Born in Brooklyn, New York, Shamel Pitts began his dance training at LaGuardia High School for Music & Art and the Performing Arts and continued, simultaneously, at The Ailey School. Pitts then went on to receive his BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School (receiving the Martha Hill Award For Excellence In Dance) and began his professional dance career with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal and Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance. Pitts then became a member of the Batsheva Dance Company under Ohad Naharin for seven years.
Pitts is a teacher of Gaga, the movement language created by Ohad Naharin, and has taught for both Batsheva Dance Company and The Young Ensemble. Pitts has been on faculty for Movement Invention Project, SPRINGBOARD DANSE MONTREAL under the direction of Alexandra Wells. He has also been on faculty and a guest teacher at Netherlands Dance Theater Summer Intensive, SUNY Purchase, and The Juilliard School.
Pitts created a poetic dance performance installation entitled, BLACK BOX: Little Black Book Of RED. This work has been performed in many spaces/galleries in Israel since 2015 and was presented for “BATSHEVA HOST” In February 2016. BLACK BOX has also toured to Brazil, Berlin, and New York.
Upon leaving Batsheva Dance Company in August 2016, Pitts has collaborated in the creation of several performance art works including A Herzliya Museum Of Contemporary Art Commission Of Black, White, And RED with Installation Artist Orly Sever and Light Artist Tom Love. In September 2016, Pitts moved briefly to Brazil to teach Gaga classes around the country, as well as to create a duet with Brazilian Performance Artist, Mirelle Martins entitled BLACK VELVET: Architectures And Archetypes.
Pitts is currently teaching at Harvard University and The Juilliard School and is performing with Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar’s L-E-V Dance Company. He is also staging Ohad Naharin’s repertory on many companies around the world. For more information, visit: www.shamelpitts.com
Pitts is an artist-in-residence at Harvard Dance Center in the Spring 2018 creating a new work on The Harvard Dance Project, along with choreographers Peter Chu and Chanel DaSilva. Performances will take place at Farkas Hall, 12 Holyoke St, on April 26-29, 2018.