About Heidi Duckler

Heidi-Duckler-on-stairsHEIDI DUCKLER is the Artistic Director and founder of Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest. Since its inception in 1985, she has choreographed more than 200 original dance works at unique sites in Australia, Germany, Russia, Hong Kong, Montreal, San Francisco, New York, Miami, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, and throughout Southern California. Titled “the reigning queen of site-specific performance,” by the L.A. Times, her work has been commissioned by the Brisbane Festival, Miami Light, Grand Performances, REDCAT, Aben Dans in Denmark, Brookfield Properties, the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation, and Reed College among others.  She earned a BS in Dance from the University of Oregon and an MA in Choreography from UCLA, and is currently a Board Member of the University of Oregon’s School of Music and Dance Advancement Council. Duckler was recognized with an American Masterpieces Award from the National Endowment for the Arts to tour Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre/Northwest’s signature work “Laundromatinee,” and was awarded two Dance/USA Engaging Dance Audiences grants. She has most recently been honored with the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival’s Maverick Award, and LA Weekly’s Best Site-Specific Dance Company Los Angeles, was featured as a TedxUCLA speaker in 2015 and guest lecturer for UCLA in 2018. Duckler is married to Dan Rosenfeld. They have three children and a cat.

Artistic Process

As a choreographer I’ve imbued non-traditional sites with performances for nearly 30 years. The strength and distinctiveness of my work depends on a solid foundation of place, be it geographical, cultural, social, historical, architectural, environmental, political and/or personal. Location, history, and community have inspired my work, yet my choreography has evolved with each place. Sites are catalysts and collaborators within my choreographic process.


Working with a diverse range of dancers, I negotiate performers’ movement styles around architecture, audience members, and each other. With input from creative partners and collaborators (dancers, musicians, architects and community members, among others), a truly site-specific and environmentally responsive work emerges, capturing the multiple dimensions of each place, performer, and collaborator.

The nature of site-specific work reimagines the possibilities for the connection between performance and participants. Within the range, breadth, and scope of diversity in Los Angeles, engagement and access are prime considerations within my creative direction. Site-specific work is a creative and conceptual platform, and is also a tool of social justice, learning, and meaningful civic engagement.


For three decades, and over 200+ performances, I’ve worked within the realm of public engagement. I animate physical spaces, translate the energy of their literal and conceptual movement into choreography, and explore the nature of temporary public art. I choreograph with the intention of subverting the original function of a place. My choreography makes the ordinary extraordinary and inspires audiences to look at what they think they know and see it differently.

Awards and Honors


  • Call for Wall Artist, LA Department of Cultural Affairs, Public Art Program


  • TedxUCLA speaker
  • Panelist, Santa Monica Artists Fellowships for 2016


  • Los Angeles County Art Commission Civic Artists Prequalified List


  • Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival Emerald 20th Anniversary recipient of the MAVERICK AWARD
  • Dance/USA and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Engaging Dance Audiences


  • Distinguished Alumnus – University of Oregon School of Music & Dance


  • Certificate of Commendation Awarded by Councilwoman Jan Perry on behalf of the City of Los Angeles State of California
  • Panelist for Director’s Lab West and the Theatre Communications Group


  • National Endowment for the Arts, American Masterpiece for “Laundromatinee”


  • National Endowment for the Arts, Artistic Excellence for “A Guide to an Exhibitionist”
  • Featured in the anthology, “Choreographers and the Lure of Alternative Spaces”


  • Los Angeles County Arts Commission Arts Leadership Initiative
  • Finalist, Sherwood Award, Center Theatre Group
  • Panelist, Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission
  • Mayor’s Cultural Master Plan Advisory Committee for the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs


  • Invited Showcase for Performance West, Western Arts Alliance Conference
  • Panelist for L.A. County Arts Commission
  • Leslie Horton Dance Awards nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design, Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design, Outstanding Achievement in Music, and Outstanding Achievement in Choreography Long Form for C’Opera


  • Panelist, Site-Specific Symposium, Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, NYC


  • California DanceMaker Grant (James Irvine Foundation)
  • National College Choreography Initiative
  • Panelist, Durfee ARC Awards


  • California DanceMaker Grant (James Irvine Foundation)
  • Landmark Award, Backstage West
  • Southern California Development Forum Award


  • City of Los Angeles Individual Artist’s Fellowship (C.O.L.A.)
  • Lester Horton Award for Outstanding Company Performance
  • Lester Horton Award nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Music for Dance, Set Design, and Performance—Small Ensemble for Cover Story
  • Back Stage West Landmark Award


  • Director, Dance in the Workplace, film commissioned by Grand Performances and Arts Partners
  • Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, Performance, Music, and Lighting Design for After Eden
  • Lester Horton Award nominee for Sustained Achievement


  • Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Set Design and Costume Design
  • California Choreography Fellowship from the California Arts Council


  • Peer Panelist for Cultural Affairs Department, City of Los Angeles
  • Member of Cultural Planning/Arts for L.A.
  • Member Dance/USA


  • Lester Horton Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography, Outstanding Achievement in Performance, Outstanding Achievement in Production, Outstanding Achievement in Music for the production of Most Wanted
  • Lester Horton Awards nominee for Outstanding Achievement in Set Design, Lighting Design, and Sustained Achievement for the production of Most Wanted
  • Peer Panelist for Los Angeles County Music and Performing Arts Commission
  • Selected participant of On Site Performance Network, Dancing in the Streets
  • Editor of Dance Zine; Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Dance Resource Center of Los Angeles, CA


  • Member California Plaza Task Force, Los Angeles, CA
  • Speaker on Interdisciplinary Performance at California Institute of the Arts