Robert Bettmann is the founder and Executive Director of Day Eight. He attended Oberlin College and received his BA in Environmental Studies in 1997. As a sophomore he received an A. W. Mellon Foundation grant to complete research in ecological design. Following graduation, Mr. Bettmann was honored to spend a year on scholarship at the Alvin Ailey School in New York City before joining W.W. Norton as an Editorial Assistant for Science books. In 1998 and 1999 he danced for Sudden Enlightment Theater, a fusion contemporary/traditional Korean dance company for which he performed traditional bara dances.
Mr. Bettmann was granted a Fellowship to pursue his Masters in Dance at American University in 2002. He received Young Emerging Artist grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities in 2002 and 2004 for his choreographic work. As the Artistic Director of the dance company Bettmann Dances (founded 2009), The Examiner described the company’s premiere evening length work as, “an example of artistic craftsmanship.” In addition to his own projects, Mr. Bettmann has danced for: Maida Withers Dance Construction Company, Alexandria Ballet, Jane Franklin and others. As a choreographer his work has been presented at the Dance Complex (Boston), Dance New Amsterdam (NYC), Gallapagos Artspace (Brooklyn), SUNYPurchase (Doug Varone Intensive), Washington Ballet Studios (D.C.), Jack Guidone Theater (D.C.), and The Ark at the American Dance Festival (North Carolina.)
He is the author of the book Somatic Ecology: Somatics, Nature, Humanity and the Human Body (2009, Verlag), and is a leading thinker connecting dance and environmentalism. In 2005 he founded the arts magazine Bourgeon, and continues as Managing Editor. His writing has been featured in: Somatics, Contact Quarterly, Bilerico, Ovationtv.com, DanceEnthusiast, the Mid-Atlantic Almanac, and Bourgeon.
Since 2007 Mr. Bettmann has served as the Chair of the DC Advocates for the Arts. He testifies and speaks regularly on non-profit government arts supports, and represents the District of Columbia as State Captain at the Americans for the Arts national arts advocacy day, and in the State Arts Action Network.