Farrell Dyde is an American choreographer, dancer and actor who has created over
100 original modern and post modern movement theater works of varying dimension and approach and that cover a broad spectrum of both narrative and non-narrative for his own
company and many other companies and institutions.
An original member of the CAM (Contemporary Arts Museum) choreographers in Houston, he created two
world premiere ballets for Houston Ballet (1983 & 1985). Firmly dedicated to new music, Farrell has employed
the music of many of the best known as well as lesser known contemporary composers and commissioned renowned British composer Michael Nyman (of
The Piano fame) to create an original score to accompany his second work for Houston Ballet, Basic Black (1985).
He has also created a considerable number of sound collages from sampled materials that form the basis of group or solo works most notably Tell Tale Hearts (1984) and Stigmata (1989).
A former athlete and actor, Farrell taught modern dance for over 30 years at his own studio and for other companies and institutions both in the US and abroad. He also taught Pilates based conditioning
for 9 years at the Physical Conditioning Centre in Houston directed by Elizabeth Jones Boswell.
In 1994 he was selected by the United States Information Agency/Arts America to teach, choreograph and perform in Kiev, Ukraine as a Cultural Specialist opening doors for better relations between that
country and the U.S. In 1991 Global Enterprises chose him to introduce modern dance to SKD, a 90 year old performing company in Tokyo, Japan. He toured extensively as a soloist and has presented work
in New York (at The Cubiculo, Dance Theatre Workshop and other venues) and other parts of the U S. and abroad.
The Farrell Dyde Dance Theatre has received support from such agencies as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts,
The Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County (now Houston Arts Alliance), The Brown Foundation, The Cullen Performing Arts Trust, Exxon, Tenneco and many others.
Farrell was born in New York City and grew up in Denver, Colorado. He initially dreamed of
becoming a professional baseball player, but gave that up in high school to become an actor. After being named best actor at Littleton High School,
he attended and graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder with a degree in theatre appearing in over thirty productions -- including work as a scholarship actor with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. While there, he studied modern dance with Charolette Irey (Short),
Marilyn Cohen and Nancy Spanier. In Denver he worked with Al Brooks and Maxine Munt at the
Changing Scene Theatre, where in 1970, he presented his first independent concert of choreography -- almost by chance -- when a scheduled group canceled out its
dates. The concert was a revelation and after that, he decided that he would devote his life to becoming a choreographer.
After a stint of intensive ballet study with
Valerie Roche in Omaha, Farrell went to New York where he took classes from a variety of well-known teachers (including the famed Maggie Black, Gus Solomons Jr., Dan Wagoner
and others) -- eventually winning a scholarship to the Martha Graham School. Graham herself was present at the audition. At the end she sat queen-like with all the
attendees gathered at her feet. She gave a lecture on how to become a star. She then asked if anyone wished to do an improvisation. Only one person volunteered and that was Farrell. His impromptu dance
made Graham laugh and probably was one factor that led to the scholarship and a provisional invitation to join the company for its next series of perfomrances.
He stayed at the school for only a short while, however, finding that philosophically he was not in the Graham camp – having been deeply influenced by a summer of study with Merce Cunningham in 1968 (including classes with Carolyn Brown and Sandra Neels) and Don Redlich and Elina Mooney in 1970.
He had also been profoundly affected by study with post-modernist, Rudy Perez, whose highly
charged, emotional minimalism and no-nonsense, everyman approach ignited something new, while re-connecting Farrell with his theater background. In 1974 he founded what is now Farrell Dyde Dance
Theatre and in that same year he won his first choreography fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
In 1975 the company moved to Houston, Texas and it is there that Farrell Dyde was afforded the time and support to find his own creative voice and choreographic style -- one that synthesized ideas
and techniques gleaned from both theater and dance augmented by voracious reading on a variety of subjects from art history to Zen.
In 1980 Dyde founded 3221 Milam
, one of Houston’s first alternative art spaces. 3221 had a performance space that served small dance companies, choreographers, compoers and other
performance artists doing independent projects and an art gallery first curated by print maker Dave Folkman and later artist, Jon Powell. 3221 Milam which lasted just over 5 years, giving way to places
like Diverse Works, gave artist’s of all kinds an opportunity to present their work in an informal, accessible venue as well as serving as an inexpensive theatre for Farrell Dyde Dance Theatre.
In 1981, Farrell married physician, Dr. Marrie Richards with whom he had two sons (Oliver & Lukas
Richards -- now both lawyers in NY). They divorced in 1986.
Farrell has additionally served the dance field as an associate professor in dance at the University of
Houston at Clear Lake under the direction of Jan Stockman Simonds, as director of Dayton Ballet School
, as executive director of Helander & Company in Boulder, Colorado, and more recently as director of external affairs for Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in New York.
In 2004, Farrell returned to Houston to continue his
artistic work: exploring new ways of making dances that express inwardly driven motivations as they are affected by the outside forces of an evolving world. In March 2005 he presented Corrective Measures
, a solo work celebrating 3221 Milam,
Since then, he has created four full evening solo dance theatre works: Persona Non Gratis (2006) presented at
Barnevelder Movement Arts Center, An Anatomy of the Night (2008) presented at Houston Met Dance Center, Useless Activities (2011) and Dat Is Het
(2014) at what is now The Barn.
He is currently at work planning and fundraising for a series of lecture demonstrations entitled Looking Back at Dance in the Twentieth Century
as well as concerts projected for the 2015-2016 Season in Houston. To that end, he works alone in the studio several times per week exploring new ideas and listening to all kinds of new music.