Controversial and provocative choreographer, Robyn Orlin has continuously pushed the boundaries of performance art and dance in the 20 years that she has been creating work.
Although once marginalized by the conservative dance community in South Africa, Orlin's City Theatre and Dance Group currently receives funding from the National Arts Council. This funding facilitates the practical and artistic development of young dancers, giving them ongoing workshops to develop and enhance their performance skills, as well as providing them with new opportunities to market their work.
Orlin has worked in diverse media including television, film, theatre, dance and opera as a choreographer, producer, dancer and teacher. Her work has been recognized in South Africa and abroad through various awards, bursaries and scholarships.
Robyn Orlin works in a rather eclectic way. She works from project to project and invariably tries to find ways of including the community and her audiences into her work. Her point of departure when making a new work is the immediate environment, which acts as a springboard to open up issues around culture, history and identity. The audience will often be found on the stage during a performance and the performers loitering with the audience - she would like everybody to dance and dancers to be able to be everybody!
Robyn now finds herself living part of the year in Berlin (where her husband, Oliver Schmitz, is making films) and Johannesburg or on the road touring with her work.
However, she spends her whole year yearning for her hometown Johannesburg, which is the source of her inspiration and creative drive.
2003 British theatre's Laurence Olivier Award for 'Outstanding Achievement in Dance' in London for her piece daddy, i've seen this piece six times before and i still don't know why they're hurting each other.
2000 Jan Faber Award for the most subversive choreography for daddy,.. Rencontres Choréographiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis, Paris.
1999 3rd place in the choreographic competition for Afrique en Creation in Madagascar. Sanga -a platform for choreography from Africa and the Indian Ocean.
1997 FNB Regional Award for That's the way the cookie crumbles.
Finalist for the FNB Vita Fine Art Award.
1996 FNB Vita Award for Best Choreographer.
Foundation of the Creative Arts Grant Recipient.
1995 Foundation of the Creative Arts Grant Recipient.
1990 AA Vita Award for Choreography.
1989 Fullbright Scholarship, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Standard Bank Young Artist Award.
1988 AA Vita Award for Choreography.
1986 British Council Scholarship, Goldsmith College, University of London.
1985 AA Vita Award for Choreography (First recipient).
PERFORMANCE AND CHOREOGRAPHY
2003 we must eat our suckers with the wrappers on... toured to France and Germany
2002 we must eat our suckers with the wrappers on ... Premiere in Paris at Théâtre de la Ville, followed by performances at the Dance Umbrella in Johannesburg and later in the year toured Vienna.
Commissioned by Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), the Hebbel (Berlin), Montpellier Dance Festival 02 to create Ski-Fi-Jenni and the frock of the new ...
This piece was performed in Paris, Berlin and Montpellier .
Daddy, I' ve seen ... toured to 5 cities in France, Norway, London (The Barbican Theatre), Greece (Kalamata Dance Festival) and Sweden (Gothenberg).
2002 The future may be bright, but it's not necessarily orange...
Performed at the Montpellier Dance Festival, France.
Commissioned by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds Berlin to make a piece called
babysitting caspar ... which premiered at the Alte Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
This Museum Project will continue in several different countries with several different guards of the respective museums over the next several years, with documentation of all the performances.
We must eat our suckers. has a season at Théâtre de la Ville, Paris.
2001 Created we must eat our suckers with the wrappers on . on the Market Theatre Laboratory Graduates
Commisioned by Ballet de Lorraine in Nancy, France to make a piece entitled rock my tutu
Premiere of the future may be bright, but it's not necessarily orange... in Johannesburg at the FNB Dance Umbrella with the premiere of the piece in Denmark in July.
Daddy, I 've seen... toured to Germany (Hamburg, Weimar, Wuppertal) Belgium (Brussels, Tournai, Liege) Japan (Yokohama, Itami) France (Paris, Brest, Strasbourg, Dieppe, Tours, Chalon, Lyon, Metz) Reunion, Amsterdam, Durban (SA), Switzerland.
2001 "F...(untitled)" toured to Germany (Weimar, Remscheid) France (Le Havre, Paris)
1998 Commissioned by Nordic Shuttle to start work with a Danish Dancer, Ann Crosset.
The piece is titled The future may be bright, but it's not necessarily orange.
Created "F...(untitled)" at the FNB Dance Umbrella, with funding from the NAC and the Goethe Institute.
This piece toured to Berlin where it had it's European premiere at the Hebbel Theater.
Daddy,i've seen. toured to France (Mulhouse, Paris, Montpellier) The Netherlands (Utrecht), Grahamstown Festival (SA), Market Theatre (SA)
1998 Commissioned work for the FNB Dance Umbrella entitled Daddy, I've seen this piece six times before and I still don't know why they're hurting each other ... A piece for six dancers and a stage.
Created life after the credits roll.a piece for 5 performers and the spirit of makana at the Market Theatre with funding from the NAC and the Market Theatre.
Spent two months in Berlin on a scholarship from the Goethe Institute.
Created at the drop of a hat. for students at the National School of the Arts.
1998 Created a new piece on Nelisiwe Xaba for the Women's Festival in Durban titled downscalig..scalingdown..a piece for one dancer and 3 dresses.
Conceptualised / Directed for Blue Moon Industrial Theatre Company Drum goes Weekly - History of Drum Magazine; Created a safety show for miners in the Gauteng and OFS areas.
Created All shoes children with the Market Theatre Laboratory students.
Won Best of the Fringe at the FNB Dance Umbrella.
Created Strangers in the night for the FNB Dance Umbrella with students from the Market Theatre Laboratory.
1998 Created When it comes down to mulberry bushes. for the Matric students of the National School of the Arts, which performed at the Dance Umbrella and the Dance Factory.
And at midnight we aired our souls. Created for Tumbuka Dance Company (Zimbabwe) performance at the Dance Umbrella.
Choreographed orpheus.I mean eurydice.I mean the natural history of a chorus girl. Premiere at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg.
This piece toured to Corbeils-Essonnes (France).
Choreographed an installation piece with Rodney Place called Couch Dances for the Rembrandt Gallery at the Market Theatre.
1997 One sheet of sleep. National School of the Arts.
the ambassador's silent freight. Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg.
Choreographer for the multi-media production Ubu and the Truth Commission. By William Kentridge and The Handspring Puppet Company.
Naked on a goat. Tour of Poland, Switzerland and France.
my hiccups continue to growl. Opening of the Johannesburg Biennale.
1997 Dress with itchy balls. An installation for the Purity and Danger Show, Gertrude Posel Gallery, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
keep the homefires burning with Nelisiwe Xaba. An installation - Vita Art Prize
finalist, Sandton Art Gallery
1995 and at midnight we aired our soles. Tumbuka Dance Company, Grahamstown Festival and Dance Umbrella, London.
explaining loss to a young ballerina. National School of the Arts.
Naked on a Goat. Premiere at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg.
1995 That's the way the cookie crumbles. Playhouse Dance Company, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and the Grahamstown Festival.
with astonishment I note the dog.. State Theatre Dance Company, Johannesburg.
In a corner the sky surrenders. Solo performance. Perth Festival.
Lazy Susan. Installation at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Johannesburg, part of a show called Hitchhiker .
In a corner the sky surrenders. Solo performance, South African premiere, Dance Umbrella, Johannesburg. Season at Grahamstown Festival.
1995 Rumble in the Jungle . Johannesburg Dance Theatre, Johannesburg.
Piss Elegant. Solo for Jeannette Ginslov. Arts Alive Festival, Johannesburg.
A hat is definitely not an envelope for a head . Solo for Warren Human. PACT Dance Company, Johannesburg.
The Polka Dot Lives On! Soweto Dance Theatre, Johannesburg.
Whoops. A Retrospective. Market Theatre, Johannesburg.
1994 In a corner the sky surrenders. Solo performance. Block gallery, North Western University, Chicago.
The explosion of stars is not only reserved for ticket-holders . NAPAC Dance Company, South Africa.
1993 Upsy-Daisy. Solo performance. Blue Rider Theatre, Chicago and The Art Institute of Chicago.
1992 How beautiful is the Princess tonight. Links Hall and Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago.
The explosion of stars is not only reserved for ticket-holders . Students of Columbia College Dance Centre, Chicago.
1992 Please, consider me a dream. In collaboration with British artist Mathew Wilson. International Performance Space, Facets Multimedia, Chicago.
1991 I throw myself against the sky. Solo performance. Gallery 2, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
1990 explaining conflict to a dying ballerina. Solo performance at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
If you can't change the world, change your curtains. PACT Dance Company, South Africa.
1989 If the whole population of China jumped up and down at the same time, the earth would move. NAPAC Dance Company, South Africa.
1989 Mysteries and Misses. Collaboration with director Chris Pretorius, Market Theatre, South Africa.
The Three Angry Daughters of Mr Knife and Mrs Fork (inspired by Chekhov's Three Sisters) Collaboration with director Chris Pretorius, Market Theatre, South Africa.
Alive ½ Dead. Dance Umbrella, South Africa.
MrMrs . Choreographed and performed by Robyn Orlin with actor Andrew
Buckland Market Theatre, South Africa.
Five girls screaming . Pretoria Technikon Dance Department, for the Grahamstown Festival, South Africa.
1989 As fall women, so fall women. PACT Dance Company, South Africa.
1988 Here for the Duration, Too. PACT Dance Company, South Africa.
Dancing into Darkness. Solo performance. Collaboration with Chris Pretorius. Baxter Theatre and Market Theatre, South Africa.
Sunrise City and Hotel Polana. Collaboration with Chris Pretorius. Market Theatre, South Africa.
Have you seen the countryside around Johannesburg lately plus Sunrise City (which was banned and had a hearing in front of the Censor Board) collaboration with Chris Pretorius for City Theatre Dance Company, Market Theatre Warehouse.
1987 Local Stops. NAPAC Dance Company, South Africa.
Dance Theatre Twofold : Presenting the pas de deux as a speciality act plus Dark Continents. Market Theatre, South Africa.
1986 Look confidently into the future. Pretoria Technikon Dance Dept. South Africa.
1985 Moulding Means. Pretoria Technikon Dance Dept. South Africa.
Here for the Duration. Market Theatre, South Africa.
1984 That dream, that sleep. Duet performance - Robyn Orlin and Lucky Diale.
Market Theatre Reheasal Room, South Africa.
(E)motional Chameleons duet with Robyn Orlin and Andre de Villiers, upper
gallery wall, Market Theatre, Johannesburg
Here for the duration by Robyn Orlin, with Lucky Diale, Gail Saul (and
supermarket trollies). Rehearsal Room, Market Theatre.SA.
1983 Bacchae . Collaboration with Junction Avenue Theatre Company, Market Theatre, South Africa.
One, so many. Solo performance. Choreographed with Sonje Mayo. Laager Theatre, Market Theatre, South Africa.
1991-1993 Master in Fine Arts, School of the Art Institute of Chicago (Fullbright Scholarship).
1985 The Laban School at Goldsmith College, University of London (British Council Scholarship).
1975-1979 Undergraduate Studies, London School of Contemporary Dance.
1965-1972 Royal Academy of Dance (London): Grades; Elementary and Intermediate Diplomas.
Robyn has led choreographic workshops nationally and internationally (Japan, Greece, Paris).
She has taught dance technique and choreographed at the Pretoria Technikon 1982 - 1989; National School of the Arts 1998-2001; PACT Dance Company 1988-1989; Market Theatre Laboratory 1996-2003.
In 1982 she inaugurated the dance departments at FUBA (Federated Union of Black Artists) and Funda Art Centre, Soweto and was the Artistic Director of FUBA Dance Company, the first black contemporary dance company in South Africa.
She taught at Eldorado Park Recreation Centre.
In 1983 performed and delivered a paper at the culture and resistance festival in Botswana.
Robyn has created various art installations in South Africa and abroad.
She has worked as director and art director for the Blue Moon Industrial Theatre Company.