Profile Type: Artist
NEFA Grant Recipient
Vanessa Anspaugh

A recent Bessie Award nominee for Most Outstanding Production ( for, The End of Men) Vanessa Anspaugh, is a choreographer who lives and works between Portland Maine, and Northampton MA. and shows her work nationally and internationally. She was a 2020 NEFA NDP Grant Finalist for her current work in process, Aggression Confession which is being co-commissioned by The Bates Dance Festival and New York Live Arts.

At the heart of most all of her work, lies investigations in to various structures of power, examining how power lives in and between bodies. From the macro to the micro, many of the questions surrounding her work address the myriad relationships that exist in collections of groups and individuals. Anspaugh's work has been both commissioned and presented by venues such as, The Joyce Theater, Danspace Project, DTW, New York Live Arts, The River to River Festival, The Sculpture Center, The Hessel Museum of Art, Highways in Los Angles, Studio 303 in Montreal, and in New Englad, SCDT, APE Gallery, Bowdoin College, Smith College among others. She has had funded residencies through The Mac Dowell Colony, DTW, Mount Tremper Arts, Kattsbaan, LMCC, BAX, BOFFO, and Bard College. Anspaugh attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, OH where she received a BA in Buddhist Studies and Fine Art, and Smith College where she received her MFA in Choreography and Performance. I am a dance artist who works through visual, somatic, and conceptual languages in an effort to facilitate visually alluring, emotional, political, and relational dance works. My particular process methodology hinges on a belief that what is going on inside of the room reflects also what is going on outside of the room, in the culture at large. In my processes driven work, I continue to work collaboratively with performers in order to discover how their interests and concerns can be in dialogue with my own interests exploring the complex power relations embedded in a variety of relationships. From the personal, institutional and sociopolitical, I aim to work through questions around control, collaboration, authorship, domination and surrender. Currently, my research hopes to subvert the dynamics and/or reverse traditional structures that exist in the dancer choreographer paradigm. In my newest work The End of Men, I direct an all male cast for the first time. Under the new Trump regime, Anspaugh finds a renewed relevance in her continued research and critique of male masculinities in The End of Men, Again. From her subject position as a lesbian choreographer and mother to a new son, Anspaugh gets into the studio with an all cis-male cast to explore how power lives in and between all of the participating bodies. This highly spirited work of dance-theater interweaves demanding physicality with spoken dialogue, sonic religiosity, and sublime virtuosity. The work takes on men by investigating masculine vulnerability and the historical and unyielding dynamics of cultural domination. The End of Men, Again functions as an exploration, a critique, a celebration, and as an exorcism of myriad masculine archetypes. The work efforts to exist as an ongoing inquiry into the legacy of maleness her son will be contending with as he grows up. Additionally, We all know that men often sit at the helm of most war and religious hegemony and oppression. And then, so often in contemporary dance, we encounter male choreographers who direct all-female and mixed gender casts, but how often do we see female choreographers directing all male casts? To me, this arrangement implicitly unearths questions of authority and power within creative process and production What happens when men are directed (by me) to embody their intimacies, What does feminist work look like without women as the subject?

Find Me On …

Additional Links: 

I Have Worked With

  • September 2019

    Border Patrol

    This collective comissioned me to create a performance piece responding to how our culture deals with Death & Dying. The piece I made, Funerals for the Ocean was performed in September 2019 in the Higland Memorial Cemetary. I collaborated with performer and artist Asher Woodworth for this project. Photos can be found here.

  • July 2019

    Summer Work in Progress Showing in Schaffer Theater July 19 of Aggression Confession - 

  • May 2019

    I was comissioned to create a new evening-length work for the students in the Colby College Dance Department. The piece was called, Trouble and was performed in The Colby College Fringe Festival. 


  • NEFA Grantee
  • Artist

Contact Information

First Name: 
Job Title/Position: 
Physical Address: 
42 Morning Street #2
Portland, ME 04101
Last Name: 


Profile Type: 
Primary Discipline: 
Dance - General
Additional Disciplines: 
Dance - Modern / Contemporary
Humanities - General
Media - Audio / Sound
Theater - General
Year Founded: 
Populations Served: 
General Public
LGBTQ Populations
People with Disabilities
School Groups
Languages Available: 
American Sign Language
Institution/Business Type: 
Artist (Individual)
Activities and Services: 
Arts for Social Change / Creative Activism
Arts Instruction / Lessons
Audio or Video Recording
Community Arts
Creation of a Work of Art (Including Commissions)
Film Showings
Performance / Concert / Reading
Public Art Projects (In Free, Public Spaces)
Residency - Community
Residency - In School
Residency - Production / Development
Residency - Other
Theater Technical Production
Workshops / Demonstrations / Master Class
Events Per Year: 
Seasons Active: 
Geographic Reach: 
Town / City
Multi-County Region
Multi-State Region

Affiliations and Accomplishments

Smith College MFA Teaching Fellow
Antioch College - Yellow Springs, OH
Foundation For Contemporary Art Grant
LMCC Extended Life Grant Recipient
A Bessie Award Nominee for Most Outstanding Production for The End of Men (nomination)
A Bessie Award for Best Sound Design for The End of Men (nomination for Ryan MacDonald))
NEFA NDP Grant Finalist
I am a NEFA Grant Recipient

Accessibility of Services

Access accommodations for people who use a wheelchair and have limited mobility
Access accommodations for people who are Deaf and hard-of-hearing
It is a priority to me to make my work accessible to as many people as possible.

I am a Touring Artist

I am NEST eligible
Technical Requirements: 
Tech requirements vary depending on production type. Some site based work requires zero tech and some larger productions require a sound system, safe floor for dancing and a light plot. Set Items are flexible and can be worked with in most all spaces.
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: 
State of Residence: 
Minimum Number of Performers: 
Maximum Number of Performers: 

I am a Teaching Artist

Teaching Settings: 
Afterschool Program
Arts and Cultural Center / Venue
Community Site / Center
Corporate Business
Healthcare Facility
Private Studio
School / University
Subject Areas: 
Arts Integration - Communications
Arts Integration - Foreign Languages
Arts Integration - Health
Arts Integration - History and Social Science
Arts Integration - Physical Education
Ages Served: 
Elementary School-age
Middle School-age
High School-age
Certifications / Training: 
I hold a Masters Degree in Choreography and Dance from Smith College
Fee Range Minimum: 
Fee Range Maximum: