After a long and intensive performing career in Modern Dance, Mr. Passafiume has since been recognized as one of the leading choreographers working in New York City. John was a principal dancer with the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company from 1981-1986, and a member of the legendary Anna Sokolow's Player's Project from 1984-1994. John was a part of the creation of many important dance works recognized today as essential parts of modern dance vocabulary. Additionally, he worked personally with Ernestine Stodelle as she reconstructed the works of Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, and Charles Weidman for him. His exposure to these important figures helped him form his unique and singular kinetic esthetic that is a part of his work today.
John formed his company, John Passafiume Dancers, in NYC in 1993. Since then he has made numerous works for the company, performing to critical acclaim in New York City theaters as well as in residencies across the Northeastern United States. Also, his work was commissioned for two evening length pieces that were performed in collaboration with the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, NY.
Mr. Passafiume's creations have inspired New York critics over the years, including a review of his latest work, 'Fissures', performed at the Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center. Jennifer Dunning from the New York Times wrote, "Dance, like music, can express profound and very complicated emotions with remarkable immediacy, whether or not there is a narrative or even a suggestion of a theme. John Passafiume's new 'Fissures', is a perfect example." And as a response to a new duet to be part of a larger work in progress, 'Toxic/Nourishment', Joe Raiola, Director of Theater Within, said, "From the very start the stakes are high... and that's the hallmark of Passafiume's work. He's concerned with big issues and he explores them fearlessly, while offering no easy answers."
In his latest work, John has been engaged in new explorations of movement, sensing, and sound. His investigations have opened up new worlds of contact work and improvisation and how these two forms effect the correlation between meaning and movement, energy and form. John's fresh approach to choreography seeks the internal logic to the material so as to let form take shape according to the necessities of the given moment, cultivating a language that is both unique and universal.
In addition to his personal performing career, John has maintained a consistent presence as a teacher, helping his students uncover their own unique talents, and learning to express them both within the context of a solid modern dance vocabulary, as well as maturing into new approaches inspired by their personal sense of movement. He believes in the importance of imparting a strong technique, but also that a personal artistic seed must be fed simultaneously. In his classes, technique is the platform that the dancers use in order to invest their movement with meaning that the audience can experience. John has enjoyed nurturing his students from Summer Dance Lab and elsewhere and watching them emerge onto the professional dance scene across the nation.
Mr. Passafiume has been Director of Summer Dance Lab since 2003, and brings his richness of experience to his approach in leading the program forward with an importance placed on individual attention in a warm and supportive environment. He brings carefully selected faculty with him that share in his beliefs of the importance of the individual student as a developing dancer and person.