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Shamel Pitts (Brooklyn, NY), a 2024 Doris Duke Artist Award recipient, is a performance artist, choreographer, conceptual artist, dancer, spoken word artist, director and teacher. Born in Brooklyn, Pitts began his dance training at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts and, simultaneously, at The Ailey School. He is a first prize winner in The National Arts Competition from YoungArts. Pitts went on to receive his BFA in dance from The Juilliard School and was awarded the Martha Hill Award for excellence in dance. He began his dance career in Mikhail Baryshnikov’s Hell’s Kitchen Dance and BJMDanse Montreal. Pitts danced with Batsheva Dance Company for seven years under the artistic direction of Ohad Naharin and is a certified teacher of Gaga movement language. Pitts has created a triptych of award-winning multidisciplinary performances with his arts collective TRIBE, known as his “BLACK series,” which has toured extensively to many festivals around the world since 2016. He is an adjunct professor at The Juilliard School, a guest faculty member at Princeton University, New York University and Wesleyan University, and has been an artist in residence at Harvard University. He is the recipient of a Princess Grace Award in choreography, a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow, a Jacob’s Pillow artist-in-residence and a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. 

Meet the 2024 Doris Duke Artists