2007 Hall of Fame Inductee, Stephn Petronio

Stephen Petronio
Artistic Director/Choreographer

Stephen Petronio founded Stephen Petronio Company in 1984 and has since received international acclaim for the development of his unique movement language and ground-breaking choreography.

Stephen Petronio Company has performed in 25 countries throughout the world as well as presenting over 30 New York City engagements. “The Stephen Petronio Company” offered choreographic fireworks at the Joyce Theater on Tuesday night. Yet it did more than dazzle “Mr. Petronio delights in high-energy productions, he combines ferocity with formal rigor. And he can temper turbulence with an underlying sense of compassion. Yet there are moments when everyone pauses in total stillness. Mr. Petronio’s choregraphic explosions do not produce disasters.” – Jack Anderson, The New York Times.

Mr. Petronio has been awarded choreography fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts from 1985 to 1988, and company grants from the NEA and the New York State Council on the Arts since 1988. He is also the recipient of numerous awards including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, a New York Foundation for the Arts award, the first American Choreographer Award in 1987, and a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) in 1986. He has created over 30 works for his company and has been commissioned by some of the worlds most presitigious ballet and modern companies including: William Forsythe’s Frankfurt Ballet (1987), Tulsa Opera (1990), Deutsche Oper Berlin (1992), Lyon Opera Ballet (1994), the Maggio Danza Florence (1996) Ricochet Dance Company of London (1998, 2001, 2005), Axis Dance Company (2002), CanDoCo in London (2003), Sydney Dance Company (2003, full evening), and Norrdans in Sweden (2005).

The Company is preparing for their largest US tour to date. Throughout the year, Mr. Petronio and severa dancers, past and present, will be setting the Company repertory or creating new works for Ballet Nationa de Marseille, London Contemporary Dance School, Ballet Lorraine, Washington Ballet, and Norrdans among others.

Mr. Petronio was raised in Nutley and graduated from Nutley High School in 1974. Performances by Rudolf Nureyev and Steve Paxton inspired him to begin dance classes in his first semester at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. Moving to New York City after graduation, he was hired by Trisha Brown. He was that company’s first male dancer. The International Dictionary of Modern Dance (St. James Press, 1998) noted, “He made an indelible impression, especially in a famous solo in Set and Reset (1981).” He performed and choreographed with the Trisha Brown Company from 1979 to 1986.