vision and scope for the new interdisciplinary center. She has developed and directed the Dance Program at Stony Brook University since 1986. As Artistic Director for the resident company IronWorks on the Edge, Sullivan creates her professional theatrical and choreographic work, built from her unique vision of dance, theatre, and media. Through the company, Sullivan provides undergraduate and graduate students opportunities to work with seasoned professionals in performance. In addition, Sullivan serves as a consultant, resident artist and somatic educator in business, industrial, educational and health care environments.
Sullivan is the Founder and Executive Director for The Festival of the Moving Body, an international festival held on the campus of Stony Brook University. "Translating Human Imagination, Sensation, Movement, Interaction, and Adaptability" is the theme for 2014 festival on the Stony Brook campus.
Sullivan is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of IronWorks on the Edge .
Sullivan begins development for her new work Swimming the River on October 4, 2013 with colleague and dance artist Lacina Coulibaly and IronWorks composer in residence, Max Duykers. The new work is built from the Babel Technique in collaboration with new music, percussion, violin, media and live dance/performance. A works-in-progress performance will take place in early to mid-December, 2013 at the Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning.
Sullivan's interdisciplinary performance, research and educational work is housed in Stony Brook University's Body Mind Lab, which is directed by Sullivan and works in cooperation with Ironworks on the Edge and TIL (the Traveling Innovation Lab).
Sullivan has designed innovative methods of teaching dance and movement through principles gleaned from traditional Dance Training, BodyMind performance skills, Laban Movement Analysis, Somatic Education and Therapy, DanceTheatre Techniques, Improvisation, Leadership Training, Techniques of Inner Action (Bruehl), Actor Training, Bartenieff Fundamentals, Religious Studies, Feldenkrais, Business Management and Community Relations. She has pursued her interest in developing interdisciplinary bodymind performance work for over 30 years; and has taught a host of students who have experimented with the connections between dance and mathematics, cellular biology, anthropology, sociology, medical studies, world religions, theatre, health sciences, design, visual art, media and many more academic disciplines.
In addition to dance and performance classes, Sullivan has presented and taught her work on Physical Intelligence (begun in 1996) and defined as "the dynamic interplay of creativity, imagination and critical thinking revealed through presence, action and performance". She has also developed theories and practice on Body Narratives (2001), and MindBody Performance throughout her career as an artist, director, choreographer, physical researcher and educator. In 1997, Sullivan originally created “It’s Your Move!” a children’s program that investigates collaborative and interdisciplinary learning based in the body and including “Dance Me a Story”, “Move into Math”, “Create a Moving History” and “Just Imagine How it Moves”. She continued to offer workshops in public/private schools and community centers offering the techniques that were developed though these programs; and adapting them to a variety of needs and environments. In 2010-2011, her educational projects expanded to "Voices of Change/Bodies of Action" and "Singing Hope with the Whole Body". Her educational and research projects for 2012-13 include TIL (the Traveling Innovation Lab) and The Body Matters Series. Sullivan will be bringing her "It's Your Move!" program to work with cancer patients at the Cancer Center at Stony Brook Medicine in July of 2013 and her "It's Your Move!" program will be offered as workshops for adults who need to work through stress, trauma and other challenges at the Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning beginning in the fall of 2013 as part of the Community School for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning.
Sullivan's teaching and creative work have taken her to Korea, China, Mexico, France, Germany, Portugal, The Netherlands and throughout the US. She holds an MFA in choreography and performance from University of North Carolina, Greensboro; a Masters degree in Religious Education from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; and a Certification as a Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst from the Integrated Movement Studies program, based at the University of Utah. She is currently completing her Registration as a Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist. In 2008, she was invited by the Acadiana Arts Council in Lafayette, Louisiana to work with artists to recover their creative voice after the effects of hurricane Katrina through "Project Alive!".
As an active choreographer, Amy Yopp Sullivan has participated on the international, national, regional and local levels. Her work includes participation at the International Festival of Dance and Community in Almada, Portugal; The American Choreographer’s Showcase in Mexico City at the International Festival of Dance in the Americas, and site performances in the Netherlands, Paris, Hong Kong and Seoul. Her work was produced by the John Drew Theatre at Guild Hall in East Hampton, the T. Schrieber Studio in NYC, Avram Theatre in Southampton, American College Dance Festival Galas, Summer Stock Musical Theatre Seasons and International New Music Festivals. Her choreography and dance/theatre productions have also been presented at the Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University. In 2008, she studied and performed at the Bessie Schoenberg Experienced Choreographer’s Lab at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York City, directed by Keely Garfield and Lawrence Goldhuber. Her first film project Sea Bourne, a work in progress, explores the place of the moving body in documentary film-making and examines our relationship to the sea. It is slated for completion in 2012. She is developing her new screenplay “The Woman Who Lived Next Door", which incorporates the moving body into a full-length feature film.
Sullivan recently collaborated as a performer on the recent play, Running the Gauntlet, written and directed by Lauren Kaushansky, and performed in support of the Cancer Center at Stony Brook University in June of 2012. In July of 2013, Sullivan will begin service as an Artist in Residence at the Cancer Center at SBU, part of the GATE (Guest Artists to Empower) program with Linda Bily and the Arts in Medicine program at Stony Brook Medical Center.
Sullivan's dancetheatre performance work, Shirtwaist: Legacies Woven to Wear was performed at the 10th Annual "Re-Invisioning Immigration" Event at the Wang Center at Stony Brook University in May of 2010. Sullivan developed and conceived of the installation work Sensorium, directing her students in their own choreographies and performances interfacing with movement and visual art for Erasing Borders, an international exhibit of Indian Art.
Throughout the past years, Sullivan’s artistic work has received funding and/or support from the New York State Council for the Arts (administered through the Huntington Arts Council), The New York Foundation for the Arts, the Herman Goldman Foundation in New York City, Chase Manhattan Bank Restart Program and JPMorgan/Chase Artist Reachout Program (administered through the Huntington Arts Council), The Greater Port Jefferson/Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, The East End Arts Council, The United University Professionals Union, The State University of New York at Stony Brook, The Village of Port Jefferson, The Town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County Cultural and Economic Development, Suffolk County Legislature, Long Island Maritime Museum, Long Island Seaport and Ecological Center and private donors.
As an educator, Amy Yopp Sullivan has received a national Lilly Endowment Teaching Fellowship, the Presidential Merit Award from Western Illinois University, The President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching at SUNY-Stony Brook, and The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from the State University of New York. She is a member of the Blue Key Honor Fraternity, an Honorary Member of the International Golden Key Society, and a Distinguished Member of the Society for Collegiate Scholars. Sullivan was named the Woman of the Year in the Arts from the Town of Brookhaven, based on her educational and community outreach. She was honored by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as a recipient of the Ethel Martus Lawther Alumni Award. In 1999, Sullivan was selected as one of 250 national artists designated as the “most skilled and experienced artist in communities” by the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 2000-2001, Sullivan spearheaded The Shoe Project and The Great Shoe Giveaway, giving 15,000 donated dance shoes and dance classes to disadvantaged and homeless communities. This project collaborated with numerous divisions and programs at Stony Brook University and over fifteen community centers and organizations throughout Long Island.
Amy Yopp Sullivan’s career can be described as an effort in cross-pollination. As an artisteducator, she draws upon the knowledge, values and experiences of a variety of people, and then shapes the art to represent their unique and significant voice. Her work spirals out of networks of creativity, imagination, the body, and physical manifestations of space and time. She uncovers honest, evocative vocabularies, and seeks to make meaning in our lives and world through inquiry, innovation and collaboration.