Debra Wanner creates inquisitive, imagistic dance works about notions of being, revealing multidimensional worlds that relate to the breadth of our lives, particularly in the lives of women. These dances have ranged from pure dance to works that include text, video, and improvisation.

She began creating works in the late 1970’s and working in dance, experimental theater and performance art with a number of diverse New York choreographers, artists, writers and directors such as Jerri Allyn, Bill Gordh, Joe Lowery, Rosalind Newman, Richard Schechner’s Performance Group, Frank South, The Vanaver Caravan, and collaboratively with Clarice Marshall. She went on to become a founding member of Stephanie Skura and Company where she danced and toured extensively throughout the US and Europe from 1984-1990. She has since danced with Erin Fitzgerald, Marilyn Klaus, Victoria Marks, Nina Martin, David Rousseve, Sally Silvers, Pat Catterson, Barbara Grubel, Aviva Geismar, Tina Croll, and collaborated with Amy Larimer and Livia Blankman. She performed in Stephanie Skura’s duet production of Two Huts and in Surreptitious Preparations for an Impossible Total Act: Skura’s all women international improvisational group.

Debra’s individual and collaborative projects have been presented in New York City at Arts at University Settlement, Chashama, Chen Dance Center, Dancemakers NYC at Kumble Theater, Dance Now, Dance Theater Workshop, Dixon Place, Franklin Furnace, 40Up, Green Space, Movement Research, and Movement Research at Judson Church, 92nd St. Y, PS 122, Solar One, Triskelion Arts, and the West End Theater by David Parker and Jeff Kazin.

Her dance work has also been presented in San Francisco, at Portland School of Design, in Dancemakers Critical Perspective at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peck School of the Arts, and the American College Dance Festival North Central Regional Conference, representing the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her performance artwork toured with Interaction Arts in galleries and college art departments.

She was a member of Interaction Arts Foundation (IAF) 1973-2019. IAF was a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973, IAF supported original work by performing and visual artists. It was committed to creating and producing contemporary work and encouraging artistic experiments that move our audience to think about their lives and their relationship to the world we inhabit.

Debra’s movement-based videos have been seen in New York at Movement Research, the Donnell Library, Global Village, Ryo Gallery, Locus Film Communications, Spontaneous Combustion as well as at Video Women in Pittsburgh, the Biennale de La Danse in Lyon, France, Danca em New York at the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, Portugal and on tour throughout the U.S beginning at Dance Theater Workshop as a part of Eyes Wide Open, curated by James Byrne and in the NYFA6/NO TV Project at the Media Center Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York and at NY Studio Gallery.

Debra is a recipient of a Young Choreographers Fellowship from The National Endowment of the Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts in Video. She has also received an award from the New York Experimental Film and Video Festival. She is a recipient of a residency at Workspace for Choreographers and Yellow Springs Institute and was a participant in The Fields Independent Artists Challenge Program. As a part of Interaction Arts Debra was a recipient of grants and awards from NEA and New York State Council on the Arts for collaborative interdisciplinary performance art productions.

Debra was a dance professor at Queens College for 15 years where she taught several dance courses and choreographed for the faculty showcase. She has been a visiting professor at Long Island University, Temple University and Empire State College. Debra is Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner, with supplementary training in the Child Space Method, and in A Skillful Life, with Sheryl Field. She taught movement at First Presbyterian Nursery School for over 20 years, and worked at The Field Center for Children’s Integrated Development, for over 7 years. Presently Debra has a private Feldenkrais practice for all ages in Catskill NY and teaches dance for The Vanaver Caravan. Debra has a BFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and an MFA from The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.