Zak Ryan Schlegel
Zak Ryan Schlegel (he/him)
Contemporary, Floor Work
Zak Ryan Schlegel is a performer with Shen Wei, educator at The Joffrey Ballet School, founding curator of cross-genre salon CONGRESS, and co-artistic director of AXIOM Dance Theatre. His work has been presented from The Juilliard School in NYC to Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA and is a three-time Outstanding Choreographer of the Youth America Grand Prix. He is the official recipient of the New Century Dance Project 2022 Choreography Award Grand Prize Honor, his film “In Beauty It Is Unfinished” is an official selection of The Athens International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and recently won the Knight Foundation award at the Miami Film Festival. The New York Times calls him “a star” & Wall Street Journal “eye-catching & effortless”. His extensive research of Eastern and Western movement traditions adjacent to the philosophical tenets of observation, logic and mathematics largely inform his presence of being, technical vocabulary, arresting language and physical study of identity. Query is his primary motivation of understanding—where mortal repetition and shifting layers define performance as a series of cascading epiphanies.
Zak can be seen in Ryan Heffington’s Emmy award-winning choreographic work for HBO series Euphoria directed by Sam Levinson starring Zendaya, the feature film Babylon, directed by Damien Chazelle starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, The Weeknd’s highly anticipated upcoming HBO series The Idol starring Lily-Rose Depp and is the featured artist in Lexus’ L5 campaign. He has worked with directors Damien Chazelle, Sam Levinson, Edgar Wright, Melina Matsoukas, Floria Sigismondi, Amy Seimetz, Sebastian Strasser, Nina McNeely, Dugan O’Neal, Kitty McNamee, Greko Sklavounos, Eliot Lee Hazel, WIFE, Lita Albuquerque and GMUNK.
On stage, Zak has performed and toured globally as company member and soloist in Shen Wei Dance Arts, Italy’s Spellbound Contemporary Ballet led by Mauro Astolfi, Yin Yue Dance Company and Backhausdance on iconic stages from BAM, Art Basel Miami and Hong Kong to The Guggenheim, Asia Society in NY and Hong Kong, Arcosanti’s FORM Festival, and LA’s Walk Disney Concert Hall in collaboration with the LA Philharmonic. He has created an evening length, experiential sound bath “Liminal” with Jonsi and Alex Somers of Sigur Ros, and has danced the works of Jean-Guilliame Weiss, Ryan Heffington with associate Ryan Spencer, Mandy Moore with associates Jillian Meyers & Megan Lawson, Michael Rooney, Nina McNeely, Jennifer Backhaus, Denna Thomsen, JA, Lisa Eaton and Josie Walsh. He received formative training from Rafael Bonachela at Sydney Dance Company, Danielle Agami, Lucas Crandall, has participated in Gaga research with Ohad Naharin in Tel Aviv, Israel and holds a BFA from Chapman University.
Commercial collaborations include: The Weeknd, Sigur Ros, Britney Spears, Ry X, Lawrence Rothman, Years & Years, Peaches, MIKA, Ecko, Audrey Nula, Nova Wav, Fitz and the Tantrums, Japanese Breakfast, Lawrence Rothman, The Pierces, Sam Sparro, Vogue Italia, FLAUNT and OUT magazine, Lexus, Toyota, Ford, Squarespace, Amazon Prime, Sleep Number, Tedx, The Getty, Milk and FIDM in multiple genres and platforms from film/television, music videos, live stage performances, commercial campaigns and print editorials.