Alex Ketley is an independent choreographer, filmmaker, and the director of The Foundry. Formally a classical dancer with the San Francisco Ballet (1994-1998), he performed a wide range of classical and contemporary repertory with the company 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 collaborative process. With The Foundry he has been an artist in residence at many leading art institutions including Headlands Center for the Arts (2001 & 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 & 2017), 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 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), four Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Residencies (2007, 2009, 2014, and 2015), 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).
In 2011 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 began a new project entitled No Hero which explored what dance means and how it is experienced by people throughout more rural parts of the American West. The video projection Alex designed for No Hero was nominated for a 2012 Isadora Duncan Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design.
In 2013 he began an appointment as a Lecturer at Stanford University’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies (TAPS). In that same year he was also awarded the first Princess Grace Foundation Choreography Mentorship Co-Commission Award (CMCC), a MANCC Media Fellowship, and a Kenneth Rainin Foundation New and Experimental Works Grant which he used to work on a collaborative project with Miguel Gutierrez exploring rural communities throughout the South (No Hero - Part 3). Also in 2014 he created and premiered his dance film The Gift (of Impermanence) which has continued to screen at film festivals internationally, as well as winning the 2015 Artistry Award from the Superfest International Disability Film Festival. During 2016 he spent time in Salt Lake City teaching for Salt Dance Fest and creating a new work for SALT Dance Company. Later in that year he had a six week residency and created a new work for Ballet Met in collaboration with the Columbus Symphony and Opera Columbus. Highlights of 2017 include the Stanford MainStage performances of No Hero, teaching and commissions in NYC and Seattle, as well as the final iteration of Deep South which was fully supported through a tech residency and performances by ODC Theater in San Francisco and featured some of the Bay Area's most notable performer/choreographers in the work.
Along with his direction of The Foundry, his various independent projects, and his appointment at Stanford, he worked closely with Summer Lee Rhatigan on the initial creation of the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance (Founded in 2004), an organization where he still serves as 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.