Meri Bender, a native of Los Angeles, California, trained at the American School of Dance studying with Eugene Loring and Gloria Newman. She continued her dance education receiving an MA in Dance at UCLA were she studied with Carol Scothorn, Alma Hawkins, and Pia Gilbert. During that time she became the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship.
Meri performed in the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera production of The Red Mill under the choreography of Roy Fitzell. She performed with Los Angeles Junior Programs’, The UCLA Dance Company under the direction of Carol Scothorn, and “R” Dance Company ( where she also choreographed) directed by Roberta Wolin, and was a member of the Gloria Newman Dance Theater. She was also co-founder and director of the Los Angeles Dance Collective at The House.
Ms Bender taught choreography and technique at the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and continues to teach technique at Santa Monica City College. In addition, she also taught at Loyola Marymount University and UCLA Extension.
As a prolific choreographer her works Chocolate Ice Creme and After Images appeared in Dance Kaleidoscope. And she was commissioned by the City of West Hollywood to create a dance-drama, Seeking the LIght, dealing with the Russian immigrant experience in Los Angeles. Other commissioned works sponsored by the Cultural Affairs Department include Elder Tales, Between Two Worlds, Transformations, and L.A. Images all incorporating multi-generational casts. In addition, she produced a trilogy of memories entitled Arc – Chocolate Ice Creme, The Rememberer, Sequela for Elizabeth Ince and Don Bondi.