Artist Profile: Markeith Wiley

Markeith Wiley (Seattle, WA) – 31 & Counting

WEEKEND 1: includes Seattle dance artist Markeith Wiley. His solo performance, 31 & Counting, is a schizophrenic dance theatre work that acts as a physical memoir, weaving tales about race, truth, lie, sex and money.

BIO

Markeith Wiley, the 2014 City Arts Future Lister and Artistic Director of the dance group The New Animals, has been in Seattle for just short of a decade. The works of the group and Wiley have been seen at On The Boards, Velocity and several other theaters in Seattle. Wiley conducted two residencies in 2012, one at Cal State San Luis Obispo and Riverside Community College (CA). With three tours to Sun Valley, ID and one to Riverside, CA, Wiley and the group plan to cross over to the east coast in 2015.

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

There is Markeith The Effeminate, The Lover, The Public Speaker, The Shadow, among other characters. 31 & Counting takes place in a corner of a living room, incorporating music composed by Seattle artists and samples from Southern California rap artists. Markeith explores the various parts of himself, while asking questions about what it means to be a black man in America, and more specifically, the Northwest.

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Artist Profile: Nancy Ellis

Nancy Ellis (Portland, OR) – Nancy’s NANCY

WEEKEND 1: Nancy Ellis, a longtime Portland favorite, has been working on her first self-created and choreographed solo performance, Nancy’s NANCY. We are so thrilled to share it with Portland audiences, this story tinged with “sadness, stubbornness and infectiously bright charisma” (Willamette Week).

BIO

Nancy Ellis began dancing professionally in 1994, when she joined the musical theater chorus of the St. Louis Muny Opera and became a member of Gash Voigt Dance Theater of St. Louis. In New York City in 1995, Nancy became a founding member of both Yanira Castro + Company and Maura Nguyen Donohue/inmixedcompany. With these and other artists, including Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar/Big Dance Theater, Nancy has performed throughout the U.S. and in Russia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and South Korea. Since moving to Portland in 2006, she has worked with Jennifer Monson (TBA 2006), Hand2Mouth Theatre, Tahni Holt, Linda Austin, Katherine Longstreth, and Dawn Stopiello. Nancy began making her own work in 2014, with generous support from the N.E.W. Residency program at Studio 2@Zoomtopia. She presented Nancy’s NANCY in sold-out shared evenings there in September 2014, to positive audience and critical response.

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

Nancy’s NANCY is a self-portrait inspired by Yanira Castro’s NANCY, a performer portrait based on Nancy Ellis which premiered in New York in September 2013. Life events and documentary dance-theater solos by artists including Miguel Gutierrez, Jérôme Bel, and Faustin Linyekula also inspired this performed memoir.

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Artist Profile: Éowyn Emerald & Dancers

owyn Emerald & Dancers (Portland, OR) – Will You Take This Balloon

WEEKEND 1: Choreographer Éowyn Emerald’s Will You Take This Balloon is built around three duets performed by 4 dancers. This work explores the complexities of human relationships and interconnection while revealing the beauty and vulnerability of giving yourself to another person. When individually broken up each duet has it’s own motive and meaning.

BIO

Since graduating from UNCSA and moving to Portland, Éowyn Emerald has been creating work locally and has had the opportunity to work with numerous schools, companies, and the unique experience of assisting Sylvain Emard when he re-set his work Le Grand Continental for White Bird and 160 of their dance-loving subscribers. Éowyn has received a NFAA A.R.T.S. award for choreography and was awarded a Regional Dance America Monticello award and scholarship for her work. She was recently selected by The Times of London as “a talent to watch.”

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

A duet can be one of the most powerful and intimately revealing events in dance for performer, choreographer, and audience alike. By revealing a relationship in performance, one opens a door that most people have walked through many times throughout their life. It invites the audience to find parallels to their own stories and discover the power of the relationships that unite us.

Part 1: Force of will meets the strength of the human body in “Will You” a dynamic duet that explores the balance between power and love. Utilizing unconventional partnering and dynamic movement, this cold, calculating, and emotionally riveting work balances the endeavor for dominance with an inner longing to be loved unconditionally.

Part 2: Fluid, enticing, and optimistic, “Balloon” is a captivating duet that captures the grace and vulnerability of falling in love over and over again. “Balloon” is an exploration into the idea of falling in love at first sight. Its goal is to be effortless and fluid in its partnering and movement quality. Calming and sinuous the movement takes the watcher on an optimistic and engaging journey through the eyes of a young couple.

Part 3: Sexual driven and risk taking imagery “Take This” explores the dark side of when ones loyalty wavers and commitments are challenged.

CLICK HERE FOR A PREVIEW OF ÉOWYN’S WORK

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Artist Profile: Erin Pike

Erin Pike (Seattle, WA) – That’swhatshesaid

Pike6_PG (2)

The female gender seems to be a topic on everyone’s lips these days, especially in media. What better way to explore that idea than through Erin Pike’s solo performance That’swhatshesaid at Risk/Reward Festival? The festival is next week. We are PUMPED!

BIO

Erin Pike (creator/performer) is a Seattle artist originally from Oregon, where she studied dance and theatre. Her new work is influenced by both mediums but exists outside of either category. Recent performances includes Her Score (Bryan Ohno Gallery),
SPD: Segway Patrol Dance (NEPO 5K Don’t Run), and Timing and Stain (2012 NWNW Festival). Additionally, Erin has worked as a theater artist with Pony World Theatre, Macha Monkey Productions, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theatre Festival, The Endangered Species Project, and Annex Theatre.

 

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

Erin Pike assigned local playwright Courtney Meaker a challenge: write a one-person performance using only female dialogue from the most-produced plays in America. That’swhatshesaid is a brutal theatrical exercise in isolation. When a female character is left alone with no male protagonists to support, her behaviors gain both chaos and clarity, resulting in a concentrated dose of the modern theater’s intended role for women.

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Artist Profile: Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE)

Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble (PETE) (Portland, OR) – (after thought)

PETE 1

PETE’s work is visual and visceral, and in the past two years, they have hit Portland hard in the gut with their productions of R3 and Song of the Dodo. Their shared language and theatrical prowess comes to life in for this year’s festival through collaborators Amber Whitehall, Jacob Coleman, Judson Williams, Cristi Miles, Mark Valadez, Miranda K Hardy, Peter Ksander, and Jenny Ampersand. Risk/Reward festival-goers are IN FOR IT.

BIO

Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble was founded in 2011 by a group of mid-career theater artists dedicated to creating contemporary works of performance. PETE is an artist cooperative dedicated to creating new theatrical events that reify the relationship between audience and artist through original, ensemble-generated pieces and innovative interpretations of classical text. Inspired by a contemporary design aesthetic, inventive storytelling modes, and heightened emotional honesty, their work is visceral, raw and revealing.

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

Work-in-progress from a play without words. A story for the image-hungry, designed in rigorous physicality and visceral sound-scape. Boys seeking fresh air chase a radical kind of presence and verity. They hunt an uncompromising experience of aliveness as it is in this room, in this moment. They exist in the space that is after thought.

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Artist Profile: Laura Heit

Laura Heit (Portland, OR) – The Letting Go

Laura Heit 6

Laura’s work transcends the word “puppetry;” her work, seen through the wide lens of film or as small as a circus of matchboxes, is always a surprise. We can’t wait to see what Laura will bring to Risk/Reward Festival next week!

BIO

Laura Heit is a Puppetry artist and experimental filmmaker who has been making puppet
shows/performance work and films nationally and internationally for over 15 years. Disquieting and evocative, her films and performances seamlessly cross genres to unfold poetic visual narratives. Heit employs a strong handmade aesthetic, an irreverent sense of humor, drawing, puppetry and animation, to bring together ideas and stories about phantoms, ghosts, love, loss, and invisibility.

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

The Letting Go is a performance that includes live puppetry combined with projected shadows, animation, and sound. My intention is to build a performance that is constantly transforming our perceptions between live/recorded and the living/departed to create new perpetually shifting in-betweens. I want the audience to leave mindful of the things in our world that we cannot explain and to reawaken our curiosity in the things we cannot see.

VIEW A WORK SAMPLE OF THE LETTING GO

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Artist Profile: ilvs strauss

ilvs strauss (Seattle, WA) – Manifesto

Ilvs Strauss - by Tim Summers

When we heard the words “California Red Sea Cucumber,” we were intrigued. ilvs strauss (pronounced “Elvis”) is a majorly multi-disciplined artist, working in just about every form of art possible. We are really looking forward to what ilvs brings with her solo performance, Manifesto!

BIO

ilvs strauss (b. 1979) is a Seattle based writer, dancer, musician, performance artist whose work ranges from haiku poetry, to anamorphic outdoor sculptures, to illustrated storytelling (aka Slide Shows), to narrated dance performance. She gravitates towards topics of identity (gender, bi-racial, queer), nature, life purpose, spirituality, sense of place and perspective.
sHe enjoys playing with language: the structure of, the building blocks of.
shE works to infuse her art with heartfelt humor and sincerity. 

 

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

 

Manifesto is a solo show that employs a California Red Sea Cucumber as a vehicle for exploring the topic of womanhood. With no set, minimal costumes and a few handmade, larger than life props, ilvs performs a subtle, detailed dance to the tune of a clear, concise voice over narrative.

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Artist Profile: The Neutral Fembot Project

The Neutral Fembot Project (Portland, OR) – Untitled #______

The Neutral Fembot Project

Collaboration is the bread and butter of theatre. By bringing these three devisors together, (Grace, Camille, and Anne – established artists in their own rights), we see collaboration in action as these artists push us in and out of our comfort zones. Risk/Reward… Get ready!!

BIO

Untitled # ______ is a performance project created in collaboration with theater artists Grace Carter, Camille Cettina and Anne Sorce, with composer Ron Mason Gassoway. Individually they bring over ten years of experience as actors, directors, writers, devisors and producers.

 

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

Untitled # ______ explores the work and process of visual artist Cindy Sherman from a performative perspective. What are the moments in between images? How does disguise reveal vulnerabilities, iconic personas and the “real self?” Through physical language, Untitled # ______ illuminates these themes using posture, gaze, and… wigs! Of course.

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Artist Profile: Lucy Lee Yim

Lucy Lee Yim (Portland, OR) – Devastation Melody

LUCY YIM 8 - slides

Dancer/choreographer Lucy Lee Yim’s works provoke thought, invite you to meditate on an idea. And the Northwest performance world is excited about her – very excited. Her works have been seen all over Portland, the Northwest, and beyond. We can’t wait to see what she’s created for the Risk/Reward Festival this year!  

BIO

Lucy Lee Yim is a dance artist who has performed locally and nationally since 2005.  Unreliant on old methods of story making, Yim insist on new ways, presenting in‐the‐moment, sensation‐born fragments of thought and imagery. The collaged identity of her work has been described as a marbled fantasy-fable with degrees of fatty narrative intentionally trimmed; a body in constant conversation with the parts that are culturally confused, oppressed, and gendered. Her work nods to more traditional and virtuous forms of dance, but a stranger, more bizarre paradigm is the ultimate objective. Identity is complex; so is our experience of it. 

PERFORMANCE SYNOPSIS

Devastation Melody looks into sadness and sorrow as if they were provocative objects. The dance starts with one action that evolves with time, rarely resting, even in stillness. Performed by the choreographer herself, Devastation Melody shifts from moments of meaning to moments of wonder, producing a memory, much like a song.

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