Karen Bamonte: Biography

      Ms. Bamonte received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Cinematography (1972) from the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts). There she began her ongoing studies in ceramics with William Daley and later with Rudolph Staffel at the Tyler School of Art. She received her Master’s Degree in Dance (1975) from Temple University.


      After a fruitful career as a choreographer and performing artist for over 25 years, Ms. Bamonte moved to Italy in 1998 and soon began her work with clay. She studied with Italian sculptor and ceramic artist Germano Cilento for two years and completed construction of her own studio near Spoleto in 2002.


      She has accepted a number of commissions, and her work has found its way into private collections in New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Lima, London, Rome, Venice, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Vienna and Brussels. She has exhibited her ceramic work in Spoleto and Rome and the wire mesh heads have been part of seven group shows in Philadelphia, Munich and Rome and Trevi, Italy.


      In addition to her full time studio work, Ms. Bamonte continues to perform and teach workshops in dance technique, movement composition and improvisation in the United States and Europe.


      The grants and awards that Ms. Bamonte garnered during her career as a choreographer attest to her persistent exploration of new ideas and means. In addition to ongoing private foundation and corporate support for her work, she received:


* Two major Meet the Composer Composer/Choreographer Commissioning Program grants supporting her collaborations with New York composers Lois Vierk and Guy Klucevsek.

* Five choreography fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

* An Interdisciplinary Arts Fellowship from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation in order to further the creation of the visual elements within her solo performance work.

* Four consecutive Philadelphia Repertory Development Initiative grants supporting her ensemble works and two others to create multi-disciplinary solo performance pieces.

* Two Artists’ Residencies at the Djerasssi Foundation in California for the creation of new work.

* Guest Artist in residence at the Tanz Tangente in Berlin where she spent six months teaching, choreographing and performing in 1984.

* She has been invited to have a solo show of the Wire Works at the Sonoma Country Museum of Art in November, 2006


      One hallmark of her choreographic career was a persistent interest in creating and discovering intersections between movement, music and text. Her ongoing commitment to commission new music for her work reflected that interest. In 1994 she conceived and directed the full length movement theatre piece Fallen Shadows, which provided her the opportunity to explore similar interests in the realm of voice, text and visual arts while working with the themes of memory, the disappearance and/or death of female characters in opera and the role of the diva. Fallen Shadows, which was created with five collaborating artists in addition to composer, Guy Klucevsek, was reconstructed in 1995 for performances in Berlin.


      Ms. Bamonte has created over forty original dance works, including 15 major group pieces for her Company. These have been performed at major venues in both the U.S and Europe. Prior to leaving Philadelphia, her last two ensemble pieces, RED/BLUE…Shift and The Landscape of Love, were created in collaboration with composer Heath Allen. A collaborative film of her work Fever was produced by WHYY television with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts and was first aired in 1992.


      Between 1984 and 1987 she also co-directed the interdisciplinary theater group Text/Flesh with writer/audio artist Gregory Whitehead and percussionist Toshi Makihara, creating four major works and numerous improvisations which were performed both in the U.S. and Europe. In addition to her full time studio work, Ms. Bamonte continues to teach seminars in dance technique, movement composition and improvisation in Europe.