Dayna Hanson

Dayna Hanson has been creating dance, performance, music and film in Seattle for 25 years. From 1994–2006, Dayna was co-artistic director of dance theater company 33 Fainting Spells, whose work was presented by Dance Theater Workshop, Spoleto Festival, Walker Art Center, ICA in London, Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt, and many other venues.

With 33 Fainting Spells she co-created, performed and toured a half-dozen dance theater pieces, including The Uninvited, Dirty Work, and Our Little Sunbeam. In 2005, her solo multi-media work, Spirit Under The Influence, was presented by Northwest Film Forum. Her dance theater piece, We Never Like Talking About the End, was commissioned by On the Boards in 2006. Gloria’s Cause was co-commissioned in 2010 by On the Boards and Under the Radar Festival. Gloria’s Cause was presented as a work-in-progress at the TBA Festival. The piece premiered at On the Boards in Dec. 2010 and has been presented at the PuSh Festival in Vancouver, B.C., REDCAT in Los Angeles, Miami Light Project and in Austin, TX in a partnership between Dance Umbrella and Fusebox Festival.

As an individual artist, Dayna has received support for her work from the National Performance Network, the National Dance Project, MAP Fund, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and 4Culture. She is a 2010 United States Artists Oliver Fellow in Dance, 2009 Artist Trust Media Fellow, and 2006 Guggenheim Fellow in choreography. She is a 2012 recipient of Artist Trust’s Arts Innovator Award.

As a curator and director, through 33 Fainting Spells and independently, Dayna has encouraged the development of dance film in the Pacific Northwest. Dance films by 33 Fainting Spells and Dayna Hanson have screened worldwide, including at New York Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, Los Angeles International Short Film Festival, and more. 33 Fainting Spells’ Measure can be found on First Run Features’ Dance for Camera DVD.

Dayna choreographed a scene for Late Autumn, a feature film by Korean director Tae Yong Kim that premiered at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. She collaborated with The Rude Mechs choreographing the Austin-based theater company’s newest work, a musical called I’ve Never Been So Happy.

Dayna’s first feature film, Improvement Club, is a cinematic adaptation of Gloria’s Cause, tracing the fictionalized creation of that work. Improvement Club premiered in Narrative Competition at South by Southwest 2013 and recently screened at Seattle International Film Festival.

Visiting Artist | May 13-25, 2013

The Clay Duke

Seattleite Dayna Hanson came to MANCC to develop The Clay Duke, a hybrid new work loosely based on a 2010 school board shooting in Panama City, Florida.  The Clay Duke is a work of devised dance theater that blends details from the 2010 school board shooting with investigations of Anton Chekhov and the vigilantism of the 1970s Death Wish crime film franchise.  Bringing these various sources together under the creative umbrella of this singular play, Hanson’s use of of dance, music, and theater creates a strange performance logic attempting to discover hope in a grim story.

This was the first major residency for The Clay Duke outside of Seattle and was used to develop the character and choreographic base of the work to inform the overall structure of the piece.  While The Clay Duke is not intended as a literal rendering or documentary performance of the shooting, Hanson’s use of the details of the event—including staging, characters, rhythm, theatrical arc, physicality and dialogue—deeply influence and shape the work.  To that end,  while in residence, Hanson and her collaborators traveled to Panama City to attend a school board meeting.  Here, the group was to be able to draw directly from the location and from individuals who had been involved in the shooting.

Following a rigorous rehearsal schedule, the group shared their working process through an open rehearsal.  The audience was able to witness the slow building process, through text, character development and blocking, that allows details to be refined into a more fully developed picture.  Additionally, during her time in residence, Hanson experimented with music and lyrics along with recording text for the piece.

On The Boards will host The Clay Duke World Premiere Dec 5-8, 2013.

  • Performer Sarah Rudinoff rehearses with <i>The Clay Duke</i> collaborators.
  • Dayna Hanson leads collaborators in <i>The Clay Duke</i> rehearsal.
  • <i>The Clay Duke</i>
  • <i>The Clay Duke rehearsal</i>
  • Hanson and collaborators explore concepts related to <i>The Clay Duke</i>
  • Hanson and Thomas Graves discuss <i>The Clay Duke</i>
  • Wade Madsen and Dave Proscia rehearse
  • Wade Madsen and Peggy Piacenza
  • Wade Madsen and Peggy Piacenza
  • <i>The Clay Duke</i> rehearsal
  • Wade Madsen and Thomas Graves rehearse <i>The Clay Duke</i>
  • Rudinoff, Proscia and Peggy Piacenza
  • Hanson leads rehearsal
  • Peggy Piacenza in Open Rehearsal
  • Hanson shares movement material during an Open Rehearsal
  • Wade Madsen and Thomas Graves
  • Wade Madsen and Peggy Piacenza
  • Wade Madsen and Peggy Piacenza
  • <i>The Clay Duke</i>
  • <i>The Clay Duke</i>
  • Hanson talks with School of Dance students at Open Rehearsal
Collaborators in Residence: Thomas Graves, Wade Madsen, Peggy Piacenza, Dave Proscia, Sarah Rudinoff [performers], Andalyn Young [assistant director] Slideshow photos by Chris Cameron

Featured Artist

Okwui Okpokwasili

Bronx Gothic
June 1 - 29
The Young Vic
(London, UK)


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