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. She choreographs original dance theatre works, develops interdisciplinary research, community and performance projects, and creates film/media/movement collaborations. 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; and 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. Sullivan's new dance theatre work (2015), We Have Yet to Find the Words, is in rehearsal and will be performed on April 23, 24, and 25, 2015 at the Center's Performance Series, Explorations on a Live Wire. Sullivan serves as a consultant, resident artist and somatic educator in business, industrial, educational and health care environments; and has been engaged in Artist in Community projects throughout her career.
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" was the theme for 2014 festival on the Stony Brook campus, which was held at the Charles B. Wang Center of October 16 and 17, 2014.
Swimming the River a new artistic community project begun in October, 2013, is being developed with colleagues from a host of disciplines. The project seeks to reimagine how the arts and humanities can influence new creative applications for existing technologies, promoting relationships and representations of diverse voices within our changing environments. The project will be in development at the Nissequogue River and the Nissequogue River State Park from April 2015- November 2016. Sullivan's interdisciplinary performance, research and educational work is housed through Stony Brook University's Body Mind Lab, housed at the Center for Dance, Movement and Somatic Learning.
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) as "the dynamic interplay of creativity, imagination and critical thinking revealed through presence, action and performance". She has developed theories and practice on Body Narratives (2001), and MindBody Performance throughout her career as a 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. It includes “Dance Me a Story”, “Move into Math”, “Create a Moving History” and “Just Imagine How it Moves”. 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 include TIL (the Traveling Innovation Lab) and The Body Matters Series.
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. 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'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 and the body. She uncovers honest, evocative vocabularies, and seeks to make meaning in our lives and world through inquiry, innovation and collaboration.