“…is to the manor born, deliciously deadpan…” D.L. Groover, HOUSTON PRESS
Susan Blair is a Houston-based creative artist. She is an accomplished writer, choreographer, dancer, and actor.
Susan is the creator of “Art Saves Lives”, a grassroots organization that uses the universal language of the Fine Arts to create a platform for interactive conversation with young adult survivors of homelessness and neglect. Ms. Blair has partnered with Step Onward Foundation (formerly Grace Foundation USA) to serve these populations with accessible outreach and interactive performances since 2014. The first phase of the project was a groundbreaking collaborative arts performance and educational outreach exchange and residency between Sister Cities Houston, TX and Nice, France. This innovative programming was initiated with the extraordinary gift, from the city of Nice, of both performance and rehearsal space at The Lino Ventura Theatre in Nice and launched in October 2014. The project was also gifted with the planning and organization of outreach to Nice area underserved populations by Eric Oberdorf's Compagnie Humaine Dance Company and staff. The performance and outreach featured Texas Music Hall of Famer, Patrice Pike, and the choreography of Susan Blair, Laura Harrell, Penny Tschirhart, Leslie Scates, and Jane Weiner. The project has continued cultivating its outreach in the Houston, Texas area, most recently as part of the French Cultures Festival in March of this year with an “Afternoon Tea & Cocktail Salon Performance” and outreach. This event was presented at L’Alliance Francaise Houston on March 12, 2017.
Susan is an original and founding member of Jane Weiner’s HopeStone Dance Company. She performed and toured with the company for over ten years and has appeared as a guest artist since leaving the company. Susan has been invited to perform in the choreographic work of Patrick Franz, former Paris Opera Ballet principal dancer, Leslie Scates, Sandra Organ, Amy Ell, Sandy Marcello and Priscilla Nathan Murphy. Susan was a co-creator of the dance collaborative Isadora’s Dish and is a recipient of two Houston Arts Alliance grant awards (formerly CACHH, Cultural Arts Council of Houston and Harris County). Susan received both the Individual Artist Grant and the Projects Grant. The Projects Grant allowed her to offer outreach programming to twelve Houston elementary schools.
Before coming to Houston, Susan toured internationally with Impact Productions in both of their off- Broadway productions. She served as a performer and contemporary dance instructor with the company. She attended North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) and University of North Carolina Charlotte (UNCC) and holds degrees in Dance Performance, Education and in Architecture. Susan teaches Pilates in Houston and is also a certified Gyrotonic© Instructor.
Ms. Blair’s choreography has been featured in the Greater Houston area at DiverseWorks, Miller Outdoor Theatre, The Jewish Community Center, The Blackwood Institute, The Jung Center, 1864 Grand Opera House Galveston and Sam Houston State University and as part of Randall Flinn’s Ad Deum Dance Company repertoire. Nationally she has presented work in Redlands, California, and Chicago, Illinois and its historical suburb, Elgin. International credits include Oxford England, C.S. Lewis Institute, and Nice, France where her Art Saves Lives initiative launched.
Susan created original text for, and performed both speaking and dancing roles, in Laura Harrell’s recent stellar work, “Between a Rug and a Hard Place”. Susan’s humorous and poignant writing has been featured on Hank Roubicek’s popular “Storytime” radio program on KPFT 90.1. She was awarded a HopeWerks Space Grant in 2013 and created the evening-length performance art piece, “Subject to Change”. She was invited to present excerpts from this Houston premiere at the Chicago-area Elgin Ties Dance Festival (ETDF) in 2013 and to create a new solo work for ETDF in 2014. She shared this piece several times that year in Chicago’s Going Dutch Festival and in Houston’s Fringe Festival .
As a working SAG-AFTRA eligible actor, Susan is represented by Pastorini Bosby Talent Agency. Most recent film credits include the role of Donna Burns in Taylor Gahm’s feature, “Be Not Afraid!” The film is currently in postproduction and planned for release in late 2017.
Susan thrives in collaboration and is passionate about the personal freedom that can be created in one’s life through the power of choice; “At any given moment you have the power to say- this is not how the story is going to end” (author unknown). Susan is committed to empowering lives with the message of hope that is a result of learning to choose to turn loss and suffering into wisdom.