Answers by Artistic Director Ashleigh Miller
Who are you & what do you do?
An interdisciplinary arts company creating works in dance, music, and visual multi-media for stage, film, and installation.
Why & when did you start your company?
Officially we are in our first season of work, unofficially we began one year ago with the premiere of our GenY installation. :)
What type of dance does your company focus on?
Experimental! I draw inspiration from many different styles and creation methods, ultimately focusing more on the emotional or visceral effect of the movement than the vocabulary itself. For this reason I greatly appreciate the artists who work with me, as they never know what they'll be asked for when they come in to rehearse. For our upcoming work we're focusing on an even more experimental creation method than before. I'm excited about this because when you open yourself up to experimenting anything can show up to the table. We expect to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome.
What's the most memorable dance experience your company has shared, & what made it so special?
Well, we've not been together long yet so it's hard to say. Although I do think that the way we've all gotten connected has been interesting. Some of the dancers and I have connected through early projects like GenY, or by working together on projects for other choreographers. However, I've been on a long search for an Assistant Director and a co-conspirator for the music. I found both in Travis when he and his wife Liz came to take a class I was subbing for at Velocity. It was a chance meeting that they were there and I was teaching; we got to talking, soon after that Travis started playing music for my weekly class at Velocity, and now both Travis and Liz are essential members of the new project. Sometimes the universe just brings you together with the right people!
Describe your company in one word:
What do you all enjoy doing when not dancing together?
I think a lot of us are big outdoors people, we're always taking weekends off to camp or hike when the weather permits it. For me being out in nature grounds me and gives me peace, as well as provides great inspiration. There's nothing more beautiful than the wilderness! We also like to see shows, eat good food and drink good drinks, paint, write, craft, swim. Oh, and hang out with animals. A few of us have very beloved pets. :)
If you were to compare your work to a superhero, who would it be & why?
Can we pick Deadpool? His dark humor just gets me. I always love a good antihero.
What will you be presenting/performing at the fundraiser?
Some in progress piece of our upcoming work My Brain Is A Radio. The work as a whole explores mental illness, how the mind works to create an individual perception of reality, and what psychological deviations teach us about humanity. The work is largely inspired by the work of Oliver Sacks, who passed away recently unfortunately- now it's a bit of an homage. We're combining psycho-acoustics and bin-aural frequencies with illusory projections and emotionally challenging dance scores. We just want to take you to another dimension for a little bit.
Why do you choose to make dance, and specifically why in Seattle?
I've always loved creating art in any capacity, and movement has always just spoken to me on a spiritual level. That sounds a little out there, but there's nothing more satisfying to me than dancing and singing. I believe that art is a human instinct, it's existed in every civilization since the beginning of time. It connects us with ourselves and each other in a way nothing else can. As far as why we are in Seattle, it is actually kind of by chance. I am originally from the Seattle area but moved to New York when I was 18 to pursue art. I left New York at 21 because I had a bad spinal injury and while I was home getting treatment I began to learn about the local scene. Not only does it have some amazing work being made, but the audiences and artists here are amazingly enthusiastic, and the organizations that support arts here are really special. I realized it's the perfect place for an emerging artist to be. Plus, you just can't beat Seattle's amazing mix of city and nature. I can create all week in the city and drive out to hike on the weekend. That's perfection to me.
What are some interesting/little-known facts about you & your company?
1. Travis and Liz make the world's best lemonade.
2. I am the crazy cat lady of plants. I mean seriously, my apartment is like a jungle. My dream is to one day own a performance space that is also a greenhouse.
3. We teach a completely open level class on Saturdays at Velocity, because we believe everyone is a dancer whether they're trained or not. My friends kept asking me for a dance class they could take even though they'd never taken a class before. So now there's Movement Strategy- a class where trained dancers and less trained dancers can get together and groove once a week. :)
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
We're always trying to connect with new people and friends. Sometimes I wish people would just write to us and say what they've been thinking about, or what they'd like to see happen. I think sometimes people feel afraid to start a dialogue with artists because they're afraid that their opinions aren't right or properly informed or something like that. I always want people to know that every person's opinion has equal weight to me, and I love to hear any and all thoughts. Even if you write to me and tell me I suck, I love that too.