Shannon Hummel is a choreographer, arts educator and Founding Artistic Director of Cora Dance. Driven to create access to the arts for all people, she opened The Cora Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn in 2009 as a home for her professional company and their education programs. The space strives to create exceptional dance experiences while addressing the impediments that restrict many people from the art-form.
Equal parts professional choreographer and community artist, Hummel’s work has been seen as much in church basements, public parks and community spaces as on some of the country’s finest stages. She has been repeatedly critically acclaimed by Style Magazine, Village Voice, Richmond Times Dispatch, and The New York Times where she has been a Top 10 Critics Pick for Dance and had her “finely wrought dances” called “poignant, funny, vivid and true, remarkably assured and perceptive” and most recently “a rare gem.”
While her choreography has been presented in over 30 NYC venues (including the 92nd Street Y, BAM, BAX, Brooklyn Museum of Art, DTW, Danspace Project, La MaMa, LMCC, among others), Hummel is also known for creating accessible grassroots performances in off-the-beaten-path places in KY, NY, NJ, OK, VA, VT and WV.
She has been an educational advisor, mentor or faculty member for hundreds of institutions including her alma mater James Madison University; enjoyed significant residencies in support of her choreography from Vermont Performance Lab, BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange among others; and taught and lectured widely at American Dance Festival, ACDFA, NYLA, Rutgers, William & Mary, Marlboro College, Virginia Commonwealth University, Washington & Lee, among others. She is most proud to be the mom of a lively, lovely dancing boy named Henry.
As a dance storyteller, I have always focused on creating work that opens intimate, demanding physical conversations between dancers from broad and varied personal, socio-economic, cultural, and dance backgrounds.
I believe in creating work that roots people in their sense of place, of where they live, of belonging: of home. Doing so, I believe, provokes honest questions and, ultimately, inspires genuine empathy.
I am committed to exploring--indeed, helping to build--real and lasting communication and community-building, where polarized cultures and experiences have kept members of the same neighborhood at odds.
The backbone of my works is deep exploration of universal human experiences, of life's literal and emotional paradoxes. Loss, for example, often brings new promises. Satisfaction can cause suffering. Pain can inspire humor. We all understand such contradictions intuitively.
My work lays bare the intimate underpinnings of what we think and feel. Theatrical, accessible, kinetic, and sophisticated, my work strives to marry the power of dance with the force of emotion.
I make sure that my choreographic work can be experienced by all audiences: in school gymnasiums, church basements, and free public spaces, as well as on stages of prestigious venues and major universities across the country.