All posts by Rachel Tess

Rachel Tess began her training as a dancer 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, Gothenburg Opera Ballet, and held a permanent position with the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm until July of 2013. She has performed the works of Stijn Celis, Mats Ek, Johan Inger, Jirí Kylián, Benoît LaChambre, Ohad Naharin, Crystal Pite, and Didy Veldman. 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, Oregon, a dance collective committed to interdisciplinary dance collaborations in urban and non-traditional environments. 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 director of Milvus Artistic Research Center (MARC). Upcoming projects include a residency with the project Souvenir at Wanås Konst from April-July 2014. Souvenir will also be premiered in September 2014 in collaboration with the Lower Manhattan Culture Council on Governor’s Island.

Souvenir at Wanås

After a little over a week in residence at Wanås Konst dancer/collaborator Kenneth Bruun Carlson and I have created a 30-minute performance that can be seen during Konstrundan in the South of Sweden. We will be performing the piece inside of Souvenir from the 18th-27th of April. Peformances are every hour in accordance with Wanås opening hours, and visitors will have the chance to dialogue with the artists as well as check out the other exhibitions.   One of our favorite items from the last performances in New York City, a very shiny gold cloth, has made it’s way out into the sculpture park.

Wanås/Gold, dining room

Wanås/gold Rachel

Wanås/gold sculpture

Gold rock/Wanås


Photos: Kenneth Bruun Carlson


Souvenir x 3

Souvenir Wanås Konst    March, 2014

1798756_10151838374716841_1764395517_n     July, 2013

Souvenir, Löderup Skolan      May, 2013

Souvenir has been moved to three locations since 2013. It is currently in residence at Wanås Konst in the South of Sweden. It was built at Löderup’s Gamla Skolan in May, 2013 and traveled to NYC in July, 2013. I am currently in residence at Wanås Konst where the structure will be installed at two different sites. Dancer Kenneth Bruun Carlson and I are in the process of creating a performance inside of the structure. It is the fourth day of our residency and we are sorting through the extra parts of the structure that will inhabit a room next to the main gallery space.

Souvenir at Baryshnikov Arts Center NYC, 2013




Anna/Luis Souvenir

Anna/Luis Souvenir

Luis/Anna Souvenir

(photos courtesy of Michael Mazzola and Jeri Tess)

Before I begin to update you with photos of the rehearsal process at Wanås Konst next week, here is a look at the performances for Souvenir in NYC last year at Baryshnikov Art Center (BAC). Dancers Anna Pehrsson and Luis Rodriguez, and lighting designer Michael Mazzola traveled with me to New York for a one-month residency at BAC that included performances of a 50-minute duet inside of the structure as well as continued research and visits from artists, colleagues, friends, critics, and presenters. We are thrilled to return to NYC in September 2014 for Lower Manhattan Culture Council Programming on Governor’s Island.

Luis/Sam Souvenir


Anna/Gold Souvenir

Souvenir II, Opsis Architecture

Souvenir II, model

Souvenir II, model

model by Jim Kalvelage, partner/Opsis Architecture
model by Jim Kalvelage, partner/Opsis Architecture

Souvenir is:

  • a 10 by 24 foot mobile architecture created in Sweden in 2012/2013 with carpenter Gian Monti.
  • a meeting place in your community.
  • an interactive sculptural intervention purposed for indoor and outdoor urban spaces, museums, galleries, and large theater spaces and studios.
  • a site for dance performances, education and dialogue.
  • the possibility for long-term, sustainable programming in Portland and abroad.

We have already begun the process of creating a duplicate of Souvenir in Portland, Oregon. Through a partnership with Opsis Architecture we plan to refine the original design with an increased focus on sustainability and weatherproofing. The final structure will be assembled and tested at an outdoor site with audiences in Portland this August before being shipped to New York City for performances on Governor’s Island (in collaboration with the Lower Manhatten Culture Council and Baryshnikov Arts Center).

Souvenir at Wanås Konst



This week we will be moving Souvenir to Wanås Konst where the project will be based from April-August 2014. Wanås is located in Östra Göinge in northeastern Skåne and has been showcasing contemporary art, with a focus on site-specific installations, since 1987. 

Souvenir will be explored as a sculpture generated from a choreographic process, the setting for dance performances, and a space for workshops as part of Wanås Konst 2014 programming through the exhibition “Dance Me” where dance, choreography, and visual art meet and merge. Rachel Tess will teach workshops in and around the concept for Souvenir to groups from across the region. The residency will continue with a series of all day performances inside of the structure during Konstrundan April 18-27th. Performances include press viewings, previews, and openings on May 15th, 17th, and 19th. Showings of an evening length duet will be programmed for three weeks throughout the residency, Thursday-Sundays with showings at 13.30 and 15.30. The dancers will be on site researching choreographic methodologies from June-July (open to the public at all times). Part of this research will be preparation for a tour of Souvenir to New York City in September 2014 by invitation from the Lower Manhattan Culture Council (24 performances).

We look forward to updating you on the move and the first install in the gallery at Wanås this week.

Getting Started

I am pleased to announce that MARC (Milvus Artistic Research Center) will open its doors this March with our first artist in residence Benoît Lachambre. The center is a long-term project I have established with support from the region of Skåne in Sweden and the municipality of Simrishamn in Kivik, Sweden. The center will serve as a space for artistic research within the field of performance as well as a base for RTD.  Stay tuned for posts as we finish construction on our studio and commence with the first residency.

Opening events include:

-One open rehearsal day March 28th, 12-4pm (visitors can drop by un- announced during these times).

-Two open studio showings with Benoît Lachambre and Rachel Tess in MARC’s studio/performance space, April 3rd and 4th, 6pm-7pm.

-Post showing reception beginning at 7pm on both evenings.

-Movement workshops open to the public TBA shortly on the website.

All events take place at:

MARC, Gladeholm/Kivik 27735 (SE)

About the Center

With one indoor studio/performance space, living accommodations, and an inspiring landscape on 11 hectares of farmland at the edge of Stenshuvud National Park in Kivik, Sweden, MARC provides a concentrated environment for artistic research within the field of performance. Three times a year we invite collaborators and individual artists to participate in up to one-month residencies at the center. Artists are invited to share their work at open-studio showings during the residency period.

MARC is a platform where performance practices, working modes, and methodologies are questioned and new work is created and shared. MARC provides the opportunity for dance choreographers and practitioners to focus on specific research questions. MARC has an interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and welcomes other disciplines with a relationship to live performance to the center for residencies each spring.

For more information on the center and applications for the artist in residency program go to

MARC, artist in residence house, Kivik, Sweden
MARC, artist in residence house, Kivik, Sweden



Hello and welcome. I look forward to updating you on current projects for Rachel Tess Dance through our new site. 2014 is an extremely busy year and we hope to keep you updated in a timely manner so that you don’t miss programming and performances in your neck of the woods. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or comments regarding the company and projects.

Best wishes,

Rachel Tess