Part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial, with support from the Cunningham Trust

DEC 15 / 2-5PM
Velocity 1621 12th Ave
$15 at the door / $12 Friend-MVP Member


Photo credit – Liza Voll Photography


“Silas Riener is a rare sort of dancer, one whose body emits force, whether the results are satiny, vigorously unyielding or somewhere in between.” –Gia Kourlas, The New York Times


Participants will work with dancer and choreographer Silas Riener to explore legendary pioneer of dance Merce Cunningham’s use of chance procedures and indeterminacy.  Artists of all abilities and artists of all disciplines welcome – we will engage in Merce’s ideas through movement, but we will focus on exploring how they might be applied to any creative process. We will begin first with our bodies, using Cunningham’s ideas of exploring space, separating the movements of the legs and upper body, and moving fast and moving slow in improvised and set sequences. We will explore how Merce began dances by investigating how weight shifts can accumulate into phrases of movement. Then, using random numbers, dice, flipping coins and other systems, we will introduce chance into different stages of the creative process, yielding complex and individual results. Participants will create their own movements using chance and indeterminacy, and guided by Riener create a unique arrangement of the material. Participants will then come out of the workshop with a set of tools for applying chance and indeterminacy to their own work for further experimentation and play.

Participants are invited to attend the performance at Velocity that evening, featuring Seattle choreographers and artists in their own conversation with Merce’s ideas.

Silas Riener_headshot_smallARTIST BIO

Silas Riener graduated from Princeton University in 2006 with a degree in Comparative Literature and certificates in Creative Writing and Dance, with a focus on linguistics. As a dancer he has worked with Chantal Yzermans, Takehiro Ueyama, Christopher Williams, Joanna Kotze, Jonah Bokaer, and Rebecca Lazier; and is currently dancing in projects for Tere O’Connor, Wally Cardona, and Kota Yamazaki.  He was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from November 2007 until its closure at the end of 2011, and received a 2012 New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) for his solo performance in Cunningham’s Split Sides. While performing with MCDC, Riener completed his MFA in Dance at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts (2008).  Since 2010 he has collaborated with choreographer Rashaun Mitchell on site-specific dances and immersive theatrical experiences.  Riener was the movement designer for the architecture and design firm Harrison Atelier in 2012/2013 and choreographed the site-specific performance/installationsPharmacophore: Architectural Placebo at the Storefront for Art and Architecture, and VEAL at the Invisible Dog Art Center.  His work has also been curated at Architecture OMI, CATCH, as part of LMCC’s River to River Festival, at Danspace Project, and at the BFI Gallery in Miami. His work with Rashaun Mitchell appeared in Carla Fernández exhibition The Barefoot Designer at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in 2014.  Riener has taught workshops on performance and technique at Concord Academy SummerStages in Boston, throughout Turkey at several universities, in the Dance Program of Princeton University and Barnard College, and at the Merce Cunningham Trust. In 2013 along with with Rashaun Mitchell he was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”, and was invited to participate as an inaugural member of LMCC’s Extended Life Dance Development Program.  He was a 2014 New York City Center Choreographic Fellow and a Mellon Artist-in-Residence at The Newhouse Center for the Humanities at Wellesley College, and a 2015 Artist-in-Residence at Gina Gibney Dance Center Dance-in-Process, and at the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie-Mellon University.

This program is part of the Merce Cunningham Centennial.

Centennial Community Porgrams are generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Major funding for the Centennial is provided by the Merce Cunningham Trust, the Paul L. Wattis Foundation, American Express and Judith Pisar. 


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