“Michelangelo famously viewed a chunk of marble and imagined the art within it. I see the artist in the people I work with.”
Susan Bendix is a recipient of a 2015 Artist Research & Development Grant.
Artist Research and Development Grants are designed to support the advancement of artistic research, aid in the development of artistic work and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. For more information about the Artist Research & Development Grant, click here.
Having been unexpectedly widowed and left with a small child, Susan Bendix is familiar with grief and the standard therapies offered to aid the grieving. Using her experience as a dancer, Bendix aims to steer grief into realms of gesture that go beyond the standard talk-based approaches and provide those who work with the grieving a thoughtful, well-researched, movement-based curriculum appropriate for adults, teens, and children.
Communities dating back to ancient times and from many cultures intuitively practiced rituals and dances to help bridge life and death. Bendix hopes that her curriculum will re-invigorate what humans have instinctively understood for centuries. By adapting and integrating techniques used in choreography, improvisation, and ritual, this curriculum will be a means for the intense energy of grief to take expressive form: story and telling will be embedded in gesture; feelings will be explored through shape; and line drawings will map the course of loss that is then walked through space.
Bendix will be introducing this new programmatic tool to the Hospice of the Valley staff through ‘train-the-trainers’ workshops that experientially take them through the curriculum.
Susan Bendix is a professional dancer, choreographer, improvisational artist, and Zen practitioner who has danced both nationally and internationally, worked as an artist with Arizona Commission on the Arts, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, and as a Wolf Trap artist in early childhood education. Her dance focus includes concentrated work in Action Theater improvisation, theater, technology, and site specific choreography. She works with a broad range of populations including incarcerated youth, gifted youth, university students, public health entities and those in the corporate sector.
Dr. Bendix has a Ph.D. in Education, an MFA in dance and choreography from Arizona State University, and received her BA from the University of California, Riverside. She participated in the launch of the New York based SMALLLab (Situated Multimedia Arts Learning Lab), an embodied learning environment developed by a collaborative team of researchers and K-12 teachers. She taught classes for the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University and helped develop their arts-based teacher training track. Her pioneering dance curriculum has been honored with the 2011 Outstanding Narrative Dissertation Award conferred by the American Educational Research Association.
"I'm a dancer, so movement is my language. It was my way of being with that intense energy and just pouring myself into it. That's what dance was like for me as a young person. It was how I processed the loss of a parent, and again, after my husband died. Dance is my mode, movement is my vocabulary."Read more