Alex Ketley is an independent choreographer and the director of The Foundry. Formerly a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet (1994-1998), he performed a wide range of classical and contemporary repertory including the work of William Forsythe, James Kudelka, and George Balanchine in San Francisco and on tour throughout the world.
In 1998 he left the San Francisco Ballet to co-found The Foundry in order to explore his deepening interests in choreography, improvisation, mixed media work, and the collaborative process. With The Foundry he has been an artist-in-residence at many leading art institutions including Headlands Center for the Arts (2001 and 2007), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2002), The Yard (2003), the Santa Fe Art Institute (2004 and 2006), the Taipei Artist Village (2005), ODC Theater (2006), the Ucross Foundation (2007), and the Vermont Performance Lab (2014). The Foundry has produced fifteen full evening length works that have received extensive support from the public, funders, and the press, as well as a number of single-channel video pieces that have screened at international video festivals.
As a choreographer independent of his work with The Foundry, Alex Ketley has been commissioned to create original pieces for companies and universities throughout the United States and Europe. For this work he has received acknowledgement from the Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition (2001), the International Choreographic Competition of the Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveaur (2004), the National Choo-San Goh Award (2005), the inaugural Princess Grace Award for Choreography (2005), the BNC National Choreographic Competition (2008), three CHIME Fellowships (2007, 2008, and 2012), two Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies (2007 and 2009), the Gerbode-Hewlett Choreographer Commissioning Award (2009), and the National Eben Demarest Award (2012). His pieces and collaborations have also been awarded Isadora Duncan Awards in the categories of Outstanding Achievement by an Ensemble (2009), Outstanding Achievement in Choreography (2011), and Outstanding Achievement by a Company (2011 & 2012).
For 2011, in addition to commissions from Ballet Leipzig and the Juilliard School, his AXIS Dance Company work “To Color Me Different” was presented on national television through an invitation from the show So You Think You Can Dance. With The Foundry in 2012, he was deeply engaged in a new project entitled “No Hero” which explored what dance means and how it is experienced by people throughout more rural parts of the United States. The video projection Alex created for No Hero was nominated for a 2012 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.
In early 2013, he was a visiting professor and artist at Florida State University and in the fall began an appointment as a Lecturer at Stanford University’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS) Division of Dance. He was also awarded the first Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Mentorship Co-Commission Award (CMCC), which he used to work on a collaborative project with Miguel Gutierrez in 2014 exploring rural communities throughout the Deep South.
Along with his direction of The Foundry and his various independent projects, he helped Summer Lee Rhatigan create The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance in 2004, an organization where he still serves as an advisor, teacher, and the Resident Choreographer. Stemming from a classical foundation, the school is deeply invested in advanced students learning and growing though the engagement of contemporary choreography.