photo by Christopher Duggan; courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow Dance
photo by Nikki Lee
photo by Nikki Lee
photo by Alex Springer
photo by Ben McKeown
You being Me being You and the Eye
Premiered at Movement Research at the Judson Church, NY
You being Me being You and the Eye is an exercise in memory and mimesis. What traces remain long after we learn a body’s patterns? Who are we always becoming with each iteration of transfer from another body to our own?
Within an ethnographic, practice-based research project, we began to unlearn our own habitual instincts for movement generation. Movers joined our rehearsals in which we improvised together, observed them, and mimicked their dances. We then sensitively embodied from memory the essences of these movers and carried the vestiges of our dances together into generative action. This interpersonal practice has transformed our improvisational identities and compositional systems.
These layers of vernacular and vocabulary left traces that linger and appear in the composed, performed duet. The final act of mimesis is with the audience wherein we approach and mirror the images they offer as witnesses, accumulating the shapes of their seated postures at an acceleration which propels us from the house.
Movement Research at the Judson Church (Oct. 2015)
Danspace Project's DraftWork Series (Feb. 2016)
Skidmore College (Feb. & Jun. 2016; Saratoga Springs, NY)
Bates Dance Festival Informal Showing (Aug. 2016; Lewiston, ME)
New Dance Alliance’s Performance Mix Festival (Jun. 2017)
Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Festival (Aug. 2017 Research Fellowship; MA)
The Dance Complex (Sept. 2017; Boston, MA)
The American Dance Festival (June 2018; Durham, NC)
Marble House Project (Sept. 2017; Dorset, VT)
Rhode Island College (Oct. 2018; Providence, RI)
Trinity College (Nov. 2018; Hartford, CT)
Bodies in Motion Festival at APE (Jan. 2019; Northampton, MA)
Set Zero (two)
Premiered at Jacob’s Pillow inside/out, MA
During a weeklong Fellowship at Jacob’s Pillow, we re-choreographed a duet first commissioned by and created in collaboration with Zenon Dance Company. What was developed as a duet for five different couples became a quartet for the expansive, picturesque Inside/Out stage.
Our additional charge was to develop a pre-show performance event that would operate site-specifically. For 30 minutes preceding the show, we and fellow performers Myssi Robinson and Hsiao-Jou Tang performed improvised scores in myriad locations on the Jacob’s Pillow property.
Once onstage, we danced repeated resets that incrementally thrust us forward into the work’s chronology. The quartet is in hyper attunement to the shifting events of the work, each change governed by any performer’s desire to initiate the introduction of new material. The piece was developed collaboratively with the performers and the sound was composed by Will Owen.
Premiered at Center for Performance Research, NY
for North was an interdisciplinary project created in collaboration with and performed by Xan Burley, Will Owen, Alex Springer, and Hsiao-Jou Tang. It premiered in December 2016 at Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, NY, where the work was developed during a Tech and Production Residency several months earlier. for North received a Mertz Gilmore Late Stage Production Grant awarded to CPR and allotted to our creative team, including Andy Dickerson’s lighting, for the realization of the work.
for North exposes the empty and occupied space created by moving bodies navigating linear structures. As agents of the set, we manipulate the installation to create transient architectural borders that surround and consume us. The space is marked out by deliberate and repeated patterns, mapping imperceptible pathways that bend around the space. The treatment of the aural environment includes sound captured live by wireless mics attached to our bodies. These sounds are sampled, looped and doctored with filters or manipulations of speed whilst in performance. Each created chamber holds its own familiarity, its own distinct events, its own sonic climate. With every repeated act of making, we retrieve and solidify the artifacts therein.
Premiered at University Settlement, NY
We built JACK Rally as 2013-14 Artists-in-Residence at University Settlement, the city’s oldest social services institution, for which we developed and executed a Community Engagement programming aspect.
JACK Rally examines group identity and volatility and the engine that drives the act and art of gathering. To that end, we enlisted the participation and collaboration of 26 performers from our dancing community and the communities served at University Settlement.
The 26 performers and all present spectators form a complete community—one-of-a-kind and comprising individuals free to choose how to occupy the space and establish their presence. JACK Rally calls upon the inevitable and collective desire to belong.
Premiered at the Tank, NY
X premiered at The Tank in NYC in March of 2012 and was reimagined for Gowanus Art + Production’s Green Building in April 2015. X is an evening-length duet that practices disappearance, impact, memorialization, and grandeur. Working with provocative sound bytes manipulated to dismantle tropes, events are scored sparingly and with interruptive qualities. Partnering work is demanding and even daring at times. We negotiate the force of striking one another and conversely the softness of care. Finality comes with an exit, departure, and the fact that in our absence we become a memory.
never only one
Premiered at Smith College, MA
This piece was an experiment. I was interested in placing discrete entities (dances) in space together for the first, and only, time in front of an audience. What I hoped to witness, in real-time, was a co-emergent, performative problem-solving by the dancers. Sarah Lass and Libby Wolf — the central duet — were informed, by letter, the night before the performance of the presence of “visitors” in their dance. Serena Anne Cattau and Grace Privett-Mendoza, who entered the dance partway through and performed a keenly uniform duet framing Lass and Wolf, knew about their roles as visitors all along. I was curious to see how this kind of surprise might exhilarate the performers, and to what extent we might sense that from our vantages in the house. A fifth and final performer, Toni Craige, entered moments before lights out to drop an armful of lemons and limes. She was a surprise to all four performers.
Each section of this dance functioned independently. The first contained a collection of materials from which Lass and Wolf could choose to recruit. Each iteration was unique in its composition, which occurred in the moment of action from this collection by the performers. The second exercised linearity and form in a recuperative and accumulative manner in which Lass and Wolf rebranded a selection of movements with each repetition of them. In the third section the performers coil around one another, demanding intimacy and flesh. The visitors, Cattau and Privett-Mendoza, were unlike the atonality of Lass and Wolf. By contrast, dressed in matching monochromatic silver, they danced in pure unison and circumscribed the spaces left absent by the central duet.
Premiered at Smith College, MA
STAY is part live performance and part video installation and a continuation of our interdisciplinary research. Made in collaboration with performer, Angie Hauser, and sound designer, Will Owen, the piece investigates the impact a performance has on a space, performers, and the audience. Choreography and set pieces unravel into cyclical loops, re-building and re-visiting what is possible with the materials present.
The work, built site-specifically, expands the boundaries of the studio theater; beginning with a pre-show set in the performance space and ending with a post-show installation in the adjacent Scott Gym space. The multi-channel installation in the gym invited the audience to see the materials of the work translated to an interactive digital platform.