Also directing: XIOM Dance Theatre and a instructor of the Joffrey San Francisco Intensive.
ZAK RYAN SCHLEGEL is an internationally recognized dancer, teacher and choreographer. He is the artistic director of LA-based AXIOM Dance Theatre and company member of Shen Wei Dance Arts in New York City, currently performing at American Dance Festival, Spoleto Festival and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
He grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico where he attended Fishback Studio of the Dance, training under Krista King Doherty. He later attended Chapman University, where he studied Literature, Performance and Choreography and received a BFA in Dance Performance. He has been a recipient of multiple talent scholarships and was awarded Outstanding Performance 2009, 2010, 2011 as well as Outstanding Choreography for his piece Bunker in 2011 at the Chapman University Department Honors.
Zak has trained and performed with a number of leading choreographers and companies. His work ranges from concert, commercial and film to modeling, performance art and cabaret. In 2010 he joined Backhausdance, where he has performed a number of original works both across the country and internationally in venues such as New York City Center, American Dance Festival, Vernon Center for the Performing Arts in Canada, Carpenter Center, Segerstrom Center and McCallum Center. In the same year he joined Lisa Eaton’s riotous Rouge Cabaret in LA as a soloist, performing in Hollywood and at the Fonda Theater under direction of actress and spokeswoman Jaime Pressly. He moved on to become performer and assistant choreographer to multimedia image/projection mapping dance company WIFE performing in New York, LA and at the TedX SoCal event at the Long Beach Convention Center.
Upon graduation, Zak traveled to Australia where he trained with Rafael Bonachela and learned repertory of Sydney Dance Company. He returned to LA and in 2013 joined Ryan Heffington and painter Nolan Hendrickson’s art/dance/performance installation KTCHN premiering at Mack Sennett studios. That summer he traveled to Portland, participating in Northwest Dance Project’s LAUNCH 8. Other esteemed choreographers Zak has worked with include Stephen Petronio (Stephen Petronio Company), Sarah Slipper (Northwest Dance Project), Helene Blackburn (Cas Public), Danielle Agami (Ate9/Batsheva), Lucas Crandall (Hubbard Street), Andrew Cowan (Shen Wei Dance Arts), Kitty McNamee (Hysterica Dance Company) and Yin Yue (YYDC). Additionally, Zak can be seen in music videos, print and national commercials including Britney Spears, MIKA, Fitz and the Tantrums, Years & Years Sam Sparro, The Pierces, Toyota Prius, Lexus, Sleep Number, FLAUNT and OUT magazine.
Simultaneous to his illustrious performance career, Zak began choreographing professionally in 2010 when he became assistant choreographer for WIFE. Zak’s collaboration The Grey Ones premiered at the TedX SoCal event at the Long Beach Convention Center and later was featured on the electronic music artist Amon Tobin’s box set DVD. In 2011 Zak again collaborated and performed in WIFE’s MUMA, which was commissioned by Ford, Milk and Legs Media and was performed in New York and Los Angeles alongside five other multimedia artists. In the meantime, Zak began to research and develop the launch of his own company, AXIOM Dance Theatre, in 2011 with long time artistic partner and co-founder Denna Thomsen. ADT has performed two evening-length productions including their self-titled show in the spring of 2013 and LILIT, which premiered in the fall of 2014 to critical acclaim. Zak is very thrilled for the engagement of his teaching and choreography and is, most recently, the proud recipient of the 2014 & 2015 Youth America Grand Prix Outstanding Choreographer award.