Rachel Tess Dance (RTD) is a platform for interdisciplinary contemporary dance collaborations based in Portland, Oregon and Kivik, Sweden. RTD is housed under the 501(c)3 non-profit Rumpus Room Dance (founded in 2007). The company uses contemporary dance as a starting point and collaborates with architects, visual artists, and musicians to develop contemporary dance performances tailored to specific neighborhoods and urban spaces. These environments include raw and unfinished retail and warehouse spaces, as well as more traditional black box and experimental theaters. As a small mobile collective, RTD maintains and builds ties between its US base in Portland, Oregon and the international artistic community.
Rachel Tess is an American choreographer and dancer from Portland, Oregon, living and working in Sweden. She began her dance training at the School of Oregon Ballet Theatre where she performed professionally from 1998-2000. She received a BFA in 2004 from The Juilliard School in New York City. While attending Juilliard, Tess received a Princess Grace Award (2002), performed as a member of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, and was presented with the Martha Hill Dance Award by the faculty.
Tess has been a member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal, the Gothenburg Opera Ballet, and the Cullberg Ballet. She has premiered her choreographic works in Stockholm, Montreal, New York City, Costa Rica, and Portland, Oregon. She was part of Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch in 2010 for her work as co-director of Rumpus Room Dance in Portland, a dance collective committed to site-specific interdisciplinary dance collaborations.
Tess has taught ballet, contemporary dance, and improvisation at Svenska Balletskolan, The Portland Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Conduit Dance in Portland, Danza Abierta in Costa Rica, and Dans och Cirkus Högskolan (DOCH) and Danscentrum in Stockholm. She is the recipient of a Partners of the Americas exchange grant for her work in Costa Rica.
In 2013, Tess received her masters in choreography from the New Performative Practices Masters program at DOCH. She won and completed a Princess Grace Foundation Works in Progress Residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York City with her ongoing large-scale sculptural intervention Souvenir in July of 2013. In August she was an artist in residence at the 5th annual Making Sense Colloquium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She is currently a permanent resident in Kivik, Sweden and is a member of ÖSKG since September 2013. She is the founder and director of Milvus Artistic Research Center (MARC) in Skåne, Sweden.