Composer/musician Ryan Seaton and Bessie award-winning choreographer/dancer Joanna Kotze come together to create and perform What will we be like when we get there, a new interdisciplinary dance performance that premieres at New York Live Arts March 28-31, 2018 and will be shown in progress in January 2018 as part of New York Live Arts’ Live Artery.
We are long-time collaborators teaming up with fellow artists, dancer Netta Yerushalmy and visual artist Jonathan Allen, to investigate physical, emotional, and artistic spectrums while reflecting on personal journeys and current events – bringing attention to our desires, flaws, strengths, and fantasies. By flipping from humor to violence in one movement, or slowly building a single ordered note into a cacophony of sound, these spectrums evolve into dances, songs and visual design. We have created the work during a series of residencies over the last year and a half, asking the question: How does where one works shape who one is and what ones does? Residencies have included: Camargo Foundation, Marble House, Sedona Arts Center, Governors Island through LMCC, Bennington College, Jacob’s Pillow, New York Live Arts, and Milvus Artistic Research Center.
Unique to this work is the liveness of the collaboration, in process and performance. Rather than working from a central, agreed-upon idea, we search together for the emergence of the work through watching, listening, challenging and supporting. Likewise, in performance, we place all the collaborators on stage, letting the audience watch us all in that shared moment.
In our past collaborations, Ryan has integrated the natural sound of the dancers (breath, footfalls, movement of materials) into his compositions, obscuring the line between roles. For What will we be like when we get there, this blurring is furthered by Ryan’s physical presence interacting with the instruments, sound sources, and the other performers, putting all simultaneously on display in front of the viewer.
Armed with an Ableton Live setup including controllers positioned throughout the performance space and a multichannel speaker array, Ryan is untethered to a single location and capable of operating all aspects of the score from anywhere on stage. Electronic manipulation and amplification of sounds can fill the space entirely, blanketing the audience and performers in a rich sonic tapestry, only to be abandoned in an instant to showcase the personal, more vulnerable, unadorned sounds of a single performer on stage.
For the last section of the piece, Work Sample #1, Ryan toggles between improvising with a monosynth onstage and triggering a series of events that accompanies his saxophone playing. The saxophone itself is then sent back through the computer, accessing sounds that exist throughout the performance. Ryan is free to move between setups, interact with materials, perform with Joanna and play mulitiple instruments, all while maintaining contact with the heart of his setup.
What will we be like when we get there is supported by a Jerome Foundation General Grant, commissioning funds from New York Live Arts, Joanna’s Leadership Circle, and the above listed residencies.