Artistic Director / Choreographer
A former track and field athlete in France, Mr. Rioult came to the United States on a fellowship from the French Ministry of Culture to study modern dance in 1981. After performing with the companies of May O’Donnell and Paul Sanasardo he was invited to join the Martha Graham Dance Company. He interpreted many of the most prestigious roles in the Graham repertory as a principal dancer, and in 1990, Ms. Graham created the central role (Death Figure) in her ballet Eye of the Goddess for him. Mr. Rioult performed opposite Mikhail Baryshnikov and Joyce Herring in El Penitente and was featured in two television specials: “Martha Graham in Japan” and “Five Dances by Martha Graham,” filmed at the Paris Opera.
Since starting his own company, RIOULT Dance NY in 1994, Mr. Rioult has dedicated his energies to developing his own choreographic style and nurturing a robust ensemble of dancers. Of his work, Black Diamond, Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times wrote, “…he has met the challenge of comparison with George Balanchine.”
Mr. Rioult’s works have been commissioned by the American Dance Festival; Cal Performances Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA; the Ballet du Nord in Roubaix, France; the Geneva Ballet, Switzerland; The Orchestra of St. Luke’s; the Gordon & Harriet Greenfield Foundation; the Grand Marnier Foundation; the Théâtre de Saint Quentin en Yvelines France; Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA; and Marymount Manhattan College; among others. He is a two-time recipient of the Choo-San Goh Award for Choreography.
Associate Artistic Director
A founding member of RIOULT Dance NY, Ms. Herring danced with the company until 2004 while holding the positions of Rehearsal Director, Regisseur, and, in 2008-2009, Executive Director. Ms. Herring and Mr. Rioult met while dancing with the Martha Graham Dance Company, where she was a principal dancer until 1999; they were married in 1988. During her career with the Graham Company she interpreted many leading roles including Lamentation, Deep Song, Jocasta in Night Journey, the Bride in Appalachian Spring, the Virgin in Primitive Mysteries, Heretic, Joan of Arc in Seraphic Dialogue, Helen of Troy in Clytemnestra, and the Conversation of Lovers in Acts of Light, among others.
A former director of the Martha Graham School, Ms. Herring remains a regisseur of the Graham Trust. She has been on the faculties of the Conservatory of Dance at
SUNY Purchase and Marymount Manhattan College, and has taught as a guest teacher at the Juilliard School, Rudra Bejart (Lausanne), Alfredo Corvino’s Dance Circle, the Neighborhood Playhouse, Harvard Summer Dance Center, North Carolina School of the Arts, Ballet du Nord, the Lyon Opera Ballet, the Conservatoire Nationale Superieure de Musique de Lyon, the Geneva Ballet and the Ballet de Lorraine, Interlochen Academy of the Performing Arts, and more. Ms. Herring continues to stage Mr. Rioult’s work on companies and universities throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Jane Penn has worked in the not-for-profit sector for more than 25 years. Her early years were spent as a dance student training at the prestigious School of American Ballet followed by The Joffrey Ballet School. Her career as an administrator began at the Limón Dance Company, during the Company’s 50th anniversary where she helped secure a Presidential NEA Millennium Grant in 1998, one of only three dance companies nationwide honored with the award. During this time, she also helped develop the company’s first-ever arts-in-education program, L.I.N.K.s in partnership with The Surdna Foundation and later in collaboration with the Limon Institute helped to develop and brand Limon4Kids. In 2003, she was enlisted by The Foundation Center to provide consulting services in its First Steps/Next Steps program for ‘under-resourced’ organizations and parlayed that into a successful consulting practice. Ms. Penn has been able to offer assistance to a variety of nonprofits in the fields of arts and culture, youth services, information services and education. In 1999, she co-authored “The Dancers Resource Guide,” published by Watson-Gupnill. Ms. Penn enjoyed an eight-year tenure at The Studio Museum in Harlem working under the leadership of Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden. While at Studio Museum, she spearheaded a seven-year partnership with Target thanks to the launch of Target Free Sundays, which helped drive attendance and build bridges to multiple communities in Upper Manhattan. Continuing her work strengthening arts organizations through community building, she helped design two initiatives, JoycePass and PayWhatYouDecide, while serving as Director of Development at The Joyce Theater. A champion for artists and New York City's arts communities, Ms. Penn has spent a career promoting best practices and alternative ways of addressing the field’s most pressing issues, including access, affordability and equity. Ms. Penn holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Board Of Directors
RIOULT Dance NY is privileged to have an outstanding, dedicated Board of Directors.
Joseph W. Armbrust
Susan P. Fraser
Judy S. Gordon
Ellen W. Harris*
Donald L. Holley, Esq.*
John A. MacKinnon
Laura S. Norman
Keith M. Pattiz
Lee Traub (Emerita)