Simone Forti is a dancer/choreographer/writer. Born in Florence, Italy in 1935, she immigrated to the United States with her family in 1939 and grew up In Los Angeles. She moved to San Francisco in 1955 and began dancing with Anna Halprin who was doing pioneering work in dance improvisation. After studying and performing with Halprin for four years, Forti moved to New York where she studied composition at the Merce Cunningham Studio with educator/musicologist Robert Dunn who was introducing the dancers to the work of composer John Cage. This was a time of active communication between artists, poets, musicians and dancers, and she counted among her close colleagues, composer La Monte Young, artist Robert Morris and poet Jackson Mac Low, as well as dancers Trisha Brown, Yvonne Rainer, and Steve Paxton.
In the spring of 1961 Forti presented a full evening of pieces she called Dance Constructions, at Yoko Ono’s loft studio. These pieces were placed in space much as sculptures would be, and featured people performing tasks such as climbing on an inclined plane or forming a tight huddle and taking turns climbing over the top. The Dance Constructions have since been featured in various venues including The Pasadena Art Museum, 1972, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, 2004, and The Box LA Gallery in Los Angeles, 2011. In 2014 Forti had a retrospective show at the Museum der Modern in Slazburg, Austris. A catalog, Thinking With the Body, was published with that show.
Since the early 1980s Forti has been practicing an improvisational dance-narrative form wherein movement and words spontaneously weave together in a synergistic process. Taking the news as her subject mater, Forti calls these performances News Animations. She has performed these as solos or in collaboration with colleagues, at venues including, in Los Angeles, The Getty Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Highways Performance Space and The Box LA Gallery, and in New York at The Museum of Modern Art, and internationally in venues including in Dublin, Marseilles, Rome and Berlin.
Forti was an adjunct professor on the dance faculty at UCLA where she taught Advanced Improvisation/Body Mind World. In 2005 Forti was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in dance, and in 2011 she received a Yoko Ono Lennon Award for Courage in the Arts. She is represented by The Box LA Gallery. www.theboxla.com