Rhea Speights

Dance Performance and Video

Upcoming Performances

Rhea's current project "Long for Breath" will be presented at Summer Performance Festival 12 at the Joe Goode Annex in San Francisco, California.

I'm excited to announce that my latest work Long for Breath will be presented at Summer Performance Festival at the Joe Goode Annex in San Francisco July 19th at 8pm and 20th at 3pm. This work has been in development since December with excerpts presented at Shawl-Anderson Winter Salon, LEVYdance Salon, and the West Wave Dance Festival. Now is your chance to see the full work performed by my powerful and playful cast of dancers: Chelsea Van Billiard, Alexa Manalansan, and Jenna Valez.

Long for Breath sources imagery from a collection of feminine personas including Persephone in the Underworld and The High Priestess of Tarot, it doubles down on the mysticism and esotericism that dance and the feminine are accused of practicing, and it excavates interior sensations of being alive to create a performance work that haunts.

I am thrilled to be on a mixed bill with pateldanceworks and for change dance collective.

SPF 12

Friday & Saturday, July 19 & 20
Joe Goode Annex
401 Alabama Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

a short biography

Rhea is an artist and teacher, working primarily in dance and video. Her work has been presented in backyards, galleries, and theatre spaces across the United States, as well as in Colombia and New Zealand, with support from the Puffin Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the National Society of Arts and Letters. Rhea has taught at the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and various other institutions, festivals, and art centers. She performed and choreographed with Sanspointe Dance Company in Birmingham, Alabama, for almost ten years and served as artistic director from 2011-2013. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Telecommunication and Film from the University of Alabama. Rhea's creative practice is influenced by her experience studying and creating with artists she admires including Jennifer Monson, Jessie Young, Angie Pittman, and Sycamore Toffel. In making her work, Rhea uses ballet and contemporary dance forms, video, cinema theory, and her desire to fully integrate the imagination with the body. Some of her thoughts about the relationship between dance and video are published in a performative essay titled "The Carpet" in Undisciplining Dance in Nine Movements and Eight Stumbles (2018), edited by Carol Brown and Alys Longley. Rhea resides in Oakland, California.

selected creative work

Channel 1 / Channel 2

2018. Made in collaboration with Jessie Young. Presented at Summer Performance Festival 11, San Francisco. Photo by Hans Holtan.

Not About but Nearby

2018. Made and performed with KJ Dahlaw , Hannah Varga, and Tim Russell. SAFEhouse Arts, San Francisco. Photo by Hans Holtan.

Harsh Nature

2016. Performed by students at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. Kenilworth Studios, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Graveyard III

2015. Made in collaboration with students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Natialie Fiol.

Rhea means running

2013. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Natalie Fiol.

Signs Following

2011. Performed by Sanspointe Dance Company. The Dance Foundation, Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Clark Scott.

making and teaching

a statement from Rhea

My making and teaching practices are motivated by the idea that art elevates consciousness and awakens the imagination. I am drawn to dance and video because both are composite forms, which reflect the additive and collaborative methods I use to know the world, and because they lend themselves to making recognizable and fantastic expressions of that world. I believe in the importance of cultivating the imagination and practicing creativity as we try to understand ourselves, connect to one another, and address the challenges of being alive. The art that I make is driven by a desire to make physical my thoughts and dreams. And it is an invitation for you to center your own imagination as you engage with mine.

My own artistic practice is enriched by working in the studio with other people. I offer classes and workshops that examine theories of moving and making through the process of moving and making. My areas of specialty are ballet for everybody, contemporary dance practices, improvisation, and composition for performance and video. In these classes, we examine established practices and experiment with possible futures. I design and adapt classroom methods and materials in response to the people in the room and the development of our time together.

in the news

"channels an intelligent creativity"

SF Chronicle

"...brought to mind images of Lake Michigan on a cold, rainy day. I could have watched and listened to this piece for hours."

Shepherd Express

"a vehicle for vibrant energy and drama"


"this potent work left nerves and emotions exposed, due not only to Speights' choreography, but to her riveting performance."

The Birmingham News


Email - rheaspeights@gmail.com

Tel - 205.344.0598

copyright 2018 Rhea SpeightsHeader photo by Hans Holtan