Sarah Beth Oppenheim (she/her) I come from: 38 dance studios, 4 particular kitchens, and 2 synagogues from the Wild Wild West, skyscrapered NYC, trampoline sidewalks of Berlin, and begrudgingly beautiful sunsets over the Potomac. I like to use scraps, abandoned tools, and painters tape to cut and paste curious inquisitions into everything from pelvis-motored site-specific choreography to burritos. I believe in deepest plie to bend traditions, antiracist pedagogy to bend academia, and dance as an everything salve. As a teaching artist mom, I mine, swap, and alchemically mix choreographic research, antiracist pedagogy, and arts & crafts between stage, studio, classroom, and nursery.
Educational letters include BFA SUNY Purchase and MFA University of Maryland. Work/love finds me teaching/making/womanifesting as a Teaching Artist at Dance Place, Professorial Lecturer at American University, Education Coordinator at BlackLight Summit, and Artistic Director of Heart Stück Bernie. My love of repetition and subversive durational practices means I’m usually sidestepping lines and primers in favor of another way to dance it out. With you.
My career highlights run the gamut from dancing in forsaken storage closets, to a Criterion film set, to performing for Baryshinikov with kale in my incisors, along with gigs at Tacheles, Dance Omi, Ponderosa Ongoing Research and Collaborative Happenings, The Kennedy Center, The Duke on 42nd St., Marfa, TX, on top of the Chelsea Hotel, Dance Place, American Dance Institute, the Hawaiian Room at the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Rothko Room at National Gallery of Art, The Grand Canyon, City Museum, Rhizome, and secret performances in Lincoln Center’s Koch Theater when I was done cleaning up at the end of the night.
I have lived and danced in Berlin, New York, and Washington DC, studied in the international dance centers of Brussels, Budapest, Tel Aviv, and Vienna, as well as continued professional training at Juilliard, American Dance Festival, Tanz im August, Impulstanz, Doug Varone and Dancers, David Dorfman Dance, Ponderosa, and MELT. My performance career spans work with renowned choreographers to emerging artists, including: Donald McKayle, Doug Varone, Ohad Naharin, Paul Taylor, Nicholas Leichter, Kevin Wynn, Mark Morris, Clint Lutes, alex/xan: the median movement, Janessa Clark/KILTERBOX, and Nora Petroliunas. I was a founding member and danced for ten years in Nelly van Bommel’s nøa dance in New York City. I also danced in Sam Bassett and Noah Baumbach films before I heard Virginia is for lovers, and my relocation there introduced me to the DMV dance community, where I have lovingly navigated the country’s worst traffic to drive to rehearsals for Tzveta Kassabova, Stephanie Miracle, Sharon Mansur, Robin Neveu Brown, Orange Grove Dance, Candace Scarborough, and Kendra Portier’s BAND|kp.
My company Heart Stück Bernie makes site-specific and proscenium extravaganza works in museums, theaters, stairwells, back rooms, and other places I convince you to engage with dance.
As an inaugural Artist in Residence at Dance Place from 2018-2020, I programmed and facilitated community events for students and choreographers, created new works exploring hypermagicalrealism, politics, and systemic deconstruction experiments, and I established a research practice of land, music, and movement acknowledgements. Current research includes site-specific meaning-making, social justice community engagement, and subversive and durational studio pedagogy.
I live in Silver Spring, Maryland where I subject my family to artistic procedurals and cardboard extravaganza reckonings, but they secretly love it. My toddler enjoys hosting talk shows, and my baby’s side eye is sharper than a dagger. But it’s warm here by the construction paper fire and the every-floor-a-dance-floor.