Graney’s two offerings of the evening, girl gods and the show’s titular ORANGE, were presented after intermission. The excerpt of girl gods certainly gives dance-goers a lot to look forward to—the full length work will be presented at On the Boards and in installation at the Frye Art Museum in the fall of 2015. In a pre-show announcement, Graney explained that the piece is about women and rage; each of work’s vignettes approached a facet of this subject. The carefully crafted snippets were minimalist but potent, and all shrewdly performed by Michelle de la Vega, Sruti Desai, Sara Jinks, Jody Kuehner, and Jennifer Peterson.
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Founder of the Pat Graney Dance Company in 1991, choreographer Pat Graney creates work that features a diverse set of movement vocabularies that range from ballet to gymnastics to martial arts; explorations of female identity and power; and rich visuals.
As homage to the beautifully designed grounds at Seattle Center, The Chair Spectacle, choreographed by Pat Graney with architectural design by Batt and Lear Design/Build, will feature 300-500 people dancing in, on and around red chairs. Based on Rudolph Laban’s large-scale ‘Movement Choirs’ which featured hundreds of people moving in unison, this work will be an amazing half-hour spectacle. Performers will range in age from 10-80, drawing from our culturally rich and diverse Seattle area population. Don’t miss the opening day performances on April 21!
OBSERVE THE SPECTACLE! The Pat Graney Company invites you to experience The Chair Spectacle, part of the opening celebration of The Next 50 Festival honoring the anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair at Seattle Center. The Chair Spectacle will feature one hundred people dressed in white moving in unison on and around white chairs in the International Fountain, forming a “movement choir” accompanied by actual recorded sounds from the 1962 World’s Fair. There will be two performances – one at the opening ceremony on April 21st, 4:30pm, and one at the closing ceremony in October.
It’s a monumental evening in just about every aspect, from the years-in-the-making works from 1991, 1995, and 2001; to the manipulation of time and space; to the ways women see themselves (or not), and feel embodied. There’s spectacle in stagecraft (Jeff Gerson’s sand- and rice-falls, and transforming table; Ellen Fullman’s sound skirts, pictured above; and a large alligator comfortable enough to sleep on designed by Carla Wesson and built by Marilyn Lysohir) and in concept (the “living Caravaggios” of Faith, the full body art of Tattoo).
Set for seven female dancers, it's an hourlong immersion in the feminine psyche. Its movement is velvet-edged, unhurried, mesmerizing — closer to slow-motion gymnastics than dance.
Where to begin with choreographer Pat Graney? Maybe with her exterior: She grew up as the daughter of a Chicago detective, listened to "Crimson and Clover" over and over, and now wears jeans and sneakers with an unself-conscious grace that's hard to find in anyone of any age. She has big brown curls and a smile that hugs you like a favorite aunt. Her conversation walks a line between the hesitancy of a brilliant person who weighs every word and the directness of a wise person to whom you'd tell secrets and ask for advice.
Call it a homecoming of sorts — even though Pat Graney, unlike other prominent Pacific Northwest choreographers, never left town except to tour.
Call it a homecoming of sorts — even though Pat Graney, unlike other prominent Pacific Northwest choreographers, never left town except to tour. On the Boards is remounting three of her signature pieces, "Faith" (1991), "Sleep" (1995) and "Tattoo" (2001), in a single-evening show titled "Faith Triptych" that opens Thursday. All three dances were originally commissioned and presented by On the Boards. In their new "Triptych" format, they've been trimmed considerably, with "Sleep" almost halved from its original two-hour running time.
Make a personal connection with Pat Graney by taking a dance class with one of her current or former dancers. KT Niehoff, Kara O’Toole, Ellie Sandstrom and Amy O’Neal, among others, all teach at Capitol Hill’s Velocity Dance Center (velocitydancecenter.org), which offers classes from break dancing to ballet—plus modern dance Ms. Graham herself would applaud.
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