“Art and life collide in Nicole Klaymoon’s works of dance and documentary theater… With a wit that is sometimes poignant, sometimes lacerating, Klaymoon avoids polemic in pursuit of ambiguous, messy truths.” - kqed

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NICOLE KLAYMOON

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & FOUNDER

Klaymoon founded Embodiment Project (EP) in 2008.  As a solo artist, Klaymoon created and toured the dance theater production, Sixth Vowel, choreographed by Rennie Harris and directed by Kamilah Forbes of the New York City Hip Hop Theatre Festival. Miami New Times wrote “Nicole Klaymoon’s Sixth Vowel was THE BEST small theatrical production I have seen in this city in a decade.”  

At the intersection of trauma research, conceptual live performance, and personal testimonies, her signature approach to dance-making emphasizes the sacred practice of voicing stories of trauma in the context of community. In 2012 Klaymoon partnered  with G.R.A.C.E. Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) on a multi-disciplinary production that disseminated information about sexual health and challenged stigma about the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her current NEFA NDP project XXX Rated Planet: the epigenetics of femicide explores gender-based sexual violence.  In partnership with Sonya Shah and The Ahimsa Collective, this work is an act of protest against pervasive rape culture and presents restorative justice methodologies as a path toward healing.

In her time serving as Artistic Director of Embodiment Project, Klaymoon has directed and choreographed nine evening-length productions including Music of the Actualized Child, which delved into the school-to-prison pipeline and how structural racism harms children in school settings.  In 2017, 'Ancient Children', premiered at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts presented in National Performance Network’s.  Fjord Review wrote "the hip-hop dance was commanding, the truths delivered unflinching. In case I haven't been emphatic enough: Call up your local presenter. You need to see this." In 2015, EP premiered Chalk Outlines, which explores police and state-sanctioned violence against Black and Brown people through hip-hop dance to original live music composed by Valerie Troutt and featured her band MoonCandy House Ensemble Project. Troutt received an Isadora Duncan Award in Outstanding Music for this production.   

In 2009, Klaymoon hosted a weekly street dance event that amplified the voices of female identified freestyle hip hop (street dancers, MC’s, DJ’s and Graff artists). She has produced two multi-city weeklong festivals that included workshops, panels, battles, and showcases featuring hip hop historians from across the US.

Klaymoon is a recipient of Gerbode and Hewlett Foundation's Commissioning Choreographer's Award, and was a resident artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts and ODC Theater. She was also selected as one of KQED’s Women to Watch and Bay Area Creative Rebel honoree at Z Space. Klaymoon serves on faculty in the dance department at the University of San Francisco and has worked as an arts educator in over 30 schools across the San Francisco Bay Area.  She has partnered with Destiny Arts Center since 2015 and co-founded ODC’s first hip hop youth company SEEDS in 2014.