KT Niehoff is an entrepreneurial generative artist, performer and producer working in the field of multi-disciplinary, new performance.
As a child she was trained as a classical choral singer. In the late 80’s she moved to NYC to study at the Experimental Performance Wing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Art where she began building and directing her own works.
Upon graduation, KT became an industrial strategist working largely in contemporary dance. She was an instrumental collaborator in the building of the studio theater at Dance Space Inc. at 622 Broadway NYC, where she started her first production company with Michele Miller, supplying quarterly opportunities for dance artists to show work.
In the early 90’s she moved to Seattle, WA to perform with the Pat Graney Company, touring throughout the US, Europe and South America performing Ms. Graney’s seminal work, Faith. Simultaneously she was a founding member of the D-9 Dance Collective, a cooperative of nine women that commissioned, produced and performed new dance works by local and national choreographers. She was, along with A.C. Peterson and Kara O’Toole, the founder and co-editor of DanceNet Magazine – a monthly publication of op-eds, reviews and calendars for the Seattle dance community. During this time she continued pursuing her interest in architecture by designing and building her own house.
In 1996 KT narrowed her focus to pursue two, parallel paths – 1) form a company to consistently create and direct her original compositions and 2) found the Seattle based arts space, Velocity Dance Center, with co-founder Michele Miller. During her 10-year tenure at Velocity, KT instituted five instrumental programs to facilitate the growth of the Seattle dance community – Strictly Seattle Summer Dance Intensive, The Guest Artist Series, SCUBA National Touring Dance Alliance, The Bridge Project and Velocity’s comprehensive dance teaching program for beginning to professional adults. With Miller the center grew to include a convertible studio theater, three rehearsal/teaching studios and a private Pilates studio.
Her career as a generative artist began with a commission from On the Boards in Seattle and by 2006 she had built five evening-length works that toured performance venues and colleges throughout the US and in Japan, Canada, Germany and Ecuador.
In 2006 she left her post at Velocity to pursue her creative works full time. It was at this point her focus shifted to audience/artist proximity, resulting in the majority of her work happening outside the proscenium. Her wide-ranging training and experience facilitated her growth from a collaborative choreographer to an interdisciplinary creator designing every aspect of her work – audience integration, music, design, movement, and choice of space, food and drink elements. Her works have evolved to be immersive, multi-sensory, multi-dimensional pieces, embedded into theaters, city streets, books, images, films, dinner tables, bars, private homes, mailboxes and conversations.
KT has been at the forefront of creating performances that have larger social constructs and push against their defined constraints. Since the beginning of her career she has engaged in active inquiry surrounding the merging of concrete and virtual realities, art and life, work and play and how art integrates most effectively in society.
As an educator, KT has built three pedagogical systems that she has taught and refined for 20 years. Reinvent Your Eye – Tools for Abstract Composition is a class for generative artists in any field that uses highly structured improvisational scores to examine the components associated with creating non-linear, non-narrative art works. Physical Practice is a ritualized daily training class for professional dancers. And her workshop Frame by Frame takes the new dance filmmaker through every step of the process – sound and choreographic elements, storyboarding, location scouting, styling, and directing – as they create their own short dance film. She has taught this work at numerous festivals and universities including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Oberlin College, Cornish College of the Arts, Texas Christian University, Mt. Holyoke, The University of Washington, The Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts and the SNDO, Amsterdam.
Notable fellowships, awards, articles and grants include:
New Filmmakers NYC Official Selection (’15), Miami Short Film Festival Official Selection, (14’), MAP Fund recipient (’12-’13), Cover Feature City Arts Magazine (’13), Cover Feature Dance Teacher Magazine (’12), Artist in Residence ACT Theatre, Seattle (’10 & ’12), San Francisco International Dance Film Festival Official Selection (’10), The National Performance Network (’06-’12), Dance Magazine’s “International Women in Dance” featured artist (’08), MANCC Fellow (’06), The Stranger Genius Award for Velocity Dance Center (’05), The National Endowment for the Arts (’05, ’06), The National Dance Project Creation Award(’05), The National Dance Project Production Award (’03), Arts International (’03), Artist Trust Fellow (’01), Meet the Composer (’99) and multiple awards from King County’s 4culture, Seattle’s Office of Arts and Culture and The Bossak/Heilbron Foundation.
Currently KT is working on a new piece titled Helium Poised commissioned for the 20th year anniversary season at Velocity Dance Center. Helium Poised is an extended multi-disciplinary project built through a choreographic lens. A series of community conversations, workshops and fashioned performance encounters offered throughout the development stage of the piece highlight the evolution of contemporary dance – as defined by audiences and artists alike – what our assumptions are of dance as an art form, the job of a choreographer as a maker and the role of the audience as witness vs. engaged participant. These events all lead to a final performance honoring my history as a dance specialist and my future as the author of holistic, multi-sensory contemporary performances.
Simultaneously she is running 10 degrees, her art+event space opened in 2011, which she designed and built. 10 degrees is a commerce driven venture that supports the philanthropic artistic mission of the space through private event rentals.