Zak Ryan Schlegel is a performer with Shen Wei, educator at The Joffrey Ballet School, founder of bi-monthly dance salon CONGRESS, and co-artistic director of AXIOM Dance Theatre. New York Times calls him “a star” and Wall Street Journal “eye-catching & effortless”. His choreographic work has been presented from The Juilliard School in NYC to Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA and he is a three-time Outstanding Choreographer of the Youth America Grand Prix,. His extensive research of Eastern and Western movement traditions adjacent to the philosophical tenets of observation and questioning largely inform his technical vocabulary, arresting language and physical study of identity.
Zak can be seen in the upcoming feature film Babylon, directed by Damien Chazelle starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, as well as the HBO series Euphoria, directed by Sam Levinson starring Zendaya and The Weeknd’s highly anticipated HBO series The Idol starring Lilly Rose Depp. His recent short film “It Beauty It Is Unfinished” has received critical acclaim from The Athens International Film Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, and recently won the Knight Foundation Made in MIA award at the Miami Film Festival. He has worked with directors Damien Chazelle, Sam Levinson, Edgar Wright, Melina Matsoukas, Floria Sigismondi, Amy Seimetz, Sebastian Strasser, Nina McNeely, Dugan O’Neal, Greko Sklavounos, Eliot Lee Hazel, WIFE, Lita Albuquerque and GMUNK.
On stage, Zak has danced has performed and toured globally as company member and soloist in Shen Wei Dance Arts, Italy’s Spellbound Contemporary Ballet led by Mauro Astolfi, Yin Yue Dance Company and Backhausdance on iconic stages from BAM, Art Basel Miami and Hong Kong to The Guggenheim, Asia Society in NY and Hong Kong and Arcosanti’s FORM Festival. He creates an evening length, experiential sound bath “Liminal” with Jonsi and Alex Somers of Sigur Ros, and has danced the works of Jean-Guilliame Weiss, Ryan Heffington with associate Ryan Spencer, Mandy Moore with associates Jillian Meyers & Megan Lawson, Michael Rooney, Kitty McNamee, Nina McNeely, Jennifer Backhaus, Denna Thomsen, Lisa Eaton and Josie Walsh. He received formative training from Rafael Bonachela at Sydney Dance Company, Danielle Agami, Lucas Crandall, has participated in Gaga research with Ohad Naharin in Tel Aviv, Israel and holds a BFA from Chapman University.
Commercial collaborations include: The Weeknd, Sigur Ros, Britney Spears, Ry X, Lawrence Rothman, Years & Years, Peaches, MIKA, Ecko, Audrey Nula, Nova Wav, Fitz and the Tantrums, Japanese Breakfast, Lawrence Rothman, The Pierces, Sam Sparro, Vogue Italia, FLAUNT and OUT magazine, Lexus, Toyota, Ford, Squarespace, Amazon Prime, Sleep Number, Tedx, The Getty, Milk and FIDM in multiple genres and platforms from film/television, music videos, live stage performances, commercial campaigns and print editorials.
Zak practices the act of query as the primary motivation of understanding—where mortal repetition and shifting layers become the central geometry of being.