"I have watched Hassabi make performances for years and I am always enthralled. As the viewer, I wonder, I question, I resist and ultimately, I succumb. She exerts control over the total experience—the performance space is often very ascetic and tightly focused—and yet I find numerous ways to sit with the work, to enter its nuanced and deep world, and to make it truly my own. She is resolute in her intention, virtuosic in her physical control, but not afraid to slow down, to restrict her palette of movement, and to leave aside easy choices. Hers is a dance that lives between object and movement, a dance that conjures a frame and dares you to resist."
Time-Based Art Festival, Artistic Director Cathy Edwards, August 5, 2010
Maria Hassabi is a New York-based director/choreographer/performance artist. She is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow and a recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, 2009 Grants to Artists Award. In 2012, she received The President’s Award for Performing Arts from the LMCC.
Her evening length performances include SHOW (2011), Robert and Maria (2010), SoloShow (2009), Solo (2009), GLORIA (2007), Still Smoking (2006), Dead is Dead (2004) and LIGHTS (2001). She has also created several short-form pieces, art installations including CHANDELIERS (2012), and recently her first short film, The Ladies (2012). Throughout her career she has had numerous ongoing collaborations with artists from various disciplines.
In the US, Hassabi’s work has been presented in New York at venues such as Performance Space122, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project, PS1 MoMA, CCS Bard Galleries, at Bard College (Hudson, New York), and nationally at Ballroom Marfa (Texas), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art for the Time-Based Art Festival (Oregon), Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (Illinois), Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University (Arizona), and has been featured in the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) Crossing the Line fall festivals in 2009 and 2011, the Visual Art Performance Biennial Performa 09, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s 2012 River to River Festival.
Internationally, she has been presented at venues such as Museo Soumaya (Mexico City), Cente d’Art Contemporain Geneva (Switzerland), Kaaitheater (Brussels, Belgium) deSingel (Antwerp, Belgium) Middleheim Museum (Antwerp, Belgium), Vienna Art Fair (Vienna, Austria), Musée Géo Charles (Grenoble, France), Beit Hair Center for Urban Culture (Tel Aviv, Israel), Frascati Theater (Amsterdam, Netherlands) and at festivals such as Tanz im August (Berlin, Germany), Springdance Festival (Utrecht, Netherlands), ImPulsTanz (Vienna, Austria), In-Presentable Festival (Madrid, Spain), TSEH- Springdance/Dialogue (Moscow, Russia), City of Women Festival (Ljublana, Slovenia), Panorama Festival (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Festival Contemporâneo de Dança (Sao Paolo, Brazil), and festivals in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Cyprus, Greece and Portugal.
Born in Nicosia Cyprus, Maria Hassabi moved to the United States in 1990 to study at the California Institute of the Arts, where she received a BFA in Performance and Choreography. In 1994, she moved to New York City to study at the Merce Cunningham Studio while continuing her studies in various release techniques and The Alexander Technique. She is a certified teacher of the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning and taught Pilates in New York and abroad from 1997-2008. Since 2009, she has been , UKinvited to give choreographic workshops, participate in panels and give lectures at Universities and Festivals such as Herberger College of the Arts at Arizona State University, Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, Oregon), deSingel Conservatory (Antwerp Belgium), DANSLAB (Den Haag, Netherlands), at ImPulsTanz Festival (Vienna, Austria) and at City of Women Festival (Ljubljana, Slovenia). In April of 2012, she was a mentor for the Europe in Motion program at Springdance Festival (Utrecht, Netherlands).
Her work has received funding from The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital, the Jerome Foundation, The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, the National Performance Network Creation Fund, Foundation 2021, and from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.