Margaret Sunghe Paek
Margaret Paek is a collaborative dance artist who sees choreography as a daring process of multiplicity and framing. Her approach involves simultaneously being a dancer, creator, director, performer, improvisor, collaborator, choreographer, teacher, student, scholar, mother, partner, and witness. As she blurs the distinctions between these labels in her practice and thinking, she finds surprising inspiration and integration.

Community is essential for her artistic growth. Margaret participates in the interactive process of creation with artists and audience of all ages, training, backgrounds, and types of contribution. Her research engages in inclusionary methods and ensemble enterprises, and her career is keenly invested in collective work. She finds the potential lies in liminal listening; between us, there is art.

Studying, developing, and allying with the performance collective, Lower Left, is a continuing source of stimulation. Margaret is deeply influenced by her relationships with gymnastics, contact improvisation, Ensemble Thinking, Alexander Technique, Nina Martin, Shelley Senter, Barbara Dilley, Deborah Hay, musician/composer Loren Kiyoshi Dempster and their daughter. She has also had the pleasure of working with Mary Overlie, Milka Djordjevich, Keith Hennessy, Lionel Popkin, BodyCartography Project, Dahlia Nayar, and projectLIMB, among others.

Her cooperative and individual work has been presented at venues including: Dixon Place, Issue Project Room, Joyce SoHo, Judson Church, Danspace at St. Mark’s Church, and the Whitney Museum in New York; Sushi Performance & Visual Art, Highways, ODC, and CounterPulse in California; the Crowley Theater and Barnevelder Movement/Arts Complex in Texas; Sín Culture Center in Budapest, Hungary. Dance critic, Jennifer de Poyen, has called her “a dancer so full of wit and intelligence, you can’t keep your eyes off her.” (San Diego Union Tribune, 2002)

The practice of teaching is integral to her creative process, and Margaret has been a movement educator for over twenty years. Regularly, Margaret teaches contact improvisation, Ensemble Thinking, and other courses for Movement Research, Marymount Manhattan and Manhattanville Colleges in NYC. She has also taught at: 100 Grand Dance, Dance New Amsterdam, and the New School in New York; University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Missouri State University; Prescott College in Arizona; Purdue University in Indiana; University of California at San Diego and Sushi Performance & Visual Art in California; the Swedish Dance Alliance in Stockholm; Kontakt Budapest in Hungary; Tanzfabrik in Berlin and the International Contact Festival in Freiburg, Germany. With Lower Left, she facilitates programs such as “March 2 Marfa,” an improvisation performance lab for experienced practicioners (past guest lead artists have included Barbara Dilley, Deborah Hay, and Steve Paxton.)

Margaret has authored articles for Contact Quarterly, is on the board of Marfa Live Arts, and serves on Movement Research’s Artist Advisory Council. She received her BA in Psychology, minor in Theatre Dance from UC San Diego in 1997 and her MFA from the Hollins University/American Dance Festival three-summer low-residency program in 2011.

photo by Matthew Young