Paula Mann began her dance studies in 1974 when she attended an early admission program at Kent State University. She was introduced to modern dance initially through improvisation and composition, and continued to study a range of techniques including Humphrey/Limon, Hawkins Technique, Cunningham, Ballet, Release Technique and Contact Improvisation. While still in high school she toured with the Kent State University experimental movement troupe "FIBER" As a part of the bicentennial activities, FIBER improvised their way through a tour of Ohio (which included performances on Cincinnati streets and buses) supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mann moved to New York in 1977 and soon became part of the bourgeoning downtown dance community. Her first concert of choreography was produced at the Merce Cunningham Studio in 1980 and later that year she co-founded Dudek/Mann + Dancers with partner Tina Dudek. Dudek/Mann performed in many New York venues, toured the north east, and were amongst the youngest women to be given a full production at Dance Theater Workshop as a part of the 1985 Winter Events Series.
Mann moved to the Twin Cities from New York in 1987, armed with a BA and MFA in dance from New York University, and following seven years as co-director of Dudek/Mann + Dancers. Building on a background of modern dance technique and ballet, she has expanded the scope of her work as a dancer and choreographer to include animation, text, sound collage and physical theater to create unique performance experiences.
Since her arrival in the Twin Cities fifteen years ago Mann has created 35 new works. She is now co-artistic director of TIME TRACK PRODUCTIONS whose mission is to explore the relationship between media and humanity using live performance as a foundation. Mann's work has been presented by many performance venues both in New York—at Dance Theater Workshop, P.S 122, Danspace, Off Broadway at the Douglass Fairbanks Theater, Movement Research at the Judson Church, and the Lower East Side Dance Festival—and in the Twin Cities, by the Southern Theater, the O' Shaughnessy Dance Series and the Women of Substance series, The Walker Art Center, and the MN Dance Alliance.
Her solo work has been presented throughout the U.S. and Canada. Mann has been recognized with several consecutive awards from the McKnight Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, Meet the Composer, the MN State Arts Board, MRAC Arts Activities and Community Arts, two Sage Cowles Chairs at the University of Minnesota and a Bush Artist Fellowship. 1999 she traveled to Germany to study with DV8 Physical Theater.
She is a graduate of New York University and is currently affiliate faculty at the University of Minnesota Department of Theater and Dance.
Paula Mann is a recipient of a 2005 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board and a 2003/2004 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers, administered by the Southern Theater and funded by the McKnight Foundation.