Alice Sheppard
Dancer and Choreographer
Los Altos, CA
2019 USA Fellow

This award was generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Alice Sheppard saw Homer Avila, a disabled dancer, perform in 2004. Avila dared Sheppard to take a dance class; she did, and she loved moving so much that she resigned her academic professorship at Pennsylvania State University in order to begin a career in dance. She studied ballet and modern dance with Kitty Lunn and made her debut with Infinity Dance Theater. Sheppard joined AXIS Dance Company, an Oakland-based company where she toured nationally and taught in the company’s education and outreach programs. Since becoming an independent artist, Sheppard has danced in projects with Ballet Cymru, GDance, Marc Brew Company in the United Kingdom, Full Radius Dance, Marjani Forté-Saunders, MBDance, Infinity Dance Theater, and Steve Paxton in the U.S.

An award-winning choreographer, Sheppard creates movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies. Engaging with disability arts, culture and history, her commissioned work attends to the complex intersections of disability, gender, and race. Sheppard is the founder and artistic lead for Kinetic Light, a project-based collective  working across and/or between architecture, dance, design, identity, and technology to show how mobility—literal, physical, and conceptual—is fundamental to participation in civic life and to American national identity.

Sheppard is a board member for Dance/NYC, Urban Bush Women, Jess Curtis/Gravity, and a leadership council member for CounterPulse. She has served on Dance/NYC’s Disability.Dance.Artistry Taskforce, grant review panels, and is a regular keynote speaker on disability, dance, and accessibility.

Portrait photo by Beverlie Lord (Satsun Photography).