Holley Farmer is originally from Fresno, CA. She would most likely be a cook if she wasn’t a dancer. She loves to engage with ingredients and technique; the what and how of making things, she’s enjoying a lengthy international and varied career as a dancer, and educator. She started casual dance training for her fifteenth birthday, and regular weekly classes at sixteen. Holley first worked in ballet companies and musical theater: The Theatre Ballet of Canada, Oakland Ballet, and Phantom of the Opera, Toronto cast, 785 performances.
She earned her BFA in Dance from Cornish College of the Arts, and MFA in Dance from The University of Washington, focusing on critical theory. She then moved to NYC and performed with Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1997-2009, receiving the New York Dance and Performance Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement. Her performances with MCDC include a repertory of over fifty dances, and thirteen original roles created for her by Cunningham, with multiple seasons at Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Paris Opera, Théâtre de la Ville, the Barbican, and venues in 23 countries. After Cunningham’s passing in 2009, in 2010, she danced on Broadway originating the principal role of Babe in Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away, for which she received an Astaire Award Nomination. In 2011, she began staging the work of Cunningham, and creating her own choreographies. Her solo work has appeared at New York Live Arts, the Museum of Arts and Design, LaMama, the Joyce Theater, and Jacob's Pillow. For the last eight years, In higher education, she has taught theory and practice courses, and has served on the faculty at Mills College, Hunter College, Sarah Lawrence College, Nassau Community College, and CSU Long Beach, among national guest teaching and lecture engagements including Stanford University, and Southern California Institute of Architecture, focusing on technology and the body. She dances with Molissa Fenley and Dancers, and continues to teach at City Center Studios in NY for the Cunningham Trust. This year, she is heading the BFA in Dance Program at CalArts and serving on Faculty.