“The true and most important function of the avant-garde [is] to find a path along which it [is] possible to keep culture moving in the midst of ideological confusion and violence.” –Clement Greenberg
What is the role of the artist in an entertainment-saturated society? One function of art is to catalyze dialogue about culture. And so I curate as a form of community organizing to facilitate cultural conversations that cross discipline, geography and perspective. We must engage with each other to activate the public imagination.
Another function of art is to arm the unconscious with new ways of looking at the world. And so my dances have a complexity borne from a rigorous investigative process in which writing, collaboration and improvisation are central tools. Through the filter of the body, I collide craft and raw emotion. I work and play with the language of the body and language itself.
Hope Mohr is a curator, choreographer and writer. She trained at S.F. Ballet School, studied theater at Yale and earned her B.A. at Stanford, where she wrote her honors thesis on the women's movement in Nicaragua. After working as an Americorps Team Leader in South Central LA, Mohr moved to NYC to train on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios. She performed in the companies of dance pioneers Lucinda Childs and Trisha Brown. Passionate about pursuing both community organizing and dance, Mohr earned a J.D. from Columbia Law School, where she was a Columbia Human Rights Fellow. In 2007, Mohr returned to San Francisco to establish Hope Mohr Dance to create, present and foster outstanding art at the intersection of critical thinking and the body. HMD's signature curatorial platform the Bridge Project approaches curating as community organizing to convene cultural conversations that cross discipline, geography, and perspective. Mohr has held residencies at Stanford Arts Institute, ODC Theater, Montalvo Arts Center, and the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance. She is a 2016 Fellow at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Hope Mohr founded Hope Mohr Dance in 2007 after performing around the world in the companies of a number of pioneers of modern dance, including Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, and Margaret Jenkins. She trained at San Francisco Ballet School and on scholarship at the Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown Studios in New York. While in New York, Mohr also freelanced with Liz Gerring, Douglas Dunn, Trajal Herrell, and Pat Catterson.
Mohr studied theater at Yale and then transferred to Stanford, where she earned her B.A. in women’s studies ('94). She earned a J.D. from Columbia while dancing professionally. She has taught dance around the world, including at the London School of Contemporary Dance, P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels, UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures, Stanford University, and the Trisha Brown Studio.
In 2015, Mohr was named one of the YBCA 100, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts' annual nationwide compilation of artists posing important questions about contemporary culture. She is a 2016 YBCA Fellow. Mohr has enjoyed residencies at the Stanford Arts Institute, ODC Theater; Montalvo Arts Center; and Jennifer Monson’s Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance. She was a two-time participant in Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange, a program of the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, with mentor Dana Reitz (2014) and Molissa Fenley (2009). In 2015, she co-directed Anne Carson's Antigonick with Mark Jackson for Shotgun Players in Berkeley. In 2005 she assisted Lucinda Childs on Dr. Atomic for S.F. Opera. Mohr and poet Brenda Hillman were nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for their text for Mohr’s Far From Perfect (2010). Mohr’s article The Language of the Listening Body was published in Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory.
Since her 1994 choreographic debut in ODC’s Pilot 13, Mohr has presented her work throughout the country, including at the Alvin Ailey Center and Judson Church in New York, Velocity in Seattle, and The Mouth in Portland. Her work has been presented and/or commissioned by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco International Arts Festival, West Wave Festival, Montalvo Arts Center, ODC Theater, Stanford University, Motion Pacific, Lines Ballet BFA Program, and the S.F. VA Hospital’s Office of Patient Centered Care and Cultural Transformation.
In keeping with HMD’s mission to not only create, but also to foster outstanding dance, HMD’s Bridge Project brings notable master teachers and choreographers to the Bay Area. Past and current Bridge Project artists include Deborah Hay, Jeanine Durning, Stephanie Skura, Simone Forti, Anna Halprin, Liz Gerring, Dusan Tynek, Molissa Fenley, and Susan Rethorst.
Sources of institutional support for Mohr's work include San Francisco's Grants for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Andrew M. Mellon Foundation, Center for Cultural Innovation (Creative Capacity Fund), Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, Zellerbach Family Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Kenneth Rainin Foundation, Lighting Artists in Dance/Dancers' Group and CA$H/Theatre Bay Area. HMD is currently a company in residence at ODC.