Yolande Snaith is an interdisciplinary artist and educator, exploring connections between movement and dance, image making, video, writing and spoken word. Her training in visual art, dance and theatre during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s laid the foundations for a lengthy career as an internationally recognized dance theatre artist and dance professor at the University of California San Diego. Since retiring from academia in 2023, Yolande now focusses on her creative practices as an independent artist, developing new pathways and territories within both her artistic work, and her teaching methodologies.
In 2020, Yolande lost her 21 year old son and only child, Alexander, in tragic circumstances. This profound loss, and the healing journey that followed has transformed her life, spirituality, sense of identity and perspectives on the human experience, in ways that have both channelled her grief through her art making, and expanded her artistic palette and thematic content. Writing, photography and video in particular became profoundly fluid and intuitive media and expressive vehicles for processing her grief, building a body of work with a momentum that
seemed to naturally emerge from a place deep within. Yolande’s sense of purpose as an artist continues to evolve in ways that seek to reach out to others, and embrace the transformative nature of loss and grief through engaging with expressive arts practices in co-creative and inclusive ways.
Yolande Snaith’s choreographic and performing career spans over forty years. Her range of artistic engagement is broad, from solo performance work to group choreography and dance theatre, choreographic commissions and improvisation ensemble practice. Her work has been presented internationally in more than fifteen countries, and she has created several dance films in collaboration with renowned film directors. Yolande has been commissioned to choreograph works for dance, theatre and opera companies internationally. Yolande’s artistic roots lie in her native Britain, where she emerged in the mid 1980’s as one of the UK’s most innovative young choreographers, at a time when the European dance theatre scene was rapidly evolving. Having trained in visual art at Wimbledon Art School UK, and dance and theatre at Dartington College of Arts UK, the roots of her artistic practice are multidisciplinary. Between 1985 and 1990 Yolande created a number of full length solo and duet works which toured the British dance venues and European festival network, with support from the Arts Council of England, and the British Council. Yolande received a number of dance awards including; two Digital Dance Awards, a Barclays New Stages Award, the Bonnie Bird Choreography Award and three Time Out/Dance Umbrella Awards.
Yolande’s UK company, Yolande Snaith Theatredance was established in 1990 with funding support from the Arts Council of England. The company’s work was renowned for its innovative collaborations with composers, designers, writers, dancers and actors, creating striking visual and theatrical worlds with their own unique performance vocabulary and internal logic. The company created and toured eleven full length works between 1990 - 2004, visiting dance festivals and venues in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Italy, Spain, Romania, Lithuania, Isreal, Greece, Hungary, Austria, Ireland, Switzerland, UK and Scotland. One of Yolande Snaith Theatredance’s most renowned works, Blind Faith won the Prix D’auteur du Conceil Generale de la Seine-Saint-Denise, 1998.
Yolande has received commissions from dance, theatre, opera, film and television companies, including the English National Opera, Birmingham Dance Exchange, Transitions Dance Company, CNDC, Ricochet Dance Company, The Verve, Paines Plough Theatre Company, McCaleb Dance, Jean Isaac’s San Diego Dance Theater and Trolley Dances and the Hungarian State Theatre of Cluj. Yolande has created eight dance films in collaboration with a range of directors, designers and composers, including director Ross MacGibbon, composers Graeme Miller and David Coulter, and designer Robert Innes-Hopkins. Should Accidentally Fall (1992), Swinger (1996) and Tablecloth Garden (2000) were all screened on television stations internationally, including the BBC and Channel 4. In 1997 Stanley Kubrick commissioned Yolande to choreograph his final film Eyes Wide Shut, and in 1999 she was the choreographic adviser for David Hinton’s film Birds, which was the overall winner of the 2001 Monaco Dance Screen Awards.
Yolande moved to the US in 2002 to join the faculty of Theatre and Dance at UC San Diego, and since then her choreographic and performance work has diversified through a broad range of artistic collaborations, commissions, site specific works, improvisation ensembles, film and solo projects, with performances in Los Angeles, San Diego, Germany, France, Holland, UK, Romania and Hungary. IMAGOmoves was established in 2006 as an artistic ‘umbrella’ for collaborative projects with other artists and performers. Since its inception IMAGOmoves created nine full length collaborative dance works and several shorter pieces, including large group site-specific events in urban city locations, to intimate smaller group and solo work presented in a range of venues, from the Hungarian State Theatre of Cluj, Romania, to San Diego’s alternative performance spaces such as SUSHI Visual and Performing Arts, Space4art, The White Box and The Geoffrey Theatre Off Broadway, and the California Institute of Telecommunications and Technology Calit2.
During her 21 years in the US, Yolande fostered collaborations with renowned dance and theatre practitioners, composers and designers on numerous international projects including; theatre directors Gabor Tompa and Robert Castro; composer / sound designers Shahrokh Yadegari, Nick Drashner, Ryan Welsh, Splash Yang, Stephen Kent and Kristopher Apple; scenic/projection designers Ian Wallace and Victoria Petrovich; lighting designers Thomas Ontiveros and Wen-Ling Liao; co-performer/ dance-makers Liam Clancy, Jess Humphrey, Mary Reich , Alicia Peterson Baskel, and Katie Duck; visual / performance artist Eleanor Antin; theatre company the Hungarian State Theatre of Cluj; film-makers Mark Freeman and Loren Robertson; music ensembles The Bach Collegium San Diego and musical directors Pierre Joubert and Rodolfo Richter.Yolande created three full length solos works in the US, One Hundred Feet (2011 - 2013), Once I Dreamed I Was a Dinosaur Swimming Backwards (2016), and most recently Of Body and Ghost (2019), presented in San Diego, Atlanta, Georgia and the Tête-a-Tête Opera festival, London, UK.
Yolande retired from UC San Diego in 2023 and returned to live the UK.
1988 - Winner, Digital Dance Award,UK
1989 - Winner, Digital Dance Award, UK
1989 - Shortlist, Prudential Award For Dance, UK
1989 - Winner, Time Out/Dance Umbrella Award, UK
1991 - Winner, Time Out/Dance Umbrella Award, UK
1991 - Winner, Bonnie Bird Choreography Award, UK
1992 - Winner, Time Out/Dance Umbrella Award, UK
1992 - Winner, Barclays New Stages Award, UK
1992 - Finalist, d’auteur Conseil générale de la Seine-Saint-Denis
(No Respite), France
1993 - Winner, Vancouver Dance/Video Festival, Canada
1994 - Dance Company of the Year – Independent on Sunday, UK
1998 - Prix d’auteur du Conseil générale de la Seine-Saint-Denis
(Blind Faith), France
2001 - Shortlist, Monaco Dance Screen awards (Tablecloth Garden), Monaco
2001 - Winner, Monaco Dance Screen awards (Birds), Monaco
From 1885 to 2005 Yolande Snaith and her company Yolande Snaith Theatredance received funding from The Arts Council of England annually.
Other grants for specific projects:
The Institute of Comtemporary Arts, London,
Dance Umbrella Festival London and Leicester,
The South Bank Centre, London,
Greenwich Dance Agency, London
The Leche Trust, UK
London Arts Board, UK
The Bristish Council, UK
Barclays New Stages, UK
Fonds d’aide a la production du Conseil General de Seine Saint Denis – Recontres Choreographiques Internationales de Bagnolet, France
Suffolk Dance Agency, UK
Birmingham Dance Exchange, UK
The Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, UK
UC San Diego Committee on Research, US
UC Mexus, US
UC San Diego Arts an Humanities awards 2005, 2010 and 2011, US
UCIRA grant, US
City of Encinitas and Mizel Family Foundation Community Grant, US