BEN NEEDHAM-WOOD | CHOREOGRAPHER
Born in Massachusetts, Ben's ballet training began at the age of 5 at L'ecole de Ballet under the instruction of Clarissa Eaton. He then went on to further his training with the Boston-based ballet company, Dance Prism, directed by Scott Ranegan and Mary Demaso. Ben spent his high school years attending the prestigious St. Paul's School in Concord, NH, where he continued his dance education under the direction of Rebecca Wright (2002-2004) and Sharon Randolph (2004-2006). During his time at SPS, Ben was the recipient of several awards, most notably the McLeod Prize, the Schlager Prize for Valor, and The Form of 1971 Visionary Award. Ben has danced professionally with Louisville Ballet, Smuin Ballet, Amy Seiwert's Imagery, and has performed as a guest artist with several companies across the United States – SFDanceworks (CA), Appalachian Ballet Company (TN), Dance China New York (NY), Dayton Ballet (OH), Fort Wayne Ballet (IN), and Bruce Wood Dance Project (TX), to name a few.
While Ben's career is still focused primarily in performance, he has always held a strong passion for choreography. He choreographed his first work in high school, and received his first commission while dancing with the Louisville Ballet. Louisville proved to be an incredibly supportive platform for Ben to develop his choreographic voice, offering him the opportunity to create several works on both the Company and its Youth Ensemble. He has continued choreographing professionally since relocating to the Bay Area, with main stage commissions from both Smuin and Dance Theatre of San Francisco. His works have been performed at festivals, concerts, and galas across the country, as well as Montreal, QC.
During the summer of 2015, Ben collaborated with his close friend, Weston Krukow, and CSN Bay Area on a new TV feature, BaseBallet. The response was overwhelmingly positive, landing BaseBalletin "The Dancing Athlete Exhibit" at the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame. Then, on June 4th, 2016, BaseBallet was honored to receive a Northern California Area Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in "Arts/Entertainment-Feature/Segment" recognizing Ben and Weston for their choreography. The success of BaseBallet prompted the formation of Athletic Art Productions - a new company, cofounded and directed by Ben and Weston, aiming to promote the athleticism of dance. Under this new heading a follow up TV special was produced, BaseBallet: Into the Game, and broadcast on NBC Sports Bay Area.