Laura Schandelmeier is a Dance Specialist who works as a choreographer, performer, teacher, and administrator. She creates movement-based solo and company works that draw from physical, thematic, and structural experimentations. She was the Artistic Director of her own dance company in New York City from 1988-1994. During that time she choreographed, produced, staged, and performed over twenty dance and theater works, including four full-evening productions. Her work has been commissioned and produced by Dance Theater Workshop and Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church in NYC, and presented at numerous venues throughout New York, the DC area, and internationally over the past 14 years. She has received several awards for her choreography including, four consecutive grants from the Harkness Foundations for Dance, support for international projects in 1990 & 93 from the Suitcase Fund, and an Individual Artist Award in Choreography for FY 2001 & 2003 from Maryland State Arts Council. She was one of ten American choreographers selected to participate in American Dance Festival’s 1989 Franco-American Bilateral Exchange Program and was invited to perform at the Kennedy Center in 2000 for the opening event of the Dancing in the Millennium conference. This spring, she presented a full evening of solo performance work on The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage (archived at www.kennedycenter.org/programs/millennium).
In 1994, Schandelmeier founded The Field/DC (a project that provides performance and workshop opportunities to artists). She has participated in and/or coordinated Field programs since The Field’s inception in New York City in 1986. Since then, The Field/DC has offered over 16 Fieldwork sessions, impacting hundreds of local artists and patrons. Co-Produced by Dance Place since 1996, Fieldwork is a ten-week workshop in which artists of all levels of development share their works-in-progress and receive feedback through a facilitated process, culminating in a public showing. The Field/DC has also presented two Fielday performance marathons in partnership with the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division as part of Gunston Arts Center’s The Innovators Festival and one in partnership with Dance Place. Open to twenty-five performing artists on a first-come-first-served basis, the marathons provided performance opportunities for artists from DC, Virginia, Maryland, Philadelphia, New York City, and Paris. The Anacostia Trails Heritage Area awarded The Field/DC and Joe’s Movement Emporium a Celebration 2000 Millennium Grant to produce a new site-specific Fieldwork workshop at the historic Bladensburg Waterfront Port. Fieldwork at Bladensburg Port culminated in a free performance/art exhibit as part of the park’s grand opening event.
Since moving to Washington, Schandelmeier has conducted site visits for The National Endowment for the Arts, been a panelist for the Arlington County Cultural Affairs Division, and served as Chair to the Nirenska Committee (a fund created in honor of choreographer, Pola Nirenska, by her late husband, Jan Karski, to honor a local or Polish dance artist with a cash award of $5,000 annually). In 2001 she was awarded an Artist-in-Residence grant from Prince Georges Arts Council and continues to conduct residencies in local schools through Joe’s Movement Emporium’s Arts in Education program. She is a teaching artist for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and teaches dance to children, senior adults, and professionals at studios and schools throughout the region.
While in New York, Schandelmeier worked at Dance Theater Workshop. In her 7-½ year tenure she coordinated and served on several Fresh Tracks panels, co-coordinated the New York Dance and Performance Awards (a.k.a. The Bessies), worked with the Executive Director and members of the Board of Directors to initiate the Family Matters series for young audiences, audited performances and reviewed proposals, as well as performing other administrative duties. She was co-curator for Rapp Arts Center's May Dance Festival, in conjunction with the Bang on a Can Festival, in 1988 and '89.
Schandelmeier began her dance training with Wigman-based instructor Erica Thimey at the age of four and studied ballet at the Washington School of Ballet. She attended high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC and graduated from North Carolina School of the Arts. She received a B.F.A. in dance and choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, and studied choreography with Bessie Schönberg in New York City. She lives in Mt. Rainier, MD with her seven year old daughter, Holly Rae.