Pat Graney

Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney received Choreography Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as from Artist Trust, the Washington State Arts Commission, the NEA International Program, National Corporate Fund for Dance and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2008, Ms. Graney was awarded both the Alpert Award and a US Artists Award in Dance.

In 2011, Ms. Graney was the recipient of the ‘Arts Innovator’ Award from Artist Trust and the Dale Chihuly Foundation, and in 2013 was honored as one of 20 Americans to receive the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award.

Ms. Graney hails from St. Augustine, Florida, where she spent her seminal years after the Graney family relocated there from Chicago. In 1969, with her family, Pat moved to Mechanicsville, VA and Philadelphia, PA, before returning to St. Augustine to finish high school. Starting her college career at Tallahassee Community College, Ms. Graney eventually went on to The Evergreen State College, later transferring to University of Arizona where she graduated with a BFA in 1979. While at U of A, Pat studied extensively with Dr. John M. Wilson. In the fall of 1979, Graney moved to Seattle, which has been her home for the past forty years.

In 1981, Graney presented her first full evening of work entitled ‘go red go red, laugh white,’ set to the writing of Gertrude Stein.  She went on to choreograph more work to Stein’s writing as well as the writing of Julio Cortazar and Raymond Carver.  Departing from the written word, Graney started exploring the use of music combined with American Sign Language to create Colleen Ann, a work commissioned for the French/American Dance Exchange in 1986.

In 1987, with Beliz Brother, she created a work for 7 gymnasts on 7 sets of uneven parallel bars, set against the backdrop of Marymoor Park, and in 1988 Graney created an original work for Pacific Northwest Ballet. Seven/Uneven toured to the Serious Fun Festival at Lincoln Center and went on to appear at MayFest in Glasgow in 1991. Following the gymnastic works, Ms. Graney began to create a body of work related to women with Faith (1991), Sleep (1995), and Tattoo (2001). In between creating this Triptych of works, Ms. Graney created the full evening work Vivaldi, choreographed 150 gymnasts for the Goodwill Games, and worked with 130 female martial artists for the Movement Meditation Project in 1996. Following the 12 city national tour of Tattoo, Graney created the Vivian girls (set to the artwork of Henry Darger) with music by Martin Hayes and Amy Denio.

In 2008, Graney created House of Mind, an installation performance work set in a 5,000 square foot raw space featuring an eighteen foot high wall containing 4,000 miniatures, a wall of 100,000 buttons with water flowing over it, a closet of giant little girls’ dresses, hundreds of gold shoes, a 50 x 4 foot-long room covered with 1940’s police reports and a large scale video installation by Ellen Bromberg.

The Company premiered Girl Gods in 2015, which won two ‘Bessies’ (New York Dance and Performance Awards) in 2016.

The Company’s newest project is ATTIC, which will complete the House of Mind Trilogy. This is a site-specific work and will premiere in 2020 in Seattle through On the Boards.

Living Legacy | February 2 - 13, 2020


Living Legacy artist Pat Graney came to MANCC for the first time to further her latest work, ATTIC. The work is a follow-up to Girl Gods, which won two New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” awards in 2016: one for Outstanding Production and one for Visual Design. Both of these works are part of a triptych, the first of which, House of Mind, was a performance/installation created in a 5,000 square foot warehouse in Seattle, WA in 2008 that then subsequently toured as a performance/installation to Diverseworks in Houston, TX in 2009 and Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, WI in 2011.

ATTIC explores the rape of female culture. Young girls who are raped have a change in brain chemistry that they live with for the rest of their lives. Those who have a support network and who seek therapeutic care have a better chance of regaining a semblance of health, but some young women who never come forward to speak about their assault commit suicide. The isolation and fear that accompanies sexual assault and the often-abusive relationships that follow are common, and send victims into an ever-devolving spiral from which many never recover.

In speaking to and of this issue, Graney is working with wildly off-balance movement contrasted with small, constricted physical tasks that situate themselves in a stark, disheveled environment, alongside images of the mundane and the fantastic: white cakes, dozens of white pencils, large projections of albino moose, rabbits, whales, and Arctic foxes. Through this juxtaposition, ATTIC explores sexual assault, suicide, and beatific visions of the afterlife in which the victim imagines both safety and relief.

While at MANCC, Graney met with two FSU scholars across the discipline of psychology: Dr. Colleen Kelley, whose research focuses on human memory and Dr. Walter Boot who is an expert on aging and applied cognition.

At the conclusion of her residency, Graney hosted an open work-in-progress showing and discussion in the School of Dance. This showing, which was also attended by Dr. Kelley, included excerpts of movement material as well as video footage from an underwater film shoot that Graney and her collaborators completed together on location at Madison Blue Springs State Park with School of Dance Technology and Lab Assistant, Jennie Petuch.

ATTIC was scheduled to premiere at On the Boards, Seattle, WA, from June 4 - 7, 2020, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • Jennie May Peterson and Danielle Doell in residence for <em>ATTIC</em>
  • Doell and Lauren Linder in rehearsal
  • Doell and Linder
  • Alyssa Brutlag, Peterson, and Pat Graney
  • Brutlag, Peterson, and Dominique See in rehearsal
  • Graney speaks with her collaborators
  • Graney speaking with FSU Professor of Psychology, Dr. Colleen Kelley
  • Graney speaking with FSU Professor of Psychology, Dr. Walter Boot
  • Graney and her collaborators at Madison Blue Springs for underwater video shoot
  • Brutlag and Graney at Madison Blue Springs
  • Doell floats in Madison Blue Springs during video shoot
  • See speaks with underwater videographer Jennie Petuch
  • Petuch prepping for video shoot at Madison Blue Springs
  • See jumps into the water at Madison Blue Springs during video shoot
  • Dominique See and Jennie May Peterson in the studio
  • See and Peterson in rehearsal
  • Danielle Doell and Lauren Linder in rehearsal
  • Pat Graney's collaborators in the studio
  • Peterson, Doell, and See in rehearsal
  • Linder and Peterson in rehearsal
  • See and Doell in rehearsal
  • Linder and Peterson against the mirror
  • Linder and Peterson dancing up against the mirror
  • Alyssa Brutlag and Doell in rehearsal
  • Graney speaks to School of Dance students and faculty at the work-in-progress showing
  • Graney presents footage at the work-in-progress showing
Collaborators in Residence: Danielle Doell, Alyssa Brutlag, Lauren Linder, Dominique See, Jennifer May Peterson [Performers]

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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