Matthew Cumbie is a dance maker, educator, and collaborator based in Washington, DC, and, since 2011 has been working with Dance Exchange as a collaborator and performing artist. He joined the company more fully in 2012, shortly after their first meeting, as a Resident Artist and the Education Coordinator. Founded by Liz Lerman in 1976, and now under the artistic direction of Cassie Meador, Dance Exchange is a collaborative intergenerational dance company whose practices bring together art making and community engagement, stretching the boundaries between studio and stage, performance and engagement, and dance and theatre. In his continually expanding responsibilities with the company, he holds both artistic and administrative leadership roles: from the creation and performance of new work to training artists to directing and visioning the organization’s in-house programming to the management of a number of company projects.
Independently, his work explores his interests in activism and improvisation, bringing a poetic lens to a specifically queer experience. His artistic work and research has taken him to audiences and educational institutions across the US and to international stages. He has been commissioned to create and show work at places like Harvard University, Texas State University, Triskelion Arts, and AS220, and to work with other professional dance companies, like Christopher K. Morgan & Artists and the Houston Met. His interest in collaborative processes has led him to work with a wide range of artists, including Liz Lerman, Keith Thompson, Sarah Gamblin, jhon stronks, Paloma McGregor, Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, Annie Kloppenberg, among others, and to co-found Big Rig Dance Collective.
As an emerging leader in arts education, Matthew has also been commissioned to speak at conferences and gatherings, like at the New York City Roundtable Arts in Education conference and the LGBT Health and Art Making conference (co-sponsored by George Washington University and the Human Rights Campaign), and to share his research and work in a long list of studios and classrooms. In addition to master classes and lectures at institutions like New York University, Sonoma State University, Texas State University, and Dance Complex, he has been on faculty at Colby College, Queensborough Community College, and Texas Woman’s University, and is published in Dance Exchange’s Moving Field Guide curriculum.
He holds an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University, and currently lives with his lovable dog Lucas and visits Providence often to see his partner and collaborator, Tyler.