Peter Sparling is Thurnau Professor of Dance at University of Michigan. A graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy and The Juilliard School, Sparling was a member of the José Limón Dance Company (1971-73) and principal dancer with Martha Graham Dance Company (1973-87). He served as Graham’s choreographic assistant on new works and coached guest artist Rudolf Nureyev. He has performed and staged Graham’s works all over the world and has appeared twice on PBS Dance in America.
Sparling has had extensive experience as artistic director, (Peter Sparling Dance Company), choreographer, performer, teacher (U-M Distinguished Faculty Award and 1998 Governor’s Michigan Artist Award), lecturer, video artist, writer (Ballet Review), collaborator, administrator (former chair, U-M Dance Department) and dance/arts consultant. His dances for video have been selected for numerous international dance on camera festivals, including the 2007 New York Dance on Camera Festival, the 2008 American Dance Festival Dance Film & Video Festival and DANCE:FILMS Glasgow. His made-for-TV work, Climbing Sainte-Victoire, was broadcast on Michigan Television in 2009. He collaborated with Ernestine Ruben, photographer, to produce video murals for Photoformance at UM Museum of Art in 2011 and Water Alchemy, first screened at the Dalet Gallery in Philadelphia in 2012.
Sparling has presented papers at Society of Dance History Scholars and European Association of Dance Historians; he recently co-chaired the groundbreaking conference, Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance, at U-M. His video montage, Beautiful Captives: Martha Graham and the Cinematic Id, opens each performance of the Martha Graham Dance Company’s Inner Landscape program during its 2012-13 season. His video installations, Clonal Renderings and UNTRANSLATABLE!, open in Ann Arbor this fall. He has recently completed his memoir, Confessions of a Dancing Man.