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UC Davis Ph.D. Candidate Keith Hennessy Awarded United States Artists Fellowship

University of California, Davis
December 13, 2012

Keith Hennessy, internationally known performance artist and UC Davis doctoral candidate in Performance Studies, was recently awarded a prestigious 2012 United States Artists Fellowship for his contribution in the field of dance. Each year, United States Artists honors 50 of America’s finest artists across eight disciplines with individual fellowship awards of $50,000 each.

Hennessy, who received his Master of Fine Arts in Choreography at UC Davis in 2007, is founder/artistic director of ZERO PERFORMANCE, a contemporary circus and performance collaborative offering intimate spectacles for stage and street sparked by current and historic social realities. He tours internationally as a post-disciplinary citizen working in the contested borderlands of performance, pedagogy, ritual, improvisation, theory and social justice and is engaged with the tactics of queer, feminism and critical race studies.

Hennessy’s work as dancer, choreographer and performance artist combines dance with speaking, dancing and visual imagery. It fuses performance art with community activism while often breaking the barrier between audience and performer. Current projects include “Turbulence (a dance about the economy),” “Crotch” (referencing the images and actions of artist Joseph Beuys) and “A brief history (of my life in performance).” Previous honors include a Bessie Award for “Crotch” (2009) as well as several Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (1999, 2000, 2009).

Hennessy’s doctoral interdisciplinary research at UC Davis currently focuses on Bay Area performance history and engages improvisation, public actions and alchemy/shamanism as tools for investigating political realities. He will be teaching “Theatre, Performance and Culture” at UC Davis Department of Theatre and Dance winter quarter 2013.

Contact: Janice Bisgaard 530.752.5863 or

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