Chris Aiken is a dancer, performer, dancemaker and teacher. His research seeks to uncover the relations between dance, poetics, science, philosophy, ecology, and design. He has been developing, for many years, an eco-poetic model of creativity and ethical behavior that seeks to connect the poetic imagination with ecological awareness and resonance.
Aiken is internationally recognized for his work in dance improvisation performance and pedagogy, as well within the field of contact improvisation, a partnered dance form created by Steve Paxton in 1972 that changed the field of post-modern and contemporary dance. He teaches and performs regularly throughout North America and Europe, and most recently in Asia.
Aiken’s career has been defined by a number of significant long-term collaborations. His work with Angie Hauser has been commissioned and presented internationally as has his work with Andrew Harwood (Montreal), Ray Chung (San Francisco), Kirstie Simson (Wales), Joerg Hassman (Berlin), Patrick Scully (Minneapolis), Cathy Young (Minneapolis), and Oliver Besson (Boston). In addition, he has engaged in collaborative projects with Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith, Ming-Shen Ku, Ka Rustler, and many others.
Aiken has received numerous awards for his artistic work, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation and has been commissioned by the National Performance Network, the Jerome Foundation, DanceLink, the Walker Art Center, Dance Theater Workshop and by many colleges and universities in the US. He has been presented by the Asian i-dance festivals in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, the Bates Dance Festival, the Freiburg Contact Festival, the Florida Dance Festival, the Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation, Impulstanz festival in Vienna, Circuit Est, Studio 303 and Maison de Culture in Montreal and Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg Russia.
Chris is a full professor at Smith College in Western Massachusetts, where he has been the MFA Director for many years and beginning this fall will transition to being the department chair.