Rhea Speights

Dance Performance and Video


Y'all, let's continue to examine the ways that our behaviors and institutions uphold white supremacy, sexism, classism, and other forms of oppression. We are capable of dismantling these systems and rebuilding our communities in ways where everyone is treated with respect and is safe from violence.

Art is a central component of this process. I hope you are all practicing creativity in your lives.

what's new


I am collaborating with KJ Dahlaw, artistic director of Unruly Body Tanztheater, on a horror videodance titled Demon Legion. Production starts in July in the SF Bay Area with our fellow dance artists Qilo Matzen, Jesselito Bie, LoRee Kenagy, James Washington, Bhumi Patel, Kevin Wong, Hannah Varga, Sarah Bush, Raven Malouf-Renning, Julianna Cressman, and Frances Sedayo. Our anticipated premiere date is early 2022.

Researching movement for Demon Legion, December 2020.

a short biography

Rhea is an artist and teacher, working primarily in dance and video. Her work has been presented in backyards, galleries, and theatre spaces across the United States, as well as in Colombia and New Zealand, with support from the Puffin Foundation, the Alabama State Council on the Arts, and the National Society of Arts and Letters. Rhea has taught at the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and various other institutions, festivals, and art centers. She has had the pleasure of performing with Sanspointe and Corpus Euphonium in Birmingham, Alabama, with Steamroller Dance Company in San Francisco, and is currently working with April Sellers Dance Collective in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Telecommunication and Film from the University of Alabama. Rhea's creative practice is influenced by her experience studying and creating with artists she admires including Jennifer Monson, Jessie Young, Angélica Soledad, and Sycamore Toffel. In making her work, Rhea uses ballet and contemporary dance forms, video, cinema theory, and her desire to fully integrate the imagination with the body. Some of her thoughts about the relationship between dance and video are published in a performative essay titled "The Carpet" in Undisciplining Dance in Nine Movements and Eight Stumbles (2018), edited by Carol Brown and Alys Longley. Rhea resides in Framingham, Massachusetts.

selected creative work

2019-2020. Made in collaboration with the performers Alexa Manalansan, Chelsea Van Billiard, and Jenna Valez. First a live performance at SAFEhouse Arts in San Francisco, then a videodance to share with a larger audience.

2019. Made in collaboration with the performers Alexa Manalansan, Chelsea Van Billiard, Jenna Valez, and KJ Dahlaw. Presented at West Wave Dance Festival and Summer Performance Festival in San Francisco.

2018. Made in collaboration with Jessie Young. Presented at Summer Performance Festival 11, San Francisco. Photo by Hans Holtan.

Not About but Nearby

2018. Made and performed with KJ Dahlaw , Hannah Varga, and Tim Russell. SAFEhouse Arts, San Francisco. Photo by Hans Holtan.
2016. Performed by students at the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee. Kenilworth Studios, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
2015. Made in collaboration with students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Natialie Fiol.

Rhea means running

2013. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Champaign, Illinois. Photo by Natalie Fiol.

Signs Following

2011. Performed by Sanspointe Dance Company. The Dance Foundation, Birmingham, Alabama. Photo by Clark Scott. Funding by the Puffin Foundation and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

making and teaching

a statement from Rhea

My making and teaching practices are motivated by the idea that art elevates consciousness and awakens the imagination. I am drawn to dance and video because both are composite forms, which reflect the additive and collaborative methods I use to know the world, and because they lend themselves to making expressions of the world that are recognizable but reformed through fantasy. I believe in the importance of cultivating the imagination and practicing creativity as we try to understand ourselves, connect to one another, and address the challenges of being alive. The art that I make is driven by a desire to make physical my thoughts and dreams. And it is an invitation for you to center your own imagination as you engage with mine.

My own artistic practice is enriched by working in the studio with other people. I offer classes and workshops that examine theories of moving and making through the process of moving and making. My areas of specialty are ballet for everybody, somatic approaches to contemporary dance, improvisation, and composition for performance and video. In these classes, we examine established practices and experiment with possible futures. I design and adapt classroom methods and materials in response to the people in the room and the development of our time together.

in the news

"channels an intelligent creativity"

SF Chronicle

"...brought to mind images of Lake Michigan on a cold, rainy day. I could have watched and listened to this piece for hours."

Shepherd Express

"a vehicle for vibrant energy and drama"


"this potent work left nerves and emotions exposed, due not only to Speights' choreography, but to her riveting performance."

The Birmingham News


Email - rheaspeights@gmail.com

Tel - 205.344.0598

copyright 2018 Rhea SpeightsHeader photo by Hans Holtan