Austin Hartel, was born in Washington D.C. He took his first dance class at the Washington School of Ballet at the age of 8. As a 2009 Fulbright Schollar he worked as the the Resident Choreographer for the National Ballet of Paraguay where he created three full evenings of work over a 6th month period.
He brings his extensive experience as a performer, teacher, and director to his newest endeavor as Artistic Director of Hartel Dance Group, founded in 2006 as a new dance theater production company, based in Oklahoma.
Mr. Hartel’s choreography is both passionate and athletic in movement and his work creates perceptual and intuitive environments, naturally engaging to audiences.
Critics are saying, “..new, different, vital, thrilling, stimulating, satisfying, emotionally draining and deliciously sensuous in the most artistic ways imaginable…try brilliant!” -Frank Wagner, The Islander Sanibel Island, Fl.
Jennifer Dunning of the New York Times effuses, “a dose of pure revivifying oxygen” and Il Tirreno, from Italy exclaims: “Austin Hartel’s choreography is without a doubt, one of the most captivating examples of new choreography”.
“I am not sure “dance” adequately defines the performance. It is more like a spiritual communion between body and music. They breathe life and inspiration into pulsating sounds with clarity and a combination of acrobatic and dance moves. They defy gravity as they soar through the air and push the limitations of their limbs”, Laurie Lawson, Punch In International.
Mr. Hartel danced for five years as a soloist and co-choreographer with Pilobolus Dance Theater, making appearances worldwide and on television. Mr. Hartel has also danced with Dances We Dance, The Frank Holder Dance Company, Dendy Dance and Theater, Valley Forge Dance Theater, The Opera Company of Philadelphia, The Charlotte Opera Company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers, and Tandy Beal among others.
For 10 years he served as the Artistic Director of Dalton-Hartel Dance, which toured both nationally and internationally to critical acclaim, performing throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, Italy, Switzerland, Holland, Korea, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela,Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, and the Micronesian Islands.
Under Mr. Hartel's leadership, Dalton Hartel Dance performed at such prestigious festivals as The Vignale Dance Festival, The Florence Dance Festival and the Versiliana Festival in Italy, The 5th Festival de Danca de Mercosul and the VI International Seminar de Danca in Brazil. National performance venues include NYC's The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse, DIA, The Mulberry Street Theater, Hudson Guild Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, Clark Studio Theater at Lincoln Center and St. Mark's Church among others.
International commissions include works for the Company Teatro Nuovo of Torino, Italy, The National Ballet of Suriname and The National Ballet of Paraguay. National commissions from Dances We Dance (HI), Company Teatro Nuovo (Italy), Akasha Dance Company (Chicago), The National Ballet of Suriname, Tenth Street Dance Works (AZ), The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse (NYC), and the New Arts Festival (FL). Mr. Hartel's opera credits include Director John Eliot Gardiner's "The Magic Flute", which toured Europe for four months.
Former honors include The U.S. Dept. of State's selection to serve as a Cultural Specialist in Central and South Americas in 1990, 2000, and 2001 and most recently Mr. Hartel was granted a 2009 Fulbright Scholars Grant, to provide a teaching and choreographic residency at The National Ballet of Paraguay and the Institute Superior of Fine Arts.
His work has been supported by the Dance Magazine Foundation Grant, Tides Foundation Grant, Harkness Space Grant at the 92nd Street Y for 5 years, and the U.S. Information Agency.
Mr. Hartel's television and film works extends to the U.S., Canada and Italy. In 1990, he received the prestigious Italian Key Award for best commercial of the year for his choreographic work in Lucien Rochat's commercial , "Figure Meccaniche".
He continues to represent American Arts and Culture, by teaching, lecturing, and performing internationally and maintaining a national presence. As a guest artist and festival faculties he has taught throughout the U.S, including Univ. of Nebraska, Hollins College (VA), Brooklyn College (NY), and George Washington University (DC).
He received his BFA in Dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts and earned a Masters Degree in Dance and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts.
He currently is on faculty at the University of Oklahoma's School of Dance where he has coordinated the Modern Dance Program, since 2003 and is Artistic Director of Contemporary Dance Oklahoma.