Bessie Schönberg (1906 - 1997)

  Founding Artistic Advisor    
  Bessie Schönberg a native of Germany, graduated from Bennington College, studied and performed with the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company. For 35 years she was the director of the dance program at Sarah Lawrence College and for some time had also been the director of the theater program. Following her retirement from Sarah Lawrence College, Bessie was made Professor Emeritus and received a citation from the Association of American Dance Companies. Ms. Schönberg was also chairman of the Board of Directors of Dance Theater Workshop. The annual New York Dance and Performance Awards are named after her (the Bessies) and she received a 1987-88 Bessie of her own for her lifetime achievement and inspiration in the field of dance and performance. She also received a New York State Governor's Art Award. Her husband, Dimitry Varley, served the United Nations as an economist until his retirement. Always an extraordinary gardener, he became a well known ceramist (potter) and author of children's books. He died in 1984 after a long illness. They were married for 50 years, Bessie referred to him as "my best friend".


  Susannah Newman
Artistic Advisor  
  Susannah Newman, a native of New York City, is a retired Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director of the Department of Dance, State University of New York, Brockport. Her early dance training included the Duncan and Wigman traditions followed by several years with Jose Limon, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. Susannah was also influenced by her work with Anna Halprin and Trisha Brown and then while at Ohio State University, she began artistic mentorships under Anna Sokolow and Viola Farber, which continued to enrich her for the next fifteen years. Her choreography has been commissioned by professional companies and numerous universities in Hawaii, Los Angeles, Boston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Norfolk, Canada, France and Sweden. Ms. Newman has also toured and performed solo works by Viola Farber, Anna Sokolow, Lynn Dally, Fritz Ludin amongst others.