Photo: Scott Shaw

Wendy Jehlen

2022-2023 Dancemakers Laboratory Resident

Artist Bio

Wendy Jehlen’s career has been marked by international explorations, study and creative collaboration. She received her Bachelor’s degree in ritual and performance from Brown University and her Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School with a focus on performance and religion in the former Persian world. Wendy engages in collaborations across languages, culture, media and genres. Her work questions the boundaries that we imagine between ourselves, and seeks to break down these imagined walls through an embodied practice of radical empathy. Her work has been created and performed in the US, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Canada, Italy, India, Japan, Mali, Mozambique, Palestine and Turkey. Works include The Women Gather (2022); Conference of the Birds (2018); Entangling (2015), a duet with Burkinabe choreographer Lacina Coulibaly inspired by Quantum Entanglement; The Deep (2015), a work for 25 dancers created in São Paulo, Brazil, Lilith (2013), a solo on the first woman; The Knocking Within (2012), an evening-length duet on a disintegrating relationship; Forest (2010), a journey through the archetypal forest; He Who Burns (2006), a trio on the figure of Iblis (Satan); Breathing Space (2003), a collaboration with Japanese choreographer Hikari Baba in Tokyo; Crane (2002), based on images from Japanese Buddhist poetry; and Haaaa (2002), inspired by the experience of childbirth. Jehlen has received support from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art (2017-2018), Theater Communications Group (2018), the Japan Foundation (2017), the Boston Foundation (2012, 2017, 2020), New England Foundation for the Arts (2016-2021), Network of Ensemble Theaters (2016-2021), the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (2015-2020), the Boston Center for the Arts Choreographers’ Residency program (2010, 2015), the Artist Fellowship Program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (2003, 2012), the American Institute of Indian Studies (2001, 2013), the Boston Dance Alliance (2013), the National School of Drama (2006, 2011, 2013, 2020), the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (2011), the Fulbright program (2005-2006), the National Endowment for the Arts (2005, 2019, 2020), the Tokyo American Center (2002), the Puffin Foundation (2001), and the Ford Foundation/Arts International (1996), among others. She is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fulbright Specialist, an Arts Envoy of the US Dept of State, she is on the speaker roster of African Regional Services and has received Public Affairs grants from US Embassies in Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Japan, Haiti, Rwanda, China and Mexico.

Project Description:

In her residency, Wendy is focusing on a new immersive multi-media and movement project with French composer and multi-media artist Eric Raynaud (Fraction). The new work, as yet untitled, will be a contemporary ritual, taking performers and witnesses through a series of environments inspired by text, climate change and physics. She will be hosting workshops for local Boston-area dancers in March that will explore these themes. The new work will eventually be performed in a dome, with a physical and virtual environment that envelops all involved. She has also been working on The Women Gather, a new work with international and local women performers that has been performed in two iterations in NYC and Boston, and will continue to grow in the coming year.