John Kelly is an experimental theater artist who works as an author, choreographer, director, and performer, creating both solo and ensemble multidisciplinary dance theater works. His most recent work, The Skin I’m In, premiered in January 2004. A retrospective of sorts, it included sections from earlier works that were inspired by Egon Schiele, Jean Cocteau, German Expressionist silent films, Greek myths, Maria Callas, and Kelly’s experience surviving a trapeze accident in which he broke his neck.
Kelly plans to write a new performance piece inspired by the seventeenth-century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. He also plans to study master painting techniques (for example, how to paint flesh) and to make a series of paintings culled from photographic stills “captured” from video documentation of his performance works. His goal is to marry introspection and extroversion through painting and performance.
His awards and honors include two BESSIE Awards, two OBIE Awards, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, an American Choreography Award, and a 2001 CalArts Alpert Award in Dance/Performance.