Francesca Harper

Contemporary Program | Guest Choreographer

Francesca Harper is excited to return to Jacob’s Pillow, the place of her very first commission after returning to the USA. After being named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performing at the White House, she joined and performed soloist roles with Dance Theater of Harlem and later as a Principal Dancer in William Forsythe’s Ballett Frankfurt. Harper has choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem, Ailey II, Hubbard Street II, and many more companies including, her own company, The Francesca Harper Project, founded in 2005. Harper has appeared in four Broadway productions, with lead acting roles in Sweet Charity and Sophisticated Ladies, and as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill. She also served as a Ballet Consultant for the Oscar winning film, Black Swan. Harper is the Artistic Director for the Movement Invention Project® and served as Movement Director for Nick Cave’s Bessie Nominated The Let Go, an exhibit commissioned by the Park Avenue Armory. She was awarded a two-year choreographic fellowship with Urban Bush Women, providing support toward her latest dance-theater work An Unapologetic Body. Her recent engagements include choreographing for New York City Ballet’s Associate Artistic Director, Wendy Whelan, and co-directing and choreographing for the musical Rose’s War. She was also Movement Director for Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya’s Fall 2019 fashion show at the Apollo Theater. Harper’s collaborators include Nona Hendryx, MacArthur Genius Awardee; Carrie Mae Weems, Pulitzer Prize winning writer; Margo Jefferson, Anna Deavere Smith, Carl Hancock Rux, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Her awards include a Living History award during Black History Month, an LVMH InnovationAward, and Best Film for her original film at the Black International Cinema Berlin Festival. Harper is currently a Professor at The Juilliard School, New York University, and Ailey/Fordham. Visit for more information.

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