Choreographing metaphoric worlds that often dwell at the intersection of several disciplines, Marshall’s work investigates the way bodies, in action and response, define themselves in relationship to each other and, in so doing, expose questions of control, power, dependency, support and intention. Her work employs details of touch, initiation and gaze to reveal the complexities of behavioral systems and of interpersonal relationships and patterns. The resulting dances are often densely woven, recursive, human in scale and speak to the negotiations and work of intimacy and memory.
In recent years, Marshall’s dance-making has been driven by her friendships and collaborations with her peer artists in other media, mostly artists from the growing Princeton Community. This has led to hybrid work created collaboratively with visual artists Martha Friedman and Suzanne Bocanegra, composers David Lang and Jason Treuting, music ensembles Sō Percussion and Dither, and engineer Naomi Leonard. Marshall is drawn to the friction and meshing that arises when joining different disciplines, each with their own unique histories, logics, languages, processes, rules, notations, values, and understandings. Using the body as a way to bring these systems into dialogue, Marshall’s dances often reveal the work involved in art making as both process and material.
The New York-based dance group Susan Marshall & Company is an ensemble of dancers and designers working collaboratively under Marshall’s direction. Her many awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and three New York Dance and Performance Awards (BESSIES) for Outstanding Choreographic Achievement. Marshall has also created dances for the Lyon Opera Ballet, Frankfurt Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov-- her work has been in the repertory of Nederlands Dans Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and Pacific Northwest Ballet, among others. Marshall directed and choreographed the dance/opera Les Enfants Terribles in collaboration with Philip Glass, and provided the choreography and stage direction for Glass's Book of Longing, and for music ensembles Asphalt Orchestra, and Eighth Blackbird. Since 2009, Marshall has been the Director of Dance at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.
Susan Marshall & Company has performed the work of Artistic Director/Choreographer Susan Marshall in theaters throughout the United States, Europe and Japan since 1985. The company has collaborated with Marshall on the creation and performance of works including Cloudless, Frame Dances, Play/Pause, Adamantine, The Most Dangerous Room in the House, Spectators at an Event, Fields of View, Arms, Interior with Seven Figures, and Kiss. Marshall, her artistic collaborators and company members have received a total of ten New York Dance and Performance Awards (BESSIES) for their artistic achievements. The company's work has been commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (seven seasons), Peakperformances@Montclair, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, Krannert Center for the Arts, Walker Center for the Arts, On the Boards, Hanscher Auditorium at University of Iowa among others.
International festivals at which the company has performed include the Edinburgh International Festival, International Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven, the Festival International de Nouvelle Danse in Montreal, Spoleto Festival, the Los Angeles Festival, Vienna Tanz, SpringDanse (The Netherlands), and NY City Center Fall for Dance Festival