Named “Artist of the Year” (City Pages), Sally Rousse began dancing in Barre, Vermont. She trained at the School of American Ballet and with David Howard before performing as a leading dancer with Ballet Chicago, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, and James Sewell Ballet. In addition to many roles in the classical and Balanchine repertoires, Sally has danced works by Maurice Béjart, Jiri Kylián, and more than 75 works created on her by contemporary choreographers.

In 1994, she began studying and performing Improvisation and Contact, primarily with Patrick Scully, Chris Aiken, and Hijack, aiming to draw upon a larger movement palette to extend the definitions, aesthetics, and relevance of ballet and ballerina. She received a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Dancers (2001).

Rousse's work as a choreographer has been supported by diverse venues and organizations: the Southern Theater, Walker Art Center, VocalEssence, Marshall Field's, Harvard's American Repertory Theatre, the Cartoon Channel, Nickelodeon, Omaha Ballet, James Sewell Ballet, 3-Legged Race, the Jerome Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the McKnight Foundation. She co-created the aerial/dance/theater pieces Floor Show (2003) with Homer Avila and Awedville (2004) with James Sewell. trickpony (2002), her collaboration with Chelsea Bacon, headed the 2002 list of top ten dance events in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Recent grants include funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board to develop an independent artistic profile and a Jerome Travel/Study grant to Berlin and Frankfurt, Germany where Rousse will engage in an aesthetic dialogue about the state of ballet and her place in it.


Sally Rousse served as ASI Artist-In-Residence from June 11— July 13, 2014.  


Rogue ballet dancer Sally Rousse and theater innovator Noah Bremer partner with the American Swedish Institute to explore the nooks and crannies of the Turnblad Mansion in KOM HIT! (Come Here!) — a world premiere dance-theater piece inspired by Sweden’s literary father, August Strindberg, and his obsession with gender imbalance, class inequality and a morose disquietude of the heart. The audience is completely immersed in this modern reimagining of Strindberg’s world as they follow characters from room to room throughout the Turnblad Mansion. Curiosity drives their experiences as the non-linear narrative unfolds into a unique theatrical adventure.

Kom Hit! is performed in conjunction with ASI’s new summer exhibit: The Image of Strindberg (Jun 14-Oct. 26), presented from Fotografiska, Sweden’s leading photography museum. The Image of Strindberg showcases the multiple sides and depictions of August Strindberg, the Swedish author and playwright.