Residency Dates: May 13, 2018 - June 02, 2018
Application Deadline: December 03, 2017

S. Ama Wray is an artist whose primary focus is dance. This is often in conjunction with other creative forces, music and technology being key. She is a choreographer, dancer and researcher who takes an exceptional interest in Jazz as a fueling agent to developing her work and philosophy. This is manifested not only in collaborations and research with combined music and dance outcome, but has led her to innovative uses of new technology that extend the bounds of improvisation to include the audience in spontaneous creativity.

Her NESTA Fellowship has led her on to a pioneering creation Texterritory which through the use of mobile phone technology enables the audience to influence the performance. As the winner of the ADE competition the work has toured internationally in Germany, Romania, and Italy as well as produced for a large-scale outdoor event in Trafalgar Square.

Alongside this she has begun the international dissemination of the Kaleidoscope Approach; a methodology for the practice of integrated dance and music improvisation. The development of this work received the Gerry Fuller prize for academic excellence when presented for her Master’s thesis.

For over 10 years she danced with the UK’s leading Contemporary Dance Company’s Rambert and “London Contemporary Dance Theatre”. In tandem with this activity, she began creating her own work and in the summer of 1992, JazzXchange Music and Dance Company was formed. During the company’s first 10 years she created work with Wynton Marsalis, Byron Wallen, Julian Joseph, Gary Crosby (Jazz Jamaica), and Derek Bermel. She also made a guest appearance with Bobby McFerrin.

Wray is the custodian of a seminal work Harmonica Breakdown and is the artist who is depicted in the film of this classic work choreographed by Jane Dudley. Her own solo film Special Request shot in New York captures her versatile approach and wide-ranging vocabulary; covering Tap, Modern, African and Caribbean, Hip Hop and Ballet, all of which play a part in today’s expressive dancing. (See video archive at

In community art’s settings, she has collaborated with the London Music Orchestra, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, for the Millennium celebrations she was commissioned to choreograph The Carnival for the Opening Ceremony at the Dome with designer and producer Keith Khan, created for 300 people. In 2000 Sheron became one of the first Artists – in – Residence at the Royal Opera House.

Internationally collaborations have included New York contemporary music group TONK, Tumbuka Dance Company Zimbabwe, DJD – Canada, the Filipino National Commission on Culture and Arts. She has also taught and choreographed in Argentina, Italy and Germany. For academic institutions; UC Irvine – California, Fonty’s Dansacademie-Holland. Sheron has been an associate visiting choreographer for Danza Libre in Cuba since 1999.

Wray was one of the co – founders of ADAD (Association of Dance of the African Diaspora), an organization dedicated to dissemination and highlighting of work created from an Africanist perspective. She teaches and choreographs for a number of British institutions including the, London Contemporary Dance School, Middlesex University, London Studio Centre, Rambert Dance Company, Royal Ballet School, Dance Arts International, New Adventures and Union. She contributes articles for dance based publications and is often invited to present and chair discussions at seminars and conferences.

For more information, please visit…

S. Ama Wray’s TED talk:


Residency Statement

During the residency the associate artists are introduced to Embodiology®, a neo-African model of performance-as-improvisation, and through daily workshops, which involves active physical participation and generous reflective discussions, a wealth of self-knowledge is revealed.  Generative spontaneous performances are realized through this method along with a new set of creative tools for developing solo and group choreography. The technologies of dance improvisation, as practiced across the African Diaspora, have largely been hidden, but once revealed they create an engine of unstoppable creativity. With this approach to improvisation interaction with music is critical therefore musicians are also welcome to apply. Our daily group work will lead on to the formation of smaller group or solo works that, with support, will generate their own trajectories throughout the residency.

This residency will be of interest to artists who would assuredly affirm that their entryway into dance or music is through the gateway of Africa and its diasporan peoples’ performance forms. Multifarious dance practices ranging from Sabar and Tango to Popping and Tutting, and Doundounba and Flamenco to Capoeira and Azunto are among those that demonstrate movement languages that reify rhythm, musical presence and performance-as-improvisation. Contemporary dance artists who recognize the influence of these widespread forms on their current practices will also find creative empathy with the values that will be explored during this residency.

Embodiology®, also engages use and analysis of the speaking voice, promoting a cognitive and sensory interweaving that goes beyond formerly held self-perceptions of novelty and daring. As the participants gain fluency between movement, timing, sound and interrelationships, a communicative coherence in performance arises. Indeed, through the daily studio practice, reflective conversation and writing about multi-sensory experiences, the worlds of the associate artists are re- animated such that they lead to previously unimagined levels of awareness, which go beyond the studio, serving as alternative approaches to decision making in everyday life.

Application Requirements

  1. A 2 – 3 page resume or narrative biography (.doc, pdf)
  2. A letter of intent should include:

 A reflection of your currently held perspectives on, exposure to and/or practice of improvisation. (.doc, pdf)

 An idea of what you are interested in working on during the residence.

 General information on influences and interests.

  1. Links to 3 videos or recordings in which you are either the choreographer, dancer, director, musician or teacher.

Upload up to a 20-minute sample on Vimeo/Youtube/Soundcloud/Google Drive.

Residency Fee: $900

Includes a $100 administration fee, weekday meals and housing; does not include artist materials, transportation, or weekend meals.

Scholarships / Financial Assistance

Only accepted Associate Artists may apply for financial assistance. For details, please visit the master artist details page.

Application fee: $25

Click here to Apply!




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