Francesca N. Penzani started her studies in theatre at Teatro Viaggio and Comuna Baires in Italy. She moved to London in 1983 where she studied mime with Ronald Wilson and graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 1991. She performed with independent contemporary choreographers in U.K. Italy and Switzerland (Nikky Smedley, Victoria Marks, Aletta Collins, Andy Papas, Michelle Levi, Pietro D’Amico, Marie Luise Kind, Anna Pons, Stewart Arnold, Paul Henry, Wolfang Stange among others). She danced in the musical Alice and toured Europe with the opera Carmen and 4D dance Company. She taught modern dance and choreography at The Young Place; The Evening School and Independent Dance at The Place in London.
In 1991 she was one of the 5 British Choreographers selected for a Residency for Choreographers and Composers lead by Wim Vandekeybus and Thierry de Mey at the Royal Academy of Music in Glasgow; (Founded by the Arts Council of Scotland). In 1992 she was one of the selected choreographers for “Residency for Choreographers and Composers” at Royal Festival Hall at South Bankk Centre in London lead by Glynn Perrin (Founded by the Arts Council of England); “Poetry Dance Intermix” at South Bank Centre. In 1996 she was assistant to director/choreographer Lloyd Newson of DV8 in London. Francesca started her video work for The Place Theatre in 1990 as camera operator, editor and director for live performances. She made documentaries for choreographers: Peter Badajo, Emilyn Claid, Yolande Snaith, Shobana Jayasingh, Royston Maldoon, Matthew Hawkins, Mark Baldwin, Laurie Booth and Rosemary Butcher. In 1992, she was awarded a trainingship for "Dance for the Camera" by BBC2 and the Arts Council of England, and worked with directors Ross MacGibbon and Terry Braun. (Producers Bob Lockyer, Wilson) In 1999 she received an MFA from the Schools of Dance and Integrated Media at CalArts. From 2000 til 2005 she was lecturer in "Dance Perceptions" and "Creative Dance for Children" at California State University Dominguez Hills (Division of Performing Arts and Digital Media, Dance Department)
Her video works have been screened at: Festival International de Video Danza, Buenos; Dance on Camera Festivals, New York (DFA); Frame(Portugal); Subtropics Art, Music and Video Festival (Miami); Dance on Camera Irvine, Il Coreografo Elettronico,Italy; Festival for Art on Film, Akron (Ohio); American Dance Festival; Hollywood Shorts, Los Angeles; REDCAT, Los Angeles; Barnsdall Art Center, Los Angeles; Cinedans, Amsterdam; DFF Barcelona; Dance on Screen, London; Dance for Kamera, Norway; as well as for Festivals in Paraguay; Siggraph, Taipei; Brooklyn Access Television; wigged.net, Akademie der Bilden Kuenste, Munich; Jumping Frames at Hong Kong Dance Festival; DanzLenz, New Delhi, India. National Center for Contemporary Arts, Moscow, Russia. In March 2007 her video installation "colours" was featured at CalArts Feminist Art Exhibition "Exquisite Acts & Everyday Rebellions." This was part of the Exhibition Around Town of WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA , Los Angeles. Last January 2007, she choreographed for Interactive Artist Scott Snibbe, "Women in Science" a project for Mills College. Since 1999, Francesca teaches at CalArts “Video for Dance,” “Video Dance Production Seminar” for The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance and she is faculty for the Center of Integrated Media at CalArts. She also teaches for CAP, CalArts Community Arts Partnership, “Modern Dance and Creativity” for children at Plaza de la Raza.