Sarah Beth Oppenheim
Sarah Beth Oppenheim hails from the Wild, Wild West where she trained in classical ballet and modern at Juline School of Dance and Gretchen Vogelzang's Central West Ballet. She graduated summa cum laude and with the Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence from SUNY Purchase's Conservatory of Dance and Sociology Department before transitioning into a performance, teaching, and choreography career.
Oppenheim’s pulse is kinetically intertwined with the contemporary modern dance scene – having lived and danced in Berlin and New York, studied in the international dance centers of Brussels, Budapest, and Tel Aviv, as well as continued professional training at Juilliard, American Dance Festival, Tanz im August, Impulstanz, and MELT. Her performance career spans principal roles with renowned choreographers to collective work with emerging artists including: Donald McKayle, Doug Varone, Ohad Naharin, Paul Taylor, Nicholas Leichter, Kevin Wynn, Mark Morris, Clint Lutes, alex/xan: the meridian movement, and Nora Petroliunas. She was a founding member and danced for ten years in Nelly van Bommel’s noa dance in New York City. She also danced on Sam Bassett and Noah Baumbach film sets until she heard Virginia is for Lovers, and her relocation there introduced her to the DC Dance community in projects by Tzveta Kassabova, Stephanie Miracle, and Sharon Mansur.
Oppenheim started her avant-garde, site-specific dance happenings company in Berlin in 2006, and, ever since, has created works for storage closets, balconies, living rooms, graveyards, rooftops, parking lots, bookstore aisles, burrito joints, stairwells, and any kitchen window sill with a good view of the crescent moon. Upon returning to New York, she started teaching, directing plays, choreographing musicals, planning weddings, and cleaning house for a stripper who tipped very well. She is a 2009 Brooklyn Arts Council Regrant Recipient for her Brooklyn production Hold This Deep for Safe.
The daughter of sweater vest and bowties, Oppenheim is most at home teaching barefoot in a dance studio. She has sixteen years of teaching experience, most recently as adjunct faculty at Montgomery Community College, as the founder of Metropolitan Moves – a program which brings modern dance and choreographic tools to underserved populations, and as Associate Director of Greater Washington Dance Center where she teaches modern, ballet, choreography, and improvisation with a curriculum committed to passion, character, and intelligent exploration.
Embarking on an MFA means, for her, three years of deepened investigation into site-specific choreography, dance writing, and a business model and pedagogy that bridge social work and dance education for at-risk youth.