After being named Presidential Scholar in the Arts and performing at the White House, Francesca Harper joined and performed soloist roles with The Dance Theater of Harlem and later as a Principal Dancer in William Forsythe’s Ballet Frankfurt. Harper has choreographed works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theater of Harlem Ailey II, Hubbard Street II, and many more companies including, her own company, The Francesca Harper Project, which was founded in 2005. Harper has appeared in four Broadway productions, with leading acting roles in Sweet Charity and Sophisticated Ladies and as Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson Bar and Grill. She also served as a Ballet Consultant for the Oscar winning film, “Black Swan.” Harper is the Artistic Director for the Movement Invention Project® and served as Movement Director for Nick Cave’s Bessie Nominated “The Let Go,” an exhibit commissioned by the Park Avenue Armory. She was awarded a two-year choreographic fellowship with Urban Bush Women, providing support toward her latest dance-theater work “An Unapologetic Body.” Her recent engagements include choreographing for NYCB’s Associate Artistic Director, Wendy Whelan, as Co-Director and choreographer for the musical Rose’s War, and as Movement Director for Tommy Hilfiger and Zendaya for their fashion show at the Apollo Theater in the Fall of 2019.
Harper’s collaborators include Nona Hendryx, MacArthur Genius Awardee Carrie Mae Weems, Pulitzer Prize winning writer Margo Jefferson, Anna Deavere Smith, The Met Museum, and The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. Her awards include a Living History Award for Black History Month, an Innovation and Technology award from Louis Vuitton for Fashion Week, and Best Film for her original film at the Black International Berlin Cinema Festival. Harper is currently a Professor at The Juilliard School, NYU, and Ailey / Fordham.