I grew up in Lakewood, Colorado. My early movement training consisted of soccer, skiing (D.H., X-C), backpacking, and fighting off goblin hordes with sticks and Legos™. At Pomona College (Claremont, California) I stumbled into the dance studio, broke my ankle, and spent most of my four years there. I also spent some time in the Art, Theatre, and Linguistics departments, feeling more and more certain that it’s really all the same thing. My opi at Pomona included shaving my whole body on camera, arresting a waterfall in the student gallery, and playing some more with Legos™.
After graduating I moved to New York, where in three years I held sixteen jobs and moved five times. Some of those jobs were with dance companies like Troika Ranch D.T., Paige Martin, and Mark Jarecke Dance; a couple others involved teaching movement to high school students at the Packer School and the Williams and Amherst Summer Excel programs. And other jobs offered other types of fulfillment, like clearing John Stewart’s dinner plate at a party once, learning all the music cues in Neil Greenberg’s Partial View, and giving personal training sessions to a 40-year-old rock star.
I also brain-stormed and even began several of my own creative projects, mostly in collaboration with Thad Wong, and occasionally also with Tamara Riewe and Erin Owen. Under the moniker Monkeys with Thumbs Thad and I even brought one project to completion, performing it at Aqui the Bushwick in Brooklyn and at the Racquette Lake Firehouse Charity Hour Talent Show in Raquette Lake, NY. This performance was conceived as a biting commentary on body image and the culture of excess. It involved some Michael Jackson choreography, some air guitar to AC/DC, and an ice cream eating contest. At other times, we walked the streets in super-hero costumes.
I escaped New York City by tunnel and surfaced in the middle of the Ohio State University campus, where I picked fights with anyone with respect for the history of modern dance, passed a kidney stone, and created my first longer work: headlost shoreleave, or How We Were Shanghaied On A Boat Bound For Siam And Came Home With Boulders Where Our Heads Should Be. This surrealist gesamtkunstwerk spectacle is a non-narrative epic adventure into the dark, foreign interior. It was hailed by Lake Wilburn, my landlord’s son, as “really cool, especially the part where they were mutants, but good mutants, and then they melted together.” This piece marked the beginning of an on-going collaboration with sound designer/programmer/criminal mastermind Paul Betts.
In the summer of 2006, using my graduate fellowship at OSU like the ropes in a WWF wrestling match, I catapulted myself back past New York (with a wicked clothesline) and landed in Dusseldorf, Germany. I received a graduate research grant to assist choreographer Sabine Seume, and then I received a job offer from Ben J. Riepe Company. In two years with Ben and his company I helped create two of the best works I have ever witnessed, and spent a lot of time unemployed between touring around Europe. I spent two months working with Mancopy Danse Kompagni in Denmark, a project that included an extraordinary tour to Jordan and Palestine.
I returned to Colorado in 2007 on a break from work in Europe and decided I should stay. I spent a year studying Shaolin Kung Fu, Tai Chi, and Yoga; installing a lot of solar panels with Bella Energy; and incubating my interests in engaging the Colorado arts community. Control Group and the Packing House Center for the Arts are the product of that gestation period.