Karin Stevens Dance and Samantha Boshnack Quintet October 2015 Program Notes

Photo Craig van den Bosch

Photo Craig van den Bosch

Karin Stevens Dance with the Sam Boshnack Quintet
October 23 – 25
Velocity Dance Center
Seattle, WA

An evening of cross-continental contemporary dance – set to high-octane original jazz and part of the UW Dance Program’s 50th Anniversary celebrations.

Choreography by Karin Stevens
Music by Sam Boshnack
Lighting Design by Sara Torres
Costumes by Ali Rose Panzarella

Currency of Evolution full info

Free Flow Interchange full info

Press for Karin Stevens Dance & Sam Boshnack Quintet
Karin Stevens Dance: Visual Jazz – Megan Stevenson, Seattle Dances
Fall Dance Preview – Seattle Magazine 

Program note from KSD Artistic Director Karin Stevens

Kimerer LaMothe states in Why We Dance, “To dance is to evolve.” There have been a few seasons in my life when I have withdrawn from dance to consider this statement. Am I evolving? Is dance my real vocation?

After my first retreat, I began attending dance classes at the University of Washington. Hannah Wiley helped me transform the noise of these doubts into the music of movement. Dance became no longer just a vocation. For me, movement became the way of life, the path to joy.

I found this joy, too, in the music of Samantha Boshnack.  It has been an absolute delight to ride her soundwaves! This evening is a sumptuous feast for your mirror neurons, an exhilaration for your cells, a living, moving, vibrating experience of the now. To quote the quartet’s clarinetist/vocalist Beth Fleenor, “#LIVEHUMANS!!!!”

Coming after another one of my turbulent retreats, I created this concert. Celebrating 50 years of dance with the University of Washington with an encore presentation is a moment I never imagined would have such an impact for all the viewers, all the artists involved, and me personally.

Penny Hutchinson, founding dancer of Mark Morris Dance Group, and I met as graduate students at Mills College. Penny created a deeply moving and memorable work with live/original music for her final thesis, a highlight of my graduate school memories. It was with great pleasure that I asked her to create the work, Body and Soul I & II. Naphtali is a founding KSD dancer and we share in the opening duet a jubilation and joy of friendship that evolved out of the challenges to an upstart dance company.  The profound acknowledgment of body and soul in Penny’s work, of the movement of one needing the other, are important reminders for us today.

I was intrigued by Jurg Koch’s work with Kaleidoscope Dance Company and exhilarated by his 2013 Rite of Spring. I selected the music, which has become my most favorite, and commissioned Jurg Koch to create a work from Switzerland via Skype. With Jurg’s choreographic direction that included movement invention tasks, geometric pattern locomotion, and rigorous structural design, dancers created this piece collaboratively. I appreciate Jurg’s vast rigorous intellectual choreographic approach. Besides his invigorating creative process, I also gained a new fellow choreographer-parent friend!

I feel that there are not enough opportunities for dancers and I desired to create a new work for this encore performance with KSD core members and professionals from the Seattle dance community. Currency of Evolution is a new work that I created as part of my 2015 Velocity Creative Residency.

The finale, Dormant, Exploding Syndrome, Ashcloud, was created out of a time that I was grappling with two people very close to me fighting cancer with the harsh treatments common today. Every week on my way to rehearsal I drive by The Ben Towne Foundation. I would like to give a shout out for their revolutionary research in treatment for pediatric cancer and toward healthy and healing bodies. The Ben Towne Foundation, soon to merge with Seattle Children’s Strong Against Cancer initiative, has been harnessing the power of the immune system to move cancer into remission via successful clinical trials!

Thanks for dancing with us!

-Karin Stevens



Choreographer KARIN STEVENS studied dance at the University of Washington and received her MFA from Mills College. She has danced for VOCI Dance, Double Vision, Omega West, Push Up Something Hidden Dance, Westwick Dolder Dance Theater, Molissa Fenley and Dancers, Penny Hutchinson among others. Since 1999, she has created over 60 dance works, touring to Florida, Maryland, California, Montana and throughout Washington. Her 2004-2006 collaboration with Bay Area composers, Oakland Dance Encounter, included performances across the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2009, she joined master choreographer, Molissa Fenley, as an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (FL).

Karin formed her Seattle-based company, Karin Stevens Dance (KSD) in 2009. KSD has produced six evening-length concerts and created new works for commissions across the PNW for Taproot Theatre, Book-it Repertory Theatre and Theatre Puget Sound among others. As the Fremont Abbey’s inaugural 2009-2011 Artist in Residence, Karin created and produced dance educational classes, workshops and curated performance events.

Karin’s work has been supported through Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4-Culture, Microsoft, Seattle Foundation’s GiveBIG, the Glenn H. Kawasaki Foundation and Velocity’s Creative Residency Program.

Prolific composer/trumpeter SAMANTHA BOSHNACK is based in Seattle, where she leads two ensembles of her own music, and works with countless other bands, projects, and recordings. Her music can be heard with the B’shnorkestra – a 14-piece alternative chamber orchestra who released “Go To Orange” in 2013, and the Sam Boshnack Quintet who released “Exploding Syndrome” in 2014. Since 2004, Boshnack has co-led the modern jazz group Reptet, releasing three full-length records primarily comprised of her originals. She is also a member of the Alchemy Project (who will release their debut CD in 2015) – a composer  led ensemble featuring the works of Boshnack, Sumi Tunooka, Erica Lindsay, Salim Washington and David Arendt.Boshnack has toured Europe, Africa, Asia, Canada, and extensively in the US. Boshnack earned a BA in Music Composition from Bard College in 2003. She has received support and commissioning funds from New Music USA, Meet The Composer, 4Culture, Artist Trust, Jack Straw Productions, ASCAPlus, Seattle Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, New York Foundation of the Arts, and Earshot Jazz. In 2012, she was a featured artist in the Frye Art Museum’s Moment Magnitude exhibit and was accepted and attended, through a national call, the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute 2012 presented by Columbia University, American Composers Orchestra and The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. In February 2014, she attended an Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist-in-Residence Program with Marilyn Crispell. In October 2015, Boshnack will premiere a new composition with the NW Symphony Orchestra. She has performed or recorded with artists such as Butch Morris, Eyvind Kang, Oliver Lake, Bobby Previte, David Byrne, Terry Riley, Wayne Horvitz, Robin Holcomb, Jherek Bischoff, Joshua Kohl among others. boshnackmusic.com

PENNY HUTCHINSON, a native of Seattle, attended the Juilliard School and received her MFA from Mills College. She was a founding member of the Mark Morris Dance Group, 1980-1992. In 1990 she received a New York Dance and Performance Award, BESSIE. She has taught in many places in US and abroad including NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore, School of Modern Danse, Chennai, India, and is currently a faculty member at Western Washington University. She has worked with theatre and opera directors, Peter Sellars, Stephen Wadsworth, Tony Taccone, and Erich Parce as choreographer and assistant. She has collaborated with visual artists, Sarah Wolfe, and Jamal Lansari; composers FeiWu, Michael Bajuk, Vyautas Germanavicius; and set designer and architect, Regan McClellan. Her more recent choreography has been at Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida; 92nd St. Y’s 75th Anniversary- Molissa Fenley and Friends, Seattle International Dance Festival; Chop Shop in Bellevue WA.; Seattle Dance Project 5, and ARC Dance at the Leo K. Theatre Seattle.

Jürg Koch, UW Assistant Professor, Donald E. Peterson Endowed Fellow, received his MA from the London Contemporary Dance School. Working with Candoco, integrating disabled and non-disabled performers, and dancing in contemporary repertory including works by Bill T Jones, Javier de Frutos and Fin Walker informs Jürg’s artistic and pedagogic outlook. Jürg Koch has been working internationally as a performer, choreographer and dance educator for the past fifteen years. In Seattle Koch regularly appeared as a guest performer for the Chamber Dance Company and in contemporary works by Amy O’Neal and Mark Haim amongst others. His choreographic work spans from in-house productions for the UW to commissions for various dance companies including Candoco (UK) and Flatfoot Dance Company (South Africa). Jürg’s work has been performed in the U.S., Europe and South Africa, including the NWNW Festival at On the Boards, The Bridge Project at Velocity and the Seattle International Dance Festival.

KSD CORE DANCERS: Naphtali Beyleveld, Philippa Myler, Taylor Augustine, Karin Stevens

PROJECT DANCERS: El Nyberg (UW 2013), Megan Stutesman (UW 2015), Audrey Christianson (UW 2014), Ingrid Keek-Porter, Alexandra Spencer, Maia Veague, Anja Kellner-Rogers, Jamie Maslach, Abbi Kaesberg, Hannah Duffany



Body & Soul I/II
Choreography by Penny Hutchinson

In Body & Soul I, the duet inspired by the lively music of Juba, there is an underlying theme of the physical life and the soul abstracted. The dancers’ material shifts and keeps them at times out of sync, but are brought back to connection. The floor pattern is based on and around a triangle which represents body, soul, and something greater.

In Body & Soul II, the quartet, Sam’s underwater music Xi creates an atmosphere where two couples begin where Part I leaves off- they are welded together at times, and with more weighted, powerful movement. This progresses into bigger moving material and new relationships are created as the union of the two parts acts more as one.- PH

Currency of Evolution
Choreography by Karin Stevens

I created Currency of Evolution as part of my Velocity Creative Residency with Philippa, a core KSD dancer, and 7 dancers from the Seattle community.  I chose Sam’s music Divergency and Alchemical as much for the titles as for the grooves! I researched images of and information about divergent and convergent evolution.  I set up phrases and had the dancers generate phrases as well that were within the vein of my phrases. I then created patterns and relationships within structures of the dance through rules and chance. Hoping for some magic I had the dancers continue to explore certain parts of the dance experiementing with timing choices and connecting visually with others to discover further development of the movement and their relationship to each other. The work moves from a machine like feel to an organic ending that suggests the convergence of a multiplicity of diversity, connections and ongoing directions.  It was a really rewarding choreographic process allowing new ideas to emerge and be set beyond what I would control.

I am also inspired by the chapter, To Dance Is To Evolve, in Why We Dance, by Kimerer LaMothe.  The title of this work came from LaMothe’s writing. The following quotes are taken from the opening to the chapter: “The dance of the future will be a new movement, a consequence of the entire evolution which mankind has passed through.” -Isadora Duncan   “Evolution…a wheeling motion in dance.” -American Heritage Dictionary. I had an intuition to set the begining in the circle and move out from there before I came to reading this chapter! -KS

Choreography by Jürg Koch

Being “off set” as the choreographer, working long-distance between Seattle and Switzerland, demanded a different rehearsal process. Tasks to generate and set material, written instructions, diagrams, online video clips, and skype sessions, became essential to this process. Off/Setspecifically pushed the dancers to clarify their take on the set score. Visa versa the process also demanded more planning to communicate ideas via other means than physical demonstrations.

Working with Boshnack’s sumptuous composition I was interested in drawing out the five dancers’ idiosyncrasies while also composing them into an ensemble. The compositional aspects of ostinato and cadenzas, being “set” and “going off”, also motivated me to work with the contrast between analytically set and intuitive structures. -JK

Free-Flow Interchange
Choreography by Karin Stevens

“I come into the presence of still water.” -Wendell Berry

Decades of driving the Seattle 99 viaduct and I5 Ship Canal Bridge inspired this work. The babble and visceral acceleration of our time I experience while driving through the city gratefully is interrupted by the immense presence of our bodies of water. What does it do to us if we pay attention to the natural world before we return to the metaphorical major modern highways of our minds and time?

I developed Free-Flow Interchange in silence; building it from a series of phrases I created through improvisational practice in front of a video camera. Sam Boshnack composed new music to a final video of the finished dance. -KS

Dormant-Exploding Syndrome-Ashcloud
Choreography by Karin Stevens

The finale was created out of a time that I was grappling with two people very close to me fighting cancer. This dance draws upon the metaphors inherent in the titles of the music as well. Layers of meaning, movement phrasing, and spatial patterns/design shift from the abstract to deeply human moments as I considered those significant eruptions in our lives both environmental and physical. For this encore performance I wanted to pack a punch that I had envisioded before I created this dance in 2014.  Although I think it worked well as a quartet, it was exciting to recreate this dance for 9 dancers. I dedicate this dance to those that have suffered the eruption of cancer in their lives. -KS

Karin Stevens Dance