Lisa Kwak is a performing artist based in Occupied Duwamish Land, Seattle WA. Her professional experiences expand across an array of dance and theater genres: from experimental, immersive, durational performance art, to golden age musical theatre, to contemporary concert dance, dance improv, and AfroModern. Lisa is a constantly curious artist and loves building and expanding community through art.
Some of Lisa's favorite works to perform have been full bodied, emotive dances such as City of Rain by Camille A Brown and staged by Maleek Washington, Vulgar Fraction, by Gary Champi, and Moonlight by Shapiro and Smith and staged by Wilson Mendieta, (all under the direction of Hannah C Wiley and Rachael Lincoln in the Chamber Dance Company). Other career highlights include her work with Leslie Kraus during their overlap at the University of Washington, and her ensemble role in the critically lauded production of Hello, Dolly!* At Village Theatre (directed by Timothee McCuen Piggee, choreographed by Kathryn Van Meter, Music directed by Bruce Monroe, (*Heilman & Haver Theatre Award for Best Ensemble in a Musical , Heilman & Haver Theatre Award for Best Musical).
Lisa has danced with companies and theaters across Seattle including the 5th Avenue Theatre, Chamber Dance Company, dani tirrell & the Congregation, The Guild Dance Company (Dir. Alex Ung), PRICEarts (Dir. Noel Price-Bracey and Tessa Banales), the Three Yells (Dir. Veronica Lee Bek), and the Village Theatre. She’s been hired to perform in dance festivals across the pacific northwest including the Seattle International Dance Festival (SIDF), STG presents DANCE this, TINT Dance Festival, Converge Dance Festival, Intersections Festival, and NextFest NorthWest produced by Velocity Dance Center.
As a dance maker, Lisa was selected as a 2021 Village Theatre Northwest Creator Resident, and has been commissioned to create works for numerous festivals and companies. Her most recent work was seen at Show 6 produced by CO- Seattle, BOOST Dance Festival produced by eXitSPACE, and PORTALS produced by Velocity Dance Center. Her dance films have been presented at the Strictly Seattle Dance Festival, Local Sightings Film Festival, and Fuselage Dance Film Festival. Lisa was the associate choreographer of Chicago (Ballyhoo Theatre), and has been rehearsal assistants for Alethea Alexander, and Ronald K. Brown.
Photo by Steve Korn
Lisa holds a BA from the University of Washington with majors in dance and international studies. Her academic achievements include the University of Washington Dean's Medal for the College of Arts & Sciences division of the Arts (2018), the George and Barbara Akers Scholarship (2017), the Jackson School of International Studies Undergraduate Book Award (2018), the Dance Program Scholarship Award (2017), the Purple and Gold Scholarship (2014 - 2018), membership to Phi Beta Kappa, and her presence the Annual Dean's List (2014-2018). While at the UW, she studied abroad for one quarter each in San Sebastián, Spain, Rome, Italy, and New York University.
Lisa has also studied at the Ronald K. Brown/ EVIDENCE Dance Company Summer Intensive as a Beth Young Scholarship recipient, the Doug Varone Winter Intensive, Hubbard Street Summer Intensive, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance Summer Intensive, Strictly Seattle (Dance Film Track), and Seattle Festival of Dance Improv.
Lisa is born of mixed Korean, Japanese, and American heritage. Born and raised in the highly cosmopolitan expatriate/international-school community of Tokyo, Japan, Lisa has a multicultural background that informs her perspective.
At the heart of Lisa's practice, is the belief that dance and theater have the power to inspire positive change and is a tool of resilience for individuals and communities. She works to perform and create art that will celebrate the human condition in all its pain, joy, and beauty.
Photo by Steve Korn