As a dancemaker, Susan Douglas Roberts is curious about the details that bridge choreographed and lived experience, and frame the choices that performing artists make on stage. She engages in creative studio-oriented research through DanceTCU and as artistic director of a professional project-based company, wild goose chase dance. Most recently, her dances have been part of international showcases in Newfoundland, Texas, France and Taiwan. Over the years, her work has been presented on showcases and in festival performances in Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, Japan, Italy, and Germany as well as across the US, including NYC. Susan has long been interested in creating work that bridges dance and literary constructs and contexts into abstract theatrical experiences. She is particularly drawn to magical realism and the challenge of conveying overlapping realities. She has enjoyed making original work together with composers, photographers, poets, and filmmakers. In addition to her own dancemaking, Susan and her husband, Don, facilitate choreographic and educational residencies and retreats at wild goose chase/the landing in Maine.
Susan’s 2020-2021 projects outside of the University include a dancemaking with and for dance artists of The Bell House (Tulsa, OK) and a dance for the camera project with director/choreographer Alex Masi (Austin, TX) and performing artist Kelly Todd (NY, NY).
The ongoing work with The Bell House is a re-envisioning of a dance that was workshopped by DanceTCU in 2018: Threshold. The experience is defined by an ongoing series of interactions between Susan and the performing artists of The Bell House – in the studio, via Zoom, via shared writings, and various community-based experiences. The work is an in-depth look at the spaces in which we “house” experience: past, present and future. The original premier date was summer 2020, now postponed to summer 2021. One of the activities that is both derived from the project, and feeds it is IG #ThresholdAnew.
The dance for the camera work with Alex Masi and Kelly Todd began in a fall 2019 filming session in Maine, at wild goose chase/the landing. After a week of filming, the trio presented a community event for area residents on the role of the camera in dance. The working title of the film is fleeting and Alex and Susan are in continuous process to finish the film, in spite of physical distancing!
Susan works to further TCU’s mission to mentor emerging artists as global leaders in projects and relationships that merge research, education and service. Together with colleague Adam McKinney, Assistant Professor of Dance in the SCCDance, she supports TCU Global Innovator Godelieve Mukasarasi in her work through SEVOTA Peace Institute in Rwanda. The relationship is developing in an ongoing project designed to create a long-term, sustainable connection with Mrs. Mukasarasi and SEVOTA, one that is characterized by collaborative work with the SEVOTA organization, current TCU students, and alumni. Mrs. Mukasarasi is a global leader, recognized world-wide for her work in peace, healing and reconciliation. She originated the now multi-faceted programing of SEVOTA with a single act: she brought together women who survived the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda to dance as a way to begin to heal.
Between fall of 2017 and spring of 2019, Susan and colleague Sarah Newton, Instructor in Dance, worked continuously with Dance Exchange Associate Artistic Director, Matthew Cumbie, the TCU Office of Community Engagement, Refugee Services of Texas and Rose Marine Theater’s Artes de la Rosa Academy to create meaningful community relationships via dance and storytelling. The culminating event was a production of Liz Lerman’s 1986 work Still Crossing, performed by DanceTCU and friends in the community. The Still Crossing project established the groundwork for these and other relationships to form and mature in the space where research and education intersect in our Fort Worth community.
As dancemaker, Susan choreographs with and for BFA majors as well as professional performers. In spring, 2020, she was fortunate to be able to work with Dr. Blaise Ferrandino, one of the resident composers in the TCU School of Music, to create Sonata for Piano, Violoncello and Dance. With a cast of seven DanceTCU members, four of whom were seniors and are now embarking on professional careers, and renowned faculty artists Dr. Gloria Lin (piano) and Dr. Jesús Castro-Balbi (violoncello) also from the TCU School of Music, the sonata was crafted in three movements. Resident designer Roma Flowers fused lighting and stage design with a group of panels on which projections were cast from behind. With dancers able to move around the panels, in and out of the projections, in costumes by resident costume designer, Susan Austin, that also captured imagery, the stage was set for a fully dimensional experience. The premier has been postponed.
College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teacher/Scholar (2019)
TCU Office of Community Engagement: TCU Engaged Faculty Award (2019)
TCU Global Innovator Award for Godelieve Mukasarasi, SEVOTA, Rwanda with colleagues Adam McKinney, Assistant Professor of Dance, and John Singleton Director, TCU International Services (2018)
Stonington Opera House Harbor Residency Artist-in-Residence (2017)
TCU Research and Creative Activities Grant 2016-2017 Measuring Time
Adjudicator – ACDA Northwest Conference (2014)
South-Central ACDA Gala (2012)
College of Fine Arts Distinguished Teacher/Scholar Award (2012)
Fulbright Specialist Award: Centro de Danza e Investigación del Movimiento, Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala (2011)
TCU Research and Creative Activities Grant 2010-2011 breath to bone
TCU Deans’ Teaching Award for Outstanding Teaching (2009)
Fulbright Specialist Award: Taipei National University of the Arts, Taiwan (2008)
TCU International Services Award for Intercultural Teaching and Service (2004)
Pilates Method Alliance: Nationally Certified Pilates Trainer (NCPT)
Artistic Director, wild goose chase dance (since 1995)
Co-Artistic Director, Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth (1990-2000)
Director, New Century Danscene (1989-1997) – community engagement and presenting organization funded by the Bass Foundation through the Arts Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County
American College Dance Association
- Lifetime Member of ACDA
- Executive Board Secretary (2013-2018)
- Board of Directors
- Regional Director, South-Central Region (2007-2012)
- Representative, South-Central Region (2003-2007)
World Dance Alliance
- Co-Director Creation/Performance Network (2009-2014)
- Member since 2004