|Education||Juilliard School (BFA 1991)|
|Occupation||choreographer and dancer|
Henning Rübsam is a choreographer and dancer based in New York City. He is the artistic director of SENSEDANCE, a resident choreographer for Hartford City Ballet, a Professor at The Juilliard School, and a visiting guest professor at Texas Academy of Ballet (Carolyn Bognar, director).
Early life and work
Rübsam was born in Marburg, Germany, where he took his first ballet class at the age of five. He studied with André Doutreval in Kassel and at the Hamburg Opera Ballet School. For several summers he studied at the Internationale Sommerakademie des Tanzes in Köln.
After moving to New York as a teenager, Rübsam's early mentors included Martha Hill and Elizabeth Keen. While a student at the Juilliard School, he took Classical Spanish Dance, studied Indian dance with Indrani Rahman, took a summer intensive at the School of American Ballet, performed as the Faun in the Nijinsky/Debussy ballet, starred in a dance film at the Sundance Institute, where he worked with Diane Coburn-Bruning, Michael Kidd and Stanley Donen, and toured internationally with the Limón Dance Company. He received a B.F.A. degree in dance from Juilliard in 1991.
Upon graduation he founded his own ensemble SENSEDANCE and continued to dance with other choreographers, namely Duncan Macfarland, Murray Louis and most importantly Alwin Nikolais. Rübsam found his next mentor in Beverly Schmidt Blossom, whose work he performed after Nikolais' passing. His interest in early modern dance led to guest appearances with repertory companies in the works of Isadora Duncan, Doris Humphrey and Anna Sokolow. His early work Schubert: Lieder (1991) and his epic solo Sand to Chopin (1993) might owe influences to José Limón, but an independent signature was visible early on, since Rübsam was able to create melodic lines in movement that conversed with the music rather than mirrored it. Rübsam appeared as a guest dancer with a myriad of contemporary choreographers and used his own company as a laboratory for ideas that ranged from setting biblical stories to live accompaniment of a 27-member choir at St. Mark's Church in Carissimi's "Jephte" (and setting an attendance record for the venue) to visceral movement experimentation in an evolutionary safari named "Dolphins and Antelopes" (1996). For the latter as well as future works "Moonpaths" (1998), "Dinner is West" (2005) and "Tenancy" (2011) he commissioned music scores by fellow Juilliard graduate Beata Moon. In addition to Moon, he has collaborated with numerous composers and musicians, including Ricardo Llorca and Leslie Wildman as well as designers of different disciplines, e.g. Fabio Toblini.
Among the many awards Rübsam received are a Jerome L. Greene Fellowship, a Lincoln Center Fellowship, a Manhattan Spirit Award as "best male dancer” in 1997, a choreography award from Stephens College in 2000, an award for his advocacy from Dancers Responding to AIDS in 2004 and the Distinguished Artist Award from Bergen College in 2009, the first time this award was given to a dance artist.
Stage, film, advocacy and journalism
Rübsam also works for theater and opera  as both choreographer and director. He has been a guest choreographer and teacher for ballet, contemporary dance companies and universities throughout the Americas as well as in Australasia and Europe. Rübsam was the first speaker on dance for the Gel conference in 2007 and lead a workshop at Gel in 2011. He is a known advocate for his art form and has presented lectures for the Lincoln Center Young Patrons Program. In December 2010 he hosted fellow choreographers Robert Garland, Matthew Neenan and Luca Veggetti for a panel at Juilliard. His dance writing has appeared in Dance Magazine and its annual Stern's Performing Arts Directory, Pointe Magazine, Ballet Review, The Juilliard Journal and he was the American correspondent for the European publication Dance-for-You. Rübsam appears in the documentary Behind the Curtain and is a long-time board member of the Martha Hill Dance Fund. On the occasion of his company's upcoming 20th anniversary season, Classic Talk conducted a two part interview with Rübsam in the fall of 2011.
Choreographic development and teaching career
Since working closely with the late Prima Ballerina Assoluta Eva Evdokimova starting in 2000, his choreographic work has incorporated ballet vocabulary. In 2002 he created a highly acclaimed solo work for Evdokimova and in 2004 began introducing point work to his eclectic repertoire, thus attracting dancers from American Ballet Theatre, Dance Theatre of Harlem and New York City Ballet. His company SENSEDANCE premiered his Impending Visit (music: Rafael Aponte-Ledée) in 2009 at the Fiesta Iberoamericana de las Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and he represented the United States as a cultural ambassador at the Danza Nueva Festival in Lima and on a subsequent tour with his company through Peru in 2010. In Fall 2006, he joined the Juilliard faculty, where he implemented a dance appreciation program for the general public. Earlier that year he was named Resident Choreographer of the Hartford City Ballet.
Dancers and students
Among his well-known disciples and guest dancers are Violetta Klimczewska, Ramon Thielen, Andrea Long, Carlos Molina, Dartanion Reed, Christine Reisner, as well as Samuel Lee Roberts and Akua Noni Parker, both with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
"Mr. Rübsam has steadily followed his own drumbeat, though in the case of his cheerfully humanist choreography the sound might more appropriately be that of a flute." (Jennifer Dunning, NYTimes, Oct. 3, 2003)
His works include:
- Schubert: Lieder (1991)
- After Yet Another Fall (1992) – original music: Beata Moon
- Folk Tales (1992)
- Erect Secrets (1993) – original music: Christopher Buchenholz
- Sand (1993) - music: Chopin
- Kingdom (1993) - music: Bartok
- Lie (1994)
- Sunshine (1994)
- Jephte (1995)
- Ginger: My Story (1995)
- Dolphins and Antelopes (1996) – original music: Beata Moon
- Ode (1996)
- Brass Blues (1997)
- Art of Love (1997) – tribute to Laura Nyro
- Moonpaths (1998) – original music: Beata Moon
- Carousel (1999)
- Rhapsody (1999)
- Be Good (2000)
- Voices of Spring (2000)
- Addicted (2001)
- Brahms: "Double Concerto" (2001)
- Listeners borne as bone (2002) – original music: Kevin James
- The End of Innocence (2002) – music: Ricardo Llorca
- Litanei & Frühlingsglaube (2002) – for Prima Ballerina Eva Evdokimova
- On The Fritz (2002)
- Safari (2002) – music: Beata Moon
- Garden (2003)
- Petit Pas (2003)
- Chorale (2004) - music: Ricardo Llorca
- Django (2004)
- Quartet (2004) – music: Ricardo Llorca
- Herman Sherman' (2004)
- Dinner is West (2005) – original music: Beata Moon
- The Dance Bag (2005)
- Burque Bosque (2006) - music: Beata Moon
- Basie's Basement (2006)
- Merciless Beauty (2006) – music: Leslie Wildman
- Caves (2006) – music: Ricardo Llorca
- Göttingen (2006)
- Amaranthine Road (2007) – music: Beata Moon
- Innocence (2007) – music: Ron Mazurek
- The Secret (2007) – music: Beata Moon
- Inter-Mez-Zo (2008) – music: Beata Moon
- Guernica (2008) – music: Beata Moon
- Final Bell (2008) – music: Ron Mazurek
- Scherzo (2008) – Hartford City Ballet
- Cloudforest (2008) – SENSEDANCE at Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater – NY, NY
- Impending Visit (2009) – at Festival Fiesta Iberoamericana de las Artes – San Juan, Puerto Rico
- José Antonio (2010) – Danza Nueva Festival – Lima, Peru
- Dvorák 8/3 (2010) – Texas Academy of Ballet
- HALF-LIFE (2011)
- Nonet (2011) - music: Ricardo Llorca
- Tenancy (2011) - original music: Beata Moon
- HALF-LIFE 102 (2012)
- obsession | calm (2012) - music: Ernest Bloch
- Brahms Dances (2012)
- Borders (2013)
- Sarao (2013) - music: Ricardo Llorca
- An einsamer Quelle (2013)
- Russian Lesson (2013)
- Gooch, William (June 12, 2009). "The Thinking Man's Choreographer". Old Stage and Cinema.
- "Faculty/Student News". Juilliard Journal. Juilliard School. March 2011.
- "Henning Rubsam Receives Distinguished Artist Award". BroadwayWorld.com. February 16, 2009.
- Bruckner, D.J.R. (October 12, 1999). "THEATER REVIEW; Dancing at the Precipice of the End of the World". The New York Times.
- "Interview with choreographer Henning Rübsam". GoodExperience.com. September 7, 2006.
- Rübsam, Henning (September 2009). "Faculty Forum". The Juilliard Journal. Juilliard School.
- Henning Rübsam at the Internet Movie Database
- "Classic Talk Interviews". CP Language Institute.
- "Henning Rübsam interview (part 1)". Classic Talk. CP Language Institute. October 18, 2011.
- "Henning Rübsam interview (part 2)". Classic Talk. CP Language Institute. October 18, 2011.
- "Henning Rübsam Named Resident Choreographer at Hartford City Ballet". PlaybillArts.com. April 19, 2006.
- "Review: SENSEDANCE". ReadingDance.com. June 26, 2011.