Renata Sheppard is an interdisciplinary dance artist with formal training in theatre, music, and visual arts. She creates work for both stage and screen while her research in dance and technology focuses on the design of interactive systems. She began a dialogue between dance and technology creating experimental Dance for Camera films and working as a researcher/collaborator from 2007-2009 in the Tele-immersive Environments lab at the University of Illinois, Department of Computer Science. There she developed a unique, technology-based dance composition course and presented the Tele-immersive System internationally in Germany, Canada, and throughout the US. She recently completed a Fulbright Fellowship to Italy at the Virtual Reality and Multi Media Park’s (VR&MMP) Allied Sciences Arts Lab. She was invited to remain at VR&MMP as the Director and Choreographer of FraMESHift, now in development for an evening length show for summer 2012. Laban Movement Analysis (LMA), which she studied at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies in New York is fundamental to her teaching and choreography and central to her framework for interactive design.
She is spearheading Reviva!, a workshop series that will make Arts Enter in Cape Charles, Virginia, an international summer hub of activity and exchange. She continues developing performance and research with international collaborators including the Liverpool-based Planet Arts Exchange. Supported by various funding including the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the US/Italy Fulbright Commission, and the US Embassy, her choreography has been presented throughout the United States and in Italy, Germany, and India. She has performed in the works of Chamecki/Lerner, Merce Cunningham, and David Parker/Sara Hook among others. Her dance film, The Wait of Gravity, was an official selection at the 2011 San Francisco Dance Film Festival and New York’s SLAM Motion in Media Dance Film Festival among others.