Recognized internationally as a modern dance classicist, principal dancer with Martha Graham, master teacher and prolific choreographer, Peter Sparling proudly presents the results of a professional dance company in his home state of Michigan. Peter Sparling Dance Company embodies the deep commitment and range of expertise characteristic of the artist's own experience. Receiving his first dance training from William Hug while on scholarship as a violinist at the Interlochen Arts Academy, he continued to dance at Juilliard School's Dance Division where he was awarded the Louis Horst Memorial Scholarship. He choreographed and danced for the Martha Graham Apprentice Group, Dance Mobile, and Contemporary Dance System. During this time he was also a member of the Jose Limon Dance Company for tours of the U.S., Europe, and the Soviet Union. He later joined the Martha Graham Dance Company and became a principal dancer, performing countless major roles in New York, on tour all over the world, and on PBS's "Dance in America" series as well as coaching or performing alongside luminaries as Rudolph Nureyev, Margot Fonteyn and Liza Minnelli.
In 1979 Sparling left the Graham Company to focus on directing his own company, on choreographic commissions and on guest teaching and performing. He has held appointments at the Juilliard School and has been in residence as teacher, performer, and choreographer at numerous American universities, at London Contemporary Dance Theatre and The Place, Australia's Victorian College of Fine Arts in Melbourne, Portugal's Ballet Gulbenkian in Lisbon, ABT II in New York, Taiwan's Cloud Gate Theatre, and the American Dance Festival. He was also on the roster of Affiliate Artists, Inc. In 1983 he presented his own company for five successive seasons at the Riverside Dance Festival.
In 1984 Sparling joined the dance faculty at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, becoming a founding member of Ann Arbor Dance Works, Chair of the Department from 1988-1995 and full professor in 1995. In 1996 he served as a Faculty Fellow with the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities and in 1997 was a Fellow of the U/M Rackham Interdisciplinary Institute.
Sparling has choreographed over one hundred works, initiating innovative collaborations with poets, composers, and set designers. He also directed and performed in the reconstruction of various works by Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Jose Limon, and Lucas Hoving. He appeared recently with the Graham Company at the Library of Congress, reprising the role of the Revivalist in Appalachian Spring, and he served as a principal regisseur of Martha Graham Trust.
Mr. Sparling is a recipient of grants and fellowships from the National Endowments for the Arts, The University of Michigan Rackham School for Graduate Studies/Faculty Creative Endeavors (1986,1989,1993), the Michigan Council for the Arts (1986, 94-99), The Michigan Dance Association (1988 Choreographer's Award), and The Arts Foundation of Michigan 1989 Michigan Arts Award and 1993 and 1997 Creative Artist Grant). In 1998 he received the Governor's Michigan Artist Award.
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