I craft contemporary dance works through a patient, collaborative process. My casts keep audiences on their toes with sudden shifts between nuanced gestures, over the top physicalities, meditative moments, and absurd exchanges that are awkward, honest, hilarious, raw, and virtuosic. To build a group and generate movement material, I draw from methods in dance, theater, bodywork, visual art, writing, with the aim of expanding the range of who can dance and what can be considered dance to celebrate a range of bodies and experiences. There is play between what is familiar and unexpected. Dancers move in silence then break into choir-like singing and guttural grunting. Performances may be partnered with original music tracks ranging from mash ups of found sounds to rock bands to atmospheric electronica. Elaborate sets made of cardboard boxes may be destroyed; a trampoline and chairs can be reconfigured. We may be colorful in exaggerated pedestrian looks or muted in oversized rompers. On occasion, the fourth wall is broken through a sensitive gaze, intimate conversation, or a prop given as a gift. My collaborators and I consider ideas like borders and boundaries, our experiences of Asian identity and belonging, and the potential for contradictory elements to exist in a single moment. By starting with questions or concerns, dance-making is a way for me to explore what exists between and beyond known categorizations and cultivate curiosity toward what is different or unexpected.
What people have said about the work:
“Maree’s work takes a leap from seemingly ordinary movement(s), and blossoms into a lively celebration that honors each collaborator’s unique human contribution.”
– Liza Sacheli, Director of Mahaney Center for the Arts
Just wanted to tell you how spectacular last night’s performance (I’m not sure “performance” is the right word–embodiment?”) was. I have never been so drawn in and engaged before! I started out wondering, “are they all dancers? Are none of them trained? I usually find myself looking among the dancers for the “best” one, trying to decide whether my eye is “good enough” to tell the difference. It never occurred to me to ask that last night. This time all I saw were the bodies, all of them perfect, the movements and the emotions they drew out of me. It made me look at dance in a whole new way. One body was as beautiful as another. One movement as lovely as another. I know I am attempting to express this without the proper vocabulary, but….wow!! Just wow. Thank you. Thanks for a memorable evening.
– Virginia Bates, audience member in response to Movement Matters: Two Years in Process Performance Presentation