Krissy Keefer was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island and grew up in Florida, South Carolina, and Cincinnati. Her childhood experiences as a dancer gave birth to an early feminist  unerstanding, which later gave rise to the development of her first platforms for social justice. Growing up and  witnessing the near apartheid conditions of African Americans in the south made an indelible imprint on her consciousness, creating for her a deeper understanding of social justice when the civil rights movement and call for Black Power took place in Cincinnati in the late 60′s.  This awareness also extended to the burgeoning environmental movement.  At 18,  she wrote her first op-ed piece on the perils of nuclear power for the Cincinnati Post.

Ms. Keefer studied dance as a young girl, and started her own dance company when she was 21 years old. As a student at the University of Oregon, she and three other women started Wallflower Order Dance Collective, the first company dedicated to the politics of feminism and social justice through dance. Although modern dance has a long legacy of powerful women dealing with social issues, the Wallflower Order ushered in a new era of dance theater that incorporated text, martial arts, singing, sign language, humor, and satire into its performances.

For 25 years Ms. Keefer toured the United States, Canada, Europe and Central America with her unique brand of dance theater, inspiring women and social change activists everywhere.

From 1981-1984 she organized Wallflower Order and Grupo Raiz (a folk group in exile from Chile based at La Pena) into two international tours that raised money and consciousness for the progressive movements in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Chile. This collaboration was seen by thousands of people all over the world. Over her 30 year career, Ms. Keefer has created hundreds of performances with Wallflower Order and Dance Brigade, the troupe for which she currently choreographs, organizing hundreds of artists into stunning works of conscious culture that deals directly with issues that affect people’s lives. Whether the work is about women in prison, the environment, torture, or female empowerment, Ms. Keefer’s creative work and organizational skill has made a huge impact on social justice community. Her most influential works include: The Revolutionary Nutcracker Sweetie; Cinderella a tale of Survival (about child abuse and domestic violence); Ballet of the Banshees (breast cancer); Sleepwalker (women and alcoholism); Goodbye Columbus (about the 500 year centennial on the “discovery” of America); Cave Women (on women, Buddhism and pre-patriarchal history); and most recently, Dry Ice (global warming) and Spell, an artistic response to the elections of 2004. She has produced the Cuba Caribe Festival, Skydancer’s Aerial Festival, Manifestival for Social Change, the Lesbian and Gay Dance Festival, and Furious Feet — Festival for a Future.
Current Work

Ms. Keefer currently is the Executive Artistic Director of Dance Brigade and Dance Mission Theater, where she oversees all aspects of the operations there including: the 150 seat theater; the adult program, which boasts one of the most comprehensive African arts programs in the Bay Area; and a children’s program with 400 participants and a three studio rental spaces for artists working in the Bay Area. She also directs the Dance Brigade, which does regular seasons, performs at all the anti-war rallies, and many political events and fundraisers, and completed Iphigenia at Audiles with the San Jose Repertory Theater.

Ms. Keefer began performing in San Francisco in 1975 at the now defunct Neighbor Arts Center on Haight Street, and performed at the People’s Cultural Center on Valencia in 1978. Ms. Keefer has lived in San Francisco since 1986, primarily in the Mission, where she also works. She has been deeply engaged in San Francisco politics since 1996, when she emerged as a leader against the dot com invasion with the Proposition L campaign, the rent subsidy legislation created to help arts organizations deal with evictions, and she has worked on numerous other campaigns and issues. She is currently a member of the San Francisco Arts Task Force. She has received numerous awards for her work, including five Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Bay Guardian Goldie, The SF Magazine Arts Achievement Award, and the Bay Area Express, “Artist who make a Difference”. Ms. Keefer has also been featured on the Comcast Artist I; featured in the book “Warrior Mothers”; and has been the subject of numerous articles, magazine features, radio interviews, and art reviews over her career, including the UTNE Reader, Z Magazine, Performing Arts Magazine, Kung Fu Magazine, among many others.

Ms. Keefer’s work within the art and activist collective structure for ten years and her current job as the Executive Artistic Director of Dance Mission has given her a great breadth and depth of experience working with different kinds of people in a wide variety of settings. She has spent many years collaborating with artists and activists, in addition to providing vision and sustainability to her work under the tremendous financial constraints faced by artists. The respect she has earned as director, producer, collaborator, and leader is evidenced by the large number of artist with whom she has worked with over the last 20 years that she continues to work with to this day. Her ground breaking cultural work on both the theoretical and practical level gives her a unique position in the arts community and the women’s movement, both locally and nationally. The broad audiences and participants that come to Dance Mission — from the Mission parents, to the Sala enthusiast, to the modern dance aficionado to the gay Philippino hip hop youth — points to her broad vision to nurture and support and activate the broadest possible communities.

Ms. Keefer has raised two children who both attended San Francisco public schools. Her daughter currently attends the San Francisco School of the Arts.