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Predator Songstress: Dictator

"Predator Songstress: Dictator" will use live music, movement, animation, architecture and video to create portraits of 6 anti-heroines.

The Latest Update

Film Progress & Hatchfund Launch!!!!!

Posted on April 22, 2015 by Degenerate Art Ensemble

We are thrilled to kick off our very first HATCHFUND campaign to support the final push of creating Predator Songstress before our November world premiere at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco!!!  We are also psyched to announce the addition of a Seattle premiere in the first week of December at On The Boards!

Take a look at our video for a sneek peek at some production stills of the video elements we have been working on at locations across Washington and Oregon over the past month!! We are beyond excited about sharing what we have been cooking up.


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In Residence at Cornish College of the Arts

Posted on February 3, 2015 by Degenerate Art Ensemble

In october of 2014 we spent two weeks in residence at the Cornish College of the Arts with students as well as collaborating students from Path With Art developing some of the ideas we are cooking up for this project.  We have been experimenting with setting unplanned audience texts to song and beginning to sketch out some of the theatrical moments in the piece.  This work in progress performance was done in a small rehearsal room with a live audience that moves to shifting vantage points throughout the piece.


Degenerate Art Ensemble’s work is inspired by punk, comics, cinema, nightmares and fairy tales driven by live music and visceral movement theater and dance. We aim to achieve the intensity of a sacrificial rite to tear away the the waking world revealing alternate realities filled constantly transforming other-worldly characters.  We throw audiences into this world, asking them to make sounds en-masse enveloping and activating space. We seek to remove the barriers that normally separate us, creating an environment that arouses our interconnectedness.

 DAE will develop the latest chapter of Predator Songstress,  a series of multi-discipline portraits of imagined iconic women examining power, transformation, and hidden phenomenon using music, dance, architectural site transformation and contemporary séance. The Dictator will be presented in the 2014 / 2015 Season by Seattle Theatre Group and Cornish Presents, and will tour through 2017.  Work to date on this project has been created with the support of the Guggenheim Foundation and Creative Capital and was awarded a 2014 MAP Fund grant.

Predator Songstress’ first two portraits were presented in October 2012 in spaces around the Seattle Space Needle never intended to be seen by the public.  The dances are accompanied by live string quartet and a roaming amplified choir.   Animation depicting these stories are projected on the surrounding architecture and each performance environment is fitted with moving sculptural portals made of fluorescent light.

 The first portrait “Yamamba” portrays an abandoned grandmother living the life of an artist in the mountains where she was left to die.  This piece was installed and performed on the underground loading dock of the Seattle Opera house which we filled with 800 square feet of water, creating a subterranean lake.

The second – Warrior is a portrai of a young indigenous girl-warrior who battles riot police in an attempt to take back a city from its colonizers.  Warrior was performed in a cavern underneath a sports stadium with the sound of roaring football fans above. Warrior was also performed on a conventional stage in collaboration with the Kronos Quartet in their 40th anniversary concert in November 2013.

 Our proposed project is to create a third portrait, that of a Dictator. We are attempting to subvert the expected iconic image of a dictator with one that is seeking deeper human truths through surveillance and interrogation – harnessing a fleet of singing drones, an interrogation game show and a series of face to face confrontations with the audience, aiming to divine the secret inner workings of people’s tendencies towards either complacency or action in their daily lives in both personal and societal contexts.

Songstress fuses contrasting media and methods of storytelling into a single art environment, employing both time-based performance and music with time-static media such as portraiture and architecture to create a many angled looking glass on the subjects.  These environments are designed by architect Alan Maskin of Olson Kundig Architects (OKA).

Project Media

Predator Songstress: Warrior

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LINK: https://vimeo.com/90625234

This footage documents our performance with Kronos Quartet in November of 2013 at the Neptune Theater in Seattle as part of Kronos’ 40th Anniversary concert. This excerpt was taken from a 20 minute performance. Warrior is part of the same series of works under the larger title Predator Songstress. Some of the works in the series, such as our proposed project Dictator, are full evening length works.
There are major musical changes at the following time markers:
1:32, 3:22, 4:04, 5:08, 5:52

Predator Songstress: Yamamba (animation)
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Each of the anti-heroine portraits in the larger series Predator Songstress have an accompanying hand painted stop motion animation piece. This is the animation for Yamamba (Mountain Woman). Yamamba is an abandoned grandmother living the life of an artist in the mountains where she was left to die, but instead flourishes as a mystical protector of the forest. The music was created by composer Adam McCollom Joshua Kohl. Animation characters were hand painted by Haruko Nishimura with scene painting by Romson Bustillo.

Degenerate Art Ensemble’s Red Shoes
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Red shoes was a contemporary re-imagining of the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale of Red Shoes. This 2011 Degenerate Art Ensemble project took place at the Frye Art Museum and the surrounding neighborhood including a collaboration with the Saint James Cathedral Choir. The music was co-composed by Joshua Kohl and Jherek Bischoff. Choreography and dance by Haruko Nishimura. The performance took place in 5 site specific locations.

Start and End Dates



Seattle, Washington

2 updates
Last update on April 22, 2015

Project Created By

Seattle, Washington
Degenerate Art Ensemble makes performance inspired by punk, comics, cinema, nightmares and fairy tales infused with the energy of live music and our own style of visceral movement theater and dance.  These immersive meditations tear away the waking world revealing alternate realities filled will constantly transforming other worldly characters. The group was the subject of a major…

In Collaboration With

choreographer / performer
Seattle, Washington
Composer / Music Director
Seattle, Washington


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