Christopher Watson Dance Company (CWDC) is a diverse, multi-generational group of performing artists and choreographers. We’re celebrating our 33rd anniversary of presenting a wide array of abstract dance works that draw on a foundation of classic modern dance technique. Our company and guest choreographers employ improvisation and create dances in collaboration with the dancers. Musical scores range from Western classical and romantic pieces to contemporary music rooted in other cultures and popular music. We commission new original works and collaborate with musicians who provide live accompaniment. Through the years some of Christopher Watson’s dances have been inspired by paintings and musical compositions while others have explored a wide range of topics including the impact of the AIDs epidemic on individuals and their families, what “home” means to each of us, our resilience in the face of loss and grief and the intense and complicated experience of falling in love.
The Christopher Watson Dance Company (CWDC) was established to present the modern dance choreography of artistic director Christopher Watson. Our mission has expanded to include producing collaborative performances showcasing the diverse work of many individual choreographers, musicians, visual artists and dance companies. CWDC embraces the diverse and multigenerational composition of its artists whose ages range from 20-something to 70-something. Founded in California in 1991 and moved to Minnesota in 1994, this is the company’s 33rd season of performances.
The Christopher Watson Dance Company (CWDC) has expanded it's mission to include producing, collaborating and supporting the work of many artists and companies, including:
Ballareteatro Dance Theatre
Baraka de Soleil
Brad and Cindy Garner
Maria Gomez Tierney
Ragamala Music and Dance Theater
Ray Terrill Dance Group
Youth Dance Ensemble
Artistic Director / Performer / Choreographer / Teacher / Presenter
Christopher Watson was a member of the New Dance Ensemble of Minneapolis and has performed with the Chicago Moving Company, Harbinger Dance Company of Detroit, and Joanna Haigood's Zaccho company in San Francisco, dancing in works by Pearl Lang, David Gordon, Dan Wagoner, Linda Shapiro, Kathryn Posin, Doris Humphrey, and Margaret Jenkins, among others.
Christopher received a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Coe College and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Northwestern University prior to beginning his dance training. He began dance study at the Houston Ballet Academy and subsequently trained with the Chicago Moving Company and at the Merce Cunningham and Joffrey Ballet studios in New York. Christopher then received a Master of Fine Arts in dance from the University of Michigan. From 1978-1982, he co-directed the Dance Theatre 2 Company and School in Ann Arbor, MI.
As associate director of American Inroads and Theater Artaud in San Francisco, he produced a wide range of dance, music, and theater events, including the concert premiere of John Adam's Opera Nixon in China, a concert version of Phillip Glass' Liquid Days with Linda Ronstadt, and the first annual Black Choreographers Moving showcase, as well as performances by noted artists Bebe Miller, Susan Marshall, Stephen Petronio, and the Kronos Quartet, among many others. He founded the Christopher Watson Dance Company in Sacramento, CA in 1991 after performing as an independent choreographer and dancer for several years. Mr. Watson returned to Minneapolis in the fall of 1994.
A former member of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Dance Alliance, Christopher has served on committees and panels for the Michigan Dance Association, Dance Bay Area in San Francisco, and the Sacramento Area Dance Alliance. He has served as a consultant for local arts agencies and organizations including the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Currently he serves on the board of directors for Ressl Dance!
A distinguished teacher, Christopher has served as a guest artist at Eastern Michigan University, California State University Sacramento, University of California at Davis, University of Minnesota Duluth, the Sacramento Visual and Performing Arts High School, and the Pinole Valley Arts Magnet School in the San Francisco Bay area.
Mr. Watson's work has been supported through grants from the Michigan Council for the Arts, the New Works Program of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the Jerome Foundation through the SpaceSpace Co-Project, the Linden Hills UCC Fund, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Lyndale Neighborhood Association, Minneapolis Arts Commission, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, and Mervyn's.
Hjordis Trygg Bjorklund
Heidi Draskoci Johnson
Andrew J. Lupinek
Maria Ho Pittman
Board of Directors
Raymond D. Terrill, President
Barbara Brown, Vice President
Jean W. Thiel, Board Member
Christopher Watson, Secretary/Treasurer
Matthew Thiel, Board Member
Board Member Alumni
CWDC is thankful for the contributions made by former board members, all of whom have donated time and monetary support to CWDC throughout the years:
Hjordis Trygg Bjorklund