Robin Stiehm moves with an attendee of one of the workshop, Playtime for Adults: Movement Improvisation.

Robin Stiehm

(Mexico) Artist Website Artist-in-Residence July Residency Year: 2019


Robin Stiehm has been interpreting life through movement for all of her 50 plus years. From tree climbing and “kick the can” as a kid in Minneapolis, to her first dance lessons at age 8, to a professional career in both ballet and modern dance that had her traveling the world, movement has always been her way of communicating and connecting.

While a professional dancer in Minnesota, Stiehm was privileged to work with many choreographers, including Bill T. Jones, David Dorfman, Bebe Miller, Ralph Lemon, Loyce Houlton, and a host of others. In 1994, after her own performing career, Robin founded Dancing People Company (a professional modern dance company based first in Minneapolis, later in Ashland, OR) and directed the company for over 20 years, using her skills as a choreographer and teacher to develop a diverse body of artistic work and help many dancers reach their physical and artistic potential.

Robin still travels around the U.S. to create dances for professional companies and teach intensives. Robin currently lives in Mazatlán, Mexico, where she is on staff at the Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlán, the school of Delfos Danza Contemporanea.

“I’ve always been interested in making work that communicates on a level beyond the verbal, at a more intimate level, where I can share something more basic than words can express. As I move into a new solo phase of my work, the focus on intimacy and essential movement will only be enhanced.”

During this residency, Robin worked alone for the first time, utilizing the extended period to explore movement in a way that is unlike creating choreography for other bodies. She was simultaneously creator and interpreter, choreographer and dancer, creating a solo performance piece with her own body as the sole tool of expression.


During her Surel’s Place artist-in-residency, Robin Stiehm led the workshop, PLAYTIME FOR ADULTS: MOVEMENT IMPROVISATION. In movement improvisation for adults (no upper age limit) with or without previous movement experience. Participants used improvisational “scores” to experience spontaneous creativity and problem-solving in the moment. In dance, structured improvisations can be like games, with a set of rules to be followed. How those rules are interpreted is a big part of the fun.  The workshop began with a basic warmup then moved on to exercises that hone composition skills and strengthen intuition/connection with others.


Artist-in-residence Robin Stiehm presented HOME / BODY, a site-specific movement solo in the house and surrounds of Surel’s Place. As a dancer/choreographer who has primarily worked in traditional theater settings and on groups of dancers, Robin’s work at Surel’s Place was a departure for her. With Home/Body, Robin Stiehm explores aspects of being alone at home, blurring the lines between everyday life and art. She created in the interstices between public and private, inviting the visitors/witnesses/audience to experience an intimacy unusual in live performance.  Due to the creative use of spaces in the house and the intimate nature of the performance, Home/Body was performed multiple times throughout the evening and audience sizes were greatly limited. The audiences all ended in the back garden and gathered for reception, additional outdoor performance, and a Q&A with Stiehm.