Brandon Whited (dancer, choreographer, teacher, maker)—born in Poughkeepsie, NY— began dancing at the age of ten after his family moved to North Carolina. He received both his HS diploma and BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts under a brilliant and inspiring faculty. In addition to training based in the Cunningham, Limón and Nikolais techniques, Brandon was exposed to a strong supplement of guest teacher-choreographers, which informed his eclectic approach to contemporary technique—grounded in traditional modern dance.
Returning to his roots in New York, Brandon danced professionally with Steeledance (Teri and Oliver Steele), Randy James Dance Works, Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company, danscores by Ofelia Loret de Mola, and as a specialized supernumerary with the Metropolitan Opera. In 2008 he joined Shen Wei Dance Arts as an apprentice and became a core member from 2009-2014. During that period, Brandon toured Shen Wei’s rich repertory, domestically and internationally, and originated roles in four works— Re-III (2009), Limited States (2010), Undivided/Divided (2011) and Collective Measures (2013).
In addition to his work in contemporary dance, Brandon has worked in Musical Theatre as both a performer and choreographer—with productions in North Carolina for the Cape Fear Regional Theater (Choreographer: The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee; Co-Choreographer: High School Musical, Fame; Asst. Choreographer: The Music Man), and in NYC for the Purple Repertory Theatre Company (Choreographer: The All-American Genderf*ck Cabaret, and The un-Marrying Project).
Following his professional career, Brandon received his MFA as a Distinguished University Fellow from The Ohio State University. His research lies at the intersection of gender/queer theory, dance theatre and contemporary dance.
His work has been presented at The Ohio State University, Ohio Dance Festival, Rochester Fringe Festival, and most recently, as a guest choreographer for Santa Barbara Dance Theater.
Brandon’s teaching focus is centered around contemporary technique, rooted in tradition, yet informed improvisation, somatic practices, and by Shen Wei’s Natural Body Development Technique. His class focuses on qualitative range, support of the breath, supple articulation of the spine and limbs—for sequentiality, articulation, efficiency and supported release—and use of weight and momentum for dynamic movement through space. Brandon’s teaching practice also encompasses composition, improvisation, social dance and multiple forms of dance partnering. Drawing on the principles of ballet and contemporary partnering, contact improvisation and ballroom dance (and identifying their middle ground), he is developing the idea of an Integrated Partnering to create a versatile base of partnering skills and knowledge.
Brandon joined the UCSB Theater and Dance family, as an Assistant Professor of Dance, in the fall of 2016. Since arriving, he has contributed choreography to Bernhard, and original 'Launch Pad' Production written by Lynn Rosenberg, and Directed by Anne Torsiglieri. Brandon Created a new duet- Petit Pas (2017) -as a guest choreographer/performer in the winter season of Santa Barbara Dance Theater led by colleague and Artistic Director Christopher Pilafian.
Recent choreographic research projects include Boys Like Us (2018) –a duet for two professional dancers based in Los Angeles, that continued Mr. Whited's lines of inquiry into the dynamics of identity, embodiment and representation, with particular attention to coming-of-age as a gay man. Structure of Us (2017)—a collaborative, interdisciplinary improvisation-based installation performance with Tammy Carrasco (Asst. Prof. of Dance, SUNY Brockport), and Fulbright scholar and visual artist/photographer Kitty Hubbard (Assoc. Prof. of Photography/Visual Art)—was presented in the Autumn of both the Rochester Fringe Festival, and the Charm City (Baltimore) Fringe. Another site-specific, improvisation-based performance, Loro Sono Loro/They are Them—A collaborative choreography/performance project with long time dance partner and friend Sarah Lisette Chiesa—was presented in December of 2017 in galleries in both Parma and Castiglione delle Stiviere, Italy.
Next up for Mr. Whited is another commission for Santa Barbara Dance Theater, premiering 95 North at the Lobero Theater in Downtown Santa Barbara in May 2019. Brandon is scheduled to re-stage Petit Pas for Bellingham Repertory Dance Company’s 2019/2020 season, and will expand Boys Like Us into a full evening-length production in Autumn 2019 at UCSB.