..Funny and smart, tough and fresh…completely unrecognizable as modern dance, jazz, or ballet." - David Gere, Oakland Tribune
"Her pieces…communicate ideas and storyline through language, movement and music that layers, fold by fold, into a total multiperformance encounter." - Pamela Hurley Diamond, The San Diego Union Tribune
An Artist Activist.
Photo Credit: Stan Williams
On Sacred Ground (WoomenMoves)
Ms. Yearby believes there is great value to be found in the relationship between teacher and student. Through her lab-style intensives, Ms. Yearby conceptualizes, explores, and hones techniques and opportunities for new types of collaborations. Residencies allow her work to flourish and give Ms. Yearby the space to ready students to perform authentically on stage and in front of the camera. Most recently, she has been in residencies with the Joffrey Jazz Summer Intensive, Bates College, and A.I.R. at Spelman College.
Ms. Yearby’s reality libretto, “The Beautiful/ Unplugged,” based on the impact of the device and media on identity as played by an BIPOC American family, continues to be a vision for future conceptualization. The work will include original writings by Carl Hancock Rux and writings from Laurie Carlos from the original lab of the work “The Beautiful” and will have original music by Cooper Moore. Ms. Yearby is writing her newest work “Seed Awakenings on the Eve of Blue,” which looks at the manipulation of our food sources and the disparity of clean real foods to communities globally. Ms Yearby’s project Woom’en (v) birthed her production company WoomenMoves to support her activism around the body, helping to empower the authentic lives of women everywhere.
In the wake of the pandemic and the continued crisis of the disregard of BIPOC communities across the globe, Ms. Yearby continues to give voice for radical change through her Deep Body Listening practices and has covered lectures and workshops virtually to foster a container for authentic dialogues and exchange. She was a guest lecturer on her In Our Bones creative process for Camille A. Brown’s “Social Dance for Social Change” virtual lecture series. During Street Dance Activism’s 28 Day Global Meditation for Black Liberation, she presented her deep listening energy practice as a guide for moving the body into dance. Ms. Yearby was a guest lecturer at both Harvard University and Dartmouth College, teaching embodied somatic practices. Marlies Yearby was also featured in the MLK celebration at Dartmouth College in order to champion healing and connection in the face of the pandemic. Additionally, Marlies Yearby was a featured artist as an Arts Envoy for TV Cultura in Brazil, where she coached young professionals seeking to pursue Broadway musicals.
Marlies Yearby was one of 33 artists to read on camera for the Read In Series featuring W.E.B. DuBois’ book Reconstruction, which helped connect an understanding of historical challenges to the problems currently impacting the nation. Through her studies of the Yoga Sutras at the Govardhan Yoga School and Eco Village in Maharashtra, India, she received a 200 hour certification in the philosophies of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. She was also featured alongside Abdel Salaam in Black Dance Stories’ virtual program centered on highlighting Black dancers and their stories. In order to continue her exploration of tokenizing art works for the blockchain, Marlies will release her first non-fungible token (NFT) in 2021.
Ms. Yearby’s work is internationally recognized. She is the Tony and Dora Award-nominated choreographer of RENT and received the Drama League Award for the Los Angeles production of RENT. Her work was licensed for the movie production and she is the choreographer of the CINECAST of RENT’s final Broadway performance. Currently, she will remount RENT for the 25th Anniversary Tour.
Ms. Yearby received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for her choreography for the “Oedipus Plays” at Washington Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., directed by Michael Khan. She received a Bessie Award as a collaborator with writers Lisa Jones and Alva Rogers for “Stained.” She choreographed Shay Young Blood’s “Talking Bones” at the Penumbra Theater in Minnesota, directed by Laurie Carlos, and Rita Dove’s “Darker Face of the Earth” at the Guthrie Theater in Minnesota, directed by Lou Bellamy. She is the choreographer of Sekou Sundiata’s “Mystery of Love” at the American Musical Theater Festival in Pennsylvania, directed by Talvin Wilks.
She has gained critical acclaim for her company Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater in her role as director and choreographer of “Brown Butterfly,” which she co-conceived with originator and composer Craig Harris as a multimedia celebration of the life and times of Muhammad Ali, “The Greatest.” With her collaborator Aku Kadogo, Ms. Yearby directed and choreographed for poet Jessica Care Moore’s “Salt City,” an Afro-futuristic fantasy techno choreopoem inspired by the salt mines of Detroit.
Photo Credit: Stan Williams
Photo Credit: FifthEye Studio
Ms. Yearby is the founder and director of Movin’ Spirits Dance Theater (MSDT) since 1989 and received commissions from Harlem Stages, Kansas Lied Center for the Performing Arts, MASS MoCa, The Exit Festival France, PS 122, The American Dance Festival, Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, and Jacob's Pillow, among others. Based on connections originally cultivated through her commissioned work for MSDT, Ms. Yearby has had the pleasure of directing works from writers Laurie Carlos, Sekou Sundiata, Carl Hancock Rux, and Nadine Mozon.
Ms. Yearby is the director and founder of the project DanceHackIt, a virtual live-streamed performance space of dancers around the globe. With the support of community activist, fashionista, and tech hacker Bonnie Sandy, the test launch streamed simultaneously in the Gambia, West Africa, St. Lucia, Vermont, and New York in 2011. In 2021, she continues to explore her vision of the project with new eyes on technology. The lab is now titled DanceHackIt.Live as a platform for the creative exchange of artist collaborations, unrestricted by the boundaries of geography.
Ms. Yearby directed Carl Hancock Rux’s “Singing in the Womb of Angels” and “Geneva Cottrell: Waiting for the Dog to Die” at Mabou Mines. She also directed writer Dominique Morisseau’s “Black At Michigan” as a part of the Downtown Urban Theater Festival held at Cherry Lane Theater. She became a BRIC Community TV producer to learn about working with cameras and telling the story behind the lens. Additionally, Ms. Yearby has served on the advisory board of the New York Foundation for the Arts.
Photo Credit: FifthEye Studio