RUBéN graciani

choreographer × master teacher × collaborator × arts leader


About RG Dance Projects & Rubén Graciani

Photo: Saratoga lady

RUBEN GRACIANI is a choreographer, master teacher, and arts administration leader. He is currently the Director of the School of Theatre and Dance at James Madison University. He was previously the Chair and Associate Artistic Director of the Department of Dance - Conservatory of Performing Arts at Point Park University. He has served on the Dance Panel of the New York State Council of the Arts and currently serves on the Nominating Committee of the National Dance Museum – Dance Hall of Fame. In 2016, Mr. Graciani was selected as an adjudicator for the American College Dance Association Northeast Conference. Recent commissions include, Broadway Dance Center's Pro Sem Showcase, the Great Lakes Dance Festival, and works for the Conservatory Dance Company at Point Park University. Recently, he premiered Tethers, Capsules and Collisions, in collaboration with composer Alex Marthaler and an evening length work, FIVE, in collaboration with choreographer Kiesha Lalama and the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh.

In 2009, he formed RG DANCE PROJECTS. The company has performed in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 engagements at Joe’s Pub for the Dance Now Festival and has received Joe´s Pub´s Audience Favorite Award, which resulted a residency at DanceNow SILO in Pennsylvania. RG DANCE PROJECTS was shown dance for camera work at the Current Sessions Festival in New York City, in addition to performing at the Steel Stacks Performing Arts Center in Bethlehem, PA, CoolNY Festival, historic Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Theater at Westbeth, Saratoga ArtsFest, and at the DanceNow Raw Materials festival. Moreover, the company has cemented their commitment to collaborative project, including work at the Tang Teaching Museum, the International Woodwind Festival with pianist Luke Frazier and clarinetist Cynthia Doggett, and with Ensemble Connect (formerly Ensemble ACJW) on a production of Stravinsky's, L’Histoire du Soldat .

Mr. Graciani joined the faculty of Skidmore College in 2008, where his dance film projects with students was profiled in Dance Magazine´s November 2012 edition. While at Skidmore, he collaborated with renowned composer Richard Danielpour and pianist, Xiayin Wang on the work Swing and a Miss, which premiered at Skidmore College’s Zankel Music Center. In addition, Mr. Graciani presented a show of solo works at the SAS Performing Arts Center in Shanghai, China and premiered three works for Saratoga ArtsFest, including an evening of his own work. He has performed nationally and internationally with the Mark Morris Dance Group, the Kevin Wynn Collection, CityDance (guest artist), Company Stefanie Batten Bland, Brian Brooks Moving Company (guest artist), and the Joe Goode Performance Group. While working with the Joe Goode Performance Group for two seasons, Mr. Graciani contributed to the creation and premiere of new work at the company’s home season in San Francisco, two national tours of new work and repertory, a site-specific performance at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, and teaching master classes all over the country. In the fall of 2005, Mr. Graciani joined the faculty at Ohio University as an Assistant Professor. While there, he received two Arts for Ohio Choreographic Grants, one of which resulted in the collaboration, Oyster, with composer John Orfe and the Grammy Award winning new music ensemble, Alarm Will Sound.

Mr. Graciani began his artistic career as a scholarship student at the North Carolina School of the Arts and at The Juilliard School. After working with major New York dance companies such as the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, he went on to complete a B.F.A in Dance at the State University of New York – Purchase College. While at Purchase, Mr. Graciani was invited to perform in three International Festivals of Dance staged in Taiwan and China and to join the New York based company, Kevin Wynn Collection. After ten years as a member of the New York City dance community, Mr. Graciani began graduate school at the University of Maryland – College Park. His M.F.A. thesis concert, Search for my Familiar, was performed to critical acclaim.


" all out passionate and focused performance of final redemption and salvation." - Carlos Stafford, Gia on the Move review of We Fall Down, We Get Up

"inventive and well balanced," & "classical long lines woven into poetic phrases - Graciani's work has a real fresh look to it." - Jane Sato, Theatre is Easy review of We Fall Down, We Get Up

"...a strong sense of form and a musicality that nudges the viewers to listen." - George Jackson, Dance View Times review of Search for my Familiar

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What the critics say...

"Especially outstanding..." - Anna Kisselgoff, NY Times

"...a true performer with an appetite for space..." - George Jackson, Dance View Times

"Ruben Graciani epitomized the dancers' heedless daring..." - Jennifer Dunning, NY Times

"...exceptional, open and loose bodied but impeccably precise." - Jennifer Dunning, NY Times

"Company members, Ruben Graciani, et al, display acting and singing skills that rival their dancing..." - Leslie Katz, Inside Bay Area



A few of Ruben Graciani's past and present projects. 


Tethers, Capsules, and Collisions: 

13 Dancers, Music: Original score by Alex Marthaler

PREMIERE: February 2017, GRW Performance Space – Conservatory Dance Company, Point Park University - Pittsburgh, PA



                          Untitled Figures

                         Untitled Figures



Untitled Figures: 12 Dancers, Music: Max Richter,

PREMIERE: July 2016, Broadway Dance Center – Professional Semester Series: Ailey Citigroup Theatre, New York, NY

Silencio: 18 Dancers, Music: Philip Glass,

PREMIERE: June 2016, Tennessee Governors School for the Arts: Tucker Theater, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN

Ascending Bird: 14 Dancers, Music: Kalhor

PREMIERE: April 2016, Point Park Conservatory Dance Company: Joyce Theater, New York, NY

FIVE: 15 Dancers, Music: Orff, Mozart, Kalhor

Evening length work made in collaboration with choreographer Kiesha Lalama, and the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh, 

PREMIERE: February 2016, Point Park Conservatory Dance Company: Rockwell Theatre, Pittsburgh Playhouse, Pittsburgh, PA




Meetings Along the Edge

18 Dancers, Music: Ravi Shankar & Philip Glass

PREMIERE: Skidmore Dance Theatre, Saratoga Springs, NY. Remounted for Newtown High School of Performing Arts: NHSPA Theater, Newtown, Australia


Why Then Should I Be Afraid:

Duet, Music: Tarik O’Regan

PREMIERE: September 2015, DanceNow Joe’s Pub Festival: Joe’s Pub, New York, NY

                             Why Then Should I Be Afraid

                             Why Then Should I Be Afraid






Duet, Music: Gordon/Lang/Wolfe

PREMIERE: 2014, Skidmore Dance Theater, Saratoga Springs, NY

Shelter - excerpt: 

Duet, Music: Gordon/Lang/Wolfe

PREMIERE: September 2014, DanceNow Joe’s Pub Festival: Joe’s Pub, New York, NY



Shape Shifter:  Trio, Music: Blur

PREMIERE: October 2013, DanceNow Joe’s Pub Festival: Joe’s Pub, New York, NY


We Fall Down, We Get Up: 

5 Dancers, 24 singers, Music: Various Artists

PREMIERE: May 2013, We Fall Down, We Get Up – an evening with RG Dance Projects: Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Theater, New York, NY

                                      Shape Shifter

                                      Shape Shifter

                             We Fall Down, We Get UP

                             We Fall Down, We Get UP



Complete This Work Which We Began:


Terra Arcana:


I am a creative and community oriented leader who models open communication, passion and generosity of self, and balanced risk-taking in my work with students, departments, and organizations. I aim for informed engagement and decisive decision making with a clear and compassionate focus on team and organizational strength-building. - Rubén Graciani

                    Afloat Before and After

                    Afloat Before and After

                         Swing and a Miss

                         Swing and a Miss

                         Untitled Figures

                         Untitled Figures



Director, School of Theatre anD Dance - College of Visual and Performing Arts at James Madison UNiversity

Leader of a School of Theatre, Dance and Musical Theatre which is embedded in a vibrant and engaged liberal arts tradition. The programs in the School of Theatre and Dance at JMU are a blend of liberal arts education and critical thinking with intensive pre-professional training and practice. Leading in all aspects of arts administration, curriculum revision and development, vision/mission, change agency, faculty and student support, artistic direction, budget & finance, and strategic planning.

CHAIR & Associate artistic director, Department of dance - conservatory of performing arts AT Point Park University

Leader of one of the largest and most complex dance department's in the country. The programs in dance at Point Park are consistently rated in the "top 5" of the country. 


American College Dance Festival - SUNY Brockport

New York State Counsel for the Arts - Dance Panel

National Dance Museum - Dance Hall of Fame, Nominating Committee


Master classes and resident teaching, include:

Great Lakes Dance Festival, Oakland University, Rochester Hills, MI

ACDA, Northeast Region, SUNY – Brockport, Brockport, NY

National High School Dance Festival, Pittsburgh, PA

University of Maryland – College Park, College Park, MD

Newtown High School of Performing Arts, Newtown, Australia

Regional High School Dance Festival, Norfolk, VA

Booker T. Washington Showcase, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts, Dallas, TX

Desales University and Muhlenberg College

Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts, Hong Kong

Dance Plus Festival, Saratoga Springs, NY

Shanghai American School, Shanghai, China

American College Dance Festival, North East Region, State University of New York at Brockport, Brockport, NY

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

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We Fall Down 3.jpg

RG DANCE PRojects - collaborators

Rubén Graciani and RG Dance Projects have collaborated with music, theatre, and visual artists, as well as, designers and other performers, including:

Alex Marthaler, composer

NAT 28, performance ensemble

Bach Choir of Pittsburgh & Kiesha Lalama (choreographer)

Ensemble Connect of Carnegie Hall,

            formerly Ensemble ACJW - click for photos

Skidmore College Department of Theatre

Luke Frazier, Fairfax Symphony

Philip Treviño, designer

David Quinn, designer of Quinndustry

The Tang Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY - click for photos

John Betz, photojournalist & filmaker

Matthew Cleaver, theatre artist & writer




Contact ME

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