Christian Burns

Independent dancer and choreographer, as well as artistic director of burnsWORK. Formerly a member of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet and James Sewell Ballet, and guest artist with Frankfurt Ballet.


Christian has been teaching, choreographing and performing a wide range of work in companies and schools around the United States, Europe and Asia since 1995. He has pursued a particular interest in various forms of improvisation, working with such acclaimed artists as Kirstie Simson, Chris Aiken and William Forsythe, among others.

After completing his formal training at the School of American Ballet in New York City in 1993, Christian danced and choreographed as a member of the James Sewell Ballet (1993-98) and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet (1999-2002).

While dancing with Alonzo King's LINES Ballet IN 1998, Christian co-founded (with Alex Ketley) a project-based company known as “The Foundry”, choreographing and dancing in many critically-acclaimed works (see press quotes below) over a period of several years. Then, as his wanderlust kicked in, Christian began pursuing his then-budding interest in improvisation by teaming up with several of the world's leading improvisation artists to tour the world to teach and perform over the course of several years.

In 2012, Christian formed the project-based dance company burnsWORK as a vehicle for creating and showing new works with various collaborators. Previously (in 1998), he co-founded a company known as The Foundry, which has been Artist-in-Residence at Headlands Center for the Arts (2001-03), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (2002-03), The Yard (2003), Santa Fe Art Institute (2004), and the Taipei Artist Village (2005). He continues to perform with The Foundry from time to time, along with his various other pursuits.

He has been honored with a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers in 1997, a Moving Pictures’ Paula Citron Award for Choreography in 2001, and a Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography in 2003.

Christian has been a key member of the Conservatory's faculty since 2005.

Selected press quotes:

  • “The Foundry, a multimedia dance company, has made some seriously beautiful dances” – San Francisco Bay Guardian, 2000
  • “The Foundry takes Bay Area dance to the next stage” – San Francisco Chronicle, 2002
  • “The Foundry is at the vanguard of American dance” – San Francisco Chronicle, 2003
  • “[The Foundry’s] sold out … opening night in the Forum of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts brought great news for modern dance” – San Francisco Chronicle, 2003
  • “emotionally cool mix of skewed classicism, postmodern fragmentation, and stunning video projections” – San Francisco Chronicle, 2006
  • “One of the most riveting Bay Area dances of 2008” – Voice of Dance, 2008