School of Humanities and Sciences

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  • Alex Ketley

    Alex Ketley

    Advanced Lecturer

    BioAlex Ketley is an independent choreographer, filmmaker, and the director of The Foundry. Formerly a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet and LINES Ballet, he left dancing professionally to create The Foundry as a platform to explore his interests in alternative methods of devising performance. The company has allowed Ketley the freedom to pursue projects that would be difficult to realize within his commissioning career. A few examples of these are: Syntax, an hour long duet systemically using the mechanics of language as an organizing mechanism; Lost Line researched how the application of environment affects the generation of movement and studied in direct response to California's diverse physical landscapes; Please Love Me jettisoned the structure of performing in a theater context and was developed with a curiosity about how people genuinely connect and experience artwork; the No Hero Trilogy which was a multi-year project that explored what dance and performance means to the lives of people living throughout rural America, and Distal Imprint was a film created in collaboration with artist and Death-Row inmate Bill Clark. The Foundry’s diverse work has been enthusiastically received by audiences, the press, and funders.

    For his independent work as a choreographer he has been commissioned extensively throughout the United States, as well as projects in Germany and Italy, and has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition, the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur, the Choo-San Goh Award, the Princess Grace Award for Choreography, four Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies, the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Award, the Eben Demarest Award, the National Choreographic Initiative Residency, a Kenneth Rainin Foundation New and Experimental Works Grant, three CHIME Fellowships, the Artistry Award from the Superfest International Disability Film Festival, and his work was featured on national television through an invitation from the show So You Think You Can Dance. His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the categories of; Choreography, Company, and Ensemble, as well as nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design. In 2020 he became a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, one of the most prestigious honors in the United States recognizing “individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creative ability in the arts”.

    As an educator he has taught extensively throughout the country and currently holds the position of Advanced Lecturer at Stanford University’s Theater and Performance Studies Department. He was the founding Resident Choreographer at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance for fourteen years until its closure in 2018.

    Since 2020 he has been collaborating with his friend Bill Clark who is a prolific artist and writer currently incarcerated on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison. They teach a class together at Stanford University called DanceAcution: Performance Practice, Death Row, and the Evolution of Cultural Reform. The class uses Bill’s vast experience as an artist and incarcerated individual as the platform for the student’s to develop new performance work. Bill is also collaborating with The Foundry on a new evening length work titled An Approximation of Resilience set to premiere in in 2024.

    In addition to his artistic projects Alex has a daughter, Amara, who each day inspires him to see and experience the world from her unique vantage point. His wife Aline is a dancer and an integral collaborator in all of The Foundry’s projects created this decade. He is also on the Board of Directors of Death Penalty Focus, an organization whose work focuses on abolishing both the death penalty and LWOP (Life Without Parole).