Bethany Formica Bender
Associate in Performance-PT
Music & Dance
Beth Formica Bender aka Bethany Formica: I believe that dance has the power to move people, to heal people, to enrich and empower communities, to connect us socially, and challenge us politically.
Courses: Fall 2021: Contemporary Modern I & III, and Comptemporary Modern Repertory
Bethany Formica uses her multi-company performance experience and eclectic skill base in classes designed to build up ideas and break down her contemporary dance technique. One need not be afraid to sweat, laugh, or fall over. These classes are accessible and aerobic, so humor and high energy are all that is required. With an emphasis on musicality and athleticism inside a contemporary modern dance vocabulary, students will work on strength, range of movement, dynamics, endurance, and accuracy. We will also be viewing a variety of modern and contemporary dance artists' work online and creating some of our own.
Bethany Formica has 25+ years of experience as a contemporary and modern dancer, educator, actress, and choreographer. She has a particular interest in partnering, upside down, flip and floor work, teaching how to use one’s upper body as articulately as the lower body. Bethany is also a wood turner and the owner of Sawdust Siren.
Formica graduated with a BFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 1994. Since then has worked with several New York City based companies including Sean Curran and Company, Pearson/Widrig Dance Theatre, The Kevin Wynn Collection, Michael Foley, Martha Bowers Dance Theatre, Guido Tuveri, Fancy Stitch Machine, JoAnna Mendl Shaw, David Gordon, Julia Ritter Performance Group, Steeledance, Memento, Kim Whittam and Co., and with Philadelphia-based dance and theater companies such as Cardell Dance Theater, Boan Danz Action, Megan Mazarick, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, Reactionaries (for which she was co-director with Mark O’Maley), Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre, Leah Stein Dance Co., White Box Theatre, Curt Haworth, Ladybird, MacArthur Dance Project, Brian Sanders/JUNK, The Bald Mermaids, Kate Watson-Wallace, Jeb Kreager, Lee Etzold, Group Motion, and Rennie Harris Puremovement. She has also performed internationally with Dada von Bzdülöw Theatre (Poland), and worked locally with Sylvain Emard Danse (Montreal) and Melina Martin (Argentina), among many others.
Bethany has received several grants and awards, including an Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts (2012), Dances in Public Spaces Grant/Stipend to work with musician Ken Filiano (2011), Rocky Award (2009), Fellowship for Choreography from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (2008), and several Professional Development Awards supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance; Performance/Choreographic Lab/Master Classes with Peggy Baker (2011), Dance Workshop with Attakkalari, Taught by Jayachandran Palazhy and Hema Bharathy Palani (2011), Residency with Lucinda Childs and Ty Boomershine, Performed Interior Drama & Melody Excerpt,(2010 & 2011), Residency developing American Silences with Bulgarioan Director Petar Todorov (2007), and a Workshop/Exchange with Bulgarian Director Petar Todorov and Slovenian Choreographer Gregor Kamnikar (2006).
She has taught dance, theater, and vocal master classes and residencies for a variety of professional companies, studios, colleges and institutions throughout the U.S. and internationally, including the Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, Poland, and England. As a choreographer, Bethany’s own work has been presented extensively throughout New York City and Philadelphia, as well as in Bulgaria, Italy, Poland, and England.
Bethany is currently performing virtually for David Gordon in The Philadelphia Matter-1972/2020, a new hour-long screen work specifically for the Fringe Arts Festival. She is also devbeloping a new dance on screen project in collaboration with Amalia Colon-Nava & Evelyn Langley and is the proud owner of Sawdust Siren, creating wood-centric art.